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© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy Add a Comment
Edgar and the Tattle-Tale Heart
Sequel to Edgar Gets Ready For Bed
Written by Jennifer Adams
Illustrated by Ron Stucki
Gibbs Smith 9/20/2014
32 pages Age 4 to 8
“Edgar is dreadfully nervous.. The rambunctious raven knocked over his mother’s prized stone sculpture. But even the influence of his sister, Lenore, threatening to tattle can’t keep Edgar from trying to hide his misdeed.”
Mom leaves her two little ravens alone for a short while with paper and crayons to occupy them. Little boys being little boys, Edgar—inspired by The Raven— decides to make paper airplanes and throws them at Lenore. Lenore hides. Edgar runs after her with another plane, knocks into a table, and accidentally breaking a statue.
“Look what you did! I’m telling mom when she gets home.”
Sisters can be such difficult creatures. Edgar, hoping mom won’t notice, tries to hide the broken piece. A little mouse suggests under a floorboard and then in a drawer. Finally, while hearing Lenore repeat her I’m-going-to-tell mantra, Edgar and the mouse try to fix the statue—as its eyes look fearfully at the mouse’s offering of tape.
The illustrations, are black and white with red highlights and light purple backgrounds. This gives the feeling one is peaking in on the raven’s home as the scenes unfold. The story, based on Edgar Allen Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart, uses a statue—head bust—of Poe, who watches over the children, his eyes darting here and there, providing additional humor for those that notice. The illustrations are very good, though near the end, when the ravens speak their mouths no longer open as they do earlier. Certainly only a small detail and one children may not notice.
When mom returns, Lenore is ready to tell on Edgar, who, with the helpful mouse, has been pacing ever since “fixing” the statue of Poe. Mom stops Lenore short, admonishing her not to tattle. She asks Edgar,
“Edgar, do you have something to tell me?”
Edgar tearfully apologizes. Mom reminds the young raven how much she loves him; a sweet ending to a typical brother-sister afternoon. Children will laugh at the two ravens, while parents will immediately recognize the tattle-tell from their own lives or that of their children. Edgar and the Tattle-Tale Heart is a beautifully illustrated story told succinctly in dialogue. It should be another hit in Gibbs Smith’s line of literary-based BabyLit® children’s books. (BabyLit® First Step book)
EDGAR AND THE TATTLE-TALE HEART. Text copyright © 2014 by Jennifer Adams. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Ron Stucki. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Gibbs Smith, UT.
Read more about Edgar and the Tattle-Tale Heart HERE.
Meet the author, Jennifer Adams, at her website: http://jennifer-adams.com/
Meet the illustrator, Ron Stucki, at creativehotlist: http://www.creativehotlist.com/Individuals/details/200567
Find more BabyLit® at the Gibbs Smith website: www.gibbs-smith.com
Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews
Written by Annette LeBox
Illustrated by Stephanie Graegin
Dial Books for Young Readers 3/10/2015
40 pages Age 3 to 5
“Peace is an offering.
A muffin or a peach.
A birthday invitation.
A trip to the beach.
“Follow these neighborhood children as they find love in everyday things—in sunlight shining through leaves and cookies shared with friends—and learn that peace is all around, if you just look for it.”
Peace is an Offering contains a strong message about what the abstract concept of peace means for the young (and old): helping one another, being kind, joining together, and enjoying all aspects of life with respect to your family, friends, and neighbors. Peace does not need to be overcomplicated or forced. Peace is the accumulation of all the small, meaningful acts we do each day.
“Will you stay with me?
Will you be my friend?
Will you listen to my story
till the very end?”
The children in this large neighborhood, make, find, and (most importantly), show kindness to each other every day in simple heartfelt ways. The poem is beautifully written and illustrated. Children will easily understand each deftly visualized line or verse of the poem. Multicultural children interact with each other, families spend time together, and friends stay close.
What is not to love about Peace is an Offering? Nothing, though the spread alluding to 911 seems unnecessary. The verse feels out of place, as does the illustration, which deviates from the light, airy, everyday life depicted on the other spreads (see two examples here). but for those who lost a loved one or friend, the spread may provide comfort. Peace is an Offering is a gratifying read; uplifting and inspiring young and old alike. The author finishes the poem by offering advice to children.
So offer a cookie,
Walk away from a fight.
Comfort a friend
Through the long, dark night.
I loved every aspect of every spread. The poetry speaks to the heart. Pencil and watercolor illustrations have those details I rave about. Simply said, Peace is an Offering is a joy to read.
PEACE IS AN OFFERING. Text copyright © 2015 by Annette LeBox. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Stephanie Graegin. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Penguin Random House, NY.
Purchase Peace is an Offering at Amazon—B&N—Book Depository—Penguin Random House.
Learn more about Peace is an Offering HERE.
Meet the author, Annette LeBox, at her website: http://annettelebox.com/
Meet the illustrator, Stephanie Graegin, at her website: http://graegin.com/
Find more picture books at Dial Books for Young Readers website: http://www.penguin.com/meet/publishers/dialbooksforyoungreaders/
Dial Books for Young Readers is an imprint of Penguin Random House. http://www.penguin.com/children/
Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews
This is the hashtag I used on Instagram -- #teachinghongkong2015 -- to document in photos my trip to Hong Kong this month. You can find photos of the trip there, and even more on Facebook, here, along with a few thoughts about teaching writing to students who are learning to be fluent in both English and Mandarin Chinese.
Happy World Poetry Day! We’ve been busy working on our latest children’s picture book, Caterpillar Shoes. This story is about a colorful caterpillar named Patches. She’s an energetic caterpillar trying to decide what activities to do. In the end, she doesn’t put any limits on herself and lives her life to the full. This is our twelfth children’s book and we are so excited for it’s release. Stay tuned here to learn about upcoming promotions for this book and others.
Th only limit to a paintbrush and a blank canvas is your imagination.
NEWS ITEM: The notoriously cantankerous critic, 89-year-old Ann Preller, recently declared that THE FALL (September, 2015) was James Preller’s “best book yet.” She went on to say that she feels sure it will be a national bestseller, and that the author looks nice in that green sweater, but should really call more often.
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Here is a nice write up KDP did on my in their latest newsletter. So cool!
KDP Author Angela Muse
Angela Muse, author of The Bee Bully, shares her experience with Kindle Direct Publishing.
“I wrote my very first children’s book in 2009 as a gift to my two young children. If not for my son and KDP, my experience as an author would have ended right there. One day in 2011, he asked me why I wasn’t publishing any more children’s books, and I didn’t have a good answer. The stories were there. In fact, I’d written several that were just gathering dust in my closet. The platform for indie publishing was there. Amazon had launched KDP, and many authors were finding success. Of course, those voices that keep us from following our dreams began to mount in my head. What if people can’t find my stories? What if people do find my stories and they hate them? What if I can’t find a good illustrator that I can afford? After quashing all those voices, I decided to go nuts…literally.
“While collecting acorns with my children in the fall of 2011, I created a story entitled The Nutt Family: An Acorny Adventure and decided that this would be my next release. I found a brilliant illustrator in Poland, held my breath, and hit the publish button. In 2012, my journey as an independent author began by publishing more titles including The Bee Bully, The Pig Princess, and Suzy Snowflake.
“When I first started, I didn’t have a clue about where to find good illustrators, how to get book reviews, and most importantly, how to effectively market my books. In the beginning, I researched and networked with other authors to gather as much data as I could to help me in all these areas. The biggest hurdle was the marketing. I tried many different techniques, but one of the most effective was utilizing the free promotion days in KDP Select. Once my books were free, there were lots of websites and social media outlets that were willing to promote them. I also tried to focus on my audience as much as possible. For the most part, I write children’s picture books, but the children are not the ones who will purchase them. I focused on the parents and finding blogs and sites specific to that audience who would want to promote or feature my books.
“I wasn’t one of those people who sought out an agent for my work and tried to go the traditional route. With KDP, I have a golden opportunity to go at this myself and do things my own way. I can set my own goals and deadlines. I can market my books in the manner I choose. I can decide my price structure. I have full control.
“Did I make mistakes along the way? You bet, but I also learned a lot in making those mistakes. I found support from many great authors who were also forging ahead in the indie publishing world, and we were all doing this together. It felt like we were all out in this big ocean trying to catch oysters, each of us looking for our own pearls.
“It’s been almost three years since I began this journey, and I’m so grateful to KDP and the KDP Select program for giving indie authors a chance, that not long ago, we never would have had. I wouldn’t have received fan mail from preschool aged children who enjoyed my stories if not for KDP. One of my goals as a children’s author is to get kids to read. KDP allows me to publish quality children’s picture books to help me accomplish that goal. The smiles and giggles from the kids who read my books are just the icing on my indie publishing cake.”
Baby announcement!Add a Comment
This book will appeal to middle grade readers who like spunky protagonists, are dealing with difficult family situations, and who like learning about earlier eras in America, (in this case the depression in the 1930s).Add a Comment
The name AJ Preller been in the news quite a bit lately, ever since he was named General Manager of the San Diego Padres. I’ve gotten a kick out of that, since AJ Preller was also my father’s name. Doing a bit of research, I learned that both of our families lived in Long Island. I thought about and decided, why not? So I sent him this letter:
Dear AJ Preller,
I’m writing because I think we may have a connection. Don’t worry, I’m not seeking anything (I’m a diehard Mets fan). We both love baseball and we might be related.
My family, like yours, came from Long Island. My father’s name was Alan Jay Preller. His father was Fred W. Preller, from Queens Village, NY, where he was a NY State Assemblyman for 22 years. He briefly ascended to Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. I think if there’s a gossamer-thread connection between us, it might be there, since it’s my understanding that Fred was part of a large family. In later life, Grandpa had a summer place in Smithtown, Long Island. I don’t know; I’m not a student of family ancestry. The first time I saw a color television was in Grandpa’s Queens Village home. He was watching the Yankees and the grass was sooo green.
Through his political work, Grandpa even had a baseball field named after him –- Preller Fields (later named the “Padavan-Preller Complex” sometime after Grandpa passed away) -– which is on Hillside Avenue in Jamaica, NY. Photo, above.
As you know, Preller is not a common name here in the United States – though it pops up in Argentina and South Africa, curiously. I always get a kick out of reading my father’s name -– your name -– in the sports pages. AJ Preller! My long-lost cuz!
Carry on and good luck with your Padres. I think you’ve done a great job so far, similar to what Omar Minaya accomplished in his first year with the Mets, seeking to make a moribund franchise newly relevant.
Good luck, my best, and play ball!
James PrellerAdd a Comment
Quick snap from our recent visit to Mass Moca in North Adams, MA. It’s always good to get to a museum just to let it fill you up.
This here is Maggie, 14, proudly wearing her new “Kale” sweatshirt. To the right, that’s Gavin, 15, who basically does not approve of photographs. I’m nearly six feet tall, but Gavin is quickly closing the gap.
My oldest son, Nicholas, is not in this photo because he’s a senior in college at Geneseo, NY.Add a Comment
Swiped from Scott’s Facebook:
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My wife looks skeptically at the gorgonzola. “How can you tell if that’s still good or not?” the 14-year-old asks.
“I don’t know,” Lissa says. “It’s moldy and it smells like feet, so it’s probably okay.”
Rose, stretched out on Beanie’s bunk reading Paradise Lost. Beside her, the bluebook she writes compositions in for the Spanish class she’s taking the community college, and a battered paperback copy of The Wizard of Earthsea.
Beanie, sitting on Rilla’s unmade* bed, drawing a sketch of Rose. Beside her, her Journey North Mystery Class chart.
Rilla and Huck in a corner of the living room, in the midst of a litter of Legos, deep in some complex game. Their tones are urgent, their faces serious. Vast, capricious forces are afflicting a host of small plastic people with a series of grave disasters. Rilla shoots a glance at her fellow demigod, brow furrowed.
“Nobody likes my jokes,” grumps the smaller deity. From the kitchen, I chuckle.
“Ha!” amends Huck. “At least Mom appreciates them.”
Wonderboy’s at school, Jane’s away at college, Scott’s in the back room writing a comic book, and me? I’m just soaking it all in.
*Recently overheard, Rose to Rilla and Huck: “Listen, there’s something you should understand about Mom. If she sees you’re in the middle of a really good make-believe game, she will never interrupt you to make you do your chores.”Add a Comment
On March 5, Marie Mutsuki Mockett and I will be reading and talking about exorcising the past (all meanings of exorcise possible) at McNally Jackson at 6 p.m.
Marie’s wonderful new book, Where the Dead Pause and the Japanese Say Goodbye, is about death and grief and family and ghosts and so much more. She’ll read from it, and I’ll read from the working introduction to my book on the science and superstition of ancestry, and then we’ll talk about all of that and take questions and comments from you. Hope to see you there!
This image is from one of Marie’s childhood notebooks; she shared it with the Asian American Writers’ Workshop when they visited her writing studio.Add a Comment
Today’s happy list is three keeper moments from my boys.
1. Huck, wistfully: “I wish no one in this family would have more birthdays. I like everyone the way we are.”
2. A story my friend Patti told me. Last Friday afternoon, Patti organized a wonderful St. Valentine’s Day party in the park for the kids in our homeschooling group. It fell during my work time, so Patti offered to keep an eye on Huck and Rilla for me so they could attend the party. So nice! Today she told me that in the thick of the festivities, Huck came up to her with a pine cone. “This is for you,” he said, “because that’s how much I love you.”
So basically this kid just has me melting all over the place these days. And I know how he feels—I wouldn’t mind having a six-year-old around at all times.
3. Wonderboy has a recurring kind of email he likes to send to family and close friends, describing what he wants to be when he grows up. Sometimes it’s a teacher or a “pet shop man” or a UPS driver. Today it was a librarian. As always, he included a long and detailed list of holiday hours—you wouldn’t believe how many holidays his library has special hours of operation for. After the list come the ground rules. If you want to visit his branch, here’s what you should know:
1. Please do not talk on the phone as you come in.
2. Do not run.
3. No yelling.
4. Please check out book.
5. Please return your library book as you are done.
6. No gum.
7. No slamming.
8. No child should be bringing toys.
9. Please bring your key and library card.
10. Use the computer if you want.
11. As it closing time, just quietly leave.
12. No iPod or iPad or Computer, or DS or WII.
13. Bring a bag if you have so many books.
14. Bring a bag if you return so much.
15. Please Park somewhere near the library.
16. Please lock your car if someone gonna steal it.
17. No animal noises.
18. No hitting and eating books.
19. No ripping books.
20. No crashing.
Got that? You’d all better behave yourselves.Add a Comment
In what I hope will be a recurring feature on an irregular schedule, I thought I’d try to convey some of the background to each of my Jigsaw Jones titles.
And in no particular order.
The Case of the Ghostwriter has a lot of cool little things in it that most readers might miss.
I dedicated this book to Frank Hodge, a near-celebrity local bookseller on Lark Street in Albany, who is known and beloved by many area teachers and librarians. He’s one of Albany’s living treasures. When I moved to the area from Brooklyn, in 1990, Frank’s store, Hodge-Podge Books, was right around the corner. Of course, I stopped in and we became friends. I actually put Frank in this story: a guy named Frank owns a store called Hedgehog Books. I even included his cat, Crisis. Jigsaw and Mila visit Frank’s store in the hopes of tracking down a mysterious author.
Chapter Eight begins:
Hedgehog Books was a cozy little store. Our parents had been taking Mila and me since we were little. My mom said that Frank’s favorite thing was to bring books and kids together.
In the story, there’s a series of popular books — The Creep Show series — loosely modeled on R.L. Stine’s “Goosebumps.” Mila has been eating them up, reading titles such as Green Wet Slime and Teenage Zombie from Mars. The author’s name on the cover, a pen name, is R.V. King. (Ho-ho.) There’s a rumor that he’s coming to visit room 201 for the “Author’s Tea.” Who can the Mystery Author be? I bet you can guess.
For me, the part I’m proudest of in this book is Chapter Seven, “My Middle Name,” a tribute to my oldest brother, Neal, who passed away in 1993, a few months after my first son, Nicholas, was born.
Ms. Gleason has the students reading family stories in class, Abuela by Arthur Dorros and The Keeping Quilt by Patricia Pollaco. The students, including Jigsaw and Mila, are asked to write their own family stories.
To research his family stories, Jigsaw interrupts his parents while they are playing chess. “Now’s not a good time,” his father replies. “I’m trying to destroy your dear mother.” (I always liked that line.)
At bed that night, Jigsaw and his father have a heart to heart. Mr. Jones tells Jigsaw about his middle name, Andrew, who was Jigsaw’s uncle. Now this part is totally true, because my son’s middle name is Neal, after his uncle.
“And he died,” I said.
“Yes,” he said. “Andrew died.” I heard the air leave my father’s lips. The sound of a deep sigh.
I put my head on his shoulder. “Why did you name me after him?”
They talk some more:
That’s when I noticed it. The water in his eyes. A single tear, then another, slid down his cheek. My father was crying. I’d never seen him cry before. It made me nervous.
“Don’t be sad, Dad.” I hugged him with both arms, tight.
He wiped the tears away with the back of his sleeve.
He sniffed hard and smiled.
“I’m not sad, Jigsaw,” he said. “It’s just that I remember little things that happened. Little things Andrew said or did. And I’ll always miss him.”
“Can you tell me?” I asked. “About the little things?”
My father checked his watch. “Not tonight, son. It’s late already. But I will tomorrow, promise.”
“Good night, Dad,” I said. “I’m sorry you’re sad.”
“Don’t be sorry,” he said. “That’s life, I guess. Sometimes we lose the good ones. Good night, Theodore Andrew Jones. Sleep tight.”
Then he shut the door.
I’d never attempt to read that chapter aloud to a group. I can never read it without remembering, without crying. I guess in that scene, I’m Jigsaw’s dad — and my son, Nicholas Neal Preller, stands in for Jigsaw, trying to learn about an uncle, my brother, whom he never had the chance to meet.
NOTE: I originally posted this in 2009.Add a Comment
1. I forgot (again) to pinch off the cilantro and it went (again) to seed. Every year I do this, and every year I glance across the yard one day and feel a rush of joy. I never think to put it on the list if you ask my what my favorite flowers are, but truly: cilantro is my favorite, even above milkweed. Unsophisticated blossoms, insubstantial at first glance, but blooming with such exuberance, beckoning the bees, mingling sociably with the sunny marguerites. Oh, I love them.
2. The stack of homemade Valentines on the kitchen table, slivers of colored paper confettied all over the floor
3. The sight of small boys in bright hats running up a green hill
4. Got the lawn mowed
5. Thought I had to make a health insurance phone call and then did not have to make itAdd a Comment
“I trust you with my life, I trust you with my children’s education, I trust you with my finances—but I do NOT trust you with marshmallows.”Add a Comment
The Children’s Book Review | January 31, 2015 Enter to win a hardcover copy of A Dozen Cousins (Sterling Children’s Books, February 3, 2015), story by Lori Haskins Houran and illustrations by Sam Usher. One (1) winner receives: A hardcover copy of A Dozen Cousins Age Range: 4-6 Giveaway begins January 31, 2015, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends February 28, 2016, […]Add a Comment
1. Spirited discussion of story structure with four bright girls, meandering into the all-important topic of why, why, why couldn’t Jo have ended up with Laurie?
2. Huck’s very delicate sneeze after dinner, which the older members of the family agreed was the cutest we’d ever heard
3. The way they laughed when my character fell off the log (again) in Harvest Moon
4. Video chat with Krissy, making plans
5. From yesterday, but I didn’t look at the pictures until this morning: Rose helping Huck learn “The Tyger” by heartAdd a Comment
It feels like forever since I’ve run a Fast Five post! So long, perhaps I need to explain myself again. Fast Fives are books thematically grouped together. Here are some that still get plenty of views:
Today’s Fast Five books are ones I devoured with infants at home. Those early days, I wasn’t good for much other than baby care and reading (how perfect is it that feeding a baby fits so nicely with cruising through a book?). My boys are middle schoolers now, but these five books continue to be favorites:
Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster — Jon Krakauer:
I’d seen the IMAX movie about the 1996 climb where eight people had lost their lives and was fascinated. Survival stories have long been a favorite (I wonder if this read subconsciously influenced that little survival story I later wrote?), and I was GLUED to this book. I’ve gone on to read Krakauer’s Into the Wild and Under the Banner of Heaven. He could write about anything, and I’d be hooked.
Possession — A. S. Byatt:
The first time I saw this book I was a freshman in college, but didn’t read it until years later when I found it in a used bookstore. Possession now ties for first place (with The Count of Monte Cristo ) as my favorite book of all time. There’s poetry! Romance! Mystery! History! Dual story lines that weave in and out of one another! A ticking clock! And overall there is spectacular, spectacular writing.
The Name of the Rose — Umberto Eco:
My freshman year at Hendrix College, my History of Christianity professor showed us the movie version of The Name of the Rose. This is the only Eco novel I’ve ever read (something I must remedy someday). It’s monks, middle-ages, and mystery — super engrossing. A great read.
Anna and the King of Siam — Margaret Landon:
This is the book The King and I musical was based on. I’ve had a life-long crush on Yul Brynner (don’t laugh) and had recently seen Anna and the King, a 1999 movie based on the same true story of British school teacher Anna Leonowens‘s experiences teaching in the court of Siamese King Mongkut. While the book has been criticized for some cultural inaccuracies, the story is a true adventure.
The Memoirs of Cleopatra — Margaret George:
Margaret George is a master. As a historical novelist, I’ve learned it’s vital to make sense of a character’s actions and motivations as they unfold alongside true history. Margaret George has this down pat. One of the things that continues to stick out for me is George’s ability to make the Egyptian / Roman battles come alive. And then there’s the Julius Caesar and Mark Antony romances. Goodness all around.
* Notice Possession made this list, too!Add a Comment
On Monday my son will celebrate his 14th birthday. Please allow me to indulge for a moment and show you how much he's grown, while I have a good cry over how fast these years have flown by.
• Rilla came to me with a paper cut. Not that I’m happy she was hurt, just–it struck me so sweetly that she still comes to me for little hurts like that, still believes a kiss from mommy can help
• good IEP meeting—they all love him so
• cleaned up the side yard, threw out two bins of junk, pruned the pepper trees
• daffodils in the neighbor’s yard
• Huck wearing the old cloth barn on his head like a jolly little hat.
Hilarious! Also nice to see how beloved it still is, 16 years and 5 kids later
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