PPBF: The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes PLUS LIBRARY WEEK GIVEAWAY

Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday where I link up with Susannah Leonard Hill’s fantastic group of picture book writers, illustrators, librarians and others who contribute a picture book review and related resources for parents, teachers and children.

At the end of this post you’ll find a special giveaway for National Library WeekPLEASE DON’T MISS IT!

I’m kind of like a kid when it comes to picture books…if I love the story, I want to hear it over and over and over. So I hope you won’t mind if I share a book I reviewed a year ago. It’s a perfect Easter Bunny tale.

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The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes

Written by Dubose Heyward

Illustrated by Marjorie Flack

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children (1939)

Ages: 4 and up

Themes: Mastering tasks and skills, Easter, gender discrimination, working together.

Opening Line:

“We hear of the Easter Bunny who comes each Easter Day before sunrise to bring eggs for boys and girls, so we think there is only one. But this is not so.”

Synopsis:

A young country bunny sets a goal for herself of becoming one of the five Easter bunnies who deliver Easter eggs all over the world. It seems her dreams will not be realized as the little bunny grows up and becomes the mother of twenty-one baby bunnies. Using ingenuity, common sense and lots of determination, she trains each of her children to master certain skills. Will Little Cottontail Mother prove that she is the kindest, wisest and fastest bunny in the whole world? Can she complete all of her tasks? Does she win the golden shoes that will enable her to fly?

Why I like this book:

This book was written over seventy years ago…yes, you know how I love these old classic picture books! This is a modern feminist tale…twenty-nine children and she still has a dream that she never stops pursuing.

Little Cottontail Mother is a loving and caring mom…but that doesn’t stop her from expecting her children to be responsible and helpful and courteous. She teaches them the life skills they will need as adults.

The illustrations are from the ‘illustrious’ Marjorie Flack…need I say more!

Related Activities

HANDPRINT EASTER BASKETS

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I’ve made this craft with my kindergarten classes…they really love it! This is a lovely keepsake because it is made from your child’s handprints. Hang on the refrigerator or use as an Easter door decoration. The picture here is from Artists Helping Children.org They have lots of great ideas and instructions on their website.

You will need: Construction paper, tape, glue stick, crayons or markers, scissors

  1. Trace at least 8 hands for each basket (these are the handle).
  2. Cut out a basket shape and cut a slit in the top (the eggs will slip in here).
  3. Lay out the handprints, overlapping slightly, to form a handle shape. Tape them while you are arranging them and then glue in place.
  4. Cut out a bunch of Easter egg shapes. Your child can decorate them before sliding them into the slit. Glue in place when they are in the right place.

 

More Activities:

Talk to your children about the tasks that Little Cottontail Mother taught her bunnies. What tasks can your child help with?

Make a goal chart…Little Cottontail Mother had things she wanted to accomplish…help your child make a chart of tasks and skills he or she wants to master.

AND NOW FOR OUR SHOW ME HOW LIBRARY WEEK GIVEAWAY…

National Library Week is April 10-16. To help celebrate, why not visit the library with your children…and make it a habit to go often. Does your child have a library card yet? Find out how old your child has to be…if he doesn’t have one yet and is old enough, help celebrate National Library Week by signing him up. A child’s library card is a passport to learning about the world. And libraries are one of the last free resources in our communities…they provide so much more than books…check out the programs they have available for children and adults of all ages.

In honor of National Library Week, I’m donating THREE copies of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking. Wouldn’t it be awesome to present a copy of this valuable parent/teacher resource to your children’s librarian? Just subscribe to my mailing list. Three names will be chosen by Random.org at the end of April. Already subscribed? No worries…your name is already entered.

Many libraries are very limited in what new materials they can buy for their collections because of reduced revenues. Help your library receive a resource that will be used by parents and teachers for their kids. Just click on this link and subscribe to my mailing list.

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Do you tweet on Twitter? Are you a fan of Facebook? Have you pinned anything on Pinterest yet? Please help me spread the word about the Show-Me-How Library Week Giveaway by tweeting, posting and/or pinning.

 

This post is part of a series for parents and teachers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays hosted by Susannah Leonard Hill. Click on her link and find lots of other picture book suggestions with summaries and activities. And please don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter – doing so will nominate your local library to be the recipient of a copy of Show Me How!

Click here to sign up to receive my newsletter and other awesome stuff.

Thank you all for stopping by. I hope you all have a beautiful weekend…and a Happy Easter. Spring is finally here!!!!!!

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The Winning Stories – 750 Precious Words

The 50 Precious Words Contest is over. The level of participation was bested only by the level of quality of the stories. I thank everyone who posted a story or shared about the contest. So many people commented that writing the stories and reading the entries were a great exercise in honing their writing skills…I was so happy to hear that because I know we are all on a quest to write books of precious words for children..

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Some of you suggested that it might be nice to have the fifteen winning stories in one place so they could be easily read. GREAT IDEA! I hope you all enjoy reading these as much as I did. If you find any of the entries have been deleted…those lucky stories are out on submission and I have removed them as per the author’s request.

And if you want an inside peek into the process I used to select the winners, please visit the GROG blog, where Janie Reinart asked me some probing questions: groggorg.blogspot.com/2016/03/a-peek-behind-curtain.html

  1. LITTLE TIGER by Julie Abery

Continue reading

Nancy Churnin Will Write for Cookies PLUS CONTEST WINNERS

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

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NANCY CHURNIN

Most of you know how much I love critique groups. For me, they are one of the most important elements in a writer’s life. They support, encourage, inspire. They keep you sane…they keep you company…they keep you on track. I’m thrilled to spotlight one of my favorite critique buddies as today’s Will Write for Cookies guest of honor. Nancy’s got a lot of inspiring words for us today…and when the post is finished…we will announce the WINNERS of the #50PreciousWords Contest. By the way, I was overwhelmed by the amazing level of participation and enthusiasm for this little writing challenge. Thank you all!

Nancy is a native New Yorker (me, too!) and a lover of baseball who is happy to call Dallas her home. Go Rangers! She’s the theater critic for The Dallas Morning News and a graduate of Harvard University, with a masters from Columbia University School of Journalism. (and now when I have a question, I know who to go to for the answer) She lives in North Texas with her husband, Dallas Morning News arts writer Michael Granberry. Between shows and story deadlines, they’re raising four sweet boys and two crazy cats.

I was thrilled when Nancy’s book debuted and a couple of weeks ago, I did a Perfect Picture Book Friday post: https://viviankirkfield.com/2016/02/26/ppbf-the-william-hoy-story-plus-winners/

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Welcome, Nancy! Thank you for joining us today.

ME: Who were your favorite authors/illustrators when you were a child?

 

Nancy:

There are so many! I was enthralled with C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia and remember going on a hunt to track down hard to find titles like The Silver Chair. I read everything by Louisa May Alcott, I reread Frank L. Baum’s The Wizard of Oz numerous times. I also loved J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, all things Dickens (but especially A Christmas Carol, A Tale of Two Cities, David Copperfield and Oliver Twist) and Mark Twain (particularly The Prince and the Pauper, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn). Also, I could never get enough mythology; I loved reading about Greek, Roman, Norse mythology, the King Arthur legends and any and all fairy tales.

 

ME: What do you know now that you wish you had known when you first started writing for children?

Nancy:

I wish I knew at the start what a wonderful, supportive writing community there is for children’s book writers if you will only reach out and make contact. In the early years I enjoyed my writing as my private escape. I had no idea that I could have both that wonderful escape into another world and friends with whom I could share the wonder of that work and get help in making it better and, ultimately, publishable!

ME: Where do you like to write/draw – inside, outside, a special area in your home, on the computer, in a notebook? And when do you find time to write?

Nancy:

I like to write inside and with my trusty laptop any room will do. Sometimes I sit at my desk in my bedroom. Other times I will lie down in bed and write. Sometimes when I am stuck, pen and paper will help get me going. I can’t go on too long writing things longhand, however, because my penmanship can be too challenging for me to decipher, particularly if I’ve been thinking faster than my scribbles.

 

ME: When during the day (or night) are you most productive? Do you set a schedule for working or do you write/draw when the muse speaks?

Nancy:

I will write whenever I have time or inspiration, but my best time is usually the morning when my mind is fresh and free of distractions and deadlines that rain down during the day.

 

ME: Why do you write for children?

Nancy:

I love children. They are the purest form of humanity, the essence of what it is to be human. Children are honest and open to ideas. They are like the rich soil of Narnia at the beginning of its existence in The Magician’s Nephew, where a metal rod takes root and grows into a streetlamp. If you gift them with a book that introduces a fresh idea or way of looking at themselves and the world, you can feel, hear and see seeds taking root and flower in unexpected, beautiful ways.

 

 ME: Nancy, do you have any other tips you’d like to share with aspiring writers? And thoughts for parents, educators, and librarians?

Nancy:

 Dear Writers, always write the story you must tell, the story that you believe with all your being must be told, the story that fills a void or emptiness in the world. Books can be written to sell, but they probably won’t last or stir anyone’s soul. If you write what truly matters to you, it will matter to others.

Dear Parents, Educators, Teachers and Librarians, I will never forget that the only reason I even heard of Narnia was because once upon a time, a librarian recommended The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe to me and I overcame my skepticism and turned the first page of a story with a long, odd title. That book was my wardrobe into a magical world.  Yes, books can take us on incredible journeys of the heart and the mind, but without you wonderful guides, who knows if new generations of children will find their way to the wardrobe or have the courage to push open the door.

THANK YOU A MILLION! Nancy, this was terrific!

Dear Readers…if you would like to find out more about Nancy and her book:

Twitter: @nchurnin

Facebook: Nancy Churnin Children’s Books

Website: nancychurnin.com

Now I know you’ve all been waiting for the sweet treat ending to the Will Write for Cookies post…and you won’t be disappointed because Nancy’s brownies are to die for.

brownies

Melt 1 stick of butter (1/2 cup) and cream with 1 cup of sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat in two eggs, one at a time. In a separate bowl, mix 1/2 cup whole wheat flour with 1/3 cup cocoa, 1/4 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp salt. Mix dry and wet ingredients together. Grease the bottom of a rectangular baking pan with oil. Pour in brownie mixture. Add 14 dark chocolate chips if desired. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until a knife in the brownies comes out clean. Cool and enjoy!

50 PRECIOUS WORDS CONTEST RESULTS

So now that you have your brownie and maybe a cup of hot chocolate, it’s time to announce…the winners of the #50 Precious Words Contest. I just want to say how amazing all of your stories were. I was honored to read and enjoy each one. I met so many new writers…and was happy to see entries from many old friends as well. Congratulations to all who participated…there were a total of 128 beautiful stories. You were on fire…some of you wrote several, just for the challenge and the fun of it. And that, my dear friends, is what this whole crazy journey is about!

I’m using some of the parameters I learned from all of the fabulous writing contests the lovely Susanna Hill has held. I take my hat off to her…and to every editor and agent who has to turn away a really good manuscript. Believe me, you guys did a FABULOUS job. Each story had something that made me want to keep it in the running, but in the end, I did have to make some decisions that I admit, are entirely subjective. So if you don’t see one of your favorites among the finalists, I apologize. THIS WAS TOUGH! I wanted to give out 128 prizes! These were the rules:

  1. Kept to the Word Count: For this contest – 50 words or less.
  2. Kid-friendly for kids 12 years old or younger.
  3. A story that has a beginning, a middle, and an end.
  4. A well-written story that engages the reader.
  5. I added another requirement: a story that I enjoyed reading out loud over and over again.

The prizes will be awarded as follows…first place winner gets to choose first. It’s possible the first place winner already has an agent and has already taken Kristen’s class and might pick one of the books…you never know. Then second place picks next from the prizes that are left. And so on. Please email me at viviankirkfield@gmail.com or PM me on Facebook if we are connected. I will then get in touch with each of the winners in turn to tell you what prizes remain.

Here are the prizes:

  1. A seat in Kristen Fulton’s Nonfiction Archaeology Class…many thanks to Kristen for this generous prize!
  2. A critique of a manuscript by my fabulous agent, Essie White…many thanks to Essie…someone is going to be thrilled!
  3. A mini-critique from yours truly…picture book manuscript preferred, either rhyming or prose, fiction or nonfiction.
  4. A copy of Miss Moore Thought Otherwise by Jan Pinborough.
  5. A copy of The William Hoy Story by Nancy Churnin.
  6. A copy of Kissed by an Angel Anthology (11 middle grade stories edited by Robyn Campbell – one of my stories is in there).
  7. A copy of Lucky Draw Anthology (50 middle grade stories edited by Sally Odgers – one of my stories is in there).
  8. A copy of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking by Vivian Kirkfield.
  9. The Book Lover’s Journal – A Personal Reading Record to keep track of the books you read.
  10. Copy of Llama Llama Wakey-Wake by Anna Dewdney (board book).
  11. Copy of Get Crafty: Special Occasions by Vivienne Bolton (full color hardback – great crafts for various holidays).
  12. Mini book: Qi Gong – The Energy of Harmony and Healing.
  13. Mini book: The Embrace – A Treasury of Romance in Word and Image.
  14. Mini book: Love One Another – words and illustrations by Joan Walsh Anglund.
  15. Mini book: Silver Palate Desserts.

And now…DRUM ROLL PLEASE:

In FIRST PLACE: Little Tiger by Julie Abery

In SECOND PLACE: Stay or Go by Shari Schwarz

In THIRD PLACE: Catch a Bird by Maria Marshall

In FOURTH PLACE: I Did It! by Cathy Stenquist

In FIFTH PLACE: Anything But Broccoli by Jodi McKay

In SIXTH PLACE: Toes by Janet Smart

In SEVENTH PLACE: Kitchen Drawer Drama by Katelyn Aronson

In EIGHTH PLACE: Cat’s Revenge by Jean James

In NINTH PLACE: Rainbow Treasure by Sara Gentry

In TENTH PLACE: Honu Waits by Stephanie Shaw

In ELEVENTH PLACE: The Masterpiece by Shelley Kinder

In TWELFTH PLACE: Run Chippie Run by Debbie Vidovich

In THIRTEENTH PLACE: Doggie Delight by Janie Reinart

In FOURTEENTH PLACE: Bear’s First Spring by Jess Townes

In FIFTEENTH PLACE: A Ride in the Car by Lauri Fortino

CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL!!!!

I hope this contest was as much fun for all of you as it was for me. I am absolutely positively without a doubt going to make this an annual event here on Picture Books Help Kids Soar. You all made my first real contest a BIG success…I couldn’t have done it without all of you, blogging about it, tweeting about it, posting it on Facebook…and entering your wonderful stories. THANK YOU!

Here is the link to the post with all of the contest entries: https://viviankirkfield.com/2016/03/04/ppbf-brave-girl-plus-50-precious-words-contest/

Have a wonderful weekend!

PPBF: Brave Girl PLUS 50 Precious Words Contest

Are you ready for something fun, my friends?

Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday, so you know we are going to have a review of a great picture book. Plus, because this is Women’s History Month, I’ve chosen a book that celebrates an important Mighty Girl in American history, Clara Lemlich.

But first I want to tell you about a mini-contest. Wednesday was the birthday of the incredible Theodore Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. One of his books actually came about because of a bet he made with Bennett Cerf, one of the publishing giants of Random House. Cerf challenged Seuss to write a children’s book using only 50 words. And the classic Green Eggs and Ham was born. It’s true that the story has over 700 words…but only 50 unique words.

If you are currently writing picure books…or just reading them, you’ll notice that the average word length is getting shorter and shorter. So I thought, wouldn’t that be a great challenge…to write a story for kids with only 50 words. With a beginning, a middle, and an end. I wondered if I could do it. And I decided to open the challenge to everyone. Here are the guidelines:

50 PRECIOUS WORDS WRITING CONTEST

  1. Write a story appropriate for kids ages 12 or under, using only 50 words…they can all be different words, or you can use some of them over and over…just as long as the total word count for the story is 50 or less.
  2. It can be prose, rhyme, free verse, silly or serious…whatever works for you.
  3. Title is not included in the word count.
  4. No illustration notes please.
  5. Post the story on your blog if you have one and put the link in the comments OR post the story in the comments.
  6. Deadline for posting the story or the link in the comments is Friday, March 18th…that gives you two weeks.
  7. Winners will be announced on Saturday, March 19th, in our Will Write for Cookies post.
  8. Prizes? Of course! In honor of Women’s History Month, a copy of Miss Moore Thought Otherwise by Jan Pinborough. And we’ll see what else I can figure out.
  9. This just in!!!! Kristen Fulton is donating a seat in her April Nonfiction Archaeology class. Just to let you all know…I took her class in June 2014..and that was the step that led me down this path of writing nonfiction picture books. I wrote Sweet Dreams, Sarah the month after the class ended. And I’ve been writing nonfiction picture books ever since!
  10. I’m also going to offer a mini-critique of a picture book manuscript…hopefully, after years of writing, revising, and critiquing, my feedback will be helpful.
  11. Plus, I have a soft spot for mini-books…you know, those tiny books you can hold in the palm of your hand. It’s time to share a couple from my collection.
  12. Stop the presses!!!!! Another GREAT PRIZE has just been donated! My fabulous agent, Essie White, is going to give a critique to one of the winners! Thank you so much, Essie! This contest is shaping up to be so much more than I had ever expected. Thank you so everyone who is posting about it and sharing on Facebook and Twitter!
  13. Hurray…another great prize!!!! Next Saturday, as I mentioned, when I announce the winners, I’ll also be interviewing debut picture book author, Nancy Churnin. So I am adding a shiny new copy of her book, “The William Hoy Story” to the prize pool…woo-hoo!

I’ve been participating in Carrie Charley Brown’s ReFoReMo Challenge. The list of recommended picture books was astounding. Fortunately, my local library is able to get most of the books I request. Plus, they don’t have a limit on the number of books you can take out. One of my favorites so far is the story of the girl who led the fight for better conditions for workers in the garment industry. And I thought it was a stellar book to spotlight during Women’s History Month.

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Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909

Written by Michelle Market

Illustrated by Melissa Sweet Continue reading