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Denise Fleming: Will Write for Cookies PLUS Giveaway

 

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

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DENISE FLEMING

I’m often praising the mentors in our kid lit community. They share their expertise graciously. And our Will Write for Cookies guest is one who has led the way. I was already a fan of her award-winning books when I met Denise at a writing retreat two years ago. Her workshop on paper making was filled with passion. And during our one-on-one, she pointed out important problems in the picture book manuscript I was working on at the time.

Denise, I’m thrilled to welcome you to Picture Books Help Kids Soar!

ME: Who were your favorite authors/illustrators when you were a child?

 DENISE:

 My favorite book when I was a child was The Giant Golden Book of Cat Stories. It was full of stories and poems about cats. For my fourth birthday, my grandparents gave me a Siamese kitten. From then on I was drawn to anything written about cats.

kid and cat

 I also read every issue of National Geographic magazine. The photographs and articles about places and animals, so different from my everyday experience, fascinated me.

 ME:

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started writing?

DENISE:

Actually, I can’t think of anything I wish I had known when I first started writing. All the info out there now on the internet, the classes and workshops would have intimidated me when I started. I just burrowed in and started reading as many books as I could and made notes of what I liked, what appealed to me.

ME:

Where do you like to write – inside, outside, special room, laptop, pen and paper?

DENISE:

I write most everywhere – in bed, in the tub, outside, wherever I feel comfortable at the time.

outdoor work space

I worked on my first book in a tent in Canada with a doe keeping an eye on me.

I write on yellow legal pads with soft lead pencils.

ME:

When during the day (or night) are you most productive? Do you set a schedule for working or do you write/draw when the muse speaks?

DENISE:

I am not a morning person. I am an owl. Most productive work starts after 3 in the afternoon.

I do not write or make book art every day. Some days I garden, work in clay, make art dolls , read, or sketch out ideas.

cat on wall

ME:

Why do you write for children?

DENISE:

Children are open to adventure. They jump into new ideas. They enjoy animals and nature. They find butterflies and bugs interesting. They paint with abandon and laugh easily. Children are a great audience. They are my people.

ME: Denise, if you have any special tips or thoughts for writers, teachers, parents…please share.

DENISE:

Read as much poetry as you can. Not just poetry for children, but adult poetry too.

Listen for the rhythm of the language.

Think like a child.

ME: BINGO!!!! THINK. LIKE. A. CHILD.

Denise, this is a mantra I think all of us need to embrace! Thank you so very much for stopping by to chat with us and sharing your insights.

Dear readers, if you’d like to find out more about Denise and her fabulous books:

www.denisefleming.com

And check out her newest book, coming in Spring 2018:

robin nest cover 

And guess what? We are not done yet! I know you are all waiting for a sweet treat.

Denise says:

Now, about that recipe, cooking is not really a part of my life anymore.

I do suggest you take a good-sized spoon, dip it in in the peanut butter, then into the jar of Nutella. Top this spoonful of deliciousness with a honey roasted pecan half. Yum.

May be served in spoon.

HA! I LOVE THAT! NO MUSS! NO FUSS! JUST PURE YUM!

And wait…this post has ONE MORE dollop of awesomeness thanks to our lovely guest. Denise wants to do ANOTHER GIVEAWAY!  Leave a comment on yesterday’s Perfect Picture Book Friday review of 5 Little Ducks and you might be the lucky winner of a copy of Beetle Bop. AND, if you leave a comment on THIS post, you might be the lucky winner of a copy of 5 LITTLE DUCKS.

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I told you this kid lit mentor was one of the best! Truly, Denise, your generosity is much appreciated.

And the way WE can show our appreciation is to go to Amazon and/or Goodreads and write a review for 5 Little Ducks

 and Denise’s other fab books.

Thank you all for stopping by. Have a wonderful weekend and I wish a most Happy Father’s Day to all those who fill the role of a dad.

Perfect Picture Book Friday: 5 LITTLE DUCKS Plus Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday. I’m honored to feature the newest book (which is PERFECT for this Father’s Day weekend) from multipublished Caldecott Honor winning author/illustrator Denise Fleming. And guess what? Denise will be here TOMORROW for Will Write for Cookies.

But before I share this very special review with you (special because I’m going to point out how the author updated this old classic to make it more relevant for today’s market), I need to announce the winner of the picture book manuscript critique that author Ellen Leventhal is giving away.

And the winner is…

DIANE TULLOCH

Congratulations, Diane! Ellen gives super feedback…so you are in for a treat.

And now, we are all in for a treat.

cover

5 LITTLE DUCKS

Written and illustrated by Denise Fleming

Publisher: Beach Lane Books (2016)

Ages: Preschool – Grade 1

Themes:

Independence, counting, family relationships

inner page day of week

Synopsis:

From Kirkus:

A traditional rhyme serves as the basis for an adaptation with an expanded worldview. As in the original, the story begins with five ducklings and a parent. But this time it’s Papa Duck doing the calling. The little ducks’ adventures take place over a week, with one fewer returning home each day. Rather than always going “over the hills and far away,” however, these five little ducks enjoy exploring new places and meeting new friends. They have fun playing in the woods with a winsome flying squirrel, frolicking with wild turkey chicks, imitating a turtle, wallowing in the mud, and splashing in a kiddie pool. On Saturday, however, all five respond to their father’s call, and the family is reunited just in time to share a day of rest on Sunday (mandated by Mama Duck). Two pages of information follow, offering close-up portraits and basic facts about some of the animals featured. As always, Fleming’s artwork, created by pulp painting with pastel pencil accents, is lively and appealing. Her clever tweaks to the familiar text allow her to showcase a variety of natural environments. Whether it’s a panorama of farmland or a shadowy woodland glade, each double-page spread offers plenty of intriguing details limned in bright colors. Packed with personality and charm, these five ducklings will waddle their ways into the hearts of readers and listeners.

inner page papa duck

Why I like this book:

  • Denise has taken a simple classic rhyme and updated it to be more relevant for today’s children.
  • Her art is amazing. AMAZING!
  • Great read-aloud.
  • Here’s another wonderful book that celebrates fathers, just in time for this Father’s Day weekend.

RELATED ACTIVITIES

MAKE PAPER

how-to-make-paper-with-kids1Photo courtesy: http://tinkerlab.com

Denise Fleming is well-known for her amazing paper-making which she uses in her illustrations.

Making paper is a fun-filled activity for kids. For simple instructions, go here: http://tinkerlab.com/how-to-make-paper/

For Denise’s very own instructions on papermaking, go here.

For more awesome activities, visit the 5 Little Ducks activity page.

If you are looking for more picture book reviews, hop on over to Susanna Hill’s blog. After today, she’ll be taking a summer hiatus, but I invite everyone who writes picture book reviews to leave their post links along with their comments every Friday so that readers can hop around and visit other blogs.

Please remember to leave a comment to be entered into the giveaway of one of Denise’s fabulous books, BEETLE BOP! And come back tomorrow to chat with her on Will Write for Cookies.

I hope you all have a wonderful and safe weekend! Happy Father’s Day!!!

PPBF: In the Small, Small Pond PLUS Library Week WINNERS

Yes, I know. It is Saturday already. Which means I missed posting for Perfect Picture Book Friday.

Oh dear…and I promised to announce the three winners in the Show Me How Library Giveaway. So, if it is okay with all of you, I will pretend it is Friday. Does that work?

The past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind of family visits to Chicago and several of its suburbs, as well as an inspiring week at the Wild Midwest SCBWI conference. Presentations by Candace Fleming, Lisa Wheeler, Lisa Cron, Kristen Fulton, Melissa Manlove, Linda Sue Park, Miranda Paul, Pat Zeitlow Miller, Jill Esbaum, and Casey Valiant filled my days. I reconnected with old friends like Kristen Fulton, Sarah Maynard, Angie Karcher, Lisa Rose, Pam Miller, and Stacy Jensen…and also connected with many new ones. If any of you writers or illustrators have not been to an SCBWI conference yet, I heartily encourage you to do so. They are PRICELESS!

My Perfect Picture Book Friday pick comes direct to you from the conference…I was lucky enough to win a copy of In the Small, Small Pond. Are you a fan of writing rhyming picture books? Or do you illustrate your own stories? Then this classic from Denise Fleming will be a great mentor text for you.

in a small small pond

In the Small, Small Pond

Written and illustrated by Denise Fleming

Publisher: Henry Holt and Company (1994)

Ages: 2 and up

Themes: Pond life, nature

Synopsis:

From Kirkus:

“In the same format and gorgeous illustrative style, a companion to In the Tall, Tall Grass (1991, Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor), with the succinct rhyming text (“waddle, wade, geese parade”), in bold black, beautifully integrated into art created in the process of making paper from pulp dyed in brilliant colors. This time, the child observer is Oriental; and where the first book moved from noon to night, the implicitly suggested cycle here is from tadpole and gosling to “Chill breeze, winter freeze.” Another perfect introduction to nature for the very young.”

Why I like this book:

  • Sparse rhyming text encourages young children to join in with the reading.
  • The illustrations are magnificent…it was a Caldecott Honor Book.
  • Great read-aloud.
  • Parents and teachers can use this story as a springboard for a discussion on life cycles of various animals

 

Related Activies:

The author/illustrator is one of the most creative artists I know. I was blessed to see her in person at the WOW Retreat last year…her presentation on paper-making definitely wowed everyone! Why not try some simple paper-making with your kids?

paper making

Photo courtesy: http://tinkerlab.com

For detailed instructions: http://tinkerlab.com/how-to-make-paper/

For more paper-making ideas: http://pbskids.org/zoom/activities/sci/recyclingpaper.html

 

I hope you all find the time to give paper-making a try…it’s lots of fun!

And now it’s time to announce the winners of our National Library Week giveaway. Thank you so all of you who subscribed to my email list…I haven’t bothered you with any mailings yet…but I am hoping to get my newsletter out soon…and hopefully, that won’t be a bother to you!

As I had mentioned, many libraries are very limited in what new materials they can buy for their collections because of reduced revenues. The winners will be able to present their libraries with a copy of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking. In the event your library doesn’t accept patron donations (many do…but some don’t), you are welcome to keep the book…or donate it to a local family shelter.

AND THE WINNERS ARE:

Sue Morris @ Kit lit reviews

Jane Heitman Healy

Sandy @ A Very Busy Mom

CONGRATULATIONS!!! I’LL BE CONTACTING YOU ASAP.

Thank you to all who have signed up already…if you haven’t and you would like to, just click on this link.

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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.

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