Midwest Book Review Loves Bertie and the Bullies

fairies, books for children, literacy, reading, bullying, bullies, elves,
A story book with full color illustrations

                        Midwest Book Review ** Children’s Bookwatch  (November 2012)

“Bertie the Bookworm and the Bully Boys” is book III in the Fabled Forest Series, written for children ages 1-12, an illustrated early chapter book for excited pre-novella readers. A cast of familiar but colorful magical forest characters parade through this gentle teaching tale about bullying, the value of literacy, and ageism. Continue reading “Midwest Book Review Loves Bertie and the Bullies”

Bertie, the Bookworm…..gets glowing review

Bambi, fairy tales, fables, ecology, environment,books for kids, books for children,bullying, literacy‘….Being a great-grandma and a big fan of the Fabled Forest stories,  I read “Bertie, the Bookworm and the Bully Boys….” before I sent a copy off to each of my many grandkids and great grandkids.   I thought it was wonderful. The children I sent the books to are enjoying reading it. Hard for me to believe some of them are reading without the help of a parent. Sugarek makes a lot of parents very happy with her fairy tales and gentle lessons about being kind and not bullying others because they might be smaller or different.  I really enjoy the series because many of the characters return to each story and I look forward to seeing what they are up to now.  I highly recommend these fables to parents and grandparents…..’  Margaret C.  A great-grandma


running away, dragons, friendship, circus, fairy tales, fables, To buy or review all the children’s books
click here 
Stanley, the Stalwart Dragon”








The Exciting Exploits of an Effervescent Elf”   ====>

Does anyone out there love “Stanley, the dragon….”?

Two great kids are ‘professional reviewers’ with their Mom. They loved Stanley so I thought I would reprint it here for you to enjoy.  Or click below and read it in its original location:


READER VIEWS, Reviews by kids, for kids  Stanley, the Stalwart Dragon: The Fabled Forest Series (Volume 1)  Reviewed by Sophia (age 6.75) and Madeline (age 8.5) McElroy for Reader Views (12/09)

Sophia: I liked this funny story about a dragon named Stanley. He ran away from home, because he couldn’t breathe fire. He found himself in a forest full of creatures – fairies, elves and animals. He made a lot of new friends, until one day when a bad raven came along named Slick; he talked Stanley into going to join the circus. After his friends found out he had run away again the Queen sends them on a mission to rescue poor Stanley.

My favorite part is when Cheets the elf yells “dragon breath!” and starts running around and keeps yelling. My favorite picture is when Stare is on top of Stanley’s head with big saucer eyes!

My favorite characters are Stare and Stanley. Even though Stare only knows the word “Who?, or Who!, or Who! Who! Who!,” I really like him because he is cute and funny. I like Stanley, because he was a kind dragon who didn’t like to burn things up. I think this would be a really good movie!

Madeline: This is an amusing story about Stanley the dragon. This story will take you on many adventures, including some with a nutty little elf named Cheets, a Queen named Cleo who rules over the faeries in the forest, and Stanley who will be the cause of all these exciting tales. Stanley is not your ordinary dragon; he is quite interesting and friendly. Stanley decided to run away from home, because he wouldn’t breathe fire and this was a big disappointment to his parents, especially his Father. Stanley finds himself in a magical woods filled with farires.

The happiest moment in the story was when the Queen ordered the rescue of Stanley. I enjoyed this part of the story, because of the plan his friends had to save him from his trouble again.  My favorite character is Cheets the elf, because he is crazy and funny. He always talks about himself in the third person! When he gets too carried-away the Queen “snaps” him into a time-out, of which he had many. This is a very enjoyable fairytale.

Parent: What a delightful story! I loved reading this with the kids. At times I was tempted to copy the pages so we could read it as a play. The characters are really sweet and it has a running dialogue of positive messages. I would highly recommend “Stanley, the Stalwart Dragon” by Trisha Sugarek to all parents.




“Must Read” rating for “Stanley, The Stalwart Dragon”

BookReview.com gave the first in the Fabled Forest series, “Stanley, the Stalwart Dragon” a wonderful review.  Head over to their site to see it, or read on below!

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Children’s Books 
Title: Stanley, The Stalwart Dragon
Author: Trisha Sugarek
Rating:  Must Read!
Publisher: CreateSpace
Reviewed by: Eric Jones

Trisha Sugarek is often known for her stage plays for children which take on a fun, but instructional tone and lend children an eye-opening narrative on the problems and decisions that come with growing up. Her first novel, “Stanley, the Stalwart Dragon”, is an extension of her stage work. Fully illustrated by Mitchell Lamar Larkins, it is a collection of life lessons rolled into a single journey, with a loveable protagonist who finds friendship and hardship out in an unfamiliar world. Stanley is very different from other dragons because he doesn’t blow fire. No, he blows bubbles. This leads him to feel ostracized with the dragon community and in a fit of anger he runs away to the woods where he’s greeted by a band of mixed races; elves, pixies, animals, clowns, and faeries all gather to remark on Stanley’s mysterious condition. What’s remarkable about Sugarek’s fiction is in her ability to draw depth into what might have simply been cartoon characters. City Slick is, without a doubt, my favorite. He has the sly veracity of a huckster, but appears genuinely friendly. He’s also illustrated to resemble Woody Wood Pecker, and although he’s not quite the villain, he plays the role of a trickster who gets Stanley into his predicament by convincing him to join the circus. Stanley moves then from a nice group of misfits to a bad group of misfits, and learns a strong lesson in comparing the two. There is no shortage of fun and interesting characters to grab children’s attention and engage their imagination. Being a playwright, Sugarek comes from a medium that’s heavy on dialog, and that transitions well into children’s fiction, making “Stanley, the Stalwart Dragon” a great book to read out loud to children. Parents can change voices to represent different characters, or they can highlight character’s lines that the children themselves can play. This is a novel, so there’s a slight issue of length. It’s best read as a serial over a number of nights rather than straight through, although the appearance of the book can be deceptive since it’s about the same height and width as children’s books like “Polar Express” or “Green Eggs and Ham”. However, Sugarek makes no bones about it being more advanced. She uses big words to stimulate her young readers such as ‘effervescent’, or ‘rhetorical’, which is a method reminiscent of the works of Roald Dahl. “Stanley, the Stalwart Dragon” is a captivating children’s novel from start to finish, a cartoonish romp through a fantastic world that’s full of jokes and lessons that will ensnare any child’s ear.



One of the most rewarding parts of being a writer (on the Internet) is the responses I have gotten from all over the world.  India, Australia, Argentina, Great Britian, and now Spain.  Tanya is a working actor and has become interested in Billlie Holiday as a way to fine tune her musical career.

I thought my readers might enjoy her letter,

My name is Tanya R. and I’m an actress interested in training and developing my acting and singing abilities. I came to find your play and I was very lucky to find it (Scent of Magnolia)

I’ve read it and I have really enjoyed it. I hadn’t really gone in depth in Billie Holiday’s life or music. My only objective is to do some training with the play. I was born in Colombia, raised in both Colombia and England and presently live in Spain. I try to develop and work on the characters I play from what is the most difficult for me from a humanistic point of view. I try to work on a basis of affection, humbleness as a person, tenderness and respect with no judging, and I know that can be very very hard. I just think your play is an excellent opportunity to grow as an actress, and as a woman. I find your play very beautiful because though Billie Holiday’s life was so difficult, what attracts me so much is the way the character can be so close to you as you see/listen to her telling her story, so close.

There’s is a lot in it, told with affection and respect. Not only that. I am Colombian, and accent, background, my god, my profile is far from the character’s, which makes it more challenging to work on. I have had a look at your material, and I am very interested in reading all of it. The play with the 4 women seems so interesting to develop such different colours to the characters. Also I work a lot with my son’s friends in creations in video and theatre, they love acting so we do simple things in english as well. You have some material on short plays for young actors which I will be using no doubt.

I am very happy to hear from you and your work. I will let you know about my process, of course. As I said, my aim is to be a better actress and person and your play has the perfect ingredients for it.

A warm hello, Tanya

“Must Read” rating for “Butterflies & Bullets”

Eric Jones, a reviewer on BookReview.com, just wrote a lovely piece on “Butterflies and Bullets”, my book of Poetry, Essays and Musings. Click here to read it on their site, or scroll down for a reprint.

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Title: Butterflies & Bullets
Author: Trisha Sugarek
Rating:  Must Read!
Publisher: Trisha Sugarek
Reviewed by: Eric Jones

I knew Sugarek’s work in the past from her collection of short children’s plays, “Ten Minutes to Curtain”, which involve the complicated dynamics of growing up. Flannery O’Conner said that if you live through childhood then you have enough material to write forever, and Sugarek has been there and then some. Her short work for the stage has put her in the perfect position to transition from play to poetry with her new book, “Butterflies and Bullets”.

Even the title denotes the strange duality between innocence and loss, and that theme is prevalent throughout the work. Mostly in free form, Sugarek keeps everything in a minimalist range, lending focus to intimate moments like a man playing his Mandolin beside a fire, or the quiet landscape of the Serengeti just before rainfall. These truncated pieces of life feel like literary snapshots. These are Sugarek’s butterfly collection. Then, of course, there are the bullets.

The bullets are also set in free form, however they deal with much more happenings and are more narratively set. My favorite poem is one of these. “Hair Cut… Two Bits” chronicles the return of a barber from war-torn Europe in 1934 via a freighter into the Mississippi from the Gulf. The story, though scarcely a few pages, manages to convey the loss, struggle, and triumph of war given a single, near microscopic, experience. Not to mention that it’s all the more topical today, given the current mess in off the shore of New Orleans.

There are many that are like these, managing to say a lot with only a little. And given their accompanying illustrations by Lori Smaltz, which are printed small in keeping with the book’s minimalist structure, “Butterflies and Bullets” comes off splendidly. The collection feels complete and utterly whole, no piece of the pie excluded. Such close ups reveal that every place is connected. The ocean, if you look closely enough, looks just like rain on the blistering asphalt of your driveway. Shanty Irish curtains, at a certain scale, are indistinguishable from the sculpted wood of a Native American totem pole. This is the nature of Sugarek’s poetry, that when you pull back you see how different everything is, but when you put it under the microscope, a butterfly is really just a bullet with wings. 


Ann Purser reviews “Butterflies and Bullets”

British author Ann Purser had some lovely things to say about my book of poems:

“So, some fly joyously in the sun, alighting briefly, warming the heart – and then there’s the killing bullet, taking a straight path to the heart, bent on destruction. Trish’s poems are like that.

She had me hooked from the very first with Joy Filled Canine. Dog-lovers will recognize the essence of dog (not the smell) at once. There’s the joy, living for the day. ‘brandy eyes alight` – that’s it, in three words.

And Mandolin Man, so touching in its simplicity (and dogs again).

Then The Song of Agony – the bullet straight to the heart. A short tale of desperation, and again, pared down to a distillation of pain. There’s where Trish Sugarek’s considerable talent lies. Buy it, folks!”

(You can purchase “Butterflies and Bullets” right here on my online store.

Midwest Book Review of “Women Outside the Walls”

The Midwest Book Review rated Women Outside the Walls a ‘must read’. To see all the best books, visit their site:  http://www.midwestbookreview.com/