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1326. Larry Gets Lost in Chicago by Michael Mullin

Larry Gets Lost in ChicagoSummer break is upon us and for those of us in the Chicago suburbs that often means trips into the City to enjoy all it has to offer. Michael Mullins offers the perfect primer for preschool and young school aged children to read before your adventure begins. The picture book tells the story of a boy named Pete and his family taking a trip to Chicago, complete with their dog, Larry.

This is not the family’s first trip nor is it Larry’s first time getting lost on vacation. Other books in this series feature Larry getting lost in Los Angeles, Texas and Seattle. This book covers all of the main attractions in Chicago including “The Bean” which is prominently featured on the cover. Larry and his family also experience a boat tour on the Chicago River, Navy Pier, Wrigley Field and of course, Larry getting to taste both a Chicago-style hot dog and Chicago-style pizza. In fact, Larry is separated from his family by the smell of one of our world famous hot dogs. The book takes Larry on a journey through Chicago as he looks for his family, and is continually distracted from his goal by Chicago’s many attractions.

This is a first-rate lost and found journey. The book also offers stunningly bright retro-cartoon style illustrations, often from the perspective of Larry the dog that will appeal to all preschoolers. Larry himself is particularly engaging with his round face and big, pink nose. The factual information about the City of Chicago is written at the right level to pique the interest of a preschooler or kindergartner. In addition to being an excellent choice for local children, this book would be great to have in your home for out of town visitors coming to stay during the summer months and planning on taking in the sites of Chicago.

Posted by: Kelly


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1327. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #280 (Mother’s Day 2012 Edition):Featuring Gianna Marino


Work-in-progress illustration from Gianna Marino’s Meet Me at the Moon
(Click to enlarge)

It’s Mother’s Day, the day we celebrate all the mamas and mama-like people in our lives.

I thought the best way I could celebrate today here at 7-Imp would be to highlight the latest picture book from Gianna Marino, Meet Me at the Moon, released by Viking in late March. And Gianna is visiting today to share a collection of early dummies, early sketches, work-in-progress images, and final spreads from the book.

She also has the loveliest true tale about her own mother and the creation of this book.

The book, which Booklist describes as “[h]eartfelt and sincere, yet never cloying,” tells the story of a young elephant and his mother. Little One is worried, because his mother must leave to “climb the highest mountain to ask the skies for rain.” Telling Little One to listen for her song on the wind, know that the warmth of the sun means she loves him, and find the brightest star to see her, she leaves. “When the night sky is bright, Little One,” she adds, “meet me at the moon, where the sky touches the earth.”

In their starred review, Kirkus writes: “The textured mixed-media art paired with the flowing text elevates this title above most missing-mama fare. The full-bleed double-page spreads evoke the vastness of the plains and the night sky, while the finely detailed striping of the zebras and the intricate branches of the trees produce a striking contrast with the huge circles of the sun or moon that dominate most scenes. Radiating warmth and comfort, this distinguished title strikes home.”

This one also made it in the New York Times just the other day.

Here’s Gianna, and I thank her for visiting and sharing. (more…)

19 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #280 (Mother’s Day 2012 Edition):Featuring Gianna Marino, last added: 5/16/2012
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1328. Week-end Book Review: Rubber Shoes…A Lesson in Gratitude / Los zapatos de goma…una lección de gratitud

Gladys Elizabeth Barbieri, illustrated by Lina Safar
Rubber Shoes…A Lesson in Gratitude / Los zapatos de goma…una lección de gratitud
Big Tent Books, 2011.

Ages 5-8

Every child knows that feeling of disappointment. Those wild hopes and dreams stirred by the sight of some toy or object spotted on a store shelf or in the hands of a classmate – the toy or object so desperately wanted – but which remains behind on store shelves as parents choose the option that is practical, functional, or affordable. Rubber Shoes tells this age-old tale that crosses cultural lines through the bilingual story of the spirited Gladys Elizabeth, who comes to learn that sometimes even the things we do not value have value beyond that we originally see.

When Gladys’ mother tells her they are going to buy her new shoes, Gladys dreams of what may come. “Maybe I’ll get shiny black shoes like Marilyn Jane … or ..sparkly white sandals like Nicky’s … or ruby red slippers like Dorothy’s…” But her mother crushes her hopes when she buys Gladys the “ugliest shoes in the world,” brown rubber ones that will not get lost or destroyed, no matter what Gladys tries.

But like Jo, Beth, Meg and Amy in Little Women, an encounter with another child less fortunate then her helps Gladys eventually come to see the brown rubber shoes in a new light, one that makes her realize that perhaps there is more value in the shoes than originally realized. Written in English and Spanish by first-grade teacher Gladys Elizabeth Barbieri, Rubber Shoes tells a somewhat well-worn tale of gratitude, although one worth repeating. Wordiness and some bumps in plot timing point to the author’s first-time author status, but she nonetheless delivers an important, if cliched, message about gratitude for all we have, rather than discontent about that which we don’t.

Sara Hudson
May 2012

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1329. Julia Child for Kids - Serious AND Funny

"True stuff doesn't have to be all solemn and serious and sedate," wrote Roz in her postlast week about humor in nonfiction picture books. If ever there was a biographical subject who was NOT solemn and sedate, it was Julia Child, who would have turned 100 this year. Serious is another matter, however.

Fun in the kitchen
On TV, Julia had a natural, relaxed attitude that belied her seriousness about French cooking. Of crucial importance were fresh, high-quality ingredients, prepared with classic techniques that had been developed over centuries. Fortunately, Julia's serious approach was always tempered by an earthy sense of humor. At heart an educator, she knew that learning goes down easiest when you're having fun. Above all, she would say, are the pleasures of sharing a delicious meal with family and friends. For Julia, relationships came first.

In my new picture book, Minette's Feast: The Delicious Story of Julia Child and Her Cat (Abrams), all these facets of America's most beloved chef and cookbook author are on the table. The challenge for me as an author was to find the right balance of seriousness and playfulness, and to do it in a way that kids would enjoy.

Flowers for Julia Child's
80th birthday party,
complete with kitchen whisk.
A Julia fan since childhood, I'd wanted to write a book about her ever since we met when I designed the flowers for her 80th birthday party, at the Rainbow Room in New York. But I struggled to find a way to make the subject child-friendly. Would six-year-olds really be interested in fancy French food?

Then I learned that Julia got her first cat, Minette, when she and her husband Paul lived in Paris in the late 1940's. This fortunate French feline ate meals lovingly prepared by the future Queen of Cuisine. In return, Minette brought Julia little tokens of affection—in the form of fres

3 Comments on Julia Child for Kids - Serious AND Funny, last added: 5/11/2012
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1330. 6-Year-Old Picks

Here are some of Johnny Boo's favorites from March and April: Ricky Ricotta, Captain Underpants, The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby Author: Dav Pilkey Mr. Men, including... Mr. Men: Favourite Stories and whatever other Mr. Men and Little Miss books Johnny Boo found at the library (there are about 49 in all) Author: Roger Hargreaves And there are new Mr. Men graphic novels! The

1 Comments on 6-Year-Old Picks, last added: 5/11/2012
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1331. Writing & Illustrating A Picture Book For Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers (Part 1: Intro)

I'm pleased to announce the launch of a new series of blog posts:

SpencerHeader v2 flat600

As some of you may already know, I'm writing and illustrating my very first picture book for Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers. I'm going to be blogging about the process of creating my yet-untitled picture book, from start to finish, in Inkygirl. If you're curious about my blog posts about the creation of I'M BORED, new picture book by Michael Ian Black that I was asked to illustrate, I recommend you follow my I'M BORED Scrapbook. That blog also details how I started working with Simon & Schuster BFYR.

Because my book is still in its early stages, I won't be talking about its content at all -- not even its title, which has yet to be finalized.

Instead, I'm going to be talking about the process with a perspective that I hope will help aspiring picture book writer/illustrators. I also figure this blog post series may be of interest to those curious about what it's like to work with Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers.

I'll be posting about the process, what I'm learning, what happens at various steps and what they mean, the people I interact with at S&S and what they do. I'll be sharing some of the templates I create for myself to help with workflow, plus give you a peek of what goes on inside Simon & Schuster BFYR later on in the process, after I've handed in my finals.

Keep in mind that this is going to be based on just one particular project and from one perspective (mine). Your book project may have been -- or could be -- very different, depending on the circumstances and the people involved.

My editor, Justin Chanda, has given me the go-ahead to blog about the process (thanks, Justin!). I worked with Justin on I'M BORED illustration discussions, but this will be the first time I've worked with him on story text. 

I haven't yet been assigned an art director; the project is still in its very early stages.

There is no set schedule to this blog post series. I'll only post in the series if I have something useful or interesting to say. To make it easier to follow this particular thread, I'll tag related posts with "pbcreation." Whenever possible, I'll also be including related resources to help you find additional info on the topic, and will also be encouraging you all to share your own experiences.

I hope you'll join me! :-)

----

Header photo credits: My photo - Beckett Gladney, Justin's photo - Sonya Sones

 

 

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1332. Tradebook Tips for Teachers from Children’s Author Mayra Calvani

Tradebook Tips for Teachers from Children’s Author Mayra Calvani

The water cycle is included in every science curriculum. Here in Belgium it is taught to fourth grade students. Both elementary and middle school teachers will benefit from my new nonfiction picture book, The Water Cycle. It is the first in a series of four about the weather.

There are many water cycle books out there. My book takes a new angle because in addition to describing the journey of the water droplets from the clouds to the earth and back to the clouds again, it explores the feelings that the different types of weather can evoke in people. The pictures and questions invite children to ponder. For example, rain can make you happy if you’re playing outside in your shiny new boots, but it can make you feel sad and melancholic if you’re indoors and watching from the window. If rain turns into a downpour and eventually a flood, it can evoke in you a whole new set of feelings. The same goes for snow, hail, a blizzard, etc. At the end of the book there are vocabulary activities. At the moment, I’m planning on hiring a teacher to create a complete teacher’s guide. When it’s ready it’ll be available free via my blog and website.

Here are some links to activities about the water cycle that parents and educators can use to complement my book:

Diagram, word search crossword, cloze and other worksheets at
http://bogglesworldesl.com/watercycle_worksheets.htm

More water cycle activity pages, http://www.kidzone.ws/water/

Free power point presentations of the water cycle at http://science.pppst.com/watercycle.html

Finally, teachers and parents can show students what they can do to become more ecologically responsible and be ‘hydro-logical’: http://water.epa.gov/learn/kids/drinkingwater/behyrdological.cfm

Thank you, Karen, for this opportunity to talk about my book on your blog!

About the book: The Water Cycle: Water Play Series Book 1, for ages 4-8, follows the water droplets in their journey from the clouds to the earth and back to the clouds again. Written in a lyrical style, the book takes a new angle on the water cycle by showing the feelings it evokes in people. It also has fun learning activities at the end.

What reviewers are saying…

 “Written in Calvani’s delightful prose, “Huddle inside the CLOUD high up in the sky, the water droplets are excited,” While also complemented by the imaginative artwork of Alexander Morris’ fun illustrations, makes this book both easy to read and informative. The author also includes for her young readers a word search and glossary learning activity—a great addition to every teacher and homeschool parents’ teaching library.” –Carol Fraser Hagen, reading specialist and special education teacher.

You can read the complete review at http://www.carolfraserhagen.com/2012/04/30/reading-about-science-book-recommendation


And, you can check out my review of The Water Cycle at:
http://www.karencioffiwritingandmarketing.com/2012/05/review-of-water-cycle-book-1.html

Purchase The Water Cycle: Water Play Series Book 1 from Guardian Angel Publishing: 14 Comments on Tradebook Tips for Teachers from Children’s Author Mayra Calvani, last added: 5/11/2012
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1333. Robot Zombie Frankenstein by Annette Simon

Above all else, Robot Zombie Frankenstein! by Annette Simon is fun. Fun to read out loud, fun to look at and especially fun to see the reactions on listeners' faces as you read. Besides having robots, which I love and do not find in picture books as often as I would like, the plot of Robot Zombie Frankenstein! escalates to a fever pitch of competitive frenzy and suspense that kids love in a

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1334. Farewell, Maurice Sendak (1928-2012)

I was so sorry to hear this news this morning. The New York Times and other news outlets are reporting the death of Maurice Sendak, "widely considered the most important children’s book artist of the 20th century," as Margalit Fox writes in an obituary. NPR's "Fresh Air" will be devoting today's show to him.

What's your favorite Sendak book? Mine is Swine Lake, a collaboration with James Marshall, about a wolf and a pig ballet and the power of art.

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1335. Be Still


“[O]ne of Sendak’s most lovingly rendered pages, one of his most graphically succinct and nonetheless articulate expressions of deep meaning.”
– From Gregory Maguire’s “A Sendak Appreciation,”
The Horn Book, November/December 2003

I am so sad to hear about the passing of Maurice Sendak. What a loss for us all. I have been sitting in shock for a while, while I sit back and watch the news explode at places like Twitter and Facebook. I wish right about now I were a poet.

But the New York Times did well with this:

In book after book, Mr. Sendak upended the staid, centuries-old tradition of American children’s literature, in which young heroes and heroines were typically well scrubbed and even better behaved; nothing really bad ever happened for very long; and everything was tied up at the end in a neat, moralistic bow. … A largely self-taught illustrator, Mr. Sendak was at his finest a shtetl Blake, portraying a luminous world, at once lovely and dreadful, suspended between wakefulness and dreaming. In so doing, he was able to convey both the propulsive abandon and the pervasive melancholy of children’s interior lives.

I still remember Roger Sutton’s 2003 Horn Book interview with Maurice. (Note: Roger has a brief tribute to his friend at his blog today, the best part being where he describes Sendak as “an omnivorous and eloquent consumer of art in all forms, and a wicked mimic who had the most impressive command of obscene language that I have ever heard.”) In that 2003 Horn Book interview, they discussed death. Sendak said,

[D]eath is a comfort because that’s what saves you. Suffering, cancer, some horrible disease, I’m terrified of pain. Death will just take you away from that. So what’s to be afraid of? It’s a cessation of pain. What more could you ask? It’s like the good nurse. … I think the most graceful thing offered us is sleep without dreams. That is so sensible.

He also said in that same interview, “you come on a wisp of air and you go on a wisp of air.”

I just didn’t think it’d be so soon.

Here’s hoping he gets his dreamless sleep.

Note: Don’t miss these words from the Rosenbach Museum & Library. They include an art gallery.

20 Comments on Be Still, last added: 5/9/2012
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1336. And Then It’s Spring by Julie Fogliano

And Then It's SpringIn the months of February and March when winter seems to be dragging on and on, it is time for my own personal countdown to Spring. For me, it starts when I can’t bear the thought of wearing my winter coat one more day, and I love my winter coat! Luckily this year Spring came early, but in this story the wait is a little longer. The book starts out with the world all brown, “all around you have brown”, and then day by day inch by inch the world starts to wake up. The little boy plants a seed, and he wishes for rain, and then gets his wish, and then there’s more waiting and wondering. Finally, one day there is a little rain and the next day a little sunshine, and the boy walks outside to check on all the brown, and everything is GREEN! This wonderful book is a hopeful and still realistic view of what it feels like to be young and to wait for Spring!

Posted by: Mary


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1337. Growing up reading: a delightful & delicious memoir - guest post by Susanna Reich

In celebration of the publication of Minette's Feast, I asked the author Susanna Reich to share some of her memories growing up reading with her parents. Reading this brought back so many memories for me, and reminded me of all we give our children sharing that time together, reading together and talking about what books mean to us.

Growing up reading
by Susanna Reich, author of Minette's Feast

Most authors were avid readers as children, and I’m no exception. My reading habit began early, when my parents would tuck me in to bed with a pile of picture books. Nowadays I tuck myself in, but I still like to “settle my brains” with a good book. Here’s a baker’s dozen of favorites from childhood:
1338. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #279:Featuring Jane Porter and Jane Kohuth


(Click to enlarge)

It’s the first Sunday of the month, which means the 7-Imp spotlight gets turned on a student or debut illustrator, and today I’ve got the latter. Jane Porter is a UK-based illustrator, who has a master’s in Illustration and Animation from Kingston University — and who spent a long time watching ducks-in-action for this book. (Also, she sometimes draws with a stick. WITH A STICK. Jane Porter Fun Fact! She discusses this more below.)

Duck Sock Hop, to be released this week from Dial, was written by Jane Kohuth, who has a degree in English and Creative Writing from Brandeis University, but who also has a master’s degree in Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School. (We’re in good company today, aren’t we, fellow imps?) There are no theological musings in Duck Sock Hop, but there are jaunty read-aloud rhymes about some messy, musical, dance-loving ducks, as well as bright and colorful illustrations from Porter.

I’m not going to run my mouth for long here, since both Janes are here this morning to say a bit about this book and their work in general. I’m happy both author and illustrator are visiting today. But let me quickly add that this is a great story-time choice, and I am taken with Kohuth’s sunny, patterned illustrations. “Eye-catching” is how Publishers Weekly puts it, and they’re right: “…[T]hey’re…an engaging, eye-catching bunch,” the review states, “rendered in bold black outlines and playful silkscreen-like patterning that’s an inventive visual riff on feathers. Kohuth’s…verse offers plenty of read-aloud pleasure, giving readers the immense satisfaction of saying ’socks’ and ‘ducks’ over and over.”

First up this morning is Jane Porter (illustrator)—along with some early sketches from the book, as well as a picture of her art-making tools—and I’ll follow that with some words from Jane Kohuth (author). I thank them both for visiting 7-Imp today, and I look forward to what each of them brings readers next. (more…)

26 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #279:Featuring Jane Porter and Jane Kohuth, last added: 5/7/2012
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1339. Book Review: Carrot


Author: Cheryl Christian
Genre: Picture Book; Children's Book
Release: May, 2011
SourceNetgalley
Rating: 3.5

DescriptionCarrot is a delightful story about a common house cat who finds that the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence. Carrot envies the fancy white cat she sees on a yacht in the bay and fantasizes a life of wealth. Finally Carrot realizes her “common” life has much to offer that idleness aboard a yacht could never fulfill.

Review: Carrot gets her name from her orange-colored coat. She loves her life, til she sees Buffy, a white cat on a fancy yacht. Then, Carrot wonders what it would be like to live like Buffy, having everything she could ever wish for, including the best caviar and a collar made of diamonds and pearls. After thinking up how wonderful her life would be, Carrot thinks about her life now. She realizes that maybe Buffy's life isn't as superb as it looks. Maybe Carrot's life is just perfect. I loved the vibrant colors in the illustrations! This was a cute book perfect for preschool/early elementary children.

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1340. Chloe, Instead By Micah Player

Reading level: 3-6

Add this book to your collection: Chloe, Instead

Video courtesy of : Molly always dreamed of having a sister who is just like her. But she got Chloe, instead. These two sisters are nothing alike: Molly loves to color with crayons. Chloe prefers the taste of wax. Molly loves to read. Chloe prefers to nibble a book’s spine. Molly is frustrated! But then she realizes that maybe sisters aren’t the ones next to you on the piano bench, they’re the ones dancing to the music you play! This humorous, perceptive snapshot of sibling love is perfect for those who may need a bit of convincing what fun little siblings can be!

©2012 The Childrens Book Review. All Rights Reserved.

.

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1341. KID REVIEW: Matthew reviews “Light up the Night.”

Matthew and "Light Up The Night.Almost everyone has had a moment where they realize what a small spot in the universe they actually hold.

For some people, that’s a relief. There’s much less pressure. For other people, that realization inspires them to work harder to try and leave their mark, no matter how small.

For the little boy in Light Up the Night (Hyperion Children’s Books, 2011) — a picture book written by Jean Reidy and illustrated by Margaret Chodos-Irvine — that realization is part of an amazing trip throughout space.

But the boy doesn’t leave everything behind. His favorite blanket turns into a rocket to take him on his journey and bring him safely home.

Now, let’s meet Matthew, today’s guest reviewer. He says he would be very interested in going into space, seeing the entire world from above, and possibly meeting some aliens.

Take it away, Matthew!

Our reviewer: Matthew

Age: 7

Things I like to do: Use the computer, play on the iPod, draw and read.

This book was about: Stuff inside of stuff, inside of stuff, inside of stuff. (Editor’s note: This is a great way of describing a cumulative story, which this book is!)

The best part was when: The boy saw the planets and the sun.

This book taught me: About hemispheres.

My favorite words or phrase from the book: “Stars so bright they light up the night in my own little piece of the universe.”

My favorite picture from the book: When the blanket turnes into a rocket!

Three words that best describe this book are: “Space.” “Repeating.” “Night.”

Other kids reading this book should watch for: The aliens with all the eyes.

You should read this book because: It’s interesting.

Thank you, Matthew!

Want to learn more about Jean Reidy?

Let’s not forget illustrator Margaret Chodos-Irvine.

1342. Feedback Friday: Desert Island Picture Book?

Time for a new fun little feature called “Feedback Friday”. I’d love to know…

If you were stranded on a desert island, what ONE picture book would you want to have with you? And why?

Here’s my answer:

Why this book?

Because as a young girl, I loved my stuffed animals. I thought they were real. This is exactly how Emily Brown feels about Stanley. I get Emily Brown, I really do. In the story, Stanley accompanies Emily Brown on all her adventures…into the sea, into space…and a silly, naughty Queen takes notice. The Queen begs for her Bunny-Wunny, but Emily Brown won’t budge. She’s a little firecracker, that one.

This story has adventure, mystery, royalty, and a happy ending for all. I’ve read it a hundred times and it’s never gotten old. If I can’t cuddle with a stuffed animal while I’m stranded, I’ll be fine and dandy cuddling with my copy of this book (especially if it’s paperback and not hardcover).

So tell me, what ONE picture book would you want to wash up on the shore?


12 Comments on Feedback Friday: Desert Island Picture Book?, last added: 5/6/2012
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1343. Blog Tour: "Minette's Feast" As Creative Nonfiction


If you're looking for Day Five of the Minette's Feast Blog Tour, you're in the right spot.

Minette’s Feastby Susanna Reich, illustrated by Amy Bates,  is a lovely picture book with a Parisian setting and a charming story. A woman living in Paris and studying French cuisine adopts a cat, Minette, that far prefers the results of her own food prep—hunting for birds and mice—to the cassoulets, soufflés, and pates her owner makes. She is finally won over, at least temporarily, by the leftovers from a dish that had taken three days to marinate.

The descriptions and illustrations of home, cooking, and food, food, food give Minette’s Feastthe potential to become a comfort book, so it doesn’t matter that many young readers won’t know who the woman referred to in the book’s subtitle —“The Delicious Story of Julia Child and Her Cat”—is. Furthermore, Minette holds her own as a character. She does, after all, turn up her nose at meals prepared by a student at “Le Cordon Bleu, the famous cooking school.” Whether or not she will be won over to fine human food provides the narrative drive for this sweet piece of creative nonfiction.

That is what Minette’s Feast seems to be to me—creative nonfiction for kids. Creative nonfiction, as I first saw it defined years ago, is nonfiction that reads like fiction. It is written using  “elements borrowed from fiction to tell true stories,” as nonfiction children’s writer Melissa Stewart wrote earlier this year.  Descriptive language (“Julia and Paul were charmed by Minette’s delicate whiskers, her superior nose, and her quick little paws.”), dialogue (“Une maison sans chat, c’est la vie sans soleil!”), and the use of scenes (“And every time they went out for a walk, they enjoyed a fine, fine meal. They nibbled croissants in cafes where cats curled on chairs…”) are all examples of writing elements usually associated with fiction that a writer of creative nonfiction may choose to use.

In fact, in Lee Gutkind's collection of essays by writers of creative nonfiction, Keep It Real, scenes are described as the building blocks of creative nonfiction. They then need to be placed in some kind of order, or frame. In the case of Minette's Feast, Susannah Reich uses a traditional story frame to organize her scenes. A story is an account or retelling of something that happened told in a way that expresses meaning. That's why a beginning, middle, and end are so important to stories. We see the world of the

2 Comments on Blog Tour: "Minette's Feast" As Creative Nonfiction, last added: 5/6/2012
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1344. IF YOU ARE NOT A PICTURE BOOK JUNKIE FREAKAZOID LIKE ME, DON’T READ THIS ARTICLE. REALLY.


Oh.  Hello, remaining freakazoids.

 
Check out these blockbuster award-winning best-selling top-flight PICTURE BOOKS for short people:  Don’t let the Pigeon Drive the Bus is funny. So are Knuffle Bunny, The Stinky Cheese Man and other Fairly Stupid Tales, The Stupids Step Out, The Beast of Monsieur Racine, I Want My Hat Back, and Everything on It. Those 3 miniature females named Olivia, Madeline, and Eloise are funny too.  And Click, Clack, Moo, Joseph had a Little Overcoat, Frog and Toad are Friends, It Could Always be Worse, and everything Dr. Seuss ever wrote in his entire life are even funnier.  

 
Funny is fun.  I love funny…..who doesn’t?  But do you notice something weird about this list? Of course you do.  These hilarious picture book blockbusters are all FICTION! I know there must be funny blockbuster roll-on-the-floor-laughing nonfiction picture books out there, but where ARE they? 
 
Well, let me see….John, Paul, George & Ben is funny, and at the end it tells you which parts were fiction and which parts were nonfiction.  Does that count?  So You Want to Be President? is funny too.  Can you guys think of any other hilarious blockbuster nonfiction picture books that I left out?  I hope so. True stuff doesn’t have to be all solemn and serious and sedate, you know.

 So let's make this post short and sweet.  Of course the truth ain't always funny; far from it. And of course picture books don’t always have to be funny either, any more than they have

6 Comments on IF YOU ARE NOT A PICTURE BOOK JUNKIE FREAKAZOID LIKE ME, DON’T READ THIS ARTICLE. REALLY., last added: 5/1/2012
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1345. Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Claudio Muñoz

I’m afraid that, if I try to count the number of picture book creators who have visited this site in the past six years, I’ll be here all day. I’ve done quite a few Q&As, to say the least. But today is a “first” for 7-Imp. Unless you count the photographs Chris Raschka used to answer some of his questions or Deborah Freedman’s illustrated responses to the Pivot Questionnaire (hi, chicken), this is the first time an interviewee has sent illustrated responses to his answers. Well, most of them. “Although some of them are in written form,” Chilean-born illustrator Claudio Muñoz told me, “I have given most of my answers the way I communicate best — that is, with my drawings.”

And that makes this illustration junkie very happy. In fact, here’s what happened when I asked if he could tell me what he likes to have for breakfast daily:

(more…)

10 Comments on Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Claudio Muñoz, last added: 5/3/2012
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1346. Interview with Toni Buzzeo

By Bianca Schulze, The Children’s Book Review
Published: May 2, 2012

Toni Buzzeo

Toni Buzzeo, MA, MLIS, is a New York Times bestselling author as well as a career library media specialist. She writes picture books for children as well as many professional books and articles and lives on a colonial farm in Maine. We talked to her about her new picture book Stay Close to Mama (Disney, Hyperion, 2012), her first book The Sea Chest (Dial, 2002), and she happily shared some words of wisdom to inspire young readers. 

I understand that you began writing poetry as a teenager before entering the world of children’s literature as a children’s librarian, a book reviewer, and, finally, an author of children’s books. You obviously have a very strong passion for children’s books. What would you say is the driving factor behind your passion?

Children often ask me that question in their own way when I visit schools. I never have to mull over the answer because it is so clear to me. I think children are the most important people in this world, no matter who or where they are. I love children for their freshness, their unique perspectives, their readiness to say exactly what is on their minds, their willingness to be vulnerable in ways adults find so difficult. It’s a cliché, I suppose, but I love them, too, because they are our future. So my books are, in a way, my thank you notes to them.

Are there any particular learning experiences as either a librarian or book reviewer that you feel influence your writing style or the topics you choose to write about?

I don’t think there are many professions that afford you the real depth of knowledge of children’s books that being a children’s librarian does. I learned, by sharing so many books with children, just how subtle you can be in drawing a character (such as Frances in Lighthouse Christmas or Mr. Todd in Adventure Annie Goes to Kindergarten), how silly you can be in playing with language (Annie “squizzles” into her sparkle tights), how profound you can be in talking about loss (like the sinking of the ship off the shore in The Sea Chest), and still depend on your young readers to take the ride with you and to appreciate what you’ve done. I never have to second-guess my readers’ responses because I know just what they will respond to—in my own work and the work of other authors I share with them.

Your new picture book Stay Close to Mama (Disney, Hyperion, 2012) is delightfully sweet. Independence is certainly something that little ones strive for—Twiga, your story’s protagonist most certainly does. What inspired you to tell this particular story? And, how did you manage to keep T

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1347.

A number of absolutely gorgeous picture book titles have arrived on my desk. These are ones you will want to look for!


The Queen with the Wobbly Bottom Phillip Gwynne & Bruce Whatley (Little Hare)
This is way too funny and will have readers full of giggles with both the text and with the illustrations and of course the title will provide many giggles alone! A great tale about being too concerned about looking perfect!
A queen is loved by all her subjects but she is concerned that her wobbly bottom will stop her subjects loving her and she is concerned that the people make fun of her. She tries a number of ways of remedying the situation including a beautician’s wobbly bottom cream, an inventor’s dewobbiliser, and a fitness instructors exercise programme. Even a poet creates poems but alas nothing works and all the creators are thrown in palace dungeon. The poet though, continues to write a nightly poem for the queen and a solution is discovered.
As with other titles illustrated by Bruce Whatley close inspection of the pictures will provide many visual jokes as well.


What's the Matter, Aunty May? Peter Friend & Andrew Joyner (Little Hare)
A very proper looking young boy (shorts and jumper, black shoes white socks, bow ties and parted hair) visits his Aunty May and helps clean up her house. He sweeps, cleans, dusts, fixes sinks and does the washing up, the vacuuming and all other manner of helpful things around the house. The problem is that his helpfulness results in little catastrophes -- an antique vase being broken, pipes bursting and flooding rooms, red ink being spilt and a whole lot more. Of course the boy is rather proud of all his helpfulness. He recognises the catastrophes but they are just small mishaps along the way.
This title has lovely rhyming verse. The illustrations are terrific and require close examination - especially as the depth of the chaos increases. Lots of humour throughout these pages.


It's a Miroocool Christine Harris & Ann James (Little Hare)
We were introduced to Audrey in the wonderful Audrey of the Outback series that is just perfect for younger readers. Here she appears in a picture book which is a great introduction for future readers of the Audrey series.
Audrey has just lost her tooth and is very hopeful that the tooth fairy will visit her. But because she lives on an outback property she wants to make sure so she places a few helpful hints to lead the tooth fairy to her bedroom, a map on her cubby, an arrow from rocks, a trail of breadcrumbs, a bowl of water and just to make sure a drawing of the tooth on her back door. But will these clues survive the nig

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1348. Philip C. Stead Visits 7-Imp to ShareWhere a Story Comes From…Or: How a Toad Named VernonEnded Up Sailing a Teacup into the Great Unknown


You all know I’m a ginormous picture book addict, and I tell you what: Author/illustrator Philip C. Stead knows how to send just the right content to make this blogger happy. I’ve been trying to convince him to come have one of my standard breakfast interviews for years now, but (lucky for me and my imp readers) he likes to do things differently at pretty much all times and sends me stuff like what you see in today’s post (and the goodness he sent last year) instead.

I am very good with this.

And why is that? Well, take today’s post: Phil gets very detailed about the story behind his new picture book, A Home for Bird, to be released in June by Neal Porter/Roaring Brook — the story’s history and how it got to where it is today. He also shares lots of sketches and even pictures of specifically what he uses to make his art. And this time he’s done something different from collage (but he tells you more about that below). Yes, if you’re a fellow picture book fan, his thoughtful words and images will make you happy today, so grab a cup of coffee and won’t you sit for a spell? (more…)

11 Comments on Philip C. Stead Visits 7-Imp to ShareWhere a Story Comes From…Or: How a Toad Named VernonEnded Up Sailing a Teacup into the Great Unknown, last added: 5/6/2012
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1349. KID REVIEW: Will discovers “Star of the Sea: A Day in the Life of a Starfish”

Will and "Star of the Sea.Wisconsin author Janet Halfmann has written a lot of picture books. More than 30, in fact.

That’s why we’re declaring this “Janet Halfmann Week” on Read, Write, Repeat.

 Today, Will joins us to talk about Star of the Sea: A Day in the Life of a Starfish.

This nonfiction picture book follows a starfish through a normal day. It features the starfish’s almost continual search for food and its efforts not to be eaten itself. There is drama, fun information about marine life, and enough interesting details to make you say, “Ewwww.”

Janet’s clear, informative text and Joan Paley’s bright, eye-catching illustrations make this a very engaging read. (The illustrations are a collage, using hand-painted papers from which Joan cuts shapes to create bold and colorful illustrations.)

Before he begins the review, Will would like to go on record as saying that he would rather not eat any of the things the starfish considers eating in this book — like mussels. He much prefers pizza with sausage and pepperoni toppings.

With that duly noted, take it away, Will!

Our reviewer: Will

Age: 8

Things I like to do: Play sports like football, baseball and basketball, lift weights, watch the Green Bay Packers.

This book was about: A starfish and the sea and how it got away from a bird that wanted to eat it.

The best part was when: The starfish fell into the sea and away from the bird.

This book taught me: Starfish can grow back their rays, or legs, in a year if they lose one.

Three words that best describe this book are: “Star.” “Fish.” “Interesting.”

My favorite picture in this book is: The picture of all the stars in the night sky. And the picture of the seaweed. There’s lot of detail.

Other kids reading this book should watch for: Things about starfish that they didn’t know before. Like that a starfish eats by pushing its stomach outside its body.

You should read this book because: You will learn something.

Thank you, Will!

This book is doing well.

  • It won the Wisconsin Writers Tofte/Wright Children’s Literature Award.
  • It also is a Washington Children’s Choices Picture Book Award Finalist.

Want more resources?

1350. What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,Plus What I Did Last Week,Featuring Adam J.B. Lane and Judith Rossell


“One evening after dinner, Randall McCoy stood up on his chair and announced as loud as he could: ‘I AM A BIG BOY NOW!’ This was news to his mother and father.”

This morning at Kirkus, I take a look at two new 2012 offerings from Tara Books, as well as run down some of their titles from recent years that I think are must-sees. If you’re interested in international picture books (particularly from South Asia), you might find it a post worth visiting. The link will be here this morning.

Also, yesterday morning over at Kirkus, I chatted briefly with author/illustrator Tad Hills about his upcoming picture book, Rocket Writes a Story. That link is here, and next week here at 7-Imp I’ll have some more spreads from that sequel.

* * *

Last week at Kirkus, I discussed two new little-boy picture book protagonists who make me laugh. First up was Adam J.B. Lane’s Stop Thief!, to be released later this month by Neal Porter/Roaring Brook. (An illustration from that book opens this post.) And Judith Rossell’s Oliver (HarperCollins, May 2012)—or What Happens When You Build Your Own Cardboard Submarine and Head Down the Bathtub Drain—is very funny and a winner all-around. That link is here, and today I follow up with some art from each book.

Enjoy. (more…)

1 Comments on What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,Plus What I Did Last Week,Featuring Adam J.B. Lane and Judith Rossell, last added: 5/6/2012
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