All Critics Great & Small

Everyone has an opinion; from the youngest reader to the professional reviewer. Here’s what they have to say about the books and school visits:

Book Reviews:

The Upside-Down Gardener:

“All in all, this imaginative, illustrated easy reader lends itself well to newly independent readers or kids ready to sit for a tale presented in a slightly different format to a picture book…would also make a great addition to a classroom collection for group reading time. This is a lovely springtime or baseball season read.”–The Children’s Book Review

‘A different kind of gardening story. The Upside-Down Gardener offers a standout from any other picture book about young gardeners. It is an exceptional read that links the effort to grow plants to a broader discussion of growing new ideas, objectives, and approaches to life. A top recommendation for elementary-level collections looking for a creative approach to problem-solving that uses gardening as a springboard for achievement and positive approaches to life itself.”  –D. Donovan Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

“The Upside-Down Gardener is a fun and imaginative introduction into the world of gardening. It is engaging and keeps the reader’s interest…”  —Genya Hopf, Penn State Master Gardener, Bucks County, PA


Once upon a Poodle:

“Once upon a Poodle will lend particularly well to parental read-aloud. Colorful illustrations capture the fun personalities and events as Woody experiences a wide range of potential brother candidates, and kids will relish the lively, positive story of a little dog who holds on to hope and never gives up.”  —D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review


The Adventures of the Poodle Posse series:

‘This fun and sometimes very silly book will engage young readers with pet-friendly stories that are a delight to read. Audiences will enjoy the light-hearted humor as they learn about caring and sharing. Readers will also have fun at the end of the book where they are encouraged to talk about the stories, characters and what makes them laugh the most. For a wonderful book that will encourage young readers to develop a love for pets and their silly antics, The Adventures of the Poodle Posse is a great read.’––Reviewer’s Bookwatch, –The Book Review”


‘….This fun, rambunctious Halloween adventure with Daisy and her mischievous brothers, will thrill the young reader. Of course almost every youngster I know enjoys a good dog story, but add a bit of humor and stir in a bit of horror and you have the recipe for great adventure. I’d never read anything in this series before and was pleasantly surprised at how much fun the tale was. It was well written and is sure to hold the interest of the young reader. I loved dainty Daisy and her two brothers who enjoyed annoying the little princess. IN the back of the book are several activities that the young trick-or-treater will certainly enjoy. Best of all there are two dog-approved recipes for Pumpkin Treats and Jake’s Favorite Peanut Butter Bones. This is a series that is certainly going to be a bow-WOW hit with the young dog lover!––Deb Fowler (aka Dragonfly),Vermont;  An Amazon ‘Top 100 Reviewer’



‘Most of us who have dogs make them a part of the family. There is a fine line between the way we treat our canine members and the way we treat each other. As a matter of fact, I have noted throughout the years that those families, who do treat their pets as members of the family; kind, loving, understanding and interactive, seem to be much better adjusted that those who don’t.

The third in a series about a lovable trio of poodles and their human ‘mom’ brings home this point quite well. The author, Chrysa Smith has given each of the three dog’s distinct personalities and the kindness and love between all is quite on the mark…….

The author has put together a rather remarkable little book with this one. Not only do we have a delightful story, but Smith has added several pages of activities for children which include a nicely done maze, a dog quiz, excellent recipes for home-made dog treats (all healthy), a riddle game, doggie costume suggestions and a writing work outline to allow the child to write their own creepy tale.

The text is quite well done and is easy for the children to follow and is silly enough in just the right places to bring on plenty of giggles. The book has been very well illustrated by Pa Achilles with plenty of black and white drawings. While the story is of course, fantasy (you enter the world of these three dogs), it is filled with little truths about dogs and their personalities. Any child who has a pet dog or has ever had a pet dog will be able to instantly relate to this work.

Now those that read my reviews will know that I am a dog person. Our own ‘posse’ is not made up of Poodles, but rather Boston Terriers. I was able to relate to the antics of the dogs in the story quite well, especially when it came to the different personality traits of each of the dogs.

Chrysa Smith is a fine story teller and an excellent writer. I do hope that there will be more additions to the series coming down the road.

I did have a friend of mine, a second grade teacher, read this to her class. The kids in the class, jaded little literary critics all, gave this work two thumbs up!—–Don Blankenship, The Ozarks;    An Amazon ‘Top 100 Reviewer’


‘Kids will enjoy these stories about two dogs and their antics. Young listeners will be drawn to the cute images of the poodles.’––The Reading Tub (Book Reviews for Children)


This story is a great read for both children and parents. It’s cute and interesting enough to hold parental interest while very enjoyable for the children. It’s an excellent book for practicing reading aloud with elementary school aged children.
My son wants to read more of the series. It also shipped and arrived much more quickly than expected.

Lisa Forbeson

School Visit Reviews:

 Thank you SO MUCH for a FANTASTIC visit last week!  Many of our teachers agreed that you kept our students engaged and interested during your presentations.  We thought our 4th grade students were especially motivated to continue with their “story starters” after leaving your session and hope you would agree that our younger students had many inquisitive questions for you!  —Jacqueline Murray, Reading Specialist, Hilltop Elementary

Thank you very much for setting up the Skype session today.The children loved it and so did the teachers.It was a wonderful experience for all! –-Rebecca Schmidt, Our Lady of Trust, Brooklyn, NY

Thank you Chrysa for an Awesome Visit! —Catherine School, Library Media Specialist, Sacred Heart Academy, Bryn Mawr, PA

Thank you, Chrysa for the very entertaining and informative presentations. I know the children were engaged and enjoyed  learning about your books and the writing process. Thank you for coming. Teresa Pelusi, Librarian, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, PA


Thank you for everything Chrysa! The kids are still talking about the visit today! Anne McKernana, Library Assistant, Hillcrest Elementary, PA

Thank you, Chrysa!   It was great seeing you again, and the students loved your presentations. —Noreen Moore, Librarian, Hillcrest Elementary, PA

Thanks for today! You were great! —Kathleen O’Neill, Kindergarten Teacher, OLC, Philadelphia

Your presentation was amazing! It was well prepared and very age appropriate.  The students were engaged and loved hearing about your poodles! They thoroughly enjoyed the stories you shared.  We are truly grateful for your parent presentation in the evening as well. Our students and families will enjoy your books for years to come.  Thank you for a job well done! It tied in perfectly to our Read Across America initiative!–Janice Cirone and Karen Zlatkin, Reading Specialists, Oakview Elementary, NJ

Thank you! My 1st Graders love your books!!  —Stacey Desmond, Saint Katherine Drexel, PA


Chrysa Smith’s down-to-earth style is one that teacher’s just love.  The way she writes about her own experiences is a great lesson for young writers!  The kids thoroughly enjoyed the crazy puppy stories! —Paula Etgen, Literacy Specialist/Humanities Teacher, Wrightstown Elementary, PA


Thank you so much for the four wonderful presentations and corresponding workshops.You are so approachable, and the kids really took to you. I enjoyed seeing them engaged, even if it was sometimes silly. They had great fun. We’re so glad that you could be part of our school.  —Colleen Pavlovec, Principal, Leola Elementary, PA


Thank you so much for coming today. It means so much to the girls to hear a real author speak. We love your books and enjoy hearing all the stories of the ‘poodle posse.’  —Catherine Scholl & the girls of Sacred Heart, Malvern


Again, just want to say thanks for the wonderful presentations that you gave at Asa Packer on Monday. It was great; the kids and teachers loved it!  —Stacie Nevitt, PTO President, Asa Packer Elementary, PA


I’m glad you enjoyed your visit. We thoroughly enjoyed your presentation. The kids were abuzz today in library talking about it. Thanks for a great morning.  —Judy Hedtke, Librarian, Notre Dame de Lourdes, PA


Chrysa is a talented author who shares her love of the writing process very successfully with our elementary through 8th grade students. She tailors her presentations beautifully for all levels. Her lessons are highly interactive and spirited. The Poodle Posse series is very popular at our school. —Annie Reynolds, Librarian, St. Genevieve’s, PA


‘The staff and students were so impressed with your writing background and knowledge. You made writing come alive. Your stories were funny and lighthearted and captured all age levels of students.’

Michelle McMahon, Librarian, Holly Heights Elementary, NJ


‘It was our great pleasure to have you visit us at Delair. Your enthusiasm and energy for the writing process, as well as your engaging presentation on your own books, was the highlight of the students’ day. You have inspired many of our students to tap into their own creativity and write stories of their own. (I think you inspired some teachers to do the same).  Thank you again for sharing your love of writing with us!’  –Marge Walsh-Sanky, Media Specialist, Delair Elementary, Pennsauken, NJ


Once again, thank you for all that you did today. You went above and beyond. Thank you!

Lisa Giorgianni, East Greenwich School District


Ms. Chrysa was well organized and read her story to a large group of students. The powerpoint nature of the presentation allowed for all students to interact and engage in the story. Following the story, the comprehension questions and Q&A kept the students attention. The message of using your interest in writing and the editing process rang through Ms. Chrysa’s assembly.

Tod Monos, Principal, Valley View Elementary, PA


Our literacy night was a success and very well attended.  The feedback I received from teachers and students regarding your visit was positive.  The students were excited to spend time reading the books you gave to the school.  –

Danielle Moats, Reading Specialist, Grayson Elementary, PA


-Your presentation was the best! —Jen Hudak, Holy Family, Nazareth


-Best of luck with your book promotion. The program was wonderful. Please keep in touch. Hope to see you again in the Garden!–Althea Llewelyn, Environmental Educator, Reeves-Reed Arboretum, Summit, NJ


Chrysa Smith visited Holy Trinity School today. We had 2 sessions for grades K thru 1st, 2nd and 3rd grades. The children loved both books. Chrysa is amazing and does an awesome job presenting  her books. We had a Q/A after her story. The children were excited to answer her questions. Definitely, would have her back again. Her new book has a surprising ending,–read it! Hope there are more!  –

Rita Raudenbush, Librarian, Holy Trinity, Morrisville, PA