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Perfect Picture Book Friday: JOAN PROCTER, DRAGON DOCTOR Plus Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, dear friends!

One of my favorite types of picture books are nonfiction picture book biographies. I love when authors are able to bring history alive for young readers. It’s what I try to do with so many of my stories. And just this past week, a brand-new one launched and I couldn’t wait to share it with you! And guess what? Debut picture book author, Patricia Valdez, is offering a giveaway of a copy of her book!!!! Big congratulations to her on a fabulous story!!! And make sure to leave a comment – you might be the lucky winner!

JOAN PROCTER, DRAGON DOCTOR: The Woman Who Loved Reptiles

Written by Patricia Valdez

Illustrated by Felicita Sala

Published by Alfred Knopf (2018)

Ages: 4-8

Themes: Women in science, zoology, reptiles

Synopsis: From Amazon:

For fans of Ada Twist: Scientist comes a fascinating picture book biography of a pioneering female scientist–who loved reptiles!

Back in the days of long skirts and afternoon teas, young Joan Procter entertained the most unusual party guests: slithery and scaly ones, who turned over teacups and crawled past the crumpets…. While other girls played with dolls, Joan preferred the company of reptiles. She carried her favorite lizard with her everywhere–she even brought a crocodile to school!

When Joan grew older, she became the Curator of Reptiles at the British Museum. She went on to design the Reptile House at the London Zoo, including a home for the rumored-to-be-vicious komodo dragons. There, just like when she was a little girl, Joan hosted children’s tea parties–with her komodo dragon as the guest of honor.

With a lively text and vibrant illustrations, scientist and writer Patricia Valdez and illustrator Felicita Sala bring to life Joan Procter’s inspiring story of passion and determination.

Why I like this book:

  • Fabulous text that takes us from Joan’s childhood days of collecting lizards to her success as a world renowned zoologist.
  • Vivid illustrations that evoke a sense of fun and adventure – kids will LOVE the pictures of all of the lizards and dragons and other animals.
  • A story that will inspire children to dream and be different and go out and learn about science.


Lizard Craftphoto courtesy:

Make a leaping lizard. For detailed instructions:

Other activities to do with the kiddos:

  • Visit a pet store or zoo to see the reptiles
  • Talk about different jobs people have who take care of animals: zookeeper, zoologist, beekeeper, groomer, vet, etc.
  • If you could be a reptile, which one would you be?

Thank you so much for spending your precious time here. I am working my way through the list of winners of #50PreciousWords, distributing the prizes. Thank you again to all the participants…your stories were fabulous! I know there will be many picture books that emerge from this year’s challenge.

Please don’t forget to leave a comment to be eligible to win a copy of this wonderful book, JOAN PROCTER, DRAGON DOCTOR!

And remember, the best gift you can give an author or an illustrator is to buy their book, tell someone else about their book, ask your local library to get a copy for their collection and/or leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads or other book review sites.

For more super picture book reviews, please hop over to Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday.

Have a safe and happy weekend!


#50PreciousWords Writing Challenge WINNERS




The #50PreciousWords 2018 Writing Challenge was a HUGE success! You all made it so with your fabulous participation: 298 awesome stories and a comment thread that contained almost 1900 positive comments!

The guidelines were simple:

  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 of 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. Please post your story in the comment section below. If you have your own blog and want to post your story there also, please do. And let us know your post link.  I ask for the link so that people will visit each other and find new friends in the kid lit community. Please make sure you put your name in the post. If you have any trouble at all posting the story, please email me and I will be happy to do it for you:
  6. Deadline for posting the story in the comments is Tuesday, March 6, at 11:59pm.
  7. Winners will be announced in a special blog post on Sunday, March 11.

Here are the prizes: Read the rest of this entry

Baptiste Paul: Will Write for Cookies PLUS Giveaway


Plate of Cookies






In 2016, I attended the Wild Wild West SCBWI conference in Chicago and got to meet our Will Write for Cookies guest. His wife, our own Miranda Paul, was signing some of her books and I had a chance to chat with Baptiste. I don’t know if he will remember…I’ll have to ask him. But we talked about books and families and it was lovely. And when I discovered he had a debut picture book coming out in March, I knew I wanted to have him stop by to share some of his journey with us.

Baptiste Paul is a man of many talents—from woodworking to gardening to entertaining hoards of children for hours on end. Born and raised in the Caribbean (Saint Lucia), Baptise is a native Creole/Patois speaker and enjoys roasting his own coffee and chocolate. Baptiste holds Degrees in Environmental Studies and Political Science from Bucknell University and currently resides with his family in Green Bay, Wisconsin. His debut picture book, THE FIELD, launched on March 6, 2018.

Welcome, Baptiste! Thank you so much for stopping by to visit with us. I’ve got a bunch of questions and we’d all love to hear your answers, so let’s get started. Read the rest of this entry

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