“Perfect Picture Book” Friday

Love Enough for Two

Written and Illustrated by: Jane Chapman

Published by:  Little Tiger Press (January 12, 2017)

Ages:   3 – 6 years

Theme: sharing, sibling rivalry

Opening Lines: “Mo!” called Grandma one evening “I’ve got a lovely surprise down here!” “Hoo-hoo! A surprise!” thought Mo. “I wonder what it could be…” He fluttered down excitedly to find out.

Synopsis: Grandma has a surprise for Mo, a visit from his baby cousin Bibi. Bt Mo soon feels a little jealous. Why does Bibi get all the tickles and cuddles? And why won’t Grandma play Mo’s favourite game? Mo used to be Grandma’s special Owlet. Will there be room in her heart for two?

Why I like this: Apart from the obvious adorable cover, the full page illustrations in backdrops of blues and greens have you believing anyone could easily cuddle these whispy feathered creatures all day long. The expressions and sometimes hilarious active movements especially from Mo are a delight and bring the “awes…” Kids will relate to little Mo and the apprehension of a new sibling. Especially when in their eyes it looks like the new arrival is getting all the love and attention. I loved how Jane has ensured that no matter who ever comes along Grandma still has the same love she always had for little Mo. It’s in the Grandma gene! It’s a lovely read aloud for both kids and Grandmas.

Resources/Findings:   You can read an interview Jane gave on her work and process, on Joanna Maple’s Blog back in 2012…     http://joannamarple.com/2012/09/26/4341/

Here is her website which she shares with her Husband Tim Warnes also a Picture Book writer and illustrator. .. https://www.chapmanandwarnes.com/

Here is a website with some of Jane’s books and lots of fun teacher toolkits…   https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/authors/jane-chapman/

I’m always pleased to be able to bring you some more special books that have come my way and be able to share them with you and join other great writers over at Susanna’s Blog, where there are literally hundreds of book reviews to view.  So pop over  and visit the lovely author, Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog and find the tab for Perfect Picture Books.    Her blog is full of resources links and activities associated with books reviewed by many authors

Posted in Children's literature, Perfect Picture Book Review | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Perfect Picture Book” – Friday

I’ve been slipping a bit lately in keeping up with book reviews.  However I have been busy looking through picture books at my local library and sometimes it just takes awhile to find the right story, something that connects, makes you feel and smile. Sends a message and makes you think of friends across oceans and reminds you of why you love doing what you do.

Sometimes You Fly

Written by: Newberry Medalist Katherine Applegate

Illustrated by: Jennifer Black Reinhardt

Published by: Clarion Books Boston New York April 2018

Ages:   4 – 7 years

Theme: Encouragement, Celebration

Opening Lines: “Before the cake…”

Synopsis: This gorgeous gift book, equally perfect for preschool graduations or college commencements, baby showers or birthdays, is an inspirational tribute to the universal struggles and achievements of childhood. Beginning with a first birthday, the scenes travel through childhood triumphs and milestones, coming full circle to graduation. A magical blend of succinct text and beautiful watercolors renders each moment with tenderness and humor and encourages readers to “remember that with every try, sometimes you fail . . . sometimes you fly.”

Why I like this: It is indeed a beautiful book. While there is barely a sentence on every second page of three or five words, the illustrations say so much more and then some.   For example, “Before the peas…” on a page showing a small baby in a highchair refusing to eat her peas turning her back and tipping the bowl off her highchair and a dog picking up the fallen peas. Turn the page and we see a very different picture. The chubby baby is smiling with peas in her hair, over her face and down her clothes and on the floor, and the dog licking his lips. With the spoon in its hand it is obvious that spoon feeding oneself has been accomplished and the love of peas is… well, a work in progress.   In “before the know…” a young girl is sitting at her desk book open and hands spread out. Her head is back with eyes closed and a pool of words spin above her. She is clearly overwhelmed. Turn the page and we find her in bed with an audience of soft toys around, her cat on the bed, and an overhead lamp turned on in the late night. She is enthralled in reading softly to her audience In the dark you can see a pile of books on the bedside table. Sure there are fails but there are also achievements. No success comes without trail and error, dedication and patience. When I first flipped through the book I thought of my dear friend and critique buddy Vivian. She is the embodiment of positivity, encouragement, and celebrating success not of herself but of others in our writing world and beyond. I smiled at the young girl practicing hitting a ball, and turn the page to see her jump with excitement at making the baseball team and the diverse children around her celebrating and cheering with her. That is Vivian! It’s amazing when you come across a book that says so much more than its words. It makes you feel, connect and smile. It makes you think of your own life and those around us we know and love. Who cheer when we succeed and lift us up when we trip and fall.  A writing life is like that.

Resources/Findings:   At eighty-eight words this is a great mentor text for such writing contests as Vivian Kirkfield’s “50 Precious Words” Contest which you can find on her Top Ranked Children’s Book Blog “Picture Books Help Kids Soar” every February. Or Susanna Hill’s Seasoned Writing contests like https://susannahill.com/2018/10/08/the-nina-the-pinta-and-the-guidelines-for-the-8th-annual-halloweensie-contest/     where a story is written in a 100 words or less.  Check these out.

Here is Katherine”s Blog and all you need to know about the author of this beautiful children’s book Sometimes You Fly… http://katherineapplegate.com/

Here also is the illustrators blog to see more beautiful illustrations etc…   https://jbreinhardt.com/

I’m always pleased to be able to bring you some more special books that have come my way and be able to share them with you and join other great writers over at Susanna’s Blog, where there are literally hundreds of book reviews to view.  So pop over  and visit the lovely author, Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog and find the tab for Perfect Picture Books.    Her blog is full of resources links and activities associated with books reviewed by many authors

Posted in Perfect Picture Book Review, Picture Book Review, Susanna's PPB Fridays | Tagged , , , , | 10 Comments

AN SCBWI MEETING WITH ILLUSTRATOR BRIAN LOVELOCK

Whether it was the irresistibly warm spring day or that it was the first day of school holidays, there appeared to be only a small turnout at the Auckland SCBWI meeting on Saturday.  For whatever reason those of us who were there were treated to an interesting talk by Brian of his venture into illustrating picture books and the methods he used.

With screen clips and hardcopy examples of his illustrations and books Brian explained the various ways he may look to tackle a project, such as…

-points of view – from the sky, on the ground, cross view, shadowing to give the view of seeing through a leaf or material.

– situations/weather – using bubbled paper to help give the illusion of rain, streaks or splats to give depth.

-putting reader in the illustration – magnifying creatures and plants to give you the illusion for example, you are actually standing on the leaf or as a bee.

-finishing sentences – illustration shows what the text may have said if it had been completed.

-showing reader what the character can’t see – text implies one thing and the illustration shows another…

to name just a few.

As Brian often does full double spreads for his picture books it was important to ensure main details were kept away from the gutter (centre fold)  of the book.  He pointed out how lines etc  can be drawn to ensure that should some of it be swallowed by the gutter there is still enough to see what it is. And of course leaving room for text.

An award winning illustrator living in Auckland, Brian has painted most of his life and only recently moved to illustrating picture books such as Construction, Gecko, Flight of Honey Bee, The Rain Train, Roadworks and Demolition.  His first picture book, Road Works (written by Sally Sutton and published by Walker Books) won the 2009 New Zealand Post Book Award for Best Picture Book.  He likes bold imaginative perspectives and works mainly with watercolour.

Brian explained there are some restricted areas or compromises that have to be made in some areas when illustrating a book to be sold internationally, such as not showing a vehicle driving on the left or right side of the road, or text in speech bubbles becoming a problem when translation is involved or any text in illustrations.  There is also ethnic and gender balances and health and safety aspects within an illustration such as a playground although made of metal would need to show it as plastic and children to wear shoes etc.

It was an informative, relaxing afternoon  I always enjoy listening to illustrators explain their creative methods and visions for picture books. Such beautiful detailed work. Below are some of the books Brian has illustrated.

More info on Brian and his illustrations can be found on these links…

https://www.walkerbooks.com.au/Authors_and_Illustrators/Brian-Lovelock

https://www.illustration.co.nz/lovelock.html

https://www.storylines.org.nz/Storylines+Profiles/Profiles+I-M/More+in+Profiles+I-M/Brian+Lovelock.html

Posted in Children's literature, SCBWI | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

“Perfect Picture Book” – Friday

Perfect Picture Book Friday’s is back, Yay!   So let’s start with a dreamy bedtime story for those cooler nights…

The Wishing Boat

Written by: Amanda Tarlau

Illustrated by: Chris Saunders

Published by:  Gosford, NSW : Scholastic Australia 2017

Ages:   3 – 6 years

Theme: dreams, imagination.

Opening Lines: In my little wishing boat, I cast off with the moonlit tide, unfurling sails to chase the wind and explore the oceans wide.

Synopsis: Drift along into a dream of adventure where anything is possible. A beautiful story about a young girl’s journey, through a dream world, with a playful rhyming text, and whimsical illustrations.

Why I like this: I love the rhyming sparse text. With rainbow fish that blows bubbles and others that play hide and seek among an underwater world of forests, caverns and castles we are easily lead into an adventure by a cute pixie faced little girl. While her wish to explore the oceans and discover new lands was brief there was sufficient action and drama to keep the reader interested. The full page illustrations are beautiful and whimsical.

Resources/Findings:   A lovely teachers resource from Scholastic…   https://resource.scholastic.com.au/resourceFiles/8434479_65554.pdf

I’m always pleased to be able to bring you some more special books that have come my way and be able to share them with you and join other great writers over at Susanna’s Blog, where there are literally hundreds of book reviews to view.  So pop over  and visit the lovely author, Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog and find the tab for Perfect Picture Books.    Her blog is full of resources links and activities associated with books reviewed by many authors

 

Posted in Perfect Picture Book Review | Tagged , , , , , | 13 Comments

Rice From Heaven

I am so excited to be holding this beautiful picture book, “Rice from Heaven” written by the lovely Tina Cho and illustrated by Keum Jin Song. It finally arrived down-under, New Zealand. I can’t believe it’s here. It is very special to me as I remember Tina telling me about her night adventure to help send rice over the North Korean border. I’ve been intrigued with the story from its beginning. It looks and smells soooo good.

Tina and I have been online friends and critique buddies for some years now, and as she lives in South Korea with her husband and two children, she is only 5 hours behind me, we often chat long after our American buddies have called it a night.

Late last year hubby and I stopped in South Korea to visit with Tina and her family as part of our Europe trip. We had a fabulous time and one of the highlights was when Tina took us to a lookout called the Odusan Unification Observatory in Paju, (north of Seoul) where we could view North Korea from a lookout. The vast forbidden stretch of land separated only by a narrow river where you could make out a few pale looking buildings seemed eerie and sad. One wondered what went on beyond the mountains in the distance. Tina’s story Rice from Heaven is a fitting tribute to the kindness and compassion that is needed in times of hardship.

Thanks, Diane, for having me. Most of you have heard how this story came to be. But just in case you haven’t, I’ll repeat briefly. Since moving to South Korea in 2010, I heard about the plight of North Korean refugees in churches. God gave me a heart for them. My colleague told me she was tutoring some refugees in English at a refugee church, and they were going to send rice in balloons over the border. I went along to help and knew I’d write something about it, which is how RICE FROM HEAVEN was born.

According to the Ministry of Unification in South Korea, there were 1,127 North Korean defectors to South Korea last year. So far this year, there have been 488 and the year isn’t over. And those numbers are only for South Korea, not Europe or the U.S. Even though things might appear rosy with leaders of countries meeting, the people are still under oppression. The children suffer.

I’m so glad, Diane, you could visit Korea and peek into the North, even though they put up a false front of appearances. We had a wonderful time together climbing a small mountain and eating together as well. I’d love to visit New Zealand sometime!

Diane asked me to share a rice recipe with you all. One popular food here is kimbap (keem-bop) which kinda looks like sushi. I’ve made it once, but it’s so cheap, it’s tastier to buy it, IMO.

Here’s the kimbap recipe from a popular Korean cooking blog I follow. Enjoy!

https://www.maangchi.com/recipe/gimbap

Thank you so much Tina.

Rice From Heaven is a beautiful lyrical story of courage and kindness.  There is a beautiful tribute on Tina’s blog to the children of Nth Korea and her book…   here  

How you can use Rice from Heaven in the classroom can be found on Tina’s Blog…   here

My dear friend, Tina has two more books coming out… Korean Celebrations (Tuttle 2019) and Breakfast with Jesus (Harvest House 2020)

 

 

Posted in Children's literature, Folklore / multicultural | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

SCBWI NZ Professional Day

Warm, fun, friendly, informative, and often hilarious were words that came to mind as I drove home across the Harbour Bridge with the glistening water below and sun streaming through the windscreen. The threat of dark clouds approaching couldn’t dampen what had been a wonderful day of networking, meeting old and making new friends at our Auckland SCBWI Sunday meeting.

In a totally glass room at the Columbus Café on the North Shore, Frances Plumpton our very own Assistant Regional Advisor for SCBWI Aust East/NZ, introduced the incredible Susanne Gervay (Sydney Regional Advisor for SCBWI). Her warm infectious personality had my attention from the get-go. What a treat to hear Susanne’s bubbly views on SCBWI. There was lots of great information for new and not so new members in how to get the most out of their membership. Her experiences with her titles in both the Australian and US markets was an eye opener, not only in print numbers but the journey of her I am Jack books on school bullying, have been adapted into an acclaimed play by Monkey Baa Theatre, and toured Australian and US theatres and published in many countries.

In the Agents – “Love them or Leave them” session, Frances gave us an insight into life as a literary agency and answered important questions from Susanne that all writers should ask their agents before committing to that relationship

After a beautiful lunch we had the pleasure of Christine Dale Co-Director in NZ’s newest publisher of children’s books, One Tree House Ltd, which she established with Jenny Nagle in 2017. With over 30 years in the industry and previously the Publishing Manager at Scholastic NZ Ltd she has herself written and illustrated for children. Winning the Publisher of the Year (Oceania) at the Bologna Book Fair in April this year, Christine’s informative presentation was filled with need to know facts for not only illustrators but authors as well. As a writer it is always good to hear the illustrator’s side of the book making process.

Penny Scown, Senior Editor, Scholastic NZ for over thirty years and previously of Scholastic in the UK gave an interesting presentation on “beyond the contract” balancing working with many authors and illustrators.   Sally Sutton – series fiction and Maria Giles – nonfiction writers who are both clients of Penny’s also lent their views of working with an editor and showcased their books.

Did you know that some publishers may advertise a submissions open day on their Facebook page? Worth noting!

The meeting rounded up with a “Do’s and Don’ts of submissions” with Christine Dale, Penny Scown, Susanne Gervay and Frances Plumpton as the experts panel, discussing query letters, pitches etc.

During the meeting one noticed lots of note taking, hands raised, questions answered and heads nodded and lots of chatter and laughter, and the odd sparrow swooped in through slightly opened doors flitting from one strand of lights to another before darting back out. Last minute pictures, promise of meeting up at next year’s Sydney, Australia conference and the day was over all too quickly. Sign of an excellent meeting, I’d say!

It was really lovely meeting special people in person……

 

Posted in SCBWI | Tagged , | 6 Comments

Webinars and a SCBWI Conference coming up!

Hi folks,

Sorry I’ve been absent from my post here.  Perfect Picture Book Friday is on a Northern Summer vacation and I had an operation that put me out of action for a few weeks.  Never fear all is good and I’m writing, revision and sending out my work on submissions.  Attending webinars and a new SCBWI Professional Day Conference is just around the corner which I am really looking forward to.

The webinar called… The Heart of Picture Books Webinar is one all picture book writers should take.  Anyone writing for children knows that what sells is stories with heart.   If you are interested you have one day left to register…..   https://mailchi.mp/juliehedlund/find-the-heart-of-your-picture-book-manuscripts-webinar-657185?e=c4025e0d42

The SCBWI Professional Day Conference is held in Auckland on Sunday 29th July.  Run by Frances Plumpton, we will be joined by guest speaker Susanne Gervay one of Australia’s award winning Children’s writers and Australia’s Sydney Regional SCBWI Advisor, not to mention a number of speakers on Contracts, Publishing, and insights into the International and National writing journey.  Should be a great full on day. See you there.

If you are interested in joining us in Auckland please contact Frances at…  frances@francesplumpton.com

 

Posted in Literature | 4 Comments

“Perfect Picture Book” – Friday

The Second Sky

Written by: Patrick Guest

Illustrated by: Jonathan Bentley

Published by: Little Hare Books   2017

Ages:   3 – 6 years

Theme: dreams, limitations, discovering oneself.

Opening Lines: Gilbert peeked out from his egg and saw the sky for the first time. The moon glowed. The stars sparkled. The birds wheeled. And Gilbert knew where he wanted to be.

Synopsis: The first thing Gilbert sees when he hatches from his egg is the sky. It is love at first sight and from that moment on Gilbert longs to fly like other birds.

But Penguins don’t fly, they waddle, and so begins Gilbert’s quest to find his place in the world.

Great things happen when you reach for the sky.

Why I like this: I don’t just like it, I love it! Isn’t that fella just sooooo cute. You could hug him! Gorgeous double spread illustrations From the first page as we, like Gilbert peer out at the moon from the opening in his shell. The watercolour hues of blues and greys from the sky to the slippery ice , the snowy landscape and underwater world are beautifully depicted on full double page spreads. The author uses three’s to show emotion, and dramatic short sentences to build to a climax. And then without even telling us we are drawn into… The Second Sky! You can almost feel yourself flying.

This book has been shortlisted by The Children’s Book Council of Australia for the 2018 Early Childhood Book of the Year.

Both Patrick and Jonathan live in Australia.

Resources/Findings:   Teachers aid/notes…   http://www.lamontbooks.com.au/media/102320/publishers-notes-the-second-sky.pdf

 

Draw a view of what a bird would see above land and what a penguin would see under the ocean.   How similar and how different are they?

I’m always pleased to be able to bring you some more special books that have come my way and be able to share them with you and join other great writers over at Susanna’s Blog, where there are literally hundreds of book reviews to view.  So pop over  and visit the lovely author, Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog and find the tab for Perfect Picture Books.    Her blog is full of resources links and activities associated with books reviewed by many authors

Posted in Perfect Picture Book Review, Susanna's PPB Fridays | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Perfect Picture Book” – Friday

FUZZY DOODLE

Written by: Melinda Szymanik

Illustrated by: Donovan Bixley

Published by: Scholastic, New Zealand June 2016

Ages:   3 – 7 years (but could be for any age)

Theme: Birth, Growth, Imagination

Opening Lines: Fuzzy started as a scribble, just a scrawly little doodle, a smudgey sort of something, at the bottom of the page.

Synopsis: The metamorphosis of a caterpillar, the metamorphosis of a creative idea, and the magic of creativity are all explored in this picture book.

Why I like it: Oh wow! Imagine a fuzzy little doodle at the bottom of the page, nibbled, chomped and gobbled scrumptious words and tasty colours which made Fuzzy grow and grow and GROW… Hello!   How creative is this! This smudgy little squiggle comes to life and we follow it from page to page watching it grow munching on words and grow into…. Well you have to get the book to see what happens. But lines like… “First he nibbled at a comment, and then he chomped some tasty jottings. He found the writing scrumptious as he hoovered up the text,” a poetic treat. Oh my! This is so clever and creative about a scribble that transforms into something wonderful and one can’t help turn the pages to see how or what he has grown into. The illustrations are amazing with the blending watercolour, the shiny, tactile branch made from various cursive words, the charcoal sketched fuzzy thing that looks right at you with a smile. What exactly is a Fuzzy Doodle? Imagine reading this book in a classroom. Kids will love it and want it read again and again.

Melinda is a New Zealand award winning author and ‘Fuzzy Doodle’ was a 2017 Storylines Notable book, finalist in the 2017 NZ Children’s and Young Adults Book Awards and a 2017 White Raven selection.

Award winning illustrator Donovan also lives in New Zealand by the crater lake of Taupo and you can find out more about him on his interesting blog…   http://www.donovanbixley.com/?pagename=biography

Resources/Findings:   Ask kids what they think a Fuzzy Doodle is?

How do you make a Fuzzy Doodle?

Ask kids to make their own Fuzzy Doodle and write a story about it.

Here is Melinda’s blog where you will find a PDF Teachers notes for the classroom on Fuzzy Doodle ….   http://melindaszymanik.blogspot.co.nz/

I’m always pleased to be able to bring you some more special books that have come my way and be able to share them with you and join other great writers over at Susanna’s Blog, where there are literally hundreds of book reviews to view.  So pop over  and visit the lovely author, Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog and find the tab for Perfect Picture Books.    Her blog is full of resources links and activities associated with books reviewed by many authors

Posted in Picture Book Review, Susanna's PPB Fridays | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

“Perfect Picture Book” – Friday

MY OLD PAL, OSCAR

Written by: Amy Hest

Illustrated by: Amy Bates

Published by: Abrams Books for young readers, New York 2016

Ages:   4 – 7 Years

Theme: Friendship, Loss, Grief, New beginnings

Opening Lines: Hello, you. Who are you? No tags? No name? You sure are little. Except for those feet. Those four big feet making footprints in the sand.

Synopsis: When a boy meets a stray puppy on the beach, he does not want to make a new friend. He still misses his old pal, Oscar, a beloved pet. When the cute little black and white puppy shadows him resisting the boy’s gentle rejections it begins to rain. The boy begins to open his heart to a new friend and makes peace with the past.

Why I like this: Oh my this is all heart. Tears welled up when reading this story. Simply told with a cute relatable voice this will be a story many will remember. Even though he tries to ignore the little puppy the boy is forced to cradle it during a rain storm and races to home and safety where he shares a picture of his beloved pet, Oscar. Who could resist this cute puppy with the adorable face. He looks so fuzzy and cuddly. Mischievous too! Amy Bates illustrations are cleverly done revealing life at the beach at a child’s eye level. This would be a lovely book for home and in the classroom encouraging discussions when looking at adding a pet in the family especially after the recent loss of a much loved pet.

Resources/Findings: This is a great little video of Amy Hest giving some writing tips on Characters….. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9gWkLr2oduk

Great tips from Amy for young writers….   https://www.amyhest.com/for-writers

Fun facts about Amy and more…   https://www.amyhest.com/about

How to help your child with the loss of their pet….   https://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2012/03/02/helping-your-child-grieve-the-loss-of-a-pet.aspx

I’m always pleased to be able to bring you some more special books that have come my way and be able to share them with you and join other great writers over at Susanna’s Blog, where there are literally hundreds of book reviews to view.  So pop over  and visit the lovely author, Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog and find the tab for Perfect Picture Books.    Her blog is full of resources links and activities associated with books reviewed by many authors

Posted in Perfect Picture Book Review, Susanna's PPB Fridays | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments