Kimberly Adams, the Author
Kimberly Adams is a practicing attorney in McAlester, Oklahoma, and the Municipal Judge in her hometown of Kiowa, Oklahoma. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Oklahoma Wesleyan University in 1997 and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Oklahoma in December 2000. Kimberly resides in rural southeast Oklahoma on her farm at Five Mile. The loss of her pet llama, Charlie, inspired a children’s book series, starting with this first installment. Other publications include works printed at West Publishing Company, through her appellate practice as an attorney.
Professional Book Reviews
Hollywood Book Reviews
In the imaginary land where fanciful personified animals live, frolic, and thrive, readers are brought to the Five Mile Farm, to meet Carly, a young girl, who rules the roost as being a friend and caretaker for many animals. The animals include a few friendly dogs: a wiener named Okie; a Yorkie named Mollie; Grumps, who disliked everyone and was missing a few teeth, a visiting dog named Blue; a cat; some bunnies and birds; and interestingly a queen bee named Queen Nora. Yet Carly wished for and always wanted a pony.
Author Kimberly Adams, along with amazing illustrations by artist David Gnass, orchestrates these beautiful characters into a story of friendship – while instilling a morale of dreams coming true, in her book, Five Mile Charlie: A Special Pony for Carly.
In a whirlwind of activity, one day Queen Nora sees a pony which would be ideal for Carly. Upon arriving back at her hive, she does a special “waggle” dance which shows the worker bees how to find the pony and herd it back to Five Mile Farm for Carly. When Carly sees this beautiful pony with big eyes, a fluffy coat and a huge smile, she names it Charlie. But Charlie is no ordinary pony, it is a very special pony – in fact it is a Llama – but that does not seem to matter to Carly who instantly loves Charlie.
This book brings together creative text and images which create a storyboard in the minds of its readers, that is exactly the goal of this very popular genre of illustrated children’s stories. Ending with, “Be kind, be brave, be strong, be bold. The story of Five Mile Charlie will continue…” suggests Carly and Charlie will go on to have more engaging adventures and become a series in the future. So, it would be good advice to get in on the ground floor, and enjoy Five Mile Charlie: A Special Pony for Carly with the little ones in your family.
Pacific Book Review
A little girl gets her wish, but in a very different way than she expected, in this lively tale by author Kimberly Adams.
Carly is an energetic, hard-working girl who lives in Oklahoma on File Mile Farm. She enjoys work as well as play, and has several pets – two dogs, Okie and Mollie, a cat named Wally and even a parrot, Annie. But there is something missing – something she longs for – a pony. One spring, to try to make her wish come true, Carly enlists the magical help of honeybees who live nearby. Every day Carly walks to their hive and repeats her desire for a pony. The bees are led by Queen Nora, who has at her command a group of worker bees called scouts, who range out to look for flowers for the bees to use in honey production.
When Nora learns of Carly’s wish, she sends her scouting friend Journey to fly out and locate a suitable pony. Journey’s search will include an encounter with Grumps, a sad, almost toothless old coyote who scares other animals, so other creatures dislike him. But the intrepid bee soon spots a pony that seems perfect for Carly. She and Nora talk to him; his name is Charlie – but he’s not a pony. He’s a llama. He can and will leave and become Carly’s new friend. She is thrilled. She feeds him cheese and apples, and he scares away mean old Grumps. Carly decides to help Grumps to be more friendly. She, Charlie, and her other pets set off to the library to learn more about coyotes so they can fulfill their mission to improve Grumps.
Author Adams is an attorney and judge and lives on a farm, also named File Mile and also in Oklahoma. She was inspired to write about Carly because she too once owned a pet llama. Her book is vividly, colorfully illustrated by David Gnass, with active scenes and the cute touch of Charlie with his “cheesy face.” The book is planned as the first in a series and ends with an exhortation to young readers: “Be kind, be brave, be strong, be bold.” Her simple story is populated with various animals, including the well-organized bees with their gift of magic, who will doubtless play roles in the future adventures.
At the forefront is Carly herself, an admirable little girl of strong will and generous nature. School age children will be able to read this charming, educational tale on their own, and parents and grandparents will enjoy reading it to the younger ones.
This is a very creative and fun story following a little girl named Carly who has everything she ever wanted except a pony. Luckily Queen bee Nora is nearby and sets out to fulfill Carly’s wish by finding her a pony. But the white fluffy animal she finds for Nora is not a pony, it is a llama named Charlie.
I really loved how Charlie and Carly become fast friends. It really shows kids how to be accepting of others and the gifts they are given. Carly is also a fantastic character that shows how to work hard and be thankful for the things in your life. She could have easily been upset that her wish for a pony was not fulfilled but instead she accepted Charlie into her life with zeal.
Every page of this delightful book has charming art with a soft color palette that is very appealing. Every animal is cute and I had a hard time turning the page because my child did not want to stop looking at the cute critters that litter the pages. She was especially fond of the Yorkie.
Five Mile Charlie: A Special Pony for Carly is a fun children’s book that will take young readers on a cute farm adventure where they will meet interesting characters and learn valuable lessons in fun ways.
US Review of Books
As Charlie settled into his new life on Five Mile Farm, he became known for taking care of the other animals in the meadow.”
On an idyllic country farm lives an adorable little girl named Carly. Her life in this delightful world of animal companions and days spent playing in the sunshine with baby animals are close to perfect. According to her, the only thing missing is a pony. Word gets around to all the creatures in the surrounding area that Carly is pining for a pony. The Queen Bee, Nora, decides to grant the girl’s wish. Her best scout bee, Journey, finds a “pony” that is a bit unusual. Once Carly discovers the new creature in her pasture, she falls in love with him instantly. She does not care that Charlie is a llama and not a pony. The two become fast friends and begin the first of many adventures together. The animals also enjoy Charlie’s company, and he feels protective of them.
Adams has drawn from personal experience to create this whimsical and endearing story. She has spent years as an attorney and judge in Oklahoma. Her animals have always held a special place in her heart, and this is especially true for Charlie, the llama. She was inspired to write her story about them after losing Charlie during the COVID-19 lockdown. A photograph of the author with the real-life Charlie is included in the back of the book.
In an interview, Adams explained when she first learned that language had power: “The children, including myself, had access to a bookmobile that traveled to the rural communities in the 1970s. The bookmobile allowed the opportunity for children to read during the summer. From this experience, I found that I could travel anywhere and experience many adventures through the pages in a book.”
The author’s writing style is clear and easy, with simple sentences that are accessible to young readers. Colorful characters with diverse personalities create a community for Carly. Adams balances fun and exciting adventures with some real-life topics, making it an effective vehicle for simple messages about compassion, friendship, and inclusion. The activities flow easily from scene to scene. Friendly dialogue between the characters builds rapport with the readers.
The pictures by David Gnass—an accomplished illustrator out of Toronto—are also well done. His vibrant, unique portrayal of Charlie and the other characters draws young readers into the story. His expertise is evident in the expressiveness of the characters. He creates lively, welcoming pictures of the farm and countryside. The warm, friendly illustrations on each page will likely entice new readers to return to the book again and again.
Overall, this book is a fun, delightful read for young readers. It would be a wonderful addition to a classroom or home collection. Adams and Gnass are a dynamic team that has an artistic chemistry. They create enchanting settings and entertaining narratives for children. While the book is grounded, it also holds up the magic of childhood. Adams notes at the end of the book that many more adventures are to come. There is no doubt that she will have many readers eagerly awaiting to discover more about Charlie and Carly.
US Review of Books
“‘Carly, do you think we can make a wool coat from my fur?’ asked Charlie… ‘Grumps! We can make a coat for Grumps!’ Charlie said excitedly.”
The long-awaited return of Five Mile Charlie is over. The story picks right up from the end of the first book. Carly and her charming animal companions are hoping to find a way to break through Grumps’ crankiness. They are headed to the library to discover more about coyotes. If they find clues to his grumpiness, they vow to band together and help him overcome his obstacles.
During their journey, they bump into many of their friends, such as Journey the bee, Blue the hound dog, and cute forest animals. Carly finds delight in the many exciting books at the library. Meanwhile, Charlie learns a lot about being a llama in one of the books. He becomes fascinated with the fact that he has wool. He wants to use it to make gifts for his friends. Perhaps, making a special sweater for Grumps might turn him around.
The narrative spends some time focusing on Grumps’ background. The dive into his history develops his character, making him complex rather than a one-dimensional villain. It demonstrates the importance of how learning about a person can help explain their behavior. Compassion and friendship are shown as key to an inclusive, successful community. The author artistically presents typical dilemmas children face in their lives. By weaving them into the story, Adams crafts them to become central to the narrative without overwhelming it.
The sweet, intelligent characters offer positive lessons in kindness and model an attitude of empathy and thoughtfulness. For this second installation, Adams utilizes David Gnass, a professional illustrator out of Toronto. His artistic excellence brings the scenes to life with bright colors. The expressions portrayed by his drawings help readers learn about emotions. Replicating the style from the first book also provides a sense of familiarity, tying readers to the landscapes and characters.
Both new readers and faithful fans of Five Mile Charlie may be interested to know there was a real Charlie. Adams lives on a farm and has had many adorable animals, including a black and white llama named Charlie. Here is how Adams describes him: “Five Mile Charlie lived the majority of his 23-year life at the author’s farm at Five Mile in rural Southeast Oklahoma. Gimmicky and full of antics, Charlie was a loyal, dedicated and highly independent creature. Nevertheless, he maintained a humble and gentle disposition with children and other animals.”
The first book, Five Mile Charlie, is still receiving five-star reviews on Amazon and other bookselling sites. Adams had a tough task in front of her to deliver a fitting sequel to the initial book. However, she has successfully brought back the vibrant, endearing characters. Following through with consistency in plot and style makes the present book feel more episodic and the series more of an ongoing story. This book would be an excellent gift for a child and is certain to become a favorite. Teachers will love reading this story in class to entertain the students and stimulate discussion on friendship and community. Ending the book on a cliffhanger, the author leaves audiences anxiously waiting for what comes next.
A little girl learns wishes can come true even if in different ways, thanks to the Queen Bee Nora and her best friend, Journey, in this enchanting book by Adams. Little Carly lives on Five Mile Farm in Oklahoma. She has a dog and a cat, and plenty of other pets. There is only one thing missing: a pony. When Queen Bee Nora learns about Carly’s wish, she knows she must get the little girl a pony. But finding a pony is not as easy as it seems on the surface. Adams succeeds at interweaving a story of hard work and resilience with a vibrant farming world. The young Carly and the animals are engagingly well-crafted. Queen Bee Nora’s perceptive observations and go-getter attitude are pitch perfect. David Gnass’s fun sketches capture the characters’ vibrant personality while conveying perceptive observations about country life that ring true. A hefty dash of magical realism elevates this beyond a simple story of farm-living to a well-crafted tale of solidarity and friendship, of dreams coming true, and of hard work, resilience, and hope. The cliffhanger ending will have readers salivating for the next installment. This sweet, contemplative read is great for toddlers, reluctant or tentative readers, or precocious early readers.
Online Book Review
Carly is a little girl who takes care of a farm in Oklahoma called the ‘Five Mile Farm’. She lives on the farm together with her pets and other animals. She also has made friends with bees who stay in a hive not far from the farm. Occasionally, she goes to tell her wishes to the bees who would in turn tell the queen bee.
Carly had always wished to have a pony, so she went and told the bees her wishes. Upon hearing Carly’s wish, the queen bee sends a bee called Journey. Journey then travels over long distances across the land to look for a pony that they would give Carly. He, however, doesn’t find a pony. He only finds a lonely llama called Charly. Will Charly be a perfect fit for Carly?
“Follow your dreams and wishes. They come true for those who work hard for them. Believe in what you can do and don’t forget to be kind along the way.”
The above excerpt from the first page of Five Mile Charlie by Kimberly Adams, I think, is the most valuable lesson that children will learn from this children’s book. Carly and Charly never lost hope that one day they would achieve their dreams. They continued holding to their wishes no matter how unrealistic they were. Another lesson I loved from the book is that we should be kind, and we should love and care for everyone no matter how cruel they may seem. There is a coyote called Grumps that every animal fears. However, he loves being alone because he thinks that everyone hates him. Carly seeks to show Grumps that she can be his friend.
What fascinates me the most was the touch of children’s fantasy present in the book. We encounter bunnies, birds, bees, and other animals who have been personified in the story. Children will love this because it is something that relates to their imaginations and fantasies.
There is not any negative thing to point out except that there is a cliffhanger in the book. We aren’t told whether Grumps made friends with Carly or whether he changed his attitude and perspective about everyone. This is not a big deal since it aids in creating suspense, and it may be a precedence for a future book—I do wish there is another book because I want to know what happened.
The book is written well and perfectly edited; I didn’t spot any errors. Even though there is an unresolved cliffhanger, the book has wonderful lessons, and I loved its fantasy. Because of this, I rate it 4 out of 4 stars.
I would recommend this book to children of around five to nine years who may be interested in tales filled with fantasy.