Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Three Little Horses and the Big Bully Donkey and Donkey's Kite by Liana-Melissa Allen(With Interview AND GIVEAWAY!!!!)

About The Three Little Horses and the Big Bully Donkey (Book 1):

A tale (based on the “Three Little Pigs”) about three little horse brothers who suddenly lose their house that is destroyed by a fire. The young horses are totally alone and thrust into the reality of having to depend on themselves and each other against a bully donkey, who wanders the forest wrecking homes and bullying the other animals. This warm-hearted tale promotes strong values and has a fun premise. Written and humorously illustrated in vivid color throughout by Liana-Melissa Allen, the story is a proven winner for reading aloud to children.
My Thoughts:

My Grasshopper fell in love with Max, Lax, and Jack! I read both books together, and afterwards, he wanted to go back and read the stories to me(through the pictures). I call that success!

As the description states, this is somewhat of a "3 Little Pigs" retelling. I love that I was able to get a lesson in laziness out of the story, along with a lesson in bullying. Although I didn't plan it so, reading this particular story when I did worked out perfectly. A little brother had just been shoved in the floor, and a tablet had been taken away as punishment, so I decided it was time for a reading break. This story was the perfect conversation starter concerning how we shouldn't hit or bully or laugh at someone when they're hurt.

Grasshopper loved the pictures, too. They're simple, but cute. He got lots of laughs out of them, and I loved how they followed the story so closely, capturing several humorous parts just perfectly.

We had fun getting to know Max, Lax, Jack, and even Donkey. After reading the "Llama Llama" adventure with the "bully goat", I've continuously told my boys that they don't want to be a "bully goat". After reading this book, Grasshopper has started saying we don't want to be a "bully donkey". These sweet books have ended up making quite the impression on him.


About Donkey's Kite (Book 2):

The three horses Jack, Max, Lax and their friend Donkey are back!

In Horse Valley, it's a perfect day to go kite flying. Jack, Max, Lax, and Donkey decide to get creative by putting together their own homemade kites. However, Donkey's kite doesn't work. No matter how hard he tries to get it to fly, it just keeps tumbling to the ground. How will poor Donkey get his kite to fly? A friendly goose named Gusty is delighted to help him out.

In this Horse Valley Adventure, Donkey learns not to give up when all seems hopeless. The friends all learn a lesson about helping others and true friendship.

My Thoughts:

As I mentioned above, we went straight into this book after finishing the first one. Grasshopper wanted to see more of Max, Lax, Jack, and Donkey. I recommend reading them in order, so you can see the character growth, and get to know each one better.

Once again, there was a lesson concerning bullying, but from a different character this time. This book mostly touched on helping those who need us, though. Sometimes it's easier said than done, but we should always drop what we're doing to help friends/loved ones when they need us. I always appreciate books that help me get little lessons into our day. (I call them conversation starters.) I appreciated getting so many mini lessons into our reading time with both of these books!

Grasshopper loved the pictures in this book, too. He got several more chuckles out of them.

Overall, we've really enjoyed spending time getting to know Max, Lax, Jack, and Donkey. If you enjoy reading books that open up conversation/mini lesson possibilities, definitely give these books a try. They're fun, sweet, and humorous!

*I was provided e-copies of both books, in exchange for my honest opinion.


Purchase Links:

On Author's Website


Barnes and Noble


About the Author:

Liana-Melissa Allen is a young author and illustrator of children's books and books for youth. She has written, illustrated and published six books. Her most recent one is the colorfully illustrated children's book "Donkey's Kite", the second book of "A Horse Valley Adventure" series. The first was "The Three Little Horses and the Big Bully Donkey". The lovable cartoon characters, Max, Lax, Jack and Donkey makes them a favorite of first and second grade students. She is now working on her third book of "A Horse Valley Adventure".

The magical world of fantasy has inspired Liana's imagination since as long as she can remember. Part of this was fueled by her dad reading aloud to her every day when she was younger. As a result, reading is her primary passion along with music. These two passions feed her imagination into stories and drawings, which she joyously sketches out into storyboards for a potential book.

Liana-Melissa is also a dedicated classical/jazz pianist, and mostly enjoys older music, especially from the big band era and the 1940's, 50's and 60's. While playing the piano, her imagination often leads to a great amount of improvising. Frequently, Liana will improvise a theme for one of the stories she is writing. Capturing this improvised music became a priority, which ultimately resulted in theme music for "A Horse Valley Adventure". The "Horse Valley" theme will be used for a short animated video featuring her Horse Valley characters.

Liana-Melissa loves to hear from her young readers. Please visit her website at for more information, and to contact her by email. Visit her on Facebook too.


Interview with Liana-Melissa:

Where do you get inspiration for your stories?

My childhood. I get inspired when I reminisce on how I used to look at the world as a kid. Through the eyes of my childlike self I lived my world with a sweet simple mindset. I looked at everyday as a fun adventure, which is the reason I call my series A Horse Valley Adventure.

What advice would you give budding writers?

Read as many books as you can and try to write everyday. Your craft should be tended to, not neglected. Think of it as if you are caring for a beloved pet.

If you could put yourself as a character in your book, who would you be?

I think I would say Jack. He likes to read and paint and puts a lot of importance on creativity.

In today’s tech savvy world, most writers use a computer or laptop. Have you ever written parts of your book on paper?

I like to write down my first rough drafts on paper. There’s something about just writing it down the old-fashioned way and getting all your cluttered and jumbled thoughts down. Then I type a second-draft on the computer and it seems to clean it up.

Favorite dessert?

Chocolate. Dark, white, milk chocolate, you name it. I love chocolate like my character Max loves carrots. Of course, his love is healthier.



Win one of ten sets of A Horse Valley Adventure books! One winner will also get a $30 Amazon gift card.

Open internationally.

Ends April 17.

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See what others are saying: Tour Schedule for Donkey's Kite

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  1. I would like to give them to my great niece.

  2. I want to thank you for taking the time to write these nice reviews on my two books from my “A Horse Valley Adventure” series. My goal is to inspire children to read, like I was inspired by the many books I read as a child. And I'm so glad that your child enjoyed them and that they were "conversation starters". :)

    Thank you,

    Liana-Melissa Allen

  3. These books sound like something that Evie would joy in a year or two! :)

  4. The illustrations remind me of Walt Disney's early cartoons. In fact, when I saw the cover art - that's what I thought it was! :)