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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Childrens Picture Books, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. Anything but Boring – A collection of Board Book reviews

I’m not sure how or why but I’ve still got many of the board books of my childhood and now, those from my daughter’s early learning days. Their very construction may have something to do with standing up to the test of time. Maybe, I just can’t bear to part with them because of what […]

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2. New Winter Book

We have just completed the final edits on our new winter story told in verse.  We are now beginning the illustration process.  We are so excited about this next story and can’t wait to hear your feedback.  Here’s a few hints about what our next story will be about.  Aren’t they just beautiful?  What other animal reminds you of winter?

Red Fox 3

 

 

Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) on snow at sunset, Kamchatka, Russia

Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) on snow at sunset, Kamchatka, Russia


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3. Review – Lulu

At first glance, life on the icy floes may seem appealing. (Unless you reside in SE Queensland as I do with no real concept of what cold is until you have to live through ‘an unseasonably cold winter’ with little more than a cotton tee-shirt and a pair of bed socks). In Lulu’s world, there […]

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4. Classics to cherish – Old tale picture book reviews

Don’t you love that emphatic certainty a below-twelve year-old has whenever they hear a remix of a song dating from the golden oldie era? ‘They got that song from such and such movie, Mum!’ Um well, no actually it was around way before me…Stories evoke similar conviction. Modern retellings of classic children’s stories might seem […]

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5. Review – Fly-In Fly-Out Dad

A year ago, I made a rare flight to Rockhampton. It was a mid-week, evening departure on one of those regional planes no bigger than a Lego model. What struck me most about the flight however as I waited in the boarding lounge, was the sheer number of men and women arriving into Brisbane that […]

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6. Review – iF… A non-fiction picture book with punch

I love science. I love theories. I love natural history. But, loving something doesn’t always equate to ‘getting it’; just ask my husband. With the escalated advance of technology allowing our newer generations the most informed and complete exposure to their existence on this planet than ever before, how do we encourage them to appreciate […]

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7. A hunting we will go – Easter basket fillers

It wouldn’t be Easter without a bit of a hunt. Whatever your predilection, chocolate eggs, fairies, time spent with loved ones; this small but sweet selection of Easter inspired treasures are perfect to pop into your Easter baskets this year. For the very young bunnies:  Little Barry Bilby by Colin Buchanan and Roland Harvey, including […]

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8. Double Dipping – Bedtime dramas abound

Putting the kids to bed is a rite of passage that not every parent survives in tact. Bedtime can be fraught with misadventure and procrastination. A five-minute goodnight kiss can draw out into a production of Oscar winning proportions. If you have kids under seven-years-old, chances are you’ve experienced a night or two like this. […]

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9. PS Mum, this is for you – Mother’s Day picture book reviews

Unconditional love, tolerance and understanding; all qualities most mothers possess in spades. They warrant gratitude every single day, not just on Mother’s Day. So this year, before you load up mum with a bed full of toast crumbs and good intentions snuggle up to her with one of your favourite ‘I love you’ reads. Here […]

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10. Caterpillar Shoes Book Blast $50 GC Giveaway

Caterpiller-cover_AM

We’ve teamed up with Mother Daughter Book Reviews again for our latest release Caterpillar Shoes.  You can enter through May 6th for a chance at winning a $50 gift card by clicking the Rafflecopter link:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can download our latest children’s picture book for only $.99 for a limited time or it is available FREE if you have Kindle Unlimited.  Start your free trial of Kindle Unlimited HERE.

Patches is an energetic caterpillar who is 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.

Also check out our other kidlit stories:

Lil Glimmer

The Nutt Family: An Acorny Adventure

The Pig Princess

The Bee Bully **AMAZON BEST SELLER**

Eager Eaglets: Birds of Play

Cactus Charlie

Suzy Snowflake

Monsters Have Mommies **AMAZON BEST SELLER**

The Cat Who Lost His Meow

The Christmas Owl **AMAZON BEST SELLER**

Ten Thankful Turkeys **AMAZON BEST SELLER**.


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11. If You Love Honey, Nature's Connections

After turning in artwork for If You Love Honey, Nature's Connections I got a look at Patty Arnold's design and layout for the book. I'm posting a few spreads here to give you a sneak peek. This is my second book illustrated by Martha Sullivan and third book for Dawn Publishing. It comes out this fall. After doing a lot of research for the illustrations I'm now a true honey bee fanatic, not to mention a Martha Sullivan fan!


 And I wanted to say "Thanks!" to William Porter at the Denver Post for including me in his Mother's Day article. It's always great to give a shout out to our moms, especially our moms who spent a lot of time reading to us.




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12. DINO-MITE! Dinosaur picture books with bite

If dinosaurs had any inkling as to how popular they’d end up, I’m sure they would have stuck around longer to enjoy their fame and fortune. Here are a few more new titles to add to your prehistoric, dino-inspired picture book collection, some serious, some silly. All fun.  Dino-Daddy by Mark Sperring and Sam Lloyd […]

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13. Tortoise and Hare's Amazing Race

Yesterday I received ARCs (advanced reading copies) of my second book coming out this fall. It's Tortoise and Hare's Amazing Race by Marianne Berkes, a retired teacher and librarian, now a full time children's book author and presenter. This is our third picture book together and we are working away on our fourth to come out spring 2016.

Arbordale Publishing is the publisher and they specialize in fun stories that build on science, nature and math skills. Tortoise and Hare is a retelling of the classic story with a math twist. Fractions and distance measurements mark progress for Henry Hare and Tess Tortoise along the way. 

How far to the top? 1,760 yards or one mile!
No Henry, you really don't have time to play, but you never did listen to me...
5,280 feet is the same as one mile. I already knew that because Denver is the Mile Hi City.
Click on the images for a larger view. And as always, thanks for taking a look!

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14. Review – Teddy Took the Train

Loss is a natural part of life. Nearly all of us have experienced it, losing a pet, a loved one, a favourite piece of antique china, mental sanity. As adults, we are equipped with strategies and understanding enough to assist us to the next station in life, to get over it. However, when a child […]

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15. Review – Teacup

I want to frame this picture book and hang it on my wall. To label Teacup as having bucket-loads of appeal for audiences familiar with and sympathetic to displacement, migration, social disruption and family change strips away the myriad of other sophisticated, elegant qualities this book deserves to be described by. It is simply sublime. […]

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16. Suzanne Bloom Is A Foolish Optimist

Author/Illustrator Suzanne Bloom

Author/Illustrator Suzanne Bloom

Suzanne's Newest Book

Suzanne’s Newest Book

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome author/illustrator Suzanne Bloom for the final post of our four-part series. If you are a new or aspiring children’s picture book author (or illustrator), I hope you have found some inspiration and encouragement in the last three posts, and I hope that continues today. This week I ask Suzanne about quiet stories, writer’s block, and how to keep from getting discouraged.

I discovered I have something in common with Suzanne, besides our love for picture books. We have both been told by editors that our work is quiet. I wasn’t quite sure what that meant the first time I heard it. Is that good? Bad? What? Since the editor who told me that my story was quiet didn’t seem interested in acquiring it, I surmised that quiet must be bad. And if that’s the case, then my story must be bad, and my writing style must be bad, and maybe I’m not cut out to be a picture book writer. See how easily that self-doubt creeps in?      

What I have learned since then is that quiet doesn’t equal bad. It is a certain style of writing, and a lot of my work is written in that style, but it’s not bad, it’s just harder to sell to today’s publishers, who seem to want quirky, funny, quick-paced, action-packed, stories. That being said, quiet books are still being published, just not as much. And if you truly want to, you can rework your story into something a little less quiet.

Suzanne, what does an editor mean when he/she says a story is quiet? And how do you feel about quiet stories?

Is it quiet because nothing happens? Do your characters have a problem to solve? Is there a beginning, middle and ending? Have you left space for the reader to make discoveries? What distinguishes your story from the mile-high pile of other manuscripts?

A formidable editor said, in a tone I couldn’t pin down, “You write quiet stories.” Was she kindly dismissing me? Maybe. But, being the foolish optimist, I chose to interpret it as a definition. Yes, indeed! I write quiet stories. My stories are about the little bumps on the road of friendship. They are about friends working things out. They hold moments of emotional truth for the listener and the reader. Think about The Quiet Book (by Deborah Underwood). Deborah Underwood’s “list” text coupled with Renata Liwska’s illustrations is absolutely delicious. It’s sly and tender and true. As visual learners, children look at books more carefully than adults do. This is a boon for illustrators who can amp up the level of detail suggested by the text.

Thank goodness for editors. We need them as surely as they need us. A manuscript needs a champion to shepherd it though the gauntlet of financial decisions, list requirements and the multitude of other manuscripts.

Yay, there is a place for quiet picture books in the world. Now, for those of you who get writer’s block, you’re not alone. We will all be afflicted with it from time to time. And we all deal with it in our own ways. Personally, I tend to wait it out for a while. I will often read and reread everything I have written for that story up to that point over and over again until I get unstuck. If that doesn’t work, then I’m usually done for the day. Let’s see what Suzanne recommends.

Suzanne, how do you combat writer’s (or illustrator’s) block? 

Is it inertia or page fright? No matter. Cook something, clean something, completely reorganize your kitchen cupboards, wax the car, weed the garden, walk the dog, conduct a search for the best carrot cake in a four state area, read every writer’s blog you can find, think about starting a blog, open the fridge 8 or 9 times to see if anyone made you something yummy.
Fill your days with Productive Procrastination Projects until you can no longer stand the avoidance, and think maybe that little opus on your desk or PC looks like a better option. Write around the block – scribble, doodle, sketch until that shaky, snaky line looks like an idea.
Alas, that idea may have a mind of its own. More than once the story I started gets elbowed aside by one that’s more insistent or fully formed. In the schoolyard that is my brain, my stories do not stand in a straight line. Oh no, they jostle and shove and argue over who is the line leader, except for that pouty one in the back who refuses to say a word.

Great advice, Suzanne! Now, how do you keep from getting discouraged in the highly competitive world of children’s picture book publishing?

On this emotional and professional roller coaster, there’s a nasty twist called the Spiral of Second Guessing followed by the Plummet of Self Worth. It seems to last forever but is over pretty quickly. Ride it out.
At the beginning of every project and sometimes again in the middle it becomes clear that I’ve forgotten how to draw and write. This story stinks and why would anyone ever read it? And it doesn’t even matter because who cares, anyway!
We are so hard on ourselves.
When I get discouraged, I call someone who loves my work and is not a family member. I call a treasured writer friend. We commiserate and whinge a little but then as good friends do, we remind each other of our successes, dedication, and how we are so much more suited to this than being the CEO of a Fortune 500 company or any other of many, many options.

If you are a writer, illustrator, or both, thank you for working to put something beautiful into the hands of children.

Thank you, Suzanne, that last line sums it up perfectly. That’s really what it all comes down to, if writing children’s picture books is in your blood, if it’s a part of you that you can’t imagine being without, and you long to put something beautiful into the hands of children (and there’s nothing more beautiful than a picture book), then don’t give up, don’t quit, don’t get discouraged, your dream can come true. You can be published. Keep writing, keep submitting, keep improving, and keep the faith. Believe me, I know! 

Suzanne Bloom was born mid-century in Portland, Oregon, which accounts for her love of overcast days. She moved to Queens, New York in time to finish kindergarten. Her first book We Keep a Pig in the Parlor was published in 1988. She has authored and illustrated many more books since then including The Bus for Us (2000) and the popular Goose & Bear series, which includes A Splendid Friend Indeed, Treasure, What About Bear, Oh! What A Surprise!, Fox Forgets, and her latest, Alone Together. She has been given a Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Award and has been selected for the Texas 2×2 list of 20 best picture books (twice). She currently lives in upstate, New York with her husband in the house they built 34 years ago, down a dirt road and on a hillside. She has two grown sons, one cat, and one dog. To learn more about Suzanne, please read the interview I did with her back in 2010, or check out her website: www.suzannebloom.com.

{Suzanne’s First Drawing, Age 3} I confess. It’s true. Before I wrote, I drew! An artist at three, marking the page – my dad and I were circles with little circle eyes. We looked like a jellyfish family. We all are artists, first. Little by little other activities catch our interest and we move on. But not always. I found more success drawing and painting than adding and multiplying, or dancing or playing sports. According to report cards from elementary school, I was a pleasure to have in class, though not working up to potential. Indeed, who among us works up to potential? I remember learning to read. Sprawled out on the ugly rug in the living room, looking at the funny papers spread before me, I watched in amazement as the squiggly lines shaped up into a word. The word was “Scamp”, son of Lady and the Tramp. And with that, the funny papers became my magic carpet. My gateway books were Goldens. So Big!, Animal Babies, and Mr. Dog still sit and stay on my book shelf to remind me that my collection began even before I was reading on my own.


2 Comments on Suzanne Bloom Is A Foolish Optimist, last added: 10/30/2014
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17. The North Pole Penguin by Christopher Payne

The North Pole Penguin

Title: The North Pole Penguin

Author: Christopher Payne

Illustrator: Lorena Soriano

Publisher/Year: CreateSpace/2014

Now that Halloween is over, my thoughts have turned to Christmas. It’s less than two months away after all. I’m already thinking about the decorating, shopping, and visiting that make up part of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. You may be too. But are you also thinking about Christmas books? If not, I have the perfect one to get you started: The North Pole Penguin. 

This book has the potential to be a Christmastime classic. With its clever rhyme and bright, put-you-in-the-spirit illustrations, The North Pole Penguin begs to be read over and over again. The story is about Parker Preston, a penguin from the South Pole, who loves Christmas and longs to thank Santa Claus in person for stopping at his igloo every year. So he sets off for the North Pole with a gift for Santa and meets new animal friends along the way who also want to give gifts to Santa. Some even accompany him on his journey. Here’s a sample from the book:

Upon some thinking long and hard, he knew his Christmas cause

To cross the globe and go and see the man called Santa Claus.

He’d bring him gifts and change the roles before the winter’s thaws

To give back to the special man whose kindness had no flaws.

If you’re searching for a sweet Christmas story with amazing illustrations and the strong possibility of becoming a holiday tradition, The North Pole Penguin is a perfect choice.


2 Comments on The North Pole Penguin by Christopher Payne, last added: 11/3/2014
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18. Picture Books At The Library

In my position as a technical processing assistant at the DeWitt Community Library, I catalog a lot of picture books. Here’s what I’ve cataloged recently:

(Whenever possible, summaries have been taken directly from the books.)

 

 

In this story (told in the form of a television broadcast), bears emerge from hibernation demanding to be fed.

 

Circles, rectangles, ovals, arcs, and more have fun moving about, along with a mischievous mouse that wants to play too.

 

Readers young and old will get lost in the loving details of each illustration, and the warmth of the simple pleasures that surround us all.

 

Join one lucky little girl as she learns the recipe for making the perfect story.

 

 

When frightened animals squeeze into Noah’s bed during a storm, causing the Ark to tip, Noah soothes the beasts with a lullaby.

 

When three cats find themselves homeless in an alley, they form a singing group with the hope that they will earn the love they need.

 

From the great expanse of the darkening sky filled with stars, to the softening sounds of city and farm quieting down for the night, the perspective comes closer to reveal the end of day at home and then the child snuggling into bed.

 

Ping and Pong are friends, even though they like to do different things.

When Cat is accidentally whisked away in a fish van, her litter of kittens are left to fend for themselves.


1 Comments on Picture Books At The Library, last added: 11/10/2014
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19. Rounding up the Reindeers – Frivolous Fun Reads

Okay, so the countdown is on: Chrissy pudding curing away; Christmas turkey ordered; extra chairs stacked ready for those visiting hoards. Santa’s list might even already be on its way to the North Pole but you realise you have a few more stockings to stuff. Here are a bunch of playful festive reads that may […]

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20. Picture Books At The Library

In my position as a technical processing assistant at the DeWitt Community Library, I catalog a lot of picture books. Unfortunately, I cannot review them all, but I do read them all and have assigned a :) to my favorites. Below are a few I’ve cataloged recently. (Whenever possible, summaries have been taken directly from the books.)

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:) When sugar snow falls, all the colors of the farm are brighter than ever against the crisp white fields!

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:) When his brother refuses to come outside, a child plays by himself in the snow and creates an imaginary world.

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:) It is Little Snow the rabbit’s first Christmas and after all the forest animals tell him about the animals’ Santa, he is excited to wake up on Christmas morning to find his own surprise.

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:) One day there was a knock at the front door. Mr. Mo was gardening, so Mrs. Mo went to see who it might be…

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How can there be a bear that’s not a bear, a hat that’s not a hat, or a ship that will never float or sink? This book is a guessing game for your brain. Have fun playing!

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A young boy named Arto must move with his family from the chilly North that he loves to the hot South that he’s sure he will hate.

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Here are ten thrilling ways to start counting that will have you laughing and learning all the way up to 10, 20, 30, 40…100 and beyond.


2 Comments on Picture Books At The Library, last added: 11/17/2014
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21. Reminder: Check It Out!

Did you know that the library is a treasure chest? It’s a treasure chest filled with gems. My favorite gems are the picture books, of course. 

The library is also a garden filled with beautiful, sweet-scented flowers. My favorite flowers are, you guessed it, the picture books.

But did you also know that if you don’t check the picture books out from the library, they will be weeded from the collection?! It’s not enough to just go and sit in the children’s room, pick a bunch of books off the shelf, and then sit down and read them (though that’s very nice). If you want your favorite book to remain part of your library’s collection, then you must check it out. If you want all your beloved titles to be on the library’s shelves for years to come, available to countless children, check them out, check them out often.

Because the library where I work has limited space, books (and other items) are weeded out often to make room for new books. Recently, many wonderful picture books were pulled and put in the large book sale we had over the weekend. It breaks my heart to see them go. My only consolation is that most of them sold and so will have a second life, so to speak.

I’d love the books to remain a part of our collection. And if we had more room, we could keep them longer. But circulation stats count, meaning if they don’t circulate (get checked out), they get pulled.

So if you have a favorite picture book at your library: Check It Out!


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22. Dim’s Top 25 Cracking Christmas Reads for Kids

All righty, you’ve noted what others are reading this Christmas. You are possibly getting a little woozy from a department store diet of flashy titles and quick fixes but you still haven’t managed to locate that special literary treasure for the younger person or young at heart person in your life. The following list is […]

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23. Christmas Classics You’ve Read to your Kids – Gabrielle Wang

Not everyone may have kids, but all of us unavoidably were kids, once. A fair chunk of my childhood centered around books; reading them and collecting them. Certain stories only ever experienced one reading over 30 years ago, but for reasons inexplicable, remain unforgettably potent and as vivid to me as if I’d read them […]

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24. What Lead Richard McEwan to Write a Children’s Picture Book



What lead me to write a children’s picture book?

Until this Spring, I had no idea I would be writing a children’s picture book. My wife and I had recently moved to North Carolina and since I was mostly retired, many of my days were filled with projects. However, I believe the good Lord decided it was time for me to direct my efforts elsewhere.
Little did I know this was happening until I started to write my first book, and one day, I stopped and reflected on what was taking place…I was actually writing a story! 

Crazy as this may sound, I was taken aback by this realization, but once I thought about it I knew it was God.

I believe the book came together for a number of reasons:
(1) Our grandchildren: we moved to North Carolina to be near two of our three children and our grandchildren whose ages are 4 and under. Their love of books is more than evident whether being read to or pulling a book off the shelf to thumb through it by themselves, studying the illustrations or photography and relating the story.
(2) Our dogs: my wife and I have a great love for dogs in general and, specifically, for own. They are an integral part of our lives. Their antics lead to writing about them. Plus, they are both foster dogs.
(3) Fostering dogs: my wife for years would pick up a stray dog and either find its owner or a new home. With this passion, we became involved with the Animal Welfare League where we lived in Virginia. Over a five-year period we fostered about 50 dogs at our home until each was adopted. The dogs came to us via many sources including AWL, County Pound, and, of course, strays picked up by my wife!
(4) Children learning: picture books are a great vehicle to convey a message even before a child can read. As with this story, it is so important to instill in children at a young age the importance of caring for pets…I believe it is the first step in caring for others. 

It has been a joy to write the book. My hope is this story will encourage children to think about the story when they come upon a stray or lost pet, and with an adult’s involvement, help find it’s home or foster home or forever home.

***

About the Author: Richard McEwan retired to the Outer Banks of North Carolina after a long career in sales, marketing and advertising. He lives with his wife, Christie, and their two dogs, Buddy and River, one cat named Oyster and many photos of foster dogs. He was inspired to begin writing because of his grandchildren's love of books.
 
The Adventures of Sir Buddy and Mr. Pupples: The Rescue
Written by Richard McEwan
Illustrated by Amy Rottinger
Publisher: Halo Publishing, Int.
ISBN Number: 978-7-61244-307 -2
Genre of Book: Children’s Picture
Places where book will be available for sale: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Ingram
Author Website: www.twodogstales.com

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25. Review – Big Hug Books

For many of you, by now your little ones will be well and truly back into the school routine. Apart from the usual school-related requirements, you may have also restocked your return-to-school library, determined to share the educational and emotional journey your child is embarking on, perhaps for the first time. You will find some […]

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