What is JacketFlap

  • JacketFlap connects you to the work of more than 200,000 authors, illustrators, publishers and other creators of books for Children and Young Adults. The site is updated daily with information about every book, author, illustrator, and publisher in the children's / young adult book industry. Members include published authors and illustrators, librarians, agents, editors, publicists, booksellers, publishers and fans.
    Join now (it's free).

Sort Blog Posts

Sort Posts by:

  • in
    from   

Suggest a Blog

Enter a Blog's Feed URL below and click Submit:

Most Commented Posts

In the past 7 days

Recent Posts

(tagged with 'Childrens Picture Books')

Recent Comments

JacketFlap Sponsors

Spread the word about books.
Put this Widget on your blog!
  • Powered by JacketFlap.com

Are you a book Publisher?
Learn about Widgets now!

Advertise on JacketFlap

MyJacketFlap Blogs

  • Login or Register for free to create your own customized page of blog posts from your favorite blogs. You can also add blogs by clicking the "Add to MyJacketFlap" links next to the blog name in each post.

Blog Posts by Date

Click days in this calendar to see posts by day or month
new posts in all blogs
Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Childrens Picture Books, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 173
1. Swooning Over Swag (or Christmas in July)

I count myself lucky to know some really terrific people. And one such person is my colleague and friend Brian Abbott. Brian is the coworker who went to the ALA (American Library Association) Midwinter Conference back in January and brought me back several ARCs. (Read more about that by clicking Here.) A few weeks ago, he attended the ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas and he came back bearing swag, and lots of it! From posters, to prints, to magnets, and even CDs, they were giving it all away at ALA. And Brian gave a bunch to me! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But his generosity didn’t end there. He waited in line and managed to grab me a signed copy, yes, a signed copy of Caldecott Medal winner Brian Floca’s book Locomotive! (Read my review of Locomotive Here.) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Okay, that’s definitely sweet, but the most unique item Brian brought back was a seven-page, full-color booklet that was given out to attendees of the Newbery Caldecott Awards Banquet. Brian was invited to attend! (Okay, push down the author envy.) The booklet is so cool; it even has a pop-up in it! Swoon.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks Brian, you’re awesome! To learn more about adult mystery novelist Brian Abbott, check out his site, The Poisoned Martini, and look for his debut novel Death On Stoneridge, coming soon.


0 Comments on Swooning Over Swag (or Christmas in July) as of 7/25/2014 12:40:00 AM
Add a Comment
2. Review – Once a Creepy Crocodile

Once a Creepy CrocodilePicture books featuring native Australian flora and fauna aren’t new. Picture books including natty little extras like accompanying CDs aren’t exactly ground breaking either. However, picture books told with the kind of original verve and swagger like Once a Creepy Crocodile is will have you and the kids laughing and applauding with fresh wild abandon.

Once a Creepy Crocodile is the debut picture book for Queensland author Peter Taylor, a gifted calligrapher and just as skilful picture book creator. His partnership with illustrator Nina Rycroft Peter Taylorhas produced a corker of a picture book teaming with exuberant Australiana and bouncing rhyme. It is set to the rhyming metre of the well-loved song, Waltzing Matilda and once you recognise this, it is virtually impossible not to read it (aloud) along to the melody.

It all starts one dreamy afternoon by the riverbank, as creepy old Croc approaches baby Brolga with an invitation to join him for afternoon tea. Brolga, being prone to a bit of a party, is very tempted but is repeatedly dissuaded by his bushland buddies who fear Crocodile’s intentions are deceptively malign.

Croc persists with a seduction of scrumptious sweeties and sly smiles. Once again, Brolga’s friends intervene until Spotty Snake slithers in with an offer of his own. Will Brolga ever learn?

Croc eventually hosts his magnificent afternoon tea but you will have to sing your way through this yourself to find out just who survived to enjoy it with him.

Once a Creepy Crocodile is an entertaining Aussie mash-up of The Gruffalo meets the best of billabong bush lore. Taylor’s attention to metre makes each verse a cinch to read even if you are not ‘singing’ the tune, although I prefer the latter. He also gives plenty of airplay to some of the less well-known bush critters including the boo book owl and blossom bat, creating a large but colourful and endearing cast of characters.

Nina Rycroft Nina Rycroft’s full page, smack-in-you-in-the-face illustrations are a pure joy to behold. They trace the insidious attempts of both Creepy Croc and Spotty Snake to lure in naïve Brolga with bright, bold abandon, which younger readers will swoon over. Teabags splish and cupcakes hurtle across placid watercolour backdrops, which feature vivid pops of accentuating colour; the bright green bumps of Croc, the indigo waters of the creek, and Spotty’s deep amethyst coils for example.

Once a Creepy Crocodile is a feast for the eyes and a treat for your soul and above all, plain good old fashioned fun.

Creepy Croc illoI have just returned from the National Conference of The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) 2014 in Sydney where Peter Taylor launched his new book. Like all fine things, the project was a long labour of love, taking him many moons to perfect. Thankfully, it won’t take you as long to read, but once you do reach the end, you will want to read it again and again and again. A book with sustained readability that sounds good and has lots of Aussie heart. What more could you ask for. Tea anyone?

The Five Mile Press Out now and available here soon!

Add a Comment
3. All our books are now on Kindle Unlimited

beecover

Just announced today Amazon has a new subscription service for e-books called Kindle Unlimited.  For a flat monthly fee of $9.99 you can enroll and download up to ten e-books at one time.  When you are done, just return them and then you can download more.  We know young children can be voracious readers and we are excited about the opportunity to reach new readers with this program.  Now parents can download books for themselves and load up on some quality children’s books too for one low price.  There are over 600,000 titles currently available and they can be loaded onto any device.  What a bargain!

 

Try the new Kindle Unlimited FREE for 30 days HERE

 

MonstersHaveMommies


Add a Comment
4. The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art

I’ve been wanting to visit the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art for quite some time. I finally got the chance to go this past weekend. So, with my sister Linda acting as navigator, I drove over 200 miles and 3 1/2 hours along the New York State Thruway to Amherst, Massachusetts. It was a beautiful day Sunday, perfect for a road trip. And though we were on a highway, we passed through some very scenic areas with rolling tree-covered hills and picturesque valleys. We even crossed the Hudson River. 

After many miles, two rest stops, and two toll booths, we finally reached the museum with no trouble. Although, I almost drove right past it until I spotted this gorgeous sign marking the entrance.

The building and grounds are beautiful. But you really have to go inside to experience the wonder of the museum. They have three lovely galleries exhibiting artwork from several picture book artists. For our visit, they showcased the art of Simms Taback, Harriet the Spy (the book turns 50 this year), and What’s Your Favorite Animal (a book featuring art from many well-known illustrators, including Eric Carle himself). 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No photography was allowed inside the galleries, of course, but the museum offered other opportunities for picture-taking.

 

The museum also has a wonderful library filled with picture books (they also do story times there), an auditorium (for films, lectures, plays, author/illustrator visits), an art studio (where all ages can be creative and crafty), and a bookshop/gift shop (I was like a kid in a candy store). All that was missing was a full-service cafe, though they do have a vending machine and plenty of places to sit and eat inside and outside (in a lovely orchard) if you choose to bring a picnic lunch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My sister and I had such a good time. I hope to visit again sometime in the near future. If you are a picture book lover, I highly recommend it. And while you’re there, don’t forget to use the restroom; you won’t regret it!

Yes, this is a bathroom stall!


4 Comments on The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, last added: 7/1/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment
5. Why I Self-Published & What Works by Tabitha Grace Smith

If you are curious about self publishing, then you will find author Tabitha Grace Smith’s article fascinating. She has some excellent advice for authors who are considering self publishing. She also explains why she chose the self-publishing path over traditional publishing, what’s involved, and how she makes it work.

Why I Self-Published & What Works
by Tabitha Grace Smith

I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was 9 years old. I chose my college, my career (I work in social media marketing), and my hobbies because of this passion for writing. Mostly I had a desire to write adult novels, but when my first niece was born I desperately wanted to write kid’s books. Books had a huge impact on me and I wanted to share that with my nieces (who are now 6 and 7). The idea for my first book came from my cats, who seemed to love sitting on the edge of my bathtub, but never wanted to go in. I wrote Jack the Kitten is Very Brave, a book about a cat who loved being a pirate, but was afraid of water.

I read a lot about the book publishing industry. From my research I knew that picture books are incredibly hard to break into as a first-time writer. I didn’t want to spend a lot of time trying to get published and miss the years where my book would be perfect for my nieces. That sense of a deadline was a huge deciding factor in self-publishing.

Self-publishing has become less of a stigma in the past couple years, but there still is a stigma and anyone who wants to self-publish needs to understand that. I had a lot of questions when I first went about publishing Jack the Kitten is Very Brave and several people immediately assumed that it wouldn’t be a good book if I did it myself.

When it came to choosing how to self-publish I did a lot of research. I wanted a POD (Print on Demand) service so I didn’t get stuck with boxes and boxes of books. I also have a lot of friends who live all over the world so I wanted a service where they could order without paying a TON of money. CreateSpace (which is part of Amazon) wound up being the perfect solution. Just a note here: you shouldn’t need to shell out thousands of dollars to a self-print book service. Beware, there are a lot of scams out there. You’ll never make that money back.

There are four HUGE skills you need to self-publish:
1. Design Skills
2. Art Skills
3. Editing Skills
4. Marketing Skills

Design Skills. Thankfully, I have some design skills. My first job was doing graphics and layout. A big part of doing a book yourself is understanding how to format and set up a layout. You’ll need to understand things like pixels, dpi, how to create a multi-page PDF, page bleeds, etc. If you don’t know these things there are a ton of free classes online to get the skills. Another option is to hire someone. Please make sure to pay for the service. Formatting and layout for a book is a lot of work and it takes a good amount of time.

Art Skills. I have zero art skills. I can draw some pretty awesome stick figures, but that is not good enough for most picture books (Okay, one of my books I drew myself, but it’s pretty doodle-y). For the artwork I had a dear friend, Mindy Lou Hagan, who I had seen a ton of art from. I loved her style and we worked together on the layout and images. I have to be completely honest here, a lot of the unsuccessful self-published children’s books I’ve seen have terrible artwork. Do yourself a favor and search for a good artist. If you have no artistic talent yourself or you have no artistic friends, search sites like Deviantart.com. Again, pay your artist. It’s a huge pet peeve of mine when artists don’t get paid. Artwork is at least 50% of the selling point of a children’s book. Mindy and I agreed on payment before we started the project. Have that all in writing.

Editing Skills. Picture books need as much (if not more) editing as a novel. Have as many people as you can read your book before you publish it. I found out early on that people will catch different things, so multiple editors really helps. Also, try and have at least a couple friends who will be 100% honest with you (i.e. don’t just have your mom read it). Have the editors edit the text, have them edit the text placement, and have them edit the story. Read the story out loud to kids and check their enthusiasm level (if you have no kids, ask a local school librarian if you can come in and read your book). Edit. Edit. Edit. A lot of first-time writers are way too attached to their writing. As a result, they’re not open to edits and changes. Don’t be that person. Listen to what your editors say and take it to heart if they’re right.

Marketing Skills. So you have a book. It’s uploaded. Fantastic! No one is going to buy it. This is the huge con for self-publishing. There are no sales without your marketing. Absolutely none. There are thousands of books out there that someone can buy for their child. If they don’t know about your book, they will not buy it. You’re going to need to sharpen your marketing skills. Learn how to use social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) effectively, learn how to publicize without being spammy (check the authors that you love and see how they do it), offer a print copy of your book to some bloggers (check to see how much interaction they have on their blog), pitch yourself to local schools and offer a free author visit, ask folks for help to get the word out, and find places you can sell your book (local fairs, garage sales, charity events, etc.). Cross-promotion with other blogs and authors is your big friend here. I think 90% of the time people usually buy self-published books because they love the author.

There are a couple other things you need to learn like self-employment taxes, keeping track of expenses, etc. Find a tax accountant who can help you with that if you start making some good money off your book.

{From Tabitha Grace Smith’s book Machu the Cat is Very Hungry}

Another option for publishing and getting the funds you need to publish is crowdfunding. My latest book, Jack the Kitten is Very Sleepy, I am funding through Kickstarter. This is a great way to get fans in on helping make the book and pay for the artwork. If you’d like to check it out, it’s here: bit.ly/SleepyJack. If you like pirates and cats, it may be the perfect book for you!

Kickstarter is a huge commitment; I often tell people it’s like a full-time job. So if you’re thinking about crowdfunding, I really suggest backing a couple projects first to see what works and what doesn’t.

I’ve been very happy with how well my books have done so far. I’m no Stephen King of picture books, but I’ve sold a good amount. Copies of my books are all over the world. I get awesome letters from kids who have read my books. Best of all, my nieces love my books and I get to read them to them whenever I visit. School visits are probably my favorite. Once, I was walking the hall of one school as the kids were going home, one of the little first graders got all excited when she saw me and waved like mad and said, “Hi, Author!”. It was a really fun feeling.

My big take away from the whole experience is that self-publishing and doing it well is a lot of work, but it’s a ton of fun too. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and give help to others whenever you can. Another thing that really helped me was giving my book away. A lot. Ultimately, I wanted kids to read it, not to become rich. One time I was at a car wash fundraiser and I saw a very sad little boy. I happened to have copies of my book in my bag and I gave him one. His face lit up like it was Christmas. That was well worth buying the book myself and giving it away. After all, what good is a book if no one reads it?

Well said, Tabitha!

Tabitha Grace Smith is a professional geek, blogger, writer, web designer, podcaster, social media expert, and strategist. She holds a B.A. in Communications from Moody Bible Institute and an M.A. and M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Wilkes University. She’s written five children’s books including, Jack the Kitten is Very Brave and Machu the Cat is Very Hungry, which were based on her real life cats. You can find them on Amazon or over at MachuandJack.com. She also wrote a book for reluctant readers called Mary Lou Wants to Be A Big Star and a book about dealing with bullies called Everyone’s Mean, Except When They’re Not. Both are available on Amazon. Her latest book, Jack the Kitten is Very Sleepy is currently being funded through a Kickstarter campaign.

Find her on Goodreads or online at tabithagracesmith.com.

{The real Jack and Machu with their books}

{Tabitha Grace Smith's latest picture book}

{Tabitha Grace Smith’s latest picture book}


4 Comments on Why I Self-Published & What Works by Tabitha Grace Smith, last added: 6/27/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment
6. Double Dipping – Living with Dodos and Alice – Picture book reviews

In a world of dwindling attention spans and narrowing fields of vision, it may be argued that the gaps between past and present are so expansive there is no reason to traverse them anymore let alone acknowledge past discoveries or other people’s situations.

New Frontier Publishing ignores this argument, offering two new courageous storylines within two beautifully presented picture books both worthy of much discussion and fawning over.

Adorable AliceThe first is Adorable Alice by Cassandra Webb and Michaela Blassnig. At first glance this picture book feels and looks too pink and perfect to be promising then I noticed Alice, plucky and bright, striding confidently across the cover into her story. So I followed her.

Like many young children, Alice lives in the here and now moments of life. She likes doing ‘something different every day’. What makes the week in question so special is her self-appointed mission of sensory-deprivation. Almost without conscience thought, Alice explores her home each day in a different way; with her eyes closed, her arms tied, her nose blocked and so on. Deprivation of one sense sharpens her others, which she discovers increases her understanding and enjoyment of the world around her, in spite of her familiarity with it.

Evocative narrative descriptions reinforce comfortable associations so that the reader is able to link the sound of grandma chopping with the smell of peaches for instance. Spatial awareness is enhanced for the reader as Alice makes her way to Grandpa by ‘listening, feeling and smelling’.

The coupling of Blassnig’s bright and bouncy illustrations with Webb’s sensory-laden sentence structure introduces young readers to their five senses and the importance of empathy in a sympathetically simple and tactile way.

May 2014

Edward and the Great DiscoveryFollowing New Frontier Publishing’s penchant for picture books with little pre-amble but plenty of thought provoking action and consequence is the stimulating, Edward and the Great Discovery. This is Rebecca McRitchie’s and Celeste Hulme’s first foray into picture books and it seems they have hit pay dirt. It could have something to do with my Indiana Jones obsession or my fasRebecca McRitchiecination with Dodos or maybe it is just the kid in me still hoping to make that marvellous discovery in my own backyard someday, but I was thoroughly entranced by Edward’s tale.

Despite an impressive family pedigree of archaeology, Edward has never discovered a single thing of greatness. Until one night, after filling his backyard with craters chance bestows him with not only a wondrous scientific discovery but also a deeper understanding of true friendship.

McRitche writes with understated sincerity giving children just enough hope and daring to intrigue them whilst at the same time gently exposing them to the wonders of natural history. It is a story that is both exciting and touching.

Hulme’s expressive illustrations , pleasantly reminiscent of Terry Whidborne’s work, feature spade-loads of sensitive detail; cushions for Edward’s bird to land on, real red-knit scarf to share warmth and love with, minute gems hidden deep within reality.

Edward and his EggIt is these kinds of treasures that children adore discovering in picture books for themselves and is why this proposed picture book series is a priceless find for expanding the attention spans of 4 – 6 + year-olds. I for one cannot wait to see what new adventures Edward uses his extensive kit on. Then again, I’ve always been drawn to archaeologists…

June 2014

Add a Comment
7. Children’s Classics on DVD

Not too long ago, while at the library, I came across the DVD Guess How Much I Love You (The Adventures of Little Nutbrown Hare): Friendship Adventures (2011).

I instantly thought that I should watch it and see how it compares to the classic book written by Sam McBratney and illustrated by Anita Jeram.

So I checked out the DVD along with the book Guess How Much I Love You (1994) and another, more recent title, The Adventures of Little Nutbrown Hare (2012). I needed to refamiliarize myself with the story and the characters.

The DVD does a nice job bringing the beloved Little Nutbrown Hare, his father Big Nutbrown Hare, and his animal friends to life, in seven short chapters. It’s skillfully animated and beaming with beautiful color. I love the flowers that are all over the meadow and the sweetness of the characters.

The stories are about friendship, sharing, caring, honesty, feelings, promises, forgiveness, and doing what’s right. It’s perfect for the littlest viewers, just like the books are perfect for the youngest readers. Recently, I discovered that there are other books and other DVDs starring Little Nutbrown Hare and his friends. So if you are looking for a good, sweet series for your young child, I highly recommend this one!

This comparison got me thinking about other classic children’s stories that have appeared on DVD, or have been made into movies or TV series. I’m sure there are quite a few. If you know of any, especially those of you who have kids, please share!

13530951

 


4 Comments on Children’s Classics on DVD, last added: 4/29/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment
8. Interview Alert: Lori Nichols

I am incredibly pleased to present this awesome interview with the author and illustrator of Maple, Lori Nichols. After I requested the interview, and she accepted, I was super eager to read her responses to my questions. She did not disappoint! Lori’s answers are detailed, personal, and interesting, with a sprinkling of humor mixed in. You are going to love this interview!

Q. Can you tell us a little about your process from start to finish when you created Maple?

L.N. The process of creating Maple was organic. To start, I’d have to go back about 45 years. I have always loved trees. We had a beautiful Maple tree in our yard growing up, and I played under it all the time. This is one of my favorite, and earliest, memories from my childhood. I remember the moss on the trunk, digging for worms, big black ants that I’d let crawl on my arms and legs, the knobby feel of the bark. Most importantly though, I remember the canopy of the tree. It truly was magic for me to sit under my tree and look up at the sky between the leaves.

When I had my own daughters, my husband and I planted a tree for each one. They were actually oak tree saplings (my husband’s favorite tree) from the yard where he grew up in West Virginia. We watched our children and their trees grow together. So began the story for what is now Maple. But in a strange way I didn’t set out to write this story. It came organically from a sketch here, a drawing there, and from watching my children play outside.

One day in 2010 my daughter Zoe was eating grapes. She came into my studio and held up the bare grape stem and said “Look Mom, a tree.” The grape stem did look like a tree, so Zoe and I scanned the grape stem into the computer and scanned some Japanese Maple leaves from the tree in our yard and began doing fun things in Photoshop. I then plopped a small pencil drawing of a little girl in with our tree creations and wrote “Maple loved her name.” This was another “growth ring” in Maple’s story.Grapes2

I showed the drawing to my agent and she encouraged me to work it into a story. This process started in July and took a few months. Then in November we were ready to pitch it, and Nancy Paulsen Books picked it up. Nancy Paulsen, Cecilia Yung and Marikka Tamura directed me over the next year on changes that would help the story. It then took another year for the book to be printed and  marketed. The rest is history!

 

 

 

 

 

Q. What are the pros and cons when it comes to illustrating your own book?

L.N. Pros: It’s completely driven by my imagination.
Cons: It’s completely driven by my imagination.

Q. What was your experience like working with the editors at Nancy Paulsen Books?

L.N. Nancy Paulsen is lovely and incredibly gentle in her approach with me. She understands and respects the creative process and seems to know just the right amount of direction to give. Not giving me too much or too little direction allows me to still take ownership of the book. I feel incredibly lucky that this was my debut picture book and that I had such a wonderful mentor. I also have a sticky note on my computer that says “Listen to your voice, I trust it.” Cecilia Yung, one of my art directors on Maple, said this to me and I try to take this advice when I start doubting myself.

Q. Can you tell aspiring children’s book authors and illustrators what it’s like to work with a literary agent?

L.N. My literary agent rocks! I think she’s an alien from another planet though, because I have no idea when (if ever) she sleeps. Her name is Joanna Volpe of New Leaf Literary, and we started working together about four years ago when she saw my portfolio at a NY SCBWI conference. She contacted me after the conference asking if I needed representation. Joanna has reminded me of my own voice and vision, and has encouraged me in so many ways. She gives me great feedback on my manuscripts and always provides me with the direction I need to elevate my work to the next level. I came to the picture book business by way of illustration and page design so I felt vulnerable when it came to telling my stories with words. She believed in me. Plus, there’s no question that’s too mundane or insignificant for her. She approaches all my questions with respect and even though she’s extremely busy she’ll get back with me at the drop of a hat. Yep, she’s an alien from another planet.

Q. What authors or illustrators have been inspirations to you?

L.N. OK, this is a question that might take a lot of time to answer. I’ll try to narrow it down. Here is the short list: Tomie dePaola, Roger Duvoisin, Mary Blair, Kevin Henkes, Olof and Lena Landstrom (my all-time favorite illustrator/writer team EVER!), William Steig, Barbara Cooney (love!), Maurice Sendak, Sandra Boynton, David Ezra Stein, and my three girls.

Q. Why do you believe picture books are important?

L.N. I love this question because it’s something I feel very passionate about. As a new mother, I began reading to my daughter when she was very, very young. Days home from the hospital we would snuggle up to one another and I would read to her for as long as she’d let me. She seemed to crave my voice and even though she was too little to focus on the pages, she loved this time (and so did I). It became a long love of reading for her, and then for my other two daughters. But first, it was a safe, warm, soft, happy place to hear their mother’s (or father’s voice). For me it was a beautiful bonding experience. I also think picture books are journeys for children, journeys where a child can explore a world in a safe environment…on the lap of a caregiver.

Q. What exciting projects are you working on right now?

L.N. I’m currently working on some companion books to Maple that I’m really excited about (see next question). Also, I’ve just finished illustrating the wonderfully hilarious book This Orq. (He Cave Boy.) by the talented author David Elliott (Boyds Mills Press, September 2014).

Q. What does the future hold for Maple and her little sister Willow?

L.N. I have a companion book to Maple titled Maple and Willow Together coming out November 2014. I am also working on a third companion book with a tentative publish date of September 2015.

Q. Where can fans go to learn more about you and your work?

L.N. http://www.lorinichols.com, Lori Nichols on Facebook, Maple on Facebook, lorinicholsbook on Instagram, @lorinicholsbook on Twitter

Q. Any closing thoughts for fans?

L.N. Thanks for taking the time to read this and for loving Maple (and Willow) as much as I do.


2 Comments on Interview Alert: Lori Nichols, last added: 5/4/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment
9. Magical Moments for Mum – Mother’s Day Reviews

Dear Mums, whether you begin it with burnt offerings and flowers in bed or embark on a 24 respite from the usual onslaught of bickering and demands, you are celebrating Mothers’ Day because you are part of one of the most magical clubs in the world. The following assortment of picture books, all out now, encapsulates that magic. They are in equal parts cute, absorbing, whimsical and funny.

 

How I love youYoung children under five are well catered for. How I Love You by Anna Pignataro (Scholastic Press, March 2014) oozes tenderness and charm. What it lacks in narrative depth is more than compensated for by the understated beauty of Pignataro’s glorious illustrations. Children will enjoy mimicking the high-lighted prose as they visit a diverse collection of Aussie animals at bedtime, each revealing by their actions just how they love their mummies. Sweet and perfect for bedtime togetherness.
Mummy You're Special to MeSimilar in design and content is Laine Mitchell’s and Kim Fleming’s, Mummy, You’re Special To Me. (Scholastic Australia, April 2014). Again this is less of a story and more of an exploration of the divine diversity and uniqueness of mummies all over the planet.
Little Giraffe thinks his mummy is super special because she’s ‘kind’ and ‘strong as a knight’. As he navigates through life, he discovers a universe of other mummies each with their own special qualities. My favourite encounter was sipping tea with Little Camel’s hip and groovy Gran.
Some of Mitchell’s rhyming verse felt a little off key at times but Fleming’s adorable, multi-technique illustrations were special enough to send me right back to the beginning to enjoy it all over again.

Hootie the CutieHootie the Cutie (New Frontier Publishing, April 2014) by Michelle Worthington and fresh newcomer to the children’s book scene, illustrator Giuseppe Poli, could as easily be enjoyed by dads and grandparents but deserves special mention here, because what mum does not welcome a little dragon magic in her day?
Worthington weaves a winsome, whimsical woodland tale about an owl, small in stature but large in heart and spirit, and brave beyond all measure as it turns out. Poli completes the very pleasing tapestry with illustrations that will enchant the pants off you.
Hootie the Cutie reminds us that sometimes loving (our children) is about allowing for growth and going while simultaneously showing pre-primary aged children that independent thought and actions are qualities that can shape and strengthen who you really are. Highly commendable.
Jam for NanaNanas are high-profiling a lot these days and little wonder when grandparents make up the highest proportion of informal childcare in Australia according to (AIFS)* statistics; so Deborah Kelly’s and Lisa Stewart’s, Jam for Nana (Random House Australia, April 2014) is destined to be a generational crowd pleaser.

This picture book delights on many levels; from its dustcover-covered, recipe-book shape and size to its comforting unrushed rhythm and wholesome narrative. It is a book you’ll want to treasure, or at least share with your little one and their significant grandparent. Told from a little girl’s point of view, it highlights the special bond between her and her grandmother and centres on her desire to recreate ‘real jam’ for her nana.
It reminded me of a time in my childhood when backyard apricots tasted like ‘the warmth of a hundred summers’ too and life was full of substance so pure and thick and wonderful, you could ‘hold it upside down and shake it’. Stewart’s divine illustrations and Kelly’s shared pancake ritual make this one very special picture book.
Nurturing and snuggling are all well and good but bringing a smile to mum’s face is perhaps the best thing you can give her. My Mum says the Strangest Things, (Black Dog Books, April 2014), is guaranteed to have her LOL in no time flat. In fact, I can barely get through it (with my Miss 8) without crippling waves of laughter washing over me.
ThMy Says the Strangest Thingse Katrina Germein and Tom Jellet team that gave us My Dad Thinks he’s Funny and My Dad Still Thinks he’s Funny, train their humorous cross-hairs on mum’s idiosyncratic refrains this time, with deadly accuracy. For adult readers, the sweet irony of mum’s idiomatic expressions is difficult to ignore and impossible not to relate to: ‘when mum’s tired she says everyone needs an early night.’ Love, love, love it! There is something here for every member of the family. Older primary aged kids will be rolling their eyes and trying not to laugh. You’ll be taking stock of the next ‘strange thing’ that falls out of your mouth.

 

So, however you end up spending Mothers’ Day, make sure you take a moment or two to share it with the little people who gave you the reason to read picture books again in the first place (and linger longer in bed for at least one day of the year). Happy Mothers’ Day!

* AIFS.gov.au viewed Feb 2014.

 

Add a Comment
10. Check Out Alan Sitomer’s Photo Contest!

I’m happy to share an exciting and super-fun new contest offered by the amazing, successful, award-winning teacher and author, Alan Sitomer! Alan created his fabulous photo contest to celebrate his brand new picture book, Daddy’s Zigzagging Bedtime Story, which was recently praised in USA Today as a perfect pick for Father’s Day. It sounds like it’s following in the footsteps of his other wonderful “Daddy” book, Daddies Do It Different. Both books are illustrated by the talented Abby Carter. 

Contest participants must submit a photo of what bedtime reading looks like in their home. You can enter to win a library of books from the Disney Book Group or a copy of one of Alan’s books.  Click Here To Enter. Good luck!


0 Comments on Check Out Alan Sitomer’s Photo Contest! as of 5/9/2014 10:22:00 PM
Add a Comment
11. Arthur and the Elephant

22044497

Title: Arthur and the Elephant

Author: Fiona Campbell

Illustrator: Laura Vann

Publisher/Year: Purple Poodle Press/2014

I am a big fan of elephant stories. Elephants are amazing creatures. With their huge size, large ears, long trunks, and wrinkly skin, it’s no wonder that kids are fascinated by them. So it just makes sense that kids would like stories about elephants too. And I know they will love Arthur and the Elephant. 

Author Fiona Campbell tells us the amusing story of a boy named Arthur who discovers an elephant sitting on his bed. His mother has rented out his room. She doesn’t know that Mr. Grey is an elephant, but Arthur does. He just needs to prove it. The rest of the story follows Arthur as he tries everything he can think of to expose the elephant beneath the bowler hat and funny glasses. 

I like artist Laura Vann’s large, full-page illustrations. They are both sweet and humorous and pair nicely with the text. I’m especially fond of the background images and textures she’s used to depict the walls in Arthur’s house. Very nice!  

Overall, Arthur and the Elephant is a fun, clever, endearing story with lovely illustrations and a satisfying ending. Share a copy of this book with your kids today!


0 Comments on Arthur and the Elephant as of 5/16/2014 9:24:00 PM
Add a Comment
12. Parodies: The Power of Picture Books

32929  If someday someone writes a parody of your book, then you know that your book has power, staying power. It’s so well-known and so popular, that another author has decided to “borrow” and capitalize on your recognizable style, story, or theme to generate interest in his or her own book. 

There are many, many parodies of beloved and classic children’s books. Most are NOT for children. Often they poke fun at popular culture, mainstream America,  or some social issue that’s dominating the media. Sometimes they’re just for fun. Sometimes they’re a bit risqué. Sometimes they’re a tad offensive. And usually, they are not authorized. 

Pop Quiz: Which of the following are for children?

 

Answer: With the exception of Goodnight Goon, which is a “monstrously” clever picture book crawling with creepy creatures, none of the above are for children.

The 1947 classic, Goodnight Moon, is probably one of the most parodied picture books. Here are a few more “Goodnight” books: Goodnight Putter, Goodnight Keith Moon, and Goodnight Husband Goodnight Wife.

Other popular children’s picture books that have been parodied include Curious George, The Runaway Bunny, The Giving Tree, Pat the Bunny, and Where the Wild Things Are. Here’s just a sampling:

Furious Husband Mummy Tree

Whether you love them or hate them, parodies are proof-Picture Books Have Power!


4 Comments on Parodies: The Power of Picture Books, last added: 5/24/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment
13. Poignantly perfect picture books Part Two – The Stone Lion

The Stone LionWhen picture books have the ability to make your heart beat a little faster, fill your eyes with tears and send your spirits soaring. When they effortlessly harness thoughts and project feelings with poignant clarity; to say they are exceptional seems woefully insufficient. Rare are the picture books that can fit this bill, yet Margaret Wild has little trouble doing so.

The Stone Lion is her newest picture book with Ritva Voutila (mums with school aged kids may recognise her unique art from the dozens of Storylands Early Readers). The austere cover and title leave little Margaret Wilddoubt as to the subject matter but the subtle beauty of the regal, maned lion crouching upon his engraved stone pedestal (you can really feel it), spur the need to know more about him.

Wild cleverly chisels out a tale of unlikely heroes (the stone lion) and unseemly characters (homeless youths, librarians and gargoyles). There is also the subtle persuasion that hope is determined by the passing of time as shown by the illustrations of swirling leaves, fleeing birds and umbrellas adrift.The Stone Lion umbrella illo

The magnificent stone lion statue stationed outside the library dreams of a life more animated if only so he can ‘pounce and prowl and leap’. But one fateful snowy night, he is forced to re-evaluate his own desires when a baby is abandoned at his paws.

Ritva Voutilda’s beautiful, muted pastel illustrations mirror both the stone lion’s cold forlorn heart and the kernel of hope that Ritva Voutilabeats within us all. Miracles are easy to believe when they result in great change as The Stone Lion so ably demonstrates.

Using unadorned yet intensely sensitive language, Wild makes us feel something real for something which is unable to feel yet wants to in an incredible allegory about wanting more, accepting less and understanding the power of benevolence.

This is not a picture book brimming with rainbows and lollypops, and sunshine and happiness. But it does sing with a clear purity of heart that kindness is indeed its own reward. The Stone Lion is a picture book older readers will enjoy for its touching and profound celebration of humility.The Stone Lion library

It is truly exceptional.

Little Hare Books a Hardie Grant Egmont imprint April 2014

Add a Comment
14. Aussie Appeal – Picture Book Reviews

Worrisome wombats, bouncing bilbies and even talking gumnuts may not be your de rigueur when it comes to picture book characters. Yet their antics make up a substantial percentage of picture book storylines and provide vital introductions and links between Aussie kids and our rich, endemic Australian flora and fauna.

Look around and you’ll find dozens of titles touching on everything from spoonbills to fruit bats, puggles to possums and jacanas to joeys. Many are by authors you know and trust offering true works of art worthy of coveting and collecting. Here is a tiny selection of some of the more recent releases.

One Woolley Wombat ReadersPerennial author illustrator, Kerry Argent, has a tatty new First Reader series out now tailored for pre-schoolers. Small colour-popping paperbacks perfect for little hands and new readers feature old mate, Woolly Wombat, his bestie, Bandicoot and a swag of other Aussie birds and beasts in easy-to-read adventures. Beautiful introductions to counting, colour, rhythm and language conventions. Scholastic Australia March 2014

The Bush Book ClubBook club nuts along with reluctant readers will adore Margaret Wild’s and Ben Wood’s The Bush Book Club. It has a little bit of brilliance on each page; rhyme, comedy, cuteness, colour and galahs! Bilby sorely needs to slow down and smell the ink but he is too busy and bouncy to read let alone actually enjoy a book until one fateful night he discovers what it’s like for his head to be ‘full of words and stories’. A marvellous look at what it takes to appreciate the wonderment of stories and a must in the classroom and home. Modestly adorable. Omnibus Books March 2014

Possum's Big SurpriseRhyming picture books are not always easy to digest (when produced badly), but done well they glide across our palates as smoothly as birthday cake frosting. So it comes as little surprise that Possum’s Big Surprise by celebrated duo, Colin Buchanan and Nina Rycroft, is a feast for 4 + year-olds and above. Fun, frisky, teasing verse coupled with super-rich, eye-pleasing water-colour illustrations, an Aussie bush backdrop and a perky possum named Flossy, give kids plenty of reasons to keep page turning. Scholastic Australia May 2014

Karana EmuSlightly more serious but quietly impressionable is Karana: the Story of the Father Emu, by Brisbane and Wakka Wakka leader, Uncle Joe Kirk and Sandi Harrold. In spite of the unwieldy title, this cyclical story is written in simple rhyming verse which unfolds easily leaving the reader fulfilled, enlightened and emphatic towards father Emu as he assumes the role of parent, nurturer, and chief educator for his chicks; just as father figures in many indigenous cultures do. An enjoyable tale to share with children because of its simplicity and heart but it was the emus’ eyes that clenched it for me; cute and clever! Scholastic Australia May 2014

 A Feast for Wombat features another Aboriginal author, Sally Morgan and first time picture book illustrator, Tania Ezinger.

A feast for WombatWombat is your typical underground slumber-champion with a strong predilection for his burrow. He rarely surfaces. When he does he encounters the goodtime antics of his friends, Goanna, Magpie and Dingo but is slow to join them in play until their persistence and kind-hearted surprise re-instates how much they value Wombat’s friendship.

Sounds a little trite and ordinary I know, however Morgan attempts to balance Wombat’s self-depreciating, woe-be-gone attitude with a questioning optimism that he displays by complimenting his friends’ various talents and by trying to replicate them albeit with little success.

I was pleased Wombat’s self-doubt is finally conquered and replaced with a greater sense of self-worth however felt a little muddled by the oscillating attitudes of Wombat’s friends towards him; sometimes generous and grateful, sometimes hurtfully frank. Four year-olds are unlikely to dwell on this (it is after all how true friends can be) gaining immense pleasure instead from Erzinger’s spirited acrylic based artwork. Keep an eye out for the hapless little spinifex mouse on each page too. Gorgeous! Omnibus Books April 2014

Snugglepot and Cuddlepie's Underwater AdventureWhether these titles stand up alongside such favourites as May Gibbs’ Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, Narelle Oliver’s Don’t Let a Spoonbill in the Kitchen! and Fox and Fine Feathers, Yvonne Morrison’s The Emu that Laid the Golden Egg or Jackie French’s Diary of a Wombat to name a few, time will tell. But like the tiniest creature in the Aussie bush, there is bound to be a spot for them in your heart and on your book shelves.

 

Add a Comment
15. Aviator Owl Books: Enlightening Children, Raising Awareness, Supporting Great Causes

Today’s interview is with a young entrepreneur and college student who has become a huge inspiration to me. S.A. Porcher is one of the creative minds behind Aviator Owl Books Inc., a company devoted to sparking imagination in children while also raising awareness of and contributing to charitable causes. S.A. Porcher and her partner, Chris Bill, have pledged to donate a portion of the proceeds of the sales of their picture books, eBooks, and other products to causes such as First Book and The Make-A-Wish Foundation. They are also dedicated to creating quality books for children that entertain and educate. I’m excited about Aviator Owl Books. I’m convinced it’s a rising star and I’m happy to share its story with you. Read on to learn more about S.A. Porcher and AO Books.

Q. Can you tell me a bit about yourself and what inspired you to start Aviator Owl Books? 

S.P. Sure! I’m 24 years old, I love being outside and I love to learn new things. I was raised on a steady diet of imagination, curiosity and science, which is probably why it is rare for me to find a subject that I don’t enjoy (and also why I was always into trouble as a child – sorry Mom). I have always had ideas for stories randomly bubbling up in my head, but it wasn’t until college that I started to act on them. The original designs for Aviator Owl were born the summer before I left for Purdue University, and I never thought it would go further than digital images that I sold on a site called Zazzle. The five owls were created specifically to be sold on that site, and I had never really considered it more than a fun summer project. 

Meet the five owls.

Only later was it recommended to me that I write a children’s book, and The Aviator Owls Learn Their ABCs was born in the fall of 2010. At the same time I was working on a side project called Write for the Cause – which was (then) completely separate from Aviator Owl. The first book was My Dragon Humphrey, which I wrote specifically with HALO Animal Rescue in mind. I got pretty serious about Write for the Cause, and had all but given up on Aviator Owl to focus on it. 

As luck would have it, I met Chris Bill in the fall of 2012, and after a lot of discussing and planning, we officially went into business together in October 2013. He loved the idea of writing books to promote causes, and with his background in Computer Graphics Technology, we Frankensteined all of our talents into one entity that we could both get behind. We decided to merge the Aviator Owl characters with the idea of writing books for causes. Through research we discovered that children today enjoy books in print and online, which ties into Chris’s background of CGT quite nicely. We also found that kids hate learning unless it’s done in a way where they have fun. Put simply: they like games. All of these put together and we came up with Aviator Owl Books Inc. So your question “What inspired me to start AO Books?” is tricky to answer. I wanted to help children learn, but both Chris and I also wanted to do something we love. I think what we came up with fits both.

Q. What is the goal or mission of Aviator Owl Books? 

S.P. AO Books seeks to inspire and educate children through print books, eBooks, online games, and apps. (Or at least that is what we are hoping for in the future. Right now we only have print books and eBooks.) We want to help cultivate children’s imaginations, and also raise awareness of important causes. Right now we support HALO Animal Rescue, First Book, and the Make-A-Wish America, but we hope to show our support for many more in the future.

Q. Who writes, illustrates, and publishes the books you sell? 

S.P. I do. I was born to make up stories, and I’ve been writing them down since I knew how. (Although when I was younger I also included illustrations that make no sense to anyone anymore.) I fell in love with drawing when I was in high school and taught myself Adobe Illustrator the summer before college. I love having the ability to come up with a story, write it, and illustrate it on my own because it gives me a freedom that I know a lot of other writers and illustrators are forced to give up. That being said, I do have story ideas that demand a certain type of illustrative style, and I’m not talented enough to fulfill exactly what I want. I am trying to teach myself, and I practice almost every day, but if the time comes to begin serious work on those stories and I don’t feel prepared to complete adequate illustrations, then I have no problem hiring a freelancer to help us out. 

S.A. Porcher's drawing process.

S.A. Porcher’s drawing process.

As for the publisher: AO Books goes through Amazon’s CreateSpace. We purchase our own ISBNs and barcodes and put them on the covers and then upload all of our files onto our CreateSpace platform. Eventually we would love to publish our own books in-house, but that’s something that we’ll have to address as we grow.

Q. How do you decide what charities to contribute to? 

S.P. All three of the charities we support now have come to us differently. We did research to find an organization that made sense for our ABC book, and First Book was a perfect fit. HALO Animal Rescue was chosen because Ellen DeGeneres mentions it on her show occasionally, and she’s a huge inspiration to me. The most recent charity we chose was the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and we chose that to go along with the book called The Boy Who Played With Stars (which was just launched). I came up with the idea for that book in a (dreadfully boring) English course. I was doodling stars and thinking that everyone should be able to do what they want to do in life, even if it seems crazy. A boy who literally goes into the sky to play with the stars is a bit far-fetched, but the idiom is very common. Shoot for the stars, and dream big. Chris and I have both known people who participate in Make-A-Wish, so it seemed like a no-brainer for that book. Of course, we also accept suggestions!

Q. What books are currently available and how can they be purchased? 

S.P. All three books can be purchased at Amazon.com.

Links:

The Aviator Owls Learn Their ABCs: http://www.amazon.com/Aviator-Owls-Learn-Their-ABCs/dp/0988636824/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&qid=1401761201&sr=8-13&keywords=s.+a.+porcher

The Boy Who Played With Stars: http://www.amazon.com/The-Boy-Who-Played-Stars/dp/0988636832/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&qid=1401761181&sr=8-10&keywords=s.+a.+porcher

My Dragon Humphrey: http://www.amazon.com/My-Dragon-Humphrey-S-Porcher/dp/0988636808/ref=sr_1_12?ie=UTF8&qid=1401761201&sr=8-12&keywords=s.+a.+porcher

Q. Do you have other items available for purchase as well? 

S.P. We currently offer free printable activities, which we upload to our website two times a week (Mondays and Thursdays). Those can be accessed here: http://blog.aviatorowl.com/activities/all/. 

We also have a very small Zazzle storefront. It used to be much larger but after our trademark was approved, we took everything down and slowly we are uploading new designs with the trademark. There you can purchase clothing, posters, iPhone cases, etc. Eventually we’d love to expand to stuffed animals and educational toys, but for now we’re more focused on the books and expanding those into interactive online pages, even if they are just seasonal. For example, this past Christmas we set up a site where kids could write a letter to Santa.

A Christmas project at AO Books.

Q. As a full-time student, how do you juggle your academic life and the responsibilities involved in running Aviator Owl Books? 

S.P. Very carefully, and sometimes not well! (There are a lot of sleepless nights involved.) My three majors are Industrial Design (aka Product Design), English, and Creative Writing, and my two minors are Entrepreneurship and Psychology. Every day at school I take classes that are directly applicable to AO Books, so that helps keep me motivated to learn new things, which in turn helps keep my grades up. On the flip side, AO Books benefits from what I learn. Of course, there is the occasional class that bores me to death and those are the classes in which you can find me at the very back doodling, drafting, editing, or anything else AO Books needs done. 

I often have people tell me that I’ve “bitten off more than I can chew”, or whatnot, but I think part of keeping everything from spinning into chaos is keeping the right perspective. I keep in mind that I’m very lucky to be in school, which is something some students take for granted. I know a lot of college students are notorious for procrastinating, but my version of procrastinating is working on Aviator Owl because that’s what I love. I love coming home to sketch and think about otherwise impossible things (like a boy who plays in the night sky). I know exactly what I want to do and really college is just teaching me how to do it.

Q. Where can people go to find more information about Aviator Owl Books? 

S.P. Our main website can be found at blog.aviatorowl.com. At http://www.zazzle.com/aviatorowl we have some products (and we upload new designs as we create them). And of course people are free to email me at saporcher050@gmail.com, or the company at aviatorowl@gmail.com!


2 Comments on Aviator Owl Books: Enlightening Children, Raising Awareness, Supporting Great Causes, last added: 6/8/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment
16. Woot Woot! I’m Getting Published!

I want to share good news with all of my Frog on a Blog fans. I’ve signed with the awesome Ripple Grove Press to publish my first picture book! It’s called The Peddler’s Bed and it’s due out in the spring of 2015. 

I actually signed the contract back last October, but I wanted to wait until we got a little closer to publication before making my announcement. 

I am eager to see a few sketches from the incredibly talented Bong Redila, the illustrator who will be working on The Peddler’s Bed. Hopefully that will happen soon, but in the meantime, I’m trying very hard to focus on writing and revising new stories. I love writing picture book stories, and I knew from an early age that I wanted to be a writer. (I’ll share more about that in an upcoming post.) I think I forgot about it for a while, up until about 9 years ago. That’s when I took a “Writing Stories for Children” class and started getting words down on paper. Then, I put my writing on hold again in 2009 in order to go back to school and get my degree in Library and Information Services. Happily, I finished my education this past winter and am now diving head first into writing children’s picture books. 

To prove to myself that I am a real writer, and with my wonderful husband’s support, we went shopping for a new desk. I got a chair too! We rearranged some furniture. My husband put the desk together (Did I mention how wonderful he is?). I assembled the chair (Yay, me!). And the result: I now have my own little office space. 

It may be small, but it’s all mine! Well, I do have to share it with my assistant.

He keeps a close eye on me to make sure I’m working hard. If he thinks I need a break, he’ll often go for a walk with me. He’s really helpful.

I get ideas and inspiration from our walks, but also from my book collection. Here are some of my picture books…

…and my pop-up books (upper shelf)…

…and my writing books.

Thank you for taking this tour with me and for being a fan of Frog on a Blog. If you haven’t already, please consider entering your e-mail in the box to the right to become an official follower. And be on the look out for The Peddler’s Bed next spring! Woot Woot!!!


7 Comments on Woot Woot! I’m Getting Published!, last added: 6/15/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment
17. The Change Your Name Store

18210842

Title: The Change Your Name Store

Author: Leanne Shirtliffe

Illustrator: Tina Kugler

Publisher/Year: Sky Pony Press/2014

Summary: Wilma Lee Wu doesn’t like her name anymore, so she decides to try on some new names at the Change Your Name Store and is transported all over the world to new cultures.

The Change Your Name Store is a fantastic first introduction to new cultures for the youngest armchair travelers. It’s super fun to read aloud, which is good because you may be reading it over and over again. Its rhyming text not only rolls off the tongue, but also presents some rather unusual names  from around the world that kids will find fascinating. 

The energetic illustrations perfectly depict a precocious little girl, Wilma Lee Wu, as she imagines herself with a new name and experiences life in new cultures. I especially like how her dog accompanies her to all the new places and even becomes a poodle when they arrive in Paris. I also like the wraparound cover with the beautifully detailed buildings. There’s a library on the back!

I can relate a bit to Wilma. When I was growing up, I didn’t like my name either. I even approached my mother once about changing it to Lorraine or Lorena (I know, they’re not that much different from my name, silly me.). It was, of course, a phase I was going through, and it didn’t take long for me to appreciate and embrace my name, just as Wilma does.


4 Comments on The Change Your Name Store, last added: 6/20/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment
18. When You Are Blue (A Squishy Blueberry Tale)

 


Sharing information about great causes is something I love to do here on Frog on a Blog, particularly if the cause is related to picture books and helping children. So, I am thrilled to introduce Squishy Blueberry, a charming character created by author and illustrator Amanda I. Greene, who is also the founder of D’inkling Publishing. Amanda’s goal, through her Squishy Blueberry book series, is to encourage children to look within in order to discover a wealth of confidence, self-awareness, and emotional intelligence, qualities that we all possess but might need a bit of help bringing to the surface.

Amanda’s first book, Reflections of a Blueberry, is already available and is beaming with beautiful, whimsical, brightly colored illustrations and lyrical, rhyming text. To bring her second book to life, When You Are Blue, Amanda is seeking our help through a PUBSLUSH campaign. Please click on the cover image above to learn more about Amanda’s worthwhile project. You can watch a video, read about Amanda’s vision, make a contribution (and earn some great perks), or simply spread the word. You can also go to the Squishy Blueberry site: http://www.squishyblueberry.com/ for more information and oodles of “squishy blueberry” fun. 

I think a little bit of Amanda herself can be found in the character of Squishy Blueberry who follows his heart and his dreams, notable endeavors indeed. Good luck, Amanda!

{Image from the When You Are Blue PUBSLUSH campaign page}

 


0 Comments on When You Are Blue (A Squishy Blueberry Tale) as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
19. #507 – Busy Bunny Days: In the Town, on the Farm, and at the Port by Britta Teckentrup

busy bunny days.

Busy Bunny Days: In the Town, On the Farm & At the Port

by Britta Teckentrup

Chronicle Books*    2/25/2014

978-1-4521-1700-3

Age 4 – 8        56 pages

.

Back Cover

“What is the Bunny Family doing today? Join the bunny family for a busy day in their hometown, on a fun-filled farm adventure, and at the port for an exciting outing! From the time they wake up until the time they go to sleep, there is so much to see and do. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for that pesky Benny Badger—he is always up to no good!”

Opening

“IN THE TOWN . . . Join the Bunny family for a busy day in their hometown, surrounded by friends and neighbors!”

The Story

The Bunny family—Baxter, Bethany, Mom, Dad (doctor) and Grandma Bunny—are spending the day in their hometown. There is so much to see, many other bunnies to visit, and others to greet, “Hi!” Everyone rises for the new day, dressing, eating, and opening his or her shiny, wide eyes. Outside the street is very busy. Harold Hippo is walking his pooch, Gary Gator is jogging, and—Oh, No!—Barbara Bear slips on a banana peel. 9 AM and school is ready to begin. Bethany enters kindergarten after her dad walked her to school. Baxter is on the playground with his friend Vincent, a tiger. At home, mom is feeding the two cats and grandma is knitting. Such a busy start to the day.

At 12 noon, it starts to rain. Benny Badger is leaving the bakery. What is he up to now? Grandma is on her way home with two sacks of groceries. Bethany is in a line with her classmates and Baxter is still in class. Uh, oh, a cat is on the table. Where is mom to scold the cat? 3 PM is snack time. Grandma Bunny is bringing Bethany a drink—the cat is on the floor. Baxter is learning math with his teacher, Mrs. Katz. Barbara Bear is walking down the street, aided by a crutch for her broken and casted leg. Benny Badger is a pickpocket! He is stealing Bernhard Builder’s wallet right out of his back pocket. 9 PM is time for everyone to sleep. The day was interesting. The fire department put out a fire in the apartment above the Bunny’s apartment four hours ago. Benny Badger broke into someone’s car and into the bakery. Now, at nine at night, Bethany and Baxter are asleep. The town gets quiet and the police arrest Benny Badger. Tomorrow the Bunny Family will go to the farm and the day after to the port. But wtch out! Benny Badger will be there too.

Review

Busy Bunny Days: In the Town, on the Farm, and at the Port will keep kids busy. Originally three books, each book divided by hour segments. 6 AM starts the day, which continues at spaced intervals until bedtime and the end of the day at 9 PM. The spreads are busy with loads of activity by many anthropomorphic creatures. Before each story begins, a page of the story’s characters, illustrated and named, make finding them much easier. I found myself referring to this page many times. At the top of each spread are questions for the reader.

“Who is awake?” /  “What is Mrs. Bunny doing?” /  “Has Squawk made a friend?”

town

 Benny Badger is the bad badger in every story and it is always a good idea to keep track of what this scoundrel is doing. Busy Bunny Days: In the Town represents a normal day for the Bunny Family. Bethany and Baxter go to school, Dr. Bunny goes to work, and Mrs. Bunny and Grandma Bunny do all sorts of things. The creatures around the town are actually more fascinating than the Bunny Family.

Busy Bunny Days: On the Farm, the Bunny Family is visiting friends, the Gardiners, who own a farm. Interestingly, in addition to the anthropomorphic animals, there are regular animals: cows, chickens, horses, pigs, dogs.  Once again, Benny Badger is around to create havoc. The farm slower paced looks more like a tourist attraction than a working farm.

port

Busy Bunny Days: at the Port, is the third book in this three-book compilation, all originally published in Germany in 2011 and 2012. The port is a very busy place, and Benny Badger is there to cause trouble. I think he follows the Bunny Family, just as we are doing. Docked at the port are several ships, including a pirate ship and the Poseidon, still afloat and unloading its cargo containers. Baxter is sporting an eye patch and wielding a dagger. At the Port is the best of the three books.

The illustrations are bright, cheery, and simply fun. Each spread holds more than the eye can comprehend in one look. Kids will have so much to look for and follow throughout the day. There are more to follow from spread to spread than just the Bunny Family. Barbara Bear slips on a banana peel, breaks her leg, and returns on a crutch. Harold Hippo cannot keep a hold of his dog’s leash, the dog runs, and finds its way to the school where Baxter pets the happy mutt.  On the farm, Late at night—seven o’clock—everyone dances.

farm

If your child likes to find things in the illustrations, then Busy Bunny Days will keep them busy for a long time. Without an actual text, kids can make up stories for their favorite character. Parents can read the questions at the top of each spread, helping their child with the answers. After that, kids can master Busy Bunny Days on their own, changing the story as they please. Busy Bunny Days: In the Town, on the Farm, and at the Port will entertain your child while growing their imagination as they story each character in their own way, finding and following the Bunny Family and their friends and neighbors—and Benny Badger, too!

.

Learn more about Busy Bunny Days: In the Town, on the Farm, and at the Port HERE.

Buy Busy Bunny Days: In the Town, on the Farm, and at the Port at AmazonB&NChronicle Booksat your local bookstore.

.

Find the author/illustrator, Britta Teckentrup at:     website      unitedartists    nosy crow  

Find more great books at Chronicle Books  at:  website     blog**     facebook     twitter

 **HAVE A GREAT IDEA FOR A FUNNY BOOK? NOW IS THE TIME: THE GREAT TUMBLR BOOK SEARCH SEE BLOG POST ABOVE

.

BUSY BUNNY DAYS: IN THE TOWN, ON THE FAR, AT THE PORT. Text and illustrations copyright © 20111, 2012 by Britta Teckentrup. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA.

 .

*Originally published in Germany in 2011 and 2012 by Veriagshaus Jacoby & Stuart GmbH, Berlin, Germany. *Original titles: Das 24-Stunden-Wimmelbuch: In der Stadt ist was los!, Das 24-Stunden-Wimmelbuch: Auf dem Bauernhof ist!, Das 24-Stunden-Wimmelbuch: Am Hafen ist was los! *Translated by Chronicle Books, 2014.

.

.

busy buny days


Filed under: 5stars, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book Tagged: Britta Teckentrup, bunnies, children's book reviews, children's picture books, Chronicle Books, farm, neighborhood, pot

Add a Comment
20. Incredible Covers: Nest by Jorey Hurley

Bow WOW! That's an INCREDIBLE COVER!

Bow WOW! That’s an INCREDIBLE COVER!

[Brand New Feature: Incredible Covers] We’ve all heard the old adage “don’t judge a book by its cover”, and that’s good advice, but there’s no denying that it is often the cover that grabs our attention first. That’s why it’s important to have a great cover and nowhere in the publishing industry is this more true than in the realm of picture books. The cover represents the book and it needs to say, “Hey, look at me.” The cover makes a promise to the reader: Inside you will find something magical.

So, what is it about a cover that grabs your attention? Is it the illustration? Is it the use of color? Is it the overall design? Maybe it’s all of those elements and more.

I’m not an illustrator, but I know what I like, and I’ll do my best to explain why I feel a cover is worthy of being featured in the Incredible Covers spotlight. Feel free to leave a comment telling me why you think this cover is incredible.


0 Comments on Incredible Covers: Nest by Jorey Hurley as of 3/8/2014 7:10:00 PM
Add a Comment
21. Friendly Day

Title: Friendly Day

Author: Mij Kelly

Illustrator: Charles Fuge

Publisher/Year: Barron’s/2013

Love it! That was my first thought after reading Friendly Day, a colorful, rhyming picture book that will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I really like books that are happy and make me smile. Friendly Day is all about friendliness…and kindness. I’ve discovered that kindness is a theme I often incorporate into my own writing. I believe children can never read enough books about treating others with kindness, respect, and, of course, friendliness. Still, as all the experts say, you don’t want to preach in a picture book, you want to teach kids in a way that doesn’t feel like teaching, but rather entertains. And Friendly Day does just that with its joyous, frolicking rhyme that rolls off the tongue, and bold, bright, super-fun illustrations of animals interacting with one another. I’ve just got to share the wonderful opening verse:

When Cat caught Mouse, outside his house,

courageous Mouse cried, “Hey!

Put down that plate and see the date.

It’s Friendly Day today

-a day for sharing, a day for caring,

when everyone is nice,

when Frog reads Snail a fairy tale

and cats do NOT eat mice.”

 

This book makes me wish there really was a Friendly Day!

But maybe every day can be Friendly Day…that’s even better. :)


0 Comments on Friendly Day as of 3/14/2014 7:53:00 PM
Add a Comment
22. Here Comes the Easter Cat

Here Comes the Easter Cat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Title: Here Comes the Easter Cat

Author: Deborah Underwood

Illustrator: Claudia Rueda

Publisher/Year: Dial Books/2014

Summary: When Cat tries to replace the Easter Bunny, he soon learns that the job is much harder than he expected-and does not allow time for naps.

 

I am getting my review of Here Comes the Easter Cat in just in time, since Easter is right around the corner. If you’re looking for an Easter picture book that’s clever, unique, and elicits smiles with every new page, then this is the book for you.

Author Deborah Underwood manages, in her delightful story, to create an interactivity between the reader and the starring character Cat, all without buttons to push, or moving parts, or batteries. Of course, all books should trigger this kind of connection for the reader, but Deborah takes this concept one step further.

Cat and Reader speak directly to one another. The first line reads, “What’s wrong, Cat? You look grumpy.” In response, Cat holds up a picture of the Easter Bunny. Then the reader says, “The Easter Bunny? What about him?” Then Cat holds up a picture of hearts and makes an “I don’t get why everyone loves him so much” kind of face. So we get a back and forth between Cat and Reader, a conversation really. The best parts are the expressions on Cat’s face, a new one on every page. Illustrator Claudia Rueda does an excellent job portraying Cat’s thoughts, emotions, and moods through his expressions. Kids will love it!

The book is also unusual in that the cover is smaller than the typical picture book and there are more pages than in the typical 32-page picture book. Here Comes the Easter Cat would make a great gift for a child.  It would fit perfectly into an Easter basket. Aha!

 


0 Comments on Here Comes the Easter Cat as of 3/31/2014 9:49:00 PM
Add a Comment
23. Incredible Covers: Peek-A-Boo Bunny by Holly Surplice

Bow WOW! That's an INCREDIBLE COVER!

Bow WOW! That’s an INCREDIBLE COVER!

We’ve all heard the old adage “don’t judge a book by its cover”, and that’s good advice, but there’s no denying that it is often the cover that grabs our attention first. That’s why it’s important to have a great cover and nowhere in the publishing industry is this more true than in the realm of picture books. The cover represents the book and it needs to say, “Hey, look at me.” The cover makes a promise to the reader: Inside you will find something magical.

 

 

Peek a Boo Bunny


0 Comments on Incredible Covers: Peek-A-Boo Bunny by Holly Surplice as of 4/2/2014 11:43:00 PM
Add a Comment
24. Here Comes Peter Cottontail – Easter Reviews

Is your freezer full of hot cross buns? Are you feeling bilious after over-eroding the stash of chocolate eggs you’ve had hidden for weeks from the kids? If so, you may already be over Easter. But wait. There’s more! While you won’t find a great deal of religious meaning in the following titles, they do bubble and burst with frivolity and interactive verve, perfect for sharing with your family, which for me, ticks at least one of my Easter boxes.

Easter Egg expressFirst egg out of the basket – Easter Egg Express by Susannah McFarlane and Caroline Keys, is part of the cute and clever Little Mates A-Z series. Unashamedly Australian, abundant with alliteration and more colour than you’d find in a rainbow, Little Mates rarely fail to deliver. Fortunately, thanks to the help of their bush mates, Easter bilbies Ellie and Eric deliver as well, just in time for an Easter extravaganza. Easter Egg Express epitomises Easter eggactly; egg hunts, egg painting, egg eating and eggceptionally tasty hot cross buns. Eggcellent! (Sorry for the lame yolks)

10 Hopping bunnies10 Hopping Bunnies by winning team, Ed Allen and Simon Williams, serves up more frantic fun for 3 year olds. As with other titles in the series, including 10 Smiley Crocs, this is a zany rendition of the popular ditty, Ten Green Bottles. Counting to ten has never been so energetic and hilarious. William’s illustrations race, hop, bound, swing and bounce across the pages in a riotous countdown that is never boring but plenty bonkers. There’s a touch of Graeme Base on every page too, as readers are encouraged to spot hidden numbers. Practical, merry good fun.

There was an old Bloke who Swallowed a BunnyHow about another well-known tune, now that your vocal chords are all limbered up? There was an Old Bloke who Swallowed a Bunny! by series duo P Crumble and Louis Shea, will keep you singing. It seems incredible that, that old bloke and lady are able to look at another morsel after stuffing themselves silly with stars, thongs, chooks, mozzies and spiders. But these non-sensical characters in this nonsense nursery rhyme appear to have plenty of life and room in them yet.

Our old bloke finds himself famished whilst on the farm. The usual gastronomic gobbling ensues until ‘kapow!’ farmyard calm is restored. Again, it’s the in-your-face, brighter than day illustrations that steal the show. Simultaneous bonsai stories blossom on every page guaranteeing repeated readings and plenty of contemplative pausing and pointing out. But that’s okay because ‘Crikey!’ it’s funny.

We're going on an Egg HuntFinally, because Easter is slightly prone to exploitation, We’re Going on an Egg Hunt by Laine Mitchell and Louis Shea, is included in this fun and frivolous round-up for pre-schoolers. You’ll recognise the rhyme from the title and appreciate the vibrant illustrations accompanying the playful text as you sing along with the kids.

The look on our big-eyed, baby animal friends’ faces as they finally end their hunt in a choc-egg induced stupor is priceless; one we are all familiar with I’m sure. High energy plus high interactive potential = very morish. (There’s even a CD by Jay Laga’aia)

Bounce over here for more great Easter titles for young and old.

Scholastic Australia March 2014

 

 

Add a Comment
25. Pelican Bill – A Sickeningly Good Yarn!

Kids love stories about pirates. Kids also love to laugh. What’s funnier than a pirate who gets seasick? Wouldn’t your child want to read a story like that? That is exactly what children’s author Fran Sivers and illustrator Leilani Coughlan have created in their book Pelican Bill. But they need our help. They’ve begun a KickStarter campaign in order to raise the necessary funds they need to bring Pelican Bill and his pirate crew to life in a children’s picture book. Please go to their KickStarter page, https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1163027881/pelican-bill-a-sickeningly-good-yarn, watch the short video clip, read about the project (you can even read the entire rollicking, rhyming, jolly good story), and consider supporting their campaign. If you cannot help financially, at least spread the word about this really great cause. I’m sure Fran and Leilani will appreciate any assistance you can give.


0 Comments on Pelican Bill – A Sickeningly Good Yarn! as of 4/24/2014 10:45:00 PM
Add a Comment

View Next 25 Posts