Perfect Picture Book Friday: CHICKEN FRANK DINOSAUR Plus PB Critique

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, dear friends! Today we have a fabulous book that launches in just a couple of days, on October 1st. It’s FUNNY! It’s EDUCATIONAL! It’s ENGAGING! It’s…

Written by S.K. Wenger

Illustrated by Jojo Ensslin

Published by Albert Whitman

Ages: 4-7

Themes: Evolution, STEM, Humor

Synopsis: From Amazon:

Chicken Frank wants to prove he’s related to a T.rex―because of evolution!―but none of the other farm animals believe him, until he gets his DNA test results. This comic-book style picture book combines information with humor to explore the concept of evolution and the connection between birds and dinosaurs.

Make sure you leave a comment to be entered in the fantastic giveaway – a Picture Book Critique AND a Zoom Chat with author S.K. Wenger!!!!

Why I Love This Book:

  1. This book is hilarious!
  2. The illustrations are comic-book style fabulous!
  3. What a cool way to explore the theory of evolution with young children!


Photo courtesy:

This website has several awesome kid-friendly activities that relate to evolution and how things change over time:

And here is another website with more:

Please don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered in the FANTASTIC giveaway from the generous S.K. Wenger…one lucky winner will receive the opportunity to get a PICTURE BOOK CRITIQUE and a Zoom Chat with this talented author!

And make sure you let your favorite authors know how much you appreciate their wonderful books by buying them, reviewing them, telling friends about them, and asking your local library to purchase copies for their collection.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Please come back tomorrow for a rousing Q&A with the incredible Karen Greenwald, author of A VOTE FOR SUSANNA: First Woman Mayor!

Happy Birthday, One-Year Old: WILDLIFE ON PAPER Plus Giveaway

Have you ever heard of this book? Part of me hopes you are saying no…because then you can run right out and request a copy from your local indie bookstore or tell your local library to put it on their shelves. I hadn’t heard of it either. But it’s truly one of the most uniquely beautiful books I’ve ever seen and I am so honored to be singing a Happy One-Year Birthday to WILDLIFE ON PAPER: Animals at Risk Around the Globe by the exceptionally talented artist and illustrator, Kunal Kundu.

Written and illustrated by Kunal Kundu – Published by West Margin Press – Sept 22, 2020

Here is a bit from Amazon:
Introducing the magnificent crumpled paper art by debut author Kunal Kundu, Wildlife on Paper brings to life animal species at risk from all around the world while teaching kids how cool and unique each animal is.

From the Peary caribou in Northwest Canada to the Galapagos Penguin in Ecuador, the Royal Bengal Tiger in India to the Hawksbill Sea Turtle in Australia, this book celebrates the rich diversity of wildlife on almost every continent. Each of the sixteen exquisitely handcrafted paper sculptures come with interesting trivia and facts about where the animal lives and how it survives in its habitat and interacts with nature. Also included is a map of where each creature lives on the globe, plus a list of helpful resources and the author’s favorite nature conservation organizations.

Sure to be a favorite for kids and adults alike, Wildlife on Paper opens the world wide as you marvel at the gorgeous crumpled paper art journey through the ocean, forest, desert, and more to learn about the diversity of animals and their incredible characteristics.

(Please note the artist creates his sculptures sourced from eco-friendly paper companies that plant a tree for every ream of paper sold.)

We are so fortunate because Kunal has shared some of his process with us on the West Margin Press website. Check out this link:

And here’s a short YouTube slide show with music that reveals Kunal’s process.

The book received high praise from major reviewers including this one from School Library Journal:

Gr 1–4—Kundu offers a noteworthy introduction to unusual and often-endangered wildlife. The illustrations, which feature crumpled paper art and digital backgrounds, glow with light and seem more three dimensional than is possible on a page. Sixteen lesser-known animals are described, such as the Sunda pangolin. The animal, native to Southeast Asia, is critically endangered and is considered the most illegally trafficked mammal in the world. Each page spotlights one animal and provides a few compelling facts. The northern white rhinoceros, a distant relative of the horse, whitens its gray body by applying chalky white soil to its skin. The vaquita, with its large black-ringed eyes and curved lips, is often called “the smiling sea panda.” It lives in the Gulf of California and is the rarest marine animal on earth. A map showing the locations of each of the animals and a thorough bibliography are included. Kundu provides a work that is valuable as a picture book and as a resource about rare animal life. VERDICT This vibrant work examines 16 unique and endangered animals. Recommended both for its unconventional visual treatment and the fascinating information that complements the illustrations.—Eva Elisabeth VonAncken, formerly at Trinity-Pawling Sch., Pawling, NY

This is the perfect book for every art class, science class, world history class – and can you imagine the compelling stories kids might write with a page from this book as a writing prompt!

To find out more about Kunal’s work and to connect with him, please follow him on Instagram:

Also, if you love this book as much as I do, please leave a review on Amazon. I just did!

A huge thank you to Kunal and also to his publisher, West Margin Press, for the generous giveaway. One lucky person (U.S. addresses only, please) will win a copy of this glorious book. Please leave a comment…and just as importantly, please SHARE this post on your social media channels. Maybe you can tell us what animal you would create with crumpled paper.

I got back home from Chicago on Monday…it was a fabulous visit with family and friends. And it’s going to be a busy week…Perfect Picture Book Friday will feature CHICKEN FRANK DINOSAUR by Shaunda Wenger. Plus on Saturday, Will Write for Cookies turns the spotlight on Karen Greenwald and her debut picture book, A VOTE FOR SUSANNA.

I hope you all have a safe and wonderful week.

Barnes & Noble in Oakbrook Center, IL with Shirin Shamsi, Sherry Fellores, Jenny Wagh, and me

Happy Book Birthday: WE WANT TO GO TO SCHOOL: The Fight for Disability Rights PLUS Giveaway

HURRAY!!! Another new book!!! And this one is written by one of my favorite CPs, Maryann Cocca Leffler. And woo-hoo – there is a GIVEAWAY!!

Written by Maryann Cocca-Leffler & Janine Leffler – Illustrated by Maryann Cocca-Leffler

Here’s a little bit about the book from Amazon:
There was a time in the United States when millions of children with disabilities weren’t allowed to go to public school. But in 1971, seven kids and their families wanted to do something about it. They knew that every child had a right to an equal education, so they went to court to fight for that right. The case Mills v. Board of Education of the District of Columbia led to laws ensuring children with disabilities would receive a free, appropriate public education. Told in the voice of Janine Leffler, one of the millions of kids who went to school because of these laws, this book shares the true story of this landmark case.

Dear friends…we are so lucky because the lovely Maryann stopped by to chat with us and give us an inside peek of the story behind the story…and the path to publication for this very important book!

New Children’s Book on Disability Rights

I Want to Go to School! The Fight for Disabilities Rights, is a nonfiction children’s book about a little-known 1971 court case that paved the way for students with disabilities to go to public schools. Do you believe that before 1972 kids with disabilities were denied a public-school education? It’s true.

What inspired you to write this book?

MCL: I have been a disability rights advocate since my daughter, Janine, was born with CP (Cerebral Palsy) in 1985. Her journey became my world and as an author & illustrator of children’s books, I tried hard to sell books on the topic of disabilities over the years. (Every child wants to see themselves in books!) It was not until recently that publishers began to embrace equality and equity, and are now seeking books which champion disability awareness. Finally, the time had arrived to get the word out about the History and Heroes of Disability Rights.

What drew you to this topic?

MCL: I have been researching the history of education for children with disabilities for years, and to be honest, it is a very sad history, one filled with discrimination, segregation and abuse. Children with disabilities were legally excluded from public schools until the mid 1970’s.  I Want to Go to School! The Fight for Disability Rights is a true story about seven brave children with disabilities and their families who stood up and said, “ENOUGH”. These children wanted to go to public school with everyone else. The book highlights the 1971 court case, Mills v. Board of Education of the District of Columbia, which changed everything when the judge ruled in favor of the children. This case, and others like it, paved the way for a 1975 Federal law ensuring that children with disabilities all across the country had the right to attend public school and get a free appropriate education.

JL: And that is where I came in. When my mom told me about the history, I realized that if it wasn’t for these brave families, my life could have been very different. The story is told in my voice, as I talk about my early years in public school where I received therapies and accommodations to help me succeed in school. Unlike children with disabilities before 1972, I was able to learn side-by side with my peers.

MCL: Exactly. Janine’s perspective and character in the book are important. It is through her voice that the reader understands the impact that this case had on history; and how it helped her and other students with disabilities gain an education.

What was the most interesting information you found throughout the course of your research?

MCL: Great question. Two things:  

First, it amazed me how many children were denied an education and were forced to stay home or in institutions. The 1971 Mills Case not only represented these 7 children, but became a class-action suit representing 18,000 children with disabilities in the Washington DC area who were not allowed in school. Even more amazing, at that time there were 8 MILLION children in the United States who were not getting an education because of their disabilities.

Secondly, I was very fortunate to connect with the last surviving lawyer on the Mills Case, Attorney Paul R. Dimond. He shared firsthand insight into this landmark case and graciously wrote a wonderful note in the book. The children, their families, the Judge and the Lawyers were all heroes. Attorney Dimond coined the phrase, “The Quiet Revolution” because this milestone case and its judgment went unnoticed; no press, no rallies. I’m very happy to have been able to bring this story to light, a moment in history that went on to help change many lives.

Do you hope that this book will inspire others to get involved in Disability Rights Activism?

MCL: Absolutely. Learning the History of Disability Rights and seeing how people united to fight for change, shows how important it is for people to join together to have their voices heard. There is still a lot of injustice in the world for people with disabilities and laws that need to be improved. Make your voice heard.

For more information visit: and
Twitter- @mcleffler
Instagram – @maryanncoccaleffler

A HUGE THANK YOU TO MARYANN AND JANINE!!! For writing this much needed book…and for sharing so many insights with us…and for the generous giveaway!
Please remember that the best way to tell authors that you love their books is to buy them, review them, tell friends about them, and ask your local library to purchase copies for their collection.

I hope you all have a wonderful rest of the week. Don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway! Maybe you can tell us what you loved/hated most about school when you were a kid.