” about growing up in not so perfect circumstances” —Kim Anisi, Readers’ Favorite

OUTBACK 3D-book-72DPI-RGBReviewed By Kim Anisi for Readers’ Favorite

Outback: Bothers and Sinisters is one of the books in the Family Tree Novel series by Mark Wayne Adams. It is a story about a boy who kind of doesn’t really get along with his brothers and sisters – hence they are called bothers and sinisters. It doesn’t help that his family has moved to a neglected farm which needs to be cleaned up. Fortunately, a new friend appears and she tries to help him to see another point of view. It is a story about family connections, about a different kind of bullying, about friendship, and about growing up in not so perfect circumstances (or would you call it perfect when your sister is willing to pay a large amount of money just so someone else walks you home?).

While Outback: Bothers and Sinisters by Mark Wayne Adams isn’t a book you’d call an absolute page-turner, I did enjoy it because sometimes you need a book you can relax with. However, I was a bit confused sometimes, but that might be because I haven’t read any of the other novels in the series and it seems that there is quite a connection between them all. I think it would be more enjoyable if you read them all in the right order. The writing style is quite smooth, you can read the book easily without running into obstacles (though some readers might have to look up the Australian terms). In general, I’d recommend the book to young readers and to older readers who enjoy stories about family connections (and problems).

Reading Group Guide: Teddy Tales

16-Teddy_Tales-Reading_Group_GuideWhat kind of dog is that?

Teddy, the rescue dog, is a mixed breed of love, fun, and curiosity. When he comes to live with Kay and Sam, their neighbor boy, Josh, learns that kids and dogs have a lot in common. And everyone joins in the adventures.

Teachers, counselors, parents, and grandparents will enjoy reading Teddy Tales with children, as a pet-assisted guide to discuss:

• adoption  • bullying  • caring for pets  • choices in eating  • going to school  • grief and family illness  • making friends  • running away  • scary haircuts  • sleepovers  • the meaning of family  • unique qualities

Teddy’s friends invite you to share his adventures: 

Teddy Tales is a seriously fun look at how caring for a special dog can help us better understand our own choices and behavior.”

—Otto Fad, Jr., professional animal behaviorist


Teddy Tales is delightfully told and insightfully written. Combining her ability to craft a story with her counselor’s heart, Spruill uses the ordinary adventures of a dog to give us all a deeper understanding of what it means to truly experience healthy, balanced living.”

—Sandra Doran, Ed.D., Executive Director, TheTeacherTrack.com; SchoolDreamsUnlimited.com


Teddy Tales is a must-read for anyone who loves dogs or children—or both! It is a true story, told with compassion, insight, and humor.”

 —Patti Boyle, President, Buddies for life, Inc., Orlando, Florida