Book Reviews

If You Shut Your Eyes, You'll Hear Some Cosmic Verse“The poems and black and white line illustrations in If You Shut Your Eyes, You’ll Hear Some Cosmic Verse will appeal to all ages, from young poetry readers to adults well versed in the genre. They provide humorous, thought-provoking, imaginative creations that at first appear to hold more insight for the young. However, many an adult who cultivates being young at heart will find these short works whimsical and imaginative explorations of “a new world from a new dimension.”

Take “Nincomdroops!” for one example. This builds on previous observations to note that “The Droops of Evil/cause upheaval/everywhere they go./Can’t walk in a line./Can’t read a sign./Go fast instead of slow.”

The intergalactic journeys, hilarity, and bouncing, rollicking rhythms that describe alien places and spaces will also delight read-aloud parents who encourage levity and celebration in the young, cultivating an appreciation for poetry that mixes fanciful environments with fun wordplays and fantasy observations about the creatures that inhabit these other realms.

Kids are encouraged to absorb multiple word interpretations and differing observations and conclusions about these intergalactic environs and their inhabitants as they romp through a cosmic and literary journey.

Adults looking to introduce kids to a variety of poetic forms will appreciate the diversity Palestrant employs in these celebratory explorations, the humor, and the fantastic descriptions. Her black and white illustrations provide just the right zany, simple touch to help these cosmic verses come to life in a presentation especially recommended for young readers new to poetic experiences.”

Diane Donovan, Midwest Book Review

There's a Light At The End Of My Muddle by Ellen Palestrant“Poetry readers of all ages (but especially the young) will find There’s a Light at the End of My Muddle a whimsical invitation to all kinds of verse that encourages both imaginative thinking, read-aloud, and performance fun alike.

The idea, expressed in the beginning of the collection, is to ‘open up new doors’ of variety and creativity for readers of all ages. This sentiment is best expressed in “Living Life in Pause,” which offers a thought-provoking survey of being overly cautious about life experiences: “Are you…/living Life in Pause,/tidying up your drawers,/sweeping clean your floors,/stepping…gingerly…outdoors?”

Further examples of these attitudes and how they can influence perception and life experience lie in poems such as “Mrs. Naysayer,” who “considers negation her ongoing victory.”

Because such works may require some degree of interpretation for the very young, this is a collection that excels in being employed by read-aloud parents. This audience will find much discussion fodder for interacting with kids about positive life attitudes and fun encounters in daily and routine experiences, from a rudely-slurping uncle to an angry tabby cat.

Palestrant’s simple yet whimsical black and white illustrations throughout add interest to her words.

Adults who want opportunities for engagement with young poetry readers will find this collection the perfect place for exploring characters, emotions, life circumstances, and whimsical observations; all couched in a literary expression that is delightfully unexpected in its various portraits.”

Diane Donovan, Midwest Books Review

World of Glimpse Book & DVD
World of Glimpse signed coffee table book from Ellen Palestrant

The World of Glimpse Coffee Table Version and FREE DVD [Signed Edition]

"An insight into the spirit and beautiful mind of author-artist Ellen Palestrant and her stunningly original collector coffee table art book, The World of Glimpse ... the full frontal sensory barrage is unlike anything I've encountered outside of Walt Disney's Fantasia - yet this is a book! …an amazing book. For fans of Dr. Seuss and Lemony Snicket, this takes the world of imagination, color and symbol, way out there." - Oliver X, Reno Tahoe Tonight Magazine 

"I watched the live performance of it (The World of Glimpse) - all 30 minutes - and it was just riveting." - Emily Reese, Reno Tahoe Tonight Radio 

"Beautiful book for all ages. As a painter and a writer, I am so impressed with this beautiful book. The flowing, clever text works on different levels for different ages. It has beautiful rhythm and cadence for young listeners and engaging philosophy and political commentary for adult readers. The paintings are reproduced very well. I would also recommend the CD of this book. The video is a different art form, creating an entertaining and thought-inspiring show.

Different levels for different ages. It has beautiful rhythm and cadence for young listeners and engaging philosophy and political commentary for adult readers. The paintings are reproduced very well. I would also recommend the CD of this book. The video is a different art form, creating an entertaining and thought-inspiring show." - Lisa K. Miller, College Instructor & Artist

 "World of Glimpse - Brilliant Literature at its best! I absolutely love this extraordinary book. It's my favorite gift to give to people who are passionate readers. The hardcover coffee table book with all the colorful art is a glorious way to enter this world full of philosophical and humorous peeks into human nature and personality traits. From the very beginning, the reader is taken on a color-filled journey, through Ellen's deeply thought out word-play, into an alternative realm that makes perfect sense. With a profoundly light touch and amusing characters, Ellen Palestrant opens up a world which explores the dynamic tension between a world of creativity, where individual traits and collaborative endeavors are celebrated, and a world of destructivity and ineptitude where jealousy reigns. The paperback edition is an easily transportable way to take this unique and happy world anywhere! Every time I enter this world I discover something new." - Jill D. Glenn, Artist & Writer

"Beautiful book both in its story and artistry. The World of Glimpse is a very thought-provoking and entertaining display of newly invented words, colorful illustrations, and a wondrous story which ties all these together in a tale of color, intrigue and the winning of bravery over fear, crowning the positive over the negative. I am amazed at the variety of art forms in this book, from beautifully colored paintings to a wonderful fantasy story, and creative literature with many “sound” words, conveying meanings that Ellen has created herself.

The story tackles the age old themes of good versus evil, positivity conquers negativity, courage and righteous motivation transform fear and doubt. This is very much a universal book which can appeal to adults and children alike. I found the abstract style of the paintings invited me to use my imagination and create my own picture of the subject, affording a fun and flexible way to experience the story and artwork. All in all, a very inspired, imaginative, and unique book unlike any I have experienced! The World of Glimpse inspires children with its message of positivity and possibility." - Maryanne Kremer-Ames Musician, Lyra 

"If anyone's worlds are music, they are surely yours! With your Glimpsibles, and Drooma of Sooma Sooma, and Blissery and all the prolific rest, pure music! Reminds one so much of 'Alice in Wonderland', born of Oxford Town upon Upper Thames. Lovely!" - John Anderson Professor & Paleoabotanist, South Africa

"Glimpse is pure and glorious poetry. The lyrics from one of my favorite songs - 'The Word' by the Moody Blues and Lewis Carroll's Jabberwocky come to mind. The artwork is luminous. The World of Glimpse will inspire, I believe, my own poetry. Enjoy!" - Susan Robbins, Poet and Founder of Rhythm & Verse Salons

"This book is beautifully (and as a publishing studies graduate who is particularly interested in book layout and design, I will say this caught my eye). The illustrations are abstract, which makes me want to spend a greater amount of time looking at them to figure it out and the visibility of the canvas texture on which they were painted on is also something I liked. The text reminds me a little bit of that of Dr Seuss, whimsical but meaningful; like when the Drooma insist that they want what they don't have, even if they don't need it, just so the others don't get to be happy while they're not. Quite enjoyable." - Ditshego publishing studies graduate South Africa

"The World of Glimpse book and The World of Glimpse DVD are nothing short of genius. Ellen's flight into the imaginary World of Glimpse is a world offering color, humor, wisdom, fun and gobs and gobs of creativity. This book is a highly original work of art and literature. The art narration and sound effects on the DVD are amazing. Her animated illustrations are excellent for the DVD and her voice and sound effects are a perfect accompaniment." - Dede Harris Artist

"A wonderful journey of imagination. Who knew that black & white illustrations in the paperback version, could be so engaging? The World of Glimpse is a fantastic journey of imagination, engaging for both young and mature readers. My son loves the black & white paperback version and we also have the full color coffee table book." - Brandy Lawson, Digital Marketer

The World of Glimpse inspires children with its message of positivity and possibility.  Here is a review from a teacher and her 4th grade students in Elko, Nevada:

Shannon Scott, linguist, elementary educator and outdoor and green building enthusiast:

"As a public elementary school teacher, I find it paramount that my students hear one particular message loud, clear, and in vivid color: Forge past naysayers and remain resolute and comfortable with one’s own individuality, uniqueness, and personal life choices. I want students to follow their hearts and guts, but think critically about their decisions. This is the resounding point and premise of Ellen Palestrant’s The World of Glimpse and why I’ve chosen to use it with my 4th graders.

When I was a child, I recall my father telling me, 'People will try to drag you down whenever they can. Don’t let them.' I want my young wards to know inherently that they must ignore such people who, like Ellen Palestrant’s “Dreaded Drooma”, say 'You can’t.' 'You shouldn’t' 'It is not possible.' 'Stay with and be one of us.' The World of Glimpse drives this point home with otherworld, dreamy characters that engage both children and adults. I love using this book with my students as it raises their spirits, making them feel good about who they are and the paths they’re taking. Additionally, the alliteration and phonemic artfulness of the language helps tune student’s ears to the music of beautifully composed language."

Comments from Shannon's students:

Wendy:  "I think the book was very interesting and inspiring, and I liked the pictures.  The pictures felt real like they are going to pop out of the book.  Fred the Pencil had to come out of your imagination.  I think you are a great writer and artist!  Fred is cool."

Josalynne:  "I liked how she used her imagination in the book and inspired you to follow your own path, and don't let other people tell you what you want to be.  I want to be a great writer like you when I grow up."

Stacy:  "I loved how you wrote such creative words, used your imagination to make the book.  I loved the book because it was so colorful and you rock."

Keaton:  "I liked all the made up words in the book, and your paintings are very beautiful."

Kendal:  "I like that you like to inspire kids with other books rather than old boring ones."

Kaitlin:  "I think her book had a lot of imaginative stuff in it.  It made me feel that you could be who you are and you don't need to be what others think you should be.  The book was very inspiring.  It should be read all around the whole world for other children to hear and parents read also."

Emily:  "I liked that you had lots of plays on words and pictures were very imaginative and I liked all the new names that I've never heard before. You're a great artist and I would like be a great as you someday.  You're awesome."

Megan:  "I thought the book was unique and interesting.  It has new things that I haven't seen before and I loved it very much.  I'd like to get the book, so someday I can read it to my kids."

Elayna:  "My favorite part was when the moths were making lunaberry meals.  There were so many lunaberry meals.  I wanted to eat all of them.  Thank you so much for making the book.  If the world was like the World of Glimpse, I would be just like Spunktaneous."

Madisen:  "I think your book was so amazing.  I would buy it to read it to my own kids when I grow up.  The pictures that you created were very interesting and made me very happy.  I someday would write a book and make it with inspirement. I just made that up."

Sara:  "I think the book was very creative and interesting.  It told a good story, and an inspiring story.  I loved the fact that it told to follow your own path and don't let other people control your life."

Gavin:  "I think the book had a lot of adventures.  It was a great book and I'm going to read it to my kids and grandkids when I grow up."

Shyanne:  "Your book is really good to read.  I loved all the colorful pictures and you put the words in a wave.  You're great at making books and your art is so good."

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Pretzel on Prozac

"Pretzel on Prozac is well written often amusing "dogography" that canine lovers will fully appreciate. Although overall jocular, it is the deep look into a pet struggling with adjusting to new environs that makes Pretzel on Prozac: The Story of an Immigrant Dog worth reading, as animals have their neurosis too." - Harriet Klausner, Amazon Book Reviewer

"Pretzel on Prozac is the wonderfully satirical story of an uprooted dog's life. I just loved this book; Palestrant's writing style will sweep you through this story only wanting more." - DOG EARS, What's New on the Pet-Lovers Bookshelf

"Pretzel on Prozac is a unique true story - heartwarming and funny - about an immigrant dog who just could not adjust to a new life." - Rod Lott, BOOKASM, Reading Material to Get Excited About

"(Pretzel on Prozac) is well written and at places humorous. It brings out well the problems of adjusting to a new society. Check it out for yourself. Pretzel on Prozac is a delightful, yet profound memoir, a window into the lives of both people and animals who must adapt to a new way of life. I laughed, I cried, and I admired the love in this most touching tribute, which is, on so many levels, much more than a book about a dog." - S. V. Swamy, SWAMY-REVIEWS

"Palestrant is a writer who appreciates the power of language. A linguistic delight, Pretzel on Prozac is an unsentimental reminiscence that portrays life as it really is, with all its insecurities and small, daily triumphs." - Dr. Laura Paxton, Professor and former Department Chair of General Studies for Western International University

"Woven into the fabric of Ellen Palestrant’s witty and poignant dog memoir are insights about national identity, politics, self-imposed boundaries, and life journeys. From the escape attempt of a hummingbird in a house to the delusions of apartheid in South Africa, Palestrant’s observations provoke emotion and thought. Pretzel on Prozac is an unusual and memorable book about embracing life and accepting change." - Dr. Lisa K. Miller, Author, Teacher & Founder of the Phoenix College Creative Writing Program

"You will love the trials of Pretzel and the lessons we can learn in life and the challenges we face." - Juanita Havill, Poet and Author

"So what does a dog know about immigration? Plenty. Especially if his name is Pretzel, and he ends up on Prozac to ease his transition from South Africa to Scottsdale. Just ask his owner, Ellen Palestrant, who details Pretzel's travails in her delightful book "Pretzel on Prozac: The Story of an Immigrant Dog.

Humor, pathos and real-life advice abound, as Palestrant takes the reader on Pretzel's momentous journey from Johannesburg's Smuts Airport to Phoenix Sky Harbor and beyond. Crated and sedated by the local Pet-to-Jet, Pretzel, and his companion, Bailey, are transported along with their owners and a boatload of bubble-wrapped possessions.

"Good-bye family ... friends ... house, garden, street, neighborhood," writes Palestrant of the family's departure from the country of their birth. Hello new experiences, new challenges, new opportunities.

What would make Pretzel a good immigrant, asks Palestrant as her lively companion struggles to adapt to his new homeland. "For a start, simply press your nose against the flap of the doggie door and create an opening."

That opening - and a green card." - Vicki Cabot Reporter, Cracking Open the Door

"Funny, Poetic, & Emotionally Touching. The author pens a touching tribute to her beloved bichon. Her writing has a dreamesque feel to it, and that quality is blended into her narration. She talks about the loving & hard experiences shared between her and her husband alongside Pretzel & their other pets, and all while blending humor and emotion together in a moving & poignant piece. Undeniable laughter & tears worked into her writing." - Sorensen

"Charming, funny, poirnant short book about petsTitle says most of how I liked this book. 5 Stars - but it's not 'great' literature. Just a wonderful little book about a woman and her dogs (and one cat). Very engaging and will resonate with all pet owners who get emotionally involved with their animals." - Bikergram

"Engaging. I picked this book because I too have a dog on Prozac. I think I was hoping for some insight. I did find common ground because my dog had reacted badly to the higher dose too. This book was a quick easy read and enjoyable." - Petpoor

"I loved this little book. I would recommend it to any reader who has loved and lost a quirky little dog. I also liked the little sketches. The style of writing also worked for me. To me Pretzel was the most important character. This book is a tender exploration of the relationship we have with the animals we love and care for. Pretzel on Prozac - The Story of an Immigrant Dog is a heartfelt tale and tribute to Pretzel and Bailey that will resonate with all pet lovers.

This book is a tender exploration of the relationship we have with the animals we love and care for. The emotions stirred are real and relatable. Weaved within the immigration story of Ellen and N., Bailey and Pretzel with his disposition for, and ultimately ensuing mental health problems, are issues of identity, change, responsibility, boundaries both real and created, and, of course, love. This story celebrates the life of Pretzel and the Love Ellen and N. had for him. In all honesty, I had tears at the end as I remembered the life and love I gave, and the heartbreaking loss I have too felt." - Sharon Meler

Doggone Good Read. Reviewed in the United States on November 1, 2019
"For anyone who has shared their life with a four footed pet. Two Shih Tzus share my home and I can relate to the authors love for her pets. Wonderful reading, keep a box of tissues nearby." - Amazon Customer

"True owner of a Bischon. Chose this book because we have 2 Bischons. They are 6 months apart in age. Now pushing 18 yrs we too are going through the same tribulations. I would recommend this book to any dog lover to read." - M. Laver

"Everyone could relate to the trials having a dog like Pretzel. Just adorable and so sensitively written. Love the illustrations as well. Everyone who has ever had a dog, traveled with a dog or loved a dog will enjoy this book. I highly recommend it." - Dede Harris, Artist

"Pretzel on Prozac is well written often amusing "dogography" that canine lovers will fully appreciate. Although overall jocular, it is the deep look into a pet struggling with adjusting to new environs that makes Pretzel on Prozac: The Story of an Immigrant Dog worth reading, as animals have their neurosis too." - Harriet Klausner, Amazon Book Reviewer

"You will love the trials of Pretzel and the lessons we can learn in life and the challenges we face."

- John L. Hoh. Jr., Bookideas

"Ellen Palestrant…details Pretzel’s travails in her delightful book, “Pretzel on Prozac: The Story of an Immigrant Dog.” Humor, pathos and real-life advice abound, as Palestrant takes the reader on Pretzel’s momentous journey from Johannesburg’s Smuts Airport to Phoenix Sky Harbor and beyond... 'Good-bye family … friends … house, garden, street, neighborhood,' writes Palestrant of the family’s departure from the country of their birth. Hello new experiences, new challenges, new opportunities."

- Vicki Cabot, Cracking Open the Door

Have You Ever Had a Hunch?
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Have You Ever Had a Hunch?

Have You Ever Had a Hunch? is a powerful tool for self-growth and an invaluable gift for anyone wanting to explore their own creativity. Read it.” – Ashley Lazarus, Award-winning New York film director and producer, Founder of the Lamed Foundation

Have You Ever Had a Hunch? is an inspiring, uplifting and motivating book that took me into a new dimension of creativity. Thank you for the insight and perception that made me reach deep inside myself and pull out my potential.” – Annette Tucker, composer, lyricist, teacher, writer and producer whose songs have been recorded by Frank Sinatra, Tom Jones, Michael Jackson, Sonny and Cher, Maureen McGovern and others

I have always thought – and still do – that it’s impossible to teach creativity. But it is possible to unleash it. And that is exactly what Have You Ever Had a Hunch? does. Turn yourself loose. Read this book and let your creativity take flight.” – Joe Rassulo, Emmy Award-winning actor/writer/producer/director and host of a syndicated radio talk show

In a series of short, to the point chapters, Ellen Palestrant strips away the layers of inhibition and repression that encumber all of us. Her style is light, but penetrating, and her range of examples will stimulate even the most skeptical. This is a book I’ll enthusiastically recommend to students, friends and family to help them act upon and fulfill their own hunches.” – Robert S. Tancer, LL.B., LL.M., Attorney at Law and Director of the International Health Management Program at the American Graduate School of International Management

Have You Ever Had a Hunch? is a witty, cogent presentation of creativity and an urgent defense of intuition. This book is as welcome as a seed catalogue after a long, cold winter and, likewise, filled with hope and possibilities. There is some-thing to contemplate on every page.” – Juanita Havill, poet and author of more than a dozen children’s books and the recipient of numerous honors, including the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award, Library of Congress Children’s Book of the Year award and Reading Rainbow Selection

Great Book to all creatives who didn’t even know that they are creative – highly recommended! This is a well written and clearly structured book aiming at describing what creativity is, how it can be enhanced, promoted and nurtured and why it should be just that. It doesn’t have a regular approach on creativity, meaning that Ms. Ellen Palestrant doesn’t seem to want to put any emphasis on what she believes could scale down the massive outreach of creativity as a phenomenon.

Today, considering the amount of time we spend in distractions and suppressing our own creative abilities, this book is refreshing – it really reminds us of what we need to feel good again, what matters, which part of ourselves we might to want to give a little more attention and why. It also explains why it is important to do just that, not only for ourselves but for the new international atmosphere in which being creative is actually, finally – something good!

I would like to recommend this book to everyone – it’s really easy to read, understand and it gives you a lot of new insights into creativity and allowing yourself to have a hunch.” – Zorana

You may see yourself in this book. Creative Thinking will make you think. The short chapters about different topics are inspirational. I enjoyed this book very much. Thanks to Goodreads First Reads for a copy of Have You Ever Had a Hunch?” – Barbara White, Good Reads

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If You Can Make It, Mr. Harris… So Can I

“The story of Sam Harris has directly touched the lives of thousand of school children who will be better adults because of the values they have learned from him.” - Dr. Christopher Koch, Illinois State Superintendent of Education

“Thank you, Sam Harris, and thank you, Ellen Palestrant, for bringing to us this book of hope and immense humanity.” - Linda Chapa LaVia, State Representative, 83rd District, and Chairperson, Elementary and Secondary Education Committee

“Sam is a miracle…the miracle is how Sam withstood the full force of the world’s worst outpouring of evil without losing his humanity. Sam is a miracle because he was witness to unspeakable, unmanageable horror, and in place of vengeance and hate, he filled his heart with compassion and loving-kindness. Would that all mankind could learn from Sam.” - Richard Kaufman, Psychiatrist, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Division of Psychiatry, Emeritus, University of Chicago
Sam Harris is proof that one life can produce change in the lives of everyone they touch, no matter what their ethnic heritage. His story is remarkable for what it says about the goodness in the human spirit, and especially for how the message translates so directly to the consciences of young people of all backgrounds.” - William Delgado, State Senator, 2nd District, and Chairperson, Senate Education Committee
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Koptoe - Transcending Boundaries: The Comrades Marathon


"Here we have a novella and four short stories by a cleverly original South African author. This is Ellen Palestrant’s debut. That there will be more of her delightfully amusing “off-beat” writings, I feel no doubt – I surely hope so. The stories, written with sprinklings of the South African vernacular, also include familiar place names and streets scattered throughout – all adding to their intriguing quality…Nosedive is superb…(it) goes to the heights – or is it depths – of hyperbole. I believe this must undoubtedly be one of the funniest books I’ve ever read." - Doug Slack, The Star

"When Ellen Palestrant rang and said she had a short novel and some stories I readily agreed to read them. To my delight the novel was a very original piece of writing and the few short stories were little jewels. As I have become an avid jogger and Comrades runner, I found the story entitled ‘Koptoe‘ a most appropriate one with which to close this small ‘harvest’ of writing." - Adrian Donker, Ad. Donker Publishing

"Ellen Palestrant’s strong inborn talent is many-sided. Her main gift is a vigorous comic inventiveness which she adapts to purposes of fantasy, farce or satire with equal facility and zest. She can be playfully inventive also in her use of language. By contrast, she is capable too, of persuasive realistic writing, and has written stories of poignant force." - Lionel Abrahams, South African novelist, poet, editor and critic

"Ellen Palestrant’s writing is the perfect foil. She… sees the human condition without illusion, and especially the condition of the part of humanity which speaks with a South African accent… hers is the comic vision. Nosedive is a zany farce with strong satirical undertones. The writing is exuberant and refreshing and the author’s sense of the absurd is wholly delightful. If you are in need of a tonic… Ellen Palestrant is what you need." - Natal Witness