“Perfect Picture Book” Friday

Tiny Owl on the Ramshackle Farm

Written and Illustrated by: Lotte Wotherspoon

Published by:  Clay Press, Auckland New Zealand 2016

Ages:   3 – 7 years

Theme: Bravery, Fear, Farm animals

Opening Lines: High in the branes of an old macrocarpa, Tiny Owl snoozes with his mama and papa.

All is still on the ramshacklefarm, just the babble of the brook in the midnight calm.

Synopsis: The ramshackle farm at midnight is full of spooky sounds. It’s enough to scare Tiny Owl right out of his wits. Luckily Papa Owl is there to reassure him that the night is nothing to be feared. Instead, it is the perfect time for owls to hunt and play.

Why I like this: Tiny Owl listens to the noises of the farmyard at night and imagines that there is a snaggle toothed monster and hairy chinned guts-gobbler lurking in the dark. Tiny Owl on the Ramshackle Farm explores children’s common night time fears. This delightful, humorous tale shows readers that the scary sounds Tiny Owl hears are in fact being made by the farmyard animals as they sleep. Tiny Owl on the Ramshackle Farm is Lotte Wotherspoon’s latest venture that comes after her 2015 publication Pukeko Dancing on the Old Dirt Track. This delivers another jaunty rhyming story with a recognisable New Zealand landscape like macrocarpa trees, picket fences and babbling brooks captured in her stunning hand drawn illustrations. There are pigs and a bull and some clucky hens, a rusting Bedford, high heels on the porch and a tired old moggy. Take a closer look and you’ll see the bull shakes maracas on his tail and a ‘farty-pants guts-gobbler’ glides past on a skateboard, wearing fancy sneakers. Hilarious true kiwi style in pencil and ink. Hopefully you can pick up your own copy at one of the links below.

Resources/Findings:

About Lottie and Clay press…   https://www.claypress.co.nz/pages/about-me

One place where you can buy a copy…   https://www.fishpond.co.nz/Books/Tiny-Owl-on-Ramshackle-Farm-Lotte-Wotherspoon/9780473353285

How to make cute paper owls…  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xqjh3BSuoWk

Tiny Owl on the Ramshackle Farm is a 2017 NZ Award for Best Children’s Book FINALIST

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 Way Home for Wolf

Written by:   Rachel Bright

Illustrated by: Jim Field

Published by:  Orchard Books, The Watts Publishing Group October 2018

Ages:   3 – 7 years

Theme: Friendship, Bravery

Opening Lines: As a rainbow of lights flickered soft in the night,

Dusting diamonds of ice in a desert of white,

The wild, whipping wind, it whistled its tune

To a howling of wolves and a shimmering moon.

Synopsis: Wolf cub Wilf doesn’’t want help from ANYONE Whatever it is, he can do it ALL BY HIMSELF. But when he finds himself lost and alone I the chill of the Arctic night Wilf discovers that sometimes we all need the helping hand of a friend.

Why I like this: I absolutely love this book. The deceptive cover illustration of a cute wolf club trudging through thick snow belies the rich deep full page spreads within. When chatting with a critique buddy of mine yesterday about this book we agreed that an older age group would appreciate the illustrations more than the 1 – 5 age that is listed on Amazon as a couple of the illustrations may appear a little frightening. I think 3 or even 4 years and up is better suited to this. The evocative storytelling in beautiful rollicking rhyme as shown above gives that sense of hope for the lost little wolf cub as we follow him finding his way home. This book would make a great mentor text in many ways from the use of language, rhyming text to not only ground us in the little wolf cubs world but also lead us from page to page following him on his journey with just the right page turns. But also the way the text leaves out what only the illustrations will and can only show. An example is….   One night it was time for the wolves to move on…New folks had moved in and their shelter was gone! So they left right away, to find a new cave. They would have to walk far and they’d have to be brave.   The illustration for this showed an angry bear curled up in what was the wolves cave. We see the pack of wolves trudging off to look for a new cave in the dark of the cold night, led by the little wolf cub and a couple of the straggler wolves glaring back at the bear. What I also loved about the illustrations was in a couple of spreads the night light actually showed the animals that the little wolf cub would meet up with when he became separated from the pack. In a couple of others it appeared as though we were looking through glass windows. And I also loved how the illustrator rounded the story off with full page spread of rich deep colours of the night similar to the opening pages.  A must read if only to enjoy the rhyming text or pour over the amazing illustrations.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Way-Home-Wolf-Rachel-Bright/dp/1408349205

Resources/Findings:

It is no surprise to find that Rachel Bright and Jim Field have paired up before in…

The Lion Inside   published in 2015 and which has sold over 130,000 copies in the UK alone,

And… The Koala Who Could   published in 2017 again with the same evocative illustrations.

And… The Squirrels Who Squabbled also published in 2017.

 

 

 

 

All books with a theme of friendship, bravery and compassion.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Qx1cNOXe1Q

Some thoughts/questions for kids…

From the cover of the book where do you think the little wolf cub is?

Is it cold or hot and why?

Is it day or night and why?

Name the animals the little wolf cub comes across when he is lost and write a sentence or paragraph about what you know about each of these animals.

What is the little wolf cub’s name?   If you wrote the story what name would you give him and why?

When the little wolf cub arrived safely home what do you think he learned from his adventure?

How did the little wolf cub get lost? What could he have done to prevent getting lost?

How to draw a cute wolf…      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-h_vBkTp_Fs

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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Webinar – “The Top Five Mistakes That Editors and Agents Most Commonly See in Submissions and How to Avoid Them.”

Last Sunday New Zealand time of 12.30pm which was around 8.30pm Saturday Eastern time in the USA, I sat down to zoom in on a free webinar through the Children’s Book Academy hosted by Dr Mira Reisberg Editor/AD of Clear Fork/Spork Publishing. The topic of the webinar was “The Top Five Mistakes That Editors and Agents Most Commonly See in Submissions and How to Avoid Them.” Also on panel with Mira was Rachael Stein Editor of Sterling Children’s Books and Hillary Homzie, Award-Winning Author. Justine Lawson was roped in to help read out the pitches, bio’s and queries appearing in the chat screen.

Being Mira, this webinar was backed with information for new and seasoned writers wanting to attract the attention of Agents and Editors to get their stories published. Once the webinar got under way I found after covering three pages in scribble I wasn’t able to keep up and used “screen save” so I could have time reading all the juicy info and resource links popping up as they gave their presentations. Thank goodness for replay!

Rachel Stein went first:…   Do You Have What you Need to Submit – Your query…   How does it fit into the market place?

Ist Pitch – What is your book abou

Make pitch short and to the point

Do your research.

Comp titles – within 5 years

2nd Bio – Who are you?

What is your background?

What writing experience?

Why you wrote this particular book?

Your online presence?

Anything else that is relevant.

3rd Submission Materials – Your query must be engaging and grabs attention.

Be a strong sample of your writing and style.

Free of typos

How to submit and follow up – Read Submission guidelines and follow exactly what they say.

When you have interest let other agents know.

Be patient – consider waiting a few months before follow up. Check again submission guidelines.

Be polite and respectful.

Hillary Homzie went next:… Mistakes found in submissions

Plot -Overly complicated.

Characters should have one burning need or goal.

-No plot.

A premise is not a plot.

Premise + activated goal = plot.

Inappropriate plot line for a genre. Ie: too old for preschool age.

Charactization –   Too flat –known for only one character trait.

-consider multiple interests.

-relationships and friendships.

-consider relationships between children and elders, animals and characters with differing abilities and constraints.

Lack of emotionality filtering from main character pov.

-react to an event or action, not only to people.

Telling can sometimes be okay.

Extend the line of description in certain areas

Extend short Verbs toad weight to emotion.

Emotion through eyes, hearts, lung and stomachs are over used.

Rely more on Internalization/Interiority to give more depth for emotion.

Both presentations came with great examples and easy to read screen info.

Mira followed with Formatting, Research and Resonance.

This was full of information and wonderful links and examples

Basic formatting for Picture Books, Chapter Books, Middle Grade and YA.

Resource links such as.. Publisher Weekly, SCBWI, MSWL, Pitching Contests, and many more.

The webinar was finished off with reading and critiquing some pitches, bios and query letters which was really insightful and interesting.

If you’re looking to get your money’s worth then Children’s Book Academy is your one stop shop!

Check out Mira’s Children’s Book Academy for courses, resources, and much more, here…   https://childrensbookacademy.teachable.com/p/about-us

So glad I took time out to tune in.

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“Perfect Picture Book” Friday

Little Robin Red Vest

Written and Illustrated by: Jan Fearnley

Published by:  Nosy Crow Ltd UK new edition 2018

Ages:   2 – 5 years

Theme: Giving, Compassion, Kindness

Opening Lines: Once upon a time, there was a little brown bird. His name was Robin, and this is his story.

Synopsis: Little Robin has given all his nice warm vests to seven chilly friends in need. On Christmas Eve, with no vest left for himself, he huddles on an icy roof… until someone very special comes to the rescue

Why I like this: It is a gorgeous sweet story of kindness and compassion for those in need or less fortunate than oneself. Full of heart this story is set at Christmas time with snow and the vests decorated in Christmas trees etc… and of course that special someone. But really this story could be easily told in our mid-winter (June and July) and still delight all ages. With repetition in thought, counting and colours as well as the theme of kindness and what you can do to help others in need, this book has a lot to offer during storytime And then there is the illustrations in beautiful soft snow it still has that warm glow and the expressions on each character are priceless. It’s hard to believe in this new look edition that this story is actually just over 20years old when it was first published. Beautifully presented it is sure to see in another 20 years. Such a classic. Remember to mark this one for the Christmas stocking order now.

Resources/Findings:

Recorded on Nosy Crow website/ kirkus review….     https://nosycrow.com/product/little-robin-red-vest/

Teaching kids to give and be easy, fun and adventurous. Here are some ideas….   https://www.365give.ca/teach-kids-give-three-easy-steps/

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

A Home Full of Friends

Written by : Peter Bently

Illustrated by: Charles Fuge

Published by:  Hodder Children’s Books (10 Aug. 2017)

Ages:   5 – 11 years

Theme: Friendship, Compassion, Kindness

Opening Lines: Bramble was looking for nuts by the river when a sudden fierce storm made him shudder and shiver.

“Oh bother! I’m bound to catch a cold in this storm! I’m heading back home where it’s cosy and warm!”

Synopsis: One stormy night, Bramble Badger offers his home to a group of animals in need and gets more than he bargained for! He’s worried about how everyone will fit, but when his house is crowded with friends, he gains something truly special.

Why I like this: This beautiful rhyming story of Bramble the Badger wandering through the forest collecting nuts and ends up offering his home to friends in need when they lose their homes, is a great message of friendship, compassion and kindness. The beautiful illustrations are rich and apart from a couple of pages, most are double-spread displaying emotion and lots of detail for the young to pore over. I loved how at first Bramble was so concerned at whether he had room or that his place was tidy enough to have visitors or that he had enough to feed everyone, but in the end it didn’t matter that they were crammed in, it was the company he enjoyed most. Giving new meaning to the saying – Home is where the Heart is. And I can sure attest to that, as having my dear critique buddy staying with me for three weeks hubby and I agree, it was the best time of all and so much fun.

Resources/Findings:

Tips for sleepover nights…   https://www.todaysparent.com/kids/10-tips-for-successful-sleepovers/

Peter’s website…   http://www.peterbently.com/

Kids Tea Party ideas…     https://www.pinterest.nz/pin/312437292878237410/?lp=true

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 Lonely Little Tree

Written by : Moya Kirby

Illustrated by: Terri Rose Baynton

Published by:  Scholastic New Zealand, October 2018

Ages:   2 – 6 years

Theme: Christmas, Forestry, Loneliness, Helping one another

Opening Lines: Where once grew a forest near the seas, one tree was left – one tiny tree. Her forest friends had been cut away, and she was left, alone, to stay.

Synopsis: A tiny tree sands all alone on the edge of a felled forest. Whispering winds swirl, and native birds gather around, bringing gifts of blossoms and berries to adorn the lonely little tree. What a magical sight, on this Christmas night.

Why I like this: This is a beautiful whimsy rhyming story about a lonely tree that wonders what will become of him, when a passing bird says it can be whatever it wants to be – a giant or a Christmas tree. He knows it will take many years to be a giant and has no idea who will help make him a Christmas tree. Then all the native birds of New Zealand rally around and find unique ways to turn this lonesome tree into a beautiful colourful tree. With Clematis blossoms, spiders web, shells and feathers and much more to decorate it, not to mention Ruru’s eyes to sparkle at the top of the tree. It is a beautiful story of giving, helping and showing the true spirit of Christmas, kiwi style. They even defend the tree when someone turns up to cut it down. The watercolours of greens, blues and browns add to the whimsy feel of the story and the hint to forestry and the effects on environment is an added element for discussion in classrooms. A story to be treasured and read at Christmas time and all year long.

Resources/Findings:

Resources here in NZ…   https://kcc.org.nz/about/

Games and activities for kids relating to rainforests: … https://www.rainforest-alliance.org/kids

The New Zealand Christmas Tree…   http://globaltrees.org/threatened-trees/trees/pohutukawa/

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

FLUFFYWUFFY

Written by : Simon Puttock

Illustrated by: Matt Robertson

Published by:  Frances Lincoln Children’s Books UK 2017

Ages:   4 – 8 years

Theme: uninvited, hilarious, dark humour

Opening Lines: Mr Moot lived all alone with his beloved pet Fluffywuffy. Mr Moot was not troubled by mice. He did not have noisy neighbours. And he hardly ever got any letters delivered…

Synopsis: Mr Moot lives a quiet life with his cherished pet, Fluffywuffy, by his side. He isn’t troubled by neighbours, or mice, or even the postman… But when an uninvited guest comes to visit, Mr Moot finds himself kept awake every night. If it’s not the sound of drums, then the noise of chainsaws and even motorbikes comes from the living room below. Luckily for Mr Moot, Fluffywuffy has a solution for how to deal with his (unlucky) guest! Kids will love this darkly funny story with a brilliant mischievous twist!

Why I like this: The author, born in New Zealand and now lives in England, gives us a humorous look at what happens when an unexpected visitor comes to stay. Upsetting a normally quiet life we can see in the illustrations that Fluffywuffy is growing increasingly unhappy about this noisy uninvited guest and secretly has plans of his own… Apparently.   The illustrations are comical as is the text and all the while Fluffywuffy says nothing. Until the last page which shows Fluffywuffy smiling with oversized human teeth.   I’ll let you decide on the last page… Is it too scary? Is it too weird? Or is it hilarious?

Resources/Findings: Author’s website… http://www.simonputtock.com/page3.htm

Illustrators website…   http://matttheillustrator.com/home

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

Brave and the Fox

Written by : Nicola Davies

Illustrated by: Sebastien Braun

Published by:  Scholastic, London England Oct 2018

Ages:   3 – 7 years

Theme: bravery, determination, adventure

Opening Lines: The long, dark winter was over at last! The sun shone down on the village under Blue Mountain, where Brave was getting ready for her very first hunting trip.

Synopsis: In the cold and icy white of her homeland, Brave embarks on a hunting trip – and as day turns to night, she finds herself on an unexpected adventure with danger, discovery and, most of all, magic.

Why I like this: The beautifully illustrated cover is what first attracted me to this sweet story. The illustrations throughout the story are rich and and sweet giving it a magical feel. This inspiring story of courage and determination of a young girl left alone in the freezing snow, faces danger but with the help of a fox manages to make her way home again, a heart-warming story, there is also extra information at the back with child-friendly facts about some of the environmental issues faced in the Arctic today.

Resources/Findings:

Author’s website… https://www.nicola-davies.com/books.php

Illustrator’s website… https://www.sebastienbraun.com/

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 – SWEET DREAMS SARAH by Vivian Kirkfield

Hi everyone,  while Vivian is now in Geneva I did before she left New Zealand have a chance to talk to her about her book Sweet Dreams Sarah which is due out  April 2nd 2019.  It was originally meant to be her debut book after having received a contract back in 2015, but after a couple of set backs it finally is hitting shelves in April this year.  Sweet Dreams Sarah has been a labour of love for Vivian and like Sarah she persisted in getting Sarah’s story out there. Here is a short interview with Vivian and I’m delighted to also have Vivian read Sweet Dreams Sarah for us.  Enjoy…

Sweet Dreams Sarah

Written by: Vivian Kirkfield

Illustrated by: Chris Ewald

Published by: Creston Books, LLC 2 April 2019

Ages:   5 – 9 years

Theme: perseverance, will-power,

Opening Lines: Before the Civil War, Sarah obeyed her owner. Hurry Up, eyes down, don’t speak. Slaves were property – like a cow or plow or the cotton that grew in the master’s fields.

Synopsis. From Amazon… Sarah E.Goode was one of the first African-American women to get a U.S. patent. Working in her husband’s furniture store, she recognized a need for a multi-use bed and through hard work, ingenuity, and determination, invented her unique cupboard bed. She built more than a piece of furniture. She built a life far away from slavery, a life where her sweet dreams could come true

Why I like this: I have been fortunate to view how Vivian crafted this story draft after draft, after draft. Her studious research, lyrical sentences and detail to word choices makes this a gripping, heart-warming story of reaching for your dreams – and succeeding! In a few words Vivian shows how a master controls his charges… Eyes down, don’t speak.   Or Sarah’s dreams… A husband, a family, and a job. Thoughts, feelings and even action are conveyed in as little as three words. For example.. Measure, cut, sand. What I love about this story is that it inspires children to dream, to strive and persist in working towards their goal or dream. To hold onto their high expectations and meet the challenges, at the same time teaching us all a little more about American history. Vivian brings this story to life for Sarah and Chris’s honey warm colours in his illustrations allow us to step back in time to watch Sarah’s progress. In the back is the Author’s note, what a Patent is and Sarah E Goode’s Timeline, along with selected resources. This book should be in every school.

Resources/Findings:

Visit Vivian’s website:   https://viviankirkfield.com/my-book/

 

 

 

 

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.

PS:  Giveaway of a signed copy of PIPPA’S PASSOVER PLATE  winner is……

PATRICIA TILTON

Congrats Pat.   Drop me a line with your address and we will make sure you get this beautiful book.

Posted in Children's literature, Interviews, Perfect Picture Book Review, Susanna's PPB Fridays, Vivian's Adventures down under | Tagged , , , , , , | 19 Comments

VIVIAN’S ADVENTURES DOWNUNDER PART 8/FINAL VIDEO’S AND PICS.

Hi everyone.   Here are the final videos and pics of Vivian’s adventures down-under. It’s taken me awhile to sift through the hundreds of videos and pictures.  In Vivian’s last week here after the SCBWI meeting we drove up the Waitakere Ranges for dinner at a friends Restaurant looking out over the tree tops to the city below.  The next day we spent at the Kumeu Show which features, wood chopping competitions, dog shows, horse shows and hundreds of craft stalls and heaps more.  On the Monday we flew to Wellington for an overnight visit. Wellington being the capital of New Zealand also houses the House of Parliament (the Beehive).  We visited Peter Jacksons Weta Workshop and Te Papa Museum and rode the famous Tram Car.  Next day we flew to Christchurch where we stayed for two nights.  We wandered around the central city,  and met with Melanie Dixon a fellow Storm Literacy client with Vivian, and had dinner with her and her daughter.  The next day we took off in a rented car for Akaroa.  A French seaside township just out of Christchurch where we spent the day and had a lovely lunch and picnicked on the beach. Back in Christchurch we found the White chairs and Memorial Wall, commemorating the people who died in the February 2011 earthquake.  Christchurch is a beautiful city and still trying to rebuild itself with parks and wide paved streets bringing a new fresh life.  It’s sad that the following day after we returned from Christchurch there was a terrorist attack in which 50 people died while praying.  It is believed the number of people killed is the equivalent by population of a mass killing of 3344 people in the USA. Which puts into perspective how small our country is and how big this devastating event is.  Vivian and I spent a day out at more beaches after the successful school visit.  We drove over to the north shore visiting some lovely parks and beaches, such as Shakespeare Park and lunched at the exclusive Gulf Harbour.

 

As we still had a few days left, before Vivian flew out, and a 12×12 member Kathy Derrick reached out asking if we would visit her, so hubby and I took Vivian on another road trip.  This time up north to the Bay of Islands.  We stopped first at Whangarei where they have a delightful book store called Storytimes. Had lunch in this riverside port and continued up to Paihia stopping briefly at Kawakawa where the famous toilets made of ceramic were designed by Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser.   At Paihia we visited Waitangi and Vivian walked the grounds where back in 1840 the Treaty of Waitangi was signed between 500 Maori chiefs and the representatives of the English Crown. Our accommodation was in Kerikeri.  We spent the next day catching a ferry at Paihia  for Russell where we wandered around and had lunch.  Returned to Paihia and that evening met up with Kathy and her husband.  After a lovely evening and an overnight stay in Kerikeri we returned to Auckland via Dargaville township on the west coast.  Here are some fun videos and pictures, also included is Vivian’s last night here in Auckland having an evening out at the Sky Tower in downtown Auckland to celebrate our 41st wedding anniversary.  We had such fun.  Enjoy…

Vivian will be still flying to Geneva when I post this.  I’m hoping she has a wonderful safe journey and an equally enjoyable time with friends in Switzerland and Bologna. I miss her already and while we had perfect weather the whole time she was in New Zealand it seemed fitting that the heavens sent a light mist of rain on my drive home from the airport which lasted into the evening.  I miss my dear sweet friend, full of laughs we spent many wee hours chatting about writing, family and heaps more.  We often sat across from each other at my dining table typing away, reading stories and emails, commenting and when we were in places that didn’t allow us the use of internet we would chat, swap writing ideas, critique each others stories and even had a night of playing cards. I will certainly miss all that.

I hope my dear friend comes back soon.  We have so much more to see and do.  Don’t leave it too long.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keep a look out for my next post of Vivian being interviewed live and reading of Sweet Dreams Sarah.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

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