Happy Book Birthday: BUTTERNUT AND BUTTERCUP Plus PB Critique Giveaway


Butternut and Buttercup by Jill Dana, illustrated by Rachel Tan Hwee, published by Marshall Cavendish

Hip hip hooray! And guess what? This book is a sequel to the beautiful book, BUTTERNUT, that came out last year!
Here’s a bit about the new book:
A vibrant, humorous and moving story about friendship that is filled with wordplay and imaginative characters to spark creativity in readers of all ages Butternut and Buttercup are like two peas in a pod.

It’s Buttercup’s birthday and Butternut doesn’t want to spoil their sweet friendship with a sour gift. He visits old and new friends for advice and goes on an exciting exploration of food and friendship, where he discovers so much more than the perfect present.

The talented Jill is a member of one of my author promotion groups, @PictureBookGold. Just like it’s important and helpful to have critique groups when we are writing and revising our manuscripts, it’s also important and helpful to be in an author promotion group when your books debut. Not only do they support and encourage you, they can also help share resources as well as post reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. But you don’t need to be in the author promotion group to post reviews…in fact, I hope everyone posts reviews for all of the books they love!
And guess what? The talented Jill Dana is also the generous Jill Dana. She is offering a GIVEAWAY – the winner’s choice of either a copy of this fabulous book OR a Picture Book Critique! WOW! Please make sure you leave a comment for a chance to win. Maybe you can share what food item makes you smile every time you see it!

BUTTERNUT & BUTTERCUP launches TODAY! It’s available at all brick & mortar and online bookstores. And please remember to request that your local library purchase copies of it for their collection.
To connect with the author: @jilldanabooks
To connect with the illustrator: @rattanhwee

I hope you all have a wonderful week. It’s been snowing since yesterday here in Bedford, NH….and the weather prediction is for snow through Sunday. Good thing I didn’t have plans to go anywhere because I knew I’d be busy with…#50PreciousWords. That’s right, folks…the contest opens right here on this blog on the OFFICIAL #50PreciousWords 2023 Contest-Is-Open post on March 3rd at 12:01am EST.

Perfect Picture Book Friday: MISSING VIOLET Plus Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, dear friends. I probably connected with the author of today’s featured book during one of the #50PreciousWords contests (which is coming up soon – March 3-5 – so please stay tuned for details). I don’t know if Kelly Swemba entered a form of MISSING VIOLET, but if she did, I’m sure it was a winner because it’s a wonderful story. The book launches on January 31 (Yup…just a few more days – but it’s available for PRE-ORDER at your local indie bookstores and Amazon). And the lovely Kelly is offering a giveaway – one lucky person is going to win a copy of MISSING VIOLET! Please make sure you leave a comment at the end of the post – and please share on your social media for extra tickets in the giveaway hat.

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Happy Book Birthday: CLARINET AND TRUMPET Plus Giveaway

Please put away the scale…it’s time for CAKE and Candles and a big


Written by Melanie Ellsworth – Illustrated by John Herzog – Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

First of all…just look at that cover! Doesn’t it make you smile? And want to dance and move?

Plus, it’s a special type of picture book…it’s a SHAKER BOOK! Yes, kids can actually shake it and interact with it.

And the author, Melanie Ellsworth, stopped by to share a few words with us also about her path to publication with this book.

ME: Welcome, Melanie. I’m so happy you were able to swing by to chat!:

MELANIE: Thanks for having me on your blog, Vivian! I’m glad to celebrate CLARINET AND TRUMPET’s book birthday with you and your readers. CLARINET AND TRUMPET is one of those books that comes from “writing what you know.” I often lean towards “write what interests you” or “write what brings you joy/makes you laugh out loud,” and luckily, this book hit all those notes for me!  I have vivid childhood memories from band days in elementary school. As a clarinetist, I sat right in front of the trumpet section, which I strongly suspect enjoyed out-blasting the woodwinds. That friendly rivalry between brass and woodwinds carried on through high school, but eventually we changed our tune. We all came to understand that we were there for the music. Sure, it was fun to have a solo in our section, but it was even better when the music swelled from all the sections in the band. In CLARINET AND TRUMPET, I wanted to highlight the beauty and importance of each instrument (and individual!) but also the joy of coming together as a community for a purpose. There’s a special instrument – who shall remain secret – who helps bring Clarinet and Trumpet back to the music and to friendship. (And here’s another secret – that instrument was not part of my original manuscript.) Illustrator John Herzog did an amazing job breathing life into the instruments; you can feel all their emotions as you read the story.

ME: Truly…I can feel it just from the cover…there’s a lot of joy that emanates from that illustration!

Synopsis:  Clarinet and Trumpet have a pitch perfect friendship. But when Oboe convinces Clarinet that woodwinds should stick together, Clarinet and Trumpet’s harmonious relationship falls flat. Woodwinds and Brass face off – until music brings them back together. With pun-filled text and emotive illustrations, CLARINET AND TRUMPET honors the important role music plays in creating community.


Starred review from School Library Journal:

  • “K-Gr 4–A lyrical tour de force about individuality, friendship, and community, this humorous picture book highlights such values through musical instruments, showing how even small fractures can become deep divisions… A timely book that gently explores issues of similarity and difference, of holding on to one’s individuality while also recognizing the importance of others, this is a first purchase for all libraries.” (https://www.slj.com/?reviewDetail=clarinet-and-trumpet)

“Music aficionados and pun aficionados alike will appreciate the many musical puns interspersed throughout the text.”—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

WOW…those are awesome reviews! And we are so fortunate because Melanie and her publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, are offering a copy of the book as a giveaway. All you need to do is leave a comment…and of course, sharing the post on social media to spread the word is always appreciated – and rewarded by extra tickets in the giveaway hat.

If you don’t want to wait to see if you will be the lucky winner, CLARINET AND TRUMPET launched TODAY…so you can purchase it, review it, put it on your Goodreads Want-to-Read list, ask your local library to buy copies for their shelves, and tell friends about it.

And please come back tomorrow – that’s when I will be posting the #50PreciousWords Winners.