Perfect Picture Book Friday: Scarlet’s Magic Paintbrush PLUS PB Manuscript Critique Giveaway and Book Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday! Picture books are magical…especially when they are about a magical item. And Perfect Picture Book Friday posts are magical when they have DOUBLE GIVEAWAYS. Yes, author Melissa Stoller is donating both a pb manuscript critique AND a copy of her brand-new picture book! Woo-hoo!

scarlet's magic paintbrush


Written by Melissa Stoller

Ilustrated by Sandie Sonke

Published by Clear Fork/Spork (October 2018)

Ages: 4-8

Themes: Creativity, be yourself, self-esteem

Opening lines: 

“Years ago, Scarlet found a magic paintbrush and everything changed.”

Synopsis: From Amazon: 

What would it be like to have a magic paintbrush?

Scarlet knows. 
She paints perfect pictures . . . until her brush disappears. 
Will she ever be
able to create another 
masterpiece without it?

Why I like this book:

  • The element of magic appeals to kids…who wouldn’t want a brush that magically draws perfect pictures?
  • I loved seeing Scarlet come to the realization that her own creativity is important.
  • The illustrations are full of color…perfect for a book about a girl who loves to paint.


Painting With Kids


Photo courtesy:

For detailed instructions for 50 painting projects:

Ask your kids, what would they draw if they had a magic paintbrush? If they could imbue any item with magical powers, what would it be and what would it do? And wouldn’t we all like to have an item that had magical powers? What item would you want to be magical?

Please don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered in this double-your-pleasure giveaway. And, when you read Melissa’s book, don’t forget to leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads, and/or other review sites. Reviews are like a birthday gift to your favorite author!

And speaking of picture books, for more wonderful recommendations and activities for kids, please hop over to Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday link up.

Have a wonderful weekend, dear friends. Safe travels if you are away from home.



Parenting Tip – How To Teach Problem Solving

What do you get when you give two seven-year olds some construction paper, markers, scissors and tape?

Parenting Tip - How To Teach Problme Solving

You get the most amazing creations! And you get happy kids!

I encourage parents to keep simple arts and crafts supplies on hand. Paper, scissors, markers and glue are imagination enablers. Kids can spend hours, happily engaged in expressing their creativity, exercising their problem solving and critical thinking skills.

Last week, my son and his family stopped by.

Knowing that my grandchildren LOVE making things, I had put a few arts and crafts supplies on the dining room table. After we visited for a while, I asked the kids if they wanted to sit down and use the materials.

Before I had even finished the sentence Continue reading

International Dot Day…Self-Esteem Through Artistic Expression

 Raise your hand if you think you can draw.

If you didn’t raise your hand, you are like most of us…our inner artist has been discouraged and hammered down.

How does this happen?  A parent says, “No, the grass should be green!”  The teacher says, “That’s not how a dog looks!”  A fellow classmate says, “You can’t draw!”

In 2003, Peter Reynolds wrote and illustrated a book that encouraged children of all ages to be to imagine, dream and create.   His premise was that there is no right or wrong way.  

This week over 500,000 children in all 50 states and around the world will be participating in International Dot Day, in their classrooms or at home. 

Visit to learn more about International Dot Day.  You will find activity suggestions, resources, a global map showing participants…you can even take a look at the dots being created by celebrities.

As parents and as teachers, we can

  • Encourage our children to enjoy all types of art mediums…paint, clay, paper cutting, drawing and sculpting.  
  • Provide the materials and participate with our kids.
  • Make thoughtful, but non-judgmental comments about our children’s art.
  • Proudly display the art our children produce.

Creative expression is art in its purest form. 

If you allow yourself to have fun with art, so will your children.

During my time in New Hampshire, my almost four-year old grandson became fascinated with Cheerios.  We had a Cheerios Halloween Board Book that called for using Cheerios on different pages to fill in missing buttons, eyeglasses, etc.  Jeremy had a ball…placing Cheerios in the “proper” places…and then eating each one!  Here’s his International Dot Day dot picture.

Sunday Post: Colorful

“I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way…things I had no words for.” – Georgia O’Keeffe


Why am I so passionate about encouraging parents and teachers to provide young children with arts and crafts activities?

Even Georgia O’Keeffe stated that colors and shapes enabled her to express what she couldn’t express in words.  Art activities and art education are crucial for kids…and unfortunately, those are the first subjects to be eliminated when school budgets are cut.  Working in different mediums such as paint, clay, crayons and colored pencils allows young children to express their feelings and their thoughts in ways they may not be able to verbally.   Give a child a box of crayons or a palette of watercolor paints and a pad of paper and watch the magic happen!  Participate with that child and draw a picture alongside him and open the door to a wonderful opportunity for a discussion about…anything and everything!

Connections are formed in so many ways and I’ve made two wonderful new connections in the last week.

The first connection is with another Word Press blogger.  Whenever I receive a comment on one of my posts from someone new, I always go to their blog to find out who they are and what they are all about.

That’s how I met Jake from Time after Time.

I was enthralled by the dragon button graphic!

And I promised that I would try to link up with his Sunday posts.  This week the theme is Colorful!

Here’s how the weekly photo Competition works:

1. Each week, Jake provides a theme for creative inspiration.  Show the world…based on your interpretation…what you have in mind for the theme, and post them on your blog anytime before the following Sunday when the next photo theme will be announced.

2. Subscribe to jakesprinter so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announcements. Sign up via the email subscription link in the sidebar or RSS.


Make sure to have the image link to so that others can learn about the challenge, too.


The second connection I made was with Jim from  This website offers art instruction videos for all age levels.  They even have special art instruction videos for children…what a wonderful tool for schools, homeschooling families or even individual parents.  I’m really excited about this and I’ve been asked to contribute to their newsletter with a “Kids and Art” column!  I’ll share more about this “art connection” in future posts.  If you are interested in checking out the fantastic selection of art instruction videos they have, you can click on the link above or on the button on my sidebar.