The past year was definitely challenging, with school shut-downs, hybrid models, and many kids stuck in front of screens. It feels like school just ended – but honestly, before you know it, the rush to buy supplies for the new year will be upon us. And books about the first day of school will be much needed…which is why I’m so thrilled to sing a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Dawn Young’s newest picture book:

Written by Dawn Young – Illustrated by Pablo Pino – Published by WorthyKids – June 22, 2021

Here’s a short synopsis from Amazon:

The sheep won’t let Bo sleep in this hilarious tale of what can go wrong when the sheep you count run amok the night before the first day of school.
Anxious for the first day of school, Bo just wants to fall asleep so he’ll be ready for the day. But when he tries counting sheep, the sheep get bored and scatter, and chaos ensues: “Sheep 5 snags a lunch bag and makes a strange creature. 6 swallows the apple Bo picked for his teacher. Sheep 7 grips scissors, and piece after piece, she snips and she clips, and she trims the flock’s fleece.” Children can count along with Bo as he finds the 10 mischievous sheep misbehaving throughout the house. With a house full of sheep and a mess to clean, will Bo get enough sleep before his big day?
With 10 out-of-control sheep and the beleaguered Bo, this action-packed story will provide comic relief for anyone who might be a little nervous about the first day of school.

A fabulous read-aloud filled with counting and rhymes – kids are going to love this book!

Happily, the lovely Dawn Young stopped by to chat with me and she shared a bit about how this book came to be:

DAWN: Since this book is third in The Night Baafore series, I had to find new mischief for the sheep to get into, and I wanted to make much of it school-related. From making puppets and paper airplanes to painting, drawing and coloring, I tried to include as many school-related activities as possible.
This book is dedicated to all readers and teachers and students everywhere. 

PUPPETS? Did someone say PUPPETS? How about an easy paper bag puppet-making activity for the kiddos!

Photo courtesy: https://dltk-kids.com/animals/mbaglamb.htm

For detailed directions on how to make this adorable paper bag puppet: https://dltk-kids.com/animals/mbaglamb.htm

If you’d like to be in the running for the giveaway copy that author Dawn Young is providing, please leave a comment below – maybe you can share a challenging first day of school in your life. Please share the post on your social media to spread the word about this engaging new book. And remember, the best way to thank an author for a book you love is to buy the book, review the book, tell friends about the book, and ask your library to purchase copies for their collection.

Make sure you come back at the end of the week for a super Perfect Picture Book Friday post for Annette Schottenfeld’s new book, OBI’S MUD BATH.

Book Birthday Post: A FLOOD OF KINDNESS Plus Giveaway

Stories that are inspired by true events often turn out to be the books we love the most – and I think that might happen for you when you get your hands on this brand-new book from the awesome Ellen Leventhal – so please join me in singing a rousing:


Written by Ellen Leventhal – Illustrated by Blythe Russo – Published by Worthy Kids
Continue reading

Happy Book Birthday: CLARINET AND TRUMPET Plus Giveaway

Please put away the scale…it’s time for CAKE and Candles and a big


Written by Melanie Ellsworth – Illustrated by John Herzog – Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

First of all…just look at that cover! Doesn’t it make you smile? And want to dance and move?

Plus, it’s a special type of picture book…it’s a SHAKER BOOK! Yes, kids can actually shake it and interact with it.

And the author, Melanie Ellsworth, stopped by to share a few words with us also about her path to publication with this book.

ME: Welcome, Melanie. I’m so happy you were able to swing by to chat!:

MELANIE: Thanks for having me on your blog, Vivian! I’m glad to celebrate CLARINET AND TRUMPET’s book birthday with you and your readers. CLARINET AND TRUMPET is one of those books that comes from “writing what you know.” I often lean towards “write what interests you” or “write what brings you joy/makes you laugh out loud,” and luckily, this book hit all those notes for me!  I have vivid childhood memories from band days in elementary school. As a clarinetist, I sat right in front of the trumpet section, which I strongly suspect enjoyed out-blasting the woodwinds. That friendly rivalry between brass and woodwinds carried on through high school, but eventually we changed our tune. We all came to understand that we were there for the music. Sure, it was fun to have a solo in our section, but it was even better when the music swelled from all the sections in the band. In CLARINET AND TRUMPET, I wanted to highlight the beauty and importance of each instrument (and individual!) but also the joy of coming together as a community for a purpose. There’s a special instrument – who shall remain secret – who helps bring Clarinet and Trumpet back to the music and to friendship. (And here’s another secret – that instrument was not part of my original manuscript.) Illustrator John Herzog did an amazing job breathing life into the instruments; you can feel all their emotions as you read the story.

ME: Truly…I can feel it just from the cover…there’s a lot of joy that emanates from that illustration!

Synopsis:  Clarinet and Trumpet have a pitch perfect friendship. But when Oboe convinces Clarinet that woodwinds should stick together, Clarinet and Trumpet’s harmonious relationship falls flat. Woodwinds and Brass face off – until music brings them back together. With pun-filled text and emotive illustrations, CLARINET AND TRUMPET honors the important role music plays in creating community.


Starred review from School Library Journal:

  • “K-Gr 4–A lyrical tour de force about individuality, friendship, and community, this humorous picture book highlights such values through musical instruments, showing how even small fractures can become deep divisions… A timely book that gently explores issues of similarity and difference, of holding on to one’s individuality while also recognizing the importance of others, this is a first purchase for all libraries.” (https://www.slj.com/?reviewDetail=clarinet-and-trumpet)

“Music aficionados and pun aficionados alike will appreciate the many musical puns interspersed throughout the text.”—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

WOW…those are awesome reviews! And we are so fortunate because Melanie and her publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, are offering a copy of the book as a giveaway. All you need to do is leave a comment…and of course, sharing the post on social media to spread the word is always appreciated – and rewarded by extra tickets in the giveaway hat.

If you don’t want to wait to see if you will be the lucky winner, CLARINET AND TRUMPET launched TODAY…so you can purchase it, review it, put it on your Goodreads Want-to-Read list, ask your local library to buy copies for their shelves, and tell friends about it.

And please come back tomorrow – that’s when I will be posting the #50PreciousWords Winners.