Saturday, July 4, 2015

"Sammy Steals the Show" by Emlyn Chand

Sammy Steals the Show:
A Singing Cockatiel Wants to be a Star
(Bird Brain Book 10)
by Emlyn Chand

Sammy is a talented young cockatiel who loves to sing out of his open apartment window for all of Australia to hear. One day, he watches a reality singing competition with his human friend, Lisa, and knows that if he could just audition, he would surely win.
What follows is a masterful escape, an eventful journey to the Sydney Opera House, and an audition the crew of "Sing Your Heart Out" will never forget. Will Sammy take home the title of Australia’s next rising star, or will he find something more important along the way?
There’s only one way to find out: join Sammy in his humorous adventure of fame, friendship, and fun.

Sammy, a young Cockatiel, liked to sit by the open window of his apartment. The scene outside his window wasn’t very pretty, but that had never mattered to Sammy.
He had a special talent that could turn even the dreariest scene into a thing of beauty. Whenever he felt sad or bored or scared or any other type of unhappy, all he had to do was…
…puff up his chest and sing!
With just the power of his voice, he turned gray skies blue, and he turned storm clouds into white fluffy wisps. Even the ominous power lines that hung just below his window took on a new glow when Sammy’s music drifted through the air.
Always the modest little bird, he didn’t think much of his talent.
“Everything is better when you carry a song in your heart,” he would say by way of explanation.

Even when birds from all over the city flocked to Sammy’s window to hear him sing, he remained humble.
“Your voice is so beautiful,” the Rock Doves would coo merrily. “It is the nicest we have ever heard by far, and we’ve been all over this city.”
Tut, tut,” he responded. “Anyone can sing just as wonderfully. All you have to do is feel the happiness in your heart. That’s all it takes.”
Still, Sammy loved all the attention. His Rock Dove friends helped pass the day until his human friend, Lisa, returned from work.
Lisa worked long hours at her job as a waitress. Sometimes, she would leave before the sun woke up and wouldn’t return home until after it had gone back to bed.
While Sammy missed her during the day, he understood her need to work hard to keep a roof over their heads.
And no matter how tired Lisa looked when she came home, her face lit up with a huge smile the moment she laid eyes on Sammy.
You see, they were like two parts of one person—they had been best mates practically forever.
In fact, Sammy’s first memory was of Lisa. He would always cherish that special moment when he first laid eyes on her, as he huddled with his clutch of brothers and sisters in a small cage at the pet store.
Lisa came in close to the cage and waggled a finger at the baby Cockatiels. His brothers and sisters all hissed or ran off to hide at the back of the cage, but not Sammy. He sensed something special about this curious girl. Instead of trying to make her go away, Sammy stood on his tiptoes and sang a peppy little tune, inviting her to come closer still.
He watched with glee as Lisa’s eyes grew big and warm.
“Tell me what I need to make him feel at home with me,” she’d shouted toward the store keeper. “I can tell we’re going to be two peas in a pod.”
About that, she had proved to be absolutely correct.
Ever since then, they’d settled into a nice routine with one other. Each night before bed, the pair snuggled up and watched TV until Lisa became too tired to keep her eyes open another moment.
“We’ve got something special tonight, Sammy—a new show.”
His eyes grew wide as a beautiful building that looked like a white flower filled the screen, and a catchy pop song played in the background.
A moment later, the show’s host walked down a huge line of people gathered outside the building and asked each of them to sing a verse of a well-known song. Some sang beautifully, but many sounded so awful, Sammy wished he had fingers to stick in his ears and block out the noise.
The show ended when the host asked the audience, “Think you’ve got what it takes to sing your heart out? Join us at the opera house tomorrow, and prove your talent. The best singer will win—”

Praise for the Book
"I think kids will love this little story about this spunky bird. The illustrations are simple and sweet, it’s a quick read, there are excellent talking points, and kids will want to read this story again and again." ~ Children's author Rhonda Paglia
"I loved this short children’s book because of the bond Lisa and Sammy have. Animal loving children will love reading and hearing this story read because of this bond. Lisa and Sammy have a connection that all animal lovers will understand! This is a very cute story with sweet illustrations that bring the story to life. I definitely recommend it for your young ones!" ~ Christy M.
"Quick read and very entertaining because the writing style convinced me to believe that Sam could sing. I enjoyed the flow of the story it moved along so effortlessly, no hesitation just pure entertainment. Oh I forgot to mention the illustration, so cute, so clean just downright adorable." ~ Darlene Cruz
"This is a wonderful book for the little ones. It teaches children to remember the important people in your life. [...]. This is an awesome book for kindergartners through second grade." ~ Jane Ritz
"The age-old story of being content where you are is felt at the end of the story, but it is nice that the author writes this in a non-preachy way. I love happy endings and I feel that kids, especially younger ones, still need happy endings in books. I would definitely recommend this book to children of all ages who love to read or to read to others." ~ Kathryn

My Review

By Lynda Dickson
Sammy the cockatiel has a beautiful singing voice and decides to audition for a new talent show at the Sydney Opera House. With the help of his friends the Rock Doves, Sammy manages to escape from his cage while his human friend Lisa is at work. When Sammy finally gets the chance to perform in front of a huge crowd, Sammy realizes that something (or someone) is missing.
This is a cute story about a little bird with a big dream. But when Sammy sets out to achieve his goal, he realizes that it doesn't mean anything without the person he loves the most. While this is a good message, I feel that Sammy was sneaky and deceitful in the way he went about things. *Spoiler Alert * We know Sammy feels guilty because he is glad he made it home before Lisa. However, I wish he had been caught out. A better ending would have been Lisa and Sammy watching the "Sing Your Heart Out" show after his little escapade and Lisa seeing the footage of Sammy at the audition.
The simple, yet realistic, illustrations by Noelle Giffin add a nice touch.

About the Author
From an early age, Emlyn Chand has counted books among her best friends. She loves to hear and tell stories and emerged from the womb with a fountain pen grasped firmly in her left hand (true story). Her affinity for the written word extends to absolutely every area of her life: she has published fiction across multiple genres, oversees and contributes as both an editor and an author to the Novel Publicity Guides for Writing & Marketing Fiction series, and loves the written word so much, she even married author Falcon Storm! Don’t forget that she is the founder and president of Novel Publicity too.
The book that changed Emlyn’s life is Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crocket Johnson. It opened her eyes to the world that could exist if only she was willing to create it - a lesson she has never forgotten. Maybe that’s why she loves writing her Bird Brain book series for children so much!
Emlyn’s first novel, Farsighted, won the prestigious Writer’s Digest Self-Published Novel of the Year award in 2012 for the YA category. She now writes most of her fiction under her real name, Melissa Storm.