Perfect Picture Book Friday: THE NIGHT BAAFORE CHRISTMAS Plus Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, my friends! For more wonderful book reviews, don’t forget to hop over to Susanna Hill’s blog.

Before we get to our super book, I need to announced some winners of a past giveaway. Earlier this month, we had a double decker prize: a copy of I AM A THIEF by author Abigail Rayner and a pb manuscript critique by the illustrator, Molly Ruttan.

And the winners are:

A copy of I AM A THIEF – Hedy Frazier

A pb ms critique – Lynn Rogalsky

Congratulations! I will be contacting you both shortly!

And the kidlit awesomeness keeps on coming. I’m SOOO excited about our book today…I’ve known the author, Dawn Young, for almost as long as I’ve been in this incredible kidlit world. She and her publisher are providing a copy of the book as a giveaway…so make sure you leave a comment. She was the genius behind Continue reading

Monday Writing Magic – 3rd Annual Holiday Writing Contest and ReviMo Info

Entering contests is a great exercise in creative writing. It hones your writing skills, brings you into fellowship with other writers and helps you gain courage to put your work out there. For the past three years, I’ve been participating in Susanna Leonard Hill’s Holiday Writing Contests – today begins;

The 3rd Annual Holiday Contest!!!
 crashing sleigh

The Contest:  Write a children’s story about a Holiday Mishap, mix-up, miscommunication, mistake, or potential disaster (a la Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer :)).  Your story may be poetry or prose, silly or serious or sweet, religious or not, based on Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or whatever you celebrate, but is not to exceed 350 words.

For more information about rules, judging, voting and prizes, please go here.
I thought about what I should write. My trash can is filled with discarded ideas. I hope you will enjoy the story I decided to go with.

A letter came for me today.

 Dear Jack O’Lantern, don’t delay.

 Please come to Santa right away

And help make balls and bikes and clay.

A strong wind blows – I rock, I roll.

I barely miss a huge mole hole.

No hole will stop me from my goal

Of elfing at the cold North Pole.

 I cross the street – the light is red.

A tire almost hits my head.

I fear the car will squash me dead.

It pushes me along instead.

And in a muffin shop nearby,

The baker gives a battle cry.

She wants to put me in a pie.

I quickly tumble past – “Bye-bye!”

I see the lights of Santa’s shop.

I slip and slide and belly flop.

I’m turning like a spinning top.

What if I never ever stop?

I hear a jolly Ho-Ho-Ho.

It’s Santa standing in the snow.

He says, ‘The workshop’s down below.”

Elf Jack O’Lantern, come, let’s go!

I hope you enjoyed my little Christmas story – I’ll be linking up on Susanna’s website and you can go and read ALL of the amazing entries here. For the Halloweensie Contest, there were 79 stories!

A couple of important items to mention:

1. The Authors for the Philippines auction is over – they raised over 55,000 British pounds (not sure how many US dollars that is…but it is a lot!). I’ve just packed up a copy of my book that I donated – it is going to a mother of two in Staffordshire, England.

2. Please don’t forget the Kid Lit Giveaway Blog Hop Holiday Extravaganza that is still happening here and on 48 other blogs around the blogsphere. There are so many books and gift cards being given away.


3. I guest posted on the PreK and K Sharing Blog – one of the most incredible blog resources I have ever seen…please go and check them out.

4. Pull out those old manuscripts and dust them off – Meg Miller is hosting a challenge for the New Year – REVIMO will encourage you to REVISE – REVISE – REVISE. There will be prizes, inspiration and information.

5. And, one more reminder about the limited time only Holiday Sale of my book on Amazon – only $10!

Parenting Tip - How To Teach Problem Solving

PPPF: Arianna and the Strawberry Tea…Celebrating Uniqueness


Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday where I link up with Susanna Leonard Hill’s fantastic group of picture book writers, illustrators, librarians and others who contribute a picture book review.

Did you know that December is READ-A-NEW-BOOK MONTH?

The holiday season is upon us…I know that many bloggers will be reviewing holiday-themed books.  Here’s one that celebrates, not Christmas, but a child’s unique qualities.

Show Me How Build Your Child's Self-Esteem,Vivian Kirkfield

Arianna and the Strawberry Tea

Written by Maria Faulconer

Illustrated by Katy Arnsteen

Publisher: Ideals Children’s Books (Hambleton Hill Publishing) 1998

Ages: 4 and up


Believing in oneself, confidence, rule-bending


One snowy evening, Arianne and her parents arrive at a posh hotel.  While her parents are dealing with the taxi and the luggage, little Arianna walks into the hotel and charms the housekeeping staff, the doorman, the manager of the hotel dining room and all of the restaurant patrons.  When her parents discover her in the dining room and inform her that this hotel does not allow children, all of Arianna’s new friends refuse to let them leave and Arianna and her parents are given the Presidential Suite.


Why do I like this book:

As I read this story, I was reminded of the Fancy Nancy series.  The illustrations and story are charming…and Arianna charms everyone she meets.  This is a wonderful book for children who need an infusion of confidence…and, at the back of the book, are some recipes for the items Arianna ordered, an infusion of Strawberry Tea and delicious-looking Chocolate Tarts.

Related Activities:



Photo courtesy:

The recipe in the picture book calls for heavy cream and is, perhaps, a little complicated for very young children and busy parents.  Here’s a much easier way to do it so that your child can help and it will take only a few minutes.

You will need: One package instant chocolate pudding, milk, small ready-made tart shells, can of whipped cream and a bowl.  If you want to make this treat a little healthier, you can use organic pudding mix and whipped cream.

  1. Make the chocolate pudding according to package instructions.
  2. Spoon chocolate pudding into each tart shell.
  3. Top with whipped cream, if desired.
  4. You can decorate the whipped cream with candy sprinkles or other mini-candies for a more festive look.
  5. Keep in the refrigerator in a covered container.
  6. These make lovely gifts for neighbors or teachers.

Why not have a tea party for your child and a few of his or her friends?