Thursday, August 6, 2020

Merlin Raj and the Love Me Not Race by D. G. Priya (Spotlight, excerpt, review, and GIVEAWAY) GFT

D. G. Priya


GENRE: Illustrated early reader chapter book



Do kids want to read a coding book? Not as much as dog stories.

Read the series called "...emotionally resonant...enjoyable STEM-centered novelfor young readers..." -- Kirkus Reviews

My name is Merlin Raj. I have a teeny tiny weakness for socks which makes life as a service dog difficult. Usually, I only have to worry about helping my boy, Matthew, walk at school. But when my family signs up for their first 5k race, this super-smart golden retriever who wears glasses will also have to become a racing trainer.


Will Boolean math help me uncover the heart of a champion?

Appealing to readers of all ages, Merlin Raj and the Love Me Not Race is the continuing installment in this ILLUSTRATED chapter-book series. From artists to astronauts, the jobs of the future will deal with computers.

With a Computer Science degree and a passion for preparing kids for the future, author D. G. Priya blends technology with animal stories to stimulate a desire to read. Each book in the series introduces a new programming skill. If you or your child like delightful dog tales that explores universally positive themes, including empathy, kindness, dedication, and the importance of being true to one's self, then you'll love D. G. Priya's tail-wagging adventure.



Yes meant go. Yes meant on.

I turned on, bounding through the park to the tree. Not too fast because Matthew still wore the loop of the leash around his wrist. I galloped as Matthew grabbed the length of the leash and ran behind me.

The Zombie-bunny ducked into the hedges in a desperate attempt to escape, but I wasn’t having it. I thrust my face, nose first, into a hedge.

“No, Merlin,” Matthew yelled.

No meant stop. No meant off.


Buy Link:

Google Play


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Priya Ardis also writes as D. G. Priya for her new early reader chapter book series, Merlin Raj and the Santa Algorithm, a computer science fundamentals book for kids. She has a Bacherlor’s degree in Computer Science from University of Texas at Austin, #8 ranked in computer science. Her passion for early education in computer science comes from her experience as a senior engineer, parent, and volunteer. Her love for service dog stories is inspired her own golden retriever.




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The tour dates can be found here


My review:

3.75 out of 5 stars

Merlin Raj and the Love Me Not Race written by D.G. Priya and illustrated by Shelley Hampe features young Matthew Raj and his service dog, Merlin Raj, as they and the family navigate the challenges of a family activity that will challenge them all, hopefully in only the best way. Binary code helps Merlin analyze the minds and actions of the humans around him so he can be the best help possible to his boy, Matthew.

This whimsical children’s book is part of the ‘Merlin Raj’ illustrated series that helps introduce multiple subjects to young readers. The beautiful illustrations bring the characters to life, and give an idea of some of the challenges that a person with a non-visible disability faces, while the text explains coping mechanisms as well as the contribution family, teachers, and everyone around make in that person’s life. Sprinkled throughout the story are the elements of binary code, as Merlin frames actions and decision in 0 (no/false) or 1 (yes/true) terms. An upcoming marathon provides a challenge for the entire family, and Merlin does his best to help all of them to navigate through to the winner’s line.

I love the multi-culturalism and educational aspects of this story. There were many new concepts introduced in between glimpses of family life, including grocery shopping, gym class, and doctor’s visits. The binary code was a bit confusing to me when it came to Matthew’s older brother and his strictures about racing, and I thought the interactions among the children during Coach Boole’s initial training were disorganized and not reflective of the sensitivity training I would expect if a special needs person is included in the group. I also wasn’t quite sure how the entire group of children were automatically included in the race nor why the issue of whether Merlin was allowed in the contest even came up, as I vaguely thought that service animals were allowed anywhere their person was. I also am unsure why Merlin has corrected vision, lol.

There are great elements provided by having Merlin as the narrator, including the propensity for identifying humans (two-socks) by their socks and footwear and the rules that a service dog must obey, no matter how hard. The whimsy of having him be a little bit vain about his beautiful golden fur AND wearing glasses makes this a fun story that provides both entertainment and education, and I hope to see much more of Merlin and his human family in the future.

A copy of this title was provided for review