“Perfect Picture Book” Friday

Luna and the Moon Rabbit

Written and Illustrated by:   Camille Whitcher

Published by:    Scribblers; Illustrated edition (August 7, 2018)

Ages:    3 years and up.

Theme:   friendship, imagination, bedtime

Opening Lines:   Luna was sitting with her Grandma gazing up at the bright shining Moon.

Synopsis:   (on the back of the book) Inspired by Asian folklore, this is the magical tale of a young girl called Luna who befriends the giant rabbit who lives in the Moon and goes with it on a soothing, dreamlike adventure.  Perfect for bedtime reading.

Why I like this:  This is a beautiful whimsical dream-like read, ideal for bedtime reading.  Little Luna is told by her Grandmother of the large white rabbit in the moon and that if she leaves a rice cake out he may visit her.  I loved how when she fell asleep the rabbit appeared and took Luna on a magical adventure in the nearby woods.  The soothing illustrations are all set in wispy greys of night-time. The pink rabbit onesie complete with rabbit ears and pompom tail she wears is very cute. The rabbit never speaks but understood and cares for Luna.

This book is the winner of the inaugural Stratford-Salariya Picture Book Prize, a competition held by the Stratford-upon-Avon Literary Festival and Salariya Book Company

Resources/Findings:    This is the author/illustrator’s website…  https://www.camillewhitcher.co.uk/

Illustrations…  https://www.instagram.com/milly_of_bunston/?hl=en

How to draw a Rabbit…

https://www.google.co.nz/search?sxsrf=ACYBGNTRvElj301Lys5rFgW27Qqv6fwZ5w%3A1580467275236&lei=SwQ0Xo6UDpSb9QPA8Kf4Aw&q=how%20to%20draw%20a%20realistic%20rabbit&ved=2ahUKEwir7IG1063nAhXfzjgGHZkjCTwQsKwBKAB6BAgDEAE&biw=1366&bih=657#kpvalbx=_mAQ0XraIKOOa4-EP9MeF8AQ58

 

I’m always happy reviewing Picture Books that come my way and share them with you.  If you would like to see more please pop over to Susanna Leonard Hills Blog where there are hundreds of books reviewed by other like-minded authors and writers.  Thank you for popping in and I hope you return again soon.

 

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“Perfect Picture Book” Friday

 

THE BOY AND THE BEAR

Written by:   Tracey Corderoy

Illustrated by:  Sarah Massini

 Published by:    2017 Nosey Crow Ltd UK

Ages:    2 – 5 years

Theme:   Unlikely friendship, Loneliness, Loyalty

Opening Lines:   Once upon a time, there lived a boy who wanted to play.

Synopsis:   (on the back of the book) One small boy wishes he had a Best Friend…  And when he discovers a message written on a little paper boat, he finds that the perfect friend is sometimes the unlikeliest of all.

 Why I like this: This delightful whimsical story is sweet and simple showing that things don’t always work out the way we expect, and special friends are those that are loyal and faithful, and leave lasting impressions.  And it’s true – absence does make the heart grow fonder.

Whimsical illustrations of mixed-media format in water-colour blues and greens of pond life really capture the mood of the writing. The origami plane at the beginning and the boats that float with messages are a nice touch. Sparse text carries us through the seasons bringing us to an aww moment.  This would also make a great mentor text – a story with heart, lyrical text with the rule of threes, page turns, a main character with a problem, and finishing in a satisfactory near circular resolution

Resources/Findings:    You can have a peek at The Boy and the Bear and also reviews from the critics here…    https://nosycrow.com/product/the-boy-and-the-bear/

Author’s website…  http://www.traceycorderoy.com/the-boy-and-the-bear

Also the author of “Just Right for Two”…   https://thepatientdreamer.com/2014/11/29/perfect-picture-book-friday-88/

“Monty and Millie”…    https://thepatientdreamer.com/2012/12/02/perfect-picture-book-friday-33/

And – “Little Penquin Lost” …  https://thepatientdreamer.com/2015/02/14/perfect-picture-book-friday-93/

Among many others.

I’m always happy reviewing Picture Books that come my way and share them with you.  If you would like to see more please pop over to Susanna Leonard Hills Blog where there are hundreds of books reviewed by other like minded authors and writers.  Thank you for popping in and I hope you return again soon.

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“Perfect Picture Book” Friday

STAR IN THE JAR

Written by:   Sam Hay

Illustrated by:  Sarah Massini

 Published by:    Sourcebooks Jabberwocky (September 4, 2018)

Ages:    3 – 6 years

Theme:   Friendship, Team-work.

Opening Lines:   My little broher likes looking for treasure. Tickly treasure…

Synopsis:   When a little boy stumbles across a lost star, he decides to take care of it, putting it in a jar and carrying it with him everywhere. But when the sky calls out for its missing star, can the little boy and his sister figure out a way to return the star to its friends in the sky…even if it means saying goodbye forever?

 Why I like this:  There are lots to love about this sweet simple story. Page turns, the rule of threes such as tickly treasure, glittery treasure and litter-bin treasure.  Then there is asking the sheriff, the fairies and the wizards. It has that wonderful child feel in that the child puts the star in a jar so he can take it with him everywhere. Again the threes appear when he tries to send the star back to the sky, by climbing a tree, teaching it to fly and bouncing on a trampoline.  I loved the way how his older sister tries her best to help him. Told through his sister she comes up with the idea of attracting the attention of the other stars.  What I also love is how this story is told leaving specific details to the illustrations. A beautiful story that would be enjoyed anytime of the day, but especially at bedtime.

Resources/Findings:  :   Author’s website…  https://www.samhayauthor.com/

Teachers teaching and fun packs…  https://piedpipertheatre.co.uk/teacher_resources.php

See the trailer of the show Star in a Jar…    https://piedpipertheatre.co.uk/news.php?id=126&title=STAR_IN_THE_JAR_TRAILER

I’m always happy reviewing Picture Books that come my way and share them with you.  If you would like to see more please pop over to Susanna Leonard Hills Blog where there are hundreds of books reviewed by other like minded authors and writers.  Thank you for popping in and I hope you return again soon.

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12 Days of Christmas – SUCCESSES!

Children’s author Julie Hedlund (founder of 12×12 online Writing Challenge) challenged participants of her 12 Days of Christmas for Writers series to post SUCCESSES on our blogs of this past year. This is in the hope that we can build goals for the coming year from these successes.  So I decided to participate and here is my list from 2019.

  • Even though I had many interruptions during the year with visitors and trips away overseas and other life commitments I still managed to post at least 20 picture book reviews on my blog.
  • I was very lucky to meet up and spend time with one of the most endearing kidlit people you could ever wish to meet. To spend time with Vivian Kirkfield, see her in action in schools, libraries and conferences, and to be able to show her my special place in the world and for us to spend time talking and working on what we are both so passionate about (writing for children), was a dream come true for me.
  • I entered at least three writing contests this year and although not winning a place in any of them the experience was very rewarding and helped keep my creative writing chops alive.
  • I had competed in more twitter Pitches than I had done in previous years.
  • Revised more manuscripts than in previous years, and also improving in the revision process and allowing myself to experiment and stretch myself, enjoying favourable feedback from my loving, kind and generous critique buddies, whom I cannot be without.
  • Subbed more manuscripts this year and although no contracts I did get some wonderful feedback from some agents (including Essie White whom I met at the Aust East/NZ SCBWI Conference in February).
  • At the Aust East/NZ SCBWI Conference in February I got to meet some interesting Kidlit members and had such a wonderful time with – Sarah Davis, Susanne Gervay (whom I had met before), Mira Reisberg, Maria Marshall another 12x12er and Melanie Dixon who Vivian and I met up with again in Christchurch where she lives, besides Kaye Baillie and Essie White.
  • I also made new friends with 12x12ers residing here in New Zealand such as Kathy Derrick who reached out to me when she heard Vivian was in New Zealand and Kate Talbot who arrived in New Zealand this month to live permanently here in Auckland, which is really awesome for me.
  • Researching for a picture book story based on New Zealand wildlife and fauna which is a first for me.
  • Recently winning a critique from agent Charlotte Wenger resulting in favourable feedback.

What were your successes in 2019?  You are welcome to share in the comments below.

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THE 9TH ANNUAL HOLIDAY CONTEST!!!

Once again at this time of year there is a Christmas treat on Susanna’s blog. A buzz of writing fever and excitement.   Writing a Christmas story of only 250 words (the title not included).  The rest of the requirements are here.

Here is my Christmas story is below.  Enjoy…

GRAN’S CHRISTMAS SHORTBREAD

Mina’s Gran always makes the best Christmas treats – cake, pudding and the prettiest shortbread cookies.

But Gran had a fall through the winter and was slowly becoming forgetful so now lives in a rest-home.

Christmas won’t be the same without Gran’s Christmas treats thought Mina.  Her lip quivers remembering how special she felt cuddled up in Gran’s arms watching television and munching on those shortbread cookies.

Christmas just won’t be the same.

While helping her Mom put up the Christmas tree Mina came across a box with paper clippings from Gran.  Among them was a picture and recipe of Christmas shortbread cookies. Mina’s eyes widened – Gran’s cookies! She could make them.

Racing round the kitchen pulling out a tray, on tippy-toe Mina grabs the flour. With softened butter she whips, slips and slides the dough round the bowl.  Mina wipes her sweaty brow.

Without them Christmas just won’t be the same.

She follows Gran’s tip and retrieves the dough from the fridge, rolls and cuts the shapes.

The smell as Mina lifts the cookies from the oven to decorate floats through the house.  She pipes colored squiggles, her eyes twinkle like the colored balls.

On Christmas morning Mina races into Gran’s room, dressed in her Christmas best she hugs Gran.

“Look what I made Gran!”

Gran’s face crinkles with joy. Her eyes sparkle at the Christmas shortbread.

“They look just like mine.”

Mina cuddles up with Gran, munching Christmas shortbread.

Mina sighs. This is the PERFECT Christmas.

 

 

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SUSANNA’S HALLOWEENSIE CONTEST FOR CHILDREN’S WRITERS.


 

 

 

 

 

Hi everyone, it’s that time of year when pumpkins lit smiling toothy grins, hot potions are stirring in black pots over smouldering fires and spiders are dancing across their webs scaring children passing by and ghostly sounds come from dark places best not to venture too close. Oooooooo! It’s that time of year when Susanna’s Halloweensie Contest is here again for Children’s writers.

halloweensie-pumpkin

Here is what you need to do to enter…

Write a 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children (children here defined as 12 and under) (title not included in the 100 words), using the words potion, cobweb, and trick.  Your story can be scary, funny, sweet, or anything in between, poetry or prose, but it will only count for the contest if it includes those 3 words and is 100 words (you can go under, but not over!)  Get it?  Halloweensie – because it’s not very long and it’s for little people.  Also, you may use the words in any form – e.g. potions, cobwebbed, trickery, whathaveyou!  NO ILLUSTRATION NOTES PLEASE! (And yes, you may submit more than one entry if you’re so inclined! )

Post: your story on your blog between 12:00 AM EDT Monday October 28th and Thursday October 31st by 11:59 PM EDT and add your post-specific link on Susanna’s blog.

Here is mine at 100 words:

 

ONE SPECIAL NIGHT

Samara Spider stirred her secret potion

ready for guests on this special night.

Taste testing she felt something was missing

and stepping over her lit pumpkins,

slid down her silky cobweb to shop.

Locating her special ingredient hurried back

to finish cooking and set the table just right.

As the guests filed in one by one and sat down,

Samara took the seat beside handsome Sultan Spider,

and popped the question.

“Is this a trick?” he cried with surprise.

“Why certainly not!” said Samara.

“A girl can ask to go trick or treating with whoever she likes!”

“Sure!” He smiled.

……………………………………………………………………………………………

Don’t forget to pop over to Susanna’s blog and enjoy reading all the stories.

 

Posted in Literature | 50 Comments

“Perfect Picture Book” Friday

ARCHIE THE ARTY SLOTH

Written and Illustrated by:  Heath McKenzie

 Published by:    Little Hare; First edition (1 May 2019)

Ages:    4 – 7 years

Theme:   acceptance, believing in oneself, art.

Opening Lines:  Archie was bored.  This happened surprisingly often, given that Archie was a sloth.

Synopsis:   (from back of book) Archie is given a 1000-piece art set and it gives him a great idea –  he can put on an art show with the other sloths! But when Archie spies his friends’ paintings, he wants to back out of the show – his painting isn’t half as good!  There’s only one animal who can help Archie find his inner-artist again.

 Why I like this:  This is a cute story about accepting what you can do – is what you can do. There is no wrong or right way to produce art.  It’s what you do that matters and not whether it’s as good as or better than someone else’s. Art like music or singing comes from within and it’s accepting that inner self that is the takeaway from this beautifully illustrated story. Archie is an unusually active sloth and feeling bored until someone gives him an art set.  He decides to put on an art show roping in all the other sloths to produce their art pieces and when they are put on display Archie is mortified and feels his is not a good as the others and hides behind his painting – UNTIL…   Sorry you’ll have to read it to find out what happens.  This is a great story for at home and especially at school when kids often feel they may not be as good if not better than another child.  It’s about believing in oneself, about acceptance and that no matter what – it is ok!

As a writer I found this to be also a great mentor text. It immediately introduces the main character and his problem. It shows how a lot is left to the illustration. Like when the text said someone had brought back something for Archie and the other sloths heaved sighs of relief.  Only in the illustration do we know what it is.  The next page says… Archie dabbled in a few different things. He tried this.  And he tried that.  Again only the illustrations show what they were.  The text also mentions the art fans, but again only in the illustrations do we see who they are. The bold illustrations also provide subtle humour. This is a wonderful read aloud.

Resources/Findings:   A bit about the author/illustrator. As you will see he loves to draw…    https://www.heathmck.com/about-me

This is a great page of down-loadable pages from Heath’s website for kids to create magic …  https://www.heathmck.com/things-to-do

I like Heath’s words… Just be YOU!

I’m always happy reviewing Picture Books that come my way and share them with you.  If you would like to see more please pop over to Susanna Leonard Hills Blog where there are hundreds of books reviewed by other like minded authors and writers.  Thank you for popping in and I hope you return again soon.

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“Perfect Picture Book” Friday

TIGER WALK

Written by:  Dianne Hofmeyr

 Illustrated by:  Jesse Hodgson

 Published by:    Otter-Barry Books  UK 2018 and in USA 2019

Ages:    4- 8 years

Theme:   Art, Fear. Animals, reassurance

Opening Lines:  At the art gallery, Tom watches the tiger.  And the tiger watches Tom. From between the jungly leaves, his eyes follow Tom around the room.

Synopsis:   From Amazon…   One day Tom draws a tiger, inspired by his visit to the art gallery… That night, when Tom can’t sleep, the tiger pads out of his drawing and purrs, “Let’s go for a walk!” It’s the beginning of a magical and life-changing adventure, as the tiger helps Tom to overcome some of his biggest fears.

Why I like this:  The little boy in this book so reminded me of myself as a very young child.  I loved lions. Although I don’t remember when I first saw a lion I only remember I loved drawing them.  I remember very clearly in a classroom which I was looking after while the teacher was out of the room and the kids begged me to draw a lion. So on the huge blackboard I drew a lion with its’ long mane.  It must have been really good as I remember the teacher coming back into the room and standing there for some time before saying – I was her favorite lion drawer.  I think for me it was the softness of the animal, the thick mane and the sense of protection that drew me to love the animal.  (Although I probably had no idea of its voraciousness)  I loved how Tom went home and drew the animal and how in his dreams it came to life.  I love how the story shows how Tom learns to overcome his fears with the help and guidance of the tiger.  I love the use of page turns and the Tiger’s constant reassurance and the “Hold tight” refrain.  Along with Jesse’s beautiful deep colors of the night the Tiger is depicted as gentle even in his facial features – sometimes smiling.  The story builds to a gentle climax when two snow tigers appear- how frightening!  But all too soon Tom is tired and along with the realization of what he has overcome, I love how Jessie has Tom falling asleep between the Tiger’s paws.  This is both a sweet bedtime story as well as an introduction to kids realizing their dreams and to the beauty of art.

In the back of the book is a piece about Henri Rousseau and his painting “Surprised!” painted in 1891 and often called “Tiger in a Tropical Storm” which hangs in the National Gallery in London England.

Resources/Findings:    The author’s blog:    http://www.diannehofmeyr.com/2018/06/27/tiger-walk/

Facts about the painting….   http://mentalfloss.com/article/65593/15-things-you-should-know-about-rousseaus-tiger-tropical-storm

How to draw a tiger….   http://www.howtodrawanimals.net/how-to-draw-a-tiger

More info about the painter and painting…  http://www.theartwolf.com/landscapes/rousseau-surprised.htm

Henri Rousseau also painted The Sleeping Gypsy  – see my earlier post…  https://thepatientdreamer.com/2019/06/01/perfect-picture-book-friday-172/

I’m always happy reviewing Picture Books that come my way and share them with you.  If you would like to see more please pop over to Susanna Leonard Hills Blog where there are hundreds of books reviewed by other like minded authors and writers.  Thank you for popping in and I hope you return again soon.

Posted in Imagination, Perfect Picture Book Review, Picture Book Review, Susanna's PPB Fridays | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

“Perfect Picture Book” Friday

THE BLUE PEBBLE

Written by:  Anne-Gaelle Balpe  and Translated by Kathryn Bishop

 Illustrated by:  Eve Tharlet

 Published by:    This edition published in 2011 by Michael Neugebauer Publishing Ltd Hong Kong.  Amazon has it published in May 2019.

Ages:    5 – 7 years

Theme:   believing in one-self, thinking ahead, sharing, treasures

Opening Lines:  Ali held a blue pebble in his arms.  He had found it under a daisy and decided to keep it.  It wasn’t quite round or square. But Oli had never seen a blue colour quite like it before.

Synopsis:   A little boy elf finds a very special stone and while out walking a boar, a wolf and three playful elves tell him it is useless because of it size and colour and to throw it away.  But Oli thinks it will come in handy and when he comes across a young girl crying holding her rag doll, Oli realizes he was right all along and that his pebble is special.

 Why I like this:  This story is in some way similar to a rough draft I wrote some time ago.  Just by the cover you can tell how special the pebble is to Oli and he’s dreaming of what he might do with it.  The cover begs you to take a peek to see what Oli will do with the pretty pebble and the characters he comes across.  I love the refrain of “Oli said nothing.”  Implying -his courage, stubborn, and earnest stance, as he walks away after being told to throw the pebble away. Even his face and chin is slightly upturned with his arm across the oversize pebble.  So cute! He appears to be a very shy little fella at first.  Interesting that the last line gives the impression that this could be a series, with little Oli.  I loved the soft blue and green hues by Eve and the adorable expressions on Oli’s face.  I was drawn to this book and I’ve had it at home for a few weeks and even extended the time from the local library with it, I just so loved this. It has such beautiful heart.

Resources/Findings:

Creative ideas for stones if you are collector….  https://www.pinterest.nz/t95lli/craft-creative-stones/

A little about the author and other works she does….     http://annegaellebalpe.blogspot.com/    If it is not in English there is a translation button to press which you can then set to any language you wish.

I’m always happy reviewing Picture Books that come my way and share them with you.  If you would like to see more please pop over to Susanna Leonard Hills Blog where there are hundreds of books reviewed by other like minded authors and writers.  Thank you for popping in and I hope you return again soon.

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“PERFECT PICTURE BOOK” FRIDAY

Just the Right Size

Written by:  Bonnie Grubman

 Illustrated by:  Suzanne Diederen

 Published by:    Clavis Publishing Inc, New York 2018

Ages:    3 – 6 years

Theme:   Big and Small, Being huggable.

Opening Lines:  Did you know… that a ladybug is small enough to land on the branch of a tree? A giraffe is not.

Synopsis:   From Amazon…    Did you know a ladybug is just the right size to land on the branch of a tree? That would be difficult for a giraffe. But then, a giraffe is just the right size to reach the highest branches. Did you know that a frog is small enough to perch on a lily pad? A hippopotamus is not (obviously), but he is big enough to scare even a crocodile away! In her latest picture book, Bonnie Grubman explores the basic concepts of big and small by putting all sorts of living creatures in odd oppositions. And you? What are YOU just the right size for?

Why I like this:  This is a beautifully illustrated book with a great message to help children realize their potential at any age or size. Bonnie Grubman’s story reminds us all that we are perfect the way we are, even for a hug, and we all have unique abilities. This story engages because it’s mostly about animals, and never feels preachy or didactic.  I love that small and big is highlighted to show opposites, the illustrations are in pencil and pale soft watercolors adding to the cuteness.  This is a very cute book.

Resources/Findings:

About the author… https://www.bonniegrubmanbooks.com/about-us

There are many ways in which we can teach young childen the difference’s between small and big…    https://parenting.firstcry.com/articles/how-to-teach-preschoolers-the-difference-between-big-and-small/

Activities for kids showing the differences of big and small…    https://www.themeasuredmom.com/10-big-and-small-activities-preschool/

Love this website of fun activities such as making a book and singing a song for kids about you are only as small as what is beside you or around you.  Check it out here…   http://billygorilly.com/blog/2013/teaching-big-and-small/

I’m always happy reviewing Picture Books that come my way and share them with you.  If you would like to see more please pop over to Susanna Leonard Hills Blog where there are hundreds of books reviewed by other like minded authors and writers.  Thank you for popping in and I hope you return again soon.

 

Posted in Children's literature, Perfect Picture Book Review | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments