International Book Giving Day — Why Reading Is So Important!

February 14th is not only Valentines Day, but also International Book Giving Day!  As such, I have partnered with some wonderful author friends from around the world to give away some copies of our books, hoping to inspire you to do the same.

Give a book you enjoy or one that you think may benefit someone — to a child, a loved one, family member(s), neighbor, or friend.  Donate some new or gently used books to your local library, to a local school, civic group, or to a local hospital.  Leave a copy of a book in the waiting room of a doctor’s or dentist’s office, or at a homeless shelter.  There are many ways to help spread the love of reading.

“Why is reading so important?” some ask.  With help from the folks at WhytoRead.com, let’s count the ways . . . . . . .

  1. Reading Helps to Develop Verbal Abilities. Readers tend to have a larger vocabulary and more ways of expressing themselves, while also helping to avoid acting out or remedies of violence.
  2. Reading Improves Focus and Concentration. Sitting down with a book requires longer periods of focus and concentration, developing attention spans.
  3. Readers Tend to Enjoy the Arts and Work to Improve the World. Readers are more likely to visit museums, attend concerts and the like, and are more likely to volunteer and to do charity work.
  4. Reading Improves Imagination. Reading about new worlds and peoples and having to create the images from the written words in one’s mind as opposed to merely viewing on a screen, develops creative and imaginative abilities.
  5. Reading Makes You Smarter. Having books available at home has been strongly linked to improved academic performance.  It’s all about learning.
  6. Reading Makes One Interesting and Attractive. The knowledge base and exposure to the world acquired thru reading allows one to hold their own and meaningfully contribute to conversations, as opposed to slinking off not to embarrass oneself.
  7. Reading Reduces Stress. In a study performed at Mindlab International at the University of Sussex, test subjects only needed to read silently to themselves for six minutes to slow down their heart rate and ease muscle tension.
  8. Reading Improves Your Memory.  As opposed to listening to a tape or lecture, reading provides the opportunity to pause for reflection and critical thinking, which also serves to improve memory retention capabilities.
  9. Reading Gives Us The Opportunity to Discover and Create Ourselves.  Being exposed to others’ lives, situations, feelings, opinions and perspectives allows each of us to examine our own life in the light of new knowledge and experience, learn life skills, and to develop who we really are and seek to be.
  10. Reading is Entertainment. Reading is fun, pure and simple. With due respect to all of the above, reading is also wonderfully Entertaining, allowing us to explore new worlds, escape for a mental vacation, and to be absorbed and immersed in a story or adventure for hours and hours. And to revisit as often as we like at no extra charge.  Take “The Adventures of Little Red Bear” for example. Where else can one go on the planet to a place where the animals and humans interact as equals and share hair-raising adventures, while learning about the natural world, kindness and positivity at the same time?

So, that is why reading is truly important.  We have joined together to give away a selection of both Print and eReader books.  Our book giveaway runs now thru February 15th.  The more actions completed, the better chance of winning a free book for yourself.  Simply tap on the link below to get started.

Tap Here To Enter Our Books Giveaway!

Terms and Conditions: There is NO purchase necessary to enter or win. Winners will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget within 48 hours and notified by email once the giveaway ends. The winners will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner(s) do not respond within 72 hours, a new winner(s) will be chosen. This giveaway is open to all who live in and outside of the US. However, as there are several sponsors of this giveaway who live both domestic and international. Print books are available only for domestic country of author origin; ebooks offered outside author’s country of origin at their discretion.

Tap Here To Enter Our Books Giveaway!

 

Thanks always for visiting!  Please join my friends and me in supporting literacy and reading on International Book Giving Day.  The world will be better for it! — Jim (and Red!)

Family Times — Together Times — The Best Times!

Old-fashioned, Family-friendly Stories and Fun for All Ages and Fitness Levels!
About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends.

Little Red Bear Answers Reader Questions — “Where is McNickle’s?”

More reader questions for Little Red Bear!   Here we go with another one . . . . . .

Reader Question from Road Trip Rick in Disoriented, Oregon – “Dear Little Red Bear —  I’m really hungry for some old-fashioned pickles and pork rinds so planning a road trip on Sunday, but can’t seem to find “McNickle’s Famous Pickles & Pork Rinds” country store where you do book signings, anywhere on a map. And my GPS is no help at all.  Where is it and will you be there on Sunday for a book signing when I get there?” 

Answer— That is a very good question, Rick!  And it’s not surprising that you can’t find McNickle’s Famous Pickles & Pork Rinds on a map or in the GPS doohickeys, because it seems to be one of those kind of places that a person can’t find unless they know where it is to begin with.

The best thing to remember is that it is on Shady Holler Road, just west of Knob Lick. The country store is located about half a mile past Turner’s red barn, and across from the split pin oak tree if you’re unfamiliar with the area.  If you find yourself sitting in front of the Post Office in Curly Pine, chances are you most likely missed the barn and went too far.  That old red barn sits back from the road a bit, behind the row of hedge apples, so you need to keep a sharp eye peeled and be on the lookout for it, especially during the summer when the trees have their leaves.  And if that’s the case and you’re staring at a mailbox, we find it best to just go back and start over from where you left and try again.

But, Ethel McNickle is adamant that the store remains closed on Sundays, so you might want to plan a Saturday trip.  As for the book signing, Ethel assures me that she will have a number of pre-signed books on hand for you when you get there.  But don’t look for me.  Summer Saturdays are for fishing, not sitting inside talking.  If you want to talk about the book, just mosey on down to Perch Lake. Don’t worry, I usually bring along a few extra fishing poles for visitors if you forget yours.  Out-of-towners dropping by to talk and fish seem to turn up quite often ever since the book went out last year.  And if you don’t like fishing, that’s not a problem, either. We can always use another hand or two cleaning ’em.   Hope that answers your questions, Rick.  Drive safe. — Little Red Bear

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Please keep those questions and letters coming, don’t be bashful.  We’ll get to them as best we can here for you.  And if it’s really urgent, just smear a little honey on the envelope seal.  Red will be sure to get to that one first!

Happy reading, and thanks as always for stopping by!  And remember folks, life is simpler when you plow around the stump.   – Jim (and Red!)

LRB Ad- With a Fishing Pole

Old-fashioned, Family-friendly Stories and Fun for All Ages and Fitness Levels!
About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends.

So You Want To Be A Writer — Dreaming of Chickens . . . .

So, you want to be a writer, you say.  It’s a neat life living in your imagination, you say.   Seems like a fun hobby.  Thoughts to share with the world.  You want to work in your pajamas.  Wake up dreaming about exotic locales and people, you say.

Cool.  But just so you know, this particular writer woke up in the wee hours this morning dreaming he was sleeping outside in a muddy pen in the rain, with chickens and a wet, smelly and cranky fox.  Blow the image for you?

Yeah, someday I may have to try my hand at writing a rich and sensuous romance novel to wake up dreaming about sharing a bottle of wine with someone special on a Riviera beach or in a street-side Paris cafe.  Luscious cheese, a warm croissant and enchanting conversation.  Or a refreshing sea breeze in the air with laughing gulls greeting the sunrise.

Aaahh – who am I kidding?  We both know that’ll never happen and the someone special in the dream would just be another frickin’ chicken anyway.  I have to go.  Need to write about the chickens and add them to the stories before I forget just how dreadfully bad that fox truly smelled.  But yeah — I am writing all that down in my pajamas.  So there’s that.   At 3 a.m.

The muse sends ideas.  I have no control over what they are or when they arrive.  And that’s the writer’s life.

Thanks as always for visiting! — Jim   (and Red!)

Careful What You Dream Of . . . .

Careful What You Dream Of . . . .

Old-fashioned, Family-friendly Stories and Fun for All Ages and Fitness Levels!
About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends.

 

“The Adventures of Little Red Bear” Determined To Be ‘Sound Investment’

In order to cover all bases for his fans, Little Red Bear had an official Cost/Benefit analysis of “The Adventures of Little Red Bear: The First Holler!” performed by his trusted accountant and financial advisor, Angus McNutt, senior partner of the firm “McNutt and McGillicutty CCC” ( Country Crop Counters) over in Slippery Slide, and the results of the study are in.

For the paperback, at 64,254 words, the reader receives over 4,961 words per dollar invested. For the Kindle and eReader version, a reader receives over 21,781 words per dollar. And of course, the book is Free for anyone with Kindle Unlimited. Taking into account that all words used are original text in copyrighted format with the Library of Congress, it is quite clearly a bargain at any price.

In addition, bearing in mind the fact that words enrich the brain and lessons learned about nature, life, kindness and simply having fun remain with a person forever, it was clear that any of the versions far exceed any value received in television and other forms of entertainment, where “any benefit potentially received is fleeting and transitory”, as Mr. McNutt stated in his report.

It should be noted that the Preface, Frontispiece, Dedication, Artwork and such were not included in Mr. McNutt’s calculations, which would have the effect of making the Cost:Benefit ratio even higher for a reader.

It was Angus McNutt’s conclusion then that “’The Adventures of Little Red Bear’ short story collection is both a wise and sound long-term financial investment.”  Just in case anyone was on the fence concerning issues of that sort before investing in the book.

“The Adventures of Little Red Bear” Short Story Collections on Amazon.  Old-fashioned, Family-friendly Storytelling and Fun for both the Young and the Young-at-Heart. Positive Themes of Friendship, Kindness, Helping Others and Mother Nature.  With a healthy dash of oldfangled, belly laugh humor and fun.

Join us for an Adventure in the Beautiful Ozarks Mountain Country, and stop by for some biscuits and honey! —  Jim   (and Red!)

Angus McNutt, of "McNutt and McGillicutty Country Crop Counters"

Angus McNutt, of “McNutt and McGillicutty CCC”

Old-fashioned, Family-friendly Stories and Fun for All Ages and Fitness Levels!
About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends.

Little Red Bear Answers Reader Questions — “Cushaw What?”

More reader questions for Little Red Bear!   Here we go with another one . . . . . .

Reader Question from Doubting Thomas in Bristly Barbs, South Dakota – “Dear Little Red Bear —  I enjoyed your adventures very much and realize they are listed under fiction, but tell the truth for once . . . you’re making all of this stuff up, aren’t you?  A ‘Cushaw Pie’ mentioned in “The Storm” story?!?  I have never heard of a cushaw anything and I have heard of a lot.  So be honest.  You and that writer guy Jim are just pulling our legs on that one, right?”

Answer— That is a very good question, Thomas!  And we are happy that you took notice and the time to write us about it.  As you pointed out, the stories are listed under the ‘Fiction’ category, but that’s only because when Little Red Bear was having all of his adventures, people video taping everything and taking selfies had not really come into fashion yet, so having no photographic record Amazon made us list them as fiction, even though every one really, truly did happen just as they are written.  Word for word.  More or less.

Now, to the Cushaw Pie concern.  Yes, Thomas, there really is such a thing as a Cushaw Pie made from a Cushaw Squash.  Maybe it would help for you to think of it as a Pumpkin with a different name.  And shape.  And color.  With stripes.   But the rest is very similar.

A Cushaw Pie is made from a Cushaw Squash, an heirloom crookneck squash, and is a Southern Appalachian tradition.  The cushaw is sometimes referred to as a “Tennessee Sweet Potato.”  It does very well when grown, is resistant to pesky vine borers, and because it hails from the Caribbean tends to grow well in hot, dry climates.  The inner flesh is light yellowish, with a mild, sweet flavor.

You have probably seen them used in autumn decorations, along with pumpkins, hay bales, scarecrows and such, but just didn’t know the name.  And while so many folks use them for Autumn, Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations, few realize that they are not only edible but make up into a fantastic pie.  Just like a pumpkin.

Here is a Cushaw Pie recipe to get you started the next time you see one, along with some links to some more cushaw recipes on our Pinterest Boards — Cushaw Pie Recipe, Kentucky Proud Cushaw Pie Recipe,  Best Cushaw Pie Recipe, Cushaw Squash Soup Recipe, Cranberry Cushaw Bread.

Cushaw Pie Recipe, via Kentucky Proud

Cushaw Pie Recipe, via Kentucky Proud

Hope that answers your question about the Cushaw Pie in “The Storm” story, Thomas.   As you can see, it is a real thing.   Happy reading and cooking, and thanks for writing in and being such an involved fan of Little Red Bear!

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Please keep those questions and letters coming. We’ll get to them as best we can here for you.  Happy reading, and thanks as always for stopping by!  And remember folks, cushaws can be pretty heavy, but it don’t take a very big person to carry a grudge. – Jim (and Red!)

Cushaw Squash with Pumpkin Decoration

Cushaw Squash with Pumpkin Decoration

Old-fashioned, Family-friendly Stories and Fun for All Ages and Fitness Levels!
About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends.

Little Red Bear Answers Reader Questions – “Hummingbird Spit! What Could Be Better?”

Little Red Bear and I have received another reader question we thought it may be good to respond to for everyone.  Well, a question and a comment really, and good information to pass along.

Reader Question from S. F. on holiday at an undisclosed beach resort in the U. K. –“Dear Little Red Bear — Holiday reading, sunshine, and fresh sea air – what could be better?Thanks for translating Red, got plenty of buzzards’ breath but all out of catfish whiskers and the hummingbirds are being most uncooperative.”

Answer— For the benefit of those who have not read “The Adventures of Little Red Bear” yet, or may have unwisely skipped over the “Introduction”, what S. F. is referring to is that to save readers the difficulty and hassles of needing to translate all the different spoken animal languages and dialects back and forth as they read, Little Red Bear and I worked tirelessly to translate everything for you.  Bears speaking to birds and rabbits, turtles speaking to bears, humans speaking to bears and foxes, weasels yammering on, etc.  The pig is a different matter, and you will need to read for yourself to see what that is all about.

Information on the translation process was explained in the Introduction, along with many other things, and S. K. is referring to a few of the translation ingredients in her comment.  And it points to why we decided to go ahead and take care of the translations issue for readers ahead of time.  We didn’t charge extra for it.  Little Red Bear just felt it a nice to thing to do for folks.

In response to S. K. then — “Holiday reading, sunshine, and fresh sea air – what could be better?”  We can’t think right off of any better thing than being on holiday at the beach reading Little Red Bear stories, so you have us stumped with that one.  And yes, we have found the hummingbirds to be problematic and difficult to work with at times, as it seems the later it gets into summer the more of a sugar high they are on, causing some predictably spiky attitudes.  We are impressed with your having gathered sufficient quantities of the buzzard’s breath though, as that is where the translation process breaks down for many folks, unwilling to approach a turkey buzzard that closely.  Little Red Bear sends a big paw pat on the back for that one!

As for the other, we could mail some dried catfish whiskers over for you, but find that fresh whiskers work much better and produce a clearer translation in the end.  And since we have it all translated for you ahead of time anyway, we won’t bother to send any dried whiskers over to save you the mailing expense.

So, sorry we were stumped by that question, but want to thank you for writing in to let us know all that translation time and effort is helping readers out after all.

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So, a big thanks to S. F. for the comments!  Remember folks, please keep those questions and letters coming. We’ll get to them as best we can here for you.  Happy reading, and thanks as always for stopping by! And remember folks, the best sermons are lived, not preached.  God bless, y’all.  – Jim (and Red!)

Old-fashioned, Family-friendly Stories and Fun for All Ages and Fitness Levels!
About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends.

Little Red Bear Answers Reader Questions — “Angry Weasels! What To Do?”

Little Red Bear and I are getting more and more questions from readers.  So here’s another one, hoping to provide useful and life-saving information by sharing for all.

Reader Question from K. C. in Shriveled Branches, California – “Dear Little Red Bear — What should I do if confronted by an angry weasel?”

Answer— Another great question, because this seems to come up more often than most folks think.  The problem is, weasels are just not big on negotiating, so trying to reason with them or attempting to discover the source of their anger is largely a waste of time, as most just wake up angry in the morning right off the start, and their mood seems to follow on downhill from there.

We recommend telling the weasel a really funny joke, and hope it dies laughing.  It seemed to work very well for the Roger Rabbit folks.  If you’re not particularly funny, then we recommend running away as fast as you can, because the longer you stand in front of the weasel the hungrier it’s going to get while the time passes.  If you have wings, use them.  Because we haven’t found the weasel yet that can fly more than two laps around the feedlot.

Weasels are never easy to deal with, because even when they tell you  they’re going to behave and be your friend, they most likely ain’t.  So take whatever a weasel says with a grain of salt.  Or two.   Good luck with ’em, and we’ll keep y’all in our thoughts. — Little Red Bear

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A big thanks to K.C. for the question!  Remember folks, keep those questions and letters coming. We’ll get to them as best we can here for you.  Happy reading, and thanks as always for stopping by!   And remember folks, an angry weasel is considerably faster than a John Deere Tractor.  Best to try and stay on their good side.  If you can find one.  – Jim (and Red!)

Old-fashioned, Family-friendly Stories and Fun for All Ages and Fitness Levels!
About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends.