Mind's Eye , by Wendy Laing

Reviewed by Molly Martin

This is a delightful little work of twenty-two stimulating odes written for and about everything from the writer’s pets to what might have been ‘IF.’

Within the lines of “That’s Life” is presented: ‘The future will happen, despite what we ask. The present is precious, a time to enjoy all life’s moments, pain, hope and joy.’ Laing introduces Kaspar in “My Best Mate”, along with “Unspoken Love” portraying the unspoken devotion of a dog. I especially enjoyed odes “Cats” and “Break of Day” which are both directed toward my favourite critter: cats.

The question of what might have been is asked in the ode: “If”. ‘Have you ever wondered what might have been, if you’d been born of a different being?’ “Games that we Played” and “Summer Daze” ‘Just ponder about this lovely vision of two young girls, having loads of fun, in the long days and the hot summer sun’ forward the idea of childhood happiness. “Day Dream” time ruminations during a walk in nature, “I am What I Am” lauding an acceptance of self while “The Cross”, written about soldiers, along with “Magical Mist” (‘Our home town framed by this special treat. The magical mist spell was now complete!’) are guileless fine reading.

“Twilight Years” (‘Some of these folk, at the sunset of life are unable to talk, but manage in spite of all odds, to smile from inside.’) and “A Tranquil Walk” offer plain feel-good odes, while “Tinderbox” and “One Careless Match” are written about a scourge here in the US as well as in Australia. Wild fire is a terrifying experience when viewed close up or from afar.

“Forget-Me-Not” with ‘A Cottage and garden called Forget-Me-Not’, “The Trek” and “Seduction” each hold a surprise for the reader to enjoy. “Grains of Time” is Laing at her poignant best.
“The Light of Hope” and “An Ode to the Phantom Light” are written following Laing’s visit to a lighthouse. Writer Laing again proves her marvelous talent as author, children’s writer, poet. “Mind’s Eye”, filled with twenty-two very enjoyable works is a treat. The vast array of subject matter has proven no undue challenge for author Laing. Each ode is marvelously wrought.

The book is a perfect companion to a warm sunny afternoon sipping lemonade in the hammock on the porch, or curled up with a cup of hot chocolate in a huge chair in front of the fire in the midst of a January snow storm.

Mind’s Eye, by Wendy Laing
Crystal Dreams, 2002

Captain Angus, the Lighthouse Ghost , by Wendy Laing

Reviewed by Molly Martin

Writer Wendy Laing has taken an actual lighthouse where she has been a guest at the lighthouse keeper’s cottage – The Cape Otway in Victoria, Australia – as the starting point for her nicely wrought tale, and she has woven an entertaining book of eight chapters for early readers. Through the magic of a time tunnel, children Aaron and Gracie Brandon are taken to a long ago time where they meet a marvelous old Scottish sea captain’s ghost. The pair had been less than enthralled while vacationing with their parents to discover the old lighthouse where they are staying has no video games or anything else interesting for them to do. And, then they meet Captain Angus! When they do everything changes. Cap’n Angus takes the pair on virtual reality trips sailing on masted ships, with opportunity for meeting one of their ancestors along with watching a sea rescue and other adventures.

Wendy Laing has done it again! This talented writer continues to produce excellently written, well researched materials sure to be used in the classroom and for home reading alike. Captain Angus, the Lighthouse Ghost is an inviting venture for children sure to keep youngsters entertained as they travel through the interactive links allowing them to make a voyage through the internet. Writer Laing really understands how to make history come alive for young readers. Children will make stops at sites where they can tour old ships, discover lighthouses and learn a little about them in the process. Young readers are sure to enjoy following the links and learning a little of history without their realizing they are doing so.Captain Angus, the Light House Ghost is a delightful guide children are sure to like. The Links to sites will pique their curiosity.

Chapter titles include: Cap’n Angus, Spirits and Ghosts, Land Ahoy!, Rescue!, The Tower, Ship Ahoy!, Aurora’s Spirit, A Light in the Future and The Beacon of Hope. Captain Angus, the Light House Ghost is a read-to book for the younger set. As such, it provides a marvelous opportunity for quality parent-child time as they sit together at the computer reading and travelling the links to various sites. Older children will enjoy reading and manipulating the work themselves.

The only thing I find lacking from a teacher standpoint, and in no way detracts from the delightful tale itself: I like to see a target audience noted and the word/vocabulary list at the end of the books I use in the classroom when possible. These just make it easier for teachers, and parent home teachers too to quickly decide if this book will fit into our particular teaching need at the moment.

Captain Angus, The Lighthouse Ghost, by Wendy Laing
Writer’s Exchange Epublishing, 2003