Perfect Picture Book Friday: PENCIL’S PERFECT PICTURE Plus Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, my friends!  I’m still in Chicago, but I wanted to make sure I shared this lovely new book by Jodi McKay. Think THE DOT meets THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT. It’s a story that will encourage kids to draw for pleasure, do their best, and have fun…and it launches in just a few days. And author McKay is donating a copy of the book as a GIVEAWAY…YAY! Please make sure you leave a comment to be entered for a chance to win.

61ue4z8Xu+L PENCIL’S PERFECT PICTURE

Written by Jodi McKay

Illustrated by Juliana Motzko

Published by Albert Whitman (2019)

Ages: 3-5

Themes: Do your best; art; believe in yourself

Synopsis: From Amazon:

Pencil is trying to draw the perfect picture for his dad. So, he asks his friends Brush, Pastel, Marker, Crayon, and Chalk what makes their art perfect. But they each have a different answer. How will Pencil be able to create his own perfect picture?

Why I love this book:

  • Wonderful text that will encourage discussion about tackling projects we are unsure of
  • Creative illustrations that help us connect with the main character, even though it is a pencil
  • I love that the author used art supplies as the characters to show how kids feel

RELATED ACTIVITIES:

Deocrated Pencils

Decorative-Pencils-Family-Craft-thediydreamer.com_Photo courtesy: https://thediydreamer.com/crafts/decorative-pencils-family-craft/

How about making the perfect pencil? For detailed instructions: https://thediydreamer.com/crafts/decorative-pencils-family-craft/

And remember, the greatest gift we can give an author is to buy their book, review their book, tell a friend about their book, and ask our local library to add the book to their colloection.

Don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of PENCIL’S PERFECT PICTURE. We’d love to hear how you felt about your art when you were a kid.

For more wonderful picture book reviews, please visit Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday post.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Please stay tuned for the #50PreciousWordsforKids International Writing Challenge: April 29-May 6…if you know any teachers or parents who might want their children to participate, please pass along the information.

Perfect Picture Book Friday: YOGI: The Life, Loves, and Language of Baseball Legend Yogi Berra

Hurray! I’m back home…and it’s Friday…and you know what that means. A review of a wonderful picture book!

Before I share the review, I need to celebrate my return from an incredible round-the-world journey by announcing the winners of several giveaways (and hopefully, by Sunday, I will be able to announce the winners of the #50PreciousWords and give everyone a heads-up regarding the #50PreciousWordsforKids International Writing Challenge).

A big thank you to all of the generous authors and illustrators who Continue reading

Perfect Picture Book Friday: GROWING SEASON Plus Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, my friends. And I’ve got a wonderful book to review that fits perfectly with this season of spring.

GrowSCOVERJ

GROWING SEASON

Written and illustrated by Maryann Cocca-Leffler

Published by Sterling House Books (2019)

Ages: 4-8

Themes: Friendship, gardening

Synopsis: From Amazon:

El and Jo are the shortest kids in class, and they’re inseparable. But what happens when Jo starts to grow? This sweet picture book explores the joys and challenges of friendship and growing up.
 
El and Jo are the smallest students in their class—and best friends, too, like peas in a pod. Even their names are short. But in springtime, something BIG happens: Jo starts growing like a weed, while El feels smaller every day. On the last day of school, their teacher asked every child to pick a plant to care for over the summer. All the other kids reach over El to grab their plant, and she has to take the very last one: a tiny, flowerless aster. At first, she’s disappointed. But as summer progresses, the aster begins to bloom—and so does El! Continue reading

Perfect Picture Book Friday: HAND IN HAND Plus Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, my friends! I can’t believe it is the end of March…my round the world adventure is winding down…I’m off to Italy in a couple of days and will be reporting to you via social media from the Bologna Book Fair.

But right now, I’m thrilled to bring you what I think will be one of the star new releases of 2019. I received a copy of this book last month and fell in love with it. Using just the right words, the author, Andria Rosenbaum, managed to write a beautiful story about Continue reading

Perfect Picture Book Friday: THERE WAS AN OLD GATOR WHO SWALLOWED A MOTH Plus Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, dear friends. I know it looks like I am here, but I really am not! I am in Switzerland with my dear Storm teammate, Julie Abery.  Yesterday we met with a local SCBWI group and today we are going to the village of Gruyere…the home of cheese and chocolate. You can be sure I will be tasting! Tomorrow we fly to London for the weekend…I’ll be sharing photos on social media, so please stay tuned.

BUT…MEANWHILE…I am totally excited to share a brand new picture book…from fellow debut author B.J. Lee!

I guess you could say that today’s story is a retelling of a wildly popular progressive tale. But it so different, it is really new. It is truly the best of both worlds. A time-honored favorite, like an old friend. But with such a charming twist, it has become new again. And perhaps that is the key to a great book. They say there are only seven stories in the entire world…and every book is a variation. What makes each different is the voice, perspective, and flavor that the author brings to it. And B.J. Lee certainly brought all of that!  Plus, she is offering a copy of the book as a giveaway. Make sure you leave a comment to be entered for a chance to win!

there was an old gator cover

THERE WAS AN OLD GATOR WHO SWALLOWED A MOTH

Written by B.J. Lee

Illustrated by David Opie

Published by Pelican Publishing (2019)

Ages: 5 and up

Themes: Progressive story, Florida animals

Synopsis: From Amazon:

“Gators and panthers and crabs, oh my! The classic cumulative tale There Was an Old Lady gets a Floridian flourish in this charming adaptation. Down in the southern swamps a hungry gator accidentally swallows a moth. Of course, he swallows a crab to get the moth! What will he swallow next? The gator predictably continues swallowing bigger and bigger creatures until the unexpected happens―all over the page! Along the way to its hilarious ending, the story―strengthened by the delightful illustrations―introduces readers of all ages to the many critters, both big and small, of the Florida swamp. With a familiar use of repetition and an abundance of rhythm, this silly story is perfect for read-aloud experiences.”

Why I love this book:

  • Fabulous read-aloud!
  • Love the regional flavor of the story!
  • The illustrations are perfect!
  • Meter and rhyme are delightful!

 

The book launch was pretty special – at a Nature Center and there was a reading, a sing-a-long, crafts, and….a gator walk with a park ranger!

Gator Day Flyer 3 10 19 final

And here’s a bit about B.J.

I am a former college music librarian turned full-time writer and poet. My debut picture book, There Was an Old Gator Who Swallowed a Moth, launched on February 1, 2019 from Pelican Publishing. Additionally, I am an award-winning children’s poet with over 100 poems and stories published/forthcoming in major anthologies and magazines. Anthology credits include Construction People (Wordsong, 2019), I Am a Jigsaw (Bloomsbury, 2019), National Geographic’s Poetry of US (2018), National Geographic’s Book of Nature Poetry (2015), One Minute Till Bedtime (Little, Brown, 2016), Moonstruck (Otter-Barry, 2019), Spaced Out (Bloomsbury, 2019), Fire Burn, Cauldron Bubble (Bloomsbury, 2019) and many others. Magazine credits include Spider, Highlights, and The School Magazine. I blog at Today’s Little Ditty, where I am an authority on poetic forms.

RELATED ACTIVITIES

alligator-craftsPhoto courtesy: https://momfoodie.com/alligator-crafts-for-kids/

For detailed instructions and other ideas: https://momfoodie.com/alligator-crafts-for-kids/

Remember friends, leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway of a copy of THERE WAS AN OLD GATOR WHO SWALLOWED A MOTH by B.J. Lee. And as always, help spread the word about the books you love. Buy them, review them, ask your library to purchase them for their collection, and tell your friends about the them.

For more wonderful book reviews, please stop by Susanna Hill’s PERFECT PICTURE BOOK FRIDAY.

Thank you so much for spending your precious time with me.

Perfect Picture Book Friday: BABOONS ON BALLONS

Most of you know that I am on an around-the-world book tour – launching three debut picture books, speaking at SCBWI conferences, and meeting kidlit friends  But what is the most fun of all is when I read my stories to children.

Earlier today, I had the pleasure of visiting Point Chevalier School in Auckland, NZ. Diane and I were invited to attend their Friday morning assembly – what a joyful occasion that was! The principal, Stephen Lethbridge, strummed the guitar as the children sang the national anthem, first in Maori, then in English, as well as in sign language. Then the school chorus performed. And various children were recognized with certificates for good behavior, civic awareness, and excellent academics. I spoke with the principal after and told him how impresed I was with how the children were encouraged and supported by their teachers and each other!

The children enjoyed hearing FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN: AN ANIMAL COUNTING BOOK…which, by the way, launches TODAY!!! I hope you’ll check out Maria Marshall’s PPBF review of it. And on Diane Tulloch’s blog, you’ll find a video of the school visit and a continuation of Where in the World are Vivian, Pippa, Sarah, and those Tobogganing Otters.

I was totally impressed with the participation of the students…100 six-year olds…all anxious to ask questions and answer them. Can you believe that most knew what threatened meant…and many had excellent responses when I asked what might cause animals to become threatened. Our discussion of authors and writing books also elicited enthusiastic interaction – I probably could have stayed there all day, chatting with them!

Diane Tulloch, my stellar host, PR person, photographer, event planner, and dear critique buddy and I were invited to morning tea…and the principal presented me with a copy of a book written and illustrated by the school’s students. It’s a beautiful story and I just had to share it with you today.

baboons on balloons

Written by Elodie Gibbs

Illustrated by the students of Point Chevalier School

Published by Tsunami (2018)

Ages: 4-8

Themes: Resilience, animals

Opening lines: “A honeybee’s making fun of me…and it stings a bit.”

Synopsis:

A child who is being made fun of decides to look around and see the wonder of the surrounding world, including some baboons on balloons, a squirrel feeding berries to a bear, and a lemur in a steamer looking for the beach.

Why I love this book:

  • Written and illustrated by kids! What a wonderful way to encourage creativity and build self-esteem!
  • Happy bouncy rhyme
  • Fabulous collage and other mediums used for the art

RELATED ACTIVITIES:

Super-Fun-Animal-Crafts-for-Kids.-A-lot-of-animal-paper-crafts-nature-materials-crafts-and-a-lot-more.-A-perfect-activity-for-kids-to-make-them-busy-and-entertained.

Looking for some animals crafts? Check out this website: https://www.easypeasyandfun.com/animal-crafts-for-kids/

Help your child write and illustrate a story. Staple the pages together in a book.

Thank you, my friends, for stopping by and spending your precious time here. Speaking about time, the days are flying by and I can’t believe that I leave beautiful New Zealand in just a few days. I’ll be sad to say goodbye to Diane and her hubby…they’ve taken such good care of me. But I’m also looking forward to meeting my “Swiss connection” Julie Abery.

On a very sad note, the news here in NZ is filled with reports of shootings. Over 40 people where killed in Christchurch (where I was just the other day). This type of attack is almost unheard of in New Zealand…a country that embraces diversity and practices inclusivity. And the city of Christchurch suffered devastating losses of life and property during the earthquake of 2012. My heart goes out to all of those impacted.

Please stay safe and have a beautiful weekend.

Perfect Picture Book Friday: THIS BOOK IS SPINELESS Plus Double Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, my friends!

In four more days, I’ll be hopping on a plane and winging my way to Sydney, Australia. But please don’t fret! Even though I may not be HERE…I will be hopping around the blogsphere, visiting with Kirsti Call on Writers’ Rumpus, sharing lists of female inventors with Mia Wenjen on Pragmatic Mom, answering questions for Maria Marshall on Picture Book Buzz, chatting with Darlene Beck-Jacobsen on Gold from Dust: Bringing Stories to Life, and more. Plus there will be several Perfect Picture Book posts right here as I continue to celebrate the fabulous 2019 debuts…like today’s wonderful book!

And as a special treat, I’ll be sharing the cover of author Lindsay Leslie’s SECOND debut picture book of 2019…PLUS, she’s offering a double giveaway.

spineless cover

THIS BOOK IS SPINELESS

Written by Lindsay Leslie

Illustrated by Alice Brereton

Published by Page Street Kids (February 19, 2019)

Ages: 4-8

Themes: Sensory Perception, Humor, Problem Solving

Synopsis: From Amazon:

“With suspense and humor, this wary and unadventurous book uses the five senses to try and figure out what kind of story might be on its pages.

Does it hear spooky wails from a ghost story?
Can it see a mysterious something peeking around a corner?
Is that the dizzy feeling of zero gravity it senses?
Might that be the stinky smell of animals in nature it detects?
Could it be tasting the saltiness of a story on the high seas?

The reader and book navigate the book’s contents together, becoming friends as the book becomes braver with every page turn. This multilayered book incorporates the five senses, multiple literary genres, and various book parts, with the relationship between book and reader bringing everything together.”

Why I love this book:

  • I love books that are interactive and encourage participation between reader/listener and the story.
  • This book has heart and humor…great combination for any picture book.
  • The illustrations are lots of fun and will engage children to keep turning the pages.

RELATED ACTIVITIES:

dream-catcher-craftPhoto courtesy: http://www.childrenandyouth.co.uk

Make a DREAMCATCHER to grab your dreams, both good and bad. For detailed instructions: http://www.childrenandyouth.co.uk/children/dont-be-afraid-god-is-with-us/

And check out author Leslie’s second debut picture book, NOVA THE STAR EATER that launches in May.

nova_cover-lowres

Here’s a little bit about the author of these brilliant books!

Bio: A diary keeper, a journal writer, a journalism major, a public relations executive—Lindsay Leslie has always operated in a world of written words. When she became a mom and began to tell her kids bedtime stories, Lindsay connected the dots to children’s literature. She likes to bring her unique outlook on life, quirky humor, and play with words to the page in picture books. Lindsay is the author of THIS BOOK IS SPINELESS, her debut picture book (Page Street Kids, Feb. 19, 2019). Her second picture book, NOVA THE STAR EATER (Page Street Kids), will launch on May 21, 2019. Her third picture book, DUSK RAIDERS WANTED (Page Street Kids), will launch in spring of 2020. Lindsay lives with her husband, two young boys, and two fur-beasts in Austin.

Links: www.lindsayleslie.com

Twitter: @lleslie

Instagram: @lindsaylesliewrites

Dear friends, one of the things I’m always encouraging people to do is to write reviews for the books that you love. Lindsay kindly supplied the links for Goodreads, so if you get to read either or both of her books, I hope you will hop over and post your review. This is the best gift you can give an author…other than buying their book, of course.

Goodreads:

THIS BOOK IS SPINELESS: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40046021-this-book-is-spineless?from_search=true

https://www.amazon.com/This-Book-Spineless-Lindsay-Leslie/dp/1624146589/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1531156153&sr=8-1&keywords=this+book+is+spineless

NOVA THE STAR EATER:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41150332-nova-the-star-eater?from_search=true

https://www.amazon.com/Nova-Star-Eater-Lindsay-Leslie/dp/1624146937/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1535051997&sr=8-1&keywords=nova+the+star+eater

Lindsay and I are actually members of one of the debut picture book author groups and I’ve gotten to know her a bit. She is mega-smart about writing and lots of other things, so, I asked her to share an author tip with us.

Lindsay says:

When I was in the throes of querying, I took advantage of every opportunity available to me. Not only did I have a targeted list of agents I was interested in working with, but also I participated in all of the Twitter #hashtag events, such as #PitMad and #PBPitch, as well as the online contests, including #PBParty, among others. I even submitted to a Writer’s Digest competition (and I placed fourth for children’s literature). What I felt was important was feedback. I wanted to see if my concepts caught eyeballs. Did my pitches make people pause? Am I getting a reaction? For the pitches that got no love, I knew I had work to do and needed go back to either rework the manuscript or figure out why my pitch wasn’t connecting. For the pitches that received a “heart,” I knew I was on the right track. This was all part of my market research. Of course, this process came after running my manuscripts by several critique partners. So, if you are feeling fearful or timid about putting yourself out there with these types of contest and opportunities, know that you aren’t the only one feeling that way and that there are so many upsides to participating! For me, it was a book deal with Page Street Kids.

How cool is that! And, if you’re in the market to win a copy of THIS BOOK IS SPINELESS and an F&G (unbound copy) of NOVA THE STAR EATER, please don’t forget to leave a comment. I’d love if you would share what, if anything, made you feel spineless as a child.

I hope you all have a safe and wonderful weekend.