Perfect Picture Book Friday: PIPPA’S PASSOVER PLATE and a peek at the #50PreciousWords Contest

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, my friends. I’m not sure anyone has ever done what I am about to do.

Am I committing a faux pas, a blooper, a blunder, a breach of good etiquette by reviewing my own book?

I hope not. But since no one mentioned they were doing a PPBF for Pippa AND the book just launched on Tuesday AND I wanted to give everyone a sneak peek at the upcoming #50PreciousWords Contest which goes live next month, I thought, why not?

cover on amazon


Written by Vivian Kirkfield

Illustrated by Jill Weber

Published by Holiday House (Feb 5, 2019)

Ages: 3-7

Themes: Courage, friendship, Passover holiday


Quiver! Quaver! Shiver! Shake! Cats and snakes and owls make Pippa Mouse cringe and quake. But, when Pippa Mouse can’t find her special Seder plate, she ventures out, questions each one; discovers that friends come in all shapes and sizes; and uncovers the whereabouts of her dish before the sun sets and the Passover holiday starts. A Joyful Tale of Courage and Friendship.

Why I love this book:

  • We may not love every story we write that gets published, but I absolutely, positively love this one  To a rhythm that mirrors Pippa’s purposeful preparation for the holiday and her determined search for the missing plate, I added rhyme and repetition…these are the three elements young kids hope to hear in a great read-aloud picture book.
  • THE ILLUSTRATIONS ARE JOYFUL! Artist Jill Weber poured out her talent and her heart into this book. How fortunate I am to be part of her critique group AND also her neighbor.


Make a Seder Plate

paper-seder-platePhoto courtesy:

Super easy, especially for the youngest kids. All you need: a paper plate, a glue stick, pair of scissors, and a magazine or catalogue with pictures of food. Use the illustration of Pippa’s Seder plate at the back of my book as a guide. For detailed instructions and many more Seder plate crafts, click here.

I’m dancing with joy that PIPPA’S PASSOVER PLATE is a PJ Library selection. They send the book to families all over the world. And guess what? They’ve created a parent guide of activities for  kids  on their website. You’ll find another adorable easy-to-make Seder plate for young kids using a paper plate and cup cake liners.

I’m looking forward to sharing Pippa’s Passover Plate with children everywhere. I’ll be taking a copy with me on my trip and, when I return, illustrator Jill Weber and I will be doing several local book events. If you have an organization or group that would like to have an author-illustrator visit with Jill and me, please get in touch.

And now it’s time for a SNEAK PEEK – SAVE THE DATE announcement about



When I first had the idea for this writing challenge/contest, I didn’t know it would blossom into such an amazing opportunity for aspiring authors.



March 2nd is the birthday of the incredible Theodore Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. In 2016,  I put together a little contest based on Random House founder Bennet Cerf’s 1960 challenge to 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.


My challenge is a bit different…you MAX WORD COUNT for the entire story is 50.

If you are currently writing picture books…or just reading them, you’ll notice that the average word length for many 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. I opened the challenge to everyone. Much to my surprise and amazement, the first year, there were 128 entries! The second year, there were 230. And last year, 298 brave souls submitted their wonderful stories adhering to the tagline of the contest:


And now it’s time to DO IT AGAIN.

Are you ready for a whole lot of fun?

As many of you know, I’m a BIG fan of writing contests and challenges.  I love them because

  1. they encourage writers to write
  2. they push us to submit our work
  3. they engage us in the kid lit community and provide us with positive feedback and inspiration.


Please put on your thinking caps and get busy writing. You have a couple of weeks until you need to post your story. Here are the guidelines:


  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. The contest officially opens on Friday, March 2nd, in a special post that day on my blog.
  6. Between March 2nd and March 6th, post your story in the comments of the special contest post. If  you want to, you can also post it on your blog (if you have one) and put the link in the comments , along with your story, so that people can come and visit your website.
  7. Please make sure you put your name in the post as a byline to your story so we know who wrote it.
  8. Deadline for posting the story in the comments of that contest post is March 6 at 11:59pm.
  9. Winners? You betcha…and prizes, too! Critiques and classes and books. The book prizes are limited to USA addresses, please. But because I will be in New Zealand during the contest and Switzerland after, I’m not sure how promptly the winners will be announced. I’m hopeful that it will be within two weeks of the contest closing, but I might need more time if the internet doesn’t cooperate or you ALL decide to participate (which would be BRILLIANT!). And my plan is to distribute the prizes AFTER I return to the states in April.

And now, I thank you so much for your time, my friends. I appreciate you wading through this long post. I hope you all love Pippa as much as I do. As I mention at the end of almost every Perfect Picture  Book post, the greatest gift you can give your favorite authors is to buy their books, review their books, ask your local library to add the books to their collection, and tell your friends about the books – in person, or on your favorite social media channel.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. So much excitement in the wings. Tonight is a FB chat with Mira Reisberg and several authors who will be helping hone pitches. Then, on Monday, I turn 72…woo-hoo! And the week after that, I’m off to Sydney for the Australia/NZ SCBWI and the beginning of my round the world adventure. I’ll be popping in to guest post on many of your favorite blogs: this Tuesday, I was Susanna Hill’s Featured Debut Author and tonight I’ll be with Mira Reisberg and friends, helping hone pitches in a FB chat; on the 19th, I’ll be at Writer’s Rumpus, answering questions for Kristi Call, and Wednesday I’ll hop into visit Kellie Byrnes and her Queensland, Australia website. And next month, there will be many more appearances elsewhere and several Perfect Picture Book Friday and Will Write for Cookies posts right here. Stay tuned, my friends! You can check the itinerary post I did on February 2nd.




41 thoughts on “Perfect Picture Book Friday: PIPPA’S PASSOVER PLATE and a peek at the #50PreciousWords Contest

  1. Pingback: PBS Social Writers Contest – Pathways to Picture Books

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