Book Reviews

What readers say about the Tales by Moons-light book series…


Reviews for Elvia and the Gift of Passion

“A fast-paced, thrill-a-second, sci-fi adventure packed full of twists, turns – and suspense!” The Wishing Shelf

“Elvia and the Gift of Passion is an incredibly exciting and wonderful middle-grade/YA fantasy book that I will struggle to forget for a long time! Elvia and the Gift of Passion has astounded me; I enjoyed every single moment of the book because it was by far a perfect read.” Red Headed Book Lover

“Ballard weaves a delicate tale, rich and unique. Elvia and the Gift of Passion delivers excitement and surprise on every page.” Chanticleer Recommended Editorial Review

“Ten-year-old Elvia Hill is convinced there was a mix-up when she was born, and devises a scheme to run away while vacationing in Tanzania with her parents… until she’s snatched away and taken to a distant world called Urth in this fantasy adventure. Ballard’s fascinating science facts and the imaginative characters she’s created are bound to keep readers enthralled.” Deb Greenberg, Midwest Book Review

“A thoroughly engaging planet-hopping adventure that should be a solid hit with middle-graders.” The Prairies Book Review

“Ballard’s sci-fi charmer is deliciously atmospheric, building a vividly imaginative world that gently explores familial ties, friendship, courage, adventure, and curiosity.” BookView Review

“Teachers seeking STEAM-based stories to recommend as leisure choices that lend to further discussion and insights will find Elvia and the Gift of Passion takes an unusual leap, linking emotional and educational growth in proactive young people who don’t just explore new environments, but enter and change them with gusto.” Diane Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

“…Ballard’s writing is lively and fun, and her character-building is a marvel; she has created rich, imaginative personalities… Additionally, Ballard weaves fascinating science facts into her narrative. By the time readers reach the story’s conclusion, full of surprising gems of irony and fate, they will be spellbound—and eager for another Urth tale.” Blue Ink Review

“Action-packed and plot driven with enchanting settings and sensational characters, the story is a propulsive read with end-of-chapter cliffhangers, which make it hard to put down. Young readers will be delighted by Elvia’s wild odyssey told in Ballard’s lively prose and entertaining wordplay – vividly setting each scene, and making each character distinct and engaging.” SP Review

“…The irresistible adventures of a young girl spirited away to a two-mooned planet…”
Book Life “Editor’s Pick”

“[Elvia and the Gift of Passion] is both a swashbuckling adventure and a bittersweet story of growing up. Elvia’s journey through this imaginative world [of planet Urth] is a charming coming-of-age tale woven with whimsy and warmth and will hook young and old readers alike…”
— Melissa Dalley, The US Review of Books

Reviews for Frankie and the Gift of Fantasy

“…Unpredictable, fun, and action-packed, Frankie and the Gift of Fantasy is a gift that is hard to put down, highly recommended beyond the advanced elementary to middle grade readers it is likely to reach.”
— Diane Donovan, Editor, Midwest Book Review

…Frankie and the Gift of Fantasy is a rousing science fiction adventure—truly edifying entertainment.”
— Peter Dabbene, Foreword Reviews

“Where was this book when I was a kid? I enjoyed reading this story from every angle possible. It was witty and thought-provoking, it was wonderful all around. I will be buying this book in hardcover to read to my 9 year-old, and to my future kids when they get here as well. I don’t normally read Middle-grade books but I am SO glad that I read this one!”
— Ashley Green, NetGalley reviewer

“A dazzling adventure into the reaches of inner and outer space. A wonderful, valuable read for children!”
— Angelica Kaner, PhD., Psychologist/Psychoanalyst, New Haven, CT

“An eye-opening and heart-warming story of a boy who discovers his strengths. An imaginative, fantastical rite of passage.”
— Leslie Lange, Soccer Mom, Ventura, CA

“I think this is a great fantasy that would appeal to both boys and girls, and I definitely will add this title to my classroom library. I’m excited to read the next books in the series!”
— Shauna Wojta, NetGalley reviewer

“My daughter and I loved Frankie and the Gift of Fantasy! We got lost in the world of Urth and Frankie’s journey of self-discovery. We watched him spin stories and imagine worlds. Along the way Frankie evolves to use his imagination to be helpful, even selfless. We loved how Frankie found so many ways to use his imagination to overcome obstacles. By the end of the story, he learned that caring for others is just as important as caring for yourself.”
— Lisa G, Nebraska

“A gloriously inventive and profoundly sensitive adventure story of how young Frankie learns responsibility, compassion, empathy and, primarily, courage. Courage can certainly mean bravery in the face of physical danger. But it can also mean self-knowledge and an honest understanding of other people, with all their eccentricities, hopes and fears.”
— Isabella Knight, Actor

“A welcome new voice in children’s literature, Dr. Ruthy Ballard has conjured a magical potion of fantasy and science that delights and educates. Frankie and the Gift of Fantasy is captivating and oh so charming with its real boy and his escape/adventure to the creative, liberating plant of Urth. I can’t wait for the rest of the series!”
— Cindy Conger, JustWrite Communications

“Finally, an author who helps us understand that we sculpt society to meet the needs of our children and not the other way around. This work is a heart-warming journey of growth, understanding, and celebration!”
— Melissa Schlenker, MS, Middle School Counselor, Sacramento CA

“Entertaining and intriguing! This book is so good you can’t put it down. I finished it in one night! If you love adventures, you’ll love this book.”
— Paige, age 11, grade 6

“If you are a Harry Potter fan, you are going to love this book! It is the most creative adventure story I have read in a long, long time. Even after I finished the book, I couldn’t stop thinking about the characters and story. It really makes you think. I can’t wait for the next book to come out!”
— Hana, age 11, grade 6

Reviews for Tales by Moons-light:
Stories from before the Great Melt

Mom’s Choice Gold Award, Blue Ink Review Notable Book,
and The Wishing Shelf Award Red Ribbon Winner!

“Ballard’s fantastical collection of stories blends elements of fairy tale, fable, and sci-fi for a strikingly imaginative feat of storytelling.”
Ranked 10 out of 10 in all categories!
BookLife Prize

“Ballard’s writing is stellar. Her tales unfold seamlessly with inventive, imaginative plots and a creative cast of characters, both human and animal.”
BlueInk Review

“In each story, children face a diverse set of challenges that spark them to find their inner power, whether it be courage, a voice, problem-solving, or the rescue of another. Each story provides a different scenario that is as compelling written as the last.”
— Midwest Book Reviews

“The stories distinguish themselves in their considerable definition and physical details, though their themes and character types evoke traditional fairy tales: a son’s deformity results in inner strength; children’s unlucky fortunes bring them together; a greedy father’s bargain gives his daughter to a husband she cannot love. Some of Urth’s teenagers have to outwit fate and unsavory adults to achieve their goals; elsewhere, characters appealing to younger readers sleep in down-filled “ducky sacks.” Charming illustrations rendered in pen, ink, and wash suggest the diversity, rich colors, and beauty of Urth, its people, and its animals… Representing a mix of ages, the otherworldly fairy tales collected in Tales by Moons-light are imaginative and charming.”
—Susan Waggoner, Foreword Reviews

“Ballard’s fables have a fairy-tale quality that taps into the timeless magic of once upon a time, while blending science with fantasy. With their timeless quality, these short stories remind children of the power of wit, agility, and scientific reasoning while stimulating their creative faculties. She is a pioneer of children’s literature. I highly recommend this book!”
— Alanna Wright, Founder, Academic Goals tutoring company

“I read Tales by Moons-light: Stories from before the Great Melt to my seven-year-old daughter, and it sparked her curiosity and imagination more than any other book we’ve enjoyed together. After reading the first story, The Moons-lings, we starting tracking the moon from night to night. We even recreated the orbits of Urth’s two moons on a white board, using movable magnets for Urth, Lunera, and Ru! This book is a fantastic teaching tool, and I recommend it to parents and teachers who want to introduce scientific concepts to children through terrific storytelling.”
— A. Green, Las Vegas, NV

“If you only read one story in this amazing book, make it The Poison Well. This fable teaches children the importance of protecting and preserving the ecosystem in which they live, and on which their lives depend. This is such an important message, and we need our kids to embrace it. I’ll be using this story in my third-grade classroom, and am already spreading the word to my colleagues!”
— B. Garcia, Los Angeles, CA

“I really liked all the stories, but my favorite was The Six Woes of Werd. I loved the ways that new woes replaced old ones, and the idea that woes plague only the living”
— Ava, age 11, Sacramento, CA

“Once I started reading this book, I couldn’t put it down! The stories are fun, exciting, interesting, and just the right length to read before bed. There are seven tales in all, and I was planning to spread them out across a week, but I ended up reading the book from beginning to end, in one sitting! They all have fun twists and turns, but I liked The Rule of E the best. The main character outwitted her evil grandfather, and a pompous prince, in such a clever way!”
— Eleanor, age 13, Grade 8

“These tales spin magic and science together. It is the job of the reader to unscramble the clues! I enjoyed this book because it is easy to read, entertaining, and unique. I would recommend this book to other young readers who enjoy captivating tales that take you to another world!”
— Shreya, age 10, City Book Reviews

Tales by Moons-light: Stories from before the Great Melt written by Ruthy Ballard is the page-turner your Grade-schooler needs to read! This book is a delightful mix of entertaining stories and thoughtful drawings, which will keep the minds of young-ones captivated.


One of the things I liked best about this book is the mosaic of scientific and philosophical children’s literature. The author cleverly weaves tale after tale that veers just beyond the impossible to make the emphatic point that our imaginations are grounds where we can do valid explorations.


While each story is unique, each story is related to the last. Notable is the fact that each tale leaves the reader a little wiser than before it. The accompanying artworks, which are detailed drawings that help move the story along, are also remarkable.


My favorite story is the story of Bai and the people who lived in the Land for All. How entirely relatable that a country like this could exist, and how creative to invent a story that describes the dangers of an unsustainable lifestyle? Well done!


As such, I would recommend this book to every Grade-schooler. It is a mix of entertaining stories and meticulous drawings. The imaginary quality of each tale is exceptional, and the illustrations are impressive!”
— Kareen Hewitt, Reedsy Discovery reviewer