PPBF: If a T-Rex Crashes Your Birthday Party

Has it been a busy summer for all of you? It definitely has been for me! In July, I attended the WOW Retreat in Georgia! Kristen Fulton organized a conference that was chock full of top notch authors, agents, and editors.

Wow 2016 attendees in T shirts

Presentations, Round Tables, One-on-One Critiques, and close up and personal attention from the faculty just about 24/7 all combined to provide a fantastic week of writing. And I even got to spend quality time with my very own agent, the incredible Essie White.

me and Essie

Then, earlier this month, I went to Dana Farber/Brigham Women’s in Boston for my surgery. I truly need to speak out about the power of positive thinking and prayer. When I woke up from the operation (a bilateral mastectomy), I felt great and continue to do so, without any pain medication whatsoever. Two days after the surgery, I was discharged from the hospital and stopped off for lunch at one of Boston’s  Indian restaurants with my son and daughter.

Indian food after mastectomy

A bona fide miracle! Thank you to EVERYONE who sent healing thoughts, cards, gifts, and most of all, love. According to my surgeon who is a veritable magician, I am CANCER FREE!!!! So back to writing, back to revising, back to critiquing, and back to blogging.

But before we proceed to our Perfect Picture Book Friday review, we need to announce the winner of a copy of Pat Zeitlow Miller’s brand-new picture book, Sophie’s Squash Goes to School.



Congratulations, Jessica…I loved hearing about the dead squirrel you brought to school…and thank you so much to everyone who shared their strangest school show and tell.  Jessica, please email me with your address so I can get the book right out to you: viviankirkfield@gmail.com.

 And now for today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday pick!

t rex

If a T-Rex Crashes Your Birthday Party

Written by Jill Esbaum

Illustrated by Dasha Tolstikova

Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books (August 2016)

Ages: 4 and up


Birthdays, dinosaurs


From Amazon:

You never know what will happen when a T. Rex crashes your birthday party. Sure, you’ll be super excited when he turns up at your door. But then he’ll stomp. He’ll ROAR. He’ll look at you as if he’s wondering how you taste with a little mustard. In the end, though, you just may find yourself asking him to come back next year!

Why I like this book:

  • So funny…and full of tongue in cheek humor…and I’ve found, from reading hundreds of picture books with my grandson, that kids LOVE funny books!
  • Great illustrations – bright, simple, and lots of color!
  • Dinosaurs, birthday parties…need I say more?


From the author’s website, an activity kit for a birthday party: http://www.jillesbaum.com/assets/t.rex-party-kit.pdf

Other reviews of this book:


Interview with the illustrator and a giveaway on Jill’s blog:


 Logo final BB2 1 inch 300dpi

 This post is part of a series for parents and teachers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays hosted by Susannah Leonard Hill. Click on her link and find lots of other picture book suggestions with summaries and activities.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, dear friends and readers. And please don’t forget to come back tomorrow for:

Will Write for Cookies





Birthdays: Special Days On Which To Reflect

Frederick Daniel Hardy - The First Birthday Pa...

Image via Wikipedia

Today is my birthday!

I know that many people, especially as they get older, would rather not celebrate their birthdays.  Perhaps they think that if they don’t let people wish them “Happy Birthday” it will keep time from slipping away.  Maybe they believe that birthdays are just for young children.

For me, each birthday is an opportunity to rejoice and reflect.

I look back at the year gone by and think about everything that has happened, all that I have accomplished and all of the wonderful people whose lives have connected with mine.  This past year has been especially fruitful…my new book for parents of preschoolers was published in September.  My talented daughter and daughter-in-law set up my website and were instrumental in getting the book to look so amazing before it went to print.  I’ve met dozens of amazing moms and dads through their blogs…many have read the book and have done terrific reviews on their sites…you can read the latest one that was posted today:


And then I give thanks for today…as Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift…that’s why they call it the present.”

I love my life…yes, sometimes it is incredibly busy…but I’m happy that I have the strength and energy to do what needs to be done (most of the time).

I love my family…supportive encouraging loving husband whom I’ve been married to for forty-three years, three awesome grown children who are happy in their own lives, three gorgeous (of course) smart (of course) and wonderful (of course) grandchildren and a dear sweet sister.

I love my friends…one I’ve known for over half a century and her prayers and good wishes raise me up on a daily basis; some whom I’ve just met through this amazing blog/internet/social networking phenomenon. but I feel close to them already.

And then I look forward to the future…with eager anticipation.  Another gem from Eleanor Roosevelt sums ups how I feel: “You have to accept whatever comes, and the only important thing is that you meet it with the best you have to give.” 

I’m excited about the opportunities that I have to share my passions: for picture books and for uplifting young children.  The new SHOW ME HOW! story-time program for our local schools here in Colorado Springs has enabled me to be back in the Pre-K and kindergarten classrooms, surrounded by the eager smiling faces of young children.   And parents and teachers who use the book will be building self-esteem, developing pre-literacy skills and creating a life-long parent-child bond.

May I share one more quote from Eleanor Roosevelt? “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” 

Helping children believe in the beauty of THEIR dreams is exactly what the book does!  I realize that parents are often overwhelmed these days with juggling jobs, home, family and other responsibilities.  It is hard to find the time to plan quality activities.  That’s why the book is such a valuable tool…it is a genuine shortcut for today’s busy parents and teachers.  Everything is laid out in a simple easy-to-use format…story suggestion and summary, gentle parenting tip, eco-friendly craft project and child-friendly healthful cooking activity. 

After doing some market research, we’ve decided to try to make the book more affordable for parents and others (preschool teachers, nannies, daycare providers, grandparents) who want to purchase a copy.  From today (my birthday) until March 9th (World Read-Aloud Day…very appropriate, I think, because the book is all about the importance of reading to young children), the book will be on sale on my website for $22.50 per copy with FREE shipping.  I am taking away the BOGO event, as that required people to purchase two copies at the same time.  I hope that everyone who has been thinking about getting a copy, but were hesitant because of the price, will hop over and grab one…or more…I’ve been told they make great gifts for baby showers. 🙂

So now I will post this to my blog and close the computer and enjoy the rest of my special day!  There is definitely an ice-cream sundae, a bowl of popcorn and a good movie in my plans for today!