Perfect Picture Book Friday: NO PEACOCKS Plus Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, dear friends!

It’s been such a wonderful week so far…reconnecting with my dear friend Jane in her home on the New Jersey shore…we’ve known each other since we were two years old and have spent the last few days talking and hugging and talking some more! On Wednesday, we walked on the boardwalk,  listened to the waves crashing on the beach. and shared food I haven’t had forever like hot dogs and pizza and fries. 

Which made me think of NO PEACOCKS!, a brand new picture book by one of  my favorite kidlit authors, Robin Newman, about a bunch of birds who want to get some variety in their diet. And thanks to the lovely Robin, we have a giveaway of a copy of this wonderful book!

cover

NO PEACOCKS

Written by Robin Newman

Illustrated by Chris Ewald

Published by Sky Pony Press (September 2018)

Ages: 4-8

Themes: Humor, ingenuity, food

Synopsis: From Amazon: 

Every day, Phil, Jim, and Harry are fed sunflower seeds by the staff who care for them at The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine. But one day, they decide they’re sick of them. They make a break for the New York City streets in search of pizza or Chinese takeout.

But everywhere they go, they’re told “No peacocks!” So they try to get an ooey, gooey, delicious meal closer to home. But how are they going to sneak into the school’s dining hall and get their wings on the school’s world-famous mac ‘n cheese? A little plotting, some stolen disguises, and help from the students, and mission mac ‘n cheese is a go! Will the peacocks finally get their mac ‘n cheese? Or will their cover be blown, forcing them to fly the coop?

Inspired by the real-life beloved, celebrity birds living on the grounds of The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, and brought to the page in bold, bright style, No Peacocks!is a hilarious romp and a perfect read-aloud.

Why I like this book:

  • Kids love funny books…I love funny books…and this is a very funny book!
  • Great diversity in the school children!
  • Bold bright colors will engage kids from the first page to the last!

And here is some more info about the book, straight from the author’s mouth!

My latest book, No Peacocks! A Feathered Tale of Three Mischievous Foodies, illustrated by Chris Ewald (Sky Pony Press) flies onto bookshelves on 9/4.

Let me introduce you to some friends of mine:

This is Phil. He’s a white leucistic peafowl.

white peacock

This is Jim or Harry.

jim or harry

Or Harry or Jim. They’re your traditional blue-green peacocks.

harry or jim

Phil, Jim, and Harry reside on the grounds of The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. From the moment I saw them, I knew I wanted to write a story about them. But it wasn’t until I was attending a meeting for The Cathedral School’s book fair, when my son was a student, and someone announced—Did anyone leave a stroller on the porch with a sandwich? Because one of the peacocks just ate it—that I knew the kind of story I was going to write.

No Peacocks! is a fictional tale about Phil, Jim, and Harry’s quest to taste the school’s very famous mac ‘n cheese. With a little plotting, some stolen school uniforms, and help from the students, Mission Mac ‘n Cheese is a go! No Peacocks! is a cheesy story of friendship and teamwork, with a mild sprinkling of fowl behavior. 

Every day tour buses line up along Amsterdam Avenue from 110th Street to 112th Street to see the three celebrity peacocks and visit the cathedral (which also happens to be where Madeleine L’Engle had worked as the librarian and writer in residence).

No Peacocks! is a quintessential New York story. There may be Eloise at The Plaza Hotel on the east side of town, but there’s no doubt that the peacocks at The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine are THE celebrities on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. 

WOW! Don’t you love getting a behind the scenes look at how/why a book came to be? Is this not fantastic? And just think…one lucky person is going to win a copy of this fascinating book!!! Make sure you leave a comment to be entered into the giveaway.

RELATED ACTIVITIES

Peacock-Crafts-and-Activities-for-KidsPhoto courtesy: https://www.easypeasyandfun.com/peacock-crafts-and-activities/

For detailed instructions on many peacock crafts: https://www.easypeasyandfun.com/peacock-crafts-and-activities/

Here are some great learning extension activities from Robin:

activities from robin

more activities

more 2

more 3

more 4

And for more picture book reviews, please hop over to Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

I hope you will all come back tomorrow to visit with author Robin Newman who is stopping by to chat with us on Will Write for Cookies. Please don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway…and remember that book reviews on sites like Amazon and Goodreads are one of the best gifts you can give to your favorite authors.

Patricia Keeler: Will Write for Cookies PLUS Giveaway

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

headshot

PATRICIA KEELER

I connected with our Will Write for Cookies guest early this year and fell in love with her beautiful art and wonderful stories. (Plus, she’s an awesome person!) When she said she’d be happy to stop in to chat, I was thrilled!

Welcome, Patricia! We are so happy to have you here.

ME:  What was your favorite book when you were a child? 

PATRICIA:

My favorite book was THREE LITTLE HORSES. This is a wonderful story written and illustrated by Piet Worm. The little horses liked playing games that they dreamed up wearing their colorful thinking caps. An artist, wearing a tree suit, befriended them and took them to town. He disguised them in elaborate princess costumes and masks.  

 You might think this a strange story, but it made perfect sense to my six-year old brain and heart. My mother was a textile artist. She spun and dyed her own wool. She wove the yarn into sweaters and dresses. She also created beautiful wedding dresses. Her clients, the brides-to-be, would stand in the middle of our living room to try on their new gowns. Imagine the twirling, the billowing, the excited laughter and chatter.

 So of course little horses could go to town wearing princess masks and wearing princess gowns. Better yet, an artist, like my mother, provided them. I still have the book, and will occasionally pull it down and page through it just for the joy of it.

three little horses

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

PATRICIA:

I mostly write in my studio. First drafts are usually with pencil on paper. I write later versions on my computer. I often take these to my writer’s group, where I get constructive feedback. While it’s still fresh, I’ll often start improving the manuscript on the subway on the way home from Brooklyn.

 I’ll almost exclusively do my illustrating in my studio, although I’ll take walks along the Hudson River to work out content, design, layout and color paletteconcerns. After sketching a dummy of my story, I’ll start painting with watercolors. I’ll scan each page spread, and then combine images in Photoshop. I also incorporate elements of collage and photography. With LIZZIE AND LOU SEAL I created ocean waves and Lou Seal with encaustic wax. If you’d like to see more of this process, look here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evADOs7z068

V AT THE DRAWING TABLEHere I am at my drawing table.

supplies Here are some of the art supplies I work with.

And if you’d like to see even more of my art studio and my illustration approach, look here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=St9cCm4T1V0

This You Tube video shows me at work on my current project, SCOOP the ICE CREAM TRUCK, (Sky Pony Press, Spring 2018).

ME: Why do you create picture books for children? 

PATRICIA:

One of my greatest joys is creating art for children’s picture books—art that shows the rich emotions of feisty, assertive little girls. I illustrate independent creatures who demand to solve their own problems and expect to enjoy the rewards of doing so.

 I’m especially interested in girls who run up playground slides, win watermelon-spitting contests, and dress in colorful layers. I love little girls whose voices are dainty-delicate but when they shout, trees bend back.

 When visiting parks and playgrounds I discover the unique characteristics of a child by noticing how a baby’s legs hang like noodles from a carrier, how a toddler in a diaper walks like a goose, and a child can bend in positions that are a yogini’s dream.

 My greatest challenge is to have a consistent character while keeping up with her ever-changing moods. Hair and clothes help keep the character looking like the same child, but over 32 pages keeping her 5 years old and not 4 or 6—or her look irritated, but not angry—is on me.

lizzie crash

 I want the world to be a place of true opportunity for girls. In my work I want to show that crying is a badge of courage, because she gave her all. Her hair and clothes are expressions of freedom, because they’re her own flag. And failure is a necessity, because she’ll never move forward without it.

 Little girls intuitively know these things. I want to create books that support them from the get-go.

V BEAHere I am at Book Expo America this May sketching Lizzie wearing everything she needs for her day at the beach on her beach tool belt!

 Now about those cookies, I’ve asked my wonderful husband, Francis McCall, chief cook, bottle washer, editor, my biggest supporter—and baker—to supply the recipe for the best cookies I’ve ever had, cookies I defy anyone to manage to only eat one and not go back for more!

 Grandmother Gera’s Almond Crescent Cookies

V HOT FROM THE OVEN

 

 1/2 pound butter

1/2 pound fine ground almonds

1 1/2 cups white flour

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup granulated sugar

Cream the butter and sugar.  Add almonds.  Add 1 cup of the flour.  Add vanilla.  Sprinkle 1/2 cup of flour over this mixture and mix by hand.  Place a handful of dough on a floured board.  Roll out a log of this mixture 1 inch in diameter.  Cut off 1/2-inch slices.  Roll small crescents from the slices with the heels of hands.  Place the crescents on a buttered cookie sheet and bake at 325 degrees for 10 – 12 minutes.  Slightly cool and remove.  Place in container and dust with powdered sugar while still warm.  Yield approximately 10 dozen cookies.

 yumYUM!

 

 Giveaways

 coverLIZZIE and LOU SEAL book

necklaceLOU SEAL necklace

 HURRAY! I can’t thank you enough, Patricia, for sharing all of these insights with us. And for your generous giveaways! And for the yummy cookie recipe…Almond Crescent Cookies are one of my favorites! Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever met a cookie I didn’t like…but these are melt-in-your-mouth awesomeness!

Dear friends, if you’d like to connect with Patricia or find out more about her many wonderful books:

LIZZIE AND LOU SEAL, Sky Pony Press (why not hop over and write a review?)

SCOOP THE ICE CREAM TRUCK, Sky Pony Press (Spring 2018)

patriciakeeler-author-illustrator.com

Facebook – PatriciaKeelerBooks

Instagram – @patriciakeeler

Twitter       – @patriciakeelerbooks

WOW…what a post! Patricia has been exceedingly generous in sharing so much of her process…we even have the YouTube videos to learn from. You definitely don’t want to leave without commenting because I know everyone would love to win the book and necklace. And don’t forget, leave a comment on yesterday’s Perfect Picture Book Friday review of LIZZIE AND LOU SEAL, and you’ll be entered in THAT giveaway for a copy of the book AND the earrings.

And guess what??? The goodness just doesn’t stop because we need to announce the winners of author/illustrator Denise Fleming’s giveaway!

A copy of Beetle Bop goes to….LESLIE GOODMAN

And a copy of 5 Little Ducks goes to…MANJU HOWARD

CONGRATULATIONS!!!!

Please contact me so I can connect you and Denise.

Phew! I think I need to grab a big glass of iced tea and a plateful of those Almond Crescent Cookies! Have a wonderful weekend, dear friends.

Perfect Picture Book Friday: LIZZIE AND LOU SEAL Plus GIVEAWAY

Hold onto your beach hats, dear friends! Wednesday was the first day of summer and today we’ve got the perfect book to celebrate that.

Plus, today’s post is extra-special because author/illustrator Patricia Keeler is giving away a signed copy of LIZZIE and LOU SEAL 

cover

AND

a pair of Lizzie’s favorite flip-flop earrings!

flip flop earrings

Make sure you leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway!

LIZZIE and LOU SEAL

 Written and illustrated by Patricia Keeler

 Publisher: Sky Pony Press (2017)

 Ages: 3 – 6

 Themes:

 Independence, friendship, problem solving

 Synopsis:

From Amazon:

What will Lizzie do when Lou Seal loses his puff?

Lizzie loves her flip-flops. They go shuffle shuffle across the rug, smack smack on the floor tiles, and thwap thwap down the stairs. Lizzie also loves her blow-up toy, Lou Seal. Lizzie and Lou Seal are off to the beach, but beach fun turns to beach disaster when Lizzie loses her flip-flops and Lou Seal starts losing air! It’s a sink or swim scenario. What will Lizzie do?

This is a beautiful book with mixed media art and a lovely retro feel, for fans of Ladybug Girl at the Beach. Children will relate to Lizzie’s independence and creative problem solving and fall in love with Lou Seal themselves. Filled with lots of fun words and sounds, this is a perfect read aloud book for parents and children alike.

Why I like this book:

  • Charming, retro surroundings frame Lizzie’s seaside life.
  • The text marries perfectly with the illustrations and much of the story is briliiantly told in the illustrations…kids will enjoy discovering the leak in Lou Seal way before Lizzie notices it.
  • This story engages all the senses, while reeling out a picture book that is the perfect beach read as well as a great anytime read-aloud.
  • A great launch pad for a discussion about water safety.

RELATED ACTIVITIES

FAUX SNOW GLOBE: On The Beach or In The Ocean?

snow globes

We are so lucky. Author/illustrator Patricia Keeler has created a super fun craft for the kids!

You will need: Firm yellow heavy paper, firm blue paper, Krazy Glue, 2 clear lids from 32 oz Stonyfield Yogurt, sand, glitter & LIZZIE and LOU SEAL icon sheet below.

  1. Print out the LIZZIE and LOU SEAL sheet. Cut out Lou Seal and icons.
  2. Choose which items would most likely be found on land. Choose which items would be found in the ocean.
  3. Draw a circle around the yogurt lid on the yellow and blue sheets.
  4. In the center of the yellow circle, place sand, beach items and Lou Seal. In the circle on the blue paper, place blue glitter, ocean items and Lou Seal.
  5. Put Krazy Glue along the circle line. Stick the lid down and let it dry.​
  6. SHAKE, SHAKE, SHAKE and enjoy!

jpeg of icons

Dear friends…have a safe and wonderful weekend, don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway…

make sure you leave a review for LIZZIE AND LOU SEAL on Amazon and…

…please come back tomorrow–Patricia Keeler is stopping by for our Will Write for Cookies Q&A!

Happy Book Birthday Plus Giveaway: LIZZIE AND LOU SEAL

ARE YOU READY FOR MORE KIDLIT GOODNESS?

 2017 IS A BANNER YEAR FOR PICTURE BOOKS!

PLEASE JOIN ME IN WISHING A

 HAPPY BIRTHDAY

TO

lizzie-and-lou-seal-cover

This book is definitely a celebration! Just look at the main character! She’s really something special! What a great role model for little girls! Independent. Creative. Smart. I love the books that Sky Pony Press puts out. Lucky for us, author/illustrator Patricia Keeler stopped by to give us the inside scoop on Lizzie.

PATRICIA:

Lizzie is created from all the feisty little girls I’ve known. The littlest girls who don’t want to comb their hair. They barely have the patience to climb into a bathing suit, but they can’t wait to go swimming, or to slip on their new flip-flops.

 Lizzie is the “Don’t help me, I want to do this myself.” kind of girl. But Lizzie, like the other feisty girls, has a favorite toy animal she loves, loves, loves and drags everywhere. Sooner or later, the animal gets dirty or torn or lost. This is what’s in store for Lizzie and her blow-up beach pal, Lou Seal.

 Lizzie may be little, but she’s smart and plucky. When she figures out she has a problem with Lou Seal, (can the reader spot the problem before Lizzie?) she sets out to solve it herself. It’s a sink or swim scenario! What’s Lizzie to do?

 

WOW…thanks, Patricia, for giving us all the low-down on your main character, Lizzie. I think I can already see a series about this feisty little girl!

 Lizzie

To find out more about Patricia and her wonderful books, you can connect with her:

www.patriciakeeler-author-illustrator.com

Facebook – PatriciaKeelerBooks

Instagram – @patriciakeeler

Twitter       – @patriciakeelerbooks

 And if you’d like to qualify for the copy of LIZZIE AND LOU SEAL that Patricia is giving away, please leave a comment and, if you can, share the post on your social media.

Patricia will be back to celebrate the summer with us when she is my guest on Will Write for Cookies on June 24. There is sure to be lots of splishing and splashing!

 And the 2017 picture book goodness keeps rolling along when LITTLE RED ROLLS AWAY, by Linda Whalen, rolls in for Perfect Picture Book Friday this week. See you all then! Thank you so very much for spending time with us.

Picture Book Review and Activity PLUS Giveaway: LUCY LOVES SHERMAN

People who work from Monday through Friday often look forward to the end of the week. I look forward to the end of the week because that means…Perfect Picture Book Friday. But first, a few things to take care of.

  1. Last week we enjoyed having Marcie Colleen and her adorable pals, the SUPER HAPPY PARTY BEARS. We promised two giveaways and here they are.

THE WINNER OF STAYING A HIVE IS…

Jeanine Potter

THE WINNER OF GOING NUTS IS…

Judy Sobanksi

Ladies, please email me: viviankirkfield@gmail.com and I will make arrangements to get the books to you.

 

  1. The ReFoReMo Challenge is winding down…thanks to Carrie Charlie Brown and Kirsti Call for all of their work in organizing this for the kid lit community. You can access all of the incredible blog posts and reading lists here.
  2. Jodell Sadler is gearing up for the 2nd Annual Birthday Bash for KidLit College. There will be inspiring posts (one of them is mine – hurray!) And incredible prizes…don’t miss it. Here’s just a taste of what the blog posts will look like.
  3. And because I know how much you all love writing challenges…fellow Storm sister, Alexandria LaFaye has a fun 100-word one going on…what if a piece of food was your childhood friend.
  4. I’ve been working behind the scenes on the #50PreciousWordsforKids Writing Challenge. The flyer should be ready shortly and I’ll post it on Facebook, Twitter, and my blog. If you are a teacher or connected in any way to an elementary school, this may be for you and the children you work with. The challenge will coincide with Children’s Book Week, May 1-7. It’s all about encouraging diversity in imagination for kids in K-6th Several authors have already offered to donate a mini-Skype classroom visit…I’ll need one for each grade level and I already have three.

And now, thank you for your patience…it’s time for our #PPBF review of a book that JUST CELEBRATED ITS BOOK BIRTHDAY THIS WEEK.

cover

Lucy Loves Sherman

Written by Catherine Bailey Continue reading

Cover Reveal…LUCY LOVES SHERMAN Plus Giveaway!

Wait a minute. Today is Monday. I don’t usually have blog posts on Mondays.

But today is a special Monday…it’s a COVER REVEAL!!!!

For a brand-new picture book.

TA-DA!!

cover

LUCY LOVES SHERMAN

Splashing out from Sky Pony Press in March 2017. Catch more details and learn about the evolution of the cover over at Tara Lazar’s.

And in March, LUCY LOVES SHERMAN will be one of our Perfect Picture Book Friday picks….plus author Catherine Bailey will be visiting for a Q&A and Giveaway on Will Write for Cookies that month.

A little about the author:

Catherine Bailey is a children’s author from sunny Florida. Her current books include MIND YOUR MONSTERS (Sterling Publishing, 2015), HYPNOSIS HARRY (Sky Pony Press, 2016), and LUCY LOVES SHERMAN (Sky Pony Press, 2017) – with more on the way! She has also written for popular children’s magazines such as Highlight’s Hello and Babybug. She is a frequent children’s speaker and has visited with hundreds (and hundreds, and hundreds!) of kids at schools, libraries, stores, and special events.

When Catherine is not writing, or editing, or swatting at mosquitoes, she looks after her husband and two children. All three of them are quite sticky, and none like bedtime, but she loves them anyway. Her prior job titles include Lawyer (interesting), Sailboat Deckhand (fun but occasionally sea-sicky), and Cartoon Network Intern (best job ever, besides writing). Her hobbies include reading, travel, and TJ MAXX. But mostly reading.

Learn more about Catherine and her work at www.catherinebaileybooks.com.

 

And a little about the illustrator:

Meg Walters is an Illustrator and Designer and she is excited to be illustrating her first picture book, Lucy Loves Sherman, written by Catherine Bailey published in March 2017. 

Meg attended Syracuse University where she received her BFA in Illustration. Meg lives in New Jersey with her husband, two children and her yellow dog who snores loudly while she works.

Meg is member of SCBWI and can be reached at meg@crazydogdesign.com.

These marvelous 2017 picture books are exploding with goodness. I’m so excited to be a part of all of this…and since this is a cover reveal…and since it’s all about the love…and since you all know how much I love chocolate…just leave a comment and you’ll be entered to win a yummy bar of gourmet healthy chocolate.