International Day of the Girl: Perfect Picture Book Friday

Today is Friday  and this is my 450th blog post! I have a children’s book review to add to the Perfect Picture Book resource list that author Susanna Leonard Hill is building on her blog. For more wonderful reviews from authors, educators and others who contributed today, please go here.

We are still surrounded by crates and boxes – moving 2000 miles was exhausting, but so worth it! In the morning, our grandson greets us with a cheery, “Good morning, Grandma! Good morning, Grandpa!”


In the evening, we play games and read stories before bedtime. Last night, we were able to celebrate his birthday, in person!

5th bday

One of the stories on Jeremy’s bookshelf is an oldie by Russell and Lillian Hoban. It’s PERFECT for International Day of the Girl.



Written by Russell Hoban

Illustrated by Lillian Hoban

Publisher: Harper and Row (1970)

Ages: 4 and up


Friendship, getting along with others

Opening Lines:

“It was a fine summer day, and after breakfast Frances said, ‘I am going to play with Thelma.’ ‘Be careful,’ said Mother.”


Frances, a young badger, helps her best friend, Thelma, learn about what being a good friend means. When Thelma tricks Frances into buying her old plastic tea set, Frances must find a way to get the tea set she really wanted AND teach Thelma that, ‘Being careful is not as much fun as being friends.’

Why  I like this book:

  • Great read-aloud for younger children…older kids will enjoy reading it themselves
  • Wonderful message about friendship, trust and getting along with others
  • Illustrations really show how Frances is feeling

How a parent can use this book:

  • Great read-aloud
  • Fun easy reader
  • Opportunity for discussion about what it means to be a friend
  • Make up silly rhyming songs like Frances does

Related Activities:

Why not arrange a play-date for your child with a friend? They can help make these Mini-Muffins – and then have their own little tea party, just like Frances and Thelma!


Photo courtesy of: Visit the site for many more ideas for cooking with children.

Here’s a kid-friendly simple and nutritious mini muffin recipe from my book which is now on sale on Amazon for only $14.95. Please remember all of those preschool teachers, daycare providers, babysitters, parents and grandparents who would LOVE to receive a copy for Christmas this year!


You will need: 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour, ½ cup white flour, ¼ cup ground sesame seeds, 2 tsp baking powder, 2 eggs, ½ cup yogurt, ¼ cup canola oil, ½ cup honey, 1 Tb grated orange zest, juice of one orange, 2 bowls, 1 oiled mini muffin pan, electric mixer, whipped cream cheese, raisins.

  1. Mix flours, ground sesame seed and baking powder in large bowl.
  2. Beat eggs, yogurt, orange zest, orange juice, honey and oil in another bowl and add to dry ingredients.
  3. Gently blend and then spoon into muffin cups – 2/3 full.
  4. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes until muffins are golden.
  5. When cool, frost with cream cheese and decorate with raisins.
  6. Makes 2 dozen – store in airtight container and refrigerate.

Reasons to invite your kids into the kitchen:

  • Builds self-esteem as they master tasks
  • Helps picky eaters try new things
  • Teaches children about where our food comes from
  • Develops math, science and reading skills




I’m thrilled about an upcoming project that I have been working on. On the third Saturday of each month, I’ll be interviewing a picture book author or illustrator. WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES will feature authors and illustrators from around the world.

Being around my five-year old grandson, I am reminded daily how CURIOUS young kids are. They are ALWAYS asking questions! In this new series, I’ll be asking five questions – WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN AND WHY. I hope the answers provided will be educational and entertaining, especially for aspiring authors and illustrators.

In addition, each guest will share their FAVORITE cookie or treat recipe – we all know how important it is to keep up our strength while we




Award-winning author/illustrator Iza Trapani has graciously agreed to lead off the series on October 19. Coming up in November will be picture book author and founder of Perfect Picture Book Friday, Susanna Leonard Hill. Author, movie-maker and child advocate Susanne Gervay, RA of SCBWI Australia, will finish off the year in December. I hope you will all stop by and then share the links so others can enjoy the interviews as well.

The blog project will become a book containing a baker’s dozen of these interviews and recipes. If you are an author and/or illustrator of picture books and you would like to participate, please email me at

38 thoughts on “International Day of the Girl: Perfect Picture Book Friday

    • Thanks so much, Marylin…I’m truly sorry we never connected in person while I was in Colorado Springs. Who knows…maybe we will meet at a writer’s conference one day.:)
      It is awesome being here…good for us, good for Jeremy, good for our daughter. ::)


    • So good to connect again, Nancy! It was the RIGHT move. The house is kind of unique…originally a ranch…seven years ago they put on an addition…just like another ranch house, attached with a connecting room which is a 4-season sun room where we can all hang out together. I love to cook…our daughter works all day and doesn’t enjoy cooking as much…so I make enough for all of us and we usually eat dinner together…which is perfect.


  1. Wow! You are a busy woman! Your grandson is very lucky to have you so close now. Special times ahead! We have this book on our bookshelf – it has been a favorite here since long before I was around. Thanks for sharing all your fun happenings!


  2. So glad the move went well and you are obviously adoring the closeness to family. I love all the Frances books, too, though did not know this one.


    • It was a new one for me also, Joanna…I found this gem at a town yard sale in the spring when I visited my daughter and grandson. And I’m thrilled that now I don’t have to fly ‘home’…I am home.:) 🙂


  3. I’m so glad your move went well, and you’re settling in nicely.

    A Bargain for Frances is the first Frances book I encountered — it was in our church’s library when my mother took over doing the library stuff, and we both enjoyed it very much. So glad you’ve added it to our PPBF list.

    Will Write for Cookies sounds fabulous! I will look forward to reading the interviews.


    • Glad you discovered the ‘Frances’ books early on…they are so REAL.:)

      The ‘Will Write for Cookies’ series will be lots of fun…thanks for your encouragement, Beth! David Seow, Singaporean author of over 20 picture books, is on board for January. 🙂


    • It’s a blissful time in my life, to be sure.:) I don’t even mind all the unpacking!Fortunately, we have a 1900 sq ft basement (unfinished) where all of that STUFF can go. We will definitely have to have a garage/yard/tag sale next spring! Thanks for the good wishes, Kirsten. I love all of the Frances books…you are right…they are classics.:)


  4. Love the play date idea! Perfect for kiddos and parents. Glad you are settling in and enjoying the time with your family. We miss you in CO, but am happy we can stay connected in sooo many ways.


  5. This post has so many cookie and milk style goodies: a favorite book from my childhood, a remindr that we should all have a tea party now and then, snuggly photos and something wonderful to.look forward too


  6. Whoa! I nearly missed this one. What a beautiful story to snuggle up and enjoy with a grandson. So pleased you have finally made it and everything went well for you. Enjoy all the wonderful adventures ahead with your family. Such a lovely post, Vivian, all those yummy goodies too.


    • Thanks so much, Diane! I’m looking forward to our pb writers critique round this month…so sorry I missed last month.:( Today was Jeremy’s B-day party…what fun…24 little friends at a ‘My Gym’ facility…the kids had a BALL…there was even a zip line for them to try. I can’t express how filled with bliss I am to be so close.:)


    • Hi Milka…yes, we moved to New Hampshire and we are ‘sharing’ a house that is really two separate houses…a ranch of 1100 sq ft with an addition of 1100 sq ft with a 4-season sunroom that connects both houses. So we each have our own kitchen, living room, bedrooms, bathrooms…our daughter is newly divorced and shares equal custody…so she has Jeremy every other week and weekend. It was a big move (2000 miles) and a difficult one (350 boxes that I had to pack and now unpack)…but it was totally worth all the hassles.

      I took a big step back from blogging and social media for two long months…I’m just getting back into it now. I’ve missed visiting your blog…I’ll be over in the next couple of days.:)


      • Wow, that’s a lot of changes but it seems like a wonderful opportunity to be close to your daughter and your grandson, especially in these difficult times. Grandparents are so important in a child’s life, it’s great you can be involved with your grandson so much. I miss that for my kids but that’s life. Congratulations again on this big move!


  7. LOVELOVELOVE this book, Vivian! Well, anything Frances, really 🙂 I had this book on a record (yes, I’m that old!) and I still remember the exact way Frances used to say, “Mother told me to be careful, but Thelma better be bewareful!” Thanks so much for adding this to our list, and I’m so glad you’re enjoying living on the east coast and getting to spend time with Jeremy – so great that you were there for his birthday! 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.