Anything Is Possible this Perfect Picture Book Friday.

We all know what it’s like to have a dream we desperately want to come true. I’m not talking about the dream of a weed-free garden, a fridge filled with veggies that won’t spoil, or a dog that won’t need taking out in the middle of the night. I’m talking about those dreams that feel unobtainable no matter how much we want them, no matter how hard we try to make them happen, no matter how powerfully we visualize them becoming real. We might draw a picture of our dream and tape it on the fridge or bathroom mirror where we will see it every day. Some days, looking at the picture fills us with determination and drive while on other days, just glancing at that picture fills us with anguish because nothing we have done is getting us any closer to our dream.

But then…

We reach out to someone. We share our impossible dream. We talk about our struggles and steps we’ve taken toward holding our dream. And they say the words we’ve been aching to hear.

“I know how you can get there.”

And with their wisdom, a handful of encouragement, some fresh ideas, and a new perspective…

DREAM = REALITY!

And that is what today’s book for Perfect Picture Book Friday is all about.

Title – Anything is Possible

Written by – Giulia Belloni

Illustrated by – Marco Trevisan

Published by – Owlkids Books, Inc. 2013

Suitable for ages – 3-7

Topics/Theme –  Perseverance and teamwork

Opening – This is the story of a sheep who, from the top of her hill watched the birds fly and thought to herself: “How lucky they are! They can choose how they look at things: from far away, from up close, or from somewhere in between.”

Amazon Review HERE – The sheep in this story is a dreamer, while her friend the wolf has a more practical disposition. One day the sheep runs to the wolf with an idea. She wants to build a flying machine! But the wolf tells her it’s impossible. Eventually, however, the sheep’s dream gets the better of the wolf’s doubts, and they begin to work on the project together. Through perseverance and the process of trial and error, the sheep and wolf manage to create a winning design, brought to life by architecturally and mathematically inspired paper collage art. At the end of this whimsical tale, even the wolf has to admit that anything is possible!

Why do I like this book? This book serves as a reminder to children and adults that the dreams we believe are impossible aren’t if we have faith in our abilities, focus on the steps to get us there, and a friend who can lend some wisdom and a hand. The story also reminds us that it’s okay to ask for help and that when the answer to a problem isn’t clear, two minds are often better than one.

Learn more about Giulia Belloni HERE.

Learn more about Marco Trevisan HERE.

Until next Friday!

Messes aren’t always disasters. See why this Perfect Picture Book Friday!

I’m pretty sure many of us could look back to our childhood years and identify a little, and hopefully a lot, with Jamie, the main character in today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday selection, Down Here by Valerie Sherrard.

Jamie is a little boy with a big imagination. He sees the world in ways grownups no longer can. Where his mother sees a mess of blankets thrown over chairs, pillows piled up precariously, and a toboggan IN THE HOUSE, Jamie sees a castle where knights tame dragons to roast marshmallows. Don’t you already love this kid?

Although I never played with imaginary knights and dragons when I was little, I did play under the dining room table. I’d imagine the long tablecloth, that swept down to the floor, made the walls of my secret room. I would dump out my box of Legos and build a small village for my dolls. Some days, I’d pull my little, wooden stool under the table and pretend it was an artist’s table. I’d spread out my paper and crayons and color pictures of my family and flowers. Then, I’d tape up my mini-masterpieces to the underside of the tablecloth to decorate my secret room. Minus the dragons, I was a little like Jamie. Maybe that’s why I love today’s book so much.

Title – Down Here – view on Amazon HERE.

Written by – Valerie Sherrard

Illustrated by – Isabelle Malenfant

Published by – Fitzhenry & Whiteside – 2015

Suitable for ages – 3-7

Topics/Theme –  Imaginative play, looking at things differently

Opening – Everyone is good at something.

My sister Lynn is good at drawing cats. Our fridge is covered with her pictures!

My brother Marcus is good at telling scary stories. Mom claps and says he will be a great author some day.

I am good at building. I can build ANYTHING! There is only one problem.

Why do I like this book? I had forgotten, until my daughter was about two or three, that everything around me can be seen from more perspectives than simply straight on or from top-down. My little girl walked and crawled close to the ground, she could see the undersides of furniture, the undersides of the dog’s belly, and the underside of a skirt on a mannequin at Macy’s… But that’s another story. Today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday selection, Down Here, reminds us not to be quick to judge until we have looked at something from all sides. I call that a great reason to like love this book.

Learn more about Valerie Sherrard HERE.

Learn more about Isabelle Malenfant HERE.

Are you interested in ideas to encourage imaginative play? You’ll find ten HERE.

Until next Friday!

We’re peeking into Grandma’s Purse this Perfect Picture Book Friday. :)

My grandmother’s purse was nothing like the enormous, treasure-filled bag in today’s picture book, Grandma’s Purse, by Vanessa Brantley-Newton. My grandmother preferred a small, tan, leather clutch with a delicate snap closure to keep her few necessities near. Although she never emptied out her purse, like the grandmother does in today’s book, I was naturally curious to see inside and often leaned over to peek when she removed a lace hankie with her initials embroidered at the corner, her compact mirror engraved with a bouquet of her favorite violets, or a small comb. Despite the petite size of her clutch, my grandmother found space for her coin purse and a few wrapped, lemon candies she shared with me.

If your grandmother had a treasure-filled purse, like the one in today’s book review, I hope you’ll share in the comments a few of the special items she packed that brought you smiles.  🙂

Title – Grandma’s Purse

Written and illustrated by – Vanessa Brantley-Newton

Published by – Alfred A. Knopf -2018

Suitable for ages – 3-7

Topics –  Grandmothers, playing dress-up, sharing.

Opening – Today my grandma Mimi is coming to visit. When Mimi comes over, she always has a new treasure to share. And no matter what it is, it comes from inside her purse.

Amazon Review –  View it HERE. Spend the day with a grandma and granddaughter in this charming picture book about the magic found in their favorite accessory, perfect for readers who love How to Babysit a Grandma!

When Grandma Mimi comes to visit, she always brings warm hugs, sweet treats…and her purse. You never know what she’ll have in there–fancy jewelry, tokens from around the world, or something special just for her granddaughter. It might look like a normal bag from the outside, but Mimi and her granddaughter know that it’s pure magic!

In this adorable, energetic ode to visits from grandma, beloved picture book creator Vanessa Brantley Newton shows how an ordinary day can become extraordinary.

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Why do I like this book? Vanessa is both a gifted storyteller and a brilliant illustrator.  With just the right expression, the perfect head tilt, and swing of clothing, she brings to life all of the enthusiasm and delight one little girl feels when her grandmother comes for a visit. Each picture is loaded with sweet details to keep the most fidgety of listeners engaged. And for the adults reading this book, this story serves as a sweet stroll down memory lane.
Watch Vanessa Brantley-Newton read her book on YouTube HERE.

Learn about Vanessa Brantley-Newton HERE and HERE.

Find more “Perfect Picture Book Friday” reviews at Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog HERE.

Did your grandmother keep fun treasures in her purse? Candy? A small present? Photographs of her loved ones? I would absolutely love to hear some of your treasured “Grandma’s purse” memories in the comments.

Until next Friday!

Telephone – a fun game and picture book this Perfect Picture Book Friday.

I was one of twenty-three fidgety kids lined up between the overflowing supplies cabinet and the smelly, gerbil cage in Mrs. Larson’s third-grade class, waiting for instructions on how to play this game.

“Think up a message,” Mrs. Larson told the first student in line, “and whisper it to the person standing next to you. Keep the message going down the line to the last person. He’ll tell us what he heard. Then, we’ll see how close it is to the original message.”

Of course, knowing the end message was expected to be a far cry from the original words, most kids tweaked more than a few words while whispering their ear-tickling messages behind cupped hands.

This fun game of Telephone is the basis for today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday (PPBF) review.

Title – Telephone

Written by – Mac Barnett

Illustrated by – Jen Corace

Published by – Chronicle Books – 2014

Suitable for ages – 3-7

Topics/Theme –  listening skills

Opening –  Tell Peter: Fly home for dinner.     Tell Peter: Hit pop flies and homers.

Amazon Review –  View it HERE.  It’s time to fly home for dinner! In this witty picture book from award-winning and bestselling author Mac Barnett, a mother bird gives the bird next to her a message for little Peter. But passing messages on a telephone line isn’t as simple as it sounds. Each subsequent bird understands Mama’s message according to its own very particular hobbies. Will Peter ever get home for dinner? This uproarious interpretation of a favorite children’s game will get everyone giggling and is sure to lead to countless rereads.

Why do I like this book?  What’s not to love about a book that takes the adult reader back in time while introducing kids to a marvelously funny game? Jen Corace’s, crisp, colorful illustrations are expressive and humorous – the perfect pairing for an ever-changing, off-the-charts, funny picture book by Mac Barnett.
Watch the book trailer HERE.

Learn about Mac Barnett HERE.

Lear about Jen Corace HERE.

Find more “Perfect Picture Book Friday” reviews at Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog HERE.

What childhood games are you fondly recalling? I’d love for you to share them in the comments

Until next Friday!

Don’t Feed The Bear – Review + Winner Today on Perfect Picture Book Friday!

Last Friday, I interviewed Kathleen Doherty about her path to publication with a look behind the scenes at the inspiration and creation of her picture book, Don’t Feed The Bear. Today, as promised, I’m giving you a peek inside this hilarious book. And don’t forget to read all the way to the bottom to find out the name of the lucky, hat-picked recipient who won a copy of Kathy’s book!

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As a kid, I couldn’t resist flopping on the living room rug with a bowl of pretzels to watch cartoons. I giggled through The Flintstones, admired Judy’s fashion sense on The Jetsons, and had my funny bone tickled as Yogi Bear and Boo Boo tried to fool the ranger. It’s this last cartoon that came to mind as I read Kathy’s picture book, Don’t Feed The Bear. Take one oversized bear and one petite, stout ranger, both with ravenous appetites for camper’s goodies and both determined keep the other from getting any, and you’ve got a laugh a page picture book!

Bear and Ranger are two desperate characters that will stop at nothing to get all the camper’s handouts for themselves. And I mean, they will stop at nothing! Creative signs, a war of words, a spritz of paint… Who’s going to win? You’ll have to read this book to find out. 

No picture book is complete without perfect illustrations, and with the award-winning art of Chip Wass, who designs characters and illustrations for Disney, Nick at Nite, Cartoon Network, and more, Don’t Feed The Bear is a super-duper, picture book treat! 

Title – Don’t Feed The Bear

Written by – Kathleen Doherty

Illustrated by – Chip Wass

Published by- Sterling Children’s Books – 2018

Topics – Compromise, fairness, and getting along.

Opening – Bear loved when campers left him grub.

Mac and cheese…carrot cake…meatball stew!

Early one morning, Bear heard SMACKITY! SMACK! WHOMP!

He clomped off to investigate.

Synopsis from AmazonMac and cheese, Carrot cake, Meatball stew: Bear loves when campers leave him grub. The park ranger does not. Smackity smack, Ranger pounds a sign into the ground: DON’T FEED THE BEAR! Upset—no more chewy cookies? No more juicy burgers?—Bear quickly crosses out the “don’t.” Now, it’s war in the park! But when both Bear and Ranger end up losing out, will the two antagonists finally call a truce? With its delightfully cartoonlike pictures and clever wordplay, this picture book will keep kids laughing for hours.

Why do I like this book? Bear and the ranger aren’t your typical picture book characters. These two are snarky, sneaky, and utterly creative when it comes to outsmarting the other. Armed with a bunch of signs sporting well-chosen words, a little spray paint, and some markers, Bear and the ranger learn an important lesson. And seriously, when you read this book, get ready for laughs!

Now for the winner of Kathy’s book.

Please put your hands together for Patricia Tilton!!!

Learn more about Kathleen Doherty HERE.

Learn more about Chip Wass, illustrator HERE.

Until next Friday!

Kathleen Doherty – Author Interview and Book Giveaway of Don’t Feed the Bear

As I found an open seat on the last day of the three-day, Marvelous Midwest SCBWI Conference last month, I had the joy of sharing a table with picture book author, Kathleen Doherty. As children’s writers, we fell easily into conversation and talked about the stories we love to write, what we’re currently working on, and she shared some of her “behind-the-scenes” journey for writing Don’t Feed The Bears (like receiving her publisher’s acceptance for her manuscript while enjoying an Alaskan vacation!) Then, I asked if I could interview her and follow up the next week with a review of her book.

She said, YES!  

When I came back home, one of the first things I did was purchase a copy of Kathleen’s book, read it (of course), laughed like crazy at the zany antics between the bear and park ranger in the story while I wondered how a picture book could be written in such few words and tell such a thoroughly entertaining story.  I LOVE IT!!!

From Kathleen’s website –

Kathleen Doherty is a Reading Specialist and an Educational Specialist in Curriculum and Instruction. She’s written standardized test items for Pearson, Inc. in alignment with the Common Core Standards. She’s also won the Highlights Pewter Plate Award, the Highlights Celebrate National Poetry Contest, and received a letter of merit from SCBWI’s Magazine Merit Competition.

Kathleen donates 100% of her author earnings to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

THE INTERVIEW

Me: Some writers have always known they wanted to write picture books while others stepped onto this path after having children. Can you take us back to the moment when you knew you wanted to write for children? 

Kathleen: The idea to write a picture book sparked years ago while I was working on my master’s degree in reading and taking a children’s literature class. My professor’s love for children’s books was palpable. I remember wondering why he never wrote a book . . . and I told myself someday I would.

Me: What were the first steps you took to begin your writing journey?

Kathleen: I was first published in TIME Magazine with a letter to the editor. It was so much fun seeing myself in print, I started to pursue writing. I took classes from the Institute of Children’s Literature, Highlights Foundation workshops, and joined SCBWI.

Me: What is the most challenging aspect of writing a picture book? 

Kathleen: It’s difficult to write a tight story using creative language  . . . to make sure there are 14 different page spreads . . . and to include a twist at the end.

Me: For each manuscript I’ve written, I remember the Ah Ha moment that sent me running to type up my ideas. Can you tell us what inspired you to write your picture book, Don’t feed The Bear? 

Kathleen: While visiting Alaska, I saw signs that said Don’t Feed the Bears. I began to play “what if.” What if campers were feeding a bear. What if the bear could read and got angry seeing the ranger pound a Don’t Feed the Bear sign into the ground. What if the bear retaliated….?

Me: What surprised you most on your writing path from the book idea to its publication? 

Kathleen: I had an agent at the time who turned down my manuscript. She said Don’t Feed the Bear was a cute story, but she didn’t think it would sell. So I was free to submit it myself. It sold to the first editor I sent it to.

Me: If you could go back to the first months on your writing journey, what important advice would you love to give yourself?

Kathleen: Play with words, experiment, and take risks. Confidence, skill, and voice will develop with practice.

Me: Where do you most love to write and what makes this place special to you? 

Kathleen: I have a comfy leather chair with an ottoman and a tray for my computer. It’s a special place because it’s my favorite room. Can you tell I love clocks?

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Me: Some authors take one year to write and polish a picture book manuscript while others write and edit over many years. What was the time frame for writing Don’t Feed The Bear? 

Kathleen: It took about six months to write and revise Don’t Feed the Bear.

Me: In your story, Bear’s favorite grub campers leave him are mac and cheese, carrot cake and meatball stew? What are your favorite foods to snack on while you’re writing? 

Kathleen: Ha! No crunchy Cheetos. No chocolate covered peanuts. No chewy caramels. Just fruit. Boring.

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Me: What was the best comment/reaction you have received from a child about your picture book? 

Kathleen: At one school visit, a little girl was waiting in line to get her book signed, and she was jumping up and down saying, “I just love my mother! I just LOVE my mother! She bought me a book by a real live author!” [as opposed to a dead one]

Me: I’ve often imagined sipping coffee in a small café when an author I admire breezes in and happens to sit at my table. Which author would you love to chat with over coffee? 

Kathleen: Kevin Henkes. . . Kevin, if you’re reading this, I’d even buy lunch.

(On a side note, Kevin Henkes is the picture book author and illustrator of Chrysanthemum, Lily’s Big Day, A Weekend With Wendell, Owen, and many more. And frankly, I’d love to chat with him over a cup of coffee, too.)

Me: Can you share something interesting or unexpected most people don’t know about you? (A hobby? Something on your bucket list that you did or hope to do? An unusual pet you had or have?)

Kathleen: Years ago, I ate fried mealworms and a chocolate covered cricket at Purdue Lafayette’s Bug Fest. I wrote a story about the experience and sent it to Highlights Magazine. But the story never sold. Blech.

If you’re interested in reading other interviews with Kathleen or reading reviews of her book, click on the links below. 

https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/kathleen-doherty/dont-feed-the-bear/

https://picturebookbuilders.com/2018/04/dont-feed-the-bear-a-giveaway/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHRjxfThM4k

https://redreadinghub.blog/2018/06/19/dont-feed-the-bear/

http://literallylynnemarie.blogspot.com/2019/01/ppbf-dont-feed-bear-by-kathleen-doherty.html

https://www.nightbuddiesadventures.com/childrens-literature/all-you-need-to-know-about-the-world-of-bookstagram/

https://readitdaddy.blogspot.com/2018/06/dont-feed-bear-by-kathleen-doherty-and.html

You can connect with Kathleen on her website, Facebook, and Twitter.

And now for the Giveaway!

One lucky person who leaves a comment will receive a copy of Kathleen’s picture book, Dont’ Feed The Bear. I’ll announce the winner on next Friday’s Perfect Picture Book review of this very book!

See you then!

Four Otters Toboggan: An Animal Counting Book by Vivian Kirkfield+ Book Winner!

This Friday, as promised, I’m sharing Vivian Kirkfield’s stunning picture book, Four Otters Toboggan – An Animal Counting Book, as well as the lucky winner of this book, “hat picked” from those who left a comment on last Friday’s author interview post.

vine borderHave you ever been attracted to a book because of its title or cover illustration? Have you ever paged through a book and connected with it so powerfully you hugged it all the way to the store’s cash register? Have you ever been moved by a book so greatly you read it countless times? 

Vivian’s picture book, Four Otters Toboggan – An Animal Counting Book, will have you saying Yes! Yes! Yes!

Welcome to an ecological journey of discovery on which you will be delighted by Vivian’s special word choices – sure to change the way you see and hear the world.

We’ve seen dragonflies hover and zip across a pond, but have we thought of them as ballerinas above a liquid stage? 

In nature films, we have observed otters slide into the water, but when Vivian writes that they toboggan down a slide of mud, this playful scene comes to life. 

Title – Four Otters Toboggan – An Animal Counting Book

Written by – Vivian Kirkfield

Illustrated by – Mirka Hokkanen

Published by- PomegranateKids – 2019

Topics – wildlife preservation, endangered animal awareness, counting, water, weather

Opening –

Water waits.

Dawn breaks

in a chorus of bird song.

ONE willow flycatcher whistles

as the night slips silently away.

Synopsis from Amazon  Water wakes. Wildlife greets the day and finds shelter, safety, and fun on the river in this lyrical, ecologically oriented counting book. One willow flycatcher, two dragonflies, three kit foxes, and more thrive in their habitat. As kids count, the day turns from dawn to dusk, and the character of the water changes as quickly as a child’s moods. Animals sing, leap, tiptoe, toboggan, hoot, hunt, flit, flutter, and hover. They ride out a storm, bask in waning rays, and tuck in under the silver moon.

Filled with modern wood engravings, Four Otters Toboggan celebrates wild beauty, encouraging readers of all ages to preserve and cherish our planet. After the story is finished, children can read more about each species in the back of the book, conservation efforts, what causes animals to become endangered, and what people can do to protect wild habitats.

Why do I like this book? Along with the fun of finding and counting animals on each page, children are introduced to eleven endangered species, the concept of time passage over a day, and the ever-changing mood of both water and a storm. That’s a lot to build into a 32-page picture book! And did I mention the back matter offers additional facts about each animal? The part I love best is that this information is told with lyrical and thoughtfully-chosen words, accompanied by lovingly-created, modern, wood engraving illustrations.

Now for the winner of Vivian’s beautiful book.

Please put your hands together for Jilanne Hoffmann!!!

Learn more about Vivian Kirkfield HERE.

Learn more about Mirka Hokkanen HERE.

Read about and watch the making of the illustrations for Four Otters Toboggan HERE.

From Siera Club – Learn 5 Ways to Protect Endangered Species HERE.

Until next Friday!

 

Interview with Picture Book Author Vivian Kirkfield and a Giveaway!!!

I met Vivian Kirkfield a number of years ago through the 12×12 picture book challenge group. We’ve taken online writing webinars and classes together and cheered each other along on our writing journeys. Anyone who knows Vivian will agree that she’s a talented writer, an enthusiastic cheerleader, and a valued friend. And although our friendship has never ventured beyond the invisible boundaries of the internet, I know one day I’ll have the joy of meeting Vivian in person, and there will be smiles and hugs. Please welcome my dear friend and beloved picture book author, Vivian Kirkfield!

Writer for children—reader forever…that’s Vivian Kirkfield in five words. Her bucket list contains many more than five words – but she’s already checked off skydiving, parasailing, and banana boat riding. When she isn’t looking for ways to fall from the sky or sink under the water, she can be found writing picture books in the quaint village of Amherst, NH where the old stone library is her favorite hangout and her young grandson is her favorite board game partner. A retired kindergarten teacher with a masters in Early Childhood Education, Vivian inspires budding writers during classroom visits and shares insights with aspiring authors at conferences and on her blog, Picture Books Help Kids Soar. Vivian - Banner

Me: Welcome, Vivian!!! I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am to have you visiting my blog today. I have a handful of questions about your writing journey and book, Four Otters Toboggan. Let’s get started.

Some writers have always known they were destined for a life of writing while others embarked on this journey after their children or grandchildren were born. Can you describe the moment you knew you wanted to write for children?

Vivian: Although I scribbled stories and poems as a child and always loved writing, I never seriously considered writing for children until I went skydiving at the age of 64. It empowered me to start blogging to spread the word about my parenting book, Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking (Money Penny Press, 2010). And as I blogged about picture books because that is what my parenting guide was all about, I connected with people who wanted to write picture books and I realized that was exactly what I wanted to do.

Me: Tying into the question above, what were the first steps you took at the start your
journey?

Vivian: The first step, luckily, was joining in with Julie Hedlund as she started her 12×12  Challenge to write twelve picture book drafts in 12 months in 2012. Perhaps you’ve heard this saying which is attributed to Confucius…when the student is ready, the teacher appears. 2012 was the year I was ready to learn…and 12×12 came along. The 12×12 Picture Book Writing Challenge gave me a fabulous foundation in productivity which I think is one of the four key elements needed to find success in book publishing. The other three are patience, passion, and perseverance. In addition to joining that challenge, I also participated in Tara Lazar’s story idea challenge, Storystorm (PiBoIdMo in those days), found critique groups so I could get feedback on my manuscripts, and read dozens of picture books. And of course, I wrote and revised and wrote and revised and wrote and revised.

Me: Although I’m not as far along on my writing journey as you are, I wish I could go back to those first days and share some powerful advice with my younger self. Knowing all you know now, what changes would you have made earlier on if you could go back?

Vivian: I probably would have taken some picture book writing classes right away. Instead, I waited until 2014…and then I took FIVE in one year. Hmmm…I would tell my younger self: don’t do that!

Me: I read an interview in which an author said she wrote in her car while parked on her driveway as it was the only quiet place she could find. Other writers write in a coffee shop or home office. Can you describe the place where you love to write and also share what makes this place special?

Vivan: My small round dining room table is my favorite spot to write. On the left, there is a big picture window that looks out at the woods behind the house. On the right, there is the kitchen with a window that faces the front of the house and the road…in the winter, I can see the cars go by…in the summer, the trees and bushes leaf out. But I feel like it is the hub of the house and I like that feeling. I don’t usually need silence to research or write. Vivian-writing table

Me: Every book begins with an inspiration. We might overhear a conversation that sparks an idea, see a clever illustration, read a news item in the paper, catch a child’s comment, participate in an activity, and more. When did you receive your ‘AH HA’ moment for your book, Four Otters Toboggan, that sent you rummaging for paper and a pen?

Vivian: That’s an easy one, Leslie. Four Otters Toboggan was inspired by my many fishing expeditions with my late husband. Stuart and I would hike into pristine wilderness areas and fly-fish. And when I’d get tired of casting, I’d sit quietly on a boulder…so still that the woodland creatures would start venturing out. River otters splashed, butterflies hovered, and falcons circled overhead. But sometimes we’d find trash left behind or we would discover that industrial or residential development had ruined a formerly untouched area. When I filled my PiBoIdMo notebook in 2013, one of the ideas was about a lake where endangered animals came to visit…I wanted to encourage young children to learn about these creatures and cherish them and protect them.

Me: You’ve shared your books in many classrooms with kids across the world. What was the best comment/reaction you received from a child?

Vivian: The best comment: WOW…how do you write so neatly? And of course, I had to explain, that the book is printed by the publisher who has machines that write so neatly. I bring the little book dummy I made for OTTERS years ago and they can see the stick figures and messy handwriting…and I assure them that their art and writing are probably much better than mine!

Me: Imagine you are sipping coffee in a fabulous café. The bell on the door jingles, and a
children’s author breezes inside. To your joy, the only available place to sit is at your
table. Which author would you love for this to be, and what do you most want to ask or say to them?
Vivian-London

Vivan: I’m blessed because I have gotten to sit and chat with many wonderful picture book authors. Just last week, I attended an author panel at the Blue Bunny Bookshop and was able to meet the owner, author/illustrator Peter Reynolds. He is just like his books, filled with light and love. And I’ve spoken with Brian Lies, whose book, THE ROUGH PATCH, is one of my favorites, especially for times of loss. But, going back in time, I guess I’d love it to be Louisa May Alcott because I was so enamored with her books when I was younger and now, as an author, I so admire how she wrote what she knew and managed to throw rocks at her heroes before she allowed them to succeed, which is an element of storytelling that I struggle with. I don’t know that I would need to ask anything…I would just want to chat. Vivian - Louisa May Alcott

Me: If I remember correctly, you once stepped out of an airplane into the big blue sky to experience skydiving. Is there anything on your bucket list, relating to your writing or not, that you would love to experience and check off?

Vivan: Traveling was definitely on my bucket list and although I’ve certainly done quite a bit of it in the first few months of the year, I would love to do more. Now that I’ve gotten a taste of how much fun it is to visit with kidlit friends all over the world, I want to do it again.Vivian-Lausanne

Thank you, Vivian, for taking the time to share your writing journey with us. I know you’ve probably got lots of projects you’re working on and more that you’re excited to jump in and begin.

Here are Vivian’s books with links to Amazon.

Pippa’s Passover Plate (Holiday House);

Four Otters Toboggan: An Animal Counting Book (Pomegranate);

Sweet Dreams, Sarah (Creston Books);

Making Their Voices Heard: The Inspiring Friendship of Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe (Little Bee Books) Target available date – Spring 2020; 

and From Here to There: Inventions That Changed the Way the World Moves (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) Target available date – fall 2020.

You can connect with Vivian on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Linkedin, or just about any place people where picture books are found.

And now for the Giveaway!

One lucky person who leaves a comment will receive a copy of Vivian’s picture book, Four Otters Toboggan: An Animal Counting Book. I’ll announce the winner on next Friday’s Perfect Picture Book review of this very book!

See you then!

GROWING SEASON is here, both in our gardens and in this sweet picture book.

Remember back in elementary school when kids became friends over simple reasons? Some kids forged friendships because they packed the same snack in their lunch, wore the same shoes to gym class, scribbled with the same colors of crayons, or were the exact same height.

In today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday review, I’m sharing a tale of friendship in which two little girls have something BIG in common.

They are the smallest kids in their class.

Until…

 

Title – Growing Season

Written and illustrated by – Maryann Cocca-Leffler

Published by- Sterling Children’s Books – 2019

Topics – Friendship, envy, growing flowers

Opening – Best friends El and Jo were the smallest students in the class. Even their names were short.

Synopsis from AmazonEl and Jo are the smallest students in their class—and best friends, too, like peas in a pod. Even their names are short. But in springtime, something BIG happens: Jo starts growing like a weed, while El feels smaller every day. On the last day of school, their teacher asks every child to pick a plant to care for over the summer. All the other kids reach over El to grab their plant, and she has to take the very last one: a tiny, flowerless aster. At first, she’s disappointed. But as summer progresses, the aster begins to bloom—and so does El!

Why do I like this book? Growing Season finds its picture book perfection not only by being a sweet story of friendship but through its second layer in which young readers learn about growing flowers and the wait they must endure for late-bloomers to bloom. The comparison between the two friends and the flowers they take home on the last day of school pair perfectly.

Learn more about Maryann Cocca-Leffler HERE.

Children can watch flowers grow from seeds in this video.

Learn how to easily grow a variety of herbs and veggies in this YouTube video.

veggies

Which seeds will germinate the fastest for a science fair project? Watch here.

Children can be a little impatient when it comes to growing a garden. This spring or summer, plant radish seeds. They germinate in as little as 4 days and can be picked and eaten in less than one month!

radishes

This post is part of a series by authors and KidLit bloggers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays. For more picture book suggestions visit Susanna Leonard Hills Perfect Picture Books HERE

Until next Friday

 

What Makes A Mammal BEASTLY? Find out on today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday Review.

When I came up to mother’s hip, my favorite books were BIG and oversized. They brimmed with attention-holding illustrations and fun, kid-friendly facts. I was thrilled to gain tidbits of knowledge I could run and share with anyone who wasn’t too busy to listen.

“Mom! MOM! Did you know baboons make friends by picking ticks out of each other’s fur? Did you know bats all look the same but have different voices so their moms can find them? Did you know a lion’s roar can be heard up to five miles away? Did you know…”

“Did you know,” Mom said, “that I have to get dinner on the table soon? And did you know when I call that dinner is ready, you won’t need to be five miles away to hear me?”

We’d smile, hug, and I’d rush off to learn more facts I could share over a good meal.

So, if you love BIG, oversized books that brim with attention-holding illustrations and fun, kid-friendly facts, I have a feeling the book I’m sharing today will win your heart.

Title – The Big Book of Beasts

Written and illustrated by – Yuval Zommer

Beast expert — Barbara Taylor

Published by- Thames & Hudson – 2017

Topics – Beasts, animal behavior, animal facts

Opening – Beastly Families – What makes a mammal a beast? Warm-blooded animals with hair or fur have the scientific name “mammals.” Some mammals are friendly and some are beastly! Beasts are deadly, cunning and most importantly, wild! Here’s a who’s who of the most beastly of the bunch.

Synopsis from Amazon— A beautifully illustrated, informative book for children introducing them to a fascinating cast of beasts

In The Big Book of Beasts Yuval Zommer’s wonderful illustrations bring to whimsical life some of the grizzliest, hairiest, bravest, wiliest, and most fearsome beasts in the animal kingdom. Brimming with interesting facts from beast consultant Barbara Taylor, this charming picture book is a beautiful way for parents to introduce young children to the animal world―and for older children to learn by themselves.

In the first pages, children learn that beasts are wild animals that can’t be tamed and that they all defend themselves in different ways. As the book continues young readers meet specific beasts, including armadillos, bears, tigers, and the Tasmanian devil. The Big Book of Beasts also approaches the world of beasts thematically, looking at mythical beasts, Ice Age beasts, beasts on your street, and how to save beasts in danger of extinction.

The funny and conversational text, amazing facts, and glorious and quirky pictures will draw in young children over and over again.

Why do I like this book? Learning isn’t a chore with this book of beasts. Even if you already know a great deal about animals, you’ll probably come across a fun fact here and there that will have you running off to share your newly acquired knowledge with anyone who isn’t too busy to listen.

“Hey there! Do you know why a hyena’s poo is white? Do you know why beavers have orange teeth? Do you know why bats sleep upside down?”

I hope you’ll read this incredible book to find out.

Learn more about Yuval Zommer HERE

Watch an armadillo video HERE

Watch a Disney video about brown bears HERE.

Learn about bats HERE

Until next Friday!