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by Toni Buzzeo and illustrated by Margaret Spengler
Four ducklings, Mama, and a perfect summer day playing Hide-And-Seek-what could be more perfect for a summer read! Toni Buzzeo has captured the exuberant spirit of the sheer joy of play for its own sake in this summer read for your youngest where bright blues, oranges and yellows bring beach days winningly alive. Duckling cavort forming sand castles and cementing a series of new friendships that provide perfect “hide behinds” in this duckling game of Hide-And-Seek with Mama. A turtle, frog and fish join in the fun providing camouflage as Mama quacks, “Ready or not, here I come.” The repetitive cadence of the story is sure to appeal to young readers and the pictures of the banana yellow ducks with bands of blue, red, green and orange ribbon surrounding their hats are adorable atop these orange-billed cuties. Dawdle is the duck determined to elude Mama. Will Dawdle be the duck that gets to say with unrestrained glee,
“Ollie, Ollie, in free!”
Dawdle Duckling calls.
“You didn’t find me!
Ready Or Not, Dawdle Duckling is waiting to be discovered by you and your child as the perfect intro to the game of Hide-And-Seek and the need for friendship and cooperation.
Do you have grandmother memories that you treasure? I have so many, and luckily for me, as I launch my new picture book, My Bibi Always Remembers, about a grandmother elephant and her little grandbaby, I have a reason to revisit them all!
I'm posting this for a friend, Toni Buzzeo, who is a children's author living in the rural Maine town of Buxton. Each year, Buxton Toy Box registers financially challenged families and children in these families receive Christmas gifts through the program. Toni is the book fairy who ensures that all of these children (birth through 18) receive books! Toni is looking for author copies of any of your books or audiobooks you might want to donate. She will gladly reimburse your postage! (No ARCS, please.)
I spent the weekend at the awesome New England SCBWI conference. Mostly fielding reactions like, “You drove ALL the way from OHIO? Don’t they have conferences in Ohio?” (Typical East Coast attitude.) It was rather rash. You see, eleven hours in the car didn’t sound so bad three months ago, at registration time. It looked kind of misty and romantic, like a far-away, blurry photograph of yourself. I thought, “Road trip! I’ll be driving through the Berkshires in May; how lovely!” And it IS lovely. But still a long way. Even with the Rent soundtrack blasting through the speakers. I ran into Paula Kay McLaughlin at the luncheon buffet. She lives in Connecticut, but I first met her at the Central Ohio SCBWI conference, where she was busy explaining why she’d driven all the way from Connecticut to Ohio for a conference. “Don’t they have conferences in Connecticut?” This is Kindling Words East territory, so of course I saw lot of my writing buds from there, including Kathleen Blasi, Sibby Falk, and Toni Buzzeo. Some of us still smell like woodsmoke. Kathleen and Sibby and I celebrated by getting lost in the twisting roads surrounding the Fitchburg Courtyard by Marriott. As Sibby said, “Lock the doors! I think I hear the banjos starting up.” Here are Carolyn Scoppettone, Libby, and Kathleen in happier times.
I finally met online friends Jo Knowles and Stacy DeKeyser in person—yay! They were both on faculty for the conference. Made lots of new friends at dinner Friday night
and rubbed shoulders with Cindy Lord at dinner Saturday night. Maybe some of her Newbury-worthiness will rub off on me.
Lest you think I spent my entire time eating, Cynthia Leitich-Smith’s keynote was incredible. That girl has the Native-American equivalent of chutzpah. She told the story of her journey into print. She was living in Chicago and working as a lawyer when an epiphany hit—she wanted to be a children’s writer. At this point she had absolutely nothing on the page. So she and her husband both quit their jobs and moved to Austin. Two years later, Cynthia published her first book. Cynthia and I put our heads together after her interview on Sunday. Actually, I was hoping some of her chutzpah would rub off on me.
November has been dubbed Picture Book month. You can find out more, read about the importance of the picture book at this blog. Or you can take a look at the Picture Book Proclamation here.
I'll be using my Book Review Wednesday space this month to celebrate the picture book! If you missed last week, Sleds and Balloons, take a look.
This week, let's dive into the Holiday season with one Christmas and one Chanukah book. In order to be well-sold, a picture book should face out on a bookstore shelf. Space is short these days though, and holiday themed books have an even harder time competing because they have a very short shelf life in the bookstore.
Toni Buzzeo, a Maine youth services librarian, school presentation expert, and author, has had a long line of successful picture books. These include: Sea Chest, the Dawdle Duckling series, and a number of books that are set in libraries. I got a sneak peek at her January 2012 release One Cool Friend, when I went to a workshop presented by the amazing David Small (her illustrator for the story), but more about that later. Today, I want to tell you about her current release, Lighthouse Christmas.
From Toni’s website: Frances is determined to make Christmas jolly for her younger brother, even if it means joining family on the mainland and leaving Papa behind on their isolated lighthouse island. After all, would Santa even know how to find them in this faraway spot? But when Christmas Eve is ushered in on a wild storm and Papa risks his life to rescue a drowning man, the children realize that the most important thing about the holiday is being together.
As in all great Christmas stories, a happy ending is in store, and Santa finds them after all. Cozy and nostalgic, this story was inspired by the Flying Santa program, a New England tradition since 1929. It’s the perfect book for a family to read together in front of the fire on Christmas morning.
School Library Journal gives it a starred review: “There’s a charmingly nostalgic feel both to the story and to the illustrations, which convey a sense of time and place and are very appealing. An author’s note gives a brief history of the Flying Santa Service, which was created in 1929 and continues to this day delivering treats to Coast Guard families. A lovely tradition and a lovely book.” –Mara Alpert, Los Angeles Public Library
Educators should take note that in addition to the back-matter regarding the Flying Santa Service, Toni also has a curriculum guide and a reader’s theater script for seven parts on her website. Take a look!
Erica Silverman gave us Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa, as well as Liberty’s Voice: the story of Emma Lazarus. Her recent release, Hanukkah Hop, illustrated by Steven D’Amico, is bopping, rhyming book that invites readers to a Hanukkah party.
The illustration are bold, bright and graphic and remind me of jazz posters from the 1950’s. This style fits the story to a tee. The book takes the reader from party preparation, to when the guests arrive, to games, and to a quick review of the Hanukkah miracle. Ther
Enter to win an autographed copy of Stay Close to Mama by Toni Buzzeo.
Preschoolers will relate to Twiga’s desire for independence in this gorgeously illustrated picture book about baby giraffe that is oh so curious. This story of a mother’s love will soothe and delight readers of all ages.
Giveaway begins May 2, 2012, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends May 30, 2012, at 11:59 P.M. PST.
Reading level: Ages 1-5
Overview: In the wide, shining world there is so much to see, and Twiga is curious. But Twiga’s tall, tall Mama wants her baby to stay close, stay safe from the dangers that lurk near each irresistible sweet smell and sparkling sight that Twiga finds.
With lyrical text and enchanting illustrations, this story of a mother’s love will soothe and delight readers of all ages.
About the author: Toni Buzzeo is the New York Times Best Selling children’s author of sixteen picture books with three more forthcoming. For sixteen years, she worked as a school librarian in Portland where she honed her knowledge of children’s literature. Combining this knowledge with her love of children, Toni writes about characters of all stripes (including giraffes dinosaurs, loons, ducklings, teachers, and librarians) who explore their worlds, their relationships, and themselves in settings that include peaceful Maine lakes, rocky lighthouse islands, the African savannah as well as aquariums and the interiors of fictional public and school libraries. Toni is well known for her lively spirit and her sense of humor. Visit: http://tonibuzzeo.com/
How to enter:
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Maximum entries: Three (3)
Shipping Guidelines: This book giveaway is open to all participants with a US and Canadian mailing addresses.
Toni Buzzeo, MA, MLIS, is a New York Times bestselling author as well as a career library media specialist. She writes picture books for children as well as many professional books and articles and lives on a colonial farm in Maine. We talked to her about her new picture book Stay Close to Mama(Disney, Hyperion, 2012), her first book The Sea Chest (Dial, 2002), and she happily shared some words of wisdom to inspire young readers.
I understand that you began writing poetry as a teenager before entering the world of children’s literature as a children’s librarian, a book reviewer, and, finally, an author of children’s books. You obviously have a very strong passion for children’s books. What would you say is the driving factor behind your passion?
Children often ask me that question in their own way when I visit schools. I never have to mull over the answer because it is so clear to me. I think children are the most important people in this world, no matter who or where they are. I love children for their freshness, their unique perspectives, their readiness to say exactly what is on their minds, their willingness to be vulnerable in ways adults find so difficult. It’s a cliché, I suppose, but I love them, too, because they are our future. So my books are, in a way, my thank you notes to them.
Are there any particular learning experiences as either a librarian or book reviewer that you feel influence your writing style or the topics you choose to write about?
I don’t think there are many professions that afford you the real depth of knowledge of children’s books that being a children’s librarian does. I learned, by sharing so many books with children, just how subtle you can be in drawing a character (such as Frances in Lighthouse Christmas or Mr. Todd in Adventure Annie Goes to Kindergarten), how silly you can be in playing with language (Annie “squizzles” into her sparkle tights), how profound you can be in talking about loss (like the sinking of the ship off the shore in The Sea Chest), and still depend on your young readers to take the ride with you and to appreciate what you’ve done. I never have to second-guess my readers’ responses because I know just what they will respond to—in my own work and the work of other authors I share with them.
Your new picture book Stay Close to Mama (Disney, Hyperion, 2012) is delightfully sweet. Independence is certainly something that little ones strive for—Twiga, your story’s protagonist most certainly does. What inspired you to tell this particular story? And, how did you manage to keep T
So last week I shared a bit about my experience at ALA. Here is the rest of the dirt. This time no pictures of me (possibly), just fawning over famous-er and hugely (brilliantly) talented people (and therefore this post will get lots of hits).
It was like Wonderland (or WondLa- land, but I didn't get to see Tony DiTerlizzi). A famous face at every turn. Fun to say hi, to have a chance conversation, to meet a hero and be inspired. Here are some inspiring moments and inspiring people ...
The charming, enchanting and legendary Ashley Bryan, signing his book 'Word's to My Life's Song'.
If you haven't read it yet, GO get it.
And then I got to sign my book for Ashley when he dropped by Charlesbridge Booth! A-MAZ-ING.
A hug from Mr. Bryan can keep you warm and inspired a long time, let me tell you.
Here is the wonderful David Small. I love David's work .. his loose and yet controlled line work is so awesome. He's signing 'One Cool Friend' by Toni Buzzeo of MAINE. So I had to get a copy ....
LUUURRRRVVV this drawing he did!!!
4 Comments on What happened at ALA Anaheim 2012 - Part deux, last added: 7/10/2012
The word this week on another illustration blog is "open" According to government statistics, 80% percent of new restaurants fail within the first three years of opening. There is no real reason for this, but it may have to do with menu item choice, overall atmosphere of the restaurant or even choice of name for the establishment. Or maybe the hundreds of rats.
Super busy this week but since this week's Illustration Friday topic is a special one, I really wanted to participate. The Topic is "Open" and all I can think of were can openers (I am not that deep, am I?!) This was alot of fun to do and a good break from my crazy schedule.
Thank you for all the lovely comments for my last post, it means alot to me. Its so easy to just think about deadlines and craziness and forget about the little achievements along the way. Anyways, I hope to make the rounds and check up on what everyone's been up to soon.
*edited* Wow, thank you so much for the great honor to be chosen for the show. I'm thrilled!
I was thrilled when I found out that I was chosen as one of the 25 artists that will be in the first Illustration Friday show at Open in California. Here is my entry. Razorbite, Can O' Peas and I thank you very much for voting for us. Who knew people liked a good pantry fight as much as us?!? Please check out the other chosen artists, they are a talented bunch!
A special thank you to Brianna and Penelope, whose hardwork is amazing to build and support the Illustration Friday community, and organize shows like this. Personally, many great things came to me from this site. You ladies rock.
I'm back from Nashua, where the New England SCBWI conference was a huge success and my four-hour workshop on web design and blogging was well-attended and well-received. The grand finale was a live update of my website to include news about the presentation itself, thanks to a kind volunteer photographer in the audience.
That's my new website design in the background, and see how exhausted I looked by that point? Since I was presenting for both sessions on Sunday, I didn't get to attend the equally well-received workshops going on at the same time:
Toni Buzzeo on self-promotion;
Brian Lies and Lita Judge on illustration;
Sarah Aronson on point of view;
Harold Underdown on an overview of the basics;
Debra Garfinkle on humor writing;
Emily Herman and Anne Sibley O'Brien on writing tools;
Sarah Shumway on pitches; or
The Write Sisters (Janet Buell, Kathy Deady, Muriel Dubois, Diane Mayr, Andrea Murphy, Barbara Turner, and Sally Wilkins) on critique groups and collaboration
In fact, with all of those other workshops going on, I was amazed that anyone wanted to come to mine at all. We really did have a great group of authors and illustrators who peppered me with enough questions to last the entire time--and we probably could have gone for another four hours if I hadn't lost my voice by then. Thanks, everybody!
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My first guest post!! Toni Buzzeo has a wonderful new book at, truly an adorable offering, titled Little Loon and Papa. She wanted to fill you all in on how her book came to be and how perfect it is for a post-Father's Day read with daddy and kids.
In my experience, as a teller of stories from an Italian family, and a writer of stories for children, stories often arise from other stories. This has definitely been true for me.
Let me begin with a family story. Picture this. A three, four, or five year old child is seated in the bathtub in several inches of water. Around her head, just above brow level, is a plastic halo. Ahhh, one imagines, here is a small saint bathing. But no; take another look. The facial expression isn’t that of a saint. Nor is it the expression of a demon (though certainly her parents may have thought so at times).
So why is she donning the plastic halo? And what frightens her so?
You’ll need the story behind that story. The little girl has a terror of water on her face, especially on hair-washing night. I know exactly how she feels, because that little girl is me. Perhaps my parents were heard to say in utter frustration on one of those hair-washing nights, “I hope that you grow up to have a child who behaves just like this!” The wish of my parents was granted; thirty-one years later, the grown daughter fought the same hair-washing fight with her own son, Topher, who was equally terrified of water on his face.
In many families, that might be the end of a story of ‘just deserts.’ But when the story happens in a writer’s family, there is ample fodder for a book! Of course, it’s not always obvious to the author how the events of the past will be reshaped into story.
However, it is thanks in part to the bathtub scenes in that first story that my picture book Little Loon and Papa came into being. When my editor at Dial, Lauri Hornik, asked whether I might have any ideas for a book connected to Father’s Day, I claimed to have not a one, but promised I’d begin to moodle the topic in the back of my mind. Having had great success with the characterization of the sassy and imagination-driven little duckling in my second picture book, Dawdle Duckling, I thought I’d again return to an animal story and began to seek a perfect animal—one whose father was very involved in his upbringing.
Here’s a second family story. From the time my son Topher was 10 months old, we owned a tiny cabin on Rangeley Lake in the western Maine mountains. Like virtually every Maine lake, Rangeley is home to families of loons each year. Greenvale Cove where our little log cabin was perched was no exception. I fell in love with the haunting calls of the loons there as Topher grew up. We’d canoe next to them, silently watch them dive deep and resurface far away, listen to them as we fell to sleep. When I learned through research that loon fathers take a full fifty percent of the care of their babies and that teaching them to dive is an essential early task, I had an idea for that Father’s Day book Lauri wanted.
I did not, however, have a STORY. That’s where the third family story comes into play. Topher was a senior in college but since he’d never had his own car, he’d never had reason to take a car to have its oil changed. In the summer months, I invited him to accompany me to the quick lube shop and get some real-life experience with this mundane task. As we waited for the oil change, I laid out my skeletal loon story idea for him because he’s a fabulous brainstormer. In the oil change shop, we came up with a refinement of the idea. What if Papa Loon were trying to teach Little Loon how to dive but Little Loon, terrified of going under the water, resisted, refused, and finally wandered away? What would happen to that little loon, all alone on the shores of the big lake?
Of course! He’d run into three north woods animals, a bear, a moose, and a beaver (all larger than him and noisier than him but none of them dangerous to him) as he searched for his father. When the beaver fells a tree, it is at the very moment that his frantic father appears and calls to him—on the wrong side of the log! What can he do but gather his courage and dive?
So there it is—the origin of story in story itself--three stories, actually. In every one of my books, the origin lies is personal experience, the germ of an idea that lights a flame, and the personal stories that fuel that fire.