Perfect Picture Book Friday: BENFORD DRAWS A BLANK Plus Critique Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, dear friends. I totally needed this book when I was a kid. I loved to draw…I had a big round cookie tin that was filled with broken crayons. I remember the day I got a new box of Crayola crayons…the big 64 color box with the SHARPENER…it was 1958 (that was the first year Crayola released the 64-crayon box with the sharpener) and I was 11 years old – and I felt like I had just gotten the best gift ever! But I didn’t have much confidence in my art – and most of the time, I colored in coloring books…allowing my creativity to be confined within the boundaries of the lines on the page. Danielle Dufayet’s newest book, BENFORD DRAWS A BLANK, is all about creativity and imagination and believing in oneself…and something many of us writers experience – not knowing where to begin! And before you begin reading this post, I want to let you know that the lovely Danielle is offering a fabulous giveaway: winner’s choice of either a signed copy of the book OR a Picture Book Critique! WOW!


Written by Danielle Dufayet

Illustrated by Katia Klein

Published by Capstone

Ages: 4-8

Themes: Imagination, be yourself, art

Synopsis: From Amazon:
Benford loves art, and his very first canvas is ready and waiting! But he can’t think of a single thing to paint. Not one! Nothing! His mind is completely BLANK! How will Benford break free from his painter’s block? Author Danielle Dufayet highlights the importance of silencing the inner critic by letting go of perfectionism and letting loose. See Benford’s final masterpiece where he adds the missing piece to get his painting “just right”.

Why I Love This Book:
1. We all get stuck – children and adults, writers and artists…I love that every child reader will be able to relate to Benford!
2. Wonderful text that takes the reader on Benford’s journey of discovery!
3. Fabulous illustrations that engage the reader and keep you turning the pages!

And guess what!!! Author Danielle Dufayet stopped by to chat and she’s sharing a little bit about the path to publication for this book…I always love to get an inside peek at the story behind the story.

DANIELLE: I was so torn as to what to paint after a long dry spell, but somehow, I started seeing blank canvases everywhere I went: once in Target just passing through the art supplies, once in my grandson’s school where they were getting ready to paint small canvases and a third time my friend called me to tell me she picked up a canvas for me at a garage sale for a really great price. All in the same day! I took it as a sign, but it did feel like blank canvases were stalking me! I definitely wanted to add that funny element to my story. I love how the illustrator gave it beady eyes!

ME: I love that, Danielle. It just goes to show how in tune we need to be with the Universe…which is always sending us ideas for stories!


Photo courtesy:

Please visit this fabulous website and read this important post about how parents can encourage the artist that lives inside of every child. One of the most important tips is: DON’T DENIGRATE YOUR OWN ARTISTIC ABILITY! (I am definitely guilty of this…even when I do a school visit…I can hear myself saying…oh, the art in my book dummy is so bad. What I think I’m doing is letting the kids know that even though I don’t draw like a professional artist, I do it anyway…but perhaps there is a better way I can say it. It’s kind of like if a parent makes a face when spinach is served…kids clue into not only what we say, but they watch what we do…and then the kid doesn’t want to eat spinach either.

Before I sign off I want to remind you all to leave a comment for a chance to win the FABULOUS giveaway of a Picture Book Critique with author Danielle Dufayet OR a signed copy of BENFORD DRAWS A BLANK. And if you share on social media (which I hope you will), you get extra tickets in the giveaway hat.
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

RAE CHESNY: Will Write for Cookies PLUS Book & Zoom Chat Giveaway


Plate of Cookies




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Perfect Picture Book Friday: OUR WORLD OF DUMPLINGS Plus Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, dear friends! As soon as I saw the ARC for this book, I know I’d want to share it with all of you. I really connected with the story because I grew up in the projects on the Lower East Side of New York City…and our apartment house was a United Nations of people from all different cultures. I was always grateful for that…and author Francie Dekker and illustrator Sarah Jung have captured the joy of that situation. And after you enjoy reading the post, please make sure that you leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of this beautiful book.

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