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Helga: Out of Hedgelands (Wood Cow Chronicles Book 1) Kindle Edition

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Age Level: 10 - 18 Grade Level: 6 - 12

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Helga: Out of Hedgelands is a recipient of the prestigious Mom's Choice Award. The Mom's Choice Awards honors excellence in family-friendly media, products and services. Parents, educators, retailers and the media look for the Mom's Choice Awards seal when selecting quality materials and products for children and families. - Mom's Choice Awards
 
"...it was the author's writing that grabbed my attention...I definitely recommend this book just for its writing alone. The author takes you from one scene to another as if you are floating on a magic carpet looking down." - Aspiring Book Reviews blog
 
"...the book just blows you away...You feel every emotion that she feels, and that is what I call excellent writing skills...whether you are 8 or 80, this book will hold your attention and I definitely recommend it to anyone who's looking to escape into a faraway land." - The Reading Cat blog
 
"My book club members and I were completely taken in by the world the author had created. In some ways, it felt like reading Narnia by C.S. Lewis." - Author's Friend blog
 
"This is definitely a book that any middle grade child or adult will enjoy. The author has carefully contructed a new world and the reader is taken on a fascinating journey..." - Brainy Book Reads blog
 
"...a wonderful fantasy adventure story. The characters are well-written and the books are captivating. The author creates another world with astonishing clarity and amazing detail....it immersed you in the world where what Helga and her friends were doing was far more important than whatever was going on in the real world." - Genuine Jenn blog

From the Author

As an author, I'm drawn to eccentric, unexpected characters: those who surprise because they hear a distant galaxy, see a different music, create their own fragrance rather than get hooked on a soundtrack; the child who has her own ideas about how the emperor is dressed; the lunatics and rebels who tell stories on the boundaries. I seek to write unusual stories that take readers to worlds they never imagined--a whole new ride.
 
One of the attractions of writing fantasy is that it forces us to experiment with "beyond the box" thinking. Imagination is often the only tool we have in breaking through the barriers or chains that limit our possibilities. Running on imagination, our minds and hearts are no longer bound by such "obvious" constraints as common sense, the speed of light, or prejudices of mind.
 
A natural relative of fantasy is the sense of humor, and need to play, that are part of human nature. Like fantasy, humor is a matter of skewing how we look, and re-look, at things we normally take for granted. In my writing, I use fantasy and humorous absurdity to poke holes in the expectations cultures create to keep things in their place.
 
Fantasy, including the idea that cows might think, talk, and are proper heroines--perhaps encourages us to wonder about other creatures, people, and dimensions of thought that "common sense" keeps us from hearing and seeing. Possibly, we may even discover that there are cows within ourselves waiting to speak and be heroic. Our capacity to hear things that are, in our "common sense" world, unheard and unheard of, is one of the degrees of freedom we can preserve for ourselves and offer to others. And, for children--kids of all ages--these degrees of freedom are precious and worth nurturing. That is why I write.

Product Details


More About the Author

I am a native of the Great Plains, having grown up on a farm in the Platte River Valley of western Nebraska. I love the wild beauty of the Plains and nearby Rocky Mountains--the too hot, too cold, too empty, too full of life extremes. Typically, the awesomely diverse and the awesomely stark are much the same, even as they are different. Although I have lived in Michigan, North Carolina, and British Columbia, the western plains, mountains, and desert are in my heart.

As my day job, for over thirty years I have been a faculty member and administrator in higher education. Teaching broadly in the liberal arts, including creative writing, my professional publications include educational materials, poems, and 28 stories for young readers. I am a member of SCBWI.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Gerald M Vincent on January 7, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is the first Amazon book review I have ever written. I grew up in a reading family, and have never stopped (reading). From the 1st paragraph of "Helga: Out of the Hedgelands (Wood Cow Chronicles)", I was thinking "WOW" something different, and well written. This story grabs you immediately and the plot turns keep coming. I believe this is written for young adults, however it is not a simple read, you have to pay attention (like with most good books). I found it easy to be "pulled in" to the story and thoroughly enjoyed it. Although the story very different, I couldn't help being reminded of "Watership Down" as the reader is immediately immersed in the animal world. I don't know if digital books are "page turners" as there are no pages, however this is definitely a "screen flipper". I highly recommend this book. Full disclosure: I am related to the author.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Steve Kaufman on December 9, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Since completing the Lord of the Rings trilogy in college, I've looked forward to a fantasy series that exhibited the potential to keep me up reading well past my bed time. Helga, Out of Hedgelands, did just that. Mr Johnson has created a fascinating world full of vivid landscapes and characters wise and courageous enough to inhabit them. Helga is a tale for young and old alike. Pour yourself a hot cup of Peskee tea and gather round your children or grandchildren. You're in for a treat. I am eagerly awaiting the next installment.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By GluedTogether on April 25, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The characters are animals. The book is sufficiently readable that I finished the book, but there are way too many characters, all with crazy names. Each individual seems to have a wild back story that barely connects with the other characters and events. Too confusing for me.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 20, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A reviewer said that this was the new Tolkien, or words to that effect. Sorry, but I don't agree.

I read 23% of the 500 plus pages, according to my Kindle app. But I couldn't bring myself to read any more. I discovered that I wasn't looking forward to going on. Since I didn't read it all, I'm giving this three stars, not less. It may have become more entrancing as the events kept occurring. I hope so.

The author (and editor, if there was one) did a good job of patrolling for usage errors. They are few and far between.

OK. That's the good. What didn't I like about the book? See the subtitle, or series title - "The Wood Cow Chronicles." The what? My main problem was that all the characters are mammals or birds (possibly some reptiles, but I don't recall any). They are mammals or birds who speak English, and wear clothing and use tools. Different species specialize in different ways, and some species seem to serve evil ends, and some, like the Wood Cows, don't. And how do the Wood Cows specialize? Not in producing dairy products. Not in grazing. In woodworking, no less! I just can't see a cow doing woodworking. Johnson didn't describe the "hands" of the Wood Cows, or of any other of the creatures, so maybe they were actually anatomically equipped to do woodworking, but there's no description of how they might have done this. I had similar problems in imagining other species, and how they looked and did their jobs. I know -- C. S. Lewis had intelligent animals in his Narnia books, and some species were generally good, and some generally bad, and some of them specialized, but, in his writing, the anatomical changes necessary to become part of a mixed society were described, at least a little. The Talking Mice, for example, were about two feet tall.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Mel on August 6, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
The adventures of Helga and her friends was a great read if even I had to read it on my laptop. I hope one day it will be in paper print. The story was complex enough to keep me interested but not so much that someone 10-13 would have a hard time keeping up. There was plenty of humor and plenty of adventure and wonderful themes that any parent or teacher would enjoy exploring with youth. Bravo.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ravina Andrea Kurian on May 30, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
This is a long overdue review which I overlooked posting. I read this book some months ago and then recently re-read it during a book club meeting. The setting of the story has been skillfully created by the author and if one follows the TV series Merlin, you will feel the same kind of magic and appreciation for all things that cannot be unexplained.

There were parts of this book that you will need a lot of patience as it twists and turns into the next development. While I appreciated the writing at all times, the twists did distract me and I wasn't at all sure where the story was going. Then there are parts of the book that move rapidly, taking you on an adventure and has you wishing you were there.

The end is somewhat unexplained so I am assuming there will be another book in the series which I look forward to reading.

Would I recommend this read? Oh yes, definitely.

Overall assessment:
Content: 4/5
Editing: 4/5
Formatting: 4/5
Pacing: 4/5
Offensive content?: G for theme and content, although it might be better understood by children aged 7 and above.

Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from the author via Orangeberry Book Tours. I did not receive any payment in exchange for this review nor was I obliged to write a positive one.
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