January 31, 2014

Perfect Picture Book Friday - Goldy Luck And The Three Pandas

Happy New Year again everyone, because today is Chinese New Year and the first day of The Year Of The Horse!  The Year Of The Horse is said to bring health, prosperity and good luck and I wish that for all of you!

In celebration of Chinese New Year, I have the perfect picture book, hot off the presses from Natasha Yim.  She will be doing an interview here soon, which may supply even more resources for this book, so keep an eye out for that.  Meanwhile, here's the book (which is also perfect in view of Multicultural Children's Book Day which was Monday :)):

Title: Goldy Luck And The Three Pandas
Written By: Natasha Yim
Illustrated By: Grce Zong
Charlesbridge, January 2014, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: retelling of classic tale, holidays (Chinese New Year), taking responsibility

Opening: "When Goldy Luck was born her mother said, "Year of the Golden Dragon - very lucky year.  This child will have good luck."
"She has a face as round as a gold coin," said her father.  "This child will bring great wealth."
But Goldy had neither great wealth or good luck.  In fact, she could never seem to keep money in her piggy bank, and she had a habit of breaking things."

Brief Synopsis: Goldy Luck is sent to deliver turnip cakes to the Chan family for Chinese New Year in spite of the fact that she's sleepy and hasn't had breakfast yet.  When she arrives, the Chans are not home, so she samples their congee, tries out their chairs, and naps in Little Chan's bed, leaving chaos in her wake.

Links To Resources: the back of the book includes an author's note about traditions of Chinese New Year, a diagram and explanation of the Chinese zodiac, and a recipe for turnip cakes.

Why I Like This Book:  I love retellings of classic tales, and this is a fun one.  It takes Goldilocks and the Three Bears to China to celebrate Chinese New Year :)  Although the story follows the basic format of the original, it departs after the Chans (panda bears in this version :)) come home.  Goldy initially runs away (as she does in the original story) but her conscience gets the better of her and she decides to take responsibility for her actions and returns to the Chans's home to help tidy up.  The ending makes for a big improvement over the original :)  And I love that so much back matter is included, making it so easy to expand on the use of the book.  The art is bright and engaging, ending with a sweet picture of Goldy and Little Chan sharing turnip cake, the rug underneath them a depiction of the Chinese zodiac :)

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

Before we all take our leave for the weekend, let me take a moment to remind you of the ongoing high jinx and shenanigans around here: Phyllis's Fun Fashion Show!  There are already a number of FANTASTIC Phyllis's up: Steampunk Phyllis, Divergent Phyllis, Opera Phyllis, Done With Glum Phyllis, Olympic Phyllis, Punxsutawney Elvis, Glow-In-The-Dark Phyllis, Mardi Gras Phyllis, and Rock Star Phyllis ready to sing with Bruno Mars at the Super Bowl!  Don't miss all the great entries (link list HERE)  And there's still time to enter YOUR Fashion Phyllis!  (Contest guidelines also HERE).

Sunday (GROUNDHOG DAY!) we will have a special post with a line up of all the Fashion Show Phyllises so you can see them all and vote for your favorite... and also find out what Phyllis's prediction will be: 6 more weeks of winter or early spring?

PPBF bloggers, please be sure to leave your post-specific links in the list below so we can all come see what you picked this week!

Looking forward to seeing everyone Sunday!!!  Happy Weekend, y'all! :)


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January 29, 2014

Would You Read It Wednesday #119 - Simon Wants To Be A Helper (PB)

I hope you are all keeping up with Phyllis's Fun Fashion Show which began with Monday's post and will continue through Groundhog Day.  (And if you'd care to join in the hilarity haute couture, hop on over and see the instructions HERE.  I hope you will because there are prizes, and also because it is more fun with more people :))

So far we have two - count 'em, 2! - fabulous entries!

Done With Glum Phyllis was brought to you by Linda, and Steampunk Phyllis was decked out by Stacy.  Yes, that's right!  The very same Stacy whose pitch we will get to in two shakes of a groundhog's tail!

But first, you know what time it is :)

Since Groundhog Day is almost here, I thought we should celebrate with Something Chocolate that groundhogs AND chocolate-lovers would appreciate :)  Isn't this amazing?  It is actual cake!  And the fur is all piped on buttercream frosting (and no I did not make it!)
From Cake Central
It ALMOST looks too good to eat...  :)

Alrighty, then.  Now that we all have our mouths full of cake, today's pitch comes to us from Stacy who says, I write {picture books and memoir}. I design {websites}. I eat {chocolate}.

Stacy can be found online at her website http://stacysjensen.com on Twitter @StacySJensen on Facebook   http://facebook.com/StacySJensen  and lurking around Pinterest at http://www.pinterest.com/stacysjensen/.

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Simon Wants To Be A Helper
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)
The Pitch: When Simon wakes up he decides to help his mother around the house, but his idea of helping isn’t the same as his mother’s. Just when Simon feels his assistance isn’t needed, one turn of a knob gives him a chance to make things better.  

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 Stacy 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 March 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!

Stacy is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to seeing more Phyllis models in stylish and creative outfits!!!  I am pretty interested to see what I'll dress her in, since so far I haven't the foggiest notion what it will be or how I will do it!  That is almost definitely because I am up to my eyebrows in inventing new, fun, doable crafts for my 2 library visits this weekend and not because I am totally unprepared :)

Ooh!  And this just in!  A new entry for the fashion show!

Olympic Phyllis by Katie Hill!
She looks totally ready, doesn't she?  Foam finger and everything! :)


Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone! :)

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January 27, 2014

Time For Some Fun!!!

So, here we are.

It's still January.

It's dark.

It's really, really, really COLD.

And Spring seems like an impossible dream.

We could wallow in the doldrums...

...but I say, LET'S HAVE SOME FUN!!! :)

(Yep.  You know what that means.  Time for another Hare Brained Scheme! :))

As some of you may realize, GROUNDHOG DAY is nearly upon us.  (And in case you DON'T realize, someone at my house who gets VERY excited about it is here to remind you!)

This whole thing is her idea.  She was worried you might not even REMEMBER Groundhog Day (quel horreur!), what with all the hiding out indoors under piles of blankets due to that pesky polar vortex, and that would be UNTHINKABLE!

Therefore, in celebration...

ARE YOU READY...?

..we are going to have Phyllis's Fun Fashion Show!!!

It will be easy and fun and everyone can join in, and there will be prizes!!!

Here's what to do:

Think up something you think Phyllis would look dazzling in.  An evening gown?  A loin cloth?  An Eskimo parka and mukluks?  A polka-dot bikini?  A sari?  A sundress?  A kimono?  A burlap sack?  Jeans and a t-shirt?  A pineapple?  A Broncos sweatshirt?  Or a Seahawks sweatshirt?  Whatever you like!  Let your inner fashion goddess/god run wild! :)

Then dress her up!

And feel free to accessorize!  Hats, handbags, scarves, jewelry, shoes/boots, spurs, parrots, hair ribbons, walking stick, gloves, pony, canoe...maybe a football in honor of the fact that this year Groundhog Day and Super Bowl Sunday are one and the same! :)

High-Tech Option:  You can do it by photoshop or MS Paint if you're handy like that.  (Feel free to help yourself to the Phyllis heads or Phyllis figure below so at least that part is done for you, or use the Phyllis action figure HERE.)

Mid-Tech Option:  You can use Face In Hole.com or similar

Low-Tech Option:  You can print out one of the Phyllis heads or the whole Phyllis figure supplied below and draw, paint, sew, or make paper clothes to stick on.  Or cut something out of a magazine.  Or make her an outfit out of feathers :)  Or raisins :)  Or whatever :) (Or again, use the Phyllis action figure HERE.)

(And if the ones I post below don't work properly, just email me and I'll send you the files!)

Then post a photo (or your photo shop version) of your dressed up Phyllis on your blog along with your prediction: 6 more weeks of winter, or early spring???  (Or email it to me and I'll post it here if you don't have a blog but would like to join the fun.)

The outfit does not have to match your prediction.  After all, if Phyllis decides there will be 6 more weeks of winter, she might hightail it for sunny Cancun in a polka-dot bikini :)

(If you would like to also help Phyllis in her quest to stay in print, she would be most appreciative of a link to her page at your local indie, Amazon, B&N, or wherever you feel like.)

Anyhoo, post your Phyllis Fashionista on your blog (or email it to me for posting here) anytime between now and Saturday February 1 at 5 PM EST and add your post-specific link to the link list below so we can all come see how gorgeous she looks!  Feel free to post more than one if you're having fun :)

On Sunday February 2 - GROUNDHOG DAY! - I will post all the photos here in a special post - the complete fashion show! - and we'll let everyone vote for winners :)

Doesn't that sound like fun???  I totally can't wait to see what we all come up with!!! :)  I think we're going to be taking the cat walk to hitherto unprecedented levels.  Look out, Gisele, Tyra, Heidi!  You've got nothing on Phyllis!  Short, stout, furry, and dressed to the nines, you're about to see how a groundhog struts her stuff :)

Here are the heads and figure for your convenience: (with many thanks to my daughter who did this on photoshop since I am clueless!)


you can color this one in if you like...

or there's this one that's already colored...

you can cover what she's wearing here with whatever you choose for her :)
And prizes.  Hmm... prizes...

If we get 12 or fewer entries, 1 prize shall be awarded and it shall be the winner's choice of a signed hard cover copy of Punxsutawney Phyllis (if by some chance you don't already have one :)) or an unsigned (but still free!) hard cover copy of Gretchen Groundhog It's Your Day, or your choice of two of the following because they're all only available in paperback: Go To Sleep, Groundhog by Judy Cox, Substitute Groundhog by Pat Miller or Mr. Groundhog Wants The Day Off by Pat Vojta or Ten Grouchy Groundhogs by Kathryn Heling, any of which shall be purchased from Merritt Bookstore.  If you should happen to want something besides Groundhog Day picture books (which Phyllis is unable to fathom, but no accounting for taste :)) you may alternatively select any book of your choice up to a price of $17.95 to be shipped to you from Merritt.

If we get more than 12 entries, we will award 1st - 3rd and all winners can pick from the choices listed above.

Golly!  I'm excited!

Phyllis is jumping up and down!

We are having so much fun we've forgotten the dark and the cold and the still faraway whisper of spring!

So come join us!!!

Have a marvelous (and warm!) Monday everyone! :)

And whenever you have a Phyllis Fashionista, add your post-specific link to the list below!

And LOOK!  Here's our first one from Linda who says EARLY SPRING!!!

by Linda Boyden
And here is our next one!
Olympic Phyllis by Katie Hill
And another!!
Spring Phyllis by Grace age 8!
And two from Sue!
Phyllis makes a prediction (after looking at the world's upside) by Sue Heavenrich

Phyllis modeling her 6 more weeks of Ski Season togs by Sue Heavenrich
Sunday Best Phyllis by Heather Greene




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January 24, 2014

Perfect Picture Book Friday - Willow Finds A Way

So.

Whose idea was this polar vortex thing?

I have to say, I am not in favor.  (Not that I recall getting a vote!)

My thermometer has forgotten how to go above 1.  I have been forced to waste gas to get Princess Blue Kitty's engine properly warmed before driving (which I'm sure is contributing to the environmental circumstances responsible for this weather!)  Worst of all, I'm afraid Punxsutawney Phyllis isn't even going to emerge on February 2 if it doesn't get a little warmer, never mind make a prediction!  She is a fan of all weather, but even she has her limits!  Plus, I heard a rumor that her long underwear is missing...

In protest, since I'm feeling bullied by the weather, I've decided to do a Perfect Picture Book about one way to deal with bullies!

Title: Willow Finds A Way
Written By: Lana Button
Illustrated By: Tania Howells
Kids Can Press, March 2013, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-7

Themes/Topics: bullying, problem solving, friendship, self-confidence

Opening: "In Willow's class, Kristabelle was the boss.  Willow wished for words that would say, "no," when Kristabelle told her where to sit, and what to play, and who to play with.  But when Kristabelle spoke, everyone did as they were told.  Even Willow."

Brief Synopsis: Kristabelle, the class boss, is having a fabulous birthday party, and Willow really wants to go.  But when Kristabelle un-invites some of the other kids, Willow has to decide which is more important: the party, or doing what's right.

Links To Resources: This book is a good one for opening discussions about friendship, bullying, and self-confidence.  What makes a good friend?  How does bullying make people feel?  Anti-Bullying Tips and Conflict Mediation Tips which you can read and then discuss with kids.  Read Enemy Pie and talk about how Derek and Willow's approaches are different.  Which one do you think would work better?

Why I Like This Book: This is a charming story in which Willow models one way of dealing with a classmate who is a bully/has a controlling personality.  Her response is a refusal to take part in the exclusion.  She doesn't get mad or yell or carry on.  She thinks.  And she comes to a decision about what is right for her.  By taking the action she does, she shows the other children that they have a choice and encourages them to embrace it.  She makes her point by disengaging, which is something a lot of kids could have success with in similar situations.

(Willow's Whispers was reviewed for PPBF a couple weeks ago by Pat Tilton and would make a nice companion read.)

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

Following Willow's example of disengagement, I've decided to disengage from winter and go where it is not negative-something degrees!  If you need me, I'll be here :)


PPBF bloggers, please leave your post-specific links on the list below so we can all come visit you (if we can thaw enough to move :))

Have a great weekend, everyone!!! :)

(Oh, and P.S. - I'm hoping to have an interview with Lana Button, the author of Willow's Whispers and Willow Finds A Way, sometime in the not-too-distant future, so keep a weather eye! :))

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January 22, 2014

Would You Read It Wednesday #118 - Gwynivere The Ear Finds Her Nose (PB)

Yee-haw!  It's Wednesday!

Time to ride out on the open range and rope ourselves some steers!

On second thought, it's 9 below zero by the thermometer this morning!! (just about the coldest it's ever been here) - and goodness knows how cold with the windchill!!  Definitely too cold to take the cow ponies out of the barn.  Also, I don't know how to rope steers.

Let's have Something Chocolate and play Would You Read It instead :)

I vote for molten chocolate cake since it's so cold :)

Stonewall Kitchen Recipe HERE
(I hope all you health nuts will note that I put a raspberry on it so it counts as a healthy breakfast :))

Today's pitch comes to us from Kirsten who is an aspiring author, a reading teacher, a mom of three, and a lover of all things sweet! You can find her on FB at https://www.facebook.com/kirsten.bock

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Gwynivere The Ear Finds Her Nose
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 5-7)
The Pitch: Gwynivere the Ear, self-proclaimed superhero, can hear citizens in distress from miles away.  Unfortunately, chaos seems to follow Gwynivere closely; almost as closely as her arch nemesis, Nosy Rosy.  And, as much as Gwynivere proclaims that “superheroes don’t need help,” she will soon discover that everyone can use a helping hand (or nose) once in awhile.

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 March 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 riding the open range and roping some steers when we get out of double negative digits!

And before we go, I want to sincerely thank everyone who donated to Scott's campaign on Monday, or who purchased books from his store, or who still might be thinking of doing one or the other.  It means so much to me and to him, and I really can't thank you enough!  (And in case you missed it, you can read about it HERE.)

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!  Happy reading, writing, teaching, parenting, steer roping, or whatever is on your agenda for today!


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January 20, 2014

A Little Help From His Friends

Today's post is a special one.  I have a story to share.  Please forgive me if it's a little long, and read to the end if you can - it's important!

Once upon a time, there was a teacher who loved books.  He loved people and the stories they had to tell, and he loved his community.

Me and Scott in a photo that is not at all posed :)
Wanting to share his love of books and reading and enrich his community, Scott Meyer started his bookstore by accident.  (He says if he'd ever had any business classes, he never would have done it since he's done all the things they tell you not to do!)

He started out with two tables, borrowed from a local school on Friday nights.  He set up his books on a street corner at the main intersection in Millbrook, NY, and sold them on weekends, returning the borrowed tables to the school on Sundays at dark.

In 1983 Scott got an actual storefront, and sold his first book there in 1984.  He didn't have enough stock, so he went to the local library each week, borrowed books for his window display, and put up a sign telling people that if they wanted to read the books they could get them from the library after he returned them, and if they wanted to own the books, he could order them.  It gave him a window full of books, helped his fledgling business off the ground, and promoted the local library.

The bookstore moved four times, but has been located here for many years:
Merritt Bookstore, Millbrook, NY, owned and run by Scott Meyer
Scott is involved with the local schools and library, he serves on the Millbrook Business Association, he supports local businesses, offers his store space to display the work of local artists, supports girl scouts and 4H, and runs events to encourage reading while also bringing business to Millbrook.  For a Harry Potter event, he once had 72 high school students sleep over in the store.

As the book business has grown more difficult, Scott has been forced to look for out-of-town events, like the New York State Readers Association Conference in Saratoga Springs, events he does in addition to all the local ones.

It is a tremendous challenge to stay solvent.  Scott hasn't made money in a while.  But he believes his community deserves a bookstore.

And it is a fortunate community that has his bookstore.

Merritt is well stocked...

...cozy and inviting...


...a place to browse and enjoy!
To Scott, everyone who comes through his door is famous.  Everyone has a talent or a skill.  Everyone has stories to tell.  Everyone is important.  He converses daily with stone masons, dancers, historians, cloud-catchers, teachers, authors, stay-at-home moms, doctors, and people of every kind and he enjoys them all.

His is a writer's bookstore - he loves authors and is excited for their books and the work they do.  Witness the lovely display of local author Susanna Leonard Hill :)


He knows his customers.  When he hears of a new book he thinks, oh! so-and-so would love that, and makes a point to let them know.

7th graders shadow Scott to learn about the book business
Scott thought the struggle was about keeping his bookstore.

Now, Scott has cancer - melanoma, which is a tough one to defeat.  He has been battling it for over a year, and his medical bills are mounting astronomically.   He has had multiple surgeries, chemo, and radiation, and will be starting a new drug trial next month because things are not working as well as everyone hoped and the cancer has spread.

And yet through all this, he has shown up at his bookstore every day he can.  He remains optimistic, positive, cheerful, and uncomplaining.  He jokes about the things he's had to endure, and feels worse for his family than he does for himself.  And he is still there for his community in spite of everything.  He is brave, and admirable, and a role model to all for how to handle a bad situation with grace.

So, even though you may not know him, I'd like to ask you to consider helping him out.  He has helped and supported me my entire career as an author, and I would be no kind of friend if I couldn't do the same for him when he needs it.

If you've been thinking of buying a book or two for yourself or someone you know, if you would consider ordering it from Merritt this time (Merritt Bookstore) instead of your usual online choice, that would be a wonderful support of his store.  An increase in sales would help him so much.  He is well stocked and has lots of books that have been signed by authors.  In fact, if you're interested in picture books, there are a number local authors who would likely be willing to sign their books for you if you order from Scott's store including Iza Trapani (see Iza's books), Michael Garland (see Michael's books), Karen Orloff (see Karen's books), and myself (see my books).  And if you want to go above and beyond (because I know at least a few of my readers live in this area and know Scott personally, or maybe you just want to help a fellow book lover in need) you can contribute to his fund (link below) to help make sure he can meet his medical bills, take care of his family, and ensure that his sons get to go to college.  Any amount, even $5, will be deeply appreciated.

My most heartfelt thanks for your time and patience in reading this, and for any help you can give my friend.

Have a marvelous Monday, everyone!


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January 17, 2014

Perfect Picture Book Friday - Love Monster

Happy Friday Everyone!

And you know what Friday means, right?

Perfect Picture Books!!!

(And only slightly less exciting, the WEEKEND!)

(oops... did I accidentally make that look MORE exciting?)

It just so happens that this weekend is a long weekend, which is why, as you are reading this, if I survive the blog talk radio interview I'm supposed to do first - GULP! - (will there ever come a time when I can do these things without wanting to go hide in the coat closet? :)) - I will be driving to collect number 4 for a couple days of rest and relaxation (probable translation, he's out of clean clothes, so why not come home for a visit? :))

Was that a run-on sentence?

If you live anywhere between my house and the coast of Massachusetts, I'll wave to you as I drive by :)

Anyway, here is my book for the day.  I love it.  I hope you will too! :)

Title: Love Monster
Written & Illustrated By: Rachel Bright
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2012, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: ages 2-5

Themes/Topics: being different, being yourself, acceptance, love

Opening:  "This is a monster.  (Hello, Monster.)  I think you'll agree, he's a little bit funny-looking.  To say the least.  He lives in a world of cute, fluffy things.  Which makes being funny-looking pretty, darn hard."

Brief Synopsis: Monster has a hard time being a bit funny-looking in a world of cuteness, so he goes out looking for someone who will love him just the way he is.

Links To Resources: Shape Monsters Craft, Monster Bags (for Halloween treats or regular old lunch :)),  Make A Messy Monster (if you wanted it to match this book you could make it red instead of the green that is pictured), Hand Print Monsters. This story would pair well with Mostly Monsterly by Tammi Sauer (another book about a monster whose insides don't match the outsides)

Why I Like This Book: This book is so cute!  Monster is rather funny-looking in his own "slightly hairy", "googly-eyed" way, but underneath the hair he is sweet and sensitive and only wants to be loved for who he is.  That is something we can all relate to :)  He searches high... and low... and middle-ish :)... looking for someone who will love him.  Things get pretty dark.  Literally :)  And just when he's given up... well, I'm not going to TELL you - that would ruin the ending :)  The pictures are endearing, and there is a lot of humor to be found in the details.  For writers, this is an example of a story that is beautifully done in about 235 words.  Little kids will love the delightful pictures and spare text, and slightly older ones will appreciate the humor.

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

Now, I hope you all enjoy reading each other books!  I have a date with Princess Blue Kitty (my car, for those of you who haven't met her :))  PPBF bloggers, please leave your post-specific links on the list below so we can all come visit!

Have a great (long) weekend, everyone!


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January 15, 2014

Would You Read It #117 - Tell Me About The Baby (MG Novel In Verse) PLUS Straight From The Editor!

Remember last week when I was going through the things I forgot and said I thought there was something else?

Well, there WAS!

Due to the fact that I didn't receive them (holiday busy-ness and all that) I never posted Straight From The Editor for our tied October winners!  (At least, I'm pretty sure I never posted them...  If I did, just pretend I didn't.  You know the drill :))

I wouldn't want you to miss any of Erin's insightful comments, so here they are:

First, Julie's pitch:

Broccolilocks PB (ages 3-6)CRUNCH! To satisfy Broccolilocks' GIANT appetite her parents plant every inch of their community garden plot. But a mysterious stink leads her nose down the rows to find that something has been munching on her favorite: broccoli! Inviting hungry friends to keep pesky aphids in check, and Broccolilocks fed, may be just right!
And here are Erin's thoughts:

This has potential, but I am not getting a feel for the story. Is it about getting rid of aphids—thus teamwork or about satisfying a growing appetite.  The hook—the reason why an editor would want to acquire this or even ask to see more is missing. I like the Goldilocks reference –it’s very cute--but what about hungry friends is just right? I think you need to figure out what the main point of the story is. The main goal and message, so to speak for the story. Is it that Broccolilocks will eat anything and everything but broccoli is her favorite and the aphids are eating it, so she must save it? Or is it that Broccolilocks doesn’t have any friends because she eats anything and everything but she manages to meet some in their common goal of getting rid of the aphids? Once you’ve determined the main goal of the story then you can work in the clever Goldilocks references.

Second, Rosi's pitch:

Iris The Rainbow Girl PB (ages 2-5)Iris sees a sparkling rainbow.  It's so beautiful, she decides she wants to be one. Her parents tell her all the reasons she cannot, but Iris is determined and won't let anyone hang a dark cloud over her idea. Soap bubbles have little rainbows on them, but when she covers herself with them, they burst and wash away. After dreaming about rainbows, Iris comes up with a way to achieve her goal
And here are Erin's thoughts:

This is lovely. However, the last bit falls flat. You don’t want to keep the ending a secret when you’re pitching because an editor doesn’t necessarily ask to see something because she is curious about the ending—she is intrigued and wants to see how the author got there—the actual writing. So, I would give more of a hint as to what Iris did to BECOME a rainbow.
As always, I find Erin's comments so helpful!  I hope you do too!

Now.  I'm feeling a little faint after all that absorbing of professional pitch critique, so I think we better have a little pick-me-up...  A little snack to tide us over until second breakfast :)

It's time for...

You guessed it!

Something Chocolate!!!

I went all out for you guys today - fancy chocolatey deliciousness... with coffee!!  Enjoy! :)

Today's pitch comes to us from Joy who says, I'm a children's poet.  I've published in Highlight's HIGH FIVE  (Follow The Footsteps--a puzzle poem is scheduled for publication Feb. 2014) and have poems in The Poetry Friday Anthology, and the Poetry Friday Anthology for Middle Grades, edited by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong (Pomelo Books). And their anthology of science poems scheduled for March 2014.
I have a blog at www.poetryforkidsjoy.blogspot.com  where I daily post a children's poem and a writing prompt.  I've been doing this for almost 3 years.  (You do the math, that's a lot of poetry and a LOT of fun!)
Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Tell Me About The Baby
Age/Genre: MG Novel in Verse
The Pitch:  When Sara's parents are killed in an auto accident, her older brother comes to take her home with him.  Will Sara be able to adjust to the grief of losing her parents, her home, her school and friends?  Will she adjust to an older brother who wants to act like a father, a pregnant sister-in-law who resents having an almost-teenager in her house, and a new town, school, teachers and hopefully new friends?  Will Sara, who has always been the baby, adjust to a new baby, or will she be a built-in babysitter?  Can Sara make a new life for herself?
(The title comes from the first question Sara asks her brother as they are riding on an airplane to Tucson where she is to tart her new life.)

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 Joy 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 February so you've got a little time to polish up your pitches and send yours for a chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Joy is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to when it stops raining (which will hopefully be before the house floats off the mountaintop :))

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone, and good luck to all the ReViMo-ers out there - you can do it!!!


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January 13, 2014

A Monday Birthday Dog Day Short & Sweet

Good Morning Everyone!

Guess what day it is?

If you said International Skeptics Day, you're right, but that's not what I'm thinking of :)

Today is my Brown Dog's birthday!  She is 7.  That means that she and I will be the same age this year.  (I'll let you figure the math :))

I think she would enjoy a rousing chorus of

Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday dear Stinky (yeah... she rolled in something awful yesterday and in spite of the bath is still a little odoriferous... which makes her very happy... have you noticed a theme here? :))
Happy Birthday to you!!!

And of course I will be making her a cake, so stop by later for a slice :)

Speaking of cake, which is sweet, reminds me that we haven't done a Short & Sweet for a while, and what better time for inspiration than now?
badge created by Loni Edwards
In between navigating my basement by canoe and bailing (oh how do I love thee, unnatural January rain?  Let me count the ways... uh, okay, maybe not :)) I persuaded my old computer to part with this picture of Baby Brown Dog.


In honor of her birthday, let's think up stories for her to star in :))

You can think up a title, or an opening line, or a one sentence pitch or, if you're really ambitious, all three!

I'll go first.

Title: One, Two, Three!  Play With Me!
Opening Line:  One, two, three!  Play with me!  How many puppies do you see?
Pitch: A little brown dog wants to play, eat, play, walk, play, roll, and play some more, counting everything as she goes.

Now it's your turn :)  Miss Brown says thank you in advance - she knows she will love your ideas to turn her into a literary star! :)

Have a marvelous Monday everyone!  And don't forget to stop by later for a slice of birthday cake (or two :))










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January 10, 2014

Perfect Picture Book Friday - No T. Rex In The Library

WOO-HOO!

It's Perfect Picture Book Friday again!

I know we had a little mini one last week, but that didn't really count because I wasn't really here :)  So I'm excited to see what everyone has to offer today!  Here's mine:

Title: No T. Rex In The Library
Written By: Toni Buzzeo
Illustrated By: Sachiko Yoshikawa
Margaret McElderry Books, February 2010, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: behavior, imagination, library

Opening: "It's Tuesday morning in the library.  Tess is out of control.  "Time out!" Mommy shouts.  "No beastie behavior in the library.""

Brief Synopsis: Tess is not exhibiting proper library behavior, so her mother puts her in time out.  But while she's there, a T. Rex escapes from a book and runs amok.  Will Tess be able to get him under control?
Links To Resources: Curriculum Connections (classroom activities); T. Rex Classroom Activities; Dinosaur Coloring Pages  If you were a T. Rex, what would you do if you got out of your book?  What other characters can you imagine escaping from a book?  What would they do?  Read Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen.  How are the stories alike and how are they different?  How does T. Rex's behavior compare to Lion's?

Why I Like This Book: All kids have a little trouble behaving decorously sometimes.  But when Tess gets put in  time out, the adventure is just beginning.  The T. Rex escapes from his book and charges madly around the library, taking Tess (and readers) on a wild tour of the different sections and offering them a glimpse of the treasures they will find there - history, adventure, knights, pirates, and the wild west etc.  Tess goes from  being the one out of control to being the one who has to get the T. Rex under control.  And she manages it based on her own experience, so that the book ends quietly and sweetly.  The art is bright and energetic and fun.  All around a cute book :)

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

Now.  Because I am behind in catching up from my little internet vacation, I've got nothing else to say today.

I know!

It boggles the mind!

But you guys are off the hook :)

Run free!  Frolic!  Enjoy everyone else's PPBF picks! :)

And PPBF bloggers, please leave your post-specific links in the list below.

Have a great weekend, everyone.  I'll see you Monday if I have anything interesting to share :), otherwise Wednesday for Would You Read It!



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January 8, 2014

Would You Read It Wednesday #116 - The Witch's Brew (YA)

Happy New Year Everyone!
(Which I'm saying again because I don't think too many people were here on Friday.  After all, even I wasn't really :))

I hope you all had wonderful holidays!

I thoroughly enjoyed mine.  The only hard part was sending all the kids back to school - I hate to see them go :( - and, oh, yeah, getting back to work!

As you know, I took about 2 weeks off.  I didn't think I could do it, but I did.  It turned out to be easier than I thought :)  I spent lots of time with family, which was really wonderful, and I even got to read a couple books!  I admit it.  I'm a die-hard Jack Reacher fan - not the movie (I'm sorry, but Tom Cruise cannot pull off fair-haired, blue-eyed, 6' 5" and 250 lbs!) - but the books.  The whole time off thing was a real treat.  And now I'm finding it a little harder than I expected to get back in the groove :)

Since the Holiday Contest (and my time off) kind of took over December, a few things fell by the wayside.

I'm pretty sure I never announced the winner of the November Pitch Pick, so, without further ado, it was Steve with his pitch for Rashad Saves The World!  Congratulations, Steve!  You had some tough competition!  (And if I DID announce that before and just forgot, let's all pretend I didn't and be excited for Steve!  And let's also all pretend I'm not going prematurely senile :))  Steve, your pitch is in Erin Molta's inbox (yes, it really is - I did actually remember that :)) and I'm sure you'll hear from her shortly.  Congratulations to the other brave pitchers as well because they all gave excellent pitches for stories which sounded terrific!

I also don't think I ever announced the winner of Sharon Stanley's lovely book The Little Dog In The Middle Of The Road and the accompanying stuffed toy!  So without further ado, the winner, as chosen randomly by random.org, is Diane Tulloch! :)  Diane, I will put you in touch with Sharon so you two ladies can work out mailing the goodies :)

Also, I didn't get a chance yet to tell you about Elaine Kearns's fabulous new website for writers - KidLit411!  It's got everything!  You should definitely go check it out!  But after Would You Read It, please, because once you click over there you're going to want to explore and it might take you awhile :)

I'd also like to remind anyone who might be interested that Meg Miller's ReViMo is coming up next week - January 12-18.  It will be a full week to work on picture book revisions in the company of other picture book writers with prizes and everything!

It seems that everyone else is posting inspirational messages about their word for the year, their goals, their aspirations.  I have goals and aspirations too, but as you all know, I am not that organized.  So for now, I'm just going to sum up my goals for 2014 as Get Stuff Done :)

I think there was something else I forgot but, I forget... :)

You know what's helpful when you forget things?

Something Chocolate!

How about cake?

courtesy of OMG Chocolate Desserts - recipe here
It doesn't help you remember, but it makes you not mind that you forgot :)

If any of you all think of something else I've forgotten, please feel free to remind me!

Now then, enough with the catching up.  Let's get on to Would You Read It!

Today's pitch comes to us from Rena.  Rena J. Traxel writes silly picture books for kids and murderous novels for teens. Find her on twitter @renajtraxel or on Facebook

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: The Witch's Brew
Age/Genre: YA (mystery/legal thriller/fractured fairy tale)
The Pitch: When the body of Gretel is unearthed the residents of Rosia are ready to burn the candy Witch everyone except 16-year-old Amy Faye. Fuelled by her own false arrest, Amy—lawyer in training— is willing to risk her reputation, her family and maybe even bend a law or two to prove her crush’s mother isn’t a murderer. But will the truth set the Witch free or will she be rightfully executed alongside Amy’s reputation. Grisham’s The Accused meets Willingham’s Fables.

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 Rena 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 February so you've got a little time to polish up your pitches and send yours for a chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Rena is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to seeing everyone on Friday for Perfect Picture Books.  And now that this post is done, don't forget to go check out KidLit411 and ReViMo!

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone! :)


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January 3, 2014

Perfect Picture Book Friday

Hi Everyone!

Happy New Year!

I'm not actually posting today - I'm not done with my blog vacation until January 8 - but I realized (thanks to my email notifications) that there were people expecting PPBF today, so I'm putting up the link list for anyone who wants to participate.

Have fun!

See you all next week! :)


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