October 24, 2014

Perfect Picture Book Friday - I Wanna Go Home

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, Everyone!

If anyone is wondering, it is monsoon season on Blueberry Hill!  What wild, wet, windy weather we are having!  Thank goodness for my trusty canoe :)  If anyone wants to mount a rescue mission to bring in supplies of chocolate and friendly company, wear appropriate foul weather gear and do not attempt an umbrella - it will end in disaster :)

With rain on the brain, here's my pick for this week which also starts out in the rain :)

Apparently I am a one-person advertising agency for G.P. Putnam's Sons.  This is the second week in a row I've posted one of their books!  But I promise, it just worked out that way.   I love both books and they're being offered as prizes in the Halloweensie Contest, so I wanted to make sure everyone got a chance to see how fantastic they are :)

Today's choice is the 3rd book in Karen Orloff and David Catrow's super-fun I Wanna series that began with I Wanna Iguana.  I hope you like it :)

Title: I Wanna Go Home
Written By: Karen Kaufman Orloff
Illustrated By: David Catrow
G.P. Putnam's Sons, September 2014, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: family (grandparents), appreciation, visiting relatives, persuasion, humor

Opening: "Dear Alex, Ethan and Annie,
We're so glad you're coming to visit us.  You'll love it here!  Do you know how to play bridge?  It's a card game all our friends enjoy.  When you come, we can play for hours and hours!  Can't wait to see you.
Love,
Grandma Shirley and Grandpa Ralph
P.S. Hope you like broccoli lasagna!"

Brief Synopsis: From the Amazon review: "Alex is not happy about being sent to his grandparents’ retirement community while his parents go on a fabulous vacation. What could be worse than tagging along to Grandma’s boring bridge game or enduring the sight of Grandpa’s dentures?

But as the week goes on, Alex’s desperate emails to his parents turn into stories about ice cream before dinner and stickball with Grandpa. Before he knows it, Alex has made a surprising discovery: grandparents are way cooler than he thought!"

Links To Resources: Classroom Activities for persuasive writing (this is actually for Karen's 2nd book, I Wanna New Room, but much of it applies as is and the rest can be easily modified to match this book); talk about what kids do with their grandparents - what activities do grandparents like to do?  Are they old-fashioned?  What activities do kids like to do?  Can you learn fun things from your grandparents?  Can they learn fun things from you?  What are some things you've learned how to do from your grandparents? What are some things you've taught them?



Why I Like This Book: Alex's letter-writing is always amusing.  He's a master of showing his side of the argument and getting his way, (although in this case he changes his mind and learns that maybe visiting grandparents isn't all that bad.)  Things begin badly at the Happy Hills Retirement Community.  It's raining.  Alex is bored.  Grandma Shirley is dressing baby Annie up in girly outfits, and Grandpa's false teeth are disgusting!  But as the days go by, Alex discovers square dancing, bingo, and stick ball, and realizes that his grandparents are pretty fun to hang out with.  By the end, he doesn't want to go home.  I love the way Alex's attitude turns around, because that happens so often in life - especially with kids.  They think they're going to hate something and don't even want to give it a chance, and it turns out to be pretty amazing :)  This book, like Karen's others, is filled with humor and believability and is just tons of fun from start to finish!

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

PPBF bloggers please be sure to leave your post-specific link in the list below so we can all come visit you and see your wonderful picks for this week!

And please remember that there will be no PPBF next week due (October 31!!!) to the fact that the Halloweensie Contest will be underway!!!  So exciting!  I can hardly wait until Monday... to see if anyone enters... anyone at all...  I'm hoping for at least a few - your stories are always so creative and fun!  (And no, I have not written my sample yet.  But I still have a couple days.  It could still happen... :))

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!! :)


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October 22, 2014

Would You Read It Wednesday #150 - Zoo Rules (PB) PLUS Straight From The Editor

There is never a dull moment around here.

First, I got a flat tire.  (It's possible this had something to do with the wood full of nails and screws that someone left directly in front of the garage... that I drove over as I hurried out to pick up my daughter from school and wondered, "Hmm... what was that?" Really, your guess is as good as mine... :))

Then the bear came and had a picnic out of our trash cans.  (If you haven't had much experience with bear picnics, I can tell you they are not at all tidy.  There is much clean-up involved...)

Then on Monday the house that's going in down the road from us had its foundation poured, so a parade of cement trucks thundered up and down the road all day.  Scout felt it her duty to bark at the passage of each one.  Both ways.  Jemma hid under the piano.  It was traumatic for everyone.

And now we are expecting rain in these parts so if anyone needs me I will be in my basement in the canoe.

I know!

Harrowing tales of this nature just don't come along every day!

I'm dreadfully sorry if my horror stories have left you in a weakened state, but never fear!  I have snacks!

Continuing with our get-ready-for-Halloween-theme, today's Something Chocolate is just the thing for when you want something sweet, salty, and candy-corny all at once.  (Because really, isn't that a combination you often find yourself wanting?  I know I frequently find myself thinking, "Hmm... I'm in the mood for something sweet, salty and candy-corny... what to have?"  Okay.  I admit it.  I have never thought that.  But there's always a first time :))  And they are pretty :)

Candy Corn Pretzel Hugs :)  Recipe HERE!
I think they might be easy enough for even me to make, so go ahead!  Give them a try!

Now that we have averted any danger of fainting, we have Straight From The Editor for September, which you will recall was won by Hope with her pitch for Cleo And Pinkie:

Whether it is marker stains on the carpet or mud trails in the hall, Cleo blames her mischievous, imaginary friend, Pinkie, for everything. “Pinkie did it!” Soon Mommy can’t take it anymore and declares, “No more Pinkie!” But without Pinkie, the house is too quiet until Cleo makes another mess, this time, to everyone’s delight.

Here's what editor Erin Molta had to say:

This sounds really cute. I made a small tweak because I think if you put the Pinkie did it in the beginning it’s more of a hook. The only thing that didn’t quite work for me was the very ambiguous ending—Cleo made a mess to everyone’s delight? You don’t want to make readers guess, you want to intrigue them, yet this is just confusing. It would be better to be more specific so they can get the joke. Then they would appreciate it more.

“Pinkie did it!” Whether it is marker stains on the carpet or mud trails in the hall, Cleo blames her mischievous, imaginary friend for everything. Soon Mommy can’t take it anymore and declares, “No more Pinkie!” But without Pinkie, the house is too quiet until Cleo makes another mess, this time, to everyone’s delight.

It's amazing what a difference a small change can make, isn't it?  As always, I find Erin's comments so helpful!

Let's move onto Would You Read It, shall we?  (Please, have another pretzel hug if you're feeling peckish!)

Today's pitch comes to us from Michelle, who you will remember from her July pitch for Escalators Don't Bite (WYRI #140).  She is a mom, a teacher, and a writer.  She blogs at http://amomnextdoor.wordpress.com/about/

Here is her pitch: (and she did mention that she's still looking for a title that really zings, so feel free to chime in if you've got any brilliant ideas!)

Working Title: Zoo Rules
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)
The Pitch: Miss Knaffle's second graders have a thing or two to learn about their teacher. They think they can get away with feeding coffee beans to the class hamster, or making farting houses during read aloud. Will a trip to the zoo set them straight? When the canny Miss Knaffle enlists zoo animals to her cause, readers will delight in seeing what happens to children who don't follow the zoo rules in this PB cross between Peggy Rathmann's GOODNIGHT, GORILLA, and William Bee's WHATEVER.

So what do you think?  Would You Read It?  YES, MAYBE or NO?

If your answer is YES, please feel free to tell us what you particularly liked and why the pitch piqued your interest.  If your answer is MAYBE or NO, please feel free to tell us what you think could be better in the spirit of helping Michelle improve her pitch.  Helpful examples of possible alternate wordings are welcome.  (However, I must ask that comments be constructive and respectful.  I reserve the right not to publish comments that are mean because that is not what this is about.)

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  There are openings in December so you've got a little time to polish up your pitches and send yours for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Michelle is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to (yes, I warned you last week I would probably say this again!) the Halloweensie Contest!  At least 4 people have mentioned here and/or on FB that they have written stories and I can't wait to read them!  I also can't wait until I think up my sample story, because time is running out and I'm getting just a teensy bit anxious about the fact that I haven't even started thinking about it.  Which is shocking, because usually I'm prepared months in advance.  Oh wait.  That's not me.  Okay.  Everything is right on schedule :)

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! :)


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October 17, 2014

Perfect Picture Book Friday - Ninja Red Riding Hood

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, Everyone!

I was certain this book had been reviewed already for PPBF, but when I went to find the link (so I could add it to the prize mention on the Halloweensie Contest) I couldn't find it anywhere!  Is it possible that since it came out in July while we were on hiatus it never got reviewed?  Or did I just not see it?  Who knows?!  But it's too good to miss, so enjoy!  (And if someone already did it, you'd better give me the link! :))

Title: Ninja Red Riding Hood
Written By: Corey Rosen Schwartz
Illustrated By: Dan Santat
G.P. Putnam's Sons, July 2014, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: fractured fairy tale, humor, girl power, language fun (rhyme)

Opening: "Once upon a Ninja-filled time,
a wolf couldn't catch any prey.
He kept getting licked
by the dinner he picked
and was growing more ticked by the day."

Brief Synopsis: The big bad wolf, having taken a licking from the three nina pigs, decides to attend martial arts school and then see if he can snack on Little Red Riding Hood.  But Red turns out to be way more than he bargained for!



Links To Resources: Teacher Guide/Activity Pages; compare this version of RED with the traditional tale of Little Red Riding Hood, Little Red Writing, and any other versions you like (this page lists quite a few!) - how are the stories alike? How are they different?

Why I Like This Book: For starters, I love fractured fairy tales, and this is such a clever one!  The rhythm of the rhyme is terrific, and just begs to be read aloud.  The story, complemented perfectly by the illustrations, is tons of fun.  I love that Red has a few tricks up her sleeve and is well able to take care of herself - a great message for girls.  Gran has a few surprises too.  And the poor old wolf... you just have to feel a little sorry for him :)

Hopefully, here's the trailer (although my internet is currently being extremely uncooperative and refusing to show any videos, so we'll just have to see if this works or not!)



For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

PPBF bloggers please be sure to leave your post-specific link in the list below so we can all come visit you!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!  I hope you're all thinking about and/or writing your Halloweensie stories!  Personally, I am still in the thinking about stage :)


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October 15, 2014

Would You Read It Wednesday #149 - Your Friend, Conrad (PB) PLUS A Halloweensie Prize Update!

Darlings!

I was going to be so succinct and just get right to Would You Read It today, and you were going to be so proud of me for my extreme brevity... I had it all planned out...

BUT!

I have to squeeze in a teensy Halloweensie Contest update!!!

Remember how I told you that the prizes kept rolling in?

Here's what our goody bag of prizes looks like now! (words in color are links for more info)

Julie Hedlund's fantastic new course How To Make Money As An Author, interesting, educational and suitable for writers at any stage of their career

 - a 2015 membership to Children's Book Insider, an absolutely fabulous resource for kid lit writers of all kinds generously offered by Jon Bard and Laura Backes

 - a picture book manuscript critique from the renowned Alayne Christian (prose only, 800 words or less)
Alayne Kay Christian is an award winning author of BUTTERFLY KISSES FOR GRANDMA AND GRANDPA. She is represented by Erzsi Deak of Hen&Ink Literary Studio. To read more about Alayne, her critique service, and her books visit her websites and blog.

- a picture book manuscript critique (rhyme or prose) from Penny Parker Klostermann who, after extensive experience critiquing for writing partners, members of various kid lit groups, and clients of Erin Murphy Literary Agency, is opening her own critique service!!!
Penny Parker Klostermann writes picture books and poetry. Her debut book, THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT, is coming from Random House Children’s, August 2015. Penny is represented by Tricia Lawrence of Erin Murphy Literary Agency. Click HERE to learn more about her critique service. 

 - a picture book manuscript critique by Tracey M. Cox!  Tracey offers a full critique on a fiction PB, 800 words or less, which will include overall impression and line-by-line on a prose only pb ms.  She will also include thoughts and marketing ideas that she thinks about and if she can think of references, she'll add them also.  Tracey M. Cox has been writing professionally since 2000 and is an author of 6 picture books.  She is an active member in the children's literature community and explores how to self-market on little to no budget.
Website: www.traceymcox.com
Blog: www.traceymcox.wordpress.com


 - an e-pub or PDF copy (winner's choice) of Linda Ashman's Nuts And Bolts Guide To Writing Picture Books

 - a personalized signed copy of I WANNA GO HOME by Karen Kaufman Orloff, the latest in the brilliant PB series that began with I WANNA IGUANA.

 - a personalized signed copy of I AM COW HEAR ME MOO by Jill Esbaum (reviewed for Perfect Picture Books HERE and HERE - yep, it's so popular it got reviewed for PPBF twice :))

 - a personalized signed copy of NINJA RED RIDING HOOD by Corey Rosen Schwartz, the riveting follow-up to THE THREE NINJA PIGS.

 - a PDF copy of Ryan Sias's A Spooky-Doodle E-Book"doodle pages, drawing lessons and writing prompts inspire kids to invent their own stories, characters and artwork."

And I'd like to clarify (because I got asked) that people who donate prizes are still eligible to enter the contest!  Just, if they win, I won't give them their own prize :)

And that is 10 prizes now, all very generously donated!  So I'm hoping we'll get at least 10 entries :)

Okay!  Now back to our regularly scheduled programing.  (Brevity is overrated anyway... :))

Since I know you're all revved up at the prospect of all those amazing prizes, and are going to run right off to your favorite writing corner and get to work on your entries as soon as you've commented for today's WYRI pitcher, let me fortify you with a little Something Chocolate! :)

Since Halloween is coming, it's important that we embrace the occasion in our chocolate snacks.  Today (don't be scared!) we have Spooky Boo Brownies!!!

Find the recipe HERE if you want to give these scary delights a try! :)

Oooh!  So spooky! . . . and chocolatey and delicious :)

Now then, today's pitch comes to us from Debbie who says, "I have been writing all my life but have been more serious about it in the last 5 years, joining groups like SCBWI and Julie Hedlund’s 12 X 12, taking courses like MPBM (Making Picture Book Magic), and attending conferences. Susanna’s knowledge, generosity, and encouragement make this group essential to my writing life. Thank you, Susanna! And thank you all in advance for your feedback."

(Debbie's website will be up soon, and when it is, I'll let you know where to find her! :))

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Your Friend, Conrad
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)
The Pitch: Conrad receives an invitation to visit his best friend Fiona. She tells him he’ll need to bring a sword, a bow and arrow, and … exactly ten marshmallows?! Conrad bravely sets out not knowing that the path will lead him into a leaky boat, past pesky ravens, through prickly brambles, and to the edge of a moat where a sweets-loving dragon lurks in the deep. Will this unlikely hero have the wits (and enough marshmallows) to make it to Fiona’s front door?

So what do you think?  Would You Read It?  YES, MAYBE or NO?

If your answer is YES, please feel free to tell us what you particularly liked and why the pitch piqued your interest.  If your answer is MAYBE or NO, please feel free to tell us what you think could be better in the spirit of helping Debbie improve her pitch.  Helpful examples of possible alternate wordings are welcome.  (However, I must ask that comments be constructive and respectful.  I reserve the right not to publish comments that are mean because that is not what this is about.)

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  There are one or two openings left for this year, since there will be a hiatus for the Holiday Contest and the holidays themselves, so polish up your pitch and grab one of the last couple spots for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta before 2015!

Debbie is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I think I said this last week (and I'll probably say it next week :)) but I am looking forward to the Halloweensie Contest!  I seriously can't wait to read what y'all come up with, and I also can't wait to give away all these lovely and amazing prizes!  Let's have a round of applause for our very generous donors! :)

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! :)


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October 10, 2014

Perfect Picture Book Friday - You're Here!

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, Everyone!

I love getting to read piles of picture books and pick out the best of the best to share here, but every now and again I get the extra-special pleasure of being able to share a book written or illustrated by someone I know and admire and am lucky to count as a friend.  Be assured - no matter who writes or illustrates the book, it only makes it onto Perfect Picture Book Friday if I really genuinely think it's perfect.  So today I have the joy of introducing you to a book by a very talented illustrator.  (She is also a talented writer, and I have no doubt we'll be seeing books where she is both the author and illustrator before long!)  Those of you who hang out in the kidlit circles probably already know her well.  Congratulations, Julie, on your first book-baby - it's here! oh, it's here! oh, it's finally here! :)

I hope you will all enjoy this sweet little picture book for newborns :)


Title: You're Here!
Written By: Karla Oceanak
Illustrated By: Julie Rowan-Zoch
Bailiwick Press, October 2014, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: Newborn - 2

Themes/Topics: first year milestones, family, new baby, love

Opening: "You're here! Oh, you're here! Oh, you're finally here!
Hip, hip, hooray! We've been waiting, my dear!
For your fingers - so perfect.  Your nibbly toes.
Your wide-window eyes and your neat, nubbin nose."

Brief Synopsis: A new baby is welcomed with much anticipation of all the wonders and milestones the first year will hold.

Links To Resources: Just read this lovely story with infants to begin the tradition of reading together; read with older children and talk about their first year - all the things they did and when, and how wonderful it was, maybe share their baby journal if you kept one, or look at photographs of them as infants; read with new siblings to help them understand what they can expect from their new little brother or sister.

Why I Like This Book: The story is simple and sweet, and expresses beautifully the wonder and love and happiness of a new baby.  It would make a perfect gift for any family with a newborn.  If you are a parent, it will make you a little teary, thinking about when you first met your babies :)  But the reason I love this book the most is the art.  Julie Rowan-Zoch's sweet drawings are simply perfect for this story.  The family, depicted as elephants, are just darling.  The baby's rosy cheeks, delightful expressions and infant antics are picture perfect.  Julie's art adds an extra layer of warmth and emotion to this little treasure of a book :)

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

PPBF bloggers please be sure to leave your post-specific link in the list below so we can all come visit you!  I can't wait to see what you've chosen this week!  And I will not be surprised if someone else has chosen this book! :)

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!! :)


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October 8, 2014

Would You Read It Wednesday #148 - Me Hungry (PB)

Well, things are pretty quiet up here on Blueberry Hill.

The hummingbirds have left for Mexico. (Smart cookies.)

The hornets have left because something (not me!) bashed in their (really ugly) house.

(Truthfully, I feel sorry for them.  They worked so hard on that (evil-looking!) house.  I don't know where they went, but they're gone.  At least I think they are... I haven't actually gotten close enough to tell for sure.  I'm not THAT much of a glutton for punishment :)  But I digress...)

The blueberries have left because the bears ate them.

The deer are quietly turning that soft brown color that makes them one with the woods in winter.

And this morning, when I was out for my morning jaunt, a whole flock of birds (swallows? really I'm making that up - the only birds I'm sure of are chickadees, cardinals, and blue jays :) - but they COULD have been swallows because that sounds nice) ANYway, the whole flock rose from a tree and took off above my head in a rush of wings - so beautiful in the stillness!

So, with all that quietness, it's a good thing we're about to liven things up with the 4th Annual Halloweensie Contest!!!

If you missed the announcement, go HERE and read all about it!

And the prizes are rolling in - there are going to be lots of good ones! - so pop those thinking caps on!

Now then!  Down to today's business!

First, I'm happy to announce that the winner of the September Pitch Pick is HOPE!!! with her pitch for Cleo And Pinkie!  Congratulations, Hope! Your pitch is on it's way to editor Erin Molta for her thoughts.  And congratulations to ALL  our brave pitchers - you all did a fantastic job and it was terrible to have to pick only one of your wonderful pitches when all your stories sound great!

Phew!  Let's take a break after all that excitement and indulge in Something Chocolate!  (Like we need an excuse :))

Today's Something Chocolate is chocolate deliciousness AND a story prompt, because really, don't those raspberries look like little critters huddled under a toadstool sheltering from a chocolate rain?  Maybe even chocolate thunder?  (which sounds like it should be a whole 'nother dessert! :))  Or maybe they're hiding under a rock behind a chocolate waterfall!  Or maybe they want to splash in chocolate puddles and they're daring someone to go first!  Whatever, I think they have a story to tell :)


You can think about it while you lick the plate :)

Today's pitch comes to us from Gail who says, "Recently, I participated in the Making Picture Book Magic workshop and in the Telling Children Stories in Today’s Market intensive. I’m a member of SCWBI, and hold both a degree in Fine Arts from Wilfrid Laurier University and a diploma in Journalism from Cambrian College. You’re welcome to visit http://gailtalbot.com anytime to learn more."

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Me Hungry
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)
The Pitch: Ted's delicious dreams are interrupted when a noise creeps from his closet. He peeks from under his blanket and discovers a teeny-tiny zombie! When Ted tries to feed his new famished friend, things don't go smoothly — meat kabooms, a plate is pinched, and a restaurant is invaded! But, Ted's quick thinking help the pair through. Zombie's tummy is finally filled, and Ted becomes a chef, just like he always wanted.  "Me Hungry!" is a fast-paced, 500-word, boy-oriented picture book. A little “Master Chef” meets “Goosebumps,” the story features Ted, a boy who learns that facing his fears is the first step in making his dreams come true.

So what do you think?  Would You Read It?  YES, MAYBE or NO?

If your answer is YES, please feel free to tell us what you particularly liked and why the pitch piqued your interest.  If your answer is MAYBE or NO, please feel free to tell us what you think could be better in the spirit of helping Gail improve her pitch.  Helpful examples of possible alternate wordings are welcome.  (However, I must ask that comments be constructive and respectful.  I reserve the right not to publish comments that are mean because that is not what this is about.)

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  There are openings in November so you've got a little time to polish up your pitches and send yours for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Gail is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to continuing to gather up prizes for y'all, and to how much fun we're going to have writing and reading entries for the Halloweensie Contest!

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! :)


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October 6, 2014

About That Exciting Announcement I Promised Last Week

Happy Monday, everyone!

I hope you all had a lovely weekend!

Last week I told you I had something exciting to tell you today and I do!

Are you ready?

dddddrrrrruuuuummmmmrrrrrooooollllllllll!!!!!

This week . . .

. . .

. . . Stop & Shop bath tissue is on sale for $.75 off!!!

I know!  It's not every day you get such incredible news!

So bring the van and load up, alrighty?  I knew you'd want to know!

Okey-dokey, then.

Thanks for stopping by.

I hope you all have a Marvelous Monday :)

See you on Wednesday for Would You Read It.

Bye.

Buh-bye now.

Bye! :)

Oh, but wait.  I guess there was one more thing. . .

Apparently I'm becoming very nice in my old age, because here it is, only October 6, with a full 3 weeks to go, and I'm announcing. . .

DUHN DUHN DUHN. . . !


The 4th Annual HALLOWEENSIE CONTEST!!!!!
That's right!  It's about that time!


courtesy google images
The Contest:  write a 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children (title not included in the 100 words), using the words pumpkin, broomstick, and creak.   Your story can be scary, funny or anything in between, poetry or prose, but it will only count for the contest if it includes those 3 words (you can count candy corn as one word) and is 100 words (you can go under, but not over!)  Get it?  Halloweensie - because it's not very long and it's for little people :)  (And yes, I know 100 words is short but that's part of the fun and the challenge!  We got nearly 80 fantastic entries last year so I know you can do it!)  Also, you may use the words in any form - e.g. creak, creaky, creaks, creaking, creaked, pumpkiny, broomsticks, whathaveyou :)  No illustration notes please!

Post your story on your blog between 12:00 AM EDT Monday October 27th and Friday October 31st by 11:59 PM EDT and add your post-specific link to the list that will accompany my October 27th post.  There will be no Would You Read It that week, and no PPBF, so the post and the list of links will stay up all week for everyone to enjoy.  If you don't have a blog and would like to enter, you can simply copy and paste your entry in the comments section of that post once it's up. (Or, if you have difficulty with the comments, which unfortunately sometimes happens, you may email your entry to me and I'll post it for you!)

The Judging: in a grueling, marathon weekend, my lovely assistants and I will narrow down the entrants to 3 top choices (hee hee hee - you know how much trouble I have with only 3, so we'll see) which will be posted here and voted on for a winner on Monday November 3rd.  The winner will be announced in a special Thursday post on November 6th.  If we get more than 20 entries, I will post 6 finalists and give prizes for 1st through 3rd.  If by some chance we get the kind of turn out we did last year, all bets are off.  I may post as many as 10 finalists and I'll probably end up giving everyone a prize :)  But we'll cross that bridge when we get to it :)

The Prizes:  yeah... I'm still working on the prizes :)  Feel free to chime in in the comments if there's something you'd particularly like to win! :)  But prizes will include:
 - Julie Hedlund's fantastic new course How To Make Money As An Author, interesting, educational and suitable for writers at any stage of their career,
 - a 2015 membership to Children's Book Insider, an absolutely fabulous resource for kid lit writers of all kinds generously offered by Jon Bard and Laura Backes,
 - a picture book manuscript critique from the renowned Alayne Christian (prose only, 800 words or less),
Alayne Kay Christian is an award winning author of BUTTERFLY KISSES FOR GRANDMA AND GRANDPA. She is represented by Erzsi Deak of Hen&Ink Literary Studio. To read more about Alayne, her critique service, and her books visit her websites and blog.
 - an e-pub or PDF copy (winner's choice) of Linda Ashman's Nuts And Bolts Guide To Writing Picture Books.
 - a PDF copy of Ryan Sias's A Spooky-Doodle E-Book, "doodle pages, drawing lessons and writing prompts inspire kids to invent their own stories, characters and artwork." 

Plus whatever else I dream up in the meantime :)

I hope those fantabulous prizes fill you with enthusiasm for the contest!

So sharpen your pencils!

Get your butt in that chair!

See what amazing, knock-your-socks-off story you can dream up!

It's a chance to hone your writing skills, practice your craft, write to specifications and a deadline, win amazing prizes, AND get to read and enjoy the wonderful stories written by all your fellows :)

Many thanks to Julie, Jon and Laura, Alayne, Linda, and Ryan for their very generous prize offerings!

I literally cannot wait to read your stories!!! :)

Now, for real, have a Marvelous Monday everyone! :)


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October 3, 2014

Perfect Picture Book Friday - Little Boo

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, Everyone!

Now that it's October, it's fair to start sharing Halloween picture books, right?

I'm glad you agree :)

Here's a pretty new one, just published this August.

Title: Little Boo
Written By: Stephen Wunderli
Illustrated By: Tim Zeltner
Henry Holt & Company, August 2014, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-7

Themes/Topics: Holidays (Halloween), Emotion (patience/impatience), Nature (lifecycle of a seed), Common Childhood Experiences (wanting to be bigger/older)

Opening: "The wind blew, the leaves fell, and a tiny seed hid in the garden.
"Boo," the seed said to a leaf rolling by.
"You're not scary at all," the leaf said.

Brief Synopsis: A little pumpkin seed tries hard to be scary but he just can't seem to scare anyone - not the leaves or the grubs, not the snowflakes in winter or the bees in spring!  "Be patient," the wind tells him, "you'll be scary soon enough."  But it's awfully hard to wait!

Links To Resources: plant a seed and watch it grow - indoors in a container or outdoors in a garden; 40 Things For Kids To Do With Pumpkins; 9 Easy Pumpkin Recipes For Kids

Why I Like This Book:  It's just so cute!  Look at that little pumpkin seed face - how can you not love it?! :)  The story is simple but so relatable for kids who always seem to want to grow up faster than nature allows.  And within the sweet story we also get a nice little glimpse of the life cycle of a seed - so cleverly slipped in there!  To top it off, the art is absolutely gorgeous -  colorful and warm and so appealing!  This is a wonderful one to add to your Halloween book shelf :)



For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

PPBF bloggers please be sure to leave your post-specific link in the list below so we can all come visit you!

And although I haven't been posting on Mondays, be sure to visit this coming Monday for an important announcement!

Have a great weekend, everybody!!! :)


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October 1, 2014

Would You Read It Wednesday #147 - Eat At Antonio's (PB) PLUS The September Pitch Pick!

Happy OCTOBER everyone!

Holy smoke!  How did we get to October already?  The days are just flying by! (some might say like a witch on a broomstick!)

And you know what October means, right?  Look for some exciting news on Monday!!! :)

Meanwhile, it's time for the September Pitch Pick!

Here are the wonderful September pitches for you to choose from, revised and improved thanks to your generous feedback!:

#1 Hope - Cleo And Pinkie (PB ages 4-8)
Whether it is marker stains on the carpet or mud trails in the hall, Cleo blames her mischievous, imaginary friend, Pinkie, for everything. “Pinkie did it!” Soon Mommy can’t take it anymore and declares, “No more Pinkie!” But without Pinkie, the house is too quiet until Cleo makes another mess, this time, to everyone’s delight.

#2 Koren/Sue - Taffeta: Diary Of A Supermodel (PB ages 6-13)
A true beauty, Taffeta used to win all the rosettes in pony shows in England. But one day a man bought her, and she had to move away from her mother, to her new home in hot and dusty Spain. When her new owner fell ill, so did Taffeta.
Taffeta could barely stand from lack of food and water. Luckily, she was found by a couple from a local horse rescue center, and soon Taffeta found supermodel status again.
Share in the heartwarming true story of Taffeta’s rescue and rise to fame in this diary-style picture book illustrated with beautiful photographs.
Taffeta: Diary of a supermodel is the second in a series of children’s books in which the horses and other animals saved by Spain’s Easy Horse Care Rescue Centre share their real-life rescue stories. All funds raised from the sale of this book help the center care for its many rescued horses, ponies, and donkeys.
The Easy Horse Care Rescue Center is based in Rojales, along Spain’s famed Costa Blanca coastline in the Valencia province. The center opens to the public every Sunday all year round. For more information or to make a donation, visit www.easyhorsecare.net or email center founders Rod and Sue Weeding on rescue@easyhorsecare.net.
Thank you for your support.
#3 Carol - Cwabby Wabby Woofen-snoof (PB ages 4-7)
Woofen-snoof was a happy snoof. Then one day she forgot to take her nap. She was cwabby. After causing a disaster in her house involving her brothers, Goofen and Zoofen, she decided she would never be cwabby again. And she wasn’t. That is, until the next time she forgot to take her nap. Uh-oh!

It's a tough choice as always, I know!, but please choose the one you feel most deserves a read by editor Erin Molta and vote for it in the poll below by Sunday October 5 at 5 PM EDT.  I will announce the winner on WYRI next week!

Golly!  After all that voting we need a snack!  Autumn is in the air, and that makes me think of cider donuts - the very best donuts on earth!  So I'm cheating on Something Chocolate a little today by offering you these:

YUM!

Along with this:

Also YUM!

Is there anything better than fresh cider donuts and hot chocolate?  I think not! :)

All right!  Ready for today's pitch?

It comes to us from Tonia who says, "I have been writing children's stories since I could make words with a pen. I locked myself in my room and wrote and wrote. I now write for kids in my spare time and sharing and engaging them in stories. I blog at www.storytellertellsall.com. Most of the time, it is about my daughter "Goldi" who has autism but I mix in other writings as well."

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Eat At Antonio's
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 8+)
The Pitch: A  strange looking restaurant pops up in a small ho hum farm town offering fine cuisine. A real stir is created as these plain Jane folks can't swallow much more than meat and potatoes and common sense. The Grand Opening announces a real eating adventure. Once inside, Master Chef Antonio will transform the taste buds that will take them to exotic places with just one bite. 

So what do you think?  Would You Read It?  YES, MAYBE or NO?

If your answer is YES, please feel free to tell us what you particularly liked and why the pitch piqued your interest.  If your answer is MAYBE or NO, please feel free to tell us what you think could be better in the spirit of helping Tonia improve her pitch.  Helpful examples of possible alternate wordings are welcome.  (However, I must ask that comments be constructive and respectful.  I reserve the right not to publish comments that are mean because that is not what this is about.)

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  There are openings in November so you've got a little time to polish up your pitches and send yours for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Tonia is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to sharing exciting things on Monday!  I wonder what I'll be telling you?  Aren't you just itching to find out?  You're probably going to have a tough time sleeping or getting anything productive done for the next few days, what with all the waiting and wondering...  Sorry about that :)

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!!! :)


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September 26, 2014

Perfect Picture Book Friday - You Are (Not) Small

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, Everyone!

I spent easily half my week writing a picture book which is not working and which at this point I hate a little bit :)  Why is it that an idea which seems so good when it starts out in your head can turn out so badly when you get it on paper?  I still feel like there's a kernel of good story in there somewhere, but darned if I can find it right now :)

Ah, well, at least I have a lovely, fun picture book (not mine :)) to share with you today!

Title: You Are (Not) Small
Written By: Anna Kang
Illustrated By: Christopher Weyant
Two Lions, August 2014, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 2-6

Themes/Topics: Differences, Perspective, Humor

Opening: "'You are small.'
'I am not small.  You are big.'
'I am not big.  See?'"

Brief Synopsis: Two creatures (whose fur, noses, and expressions suggest that they are indeed closely related) argue over who is small and who is big.  But it's really all in how you look at it :)


Links To Resources: Kids Activity Guide with printable growth chart; Classroom Guide for K-1st with Common Core Standards; start a discussion on the difficulty and/or desirability of establishing standards; read with Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal - how are these books alike? how are they different?

Why I Like This Book:  This book is short and simple, yet it manages to convey an important message with humor.  I dare you not to laugh at the end :)  In 91 words, it manages to get across the idea that we can be big and small at the same time, and in spite of our perceived differences we have much in common.  The art is appealing, and the characters' expressions speak volumes.  For anyone who has ever felt too little (or too big), this is the perfect story.

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

PPBF bloggers please be sure to leave your post-specific link in the list below so we can all come visit you!  Can't wait to see what other wonderful picture books will be on the list this week!

Have a wonderful first weekend of Autumn, everyone! :)


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