February 27, 2015

Perfect Picture Book Friday - Finding Spring

Look at that!  It's Perfect Picture Book Friday again!

And just in time, too!

In keeping with my theme for this week (you know, the one where I insist that spring is coming in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary :)) I have the perfect book!

Title: Finding Spring
Written & Illustrated By: Carin Berger
Greenwillow Books, January 2015, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8 (though I think a lot of 3 year olds would love it too :))

Themes/Topics: seasons (Spring), animals (bears), perseverance, patience

Opening: "The forest was growing cold.  Mama said that soon it would be time to sleep, but all Maurice could think about was his first spring."

Brief Synopsis: Mama bear says it's time to sleep, but all Maurice can think about is spring.  So when Mama goes to sleep, Maurice sets out to find it.  He has never seen spring, however, so he's not really sure where to look or even what he's looking for!

Links To Resources: take a nature walk and look for signs of spring; make up a list of signs of spring and check them off as they appear - is spring here yet?; How To Make A Diorama (video); Diorama Crafts For Kids; try making your own diorama about spring; make paper flowers; how to make tissue paper flowers (video)

Why I Like This Book: Every child on earth understands impatience - how hard waiting is, and how much more fun to take action!  Maurice is not deterred in the slightest by the fact that he doesn't actually know what spring is.  He just looks until he knows he's found it.  And he can tell he's found it because it's the most magical thing he's ever seen!  Just wait until you see what it is (and no, I'm not telling! :))  The book is illustrated with dioramas and cut-paper collages and is just gorgeous - a feast for the eyes of kids and grown-ups alike.  A perfect choice for those of us currently longing for spring :)

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 what delights you've chosen for us this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!  It will be March by the time it's over! :)


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February 25, 2015

Would You Read It Wednesday #163 - The Animal Crackers (PB)

You know what?

I have decided that spring is coming!

I know the thermometer by my kitchen window says 11 below zero this morning... er, possibly 12 below.


I know Blueberry Hill is still blanketed under a solid two feet of snow.

I know my fingers get so cold while I'm doing the barn that first they hurt and then I forget I have any fingers :)

But hear me out.

In 3 days - THREE! - it will be March!  And March is the month that technically contains the first day of Spring!

See?  Spring is coming!

In addition, the angle of the light has changed.  The earth is tilting her face toward the sun.  When I get up at 5:15... well, okay... it's still dark.  But by 6 AM the light is coming up - it really is.  If it wasn't 11 below zero I could take the dogs out :)

So I feel freezing confident that Spring is right around the corner! :)

Meanwhile, let's have Something Chocolate, because it is a completely fabricated outright lie well known fact that chocolate is good for  warming people up.  Really, it's true.  (And no, that is not the end of my nose in Pennsylvania...)

Today's pitcher was kind enough to bring Something Chocolate for all of us.  (Thank you, Joanne :))  The person who thought up the recipe is seriously a person after my own heart!  She says she was rummaging in the pantry for something healthy and this is what she came up with! :)  And it's called a S'MOreo!  How can you not LOVE that???!!!

"Recipe" HERE :)
and this is the kind of recipe I might actually be able to manage
as it involves no actual cooking - unless you count toasting the
marshmallows :)
I am not kidding when I say HOW HAS NO ONE EVER THOUGHT OF THIS BEFORE?  IT'S GENIUS!

I have every intention of experimenting with this genius right after Would You Read It.  I feel certain that there will be a lot of trial and error to get the marshmallow toastiness/smushiness ratio exactly right... meaning a lot of taste-testing... but, you know, all in the name of culinary excellence or whatever :)

Today's pitch comes to us from Joanne who says, "I've been writing since I was knee-high to a grasshopper (actually, I was NEVER that little - I'm currently 5'10" and I may have been born that tall LOL), but I only started focusing on children's writing (picture books in particular) at the beginning of last year. I'm a Southern California native who escaped (they almost held me hostage - truly!) to Michigan 20ish years ago with a Michigander husband (who I dragged out of California) and two darling (well, sometimes) kids currently in 5th and 8th grade. I LOVE the kidlit community I have found here and at other amazingly cool places on the Internet (12 x 12, PiBoIdMo, ReviMo, Kidlit411 and probably half a dozen others that eat up WAY too much of my time). I love to learn - and I absolutely KNOW I'm not "there" yet - so critique away! I can use it!

Here are her links if you'd like to go visit her and get to know her.  I highly recommend her - she's lovely :): 
blog/website: www.joannesher.com 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joannesherwriter
Twitter: https://twitter.com/joannesher

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: The Animal Crackers
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)
The Pitch: Elephant wants to play in his animal friends' band, but every instrument he tries doesn't work – whether he swallows the harmonica or breaks a drum. With the band's help, Elephant discovers he's had music in him all along - in his stomping feet and trumpeting trunk. Meet the newest member of the Animal Crackers! 

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 Joanne 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 July 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!

Joanne is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to S'MOreos!!!

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!!! :)

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February 20, 2015

Perfect Picture Book Friday - The Bear Ate Your Sandwich

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, Everyone!

You will probably be able to tell instantly by my selection and suggested activities that I am dreaming of spring on this sub-zero day!  This book is so fun - I hope you'll enjoy it!

Title: The Bear Ate Your Sandwich
Written & Illustrated By: Julia Sarcone-Roach
Knopf Books For Young Readers, January 2015, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-7

Themes/Topics: humor, mischief, story-telling/tall tale, journey, unreliable narrator

Opening: "By now I think you know what happened to your sandwich.  But you may not know how it happened.  So let me tell you.  It all started with the bear."

Brief Synopsis: A bear in search of breakfast falls asleep in the back of a berry truck and ends up in the city.  After exploring his surroundings, he ends up in the park... near an unattended sandwich.  "Your beautiful and delicious sandwich.  All alone."  After the sandwich, it's back to the familiar forest for bear.  But the story has a twist at the end that's as delicious as the sandwich!



Links To Resources: Facts About Bears; Fun Sandwich Recipes For Kids; 50+ Fun Kids' Picnic Ideas; the narrator in this story is completely unreliable - try making up stories of your own with an unreliable narrator who doesn't give himself away until the very end!

Why I Like This Book: Such a fun story!  The bear is so sweet and funny and sympathetic, going along just doing what bears do - eating, sleeping, exploring.  Meanwhile, something entirely different is going on.  The narrator is just leading you down the primrose path, casual as you please, and it's not until the very end you realize you can't believe a word he says! :)  You will have to read the story to find out what REALLY happened to the sandwich :)  The art is gorgeous - lush and colorful and filled with fun details... and a clue :)

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!  And if you live anywhere near me, stay warm! :)


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February 18, 2015

Would You Read It Wednesday #162 - Barebones The Skeleton (PB) PLUS Straight From The Editor

Happy Wednesday, Everyone!

It's time for another round of every writer's favorite game, Would You Read It?!!!

But first, I have to tell you about the Christmas present my brother gave me - a one year subscription to Audible!  (You have my permission to skim this bit if you're in a hurry :) - I just wanted to share because it's awesome.)

One of the best presents EVER!  And I'm telling you this in case you need a gift for a writer, or even a normal person :) in your life, because I know how hard finding a perfect gift can be.  (It's also a great answer to the question, "What do you want for your birthday?"! :))  This present is great for the car, yes, but also great for listening to while exercising, whatever your punishment of choice happens to be - unless it's swimming - not sure how your iPod or MB3 player would work with that... :)

The only hard part is making the monthly pick.  I have to read through many possibilities, and read and compare the ratings, and listen to a few moments of the narrator, and evaluate, and weigh, and finally, FINALLY, make a careful choice.  Because I only get ONE!  And it has to be GOOD!

For January I had The Baker's Daughter by Sarah McCoy, read by Elisabeth Rodgers and it was fabulous!  For February, I have Saving Ceecee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman, read by Jenna Lamia.  After The Baker's Daughter, I thought, there's no way it could be as good.  But it IS!  Different kind of story, but such a great listen!

I am totally hooked.  But that's part of what makes the selection process so hard.  Now that I've had two that are so good, I don't want to accidentally get one that is a disappointment and waste my precious pick!  It's a teensy bit paralyzing!

Current titles in the running for March are All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr... but I might not get that on Audible because my daughter has the book and I could technically borrow it... if I ever have time to read.  Also in the running is The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins which looks really good and Kristen Larson said it was even better than Gone Girl.  But it's way too early for a decision yet!  So if anyone has any stellar recommendations, feel free to share!

Now that I've given you completely free and fantastic advice on what to get everyone you need a present for this whole entire year I'm hoping you're still awake :)

*** Those of you who were skimming - stop and pay attention now! :) ***

Because it's time for Straight From The Editor for the December/January pitch winner.

You will recall Michele's winning pitch: Hoot And Holly (PB ages 4-8)

When Holly finds the orphaned owlet Hoot in a windswept field near home, she knows he won’t survive without her help. With clues from Hoot and a bit of creativity, Holly teaches Hoot to hunt and fly. And when he is ready, they say goodbye.    

Editor Erin Molta says:

Hoot & Holly is a great title, BTW! And the pitch seems intriguing but I think it might be more successful if you reworked the bit about the clues. That connotes a mystery and that’s not really what this story is about, right?
The highlighted section could be more like a question: But how will Holly teach an owl how to hunt and fly? With research and some imagination, the young girl teaches the little orphan owl how to find it’s food and soar high in the air. When he is ready, they say goodbye.
When Holly finds the orphaned owlet Hoot in a windswept field near home, she knows he won’t survive without her help. With clues from Hoot and a bit of creativity, Holly teaches Hoot to hunt and fly. And when he is ready, they say goodbye.    
As always, I find Erin's thoughts so insightful!  I hope they're helpful to you too!

Now then, dearies, lest you grow faint, let's have a little second breakfast, shall we?

Our Something Chocolate today has been provided by our pitcher, and I must say, she has EXCELLENT taste!
Recipe for this delicious beauty at the Stay At Home Mom HERE
All that luscious chocolate would go perfectly with a cup of coffee, don't you think?  And that way we'll get twice the veggies out of this healthful breakfast - cocoa BEANS in the cake, and coffee BEANS in the coffee.  Truly, it's a win-win! :)

Now, if you can just stave off that chocolate coma for a moment or two, today's pitch comes to us from the one and only Robyn - she of the luscious chocolate cake - who says, "I write stories for children making them giggle, making them think."

You can visit her at:



Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Barebones The Skeleton
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)
The Pitch: BAREBONES THE SKELETON looses his click-clack, and it’s Halloween. He has to find it before the sun goes down, or he’ll lose his Halloween job. With a little help from his friend, Barebones searches high and low and where he finds it is truly a musical surprise in this Jack Skellington meets Fred Astaire story.

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 Robyn 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 July 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!

Robyn is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to poring over my Audible choices!

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!!!


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February 16, 2015

In Which Phyllis Bestows Prizes For Her Birthday Bonanza Winners!

Although it is neither George Washington's nor Abraham Lincoln's birthday today, we are nonetheless celebrating President's Day.

I'm sure this makes sense to someone.

Possibly the person who thought up the plan to celebrate the birthdays of two presidents on a day that was no one's birthday.

We don't care though, because around here we're just always glad of an excuse for a day off from school and/or work, and also of an excuse for cake!

Because I think George and Abe would like us to have some cake in their honor, don't you?  Phyllis picked this one, very Abe and George!

[okay, so my internet is being very persnickety and won't upload a photo tonight, so imagine, if you will, a luscious lemon layer cake with blueberry lavender buttercream icing in a vivid shade of purple that would definitely be right up George and Abe's alley - and if you follow the link below you can see it!  Phyllis and I are thinking Spring!]

Lemon Layer Cake with Blueberry Lavender Buttercream http://thewholesomepursuit.com/2014/04/23/lemon-layer-cake-with-blueberry-lavender-buttercream/

Go ahead!  Dig in!

It is not Phyllis's birthday either, although she is hoping that when she becomes President her birthday, which is also not on this day, will be included with George's and Abe's.  Phyllis feels that a little marmot in the White House would be a good thing, and I can't disagree :)

So even though it is no one's birthday today, we are having cake and celebrating the selection of the prize winners from Phyllis's Birthday Bonanza!

Are you ready?

Let me start by saying that it was not easy to choose winners.

For starters, all the entries were amazing and marvelous and enrapturing.  In addition, Phyllis felt strongly that all 19 should receive 1st Prize.

"You can't give 19 people first prize," I said.

"Maybe YOU can't," said Phyllis, "but I can!"

"No, what I mean is that if you make a 19-way tie for first place then it's like no one won!"

"No, it's like 19 people won."

"19 people can't win!"

"Yes they CAN!"

"No they CAN'T!"

"I say they can and I'm giving them all the Punxsutawney Phyllis Pancake of Awesomeness!"

"Oh, well who wouldn't want to win a Pancake of Awesomeness?!"

"No one," said Phyllis smugly.  "That's why it's the perfect prize."

Therefore let it be known on this 16th Day of February 2015 (which is not anyone's birthday) that Julie A, Karen, Sarah C, Jilanne, Kathy, Stacy, Catherine, Julie R-Z, Wendy, Michelle, Heather, Erik & Josie, Donna, the Hoeft Family, Linda, Vivian, Suzy, Robyn, Sarah M, and Christie all get a pancake from Phyllis.

I'm not really sure what to say about that.

I hope you like it?!

"Now that we've got that pancake business out of the way," I said to Phyllis, "who were really your favorites?  There must have been some among that talented pack that really stood out to you."

"Well, now that you mention it," said Phyllis, "there were a few!"

So, without further ado, here are Phyllis's selections for top placement in her Birthday Bonanza!  She is uncomfortable labeling them 1st, 2nd, etc. because she loved them all so much!

The Hoeft Family - for their beautifully written, illustrated, performed, and videoed Happy Birthday Wish.

Stacy - for her amazing quilling which Phyllis had never heard of before but thinks made her look beautiful and also was fabulously videoed.

Robyn - because Mr. Ed said, "you mean the world to me Phyll" in such an endearing way and had a whole Phyllis wall of wonder in his stall - what's not to love about a video with a horse in it?!

Julie A - for her amazing poem that included not only Phyllis but all her literary brothers and sisters... and trains and airplanes.

Erik & Josie - for their awesome video which included singing AND costumes and was just an all-out funkadellic performance - and Phyllis wants it to be known that she is Super Funky!

So Bekah, Stacy, Robyn, Julie A, and Erik & Josie, please Email Me to sort out your prizes.

Up for grabs are:

 - a generously donated signed copy of SUBSTITUTE GROUNDHOG by Pat Miller along with an audio recording!

 - a signed copy of PUNXSUTAWNEY PHYLLIS (should there happen to be anyone among you who wants one and doesn't already have one)

 - any picture book of your choice (recent titles I have enjoyed and would recommend include Blue On Blue, The Most Magnificent Thing, and Gaston.)

 - any MG or YA book of your choice should you happen to be a winner who would find something more at your reading and interest level more to your liking :)

Congratulations to all our entrants!  You all did such a wonderful job, and Phyllis and I enjoyed your efforts SO MUCH!!!  Thank you ALL for making Phyllis's birthday and 10th Anniversary SO MUCH FUN!!!

Have a marvelous Monday, everyone!  And those of you who have the day off - celebrate like no one's watching! :)




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February 13, 2015

Perfect Picture Book Friday - Slugs In Love (one more time :))

Woo hoo!  It's Perfect Picture Book Friday!

And not just ANY Perfect Picture Book Friday, mind you, but the one that's the day before Valentine's Day!

This is great!, I thought gleefully to myself last week.  Surely there are a plethora - a PLETHORA, I say -  of fantabulous Valentine's books that have been waiting all year for this day - THEIR day - the one time they can rightfully be shared!  I did a small jig in anticipation.

But day after day has gone by as I've searched for a great Valentine's Day book to share, and good golly if I haven't been just flat-out underwhelemed by titles I was hoping would knock my socks off!  (I myself have written two Valentine's books: A Valentine For Phyllis, which apparently failed to knock Holiday House's socks off since they declined the opportunity to publish it, and Be Mine, which left my agent's socks drooping around her ankles because, as she said, it's so hard to sell books that are only holiday books, so my efforts have been underwhelming too!  Oh, plus I mustn't forget my dreadful entry in the Valentine's Contest of 2012 - a "story" that just proves that with a low enough word count requirement I can barely make sense! :)  But we seem to have gotten off on a tangent here... and by "we" I mean would you guys please stop asking about my Valentine stories? Sheesh! We're here for Perfect Picture Books!)

Anyway, it would be morally wrong to post a book for Perfect Picture Books that I did not consider Perfect just so I could post a Valentine's Day book.  So instead, I will repost one of my favorite love books.

I am downright tingly with excitement because it is arguably one of the best love stories ever.  Are you ready?  It involves slugs.  What's not to love? :)

Slugs In Love
Written By: Susan Pearson
Illustrated By: Kevin O'Malley
Marshall Cavendish Children's Books, November 2006, Fiction
Suitable For: ages 4-8
Themes/Topics: love, friendship, perseverance, humor, Valentines Day
Opening:  "Marylou loved everything about Herbie - how his slime trail glistened in the dark, how he could stretch himself thin to squeeze inside the cellar window, how he always found the juiciest tomato.  Though she never spoke a single word to him - she was too shy - she thought about Herbie every morning and every night and most of the hours in between.

On Monday, while she grazed in the strawberry patch, Herbie filled her mind and a love poem filled her heart.  She wrote it in slime on the watering can."

Brief Synopsis:  (From Publishers Weekly) "Herbie keeps finding Marylou's poems, etched in slug slime and full of devotion, but Marylou keeps missing the longing letters he writes in return.  While she watches his every move, he can't find anyone who knows where she is so he can meet her."  How will the "slime-crossed" lovers ever meet?

Links To Resources:  Cool Facts About SlugsDoorknob ValentineFinger Puppet Valentine - (and with a little ingenuity, the last two could incorporate slugs! :))  Kids could make up their own poems like Herbie and Marylou.

Why I Like This Book:  It's sweet and it's funny.  It's maybe not technically a Valentines Day book (as in, it's not about Valentines Day) but it is about love/friendship on a level that I think kids can relate to.  Because Marylou and Herbie can't seem to connect, there's the added fun of rooting for the heroes. And the art complements the story perfectly.  It's so wonderful - really, I think it takes a genius to make slugs look so expressive :)

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!

Happy Valentine's Weekend, everyone!  May you all revel in hearts, flowers, and chocolate - especially chocolate :)


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February 11, 2015

Would You Read It Wednesday #161 - Son Of Boogie (PB)

In case you are wondering (now that it's February 11) I have NOT forgotten about picking winners for Phyllis's Birthday Bonanza!

I've just been highly distracted from work by people in this house having snow days - which is absolutely lovely! - but allows me to watch back-to-back episodes of Say Yes To The Dress and/or the entire Star Wars saga out of the corner of my eye when I'm supposed to be focusing on whose Ode To Phyllis is the best.

Phyllis thinks everyone should win because she loved them all.

I also loved them all, but I said that if everyone won then no one would FEEL like they won.

Phyllis said that was horsehockey and didn't even make sense and was I going to eat the last strawberry pancake or could she have it?

So you can see it was a very productive conversation.

The easy route would be to make YOU guys pick.  But I'm always making you vote for things, and I still don't have an "I Voted" sticker to tempt you with, so I don't know if that would be asking too much.  Do you guys want to vote?  Or do you want Phyllis me to pick?  Let me know in the comments along with your thoughts for today's pitcher and then, weather depending :), we'll try to get around to one or the other before Spring actually arrives :)

Oh!  And before we get to today's pitch, we have a winner for the December/January Pitch Pick from last week!

Drum roll please..... rata-tat-tata-tat-rata-tat-tata-tat-etc....

The winner is MICHELE! with her pitch for Hoot & Holly!!!

Congratulations, Michele!  Your pitch has been sent to editor Erin Molta for her comments, and I'm sure you'll hear from her soon.

And congratulations to all our other fine and brave pitchers!  You all did an excellent job - it was a tough choice! - and I hope you all feel good about bravely putting yourselves out there to test your pitches and that you found the feedback from our wonderful and generous readers helpful and constructive!

Now, then, onto today's Would You Read It!

I love that today's pitcher volunteered her own Something Chocolate... and boy does it look good!  Can I offer you a cup of coffee or a glass of milk to go with that?

Kusina Master Recipe's Peanut Butter Fudge Cake
Recipe HERE (feel free not to watch the shocking presentation
on how to remove dark spots from your hands :))

I also REALLY love that today's pitcher is using Would You Read It in a way I hoped people would (at least some of the time) but which seldom happens.  She's using her pitch, and your feedback, to help her figure out her story! (as you'll read below.)

So without further ado, today's pitch comes to us from Kathy.  Kathy Halsey has been writing picture books and nonfiction stories for two years. In a prior life she taught English and served as a K-12 school librarian. Since she has an agent, Jodell Sadler at Sadler Children's Literary, the purpose of her pitch is to guide her plot and focus her manuscript.

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Son Of Boogie
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)
The Pitch: Conquering the boards–skateboards, surf boards snowboards­–that’s Lil Boogie’s dream. He and his Pops head off the Half Pipe Park to skate, but his flips flop. Lil Boogie heads for the beach, but the waves bury him. And on the snowboard, an ice storm stops him cold. Back at the ski lodge, he finds his board–the CHESS BOARD. Lil Boogie rules and rocks this board like a king. SON OF BOOGIE is a 453 word picture book for PreK-2nd grade that champions perseverance and the father-son bond.

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 Kathy 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 July 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!

Kathy is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to writing a new story. I don't know when it will happen - I haven't had an idea I feel really excited about in a while - but it could be today!  Why not?! :)

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone! :)


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February 6, 2015

Perfect Picture Book Friday - Lost Cat

Well, I don't know where the week went, but here we are at Friday again!

Friday is a really excellent day.  It means we're about to get a weekend, and it means a list of Perfect Picture Books to enjoy over that weekend - an unbeatable combination!  All we need to make it true perfection is a nice chocolatey snack to go along with our picture books and our weekend :)

I had another book in mind for today.  Based on the jacket copy I thought I'd love it.  But when I read it my reaction could only be described as meh (not what you want for a Perfect Picture Book!) and then I read this one and loved it start to finish, so there was really no contest.  Preconceived idea out, awesome surprise book in :)  I hope you like it too :)

Title: Lost Cat
Written & Illustrated By: C. Roger Mader
Houghton Mifflin Books For Children, October 2013, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: journey, pets, love (person/pet)

Opening: "Ever since Slipper was a tiny kitten, she'd lived with a little old lady in a little old house in a little old town."

Brief Synopsis: Slipper has always lived happily with Mrs. Fluffy Slippers, but when Mrs. Fluffy Slippers moves, Slipper accidentally gets left behind in the commotion.  Slippers searches for a new home, but not just any home will do - it has to be the right one.  Will she find a new family she can adopt?

Links To Resources: Washington Children's Choice Award Activities (scroll about 1/2 way down the pdf); Fun Facts About Cats; How To Draw A Cat video; learn to draw a cat step-by-step guide.



Why I Like This Book: First and foremost, I love the art!  Soft pastels that render that beautiful kitty so life-like!  Her expressions are perfect, especially her fright at High Tops, her polite pleading with Miss Shiny Shoes, and her bliss on the last two pages.  And the cat's-eye-view perspective is wonderful.  The story is a sweet one with both humorous and poignant moments.  I love that all the people in the story are named for their footwear - which is what Slippers sees of them first :)  And most of all, I love that this lost cat story has a happy ending :)

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 what wonderful books you've chosen this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!! :)


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February 5, 2015

Very Inspiring Blogger - Who Me?!

Look at me, sneakily sliding in a blog post on a Thursday afternoon!

Probably no one will see it, but I really had to post this.  I've let too much time go by already!

Anyone who has spent much time around my blog knows that I am full of ideas and hare-brained schemes and always busy with about 47 more things than I actually have time for because there are just always so many interesting things to do!

This would work out fine if I was one of those hyper-organized types, but alas, I am not.

In my case, creativity comes with chaos :)

And although I can generally pretty much manage the chaos, occasionally things (and when I say things I mean my horrifying email inbox) get the better of me, and something slips through the cracks.

I was going through said horrifying inbox and discovered these lovely gems in the cracks!


In the past month or so, I was very kindly nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award by Rachel Tey over at Reading Rachel, Dayne Sislen at Dayne Sislen Designs, and Linda Eve Diamond at The Beauty Of The Picture Book!  Imagine that!  ME!  A Very Inspiring Blogger!

I am so touched!  And I thank you all so much!  It means a great deal to me that you would bestow such an award on me.

One of the nicest things is that these lovely people have been reading (and apparently enjoying) my blog very quietly in the background and I didn't even know it!  Now I've had the opportunity to meet 3 bloggers I didn't know before :)

Of course as always with these awards there are all kinds of rules.  I'm supposed to tell 7 facts, and nominate 15 more bloggers, and you all know how I feel about that: I can never think of 7 interesting things to say, and I never like to single out just 15 of the many, many bloggers I know and love because I feel like everyone deserves the award.  So if you want it, please help yourself and know that I find you all Very Inspiring!

As for the 7 facts, hmmm....

How about some current stuff?  I don't promise to be interesting :)

1.  I am currently reading Just One Evil Act by Elizabeth George.  It is good, but very long, and I never have enough time to read, so it's taking me a while to get through.  Next on my list is First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen.

2.  My brother gave me a year of Audible for Christmas (awesome present!!!), and the first book I listened to in the car (no trouble finding time for THAT because I am ALWAYS in the car!) was The Baker's Daughter by Sarah McCoy which I loved and highly recommend.  I especially loved the narrator because she did all the voices and accents so well.  If I'd read the book to myself, I would have gotten the names of all those German baked goods completely wrong! :)

3.  I recently discovered that I like avocados - not necessarily plain, but in stuff.  Who knew?

4.  I should never be put in charge of taking care of house plants.  They are way too quiet and fail to tell me when they need attention... which spells their imminent demise.  (And yes, this is unfortunately current.  There's some kind of plant with pink flowers next to the kitchen table which is not looking at all well.  But since it happened to catch my eye, I did just water it.  Maybe I have brought it back from the brink.  There's always hope :))

5.  The most recent movie I watched was Non-Stop starring Liam Neeson.  On DVD of course because it's probably ancient by now.  I literally cannot remember the last time I went to a movie.  It may have been July when I saw The 100 Foot Journey, which I really liked.

6.  I haven't written a new manuscript I like enough to call finished in way too long.

7.  I am ready for Spring.  Right now.  Today! Maybe because the temperature is dropping steadily and is expected to be between -5 and -10 by tonight :)

7.5  Because I just thought of this... :)  I've got a couple of ideas in the works which I'm hoping to share with you all soon... maybe by the end of February?  But one never knows... :)

Many, many thanks to Rachel, Dayne, and Linda for the awards, and to all of you who show up and read faithfully, whether you comment or not.  Knowing you're out there reading makes it all worth while and I appreciate each and every one of you!

Have a happy rest of Thursday, and if you live in my neck of the woods, STAY WARM! :)

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February 4, 2015

Would You Read It Wednesday #160 - Finley VS The Fly (PB) PLUS The December/January Pitch Pick!

Wowee!  What a busy week it's been so far and it's only Wednesday!

Monday was Phyllis's big day, and boy did we ever get a lot of AMAZING poetry, videography, art, photography, etc to celebrate!  If you didn't get a chance to see/read, you really won't want to miss it (and everything is very short and un-time-consuming so you should totally check it out! :))  Go HERE.

One item that didn't make it in time for Monday's post, and didn't get posted yesterday because I was away at a school visit, is Dana Atnip's totally fun depiction of everyone's favorite weather-hog!
illustration copyright Dana Atnip 2015
please visit her website HERE
I'll add it to Monday's post, but I didn't want anyone to miss it! :)

We will figure out some winners from Phyllis's celebration, I just haven't had time because, as I mentioned, I was "out of the office" :)

Phyllis and I had a LOVELY school visit yesterday!  There were balloons and cake and wonderful students and teachers!  I'm hoping to have pictures to share at some point, but my photo stream won't update... because I am a technopoop!... so maybe next time!

Now then!  Onward to today's business!

First, we have the December/January Pitch Pick!

Here are last month's wonderful pitches, newly tweaked and polished thanks to your helpful advice.

#1 Marla - Froggy Went A Courtin' (PB ages 4-8)
Froggy Went a Courtin’ is an updated version of the traditional song. Missy Mousey has agreed to marry Froggy. But an old tom cat crashes their wedding and wants to eat the bride. It’s up to the strong and independent Missy Mousey to save herself, Froggy, and the day.

#2 Jeff - Stormy With A Chance Of Pizza (PB ages 3-7)
Grandpa’s creative problem solving saves the day (or at least their dinner) when ‘can do’ perseverance triumphs over challenges of a new recipe and Mother Nature’s threats, showing  his storytelling grandchild the value of self reliance.

#3 Bekah - The Penguin And The Pelican (PB ages 4-8)
After being turned away by graceful dancers at a dance hall, a penguin and a pelican try to fix their awkwardness on land by taking lessons from graceful but greedy dance teachers.  When the birds discover that dance lessons have not cured their clumsy gaits, new friends help the pair to keep dancing joyfully and find their natural gracefulness. 

#4 Michele - Hoot And Holly (PB ages 4-8)
When Holly finds the orphaned owlet Hoot in a windswept field near home, she knows he won’t survive without her help. With clues from Hoot and a bit of creativity, Holly teaches Hoot to hunt and fly. And when he is ready, they say goodbye.    

#5 Maria - The Trouble With Homework (PB ages 6-9)
"Demonstrations Speeches Today" is written in large letters on the board. OH NO! What's a kid to do when he's totally forgotten about his homework? Sometimes, you just have to improvise!
Join Ms. Noble's 3rd grade class as they deliver their first-ever speeches. Ethan's folding napkins. Ella's frosting cake. Jillian's crying great, big tears 'cause her cookies didn't bake! But what about Conor? He's come to school unprepared so he'll just have to make his up as he goes along. Don't be surprised if he has to "let the cat out of the bag."
Do you have anything to demonstrate to others? Let Conor's presentation inspire you to create your own speech and show off the skills and talents you have. A speech outline is included to get you started.
Disclaimer: No snails or house cats were harmed in the making of this book! 

Please vote for the one you think is best and deserves a read by editor Erin Molta by Sunday February 8 at 5 PM EDT and I will announce the winner next week.

Now dearies, I know you're pooped out after all that reading and voting, so how about  quick pick-you-up?  Something Chocolate always does it for me :) and I'm in a brownie mood today so...

YUM!
Feel better?

Good!

Today's pitch comes to us from Kirsten.  Kirsten W. Larson used to work for NASA but now writes about rocket science — and just about any science — for kids. She is the author of SCIENCE FAIR SUCCESS! and USING THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD (Rourke), as well as more than a dozen children’s magazine articles. Find her at kirsten-w-larson.com

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Finley VS The Fly
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages
The Pitch: On the verge of losing his favorite sandwich to a pesky fly, Finley strikes back with a vacuum, the sink sprayer and more creating chaos in the kitchen. But when he finally wallops the fly, he learns to be careful what he wishes for.

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 Kirsten 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 June 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!

Kirsten is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to catching up on whatever I missed yesterday, and getting to meet an online friend in real life later - all the way from Indiana!!!

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! :)


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