April 30, 2014

Would You Read It #131 - You're A Pest, Betsy Thumbslurp! (Early Ch.)

For all the links to the fantastic entries in the Illustration Contest, please go HERE!  Really!  Please go!

So here's the thing.

As you well know, if you spend any time at all around this blog, I am prone to the occasional hare-brained scheme.

Sometimes these schemes get planned a bit in advance.  Other times they are done completely on the fly.  And still other times I THINK they're planned and then I realize I've omitted a petite detail.

My current hare-brained scheme is the First Ever Pretty Much World Famous Illustration Contest and it falls into category #3:  I THOUGHT it was planned, but oops! there was that darned detail! - the detail being that WYRI is scheduled so far in advance that I already had people lined up through June when I thought up this particular harebrained scheme, so we're having to take a little break from the contest today.

Therefore, even though we will all be intently focused on Janet's pitch today, I want to make sure everyone keeps visiting the fabulously talented illustrators and encouraging all their friends and relations to do so as well even though that post is no longer at the top of the blog, okay?!!  Because they worked so hard, and did such an amazing job, and everyone should go admire their talent and creativity!

And now you may have Something Chocolate!!!  (That is not bribery, it's just good sense.)

Recipe HERE at Rock Recipes

Today's pitch comes to us from Janet who says, "Hi. My name is Janet Pamela Noble. I’m 49 years young, have 1 husband (so far), 2 cats, 3 children and have spent the last 20 or so years promoting a love of books and reading as a children’s librarian. When I’m not blogging about my favourite children’s books I love to write my own."


Contact me at:
Twitter: @jampamnoble
Here is her pitch:

Working Title: You're A Pest, Betsy Thumbslurp!
Age/Genre: Early Chapter Book (ages 6-8)
The Pitch: Poor Coco. Her comfy world of cuddles and cake (all shapes, all sizes but preferably pink!) is turned upside down by the arrival of her thumb sucking, slurping, burping, pooing, shrieking, pampered baby sister, Betsy...

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 Janet 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 August 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!

Janet is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to telling you all who the finalists for the illustration contest are tomorrow!  I can't wait to spill the beans :)  And then you all will have the chance to vote for you favorite and we'll see who wins!  So exciting!!!

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!


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April 24, 2014

The First Ever Pretty Much World Famous Illustration Contest for Children's Illustrators!!!

Fasten your seat belts and prepare for take off!  It's finally here!

The First Ever Pretty-Much-World-Famous Illustration Contest!!!
the fact that this particular illustrator resembles a female
is in no way meant to deter any male illustrators! :)

The ContestDraw/Paint/Create a children's picture book cover illustration (no text required - art only) for one of the following stories (which you will recognize as the top finishers in the March Madness Fractured Fairy Tale Writing Contest - a little extra surprise for those authors :)):


 - The Three Wiggly Worms Bluff by Wendy Greenley
 - Goldilockup by Mike Allegra
 - Goldibawks And The Three Pairs by Dawn Young
 - The Sweetie Witch by Pen Avey
 - The Princess And The Stinky Cheese by Lauri Meyers
 - Mongoose's Holi Party by Darshana Khiani
 - The "Princess" And The Pete by Jennifer Caritas
 - The Jackrabbit Who Cried Gila Monster by Elliah Terry

Illustrations should be 8x10, horizontal or vertical, any medium, posted in jpg at least 72 px
All stories can be read on the March Madness Finalist Post HERE so you will know what to illustrate :)  Illustrators may enter more than one entry if they're feeling ambitious enough to illustrate more than one book title :)

Post:  Your entry should be posted on your blog between right now this very second and Monday April 28 at 9 PM EDT (contest deadline!), and your post-specific link should be added to the link list below.  This post with the link list will remain up through Tuesday April 29 so that people can come visit and enjoy your gorgeous artwork!  (For regular blog followers, there will be no PPBF on Friday April 25, no new post on Monday April 28, but there will be a brief interruption for WYRI on Wednesday April 30 because I forgot to leave it open for the contest :)).  If you don't have a blog but would like to enter, please copy and paste your entry into the comments below.  (If anyone has trouble commenting, which unfortunately happens, you may email me and I'll post your entry for you!  Also, since this is the first time we've done an illustration contest, I'm not sure if you actually CAN paste your entry into the comments.  If this turns out to be a problem, email them to me and I'll add them directly to this post.)

Judging:  entries will be judged by multi-talented, award-winning author/illustrators Iza Trapani, author and illustrator of over 20 gorgeous picture books, and Lisa Thiesing, author and illustrator of at least 16 beautiful and fun picture books and early readers!   Judging criteria to include:

 - is the picture readable to a young audience,
 - how well does it show the character(s) and
 - is the character(s) appealing (character development),
 - does it make you want to read the story,
 - originality
 - skill.

They will narrow down the entrants to 6 finalists (or possibly a couple more or less depending on the number of entries :)) which will be posted here on Thursday May 1 for you to vote on for a winner.  The vote will be closed at 5PM EST on Sunday May 4 and the winner will be announced on Monday May 5.  (No PPBF on Friday May 2.)

The Prizes!:  There will definitely be a 1st prize.  Whether we give prizes for 1st only, 1st-3rd, or 1st-6th will depend on how many entries we get.  We need at least 12 entries to place through 3rd, and at least 20 to place through 6th.

    First Prize is absolutely amazing!  A portfolio critique by celebrated author/illustrator Michael Garland, who has over 20 picture books to his credit!!!

 - Second Prize - a $50 gift certificate to Dick Blick Art Materials (which is online)
 - Third, Fourth & Fifth Prize will be winner's choice of one of the following books:
      - Writing With Pictures by Uri Shulevitz
      - 2014 Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market by Chuck Sambuchino

 - Sixth Prize - a Canson sketch pad and a small set of Derwent or Faber Castell colored pencils

I'm so excited to see what everyone comes up with!  As a person whose artistic ability is limited to stick figures, scribbling and relatively easy coloring books, I am in awe of anyone who can draw/paint/cause anything recognizable to appear on paper/canvas/computer screen :)  I hope we'll get plenty of entries, and that there will be at least one attempt at every title!

Tweet: Enjoy the art! Enter yourself! Children's Book Cover Illustration Contest @SusannaLHill http://ctt.ec/58ZUb+ #kidart #illustration

Let the artistic fun begin!!!  :)

Don't miss Laura's entry for The Three Wiggly Worms Bluff in the comment section! (click HERE and be a little patient :))

And here's Katie's entry for Goldibawks And The Three Pairs! (click HERE and be a little patient :))

And here's Laura's entry for The Sweetie Witch! (click HERE and be a little patient :))

And here's Angela's entry for The Three Wiggly Worms Bluff! (click HERE and be a little patient :))

and here's Suzy's entry for The Three Wiggly Worms Bluff! (click HERE and be a little patient :))

Entry from Hilary Swann for The "Princess" And The Pete

Hilary Swann - The "Princess" And The Pete


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April 23, 2014

Would You Read It Wednesday # 130 - Todd's Top Secret Dance Moves (PB)

Well, the big news is that TOMORROW is the opening of the First Ever Pretty Much World Famous Illustration Contest!

Can you believe it?

It's practically time!!!

I'm excited and also nervous!

I'm really hoping we'll get some entries.  It would be so much fun to see the March Madness Contest winners' stories brought to life in art!

The contestants will get to have a bunch of people come around and see their art, including the pretty much world famous Iza Trapani and Lisa Thiesing who will be judging.

They'll get a chance to show their work to a boatload of authors who, in this day and age of self-publishing, might need an illustrator at some point - you never know! - as well as some teachers who might need a school visit from an illustrator at some point - you never know!

AND they get a chance at some awesome prizes, most especially a portfolio critique by the pretty much world famous Michael Garland!

And WE will get to see all their fabulous art!

So it's all good in my book! :)

So much excitement is making me a little faint.  Quick! Something Chocolate!

I have a special treat for Coleen, who has been so very extremely helpful and nice about tweeting the illustration contest (even though I keep forgetting to!) that really, she should have her heart's desire which just so happens to be peanut butter and chocolate.  So here is a choice, because I wasn't sure which you'd all prefer :)

Gold Rush Peanut Butter Sundae
with homemade chocolate fudge and melted peanut butter!

Peanut Butter Brownie Sandwich - Scrumptious!!!
I feel fairly certain that either or both of those will be very helpful in fueling your creative spirit and/or your vacuuming, car pooling, shopping, or whatever else you have planned for the day.  Nothing like a little chocolate and sugar to get you going in the morning!  That's what I always say! :)

Now then.  Ready for Would You Read It?

Today's pitch comes to us from Sean who says, "I'm a writer at an advertising agency, and I love being creative. Writing picture books is my favorite creative outlet, and I hope kids will enjoy reading my books as much as I enjoy writing them. Beyond writing, I love to read, run, cook, eat, and watch Mad Men if there's extra time to spare."

Here's the link to his Twitter page. He's also on Facebook.

https://twitter.com/slamb05


Here is his pitch:

Working Title: Todd's Top Secret Dance Moves
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 6-8)
The Pitch: His moves are smoother than a buttery bowling ball sliding over a field of silk tuxedos. And Todd is ready to reveal them all: the Fuzzy Banana, the Lunch Lady, the Frosty Snowman, and many more. Follow the footsteps of a dynamite dancer and try to resist tapping your feet. If you want to dance like Todd, the first secret is... 

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 Sean improve his 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!

Sean is looking forward to your thoughts on his pitch!  I am looking forward to THE CONTEST!!!  Whoopee!  By this time tomorrow, we could have art up!  I can't wait! :)

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone! :)

And tune in tomorrow for the contest!!!

Oh, and P.S. let me take this opportunity to remind the PPBF bloggers that there will not be a PPBF this Friday (April 25) or next Friday (May 2) because of the contest.


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April 18, 2014

Perfect Picture Book Friday - E-I-E-I-O How Old MacDonald Got His Farm [with a Little Help from a Hen]

Happy Friday, Folks!

While I was writing up this post, my ever-vigilant dogs suddenly roused themselves from a sound sleep to bark and snarl and hurl themselves at the french doors that look out on the back yard.  Assuming such behavior could only mean an invasion of some type, I went to investigate.  Was the bear up from his long winter's nap?  Had a pack of hungry coyotes dared to breech The Perimeter?  Were we being attacked by giant meatball-headed spaghetti people from Mars?

Shockingly, no!

Here was the cause of the alarm:
One of last year's babies, looking a little scruffy in between
winter and spring coats
My dogs take their duty as Protectresses of the Family Homestead a little too seriously sometimes :)

I did not let them out.  I figured this little miss could use some green grass after the long winter.  So she snacked and the Protectresses sulked and I went back to writing this post.

This is just a little sample of the kind of action-packed, emotionally-charged, wild and crazy life we live up here on Blueberry Hill :)

Although Tuesday night's snow is still melting, I insist on believing it is spring and I have a fun, spring-appropriate title to share with you all today which is especially fitting in view of the wildlife on my lawn that makes this place feel like a farm (of sorts :))!  (And no jokes about the funny farm! :))

Title: E-I-E-I-O How old MacDonald Got His Farm [with a Little Help from a Hen]
Written By: Judy Sierra
Illustrated By: Matthew Myers
Candlewick, February 2014, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: composting, gardening, perseverance, innovation

Opening: "Old MacDonald had a house E-I-E-I-O!  Around that house there was a yard MOW MOW MOW MOW MOW!  MacDonald said, "I love my yard, but mowing grass is mighty hard."  So off he went to get a goat E-I-E-I-O!"

Brief Synopsis: In case anyone was wondering how Old MacDonald got his farm, it all started with too much mowing.  Old MacDonald's solution? Get a goat.  But the goat only ate the edges and then chewed a hole in MacDonald's hedges.  Luckily, a smart little red hen came along and taught Old MacDonald a thing or two about sustainable farming :)


Links To Resources: Do The Rot Thing: A Teacher's Guide To Compost Activities, all about Worms, Recycling and Composting, How To Plant Seeds With Kids

Why I Like This Book:  I always love new twists on familiar stories.  Judy Sierra has taken Old MacDonald to a whole new level.  The story is humorous (and so is the art - be sure to read the hen's diplomas and all the picket signs :)) and young readers will learn about composting and growing a garden right along with Old MacDonald.  This is a great story for spring, and a wonderfully fun way to introduce kids to the concept of green farming.

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

PPBF peeps, please leave your post-specific links in the list below so we can all come see what fabulous books you've chosen this week!  And to all who celebrate, Happy Easter and a belated Happy Passover.

Have a great weekend, everyone!!! :)


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April 16, 2014

Would You Read It Wednesday #129 - Roy G. Biv And The Amazing Castle Moat (PB)

Sometimes a box arrives on your doorstep.

If it looks like this


you know it is a very very good kind of box!!!

When you open it, you'll see this

and then this

and then this

and finally - squeeeeeeee! -

SOMETHING CHOCOLATE!!!

Please, help yourselves!

And thank you, Kirsten, for your very thoughtful gift!  I'd like to say there were some left, but that would just be lying :)  I can say in complete truthfulness, however, that they were delicious!!! :)

Now that we are all happily munching on the proverbial bonbons, let's have a round of applause (because it would be impolite to yell "Congratulations!" with a mouth full of Godiva chocolate truffles!) for the winner of the March Pitch Pick which is. . .

Ann!
with her pitch for Sk8r Boy!!!

Congratulations, Ann!  Your pitch has been sent to editor Erin Molta for her thoughts.  I'm sure you'll hear from her shortly.

And congratulations to our other brave pitchers who also did a terrific job!  I hope you all gained from the Would You Read It experience, and I also hope you'll take a few extra congratulatory truffles :)  Best of luck with your stories!

Now then.  Onward!

Today's pitch comes to us from Charlotte who says, "When I was a little girl, a childless older couple who lived across the street gave me an oversized picture book, written in wonderful rhyming couplets.  More than a half century later, I can still recite the entire story of “The Children That Lived in a Shoe” from memory, as I visualize the pictures of the cherub-like little ones going about their daily routines. I still love this book.  Twenty-first century children deserve access to their own favorite stories that will endure for them throughout their lifetimes. I keep this in mind when I work on my PB manuscripts."

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Roy G. Biv And The Amazing Castle Moat
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 5-8)
The Pitch: Sophie senses there’s magic in the world of nature, while Sam is more of a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of kid. She likes building fairy houses but agrees to help her brother construct his sand fortress.  When a sudden summer rainstorm spares their beach castle, the overflowing moat delivers a surprise visitor, Roy G. Biv.  Sam thinks someone is playing a trick on him when he hears the guest’s voice share a rhyming, rhythmic poem about the rainbow’s colors. Sophie is delighted at how Sam finds out that Roy G. Biv is not only rather magical, but is also real.

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 Charlotte 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!

Charlotte is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to the upcoming Illustrators Contest which is barely a week away now!  It will open on Thursday April 24th!  I am really, really hoping that at least a few people will enter, because I would so love to see how they bring the amazing March Madness Writing Contest winners' ideas to life!  Please feel free to spread the word to all your illustrator friends and join me in looking forward to visiting some new blogs, getting to know some fabulously talented new people, and seeing some amazing art!!!

In the hope that you CAN actually teach an old dog new tricks, let's try this and see if it works.  At all.  For anyone! :)

Tweet: Children's illustrator contest opens April 24! Great prizes! @SusannaLHill #illustration #kidlitart


Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! :)


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April 14, 2014

Have A Happy Day!

Due to my advanced age, I'm taking the day off (from blogging - not everything else :)) :)



Have some cake on me :)

Then have a wonderful day doing the things you love most with the people you love most!

Then come back and have some more cake :)

xoxo


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April 11, 2014

Perfect Picture Book Friday - Extraordinary Jane

Woo-hoo!  It's Friday!

Doesn't Friday just automatically make you happy?

I think Fridays are just a little bit magic and have an advantage over the other days of the week :)

My plan for this weekend includes baking birthday cake for my step-daughter and babysitting for my granddaughters so she and her husband can have a little much-deserved-no-kids-couple-time.  Lucky me - I totally win out!  I see acorn and stick collecting, painting, play-doh, sidewalk chalk, tea parties, hide-and-seek, and being a pony in my weekend :)

And I'm thinking I will share this book - my PPBF pick for this week - because it is so cute and sweet!

Title: Extraordinary Jane
Written & Illustrated By: Hannah E. Harrison
Dial, February 2014, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-8

Themes/Topics: being yourself

Opening: "Jane was ordinary in a world that was extraordinary."

Brief Synopsis: Jane is a little dog who lives at the circus.  She's not graceful like her mother, mighty like her father, daring like her brothers, or fearless like her sisters.  She's just Jane.  But you don't have to be graceful or mighty or daring or fearless to be special.

Links To Resources: together with your child or class, make a list of things you think everyone would agree are extraordinary, like being brave or strong.  Do you have any of those qualities? Does your child or the members of your class?  Talk about what extraordinary really means.  Make a new list of things that could be considered extraordinary, like helping an elderly neighbor take out the recycling, or being kind to the new kid in class.  Who has these qualities?  Talk about what makes you like people - probably things like they're nice, or they make you laugh.  Can those things be considered special?  What can you do today to make the world a better place just by being you?  Would pair nicely with Ordinary Mary's Extraordinary Deed by Emily Pearson.





Why I Like This Book: This is one of those delightfully simple and sweet books that I just love!  Let's face it - lots of us feel ordinary.  So many kids can relate to the idea of worrying that they might not measure up in today's world of high expectations.  This sweet story reminds us - kids, parents, and teachers alike - that we are all extraordinary in our own way, and that we are all special to somebody.  The art is bright and colorful.  Some of the spreads are humorous (in particular the balancing ball incident  and the page after it :)) and the last one is guaranteed to make you say "Aww!" :)

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

So what are you all planning for this weekend (besides a trip to the library to read all the great books that are sure to show up on this week's PPBF list)?

PPBF bloggers, please leave your post-specific links on the list below so we can all come visit and make our library lists :)

Have a great weekend, everyone!!! :)


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April 9, 2014

Would You Read It Wednesday #128 - Sammy Dougie Foxtrot: Look, Smile, Roar (PB) PLUS Straight From The Editor PLUS the March Pitch Pick

My goodness we have a busy day today!

Good thing I gave you Monday off to rest up :)

First up, we have Straight From The Editor for Kristine, the February Pitch Winner.  You will recall her pitch:

Working Title: THE STEM GIRLS TAKE OFF
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 5-8)
The Pitch: Sophia wants to win the school science fair, but when her project won’t cooperate, she uses perseverance and teamwork to bring home the goal, proving that every girl can be a STEM girl.
Here are editor Erin Molta's comments:

This is a great premise and goodness knows, we definitely need more books about girls succeeding in science, technology, engineering and math. However, in order for this to catch an editor’s eye, you need to put a little more spark into it. It’s very generic right now. What is her science project? How was it not cooperating? Was she snubbed because she was a girl and had something to prove? It seems to infer that, but the focus in your pitch is on perseverance and teamwork, whereas it should be more specific. Think of the one thing that she did to get everyone to help her OR why her project was failing and base your pitch around that. And if there’s humor—see if you can get that in, too.

As always, I find Erin's comments so helpful and insightful!

Now, after all that education, we should probably have a snack :)  Something Chocolate anyone?  I'm in a cupcake mood. And this one is kind of cheerful and spring-like as well as luscious and chocolate, don't you think? :)
Scrumptious! :)

Now that we're all fortified, let's take a look at the awesome pitches from March and see which lucky writer is going to get her pitch reviewed by Erin.

#1 Karen - Puddles And Rainbows (PB ages 4-6)
Growing up is hard, but learning to rain might just prove harder. Either way, this Little Cloud needs plenty of patience and determination. A colorful discovery makes it all worthwhile.

#2 Ann - Sk8r Boy (PB ages 5-8)
Peter wants to be an ice skater but can’t because he’s homeless, and he doesn’t have the money for a pair of skates. But when there’s a poetry contest at school with a small cash prize, he may be able to make his smooth words glide and spin so that he can buy the skates and win his classmates’ respect.

#3 Beth - Martin's Perfect Web (PB ages 5-7)
In a quest to build a perfect web, a fussy spider confronts his biggest fears through an unlikely friendship with an inquisitive dragon.  Laurent the dragon takes Martin on a wild ride on his tail.  No one is more surprised at the ending than this stubborn intractable spider who finally learns how to relax, and enjoy the simple process of creating.

Please vote for the pitch you feel most deserves a read by editor Erin Molta in the poll below by Sunday April 13 at 5PM EDT.

Many thanks!!!

Today's pitch comes to us from Morgan who says. "I am an aspiring children's book writer, a licensed school psychologist, and a mother of two boys (ages 1 1/2 and 3), with another on the way. Reading and writing emotional literacy is my passion. I also enjoy writing social stories and making reward charts for fun!" 

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Sammy Dougie Foxtrot: Look, Smile, Roar
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)
The Pitch: Boogie along with Sammy Dougie Foxtrot and his trusted lion, PJ, on their courageous playground adventure. When PJ gets stuck in a sycamore tree, Sammy is scared: “The kind of scared when brakes on a truck screech, it’s dirt dumps, and it is as stiff as stabilizer legs.”Sammy discovers the true meaning of courage: that one can feel scared and brave at the same time. Even though the children at the playground look different, Sammy looks, smiles, and roars, bravely asking for their help. Find out if Sammy and the playground crew can work together to rescue PJ. “Look, Smile, Roar” enhances 4 to 8 year olds emotional literacy through the use of their imaginations. While entertaining, Sammy and PJ also emphasize tolerance and acceptance to promote early intervention. Oh, and I forgot to mention, they love to have fun! 

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 Morgan 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!

Morgan is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to the upcoming Illustrators Contest!  I really am!  Of course, we might not have any entries, but if we DO, think how awesome they will be!  I can't wait to see what our talented friends come up with to bring the March Madness Contest Winners' stories to life!  I have to learn how to do those convenient "tweet this" thingies - then I could helpfully put one here and make it so easy for all you guys to spread the word. I'll add it to my to-do list. . . which is exceedingly long. . . so don't hold your breath for convenient tweet thingies :)

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone! :)


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April 7, 2014

Enjoy The Day!

Good Morning, Everyone!

I hope you all had a lovely weekend!

Saturday was cold, rainy, and windy, but yesterday, for the first time, it felt like spring was coming.  The peepers are out, and that's always a good sign :)

Now it's Monday.  We all have a busy week ahead.  And things have been pretty busy and hectic on this blog for the last couple weeks so I thought to myself, we could probably all use a break!

So, grab a good book and a cup of tea, hot or iced, settle yourself in right here,


and enjoy the day :)

If you really NEED something to do, ponder the upcoming Illustrators Contest which promises to be tons of fun and spread the word to any illustrators you know :)

See you Wednesday for Would You Read It and Straight From The Editor!

Have a marvelous Monday everyone :)


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April 4, 2014

Perfect Picture Book Friday - Sparky

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, Everyone!

It's been a couple weeks!

What with the March Madness Writing Contest and all the long posts for the finalists and the winners, etc., I think we could all use a break.  So today I'm going to do my best to be brief :)

I hope you all enjoy this picture book as much as I do :)

Title: Sparky
Written By: Jenny Offill
Illustrated By: Chris Appelhans
Schwartz & Wade Books, March 2014, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: age 3-8

Themes/Topics: pets, being yourself

Opening: "I wanted a pet. A bird or a bunny or a trained seal.  My mother said no to the bird.  No to the bunny. No no no to the trained seal."

Brief Synopsis: A little girl's mother says she can have any pet she wants as long as it doesn't need to be walked or bathed or fed.  So the little girl finds just the pet to fit the requirements... A sloth... whom she names Sparky :)

Here the girl plays with Sparky and introduces us to Mary Potts

Links To Resources: Talk about what makes a good pet; discuss the pros and cons of various pets, 10 Popular Small Pets, Best Pets For Kids slideshow, Rainforest Classroom Activities, read with "Slowly, slowly, slowly," said the Sloth by Eric Carle, or perhaps with other picture books about more boisterous pets for comparison.

Why I Like This Book: I love Sparky.  He's so cute!  And so sleepy and slow :)  And I admire any child who can come up with a pet that doesn't break the rules of not needing to be walked or bathed or fed.  The girl tries to play games with Sparky, but with the exception of Statues he's not much good at them.  In response to annoying Mary Potts from across the street she tries to teach him tricks to show what a good pet he is.  But aside from excelling at playing dead he's not much good at that either.  But you know what? She doesn't care.  For her, Sparky is "it" :)  And what a nice message that pets can just be loved for who they are.

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

How'd I do?  Brief enough? :)

PPBF bloggers, please leave your post-specific link in the list below so we can all come see what you picked and make our library lists for the weekend :)

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! :)


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