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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Picture Books, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1,326 - 1,350 of 5,670
1326. From Koala to "Ko-wall-a" at St. James in South Pasadena

Life imitates art, and, apparently, parish day schools imitate picture books.  At a recent visit to St. James in South Pasadena, a koala transformed into a "ko-wall-a" right before my very eyes.  The timing couldn't have been more perfect-- I had just finished reading Animal House to a wonderful group of kids.

Many thanks to Amy Jones for documenting this most amazing occurrence (and for helping make my visit equally amazing!)

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1327. Pecan Pie Baby: Jacqueline Woodson

Book: Pecan Pie Baby
Author: Jacqueline Woodson
Illustrator: Sophie Blackall
Pages: 32
Age Range: 5 and up

51wnzMGsJ2L._SL500_AA300_Pecan Pie Baby, written by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by Sophie Blackall is a realistic look at what it can feel like to be expecting a new younger sibling. The girl in the book, Gia, lives alone with her single mother. She reacts with unabashed grouchiness whenever the topic arises of the "ding-dang baby". She worries that the baby will get in the way of her sleepover friend, and she bristles over the way everyone seems more interested in the new baby than her. But what she really worries about is the loss of her mother's undivided attention.

The baby is due to arrive "by the time the first snow is on the ground," and Gia makes "a silent wish for winter to come and go quickly without bringing any snow." Gia's mother, for the most part, accepts her reluctance, but she does point out to Gia that "this baby sure loves itself some pecan pie." And so mother and daughter (and unborn baby), eventually, bond over pie.

What I like about this book is that there's not really a warm and fuzzy happy ending. Gia does come to terms with the expected arrival of the baby, to a certain extent, but she still thinks of the time before the baby was even a possibility as "the good old days."I find this refreshing.

I also like that Pecan Pie Baby is up-front (without comment or judgement) about Gia living alone with her mother, with no father figure in sight. I'm not saying that all books should portray that situation, of course, but this is a reality for a lot of kids. It's nice to see it reflected in a book (and one by a well-known and respected author). Gia and her mother are black. Gia has uncles and aunties and cousins and friends of a variety of ethnicities. This, too, feels real, as does showing that although Gia and her mother live alone, they have family and community support around them.

Woodson's writing style is perfect for the feel of the story. Like this:

"Upstairs, I got that teary, choky feeling. And even though there were a whole lot of people in my house, I felt real, real,

real alone."

Blackall's ink and watercolor illustrations match the tone of the book perfectly. Gia is beautiful, if not always cheerful, and her mother's belly grows realistically throughout the course of the book. I especially like a page that shows several of Gia's memories of "all the years it had been just me and Mama", happy little dream bubbles of simpler times. I'm not really a pecan pie person (all chocolate all the time for me), but Blackall makes the pie, and Gia's world, look warm and inviting.

Pecan Pie Baby is a must have for libraries, and is also highly recommended for any family expecting a second child. Even if the older sibling isn't going around talking overtly about "the ding-dang baby", Gia's struggles might bring some hidden feelings to light. I would think that this would be a good read-aloud in elementary school classrooms, too, because of the way that it reflects single parent households and larger mixed-ethnic families. Recommended!

Publisher: Putnam Juvenile (

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1328. The Green Mother Goose: Saving the World One Rhyme at a Time by Jan Peck and David Davis

Green Mother GooseI have always found the traditional Mother Goose ditties to be dated and old-fashioned. As cute as some of the rhymes might be, who knows what a peck of pickled peppers is? Who knows about maids a-courting or maids a-waiting? What are curds and whey? What are swine and farthings? Well, along has come a great new ‘recycled’ version of Mother Goose, filled with hilarious earth-friendly bits of rhyming wisdom.

Many of the same characters are present in this new book, like Jack Sprat, Little Jack Horner, Old Mother Hubbard, and even that precocious little girl who had that little curl right in the middle of her forehead. In this new version, the little curl was on top of her head and it glittered. When she was good, she recycled all she could, but when she was bad — she littered. Mary still has her little lamb, but since his fleece was sooty and black from the coal-fired plant, Mary and her lamb now work for cleaner air. Little Jack Horner is still in his corner, but he’s not eating, he’s replacing all the outmoded light bulbs. Old Mother Hubbard shops for tofu and organic treats for her poor dog and she shops with cloth shopping bags. The fun and beauty is that each of these ditties is set in lyrical, playful, whimsical, ecologically-friendly verse. What a hoot! Even the illustrations are terrific, composed from newspapers, ticket stubs, and other reused materials. This is a fun, silly way to groom young ones into thinking ‘green’ and to enjoy a hip new Mother Goose.

Posted by: Fran D.

2 Comments on The Green Mother Goose: Saving the World One Rhyme at a Time by Jan Peck and David Davis, last added: 12/13/2011
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1329. The TTLG 2011 Picture Book Celebration: Book three hundred and forty-six

We humans like to think that we can tame any animal that we encounter, that we can understand any animal's behavior. It is a risky attitude to have, because it makes us cocky.

In today's picture book you will meet three little pigs who think they know what they are doing when the capture a wolf and then use it in their circus show. They think they have the wolf all figure out but....

Wolf Won’t Bite!
Wolf Won't Bite!Emily Gravett
Picture Book
For ages 4 to 6
Simon and Schuster, 2011, 978-1-4424-2763-1
The three pigs have caught an honest to goodness wild wolf, and they are eager to show off how well they have trained the wolf to do what it is told. They hang up posters announcing their forthcoming show, and use a loud hailer to tell everyone to “Roll up!” to see their “Wild Wolf!”
   The three pigs, with much fanfare, demonstrate how they can “stand him on a stool” and “dress him in a bow.” They can ride on his back and make him jump through hoops. They can even lift him off the ground and make him “dance a jig.” Whatever they do, the wolf never shows any inclination to bite them. They are perfectly safe with the large hairy creature. Or so they think.
   Children will laugh out loud as they look through this unique picture book. With its minimal text and delightfully expressive artwork, the story serves as a warning to anyone who thinks they can tame a wolf. It is never wise to push a wild animal too far. You never know what might happen!

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1330. The Twelve Days of Christmas by Jane Ray

Last year Jane Ray gave us the gift of The Dollhouse Fairy and this year another treat! Her sumptuously illustrated, wonderfully imagined version of The Twelve Days of Christmas. Everyone knows most of the song, but there are very few, nicely illustrated editions of this book on the shelves which makes Ray's version stand out even more. The setting for this traditional carol seems to be the 1920s

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1331. Colorado Picture Book Authors Disrespected By Barnes and Noble

I spent last Friday afternoon visiting with a delightful and talented group of Colorado picture book authors at the Colorado Boulevard Barnes and Noble in Denver. Colorado. The women included:

Denise Vega who writes books including Build a Burrito, a counting book in English and Spanish and Grandmother, Have the Angels Come? 

Linda Ashman who published three new picture books this year, 12 Days of Christmas in Colorado, No Dogs Allowed! and Samantha on a Roll.

Kathleen Pelly whom you’ll know from her picture books, Raj the Bookstore Tiger, Magnus Maximus, A Marvelous Measurer, Inventor McGregor, and The Giant King.

Caroline Stutson, picture book author of Cats’ Night Out, Pirate Pup, Night Train, and others.

Jessica Swaim who writes poems and picture books – Scarum Fair is her book of poems and her picture books are The Hound from the Pound and Nate by Night.

Marjorie Blain Parker another fantastic writer and author of Mama’s Little Ducklings, A Paddling of Ducks, Your Kind of Mommy and Jasper’s Day, and more.

I felt so honored to spend time with these creative women but I must tell you, these women’s talents were completely devalued by Barnes and Noble! Not only did they cram these six authors and their books at one eight foot table, they were located in the back of the store on a Friday afternoon and got minimal traffic. Okay, pretty much no traffic. I mean, who promoted this event? It was such a waste of these authors’ time! Plus, the store didn’t even have ONE of Marjorie’s books. And she called ahead to be sure there were books in stock. How can you invite an author to do a book signing and have none of her books?

Shame on you Barnes and Noble. You want book sales – and could have made money with these authors but you didn’t do your job to promote the event. No wonder book sales are down — certainly incompetent business practices and unmotivated, inept employees aren’t helping your sales any. (Could you have at least given Marjorie a gift card for her time and inconvenience of attending an event without a single book of hers? P.S. I asked an employee and she offered Marjorie drink at Starbucks. Lame.)

Remember that picture book authors depend on you, the readers, to buy their books. So, readers, please visit these Colorado authors’ websites and buy a book or three. This supports our local economy and gives your kids good books. And don’t buy the books at Barnes and Noble if you can help it. They don’t deserve your patronage. Neither does Amazon for that matter. But, buying books somewhere is better than not buying them at all.

Thanks for supporting these authors. I hope someone from Barnes and Noble reads this and gives these ladies an apology. They deserve as much.

~ Melissa

3 Comments on Colorado Picture Book Authors Disrespected By Barnes and Noble, last added: 12/13/2011
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1332. The TTLG 2011 Picture Book Celebration: Book three hundred and forty-five

Saying no comes naturally to little children. In fact, many of them take great pride in saying "NO!" as often as possible. When they are older, children try to get away with saying no to adults, usually with limited success, but saying no to their peers can be a problem. There are times when they need to say no to a classmate or a friend, but the word simply won't come out. What if they hurt their friend's feelings? What if the classmate gets angry?

In today's picture book, you will meet a little girl who cannot say no to her friend, even when she wants to, and it is a very frustrating situation.

Noni Says NoNoni says No
Heather Hartt-Sussman
Illustrated by Genevieve Cote
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Tundra, 2011, 978-1-77049-233-2
   When Noni was a baby, and then a toddler, she had no problem saying no. In fact, she made a point of saying no as often as she could. Now that she is older, Noni can do all kinds of wonderful and marvelous things like tie her own shoes, feed her baby brother, and say the alphabet backwards. The one thing that Noni cannot do, is to say no. Even when she wants to say no, Noni ends up saying yes instead.
   Noni’s friend Susie has no problem saying no when she wants to. She says no when Noni asks to sleep over, and when Noni wants to play with Susie’s teddy bear. Poor Noni is never able to say no to Susie, even when Susie asks to cut off all of Noni’s hair “except for a tuft at the front.” Poor Noni always finds herself saying yes.
   Some people have a terrible time finding the courage to stand up for themselves. They don’t want to rock the boat or upset anyone, so they don’t speak their mind. All too often, this means that they end up doing things that they don’t want to do.
   In this book, Heather Hartt-Sussman speaks up for all those people who cannot say no, but who long for the courage to do so. Though this title is for younger children, its message is universal, and it will resonate with readers of all ages. 

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1333. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #259: FeaturingOne Very Possible and Very Festive2011 Holiday Illustration Before Breakfast #7

“And the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto her, and said, Hail, thou art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed are thou among women…”
(Click to enlarge)

Welcome to 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks, a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you.

I’m feeling under the weather this weekend, so even though I most certainly noted this week’s kicks in my mind, I’m not going to include them here. Since it still aches to be upright, I’m going to share today’s illustration and then get right back to being horizontal again. Sorry for this truncated post, but please do tell me your kicks. How about this: My one big kick is that I don’t feel like this all the time. There we go. I’m extremely grateful for that. (Oh, I also spent an exciting Tuesday morning with a whole host of very smart second-graders and teachers studying picture books and illustration, but maybe I’ll hold that for next week.)

Do you remember this July post, in which I featured Katherine Paterson’s Brother Sun, Sister Moon, illustrated by Pamela Dalton? Remember those intricate paper cuts? As a reminder (and as I wrote in that July post), Dalton uses the craft of Schereschnitte, which means simply “scissor cutting” in German, a method which was popular in early 19th-century Pennsylvania German communities. (more…)

17 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #259: FeaturingOne Very Possible and Very Festive2011 Holiday Illustration Before Breakfast #7, last added: 12/14/2011
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1334. The TTLG 2011 Picture Book Celebration: Book three hundred and forty-four

My father was one of those people who thought that reading comics was bad for children. Perhaps he thought that if I read comics, I would not read other books. Well, he was wrong. I read comics on the sly, and read other books with great enthusiasm.

A few years ago, Toon Books started publishing some wonderful beginner reader titles that are in graphic novel (comic book) form. The stories are charming, and they are perfect for children who are just beginning to read books on their own. Today's book is one of these Toon Book titles. It won the 2010 Theodor Geisel (who most people know as Dr. Seuss) Award. This award is given "annually to the author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most distinguished American book for beginning readers published in English in the United States during the preceding year."

Geoffrey Hayes
Graphic Novel
For ages 5 to 7
Toon Books, 2009, 978-0-9799238-9-0
   Benny has heard that there is a “new kid” living next door. He tries to get a glimpse of the kid through a hole in the fence, but he sees nothing. Then Benny notices that his pail is missing and he quickly jumps to the conclusion that the new neighbor is responsible. Even though he knows it is a “no-no” to go into the next door yard without an invitation, Benny does it anyway.
   Benny and Penny are investigating some suspicious looking footprints in the neighbors yard when they hear someone coming. They soon see that their new neighbor is a little girl mole who is wearing a bathing suit and flippers (hence the strange footprints.) Benny, Penny, and the little mole get into a mud pie fight, and then Benny finds his bucket. The girl mole stole it!
   Sometimes it is easy to get carried away and to do things that we later regret. In the heat of the moment we make assumptions that are incorrect, and we even hurt other people’s feelings. In this delightful graphic novel (or comic book) style title, Geoffrey Hayes explores how such misunderstandings can happen. In addition to telling a meaningful, and often gently amusing story, the author gives readers a tale that is perfectly suited to children who are just beginning to learn how to read on their own.
   This is one of a series of books about the adventures of Benny and Penny.

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1335. Harold and the Purple Crayon book app - wonderful celebration of imagination (ages 2 - 6)

One of my favorite books as a young child was Harold and the Purple Crayon. I can't actually remember reading it, but whenever I read it now the feelings and memories flood back to me. The wonder as Harold draws his world, whatever he wants to see. My amazement at when his hand shook and water appeared behind him. And my delight when he was so clever that he realized he could draw his own window around the moon. I was so happy to see that the new iPad/iPod book app remains true to the original story, but brings it to life in a new way. It's a real joy, one that I highly recommend for young children.

Harold and the Purple Crayon
by Crocket Johnson
developed by Trilogy Studios
for the iPhone, iPod, iPad
version 1.4 - December 6, 2011
current price: $6.99
ages 2 - 6
available from the iTunes app store

nominated for the Cybils Book App award

Features: Touch Tale * Read to Me * Read Alone * Tutorial
Harold is a little boy who decides one night to climb out his window for an adventure. He isn't sure where he should go, but he decides to create his own adventure - drawing it each step of the way with his purple crayon. It's a wonderful celebration of children's imagination.

The book app "Touch Tale" incorporates wonderfully paced narration with just the right amount of interactive features. Children are invited to draw along with Harold, tracing over gray lines that become bold purple when the child draws them. But you also can discover hidden treasures, like swiping over the empty sky to reveal twinkling stars. When Harold gets to the city, the careful reader will notice that there is a cat hiding in one of the windows which you can tap on to zoom in to see.

Harold's journey is animated, but in a way that stays very true to the simplicity of the original story. You follow Harold through his imaginary world, seeing the dragon roar or the ship sailing. But most of the details of this world are still left to the child's imagination.

The pacing and narration fit the story perfectly for a young audience. The app "chunks" the original picture book pages, so that only one line appears at a time on the screen. This helps children see the words at a nice, slow pace and large enough to see clearly. If you tap on different items in Harold's world, the word labels will pop up - helping children develop an awareness of printed words. But best of all is the soothing voice of the narrator - perfect for a bedtime story.

This is a joy to read, a

1 Comments on Harold and the Purple Crayon book app - wonderful celebration of imagination (ages 2 - 6), last added: 12/12/2011
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1336. Clever Jack Takes the Cake written by Candace Fleming with illustrations by G Brian Karas

Clever Jack Takes the Cake by Candace Fleming and G Brian Karas came out in the summer of 2010 and got a lot of well deserved attention in the blogosphere. However, it was one of those (many) books that I intend to order in for story time when I go to work and then completely forget. Somehow, during that 12 minute drive everything I had been thinking about at home evaporates. Fortunately, Clever

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1337. Neville, written by Norton Juster with illustrations by G Brian Karas

Neville, written by THE Norton Juster and illustrated by G Brian Karas received a really great review in the mega-mondo kid's book issue of the New York Times Book Review a couple of weeks ago. It is such a rare and wonderful book that I wanted to call it to your attention one more time or, maybe for the first time. Besides the fact that the book is just plain great, it bears mentioning because,

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1338. E-mergency! By Tom Lichtenheld & Ezra Fields-Meyer

Reading level: Ages 5-8

Add this book to your collection: E-mergency!

Have you read this book? Rate it:
Note: There is a rating embedded within this post, please visit this post to rate it.

Video courtesy of : “It’s an E-mergency! The letter E took a tumble and the only way to get her back on her foot is for people to stop using her. But who can take her place? The other letters have to make a decision ASAP. Z is too sleepy and Y asks way too many questions. Thankfully, O rolls in to try and save the day. Now E can rost up and got bottor . . . as long as ovorybody follows the rulos. Chock-full of verbal and visual puns, this zany book by Ezra Field-Meyer and New York Times bestselling illustrator Tom Lichtenheld is sure to tickle both the brain and the funny bone.”

©2011 The Childrens Book Review. All Rights Reserved.


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1339. PiBoIdMo 2011 GRAND PRIZE Winners

Here are the three PiBoIdMo GRAND PRIZE winners, chosen with help from Random.org and “independent auditors” Brook Gideon and Julie Falatko:





Congratulations, writers! You will each be assigned to a picture book agent who will review your best five ideas and suggest which ones might be the best to pursue as manuscripts.

You’ll receive further details via email from me soon. In the meantime, start writing up your best five ideas as pitches!

Tomorrow (really later today) I’ll pick more WINNERS for all of the stupendous prizes—picture book critiques, original art, jewelry, journals, books…

In the meantime, please give Beth, Sophie and Peg hearty congratulations!

10 Comments on PiBoIdMo 2011 GRAND PRIZE Winners, last added: 12/10/2011
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1340. Illustrator Saturday – Angela Matteson

Angela Matteson is a multi-tasking daydreamer and illustrator; specializing in the children’s market, fueled by dark chocolate, and a love for telling stories through pictures.

Every day brings new inspirations as she discovers the characters that inhabit her sketchbook. Her color-driven works are filled with storytelling imagery that elicits an emotional response. Her characters often come with issues, but doesn’t everyone?

After a 9 year sojourn in a humble suburb of Chicago, where she worked as a greeting card and gift packaging designer, CCAD grad Angela Matteson has serendipitously returned to Columbus, OH, where she is the design & marketing director for a snack foods company.

As a SCBWI member she is also pursuing her dream of creating her own picture books.

Angela loves singing loudly in the car, and stays grounded with long walks in the woods where she finds the quiet stillness that opens her mind to a world where squirrels cry, pigs fly, and anything is possible.

Here is Angela to let you know a little bit about her process:

I begin each project brainstorming ideas, searching through my favorite inspirations, and researching the subject matter. Often my initial ideas end up on post-its just to get the loose concept down before I hit the sketchbook. For one of the paintings for a recent gallery show I used the theme, ‘robots’ from our group blog, and challenged myself to come up with my own unique spin on the topic.

Once I had the basic shapes for a bunny bot character a scene quickly played out in my sketchbook. To adjust sizing, angles, and composition I xerox the drawing, and cut and paste. I then finalize the drawing, and xerox that for transferring onto the wood board.

Before transferring I prep the board by brushing on a thin acrylic wash as a base color. I use a brown colored pencil to strengthen my linework. I then scan the drawing on wood into Photoshop, and create a color study. I love when I already have a color palette in mind. (Sometimes the color idea comes even before the drawing.) But, if not, I go to my ginormous collection of paint swatches and Color-aid, and play around in Photoshop until all the colors are working in harmony.

I keep my color study close at hand, and for this painting I used mostly a dry brush technique, being careful to preserve the wood grain as much as possible.

This painting is 6″ x 6″ on a 1

11 Comments on Illustrator Saturday – Angela Matteson, last added: 12/11/2011
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1341. Picture Books for many ages

Thoroughly lovely picture books ....

Look, A Book! Libby Gleeson & Freya Blackwood (Little Hare)
This is beautiful. a wonderful exploration of the imagination and all it can offer.
In a run down area, two children discover a book, much like the book itself, lying face-down on the ground. They take it to the top of a shed and start reading the book - and imagining ... they shelter from the rain and escape the flooding in a teacup, they can sail the skies with the aid of a used plastic soft drink bottle, and their surrounding landscape is constructed from recycled cans and bottle and cartons. And as the story tells, this book can be read again and again enabling imagination.
With beautifully creative and evocative illsutrations you never know where a book might take you!

Captain Congo and the Klondike Gold Ruth Starke & Greg Holfeld (Working Title Press)
A gorilla and a penguin ... who would have imagined them as an adventurouduo but they are wonderfully exciting as they team up in the Captain Congo books.
In their third adventure Captain Congo and Pup are sent on a mission by The Agency, to the Klondike, the Yukon, the Great North west to investigate strange happenings in a gold camp. There are ghosts and monsters, including Sasquatch, skeletons in mines, and film crews making movies. Then when an attempt is made on Pup's life the mystery deepens.
This is a fantastic book for readers who like adventure and love reading in graphic novel format. The illustrations are perfect for this adventure.
Also discover Captain Congo and teh Maharaja's Monkey.

The Little Refugee, the Inspiring True Story of Australia's Happiest Refugee Anh Suzanne Do & Bruce Whatley (Allen&Unwin)
This is the children's version in picture book format of Anh Do's award winning memoir The Happiest Refugee and it is a delight.
It is the story of how and why he and his family fled Vietnam in an old fishing boat they had bought, it stank of fish, of their brush with storms and pirates, how his family established a business and lived in their beautiful new country instilling in the children that you just always have hope and Ahn Do's early school days as friendships develop and he becomes class captain.
An inspirational story with bruce Whatley;'s throughtful and delightful illustrations.

1342. Who Can Help Me Tell This Story?

This week I had the joy of interviewing my friend and picture book hero, Peter H. Reynolds, for the Children’s Book Hub. As usual, Peter said a million inspiring things and shared a number of jewels about writing.  Among them was a reference to his own writing process that set off lightbulbs in my head.  For those of you who have been participating in PiBoIdMo, or 12X12, or just find it hard sometimes to move from idea to story (as I do), this may be useful.

Once an idea comes to him (as they do all the time, because he has such highly developed Story Radar!), Peter asks himself, “Who could help me tell that story? What character and what situation can help demonstrate that idea?”

My ideas often start with theme  – with the take-away, so to speak. But good storytelling is all about character, after all. If the characters aren’t compelling, believable, interesting, then the reader doesn’t care… and if the reader doesn’t care, the take-away usually ends up being didactic or lost altogether.

Who can help me tell this story? What character, in what situation, solving what problem, can illuminate this idea?

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1343. A PiBoIdMo Thanks…Plus Stats and Feedback Fishing

Today is the last day of pre-, post- and all things PiBoIdMo. It certainly has been an amazing event this year and I have all of you to thank. Thanks to the guest bloggers, authors, illustrators and agents who offer prizes. And thanks to all the participants because your enthusiasm for creating stories for children is what makes November my favorite and most productive month of the year!

Here are some fun stats from PiBoIdMo:

  • Over 400 registered participators
  • 29,633 web hits for November (did not include pre- or post-PiBo, which puts the number around 40,000)
  • Average 988 daily web hits
  • The most active time of day for comments was 1:00pm
  • The illustrator posts were, on average, more popular than author posts (sorry authors!)
  • The most active day was November 1st with 1995 web hits
  • 315 PiBoIdMo WINNERS completed the challenge (a 78% success rate!)
  • PiBoIdMo was ranked as high as #8 out of 15,601 book blogs on Technorati.com
  • PiBoIdMo participants created AT LEAST 9,450 new picture book ideas

Wow! That’s a lot of potential new books to get into the hands of children…who will potentially find their new MOST FAVORITEST book in the bunch. Time to get writing!

Speaking of writing, PiBoIdMo inspired a new challenge from Julie Hedlund: the 12 in 12 Challenge. Picture book writers are encouraged to write 12 manuscripts in 12 months. Truth be told, this is my goal every year but I have yet to make it. Spurred on by the 12×12 community, I think this is totally doable!

Also, don’t forget to bring your idea journal over to Paula Yoo’s NaPiBoWriWee in May! Write seven first drafts in seven days.

I’d like to remind everyone that the PiBoIdMo Cafe Press shop will remain open year-round. Every purchase earns $3 for RIF and the Mount Prospect Elementary School Library. So far we’ve only raised $75. We can do much better! Get your mug, tote or tee today! (Please be aware that neither logo designer Bonnie Adamson nor I make any money from the CafePress shop. All proceeds are donated.)

Finally, I’d LOVE to hear your FEEDBACK about the event.

Who would you like to see guest blog next year?

What could be done better next year?

The PiBoIdMo Facebook group was Mindy Alyse Weiss’s idea and it is a warm, encouraging community that will remain open year-round.

What other ideas do you have for PiBoIdMo as it rolls into its fourth year?

And once again, thank you, thank you. You’ve truly made PiBoIdMo 2011 an event to remember!

10 Comments on A PiBoIdMo Thanks…Plus Stats and Feedback Fishing, last added: 12/9/2011
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1344. What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week &One Very Possible and Very Festive2011 Holiday Illustration Before Breakfast #6

“As the children finished the song, they opened their bags and threw handfuls of white feathers up into the air, as high as they could. The congregation burst into applause.”
(Click to enlarge spread)

This week at Kirkus, I take a look at Inga Moore’s A House in the Woods. That link will be here this morning.

If you missed last week’s column, I wrote about Lita Judge’s Red Sled. My breakfast interview with Lita was yesterday, and it includes several spreads from this beautiful picture book.

* * * * * * *

In keeping with my promise this month to post some 2011 holiday illustrations, this morning I’ve got my favorite spread (above) from John Harris’s Jingle Bells: How the Holiday Classic Came to Be (Peachtree, October 2011), illustrated by Adam Gustavson. This fictionalized picture book tells the story of James Lord Pierpont, a Unitarian music director in Savannah, Georgia, in the 1850s, whose church was being harassed for allowing former slaves to attend services. Pierpont, originally from Boston and also struggling with the sweltering Georgia heat, composed the song for his daughter, Lillie, who had never seen snow. (more…)

1 Comments on What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week &One Very Possible and Very Festive2011 Holiday Illustration Before Breakfast #6, last added: 12/9/2011
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1345. The High Street, written and illustrated by Alice Melvin

Oh my, how I love Alice Melvin's newest picture book, The Hight Street! I suppose, if you have skimmed through enough of my raving reviews of certain picture books, you will have learned that I adore almost any book that has to do with food and/or domestic comforts. I love the book even more if if reminds me of a favorite from my childhood. The Hight Street manages to score a double here as it

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1346. Blackout written and illustrated by John Rocco

I don't know how I missed John Rocco's superb new picture book Blackout, but it came into my life at just the right time! While Rocco's book is set in Brooklyn and inspired by the blackout of 2003 that affected the city and beyond, his story finds a way to be both delightfully specific and universal at the same time. In September of this year a blackout affected my neighborhood as well as all of

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1347. The TTLG 2011 Picture Book Celebration: Book three hundred and forty-three

When you are a young child, it is hard not to feel rather small at times. You cannot see over counters, you cannot reach items that are on tall shelves, and you cannot open a car door by yourself. On the whole, the world is a place that is full of hugeness and huge things. It is easy to believe that you are too small to make a difference.

In today's picture book you will meet a character who is very small, but who discovers that being small does not preclude one from doing big things. 

Julia Donaldson
Illustrated by Axel Scheffler
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Penguin, 2003, 0-14-240580-9
   There once was a sea snail who lived on a rock near the sea. More than anything, the sea snail, who had “an itchy foot,” wanted to see the world. The other snails on the rock told the little sea snail to “Sit still! Stay put!” but the snail couldn’t bear to spend her entire life on that rock.
   Being a clever creature, the snail wrote a message on her rock asking someone to give her a ride “around the world,” and not long after, a whale came along who was happy to take the snail to “far-off lands.” Off went the whale, with the snail on his tail, and together they saw icebergs, tropical islands, huge waves, and underwater caves. Seeing such wonders made the snail feel very small.
   Then one day the whale accidentally got beached. If he didn’t get some help soon he would die, and the only living creature who knew of his plight was the snail. What could a tiny sea snail do to help a whale?
   With its wonderful rhyming text and its delightful story about an unusual friendship, this picture book will surely resonate with young children who think that they, like the snail, are too small to make a difference. Children who long to have grand adventures in distant lands will enjoy swimming in the world’s oceans with the whale who carries a snail on his tail. 

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1348. Post-PiBoIdMo Day 9: Three Success Stories

More PiBoIdMo success stories! Many thanks to Mindy Alyse Weiss for pulling these stories together.

I hope when YOU have a success to share, you’ll contact me. I love to hear how your ideas went from pencil-scribble to published! And I don’t define “success” just as being pubbed. Win a grant, a contest, secure an agent–anything goes. So here goes…

1. Amy Dixon

Being married to a relentless distance runner means that every November, there is a marathon on the schedule. Lucky for me, November is also Picture Book Idea Month, and I had long been lamenting the lack of picture books about running. Looking back at my spreadsheet for 2010, the entry for November 5th says, “Marathon Mouse. Story of a mouse who lives in NYC right under the start line (Verrazano bridge)  and decides that it is his life’s dream to particpate in the NYC marathon.” That’s it. The beginnings of a story. Flash forward to August 2011, where I received one of the best e-mails of my life. A lovely editor at Sky Pony Press likes Marathon Mouse and wants to publish it! The story could end there, and would still be a dream-come-true. But I decided to contact an agent I had recently queried with a different story and tell her of my offer. After a flurry of e-mails and phone calls, I signed with Karen Grencik of Red Fox Literary. In the course of one day, I had gone from struggling picture book writer, to agented and soon-to-be-published! So keep your eyes peeled in Fall 2012 for a picture book titled, MARATHON MOUSE. It’s by me. And it happened in part because I took on the challenge of coming up with 30 ideas in 30 days!

I also have a longer version of the story on my blog, but it doesn’t mention PiBoIdMo:



2. Diana Murray

Diana Murray was thrilled to receive the 2010 SCBWI Barbara Karlin Grant for her rhyming picture book manuscript about a witch. She came up with a few different versions of the idea during the first PiBoIdMo. You can read more about her experience here:http://taralazar.wordpress.com/2010/07/06/piboidmo-success-story/. Diana will always be grateful to Tara for starting an event that helped her streamline her writing process. And now, she’s ready for another month of fun and inspiration!

Diana’s website: http://www.dianamurray.com


3. Rebecca Colby

This year, Rebecca participated in her third PiBoIdMo. Following a picture book workshop last year that challenged her to alter a well-known fairytale, she decided to generate a few ideas for fractured fairy tales. She found the inspiration she needed from Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen’s guest post on Day 29 that recommended participants do just that–transform “something old into something new.”

The result was an idea for a Cinderella story with monsters entitled MONSTERELLA.

Rebecca says, “I fell in love with the idea of a fairy godmonster who magics a spider into a monster truck.” Rebecca wrote the manuscript soon after and it went on to win the 2011 SCBWI Barbara Karlin grant.

Before writing for children, Rebecca inspected pantyhose,worked for a Russian comedian, taught English in Taiwan, and traveled the world as a tour director. She currently works as a librarian. Born in America, Rebecca now lives in England with her husband and two daughters. More information about Rebecca and her writing can be found at her website: www.

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1349. Little Chicken's Big Day: Katie Davis & Jerry Davis

Book: Little Chicken's Big Day
Author: Jerry Davis
Author/Illustrator: Katie Davis
Pages: 40
Age Range: 3-6

LittleChickenLittle Chicken's Big Day, by Katie Davis and Jerry Davis, describes a very small adventure in the life of a very small chick. Little Chicken sasses back to his bossy mother, Big Chicken, over getting ready for an outing. But when Little Chicken gets distracted, and loses sight of Big Chicken, out there in the big, wide world, he's awfully relieved to hear her "cluckin'". Little Chicken's Big Day wraps up safe and sound at home, with a book and bedtime, and a final suggestion that Big Chicken (aka Mama) and Little Chicken are both loved.

The text in Little Chicken's Big Day is all dialog, if you can call it that. From Big Chicken come mostly admonishments like "Hold my hand! Stay Close!" and "Buckle up!". For Little Chicken we mostly hear "I hear you cluckin', Big Chicken" (albeit in varied tones). Until the end, that is, when he admits: "I love you, Mama." I think that readers, however young, will realize that "I hear you cluckin'" and "I love you", along with all of Big Chicken's commands, all say pretty much the same thing, anyway.

Like the text, the illustrations in Little Chicken's Big Day are simple. But they're also bright, bold, and very fun. Mostly they just feature Little Chicken, and some part of Big Chicken (e.g. a hand), against a minimalist background. The colors are smooth, and the chickens are shown with bold, black outlines. Perfect for small children not yet ready to get distracted by minute details or busy textures.

But there are a few entertaining details, too. Little Chicken sleeps in an egg-shaped bed, and rides in an egg-shaped car seat. When he chases after a tiny purple butterfly, there's a GREAT image of him looking between his own legs, while the butterfly rests up high, on his little tail feathers. When Little Chicken finds Big Chicken again, he grabs hold of her leg. Which is a narrow stick, disappearing into her much wider bright red shoes.

And Little Chicken is adorable, particularly when he's annoyed with the seeming over-protective bossiness of Big Chicken. He furrows his little eyebrows, and puts his hands on his (nonexistent) hips. I think that preschoolers will want to eat him up, metaphorically speaking.

Little Chicken's Big Day is a book that tackles the fear of getting lost, but does so with a very light touch. Preschoolers are sure to love Little Chicken, and to identify with his relief and joy when he finds his mama again. Recommended for home or library reading.

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (@SimonBooks)
Publication Date: April 19, 2011
Source of Book: Library copy
Nominated for 2011 Cybils in Fiction Picture Books by: Colby Sharp

© 2011 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).

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1350. The Wonder of it all ( A look at picture books and Young Adult)

The Holiday season is approaching fast, the streets of New York City all decorated in lights. I love this time of the year. A walk down 5 ave or Madison ave or anywhere in New York, you can see, feel, hear, smell and taste the holiday season. There are all kinds of fun things to do. What is the wonder of it all? Christmas celebrates Jesus's Birthday while Hanukkah celebrates a wonderful story about how a small amount of oil good for one day ended up burning for eight. This was the miracle of God. Both of these holidays are very different from each other. Then there Kwanzaa I am not sure what that celebrates but it also involves lights. What are these holidays about. I believe all three are about family, communication and a love for your religious beliefs. 

 There is lots of wonder in these holidays. They have been celebrated for many centuries but do people truly know there meaning? Our children see them as a way to get gifts. Doing this time shopping is encouraged by all stores. I believe it is much more important to learn about these holidays instead of making them just another way to make an extra buck. Sit down with your children, tell them what the true meaning of the holidays are and do not buy the latest gadgets on the market. Here is a good idea for a gift give your children books about the holidays instead.


Picture Books

One Candle - "One Candle" By Eve Bunting. Illustrated by K. Wendy Popp. Published by Joanna Cotler Books an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers. 2002. Summary: "Every year a family celebrates Hanukkah by retelling the story of how Grandma and her sister managed to mark the day while in a German concentration camp." This book has wonderful illustrations and a very powerful story about one family's celebration of Hanukkah. This book is a great example of something that should be taught to your children on this wonderful holiday. The Jewish people believe in family and community and this wonderful books looks at both. I highly recommend it to your kids and to you as well. It has lots to teach everyone.

Talia and the Rude Vegetables- "Talia and the Rude Vegetables." By Linda Elovitz Marshall. Illustrated by Francesca Assirelli. Published by Kar-Ben publishing a division of Lerner Publishing Group Inc. 2011. Summary: "City-girl Talia misunderstands her grandmother's request that she go to the garden for "root vegetables" but manages to find some she thinks are rude, as well as a good use for the rest she harvests. Includes a recipe for Rude Vegetable Stew."  This picture book has lots of fun pictures and a wonderful Jewish story line. When I read this book it touched me. It is about the Jewish tradition of charity, family, community, and holidays. This is a must have for any young child in your family. The holidays are not about gifts, shopping but about family, charity and love. This books combines all three. The best part is it comes with a very tasty vegetable stew now that cannot be beat. Make it a must have for every child and adult. 

The Littlest Frog- "The Littlest Frog." By Sylvia Rouss. Illustrated by Holly Hannon. Published by Pitspopany Press. copyright 2001 Printed in Israel and sold in New York. This is a funny twist on the bible story of Exodus. A long time ago the Jewish people were slaves in Egypt. It is believed they build huge pyramids, cities and castles. It is written like a Jewish folk tale. This time is celebrated doing S

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