Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite, February 24, 2017
Further Along the Desert Path: The Come Walk with Me Series, Volume 2 is a children’s educational adventure novel written by Shirley Williams and illustrated by Connor Furr. The desert was abuzz with excitement over The Wet which would arrive any day now. The summer heat was blazing, and there was a pall of dust over the plants and the desert. Soon, the rains would come, and with them, the lightning and thunder and the rainbows. Aundi wondered at the spectacular displays she’d be seeing, even as she worried just a bit when she learned about the flash floods that often occurred after a monsoon storm. She had even more things to be excited about, however; her ninth birthday was approaching. Aundi had been carefully marking the oh-so-slow progression from 8 to 8¼ to 8½ and now, that long-awaited event was only a few days away. When she looked on the calendar, she noticed that her birthday fell on the Summer Solstice and on the full moon! This had to mean something very special. Nana was also coming to help her celebrate, which would mean they’d go on their special walks and visit with Jylly, the fairy. All the beings who lived in the desert were sharing in Aundi’s excitement. She was one of those rare people who could communicate with them, and they loved the “little girl who could see in all worlds.”
'Shirley Williams’ educational adventure book for children, Further Along the Desert Path: The Come Walk with Me Series, Volume 2, follows her remarkable first book in the series, Stories from The Desert Path. I loved that first book and wondered how Williams could top it, but she did and marvelously. Nature and fantasy conspire together to bring the desert to life and to share its glories with the reader. Along with Aundi, we learn about the roadrunner, javelinas, the desert cottontail and the summer monsoon season. Nana is on hand to give a fascinating presentation on the summer night sky and the constellations visible up there, and there’s even a visit to ancient sites in the Sonoran Desert where petroglyphs can be seen. We learn, with Aundi, about the local Indian clans and the contributions they made with their canal irrigation system and experimentation with crops. While Aundi is listening to the park ranger describe how the ancient peoples used those petroglyphs to communicate and leave messages for each other, Aundi thinks about how much more fun it is to learn like this instead of sitting in a classroom. I would have to agree.
Williams packs so much interesting information into this story without slowing down the fun one iota. She even gives kids insights into what it’s like for children whose parents are in the military. Connor Furr’s illustrations are stunning. He creates desert scenes with ink and washes that blaze with color and paint the desert in greens and earth tones. If you live in the desert, as I do, you’ll see the landscape in a whole new way after reading this book; if you don’t, you’ll most likely start pondering a move -- or at least an extended visit. Further Along the Desert Path: The Come Walk with Me Series, Volume 2 is most highly recommended.
Reviewed By Jack Magnus for Readers’ Favorite, September 19, 2017
The Cave’s Path, the fourth book from Shirley Williams, continues the tale of the young girl who sees beyond what most do, Aundi, who is now ten years old. Aundi’s father is in the military and on active duty in the Middle East. Her experiences as she and her family move first to the desert and, in the third book, to Indiana are a compelling blend of natural history, fantasy and adventure as Aundi learns to navigate more fully the enriched world she’s privileged to inhabit. I’ve read and reviewed each of the preceding books in this series and found them all to be fascinating and filled with natural lore and wisdom.
In this volume, I was delighted to meet, with Aundi, the Great Horned Owl, Peregrine falcon and Red-tailed Hawk who share her forests, and who instruct her on the way they interact and respect each other. Having Nana arrive and visit once again was a treat indeed. The high point of this book is, however, Daniel’s spring break visit, which is a triumphant one, as Aundi’s best friend gets stronger and healthier with each passing day.
Williams has a gift for imparting knowledge in her books. Readers will learn about the Underground Railroad and the signs left in places like the cave Aundi and Daniel visit that helped the fleeing slaves and those people who helped them on their way. There’s a grand introduction to photosynthesis and chemosynthesis, as well as a fascinating introduction to daguerreotypes, which were the starting point for modern photography. Readers also learn about genealogy as Aundi and Daniel trace the life of their Civil War soldier, James Madison East, whose grave is located on Aundi’s uncle’s farm. There’s an inspired introduction to caves and cave creatures as well as an introduction to the modern usage of dousing for locating water as well as other items. And that listing just scratches the surface of what lies within this deceptively slim volume. The Cave's Path enlightens as it entertains, and it does so
brilliantly. It’s most highly recommended.
Reviewed by Irene Rogers. January 24, 2017
These are wonderful books for adults as well as children. My autistic step granddaughter loves the story and the pictures and it moves her to take out the art materials and paint and sing. There is something magical about the books and I cannot thank Shirley enough for her inspiration in writing them.
Reviewed By Jack Magnus for Readers’ Favorite, March 14, 2017
The Meadow’s Path is the third book in Shirley Williams’ preteen and children’s educational adventure series, The Come Walk With Me Series. After falling in love with the mystery and majesty of the Arizona desert, Aundi had resigned herself to the reality of moving to her aunt and uncle’s house in Indiana. She had said her goodbyes to her friends in the desert: the elementals, Ailie, the cottontail bunny, Seth, the Gila woodpecker, and the dogs she had befriended on the Desert Path, but she understood the need to be supportive of her father who was going on a special mission in the Middle East. Nana had explained to her that there were many more special adventures to be had and to keep her mind attuned to the possibilities. Her dad had also said having a positive attitude could make a big difference in how she experienced things. The road trip from Arizona to Indiana was spectacular; each state had special things about it and the very landscape seemed to change from state to state, but the hills, wooded slopes and countryside of Springville, Indiana, where Auntie Luming and Uncle Mark lived, was special indeed. There were the Little People who already knew about the girl who could see in all worlds and were eagerly awaiting her arrival, and there was a pond, endless trees, and paths to explore. Best of all, there was a birthday surprise that would top even Aundi’s ninth birthday, and no one, especially Aundi, would have dreamed there could ever be a better birthday than that.
Shirley Williams’ preteen and children’s educational adventure, The Meadow’s Path: The Come Walk With Me Series, Book Three, proves that the magic isn’t limited to Aundi’s beloved desert in Marana, Arizona. Indeed, I found my own eyes opened to the possibilities to be found on the meadow’s path in Indiana, and began considering, yet again, another trip to discover the natural beauty and native wildlife Aundi comes to learn about and become familiar with while on her aunt and uncle’s farm. Stirling Crebbs’ illustrations are marvelous! They glow with the energy and vitality of the outdoors and are a powerful accompaniment to Williams’ story. As with the previous tales in this series, there are new ideas and concepts to be discovered, such as physics, as seen through the eyes of a mother opossum as she explains how she can balance the babies clinging to her back, the history of a real Civil War soldier from Indiana, and aquaponics, which Ann, an environmental scientist, demonstrates with her mini-farms using fish and plants working in harmony. And the reader finally gets to meet Daniel, whom readers of this series know quite a bit about already, and will be thrilled to get to know. The Meadow’s Path is an enjoyable and informative walk through nature that you don’t have to be a kid to enjoy. A bit of imagination helps, but the magic is waiting there for you if you just open that first page. The Meadow’s Path: The Come Walk With Me Series, Book Three is most highly recommended.
Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite, October, 2016
Stories from the Desert Path: The Come Walk With Me Series is a collection of adventures-in-nature tales written by Shirley A. Williams and illustrated by Connor Furr. Aundi was new to the desert. The eight-year-old and her family had formerly lived in New York, out in the country where she and her friend, Daniel, had spent many hours investigating the lakes and forest and other wild places near their homes. Then Aundi's family moved to Marana, Arizona, a town that's near Tucson. It was also a special place, albeit different than the forests of New York. Aundi could see the Catalina Mountains from her bedroom window and loved watching the sun rise over them. The valley below her window was filled with Saguaro cactus, Palo Verde and Mesquite, and flowers would bloom depending upon the season. Best of all, Aundi knew of a magical desert path where something new and special could be discovered on every visit.
Shirley A. Williams' collection of nature tales for children, Stories from the Desert Path: The Come Walk With Me Series, is a marvelous introduction to the natural history of the Sonoran Desert with just the right touch of magic to make reading these tales come truly alive. I loved learning about the Sagauro cactus and the way cactus boots are formed around the nests of the birds who make these remarkable cacti their homes.
Williams also introduces her readers to a number of wonderful rescue dogs, a Gila Woodpecker and desert rabbits as her intrepid explorer ventures into the world to be found within the Desert Path. Connor Furr's illustrations are outstanding. These pen and ink sketches bring the desert up close to the reader and the colorful washes he uses emulate so well the dazzling colors of the desert sky and profusion of cacti and otherdesert plants. I'm looking forward to more additions to The Come Walk
With Me Series in the future. Stories from the Desert Path is most highly recommended for nature and magic lovers of all ages.
Rebecca Brown, January 7, 2017
This is a beautiful story about a girl named Aundi who moves to the Arizona Desert and her walk of discovery along a path in the desert.
It is a story for all ages but was written for children! She has animal friends and cactus friends and friends of all kinds! A little bit of magic shared with her Nanna and so much more!
If you would like a delightful read that transports you to another realm for a little while .....I highly recommend this book!
And the best part is the next sequel is about to be released! I am reading this to my granddaughter and she doesn't want me to put the book down! Kudos to the Author, Shirley Williams!
Reviewed By Marlit, 14 years old
Stories from the Desert Path - To start off, I was really intrigued by this book. It is not typically what I would read, and I’m not quite sure how to describe it. It was much like a modern-day fairy tale. I think that this book would be most appropriate for ages 10-12, mostly because I think that any older than that, there wouldn’t be much interest, and younger than that, there wouldn’t be much comprehension. I really liked the illustrations because you could tell what the pictures were, but they were painted in an abstract, colorful, and interesting way.
I really love nature, so I enjoyed this book. To me, it was about finding adventure and beauty in nature, even in the ordinary parts. The story was rather uneventful (i.e. no major conflicts or action), but that is not necessarily a bad thing. It was simply an enjoyable and peaceful story. I would give it a 10/10.
Further Along the Desert Path - As the second book in the Come Walk with Me Series, I feel like it really built on to the first book well. The main part of the story is about Aundi’s birthday, which falls on both the Summer Solstice and a full moon. I really enjoy the role that Nana plays in Aundi’s life. They get along so well, like best friends.
Again, the illustrations were really intriguing and interesting. I enjoyed this book, and I really liked the ending, with Aundi moving to find new adventures in Indiana. It was a nice, smooth transition from book two to book three.
The Meadow's Path - I really enjoyed the third book in this series. I love how the author created a similar story, and used similar characters (as was used in the first two books), but it in a different setting with new adventures. The stories were very connected (there are always the main characters; Aundi, mom, Nana, Mist, Magic, Raini, and Jylly), but the events change. In the first two books, Aundi meets desert creatures and learns about the Wet, and how animals survive in the desert. However, in this book, meets woodland animals, and learns about the magic of the trees, pond, and willow. She also receives a wonderful visit from her friend Daniel.
I also really liked the recipes that are included in the book. As always, the pictures are very intriguing, and help connect the story from page to page. I also liked the page at the end of the book, which gave a more in-depth look at the soldier who was buried on the hill. Can't wait to read book 4, The Cave's Path.
THE COME WALK WITH ME SERIES
Zelma Sheldon, January 8. 2017
This is a well written book that I enjoyed reading to one to my grandsons. It was a gift for Christmas. Beautifully written and beautifully illustrated! Well done! I look forward to the next one with great anticipation.