The Evolution Revolution Series
"...Readers will enjoy the banter among the animals, as well as the way Jack develops into a leader as he wrangles uncooperative animals into going along with his plan. Daniels’s elegant b&w spot illustrations appear throughout, adding to the story’s appeal." Publishers Weekly
Evolution Revolution: Simple Machines
In a quiet wood, a common gray squirrel will start a war. First he learns words and how to use simple machines like the wheel. Named Jack by the boy who teaches him, Jack sees construction machines invade his wood and threaten his nest and tree. Sharing what he's learned with Sister, he calls a Gathering of the woodland animals to convince them to fight. Most of the animals, like Beaver, Bird and the Rabbits are afraid. Fox and Rat do not want to learn anything from a human, until Jack tells Fox his den will be the first destroyed by the machines. The animals unite: Beaver, Owl, Fox, Rat, and even Sister join the fight. They win one battle, but they may not win the war because the humans have become especially interested in them.
Here's a radio interview from WEOL, in Elyria, Ohio. I was interviewed about the book on the Morning Show which is hosted by Craig Adams and Bruce Van Dryke: Listen
My radio interview with Rodger Nichols of Haystack Broadcasting from Dalles, OR, for his show, Cover to Cover; here
On Culture News Radio with David Sorero I give a quick synop and some personal peeks, on Evolution Revolution here
On the Dream Gardens podcast, Jody Mott interviews me about Jack and my favorite childhood book, Beautiful Joe, by Marshall Saunders. Listen here (my interview starts at 3:24, but he has a cool poem about Jellyfish Stew...
"I am delighted to have found a new author to support. Charlotte Bennardo seems to be the epitome of professionalism...a good novel to read in an elementary classroom...[It] has some humor, and lots of heart, and it is just the right length for a read-aloud book...Who doesn't like a story about underdogs..." Michael Gettel-Gilmartin, Project Mayhem, Marvelous Middle Grade Monday
"The Hundred Acre Wood" meets "Watership Down" in this outdoor romp destined to be a classic. You'll cheer for Jack and his woodland companions." Darlene Beck-Jacobson, author, Wheels of Change, Notable Book 2015 National Council of Social Studies and Children's Book Council.
"Books we must have though we lack bread" - Semicolon blog
"This story is fun, vibrant, and thrilling. When the crows squawk and the beavers bang their tails and the deer bellow, the reader can almost feel the power of the woods come alive. Even the little illustrations here and there bring all sorts of emotions to the animals’ faces. And, of course, the meaning of it all is there in black and white... This is a world where habitats are ruined on a daily basis... Although this will be categorized as a pre-teen book, I recommend this to all ages. As the beloved Watership Down once taught us, sometimes we need to get back to a simple, straight-forward message in order to really understand what pain we continue to bring by wiping out nature.
Quill says: Bring Jack and his story home, and make sure the next generation learns the correct, kind way to treat every species out there." Read the rest of the review here. Feathered Quill Book Reviews
"EVOLUTION REVOLUTION: SIMPLE MACHINES is the first book of a series that evokes the spirit of children's classics like CHARLOTTE'S WEB and MRS. FRISBY AND THE RATS OF NIMH, and is perhaps a tamer (and, by all counts better) version of James Patterson's ZOO. Told from Jack's point of view, author Charlotte Bennardo gives the reader a unique and charming perspective, one that isn't the sanitized animated classic view of animals but one that keeps them as true to their natural form as the story allows, including the interactions between predator and prey.
It's a charming little fiction/science fiction piece until you learn about things like squirrels attacking politicians when they say mean things about them, at which point there's maybe a little more to ponder on the subject. For now, enjoy Bennardo's fiction -- before it becomes a little too real." Read the whole article here. Critical Blast
Buy it here:
Evolution Revolution: Simple Plans
Jack the squirrel and his woodland friends know the humans haven't left the woods- and they're watching the animals. Still, Jack wants to learn more things from his human friend, Collin so he takes the risk of going to Collin's house. Jack's learned about the wheel, rolling, wedges, and now Collin will introduce him to the wagon. While Sister and Bird are anxious to learn, the other animals aren't sure. With Rat as his new buddy and the help of Owl and Sister, Jack shares his knowledge, but it may not be enough when Rat gets into trouble with the humans. Can Jack, Bird, Owl and the others save Rat before the humans take him away?
Is any of this story true? I give the scoop in my post for the Middle Grade Ninja. You'd be surprised how much fact is in fiction...
A review from Log Cabin Library! Check out Brenda's review here, A kudos for my illustrator, Cathleen Thole-Daniels!
Michael Gettel-Gilmartin of Project Mayhem reviews Jack's second adventure here. Even he's come to love a rat.
See it on YA Central here.
Listen to my interview on WEOL in Ohio, here with Ancy "Bull" Barch and Matt Douglass, those charmers!
Buy it from Amazon
Evolution Revolution: Simple Lessons
After helping Rat get free, the scientists come to Collin's house, searching for Jack. Realizing how much danger Jack is in, Collin and his mother drive him to an animal sanctuary, where Jack meets up with Horse, a food-thieving raccoon, a mean cat, and other squirrels. Jack tries to decide if he wants to stay at the sanctuary, or run free into the woods. After Collin teaches Jack the rest of the simple machines, the arrival of the scientists starts one last battle; Jack will go free, or he'll be caged forever.
"The author found a unique way to introduce and explain scientific principles to children while also demonstrating how anything can get done when you work together. Solving a problem is easier when everyone contributes to the solution. The reader will quickly develop a connection to Jack... and root for him as he works to save his animal friends and family. An interesting and fascinating read that can help teachers turn reluctant students on to science." Elena Migliaccio, NYC educator, staff developer, educational consultant, and literacy coach.
Everything you want in a beloved children's book! (5 STARS)
"Written with the same classic flair as 'Charlotte's Web' and 'The Velveteen Rabbit', EVOLUTION REVOLUTION: Simple Machines contains everything you want in a beloved children's book. Delightful characters spring to life in a vividly described woodland, complete with beautifully illustrated pictures. Perfect for older children looking for a great read, or to read to the young ones as a bedtime story. ~TopShelf Reviews
At Project Middle Grade Mayhem, Michael Gettel-Gilmartin writes: "All the strengths of the first two books are in evidence in the culmination of the series. Jack is a winning character who shows great leadership. The supporting cast is full of lively personalities- ...There is danger from all corners--but also tender moments..." Read the rest of the post here...
Larry Whitler and Robin MacBlane of radio station WOCA and hosts of AM Ocala Live! interviewed me. Listen to me make them laugh...here (First 3 minutes were cut off, but you'll get the gist.)
"One of the things that I've so enjoyed in reading Bennardo's Evolution Revolution series is the way that she portrays her animals, the attention to detail to capture their mannerisms as the run, jump, and scamper through the trees... Jack is such a wonderful character... Each of these stories is packed with humor, adventure and are just the right length for a classroom read along and I wouldn't hesitate in giving this to an animal story loving kid." Brenda Tjaden, Log Cabin Library. Read the rest of the review here!
Buy it here: Amazon