Russ Fugal
Dec 10, 2018 · 4 min read
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Sara and the Pooka is a short chapter book written for kindergartners. The story appeals to children 4 to 12 years old and to anyone who loves a good story. This 45-minute audiobook, an excellent introduction to audiobooks for your child, is free from Audible with a 30-day trial. The book is also available on Amazon and iTunes.

Written by Russ Fugal and published by Books, Sara and the Pooka — a story that encourages children to read and shows them that reading is purposeful and a source of joy — was awarded bronze in the 2018 Moonbeam Awards’ Literacy category. For children who don’t enjoy reading, this is a wonderful lesson in story form.

Sara is a young heroine who gets caught up in her mother’s stories. Questioning what’s real and what’s her imagination, she is swept away on an adventure of her own to a castle ruled by a dragon and his goblins. In a plot to return home she tricks the goblins, wanders the castle, and meets a trickster — a pooka whom she names Fairy. Sara and her story of learning to read offer some valuable lessons on overcoming struggle. In this introduction to a series, Sara begins an epic adventure in story.

Reviews of Sara and the Pooka:

“This engaging chapter book will help children improve their reading skills in more ways than one. In an opening not unlike Alice in Wonderland, Sara dozes off while listening to her mother reading Peter Pan. Having just told her mother that she should like to live with fairies (because, like her, they don’t care for rules), she finds herself trapped in an unfamiliar and sometimes scary world.

“Guarded by goblins, Sara and the other children who have been brought to castle Hofenzoll are told by the dragon Julius that they will receive the very best education so that they can protect their new home. But their teacher, a magnificent fiery-feathered bird called Johanna, turns out to be rather fond of parroting rules and less than inspiring. During a daring but unsuccessful night-time bid for freedom, Sara meets a pooka, a kind of fairy, who tells her that there are books in the library from which she can learn how to escape.

“There’s just one problem — Sara can’t read. Johanna’s method of sounding out each letter just confuses Sara even more. After the lesson ends in disaster, Sara despairs of ever mastering the mysterious art (and therefore getting back home). But help is at hand! Her new friend, the pooka, shows her some magic and an exciting new way to learn to read. It shouldn’t be long before she’s home…

“Interwoven with this delightful story are tips on how to learn to read using Engaged Aided Reading (EAR), which is designed to help children read easily and fluently. There’s a helpful explanation of the practice at the end of the book for adults, too.

“The first in a series, this book will appeal to young imaginations and show that learning to read doesn’t have to be a chore.”

— Nick Jones (

“In Sara and the Pooka, author Russ Fugal introduces readers to young Sara, an intrepid adventurer on a mission. This first installment will leave young readers wanting to learn more of Sara and how she eventually finds her way home.

“Sara loves listening to her mom read her stories. She likes to lie on the grass, look up at the sky and hear her mother’s lovely voice. Her favorite stories are the ones about fairies but Sara doesn’t know how to read yet. One fateful day, young Sara falls asleep while her mother is reading to her. When she wakes up, she realizes she isn’t home anymore. It would appear that she is dreaming but as she becomes more and more convinced that she has been transported somewhere strange, she decides that she must find her way home.

“Sara encounters a Pooka, a strange little creature quite like a fairy, and she asks him for help. He agrees and he tells Sara that she will find the information she needs to get home in the library. But first, Sara will have to learn to read. The Pooka becomes her steadfast helper as she embarks on the first part of her mission — learning to read.

“This well-paced story will keep readers in suspense as Sara tries to uncover where she is and how she can get out of there. Sara will be sure to delight young readers that may have trouble reading or are reluctant to try. Her tenacity begins to pay off in this first installment and the cliff-hanger ending will be sure to entice readers to pick up the next book in the series.”

— The Children’s Book Review (

Get Sara and the Pooka today from Audible, Amazon, or iTunes.

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