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Official Review: The Smile Ambassadors by Jeffrey Reid

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Official Review: The Smile Ambassadors by Jeffrey Reid

Post Number:#1 by wendyj
» 06 May 2014, 14:47

[Following is the official OnlineBookClub.org review of "The Smile Ambassadors" by Jeffrey Reid.]

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I received a free copy of The Smile Ambassadors by Jeffrey Reid in exchange for my honest review. This is a fictional story that is loosely based on the life of a real, live, two-headed turtle. It is intended for children ages 8-14 but is also a suitable read for adults.

Zack and Mack are unique. Lovingly referred to as “the boys” by their owners, they are a red-eared slider turtle with two heads. Zack and Mack are seven years old, the same age as their owner Constance. Zack and Mack joined the family when Constance was an infant and they have grown up together. At birth, Zack and Mack were about the size of a quarter and at the age of seven, are about the size of a saucer.

One day while cleaning their cage, Constance’s mom accidently knocks over the box she has temporarily put the boys in. An adventure begins as Zack and Mack sneak across the floor, out the door, across the street and into the creek. Once they realize they have lost Zack and Mack, Constance and her parents frantically search the house and neighborhood for their precious two-headed turtle. The family decides to contact the local newspaper and television station. Who could anticipate the chain of events the search for a little girl’s turtle could set off?

Suddenly, the entire town is looking for Zack and Mack. A major, international media event begins to swirl as people across the town, the state, the country and even internationally follow the search for Zack and Mack. The story of the lost turtle tugs at everyone’s hearts and spurs their imaginations. There is something enchanting about the turtle with two heads that seems to be smiling. Looking at the picture of Zack and Mack, people just feel like smiling. Even the President of the United States is interested in the story; he wants Zack and Mack found so that he can make them “smile ambassadors.”

Meanwhile, the boys are enjoying their adventure, swimming in the creek, eating worms and basking in the sun. They even have a few close encounters with predators; something they have never encountered in their protected family environment. Eventually the boys find their way to the local fair where they are found by a sideshow owner and entered into a turtle race. The boys don’t know it, but this will be the first of many races for them.

Constance and her family are reunited with Zack and Mack when they just happen to attend the local fair and decide to watch the turtle race. Before they know what has happened, the family is off to meet the President and Zack and Mack are named “Smile Ambassadors” for the United States. The President wants Zack and Mack to travel around the world bringing smiles to everyone who experiences the wonder of the turtle with two heads. Just maybe a smile for a two-headed turtle will be a smile for the United States.

Thus the odyssey begins for Zack and Mack, Constance, and her family as they spend a year on a globe-trotting tour. Along the way, Constance makes many new friends and so do the boys. Ultimately, the boys return to their hometown for an international turtle race. Who will win: Zack and Mack or one of the international competitors? Are friendships stronger than the thrill of winning? Can turtles strategize and communicate? Is there some special power this two-headed turtle has? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. It was a bit slow-paced in places but I suppose that is appropriate for the age group targeted. The narrative is at times told from Constance’s perspective and sometimes from the turtle’s perspective. This gives a charming insight into what a turtle may be thinking. While the story line is a bit farfetched – the government paying for a world tour for a turtle and it’s family – it is a fun and surreal family adventure that would appeal to young readers. It is refreshing to read a book where nothing bad really happens, everything is wrapped up in a happy ending, and there is a nice moral-to-the-story thrown in. Therefore, I give it a 4 out of 4 stars.

According to the author, the story of Zack and Mack will continue in a second book tentatively titled: The Smile Thief.

***
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Re: Official Review: The Smile Ambassadors by Jeffrey Reid

Post Number:#2 by ZackandMack
» 07 May 2014, 13:34

Thank you for the kind review. Yes indeed, there will be a sequel titled the Smile Thief. Zack and Mack are responsible for everything. I just transcribed what they want said. It was an agreement we reached after the boys continued to make a mess of things by walking around the desk and keyboard. Frankly, two headed turtles can not type worth a darn it seems.

Now, if we can get others to read the book, Zack and Mack will be set with worms and fish for a couple more weeks!
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Re: Official Review: The Smile Ambassadors by Jeffrey Reid

Post Number:#3 by wendyj
» 07 May 2014, 14:02

haha - what a great sense of humor that turtle has!!
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Re: Official Review: The Smile Ambassadors by Jeffrey Reid

Post Number:#4 by ZackandMack
» 07 May 2014, 14:11

BTW, I read the boys the review this morning and they closed their eyes and smiled. Zack and Mack then left their basking spot and splashed into the water turned around and each of them winked.
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Re: Official Review: The Smile Ambassadors by Jeffrey Reid

Post Number:#5 by wendyj
» 09 May 2014, 14:36

Hey hey - now that's some serious praise!!
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Re: Official Review: The Smile Ambassadors by Jeffrey Reid

Post Number:#6 by Little House
» 12 May 2014, 13:58

This sounds like a great book. I read the first chapter on Amazon, and I am going to try it on my 12yo (reluctant reader). Thanks for the great review.
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Re: Official Review: The Smile Ambassadors by Jeffrey Reid

Post Number:#7 by wendyj
» 12 May 2014, 15:02

Hope your reluctant reader enjoys it! Maybe you'll even get him/her to read the second one!!
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Re: Official Review: The Smile Ambassadors by Jeffrey Reid

Post Number:#8 by ZackandMack
» 15 May 2014, 03:03

Dear Little House,
Zack and Mack would be curious to know what your reluctant reader thinks about the story, after all, it is written for the younger set in mind.

-- 23 May 2014, 18:17 --

So I am in a quandary here. I have the book listed as children's fiction at all the various outlets, but no movement. I am wondering if I should change the description as a fiction, yet suitable for children? I think I might change the descriptors when the sequel comes out to see what happens.

-- 01 Jun 2014, 01:54 --

At this hour of night it sort of makes sense to post in this particular topic as one of the characters in The Smile Ambassadors is currently in hospice.

I got off the phone with The Curator, (renamed The Professor in this edition)..colon cancer. We missed seeing each other last year at the Pima County Fair. He thought he had it beat. He eve had a shortened run with Big Circus Sideshow last year. He mostly played the upper mid-west, booking in with the carnival to avoid the hassle of going independent at that stage of the year. So far things were fine.

Jim knew I was using him in the book, as long as he was a "good guy." He is in the book, as well in real life.

He operated a 100 foot banner line. Big Circus Sideshow was truly a sight to behold. It was a throwback to yesteryear. I operated "America's Smallest Travelling Museum." It was a ten foot front single-o, although, I would try and toss in as many exhibits as I could. Zack and Mack were and are mine. Whitey the albino turtle and Mrytle and Ertle (The two-headed turtle) were Jim's.

We would sit around a cut up the jack pots over coffee and mini donuts. We would frame ultimate shows in our shared
visions. There was talk of getting together with a show sometime in the future.

That will never happen.

But Jim will live on.

The Curator never had a chance to read The Smile Ambassadors. I sent him a copy as soon as it was published the end of February. He just finished playing Tallahassee and his health suddenly turned for the worst. He spent a month in the
hospital. When I finally contacted him, he was out of the hospital and undergoing wellness treatments. There was hope. He was getting healthy. There was talk of planning another summer run. He was driving around town.

A few days ago I got would from the clown that Tom, of the Giant Horse and Giant Gator went and saw Jim in Florida before heading out to the Orange Show. He was in hospice.

I talked to Jim on the phone...we skirted the obvious. I told him of plans to frame a turtle race to compete with those pig races at the fairs. We would use banners like in the days of the Monkey Racers. Ben Hur music would greet the participates as they were ceremoniously brought out to the track. The pitch to the fairs was a full time turtle museum before and after the races. For us, we would sell slum between races...a little extra blow-off you know.

Jim liked the idea and seemed to smile at the vision I shared. At least I thought he was smiling...insomuch as one could tell by talking on a telephone three thousand miles away...

I began taking about the book he didn't get a chance to read. I explained his part and role. He chuckled at the name chance I gave Racetrack...(He's Hound Dog in the book...)

Finally, he had to cut the call as his Pastor came by....

The Curator, Jim Zajicek, the owner and operator of Big Circus Sideshow is on his last legs. For those of us on the lot that knew him, he and his joint will always be on the midway.

He will always live on in The Smile Ambassadors, as well as the upcoming book, The Smile Thief. For me, that will be comforting.

Now it appears the Lord is calling Jim home. All I can say is "Jim, may all your lots be green."

Thanks for the indulgence.
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Re: Official Review: The Smile Ambassadors by Jeffrey Reid

Post Number:#9 by sahmoun2778
» 19 Jul 2014, 15:12

Thanks for the review. I think this sounds like a delightful book. I think when my son was younger he would have really enjoyed it.
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Re: Official Review: The Smile Ambassadors by Jeffrey Reid

Post Number:#10 by ZackandMack
» 21 Jul 2014, 18:01

sahmoun2778 wrote:Thanks for the review. I think this sounds like a delightful book. I think when my son was younger he would have really enjoyed it.



Zack and Mack would say that their story is suitable for all humans, young and old. They are currently on the road while their owners ply their trade. By the way, the boys have two movies online at that popular site. Big Day at Sandy Rock and Zack and Mack's Great Adventure (which was their first foray into film.)

They are currently plotting their next moves in bringing the rough and tumble action of full-on turtle racing to the west coast. We shall see...

If there are any questions Zack and Mack can answer, they will be more than happy to oblige, considering their tank has just been cleaned and they have a cuttle bone to chew on.
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Re: Official Review: The Smile Ambassadors by Jeffrey Reid

Post Number:#11 by CapeBretonBookLover
» 22 Jul 2014, 23:57

That's it, I'm buying this book when my next paycheck comes in, it looks so amazing! I have a pet red eared slider named Wagstaff but have never heard of a two-headed turtle. to the author, congratulations on writing such an original book, hopefully it'll be a big hit with all ages. :D
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Re: Official Review: The Smile Ambassadors by Jeffrey Reid

Post Number:#12 by ZackandMack
» 23 Jul 2014, 00:09

Zack and Mack are currently noshing on big ol super meal worms. I told them of your plans and they nodded and smiled. Thanks and please enjoy!
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Re: Official Review: The Smile Ambassadors by Jeffrey Reid

Post Number:#13 by Reetikal
» 10 Aug 2014, 11:19

Awesome reviews
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Re: Official Review: The Smile Ambassadors by Jeffrey Reid

Post Number:#14 by ZackandMack
» 12 Dec 2014, 22:10

It has been a great while since I have been able to visit onlinebookclub. Life has gotten in the way. It is not so easy trying to juggle the lives of two humans from the confines of our tank. We are wondering if it is appropriate to post a little section of our latest story that is currently being written. It is a section from the sequel to The Smile Ambassadors titled, The Smile Thief. If this is allowed, then we will post a little bit here for whomever wished to read it.

Zack and Mack, the two-headed turtle
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Re: Official Review: The Smile Ambassadors by Jeffrey Reid

Post Number:#15 by LivreAmour217
» 15 Apr 2015, 15:22

Great review! This sounds like a very cute book! I'll have to make a pitch to my not-quite-eleven-year-old son!
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