Today is one of those days I love. Not only do I get to share a truly delightful picture book, it happens to be by an author whose friendship I value and whose work I am already a fan of. AND I got to read an advance copy, which means it's like a secret - practically no one else has gotten to read it yet. I'm like a member of a super special secret club :) Maybe we should have a secret handshake... Ooh! or a password...! but I digress... :)
Come on! Quick! You're going to love this one! :)
Title: Hildie Bitterpickles Needs Her Sleep Written By: Robin Newman Illustrated By: Chris Ewald
Creston Books, Fiction, April 12, 2016
Suitable For Ages: 4-8
Themes/Topics: problem solving, communication, fractured nursery rhyme/fairy tale, humor
Opening: "There's a little-known secret about Hildie Bitterpickles. She needs her sleep. Every night Hildie brushes her teeth, puts away her spell book, and goes to bed with her cat, Clawdia. Until the night when Hildie's quiet neighborhood changed. Someone moved in next door. A very loud someone."
Brief Synopsis: What's a desperate-to-sleep witch to do when an elevator-clanking giant, an old woman with a shoe full of noisy children, and a roof-blowing big bad wolf move into her previously quiet neighborhood? Checking the real estate listings and moving seems like the answer, until she learns that a little communication can go a long way and it's better to deal with your problems then run from them.
Links To Resources: Fabulous Teacher's Guide!; discuss with your kids or students what things might bother them while they're trying to fall asleep or do other activities and how they might constructively cope with those annoyances
Why I Like This Book: First off, Hildie Bitterpickles and Clawdia! Who could possibly not want to read about characters with names like that? :) The story is tons of fun. Poor Hildie gets grumpier and grumpier and more and more discouraged, until she comes full circle back to a very familiar spot. She learns an important lesson (in a not-at-all-preachy way!) about the importance of facing problems rather than running from them. And she comes up with some clever solutions that solve problems for everyone. Plus there is a whole spread in the middle showing a page from The Daily Witch that will tickle your funny bone :) Favorite line in the book? When the wolf says, "My specialty is demolition, but I could give repair work a try." :) Appealing art in soft fairy tale colors for daytime and rich night-time hues round out the book perfectly. Pre-order your copy, encourage your local library to do so as well, and/or write a really great Valentiny Contest story and possibly win a signed copy! :)
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 keep a weather eye on the... well... on the weather, since the most important weather prediction day of the year is coming up next week! You all know what day THAT is... :)
I'm sure you'll all be thrilled to know that I'm in a mad rush today, which means I shall attempt brevity (stop laughing - I can hear you!), which means a quicker than usual read for you :)
Just a quick note - I still haven't solved the link list problem over at my new wordpress blog, so although today's post is located there as well, the link list is here.
Title: The Complete Adventures Of Big Dog And Little Dog Written & Illustrated By: Dav Pilkey
Harcourt, June 2003, Fiction
Suitable For Ages: publisher says 4-8, I'd say 3-6
Themes/Topics: friendship, humor
Opening: "Big Dog and Little Dog are hungry. Big Dog and Little Dog want food."
Brief Synopsis: (from the jacket) "Big Dog is ready for some fun! Little Dog is ready too. Join these irresistible puppy pals on five zippy adventures, together for the first time in one cozy picture book collection."
Why I Like This Book: You may be familiar with Dav Pilkey from The Stupids or Captain Underpants. This is a different side of him - simple and sweet with gentle humor. These two dog friends do everything together (including get in trouble!) and always look out for each other. These five stories were originally published separately but are now all together in one book which gives them the feel of George And Martha or Frog And Toad, but with a lot less text. Simple and fun, I know from experience that these stories appeal to very young readers. And also, as many of you may have figured out, I like dogs :)
So there you have it! Wasn't that the shortest post ever?
PPBF bloggers, please leave your links in the list below!
Oh, but one more thing before we all go off to enjoy everyone else's PPBF picks and our weekends! Due to the incredible generosity of the people in the kidlit community, the prizes for the Valentiny Contest are rolling in! So be sure and check the contest post for updates - the prizes will knock your socks off and you will definitely want to work on your entries this weekend as a result!
I'm posting here for anyone who hasn't signed up for post notifications over at the new place yet.
(And because it's just possible I'm going to end up continuing to use this blog if Wordpress doesn't start playing nice!)
As you know, I'm trying to switch my blog over to Wordpress... http://susannahill.com/blog/ ...but there are (possibly insurmountable) issues, including the fact that I can't get a link list to appear over there. So for today at least, I'm posting here as well so you can all add your links, and I'm going to try to add them manually to my post over there... I just won't get it done until late in the day or evening... and I wanted you to have visitors before that!
It will all work out eventually... :)
Meanwhile, I have the perfect picture book for a winter day :) I especially love it because it reminds of when my kids did a very similar thing - set up a lemonade stand on the corner of a completely untraveled country road, certain they would make their fortune and with no inkling that they had no hope of a single customer. (Of course, I couldn't bear for them to be out there waiting so hopefully only to get crushed with disappointment, so I made some phone calls to make sure at least a few cars came along full of thirsty passengers :)
Title: Lemonade In Winter: A Book About Two Kids Counting Money Written By: Emily Jenkins Illustrated By: G. Brian Karas
Schwartz & Wade, September 2012, Fiction
Opening: "An empty street. Outside, a mean wind blows. Icicles hang from the windowsills. Inside, Pauline presses her nose to the frosted glass. "I know!" she says. "Let's have a lemonade stand.""
Brief Synopsis: Undeterred by the wintry weather, Pauline and her little brother John-John gather up all their quarters, buy supplies, and set up a lemonade stand. Alas, customers are few and far between, forcing Pauline and John-John to be creative to try to increase sales. In spite of their best efforts, they spend more than they earn... but they earn enough for something that pleases them both.
Links To Resources: the book itself is a resource in terms of showing creative business management :) - Pauline and John-John try advertising, sales, decorations, and entertainment. It also shows money and math in action, and there is back matter in which "Pauline Explains Money To John-John." Ask your child or students to think up their own business ideas. What would they sell? How would they go about it? What supplies would they need? How much would they need to charge and how much would they need to earn to make their business a success?
Why I Like This Book: This book is so cute, and so completely believably child-like! Only kids, full of hope and belief in themselves and their abilities, would set up a lemonade stand in a howling snowstorm on a mostly deserted street :) In spite of the poor odds, they're determined to make their business a success and come up with all kinds of creative ideas. Unfortunately in the end they learn a hard lesson about business... but at least something good comes of it (which I hate to give away, but it's so cute I have to tell you - they lose money, but have enough for two popsicles - the perfect treat in a snowstorm, apparently :))
I've got to tell you, though, while wordpress may have many lovely attributes, I'm not finding it as versatile to blog on. I can't change font type, size or color (and you know how much I like bright colors!) I can't make the blog post titles appear in anything but capitals. And, most problematical of all, I can't figure out a way to add the link lists I use for Perfect Picture Book Fridays and the writing contests.
It might just be me.
We all know I'm a technomoron :)
But if I can't sort it out, I will be continuing to blog with blogger!
Meanwhile, please come over to the new digs for today's post and delicious Something Chocolate snack!
This extra Monday post gives me a whole 'nother day to hang out with you!
(And a Monday post reminds me (just come along on the stream-of-consciousness train of thought here) that it's been ages since we did Oh Susanna! So if anyone - writer, teacher, parent - has a question of any kind about reading, writing, submitting, picture books, etc... - feel free to email it to me using the handy Email Me button or susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com and put Oh Susanna in the subject line. Your picture book questions answered! I'd love to run Oh Susanna! again, at least occasionally :))
But today is all about Pitch Picks! So many! In appreciation of your hard work and dedication, I will supply Something Chocolate - extra Something Chocolates! Triple Something Chocolates! - for each Pitch Pick!
Here we go! (And please remember I'm in the process of switching to my new website and blog, hoping to encourage you all to migrate over to my cozy, pretty new hangout at wordpress (not that I'm at all biased :)), so if you haven't visited yet, please do! - Website and Blog - and follow over there so we won't miss each other when I stop posting here!)
The September Pitch Pick... with this delicious, delectable, Triple Chocolate
Cheesecake with Oreo Crust... YUM!!!
Triple Chocolate Cheesecake with Oreo Crust
Recipe HERE at OMG Chocolate Desserts
#1 Lizette - Moms (PB ages 1.5 - 3)
This book is an illustrated story about mothers. It demonstrates that mothers from all over the world love and care for their children no matter what walk of life they come from. It is very reflective of Canada's multicultural community and celebrates diversity. It is a simple story where the only text is the word " Mom" "Mother or "Mommy " in various languages. The illustrations will represent the feelings and interactions that occur daily between a mother and her children. Pictures can capture emotions and can be understood by all and make for an open ended reading experience.
#2 Maria - Firefighters' Busy Day (PB ages 2-6)
Firefighters are busy! They have
many tasks to do each day including “washing, waxing shining the truck,
cleaning the gear, getting rid of the muck.”
Many don’t realize that firefighters do
much more than just put water on fires. In Firefighters’
Busy Day, they can see the jobs firefighters do before, during, and after a
fire call. Through the use of movement written into the text, they can even
help firefighters get their jobs done.
Young children can pretend to be busy firefighters
too, by trying some of the exciting fire safety activities included such as a
fire truck parade or having firefighter-themed meal. The activities included
are sure to turn everyday learning into firefighter fun.
#3 Diana - Wait For Cate (PB ages 4-8)
Cate has made a promise to her school friends to be on time for the big kickball game at recess. And they need her! When Cate encounters the new girl stuck in the sand in her wheelchair, Cate needs to make a decision. Should she keep her promise to her kickball team or help a new friend out of a “sticky” situation?
#4 Zainab - Dear Cat (PB ages 4-8)
Persistent Bird keeps bugging Cat with his letters to be his friend. Cat snubs Bird...until it's snack time. Cat is ready for a tasty meal except Bird has his own devious plan in mind for this "clever" cat. Please read and consider Lizette, Maria, Diana, and Zainab's pitches and choose the one you think is best and deserves a read by editor Erin Molta, and vote for it in the poll below by Tuesday January 12 at 7 PM EDT.
Aaaaand... a little more Something Chocolate to keep your strength up... Triple Chocolate Poke
Cake (bonus points to anyone who can tell me what a poke cake is! :))
Triple Chocolate Poke Cake
Recipe HERE at Beyond Frosting
The October Pitch Pick
#5 Kirk - My Next Door Neighbor Is A Dragon Princess (MG) I didn’t care much for Maddie Buckner. At two, she bit my ear. At four she pushed me off a slide. At 8, she broke my favorite model airplane that took five months to build. At 10, she kissed me – on the lips! – under the Big Toy in the playground and told me she loved me. At 11, she spit in my face and said she hated me. Then she asked Parker Williams to the sock hop. Parker Williams! Oh, how I despised her. But then she had to go and save my life. That’s when I discovered her secret.
#6 Lisa - Kitten Ciao (PB ages 4-7)
Kitten Ciao is fed up with Mama’s cooking, so he consults his food lover’s map and dashes off to Europe. It all seems so right, but everything goes wrong. The rain in Paris turns his crepes to goo, his English pudding is filled with (gasp!) raisins, the sauerkraut at Oktoberfest is, well, he’s not sure what it is, and there’s no chocolate dip for his Spanish churros. Most tragically, he accidentally bites his tongue while eating pasta in Rome. Kitten Ciao swiftly learns there is no place like home – and a grilled cheese sandwich.
#7 Patricia - Aunt Elvira and the Watermelon Seed (PB ages 4-7)
A visit from Great-Aunt Elvira happens once in a lifetime. But why must it be during Clarissa's lifetime? Her prim and proper twin, Marissa, is sure to shine. With her slurps, burps and spitting skills, Clarissa can’t imagine how to shine, let alone survive dinner, even with watermelon on the menu.
Please read and consider Kirk, Lisa, and Patricia's pitches and vote for the one you think is best and deserves a read by editor Erin Molta in the poll below by Tuesday January 12 at 7 PM EDT.
And now, last one! You're doing great! And here's a little more Something Chocolate to keep you going! Triple Chocolate
Mousse Cake... sorry if you're drooling on your keyboard... I take full responsibility :)
Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake
Recipe HERE at OMG Chocolate Desserts
The November Pitch Pick
#8 Jessica - Showdown At The Sippy Cup Saloon (PB ages 4-8)
In the tiny town of Toddle, in the cradle of the West, Sheriff Wyatt Burp is snoozing in his crib when Wild Bill Hiccup arrives to wake up -- and shake up -- the pint-size population. "Don't go gettin' yer onesie in a twist," Wild Bill warns Wyatt, but tempers flare until the two go bib to bib in a showdown at the Sippy Cup Saloon. Who will emerge the rootin' tootin' squirt gun shootin' hero of the West?
#9 Sandy - Caterwauling Cats (PB ages 4-8)
Jack and Dave miss their happy home where they take cushy naps and eat Kitty Cat Comfort Cozies. After several attempts to escape overdressing and mud pie feeding from Esther, they learn to yowl like monsters under her bed. Esther exits and the kitties have their own room for napping and noshing.
#10 Christie - The Naked Goose (PB ages 3-7)
When Honk flies south, he meets a few oddly dressed geese and tries to follow suit.However, he does not realize they are lawn ornaments. After an awkward inquiry, followed by several disastrous outfits, Honk discovers he is happier the way he came - naked.
#11 Jen - Ernie's Toothfake (PB ages 4-8)
Ernie Blossomfoss rushes home to get his first lost tooth under his pillow, but when he trips he watches it go sailing into the playground woodchips. Convinced the tooth fairy won’t come unless she has a tooth to collect, Ernie hatches a plan to leave the perfect counterfeit. When the clever fairy doesn’t fall for it, Ernie ups the ante until he finally discovers that being honest is more valuable than a crisp dollar bill.
Please read and consider Jessica, Sandy, Christie, and Jen's pitches and vote for the one you think is best and deserves a read by editor Erin Molta in the poll below by Tuesday January 12 at 7 PM EDT.
Phew! I know! That was a lot of pitch reading and picking! You are all the absolute best, and that is why I and everyone who submits a pitch love you so much. Know that you have done a good deed for the day and that the universe will return that goodness to you in multiples!
And now, this extra poll-laden post wouldn't be complete without me telling you the results of last week's poll on the subject of an extra writing contest in February....
The response was overwhelmingly in favor of a contest!
So I guess I'll be seeing what I can put together for you all! :)
Ooh! This is exciting!
Stay tuned! I'll get the contest guidelines up as soon as I think of them... and keep your fingers crossed that I can rummage up some good prizes for you on short notice!!!
Have a marvelous Monday, everyone, and thanks again for all your help with the pitches! We couldn't do it without you!
This is so exciting! It's the first Perfect Picture Book Friday of 2016!
(Because I know you guys are a bunch of wild revelers and would have been too tired on January 1st to appreciate PPBF :) Really. That's the reason. I was thinking of you. It had nothing whatever to do with the fact that I spent the holidays not working :))
Just think of all the terrific books we're going to read and share this year!
And my pick for today is one that none of you have read or probably even heard of because it's not out yet! :) You'll just have to drool with anticipation until February 16! :)
Before we get to it, though, one quick housekeeping note!
As I mentioned Wednesday, I'm about to have a brand new website and blog! Actually, I kind of already do - it's up! We're just still working out a few kinks... so don't be shocked and horrified if you see a typo or something looks a little off kilter (but please let me know :)) You can go look at it if you want to :) It's located at susannahill.com. I hope you'll like it as much as I do!
For now, I'm posting blog posts here and there, but I'm hoping to switch to only there by next week... I just don't want to leave anyone behind *sniff sniff* That would be so sad! So please add the new blog ( http://susannahill.com/blog/ ) to your reader, or sign up to follow it by email, or whatever system works for you so you don't miss any of the fun and I don't miss you! I'm looking forward to a new year full of high jinx and shenanigans serious writerly pursuits - among other things very possibly including a writing contest in about 3 weeks, judging by the poll response so far from Wednesday (if you haven't voted, please go HERE so you can express your opinion :)) so PLEASE! Come along! :) Remember... I have chocolate... not that I'm trying to bribe you or anything... :)
So I hope I'll see you all over there and now let's get to this fabulous book already!
Title: The Almost Terrible Playdate Written & Illustrated By: Richard Torrey
Doubleday Books For Young Readers, February 16, 2016, Fiction
Opening: "What do you want to play?" "What do you want to play?" "How about I'm the queen of the universe and my doll, Pippy, is my sister queen, and you visit my castle?" "Or how about I'm the giantest dinosaur ever and you're a dinosaur too - but not the giantest - and we stomp around smashing stuff?"
Brief Synopsis: A girl and a boy with active imaginations each have very different ideas about what makes a fun game. Will the afternoon end with two kids playing alone on opposite sides of the room, or will they find something that is fun for both of them?
Links To Resources: Class Compromise Activity for grades 3, 4 & 5 - Planning A Class Party; let your child or student draw a picture of what they think would be a fun game to play; discuss the meaning of compromise and the importance of getting along - what would happen if everyone insisted on getting his/her own way? Give examples of situations where people might have to compromise and have kids discuss how it could be handled, for example if one child wants to go to the zoo and the other wants to go to the playground, or how to plan a family picnic that will be fun for a variety of interests, etc.
Why I Like This Book: First of all, how fun is it that I got to read this book and share it with you when it's not even out yet?! :) This is a delightful story, told completely through dialogue and illustration (a good mentor text for writers who are working on similar stories.) The writing is spare and there is no written narrative - it's all a conversation. The girl is completely sure that her idea is best, her game the most fun...and not surprisingly it gives her the starring role. The boy is equally convinced that his totally different idea is best, his game the most fun...and not surprisingly it gives him the starring role :) Anyone who has ever spent time around kids will recognize this dynamic. The children's imaginative descriptions grow more and more elaborate as they try to convince each other, but it is not to be. Before long the girl is playing her game, and the boy is playing his. But they are side by side... sneaking glances at each other... ultimately unable to resist their curiosity about each other's games and the allure of having someone to play with, not just next to. The resolution is just right - very believable - and brings young readers full circle. But one of the best things about this book is the art! Childlike crayon drawings depicting the imagined games - SO much fun, and not to be missed!
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 don't forget (hopefully I won't forget! :)) that we're going to have a special blog post on Monday to vote for all the best Would You Read It pitches from September, October and November!
I hope you all had wonderful, happy, healthy holidays and are raring to charge full speed into 2016!
I confess that I'm unusually glad to be starting a new year. I'm ready for some changes and I hope you'll be excited to come along with me!
I'm about to unveil my new and improved website and blog!
Some people (who shall be nameless) (you know who you are Julie Hedlund and Katie Davis) have been urging me for some time to switch to Wordpress. So I'm taking the plunge! Seeing as how I'm completely inept when it comes to technology there are bound to be some glitches during the switchover, so I beg your patience with me! :)
I am also (hopefully) on the verge of launching a totally awesome newsletter (she said modestly). More on that when it's closer to ready - I'm still working on layout and format, and my incredibly talented artist and I are still working on the banner.
I am also hoping to have a new class and/or workshop on offer at some point... though that may take me a little longer since I'm wrestling with how to make it make sense and work smoothly. It's in the hopper, though, so fingers crossed!
In the meantime, my old class will be now be offered at two levels: the traditional one that's been offered for the past 3 years at a wee price increase and a new Self Study version (for less $) where you can work on your own.
I'm cutting back on critiques a bit for the next little while to give myself more time to work on these other projects, but will continue to offer a shorter, quicker, (cheaper :)), less formal version of my critiques for those interested as well as a limited number of full critiques for returning writers who have gotten critiques from me before.
WOW! That's a lot of new news, don't you think? I'm thrilled by all of it... now it just remains for me to get it all finished and up and running! :)
Now then! Onto the business of Would You Read It Wednesday!
Somehow, due to one thing and another, we haven't had a Pitch Pick since July! So this coming Monday January 11 there will be a special Pitch Pick post in which you will have the chance to choose your favorite pitches from September, October and November without having to focus on anything else - a new pitch or a Perfect Picture Book or whatnot. I will provide an extra Something Chocolate to make it worth your while :) but it just seems easier and less stressful to put the Pitch Picks by themselves then to lump them all in with another post, don't you think?
But, lest you be in voting withdrawal :), I have something else for you to vote on today.
Quite a few people have asked me how I'd feel about running a writing contest in February to break up the winter doldrums. If there is interest, I'd be happy to run one with a Groundhog Day or Valentines Day theme (providing I can drum up good prizes on short notice.) I've never run one in February before because I feared it would be too much for you all coming so close on the heels of the Halloweensie and Holiday Contests, but it DOES seem appealing to have something fun in February, and it WOULD be a great opportunity for you to create a new manuscript! So here's a poll where you can vote to let me know if you'd like a contest and whether you'd prefer a Groundhog Day or Valentines Day theme or if you have a better idea! And if anyone has brilliant ideas for prizes (given that a Groundhog Day Contest would take place in barely a month!) please mention them in the comments or email me! :) I'll leave the contest poll open from today until Saturday evening.
And now, the moment you've all been waiting for (admit it! :))... today's Something Chocolate! It is frigidly cold here in the Northeast, so I'm thinking rich and delicious and decadent Belgian Hot Chocolate would really hit the spot!!! (Which if you've never tried you MUST!)
Recipe HERE at
Busy Creating Memories
Ah! That's better!!! :)
Today's pitch comes to us from Gabi. Gabi lives in Oregon with her husband, two kiddos, one dog, and one dog-like cat. She loves reading, nature, and caffeine, and she'd love to see you at her blog: https://writingtoconnect.wordpress.com/.
Here is her pitch:
Working Title: Unicorn With A Stache
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)
The Pitch: Meet Eustace. Like his fellow unicorns, he smells like roses. Unlike his fellow unicorns, Eustace grows a mustache. He likes his dapper new look, but his schoolmates tease.
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 Gabi 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 Itor 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 your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!
Gabi is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch! I am looking forward to getting all my projects finished and launching my new site, and to your answers about a February Writing Contest!