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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Picture Books, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1,326 - 1,350 of 6,083
1326. Two new Kiwi Corkers

Goldie and the Three Penguins by Chris Gurney, illus. Sarah Nelisiwe Anderson, Scholastic NZ

One of the latest titles in the popular  Kiwi Corkers series, this hardback book presents an amusing and ultra-modern take on Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Goldie sets off to buy a jelly-tip ice-cream but is lured by the smell of fish and chips to the house of the three Penguins.  When she eats the meal of Chick Penguin, she says, “My oh my, that was really kapai!” This mantra is repeated throughout the story as Goldie tries out the chairs and the beds. Everyone can guess the ending – Goldie runs back to the loving arms of her mother. Children who know the original story (and are favourably inclined towards movie-style penguins) will enjoy the inter-textual links. The rhyming text is fairly demanding to read aloud but should be entertaining if read with panache. The illustrations are lively, intriguing and very modern – using a style that combines  a semi-comic-book format with digital painting and digital collage. Goldie’s snarls of blonde wool hair provide an interesting motif (and of course her mum has the same). Best for primary-aged children.
ISBN 978 1 77543 043 8 $18.50 Hb
The Frog Footie Player by Chris Gurney, illus. John Bennett, Scholastic NZ
Another Kiwi Corkers title, this is a very New Zealand version of The Frog Prince. Youngsters might not know the original story as well as they know the Goldilocks one, but it’s still an entertaining read. Kiri’s lost rugby ball is returned to her by a frog called Archie. All he wants in return is to watch rugby on TV with a pillow and some chocolate fish. Kiri isn’t keen, but her dad says she must keep her promise. In the excitement of watching the game, Kiri gives Archie a kiss – and he turns into an All Black!!! The cartoon-style pictures are suitably bright and friendly, done using Corel Painter. Primary-aged boys will enjoy the rugby theme – and girls are likely to enjoy the rugby-mad heroine.
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1327. Illustrator Saturday – Sarah Brannen

Sarah S. Brannen has illustrated more than a dozen books for children. She is the author and illustrator of Uncle Bobby’s Wedding, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2008). Uncle Bobby’s Wedding has received extensive publicity since its publication; it was the eighth most-challenged book in the US in 2008.

Sarah also illustrated The Pig Scramble, The ABC Book of American Homes, Digging for Troy: From Homer to Hisarlik and Mathias Franey, Powder Monkey, as well as several educational books. Forthcoming books include The Very Beary Tooth Fairy (Scholastic Press, 2013), The Ugly Duckling (Sterling Publishing, 2012) At Home in Her Tomb (Charlesbridge Publishing, 2013), Sarah’s Journal (Teacher Created Materials, 2012) and Feathers (Charlesbridge Publishing, 2014).

As a journalist and photographer, Sarah is a regular contributor to Skating Magazine and icenetwork.com. Along with figure skating, Sarah’s other interests include opera, Italy, sailing, insects and astronomy.

Sarah received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Visual and Environmental Studies from Harvard University and her Master of Fine Arts degree in Printmaking from the University of Pennsylvania. She has been writing and illustrating children’s books since 2001. In 2007, Sarah won the Ann Barrow Scholarship from the New England chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She was the runner-up for the 2006 SCBWI Work-in-Progress grant, and the runner-up for the 2003 Don Freeman Grant.

Here is Sarah sharing her process for one of the spreads in UNCLE BOBBY’S WEDDING.

I started with a storyboard, with tiny sketches of each spread. I knew that this spread would show Bobby and Chloe in a rowboat, but I wasn’t worried about details at this point.

This is one of the thumbnail sketches – I tried various views but I wasn’t committed to any of them.

Here’s the sketch from the dummy. At this point I had made a lot of decisions about the composition and text placement but hadn’t thought about color yet.  All these sketches were done in pencil.

This is a color study, done before I had finalized the composition.

6 Comments on Illustrator Saturday – Sarah Brannen, last added: 7/24/2012

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1328. Poopendous! by Artie Bennett

Author Showcase 

“Everyone poops—yes, it’s true—from aardvarks to the humped zebu.”

Artie Bennett, author of the award-winning and much-acclaimed The Butt Book, delivers the inside scoop on every type and use of poop in his “number two,” spanking-new picture book. In hilarious verses, with eye-popping illustrations, Poopendous! relates the many, often remarkable uses of poop throughout the world while paying homage to its prolific producers, from cats to bats to wombats! Virtuoso illustrator Mike Moran gives us a Noah’s Ark of animals doing their less-than-solemn doody. So pick up your pooper-scooper and come along for a riotously rib-tickling ride. You just may agree that poop is truly quite . . .  poopendous!


“For anyone who loved The Butt Book, you must immediately go and buy Artie Bennett’s follow-up, Poopendous! It appears there is no topic Mr. Bennett can’t make funny and educational. There aren’t many picture books that teach kids that “Monkeys fling when under stress. It helps the monkey decompress” and “Seeds inside a critter’s poop might go as far as Guadeloupe!” I’m not kidding when I say this came in handy at my son’s preschool last week.”

The Huffington Post


Poopendous! is an awesome picture book. If you are looking for a really funny book, with great pictures, any kid will sit through, this is the book. Artie Bennett obviously knows what makes kids laugh and the former children’s librarian in me applauds him for his use of unique vocabulary and content that keeps kids engaged and talking.”

Long Days, Short Years


“Bennett addresses this subject with a nimble rhyme: ‘Rabbit pellets, raccoon tubes, / Owl whitewash, and wombat cubes./ Camel poop is desert-dry. / Wet poop comes from birds on high.’ There are kernels of wisdom to be found in Poopendous!, but the main point is entertainment.”

Publishers Weekly


“A book like Artie Bennett’s Poopendous! comes in so incredibly handy. The rhymes and illustrations make it nicely lighthearted. It does a beautiful job of walking the line between ‘everyone does it and it’s just part of life’ and ‘it’s not something you want to bring in for show-and-tell.’ Plus, it’s so packed with information that it’s perfect for a parent whose kid is firmly in the “why” phase but who doesn’t want to dig up a lot of fecal facts.”

New York Family


“Breezy and breathless!”

Kirkus Reviews


“Artie has done it again. Kids of all ages love to talk about poop, and Artie creatively capitalized on that with his colorful, educational, and funny book Poopendous!

Family and Life in Las Vegas

About the author: Artie Bennett is the executive copy editor for a children’s book publisher and he writes a little on the side (but not the backside!).

His itch to write gave us The Dinosaur Joke Book: A Compendium of Pre-Hysteric Puns (currently extinct) when he was a much younger man. The Butt Book, however, was his first “mature” work. The Butt Book was showered with praise and won the prestigious Reuben Award for Book Illustration. His “number two” picture book, fittingly, is entitled Poopendous!  Wh

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1329. Nominate your favorite Philippine-published picture book for the 1st Filipino Readers' Choice Awards!

Filipino book bloggers and book club members have put together the 1st Filipino Readers' Choice Awards! The Awards aim to: develop awareness and appreciation of Philippine-published books, engage Filipino reading communities and honor their favorite Philippine-published books, and give Filipino readers a greater voice and recognize their vital role in the Philippine book industry.

Do you have favorite Philippine-published books from 2010 or 2011? Please nominate them for the 1st Filipino Readers' Choice Awards! Here are the categories for the Awards:

* Children’s picture book
* Chick lit
* Novel in English
* Novel in Filipino
* Comic/graphic novel
* Short story anthology
* Essay anthology
* Poetry collection

Click here for the nomination form. Nominations close next Monday, July 23!

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1330. What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,Plus What I Did Last Week,Featuring Hyewon Yum, Dan Santat(and a Bonus Cover Reveal)

“‘Will you be okay in the big kids’ school? You’re still so little.’
‘Mom, don’t worry. I’ll be fine, I am already five!’”

(Click to enlarge)

(Click to enlarge)

(Click to enlarge)


Friday at Kirkus, I’ll have a column about David Mackintosh’s The Frank Show, as well as Karina Wolf’s The Insomniacs, illustrated by The Brothers Hilts. That link will be here tomorrow morning.
* * *


Okay, as for this post’s title, “cover reveal” sounds mighty dramatic, but … well, it just sounded better than “cover.”

Remember when Yuyi Morales visited last week (that link is here) and mentioned her next picture book project? Here’s part of what she wrote:

I just finished my book, Niño Wrestles the World, and I am tremendously happy with it. This is a book with Roaring Brook Press and Neal Porter, and I couldn’t be more delighted working again with this group of artists, thinkers, [and] creative people, who are embedding into my work the richest of their talents. Niño is a lucha libre story, filled with some of my favorite (scary) Mexican characters, and it is also a tribute to games and to my two sisters, Magaly and Elizabeth, who were the truest terrors of my childhood.

The third image above is the cover, courtesy of Roaring Brook. (There’s a bit more about the book here at Publishers Weekly Spring 2013 Previews.)

Also pictured above (second image) is a spread from Mac Barnett’s Oh No! Not Again! (Or How I Built a Time Machine to Save History) (or at Least My History Grade), illustrated by Dan Santat and released in June from Hyperion. Dan chatted with me last week at Kirkus about this book, as well as some of his other upcoming illustrated books, so here’s the link, if you missed that and are so inclined to read it.

Last but not least, the image opening this post is from Hyewon Yum’s Mom, It’s My First Day of Kindergarten! (Frances Foster/Farrar Straus G

2 Comments on What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,Plus What I Did Last Week,Featuring Hyewon Yum, Dan Santat(and a Bonus Cover Reveal), last added: 7/20/2012
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1331. William Joyce talks about creating The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

Occasionally, I will watch children read and reread a story, absolutely carried away on the story's journey. They will want to revisit that special story world again and again. The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore amazes children and adults when they first read it. Some are amazed at the way the book app integrates animation and interactive features, but many readers are simply captivated by the story. Now, this wonderful book is available as a picture book to share with children.

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
by William Joyce
NY: Simon and Schuster, 2012
available at your local library and on Amazon
Morris Lessmore is a man who loves words and stories, so much so that he surrounds himself with books. One day, he is swept away to a distant land when a terrible storm strikes. Adults may see reference to The Wizard of Oz or Hurricane Katrina, but children just follow Morris into a magical land of stories.
“Then a happy bit of happenstance came his way. Rather than looking down, as had become his habit, Morris Lessmore looked up. Drifting through the sky above him, Morris saw a lovely lady. She was being pulled along by a festive squadron of flying books.” 
The young woman sends him a story that leads him to a stately old home where books from years gone by apparently ‘nested.’ Morris explores this wonderful place, discovering his true home among the books and stories, each “whispering an invitation to adventure.

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is currently number one on the New York Times Bestselling Children's Picture Books list - hooray! I'm so very glad it's reaching a wide audience.

I was honored last month to listen to William Joyce talk about his inspiration for this story. Listen to the speech he gave to gathered librarians and admirers at the Simon and Schuster party at the American Library Association, in June 2012. First, you'll hear Justin Chanda, his editor and the publisher of Books for Young Readers at Simon & Schuster, introduce Bill. And then listen to Bill describe the story behind Mr. Morris Lessmore.
Bill Joyce tells us that he originally wrote t

2 Comments on William Joyce talks about creating The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, last added: 7/21/2012
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1332. Squid and Octopus: Friends for Always

Tao Nyeu presents four short stories in her latest picture book about two BFFs, or make that FFAs (Friends for Always).  The first story starts with a spat, as the two friends disagree on a chilly day whether socks or mittens should be worn on tentacles. Not a problem for most readers, but then we're not cephalopods.

The second story offers a surprise. When Squids dreams he has X-ray vision, readers get to lift the flap to see what's going on inside a giant submarine cruise ship. Story number three, "The Hat," is the strongest of the bunch. Octopus finds a cowboy boot and decides it's a hat. His confidence in his choice wilts as other sea creatures see the boot as a vase, flowerpot, and doorstop. Luckily Squid shares his friend's vision. In the final story, the pair imagine what the fortune in their cookie holds for them.

Nyeu creates a whimsical world for the friends to inhabit. Her silkscreen illustrations, in subdued pastel hues, are intricate and full of surprises. Beginning readers will pour over the witty details and asides, such as a pair of lobsters gossiping over bowls of soup. ("So I heard Lucy molted the other day." "You don't say!")

Squid and Octopus is a charming addition in the long tradition of fictional duos.

Squid and Octopus: Friends for Always
by Tao Nyeu
Dial, 40 pages
Published: June 2012

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1333. Book Trailer: The Monster Who Lost His Mean

The Monster Who Lost His Mean, written by Tiffany Strelitz Haber and illustrated by Kirstie Edmunds

Everyone knows that the M in “monster” stands for MEAN. But what happens when a monster can’t be mean any more? Is he still a monster at all?

One young monster's attempts to live up to his name go hilariously awry as he discovers—with a little help from new friends—that it's not what you're called but who you are that counts.

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1334. Wordless Picture Books

Wordless picture books contain only pictures and little or no text. They depend entirely on carefully sequenced illustrations to present the story. The illustrations must be highly narrative.

Although wordless picture books are generally aimed at preschoolers (aged 4 to 6), some of them are also intended for older children because they contain complex plot structures, subtle imagery, and sophisticated tone.

Can a wordless book be effective in helping children to learn a language?

“Definitely!” says Dawn Jeffers publisher at Raven Tree Press. ”Wordless picture books and picture books with limited words are both beautiful and educational. They help children develop language, creative thinking and enhance future reading and writing skills. Using wordless picture books, children learn that reading follows a left-to-right pattern. They learn that stories generally have a beginning, a middle section and an ending. They also learn to identify details, see cause and effect, make judgements and draw conclusions.”

Educators are using them to teach writing to children and also to help teach non-English speaking kids English. These are some of the reasons publishers have gravitated to “Wordless Picture Books.”

Lucy Cummins & Alexandra Cooper ran a Wordless Picture Book Workshop at the June 2012 NJ-SCBWI Conference. I asked Diana Patton if she would write up something to share with you.

Here’s Diana:

Art Director Lucy Cummins and Senior Editor Alexandra Cooper at Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers ran an enjoyable workshop/talk. They worked as a well-oil machine and worked brightly and efficiently together to present us with lots of good information dotted with generous amounts of humor.

They discussed the characteristics of wordless picture books:

1. Story is easily understood in sequence.
2. Story has a real beginning, a middle, and an end.
3. They speak to a universal experience.
4. Different people can interpret the same book differently.
5. The story guides the reader gently but allows the reader to create their own narrative.
6. The story has boundless appeal.
7. Great page turns.
8. They can be “read” by people who speak any language.
9. Characters whose thoughts and actions “read” very clearly.
10. Story that is full of emotion.
11. Story should be deceptively obvious.

If you don’t need dialogue, if there are lots of active verbs, you may have a wordless picture book in you.

Why do some books work wordlessly?

Alex and Lucy shared excellent examples of this genre of purely visual storytelling and excellent examples of sequential storytelling . We saw:

Peggy Rathmann’s Goodnight, Gorilla
Alexandra Day’s Good Dog, Carl
Raymond Briggs’ The Snowman.
Chris Raschka’s A Ball for Daisy, the 2012 Caldecott Winner
David Wiesner’s FLOTSAM
Jerry Pinkney’s The Lion and the Mouse (also Caldecott Winners 2007 and 2010)
Barbara Lehman’s The Red Book (Caldecott Honor Book)

Pinkney’s The Lion and the Mouse is the awesomely beautiful retelling of an old tale; Lucy emphasized that if you retell a tale, you must have a new take on it. She recommended reading Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics and his Making Comics (interestingly enough, my youngest son Shawn, the game designer, had already given me these books to study!)

Both Lucy and Alexandra stressed the importance of page turners. And of course, they discussed the reasons why your story might be told wordlessly. There should be an element of universality. For example, your imagination runs away with you, or you take a tale everyone knows and do a role r

1 Comments on Wordless Picture Books, last added: 7/19/2012
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1335. Out This Week! Monsters, YA and Thomas Edison

A round up of new books from Macmillan Children's Publishing Group out this week!

Picture Books

Chapter Books

Young Adult Books


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1336. One ‘Glorious Image of Liberation’ Before Breakfastand a Quick Note to My Impish Readers

(Do yourself a favor and click to enlarge this spread)

Hello, dear Imps.

I’m busy this week working on my part of this presentation, which will be in Knoxville this Friday. I will be speaking in the morning to a group of librarians and teachers about picture books, my favorite titles thus far in 2012. I love doing this every summer. In point of fact, I love it as much as Snoopy loves root beer:

… and that’s ’cause how often does one get asked to talk about picture books for nearly two hours? Not often, so I look forward to this every year.

And the image opening this post? Well, speaking of 2012 picture books, that spread is from one with which I am deeply smitten, Matthew Cordell’s hello! hello! To be clear, this one is not out yet—it’ll be released by Hyperion in October—so this is essentially a sneak-peek image. In fact, that spread from the book is what Publishers Weekly in their starred review referred to as “a glorious image of liberation.” Indeed. This book has such a beautiful rhythm and pacing to it, but then more on that later, as I hope to post about it when it’s released. (Anyone remember in January, when Matt visited for a breakfast interview, that he actually shared this same image, as well as a few others from the book?) In the meantime, here’s the cover:

Back to my stack of 2012 picture books. I’ll be back on Thursday. Promise. Until then…

* * * * * * *

Spread from HELLO! HELLO! is copyright © 2012 by Matthew Cordell and used with his permission.

10 Comments on One ‘Glorious Image of Liberation’ Before Breakfastand a Quick Note to My Impish Readers, last added: 7/18/2012
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1337. Formatting for Maximum Visibilty

“READ ME,” WHISPERED THE MANUSCRIPT TO THE EDITOR: Formatting your manuscript for maximum visibility

written by Simon Kaplan from Picture Book People Newsletter

Years ago, when I was an editor at Henry Holt and Company, a visiting author looked around my tiny, paper-laden office and indicated a pile of manuscripts. “Are those all the people who you’ve kept waiting for way too long?” He asked pointedly. “No” I replied, showing him a bookcase that contained several shelves on which manuscripts were stacked deep and wide. “Those are.” He looked shocked.

THE REASON If you’ve never been inside the office of an editor or literary agent, it’s hard to imagine the volume of submissions that cross either one’s desk. If you’re submitting your work for an editor’s or agent’s consideration, it makes sense that you do everything you can to make the experience of reading your work as easy as possible. Before an editor reads a word of your manuscript, he or she notices the way it’s presented. Or rather, the editor or agent doesn’t notice the way it’s presented—which is what you want. You do not want your submission to be rejected because it’s difficult to read. You do want the format of your manuscript to be inconsequential so that the content stands out. You want your manuscript to whisper “Read me” so that the overworked editor takes notice and reads. So save your creativity for the storytelling, and format your submissions in the way that’s commonly accepted as standard.

THE FORMAT—A CHECKLIST: If an editor or agent to whom you’re submitting a manuscript requests a specific format, follow the requirements. If there is no set format, here’s the generally accepted way of doing things, presented in checklist format for ease of use.

Your work should be typed in Black Times New Roman 12 point Double spaced.

It should be Aligned left—the right-hand margin will be “ragged”— and have One-inch margins on all four sides Page numbers centered at the bottom of each page Page header at the top right-hand corner of each page following the title page that includes your last name/title of book The End in italics, centered, at end of manuscript.

If you wish to or feel you need to show page breaks, do so by including an extra line space. You can center a -; *; or # in the line if you feel you’d like to make more of a statement.

Picture books don’t require a separate title page, so your manuscript should include a title page formatted as follows: Aligned left and single spaced near the top of page are your name, address, phone number, and e-mail address—each on a separate line. Word count should appear in the top right-hand corner. About halfway down the page, the full manuscript title should be typed. A double space and then “by [Your Full Name].” Another double space and begin the manuscript.

WHY THIS FORMAT? This format is standard because it optimizes legibility, navigation, and information. Black ink stands out most clearly; the 12-point font is neither too big nor too small. Times New Roman is a serif face that draws the eye easily through the text. Double spacing ensures enough space between lines so that each line is obvious and clear without someone having to squint or transverse vast quantities of white space to get from one line to the next.

At one inch—pretty much the default in Microsoft Word—margins are generous but not excessive and so give a sense of clarity and space rather than a sense of claustrophobia. Pages that are clearly identified and numbered ar

5 Comments on Formatting for Maximum Visibilty, last added: 7/17/2012
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1338. Picture Book Monday - A review of Eight Days Gone

On this day in 1969, a rocket called Apollo 11 blasted off into space taking three men to the moon. It was an incredible journey, one that was watched by millions of people all over the world. Today's picture book tells the story of this journey in beautifully spare rhyming verse that is accompanied by wonderful illustrations.

Linda McReynolds
Illustrated by Ryan O’Rouke
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Charlesbridge, 2012, 978-1-58089-365-7
   It was a hot day in July in 1969 when hundreds of people gathered to watch Apollo 11 blast off into space. Out in space, the three astronauts on board watched the “Shrinking planet” that was their home getting smaller and smaller as they headed for the moon.
   As they got closer to their destination, the three men began to prepare. They donned their “bulky suits,” and the other special clothing that they were going to need, and then they disconnected the lunar module from the command module. While Michael Collins and many people on Earth watched, first Neil Armstrong and then Edwin Aldrin stepped onto the moon leaving their boot prints “on / ashen ground.”
   In this special picture book, Linda McReynolds uses rhyming verse to tell the story of the first moon landing, which took place on July 20, 1969. She captures how the astronauts felt as they looked at Earth from the moon, and readers will see how important this event was not only for Americans, but for all people.
   An author’s note at the back of the book provides readers with further information about the moon landing, and Ryan O’Rouke’s artwork provides a perfect backdrop for the author’s compelling and atmospheric rhyming verse.

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1339. Book Review: Liberty Lee's Tail of Independence by Peter W. Barnes and Cheryl Shaw Barnes

As you know, I've been a blog-slacker lately. Who knew that having four kids and a big house would be so time-consuming? Anyway, publishers have been asking me to review various titles, and I've been passing most of them by. Sad, but true.

However, when I was asked to participate in the blog tour for Liberty Lee's Tail of Independence, I didn't want to say no. I'm always looking for fun ways to teach my kids about important subjects. The founding of the United States of America is a very important subject to me.

Liberty Lee's Tail of Independence is a picture book narrated by a mouse named Liberty Lee. He takes us on a journey through the history of our beloved country.

The story is both informative and interesting. It is written in rhyme. Rhyming can be tricky, especially when trying to pack it full of facts, but the author/illustrator team, Peter and Cheryl Barnes, do a surprisingly good job combining the two.

On the first page, we meet Liberty Lee. Then he jumps into his "tail":

"To begin, let's go back more than 400 years
To meet the first settlers--the first pioneers.
Across the Atlantic from England they came
To seek opportunity, fortune, and fame!"

He then goes to the 13 colonies, the Boston Tea Party, the Revolution, and the Declaration of Independence. It's a great overview for children who are learning about our history.

After the story, there are 7 pages called "The Tail End" that describe the events mentioned in the book in more detail.

Although I enjoyed the character Liberty Lee, I think the book might be a more effective learning tool without mixing fantasy and history. When the mouse mentioned his fictitious ancestors, it threw me off for a minute. Here's an example:

"There were carpenters, shopkeepers, sailors at sea,
And farmers--like my uncle, Hamilton Lee.

At planting tobacco, you'd find no one better--
He worked any farm that would pay him in cheddar!"

In contrast, I love the section about the Continental Congress writing the Declaration. Here's part of it:

"They debated, and then on the 4th of July,
In 1776, they said, "Aye!"--
They voted together, with great dedication,
For liberty, freedom, and starting a nation.

Fifty-six patriots signed right below
The powerful words they decided would show
That these United States would forever be
One nation, under God, independent and free!"

PS. Happy Birthday to our Country (this month) and to me (today).  :)

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1340. Wow of a launch results in 3 titles in reprint already!

Andrea has gotten it spectacularly right! The CEO of Tell Me a Story launched 10 new titles on 30th June, this year. I was privileged to be guest speaker at an event that had even seasoned politicians, Ian Rickuss, MP Lockyer, and Steve Jones, Mayor, Lockyer Valley Regional Council,  commenting on attendance numbers!

Assembled authors, illustrators and guest panelists with Andrea Kwast

Muza Ulasowski [Panelist] and Guest Speaker, J.R.Poulter

The audience was rapt. I have seldom been at a publishing event where everyone’s eyes shone! Andrea has the  devoted support of her very wide community of readers and growing. She also has the  good fortune to have a very devoted group of assistants in administrator, Rel, and local photographer and budding author herself, Jenni Smith.

Research and innovation, preparedness to think out of the box, are hallmarks of Andrea and her team. She believes stories are lurking everywhere and it just takes the right determination, editing and dedication to bring them out. That she is succeeding over and above expetaction is more than demonstrated by the sellout and reprint, within the first few weeks since the launch, of no fewer than 3 titles!

Hearty Congratulations Andrea and Team and to all her authors – keep writing!

Click to view slideshow.
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1341. Two 2012 Picture Books

And Then It's Spring. Julie Fogliano. Illustrated by Erin E. Stead. 2012. Roaring Brook Press. 32 pages.

First you have brown, all around you have brown 
then there are seeds 
and a wish for rain,
and then it rains
and it is still brown,
but a hopeful, very possible sort of brown,

A little boy is waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting for spring. He's waiting patiently--for the most part--for the seeds he planted to sprout. He's waiting for the world to change from brown to green...

This one is a nice read. I enjoyed the story, really enjoyed some of the writing. And the illustrations are nice. Some of the details are quite nice! For example, following the various animals from spread to spread--the dog, the rabbit, the turtle, etc. And I appreciated how spring came when he wasn't looking for it--looking for it so anxiously that is.

Read And It's Spring

  • If you're looking for a picture books about spring, about the changing of the seasons
  • If you're looking for picture books about gardening, planting seeds, nature, etc.
  • If you're looking for books about patience
Baby Bear Sees Blue. Ashley Wolff. 2012. Simon & Schuster. 40 pages.

Deep down in the den, 
Baby Bear wakes up.
He yawns and blinks
and stretches his stubby legs.
In the den's dark wall,
an opening slowly fills with light.
A glow creeps in.
"Who is warming me, Mama?"
asks Baby Bear.
"That is the sun," Mama says.
Baby Bear sees yellow.
At the mouth of the den,
leaves dance on a twig.
"Who is waving to me, Mama?"
asks Baby Bear.
"That is the oak," Mama says.
Baby Bear sees green.

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Ashley Wolff's Baby Bear Sees Blue!!!! It may just be one of my favorite, favorite books of the year. Readers meet Mama Bear and Baby Bear. Readers share in the experience as Baby Bear experiences the wonder of the world for the very first time. It's a book that celebrates life, celebrates nature, celebrates beauty, and, of course, showcases COLORS.  (I believe it also does a good job with the five senses.) Baby Bear is very, very curious. He asks his Mama lots of questions; there's a pattern in this one, a use of repetition, which I definitely appreciate. I think children will be able to anticipate and participate in this one--especially after they hear it a time or two.

Loved the writing and the illustrations!!! This is one I'd definitely recommend.

Read Baby Bear Sees Blue
  • If you're looking for picture books about spring, about changing of seasons,
  • If you're looking for picture books that celebrate nature, beauty of creation/nature
  • If you're looking for a concept book about colors
  • If you're looking for picture books that celebrate curiosity and the asking of questions
  • If you like books about bears

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews
1342. lustrator Saturday – Barbara Johansen Newman

This week we feature the wonderful illustrator Barbara Johansen Newman. Barbara has been illustrating professionally for more than 20 years. She’s done art for books, art for magazines and newspaper articles, art for calendars and advertising, greeting cards, corporate reports, medical reports, and invitations.

For the ten years before she was an illustrator, she worked with puppets and created figurative fiber sculptures which she has exhibited at shows and galleries around the country.

She holds  B.F.A. in Art and a ceritificate in Art Education.  She lives in Massachusetts with her husband Phil, her three sons, Dave, Mike, and Ben and her dog Bitty (in picture on left).

Here is a picture of Barbara’s studio.

When Barbara paints big, she uses antique dough boards. I asked about them and Barbara said, “They are large slabs of wood, usually one single plank wide, probably cut from old growth trees, mostly of pine. They are also called “noodle boards.” Women used them for kneading dough for bread and noodles of sorts. They are often fairly large–20 by 28 or more. Some have lips that hung over the edges of tables to make them more stable.”

Here’s a good example of one: http://www.antiquepeek.com/wood_dough_board_2.htm

I like painting on them and have purchased them whenever I can find them at a reasonable price.

This is the first color illustration assignment Barbara ever got–a piece on Turkey farms for Boston Magazine back in the 80s.

Tell us a little bit about the puppets and dolls you did right out of college.  Where the puppets marionettes? What materials did you use to make the dolls?

While I was still in college I met Lois Bohevesky and with her  and Frieda Gates I spent a summer studying puppetry and puppet making at the Bil Baird Theatre in New York. (it is no longer there)  I learned to make and operate hand puppets, rod puppets, and marionettes. That course planted the seed of a love of puppetry and everything puppet related. By summer’s end my future husband had built us a portable stage that could be used to do small shows. We packed up our rented van and moved to Buffalo, where we had transferred for our fall semester in college to be together. I posted puppet show flyers in different places and somehow we began to get calls and jobs from out of nowhere to do puppet shows all around the Buffalo area.

The big change in our lives came when we were hired to perform at a craft show. Instead of paying us a full fee, we took a table to sell puppets, because I had discovered that I loved making them as much as performing with them (actually more). After that show we were hired for othe

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1343. “The Monster Who Lost His Mean” Found Something to Give Away!

OK, so you know that I love monsters. Can’t get enough of them. Well, my friend Tiffany Strelitz Haber is here today with a monster of a story—her debut picture book, THE MONSTER WHO LOST HIS MEAN!

Some of you may know Tiffany as one of the two rhyming geniuses behind The Meter Maids (with Corey Rosen Schwartz). If you don’t, you have to check out her site, which is all about writing in rhyme. Don’t make me slap you with a citation!

Before we get riffing with Tiffing (yeah I can call her that, it rhymes), you MUST take a look at the extraordinary trailer for her new book. The music, the animation—it’s all so monstrous and so much fun!


TL: THE MONSTER WHO LOST HIS MEAN is about a monster who loses his ‘M’. You know I host Picture Book Idea Month every November so I’m obsessed with the origin of ideas. Where did this idea come from?

TSH: I have always been a very visual person when it comes to words. Even as a kid, I loved the concept of homonyms, acrostics, acronyms, spelling words backwards, and even looking at them upside down. One day I started thinking about the letters in the word MONSTER, and what they might actually stand for if the word MONSTER was an acronym. From there the concept just grew and evolved, and “The Onster” was born!

TL: We’re also all about characters names on this blog. Did “The Onster” have a name before he lost his M?

TSH: Ya know…that’s a great question. I like to think that he only really found any identity at all after he lost his M. Before that he was just…well… generic, nameless, and not nearly as cool—Monster. Bleh.

TL: The Onster cooks brunch at one point in the book. I’m a foodie like you, so what’s your favorite brunch food?

TSH: Hmm…for me, picking a favorite food is kind of like bending a spoon into a perfect figure eight using just my toes (almost impossible). But in the interest of quasi-decisiveness…I’ll go with a tie. EITHER: Perfectly toasted onion bagels slathered in whipped cream cheese, lox and just a few rounds of raw, red onion…OR…a dim sum extravaganza.

So…What’s YOUR favorite brunch food? Tell us and be entered to win a signed ARC of THE MONSTER WHO LOST HIS MEAN!

You get one entry for commenting and then one entry for every place you share—blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. Just let us know where you ONSTER’ed!

Tiffany Strelitz Haber is the author of two rhyming picture books:  THE MONSTER WHO LOST HIS MEAN (Henry Holt Books for Young Readers, July 17, 2012) and OLLIE AND CLAIRE (Philomel/Penguin, 2013).  She will eat any food she is served, be it fried witchetty grubs on a stick or calf’s brain ravioli, and loves to be high in the air or deep in the sea.  T

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1344. 10 - Malaika Rose Stanley on mixed heritage

My PhotoI once had editorial feedback that said, "It's not very likely Adil would have a cousin named Katie - could you change her name to something more Indian?

It's intriguing that whilst children's publishing is much more aware of ethnic diversity than it was when I was young, it still lacks awareness of mixed race families as an important part of our society.
I'm clearly not the only one with whom this resonates, because out of well over a thousand posts on this site over the last four years, the tenth most viewed - and one which attracted a lot of comments including a number from readers who don't often comment here - was this thoughtful, provocative, and ultimately affirming piece from Malaika:
Black, White and Just Right - Malaika Rose StanleySee you at 10.00am for number 9!

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1345. Picture Book Topics

This week I’m participating in Donna’s July Challenge on her Word Wrangler Blog. I’m supposed to come up with 15 pitches for NEW books. I have 6 so far. It’s a great challenge, I think, to stimulate my imagination, my creativity--get the ole juices flowing. I think it’s working. But I need some seeds to germinate into ideas. So, Saturday I spent time browsing my local Barnes & Noble’s.

12 Comments on Picture Book Topics, last added: 7/13/2012
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1346. What I Did at Kirkus Last Week, Featuring Bryan Collier

(Click to enlarge)

Last week at Kirkus, I chatted briefly with Bryan Collier about his latest picture book, an adaptation of Langston Hughes’s iconic poem, “I, Too, Sing America.” This is called I, Too, Am America and was published by Simon & Schuster in May.

Here is that link.

I’ve got a couple of spreads in this post today. Enjoy. (more…)

1 Comments on What I Did at Kirkus Last Week, Featuring Bryan Collier, last added: 7/14/2012
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1347. William Joyce – creator of The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

Today, I have the honor of sharing an interview with William Joyce, the amazing creator of The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. Joyce is an author, illustrator and animator of many books and films, most recently winning an Academy Award for the short film of Morris Lessmore. The app, based on the same story, has been one of my favorites for the way it blends a touching story with incredible combination of animation, interaction and narration.

Come listen to this interview on Katie Davis’s podcast, Brain Burps About Books. You can listen for free on iTunes or on Katie’s site. It was an amazing experience getting to sit down with Bill Joyce - I've admired his work for so long.

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore truly opened my eyes to what a book app can do (see my review of the app over at SLJ's Touch and Go). Above all else, the story resonates with children – it’s a story about the power of books and stories to sustain us, to fill our lives and imaginations. But it’s also an incredible combination of narrated text (beautifully written and read), animation that leaps off the screen, and interactive features that surprise readers as they are pulled into elements of the story.

If you’re fascinated by books, stories and how the new medium of the iPad will affect the way we share stories with our children, please take some time to listen to this interview. Bill Joyce is a visionary, in my mind. He sees that stories are really what we fill our lives, but that technology can be used in so many different ways to bring these stories to life.

As Bill said in this interview, halfway through the production of the short film for Morris Lessmore, the iPad was released. He and his coproducer realized that this is going to change everything. They wanted to see how this technology can be used to tell a story, to pull you into an immersive story world. The iPad can complement books, helping publishing, not hurting it.

Each way of reading The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is a different experience. The short film is completely silent, pulling the audience in but demanding that they fill in the story’s narrative plot themselves. The app uses much of the animation from the film, but adds the narration

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1348. Cover Shot! Rocket Writes A Story by Tad Hills

Cover Shot! is a regular feature here at the Café. I love discovering new covers, and when I find them, I like to share. More than anything else, I am consumed with the mystery that each new discovery represents. There is an allure to a beautiful cover. Will the story contained under the pages live up to promise of the gorgeous cover art?

I probably read more picture books than most adults should, but I can’t help myself.  There is so much energy and depth in a good picture book.  One of my favorites so far has been How Rocket Learned to Read.  I am a sucker for the cuteness, and how can you resist the sense of delight when Rocket did, finally, learn how to connect those confusing lines and make meaningful words?  The art is adorable, too.  When I saw that Rocket will be returning for another adventure, Rocket Writes A Story by Tad Hills was immediately placed on my wish list.  In stores July 2012.


This irresistible sequel to the New York Times bestselling How Rocket Learned to Read is "a perfect choice to inspire new readers and writers," according to a starred review from Kirkus Reviews.

Rocket loves books and he wants to make his own, but he can’t think of a story. Encouraged by the little yellow bird to look closely at the world around him for inspiration, Rocket sets out on a journey. Along the way he discovers small details that he has never noticed before, a timid baby owl who becomes his friend, and an idea for a story. This book is sure to appeal to kids, parents, teachers, and librarians.

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1349. Little Tug Spotting with Stephen Savage

This morning Little Tug author Stephen Savage went 'Tug Spotting' for footage for the upcoming book trailer for Little Tug (on sale October 2!).

Check out Stephen's pictures and captions from this morning's tug spotting boat ride!



July 12, 2012: Macmillan Children's Publishing Group Director of Marketing Elizabeth Fithian took us on a tug-spotting boat ride.


Our fearless captain was Elizabeth's dad, Dick Kohn (middle). Also on board was video director David Franklin...


... and me, Stephen Savage -- author and illustrator of LITTLE TUG (Roaring Brook Press, Neal Porter Books).


The sun rose at 5:36am.


Hey, that looks like a page from the book!


Well... sorta.


The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, which connects Brooklyn with Staten Island, was the model for the bridge in the book.


David shot video footage for the upcoming tug trailer.


At 8:30, the beautiful morning light was gone and Captain Kohn returned to shore!

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1350. Trends in Children's Books

Trends in Children’s Literature (and some suggested variations)

Interning at MacKids has given me the opportunity to check out a lot of children’s books, and a few patterns have emerged. Here are some thoughts on what’s in! - Katherine Damm

Trend: Bears

Suggested Reading: Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?; Bear Has A Story To Tell (September 2012); The Bear in the Book (October 2012) 


What is it about bears that make them such lovable children’s book characters? Is it their adorably awkward gait, fuzzy exterior, or just that “bear” rhymes with a lot of words? Whatever it is, I am a fan of this theme. I want to live in a world where bears are not dangerous wild animals, but are instead cuddly creatures who like to hang out with their forest friends—friends that they definitely don’t want to eat.


Variations I’d like to see: huggable sharks, whimsical scorpions, mischievous man o’ wars.



Trend: Bedtime

Suggested Reading: Bedtime for Monsters (July 2012), Lucy Can’t Sleep (August 2012)

This totally makes sense. Bedtime is contagious, like yawns. If a child sees a well-behaved peer getting down with sleepytimes, they’re much more likely to go to bed without a fuss. But books aren’t just for bedtime. They’re for all day, every day! That’s why I propose…

Variation I’d like to see: Wake up, surprise story-time! (This is best done between the hours of 12am and 4am.)




Trend: Grandparents

Suggested Reading: Grandpa Green, Grammy Lamby and the Secret Handshake

There are some great picture books about children and grandparents. The kids are sweet, the grandparents are role-models, and nobody ever says anything that has become politically incorrect within the past twenty years just a little too loudly for comfort while you’re out and about.

Variation I’d like to see: A picture book about my grandmother specifically. We call her Mimi, and she is a witty southern lady who pointedly compliments my “lingerie” when I wear shirts without sleeves.



Trend: Dystopian Fiction

Suggested Reading: Struck, Monument 14, Birthmarked, After the Snow, and more


This tren

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