THE COME WALK WITH ME SERIES
Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite, October 15, 2018
A Faerie's Path to Walk: The Come Walk With Me Series is an educational adventure book for children and preteens written by Shirley A. Williams and illustrated by Stirling Crebbs. Aundi and her fellow students were anxiously waiting for the school term to finally be over. There were just two more days left, and even the teachers were feeling as though they couldn’t wait for summer vacation to begin. Aundi’s teacher decided to keep her students attentive by having them tell the class about their summer plans. Some were taking big trips, others small ones, and others were simply planning on enjoying vacation at home. Aundi, being a military child, wasn’t sure what she would be doing this summer. Her dad was still on a special mission in the Middle East, but Aundi’s mom had advised her that this summer’s adventure would be a special one. Whatever could she mean by that? When her mom finally revealed that they’d be going to Nana’s place in Point Loma, California, Aundi fairly jumped with excitement. She treasured the times she got to spend with her globe-trotting Nana. And she knew this summer would be both spectacular and magical.
A Faerie's Path to Walk is an enchanting look at Nana’s home in Point Loma, California. San Diego is probably my favorite place in the US, and I loved getting to know it better by seeing it through Nana's and the kids’ eyes. And like Aundi and Daniel, I was transfixed by the stories of other places and cultures around the world that were found in Nana’s journal. As Aundi and Daniel mature, their experiences with Nana and The Magic continue expanding their view of the world and it’s grand fun to witness it with them. This book entertains while it educates, and that’s a very good thing. I’m looking forward to the next book in this series. A Faerie's Path to Walk: The Come Walk With Me Series is most highly recommended.
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, June 2019
The Path of the DownUnder Australia: The Come Walk With Me Series, Book 7 is an educational adventure for children and preteens written by Shirley A Williams and illustrated by Stirling Crebbs. Traveling through New Zealand with Nana and her friend and their host, David, had been an exhilarating experience for Aundi and Daniel. The high point of that adventure had been actually finding the rare and elusive blue faerie penguin. After their trip, they had been enjoying their stay with Nana at her Point Loma, California home when Nana received a phone call that promised excitement and good things ahead. Nana remained mysterious about it no matter how persuasive the two friends were, and soon it was time for Daniel to return home to New York. Nana soon after told Aundi that she was also going home. As a military child, Aundi wasn’t sure where home would be at that point, and she was thrilled to hear that her family was returning to their home in the Arizona desert. Aundi and Nana drove there in Nana’s Pathfinder. As the hours ticked past, Aundi wondered if the desert and its amazing inhabitants would still remember her. She had changed and was no longer the little girl who first stepped out on the desert path. And her dad was coming home from his tour in the Middle East! What could be better?
I always get a definite tingling of excitement when I learn about a new Come Walk With Me Series offering by Shirley A. Williams. Each of the preceding six books has been a marvelous adventure filled with magic, nature and the boon companions, Nana, Aundi, and Daniel. The Path of the DownUnder Australia is by far the most outstanding book in an already outstanding series. Nana and the author share their love of and familiarity with the country down under, and while I’ve read a number of travel memoirs about Australia, none came close to capturing the essence of the place in quite the same way as Williams does here. I loved seeing Canberra, Tidbinbilla, Brisbane and the other places the three travelers visit and learning about songlines and the ancient navigational methods used by the Aborigines was fascinating.
Williams also shares so many aspects of Australian history including the sacrifices made by soldiers during the two World Wars and other major conflicts. She also discusses women’s roles in Australian history, including pilots and nurses. Best of all, she steeps her book in the ancient magic of Australia in ways that are truly profound and unforgettable. I loved going back home to Australia with Nana, Aundi, and Daniel. It was a most inspiring visit to a country that’s long been an object of fascination for me. Stirling Crebbs' masterful illustrations made visualizing each place the three visited even easier. The Path of the DownUnder Australia: The Come Walk With Me Series, Book 7 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.
Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite, 10th May 2019
The Path of Aotearoa New Zealand: The Come Walk With Me Series, Book 6 is an educational travel adventure novel for children and preteens written by Shirley A. Williams and illustrated by Stirling Crebs. Aundi and her best friend, Daniel, are off on their newest and what might be most exciting adventure yet! Aundi’s Nana is taking them to New Zealand, where they will be searching for the diminutive and elusive blue faerie penguin. Neither child has ever travelled outside the United States, and the concept of traveling to the southern hemisphere was something they both needed some time to actually absorb and understand. Nana had sprung this marvelous surprise on them when they were visiting the penguin enclosure at the San Diego Zoo some weeks prior. Now they were actually boarding the plane.
The Path of Aotearoa New Zealand is an outstanding book which anyone who has ever wondered about New Zealand should seriously consider reading -- no matter what your age. David, Nana’s friend and the trio’s host for their stay, is the consummate tour guide. I loved learning about the Maori and their traditions, legends and oral histories, and the beaches, forests and other natural places are shared with the reader in glorious detail. I loved learning about New Zealand’s cuisine, especially hokey pokey ice cream and the dessert known as Pavlova. Readers are also treated to the most literate and understandable description of cricket that I’ve ever come across. With just a few sentences, Williams manages to demystify a game that folks in the US have simply been unable to understand.
I’ve always been intrigued by New Zealand, its amazingly beautiful wilderness and incomparable wildlife. Stirling Crebs’ illustrations work so very well with the story, bringing to life each aspect of Aundi and Daniel’s visit. Her ink and wash artwork is so expressive, especially that picture of David as he prepares his morning ritual of feeding the birds. I’ve loved each of the books in this illuminating and powerful series, and was thrilled to discover and read this book. It’s a marvelous and magical read. The Path of Aotearoa New Zealand: The Come Walk With Me Series, Book 6 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 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.