April 16, 2015

Perfect Picture Book Friday - Meet The Dullards

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, Everyone!

As you all know, I am behind (not even going to say how far!) in updating the Perfect Picture Book List.  One of my problems is that Blogger overloaded due to how much I was trying to put on that page.  I'm trying to sort out a better system.  Stacy, the wonderful and generous, put together a possible plan which I haven't had time to figure out yet, but in the meantime, at the very least, I have two (2!) things to mention.

1.  I am experimenting with using Pinterest for the theme lists, so many Perfect Picture Books, grouped by theme, are on Pinterest HERE.

2.  The complete alphabetical list of books that have been done through April 10, 2015, is on another blog HERE.  It is grouped into titles A-H, I-P, and Q-Z.  Although all the titles are listed, the vast majority have yet to be linked to their reviews because I haven't figured out how to get an eighth day into the week just for PPBF updating :)

There is a theme list on the new blog and it is complete - all the themes are listed alphabetically, and they connect to the Pinterest boards... but the Pinterest boards are only partially loaded.

There is a list of contributing bloggers on the right side of the new blog which I know is incomplete.  If you're a contributing blogger whose site isn't mentioned, please feel free to email me and I'll add you in - I just couldn't remember everything off the top of my head so have been adding slowly as I go along - and I apologize for not getting you up there already!

As I said, I've been experimenting, so things are a bit at sixes and sevens and this is a stop-gap measure until I can figure out what is going to work best for this amazing and impressive list.  In my dreams, I'd also like to list the books in a way that would be helpful to writers looking for mentor texts - examples of parallel stories, or wordless picture books, etc...  But like I said, I lack an eighth weekday... so we'll see :)

As for today's Perfect Picture Book, I have a fun one for you, because sometimes books should just be fun :)

Title: Meet The Dullards
Written By: Sara Pennypacker
Illustrated By: Daniel Salmieri
Balzer & Bray, March 2015, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: humor, family

Opening: "One day, Mr. and Mrs. Dullard received quite a nasty surprise. [art: children are reading books: Becoming One With The Tightrope and The Nicest Way To Befriend A Lion]  The Dullards collected the books and handed their children some nice blank paper to read instead.  Then they left the room to discuss the problem in private."

Brief Synopsis: Mr. and Mrs. Dullard are committed to raising a dull family, doing everything in their power to keep their children safe from the evils of applesauce cake, puppies, and thinking.  If only they knew... :)

Links To Resources: talk about family traditions: what are some things you do as a family? How are these things alike or different from what other people do with their families?  Do you think people are "weird" if they do things differently?  Discuss things to do together as a family.  In this book, the kids are completely focused on joining the circus while their parents concentrate on being dull - in a group or individually, think up and illustrate another Dullards story where the kids have a new plan and practice making the story say one thing while the pictures show another.  Why is this funny?

Why I Like This Book:  I have long been a fan of The Stupids and, more recently, The Dumb Bunnies.  The Dullards are full of tongue-in-cheek humor.  Mrs. Dullard faints at the sight of flowered wallpaper.  The Dullards' idea of fun is (actually!) watching paint dry.  And when Mr. and Mrs. Dullard see a snail crossing the driveway they pack up their family and move away from such dangerous excitement.  Meanwhile, readers (young and old alike) will enjoy the illustrations which depict the elder Dullards picking out paint (gray or beige?) oblivious to their offspring juggling paintbrushes, climbing on clotheslines and befriending puppies.  The contradiction of the text and the deadpan illustrations is entertaining every time through the book!  This book is just plain fun! :)

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

PPBF bloggers please be sure to leave your post-specific link in the list below so we can all come visit you!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!! :)


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April 15, 2015

Would You Read It Wednesday #170 - The Octopus Wants What It Wants (PB) PLUS The March Pitch Winner!

Are you familiar with Steve Martin from Saturday Night Live back in the old days?

You know that skit where he strums his banjo and sings, "I'm a ramblin', ramblin', ramblin', ramblin', ramblin', ramblin'  GUUUYY!"?

Well, that's me.

I'm a ramblin', ramblin', ramblin', ramblin', ramblin', ramblin'  GUUUYY, er, well I guess technically, gal!

I took Princess Blue Kitty for her very overdue oil change on Monday, loaded her up yesterday, and... you won't believe it... but right now, this very second, while you are here reading my blog (thank you so much for being here!) I am somewhere in the wilds of Pennsylvania at an institution of higher learning.

Basically, I am a chauffeur.

A ramblin', ramblin', ramblin', ramblin', ramblin', ramblin'  chauffeur :)

So anyway, whilst I'm touring the eastern United States, I am simultaneously presenting to you the winner of the March Pitch Pick, a delicious Something Chocolate, and a fabulous pitch from today's WYRI participant!  I'm such a multi-tasker.  (Er, ahem, that was a tiny fib.  A fiblit.  I am so not a multi-tasker.  I can't even talk on the phone and fold laundry because I get a crick in my neck.  You can thank Blogger's scheduling feature for making this presentation possible.)

So first off, let's have a round of applause for the winner of the March Pitch Pick!  It is Carrie with her PB pitch for Stepping Into Adventure: The Magic Rocks!  Congratulations, Carrie!  Your pitch is on its way to editor Erin Molta for her comments!

And congratulations to our other brave and talented pitchers for doing such a great job!  Everyone is a winner, really, just for polishing their pitch, putting it out there, taking the feedback constructively, and making the pitch even better than before.  Bravo to all of you!!!

After all that excitement, you probably need Something Chocolate.  Today's pitcher has requested Chocolate Cream Pie, and far be it from me to disappoint a pitcher :)



Can you say scrumdiddlyumptious?  Mmm-mmm!

Today's pitch comes to us from Ariel who says, "I'm a mom of two young children in New Jersey, which means I get to read a ton of picture books and pretend I'm reading them for my kids and not myself. I'm on Twitter @a3bernstein and write a blog, How to Raise Benevolent Dictators at https://a3bernstein.wordpress.com. I also believe that a day without chocolate isn't a completed day."

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: The Octopus Wants What It Wants
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)
The Pitch: Sea creatures beware! Billie the octopus wants what she wants and she takes what she wants. But when Billie takes a boy from a fishing boat and finds out what it's like to have a friend, she learns what she really wanted all along.

So what do you think?  Would You Read It?  YES, MAYBE or NO?

If your answer is YES, please feel free to tell us what you particularly liked and why the pitch piqued your interest.  If your answer is MAYBE or NO, please feel free to tell us what you think could be better in the spirit of helping Ariel improve her pitch.  Helpful examples of possible alternate wordings are welcome.  (However, I must ask that comments be constructive and respectful.  I reserve the right not to publish comments that are mean because that is not what this is about.)

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  There are openings in September so you've got a little time to polish up your pitches and send yours for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Ariel is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to sleeping in my own bed tonight because as nice as hotels are they are not my own bed :)

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! :)
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April 10, 2015

Perfect Picture Book Friday - High-Tailing It Out Of The State!

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, Everyone!

I'm just going to 'fess up right away.

I don't have a book today.

Not for lack of trying - I read a whole pile.  But none of the books in my pile particularly struck my fancy.  And my sister was visiting and there was a visit to the seamstress about prom dress alteration and college revisit planning and lameness diagnosis for Jemma who is very lame in the off fore (or at least that's what you'd say if she were a horse) (and by "diagnosis" I mean everyone is scratching their heads because really we don't know what's wrong except maybe it's her shoulder) and work, work, work, and etc. and I just flat out ran out of time.

And now, as you are sipping your coffee and happily anticipating loads of lovely Perfect Picture Books, I am high-tailing it out of the state!

That's right.

Princess Blue Kitty and I are heading to the Green Mountains for the day so that I can hear one child present her honors history thesis at the symposium... after which I shall return home in time to hear another child sing at Arts Night.

That's the plan.

Good lord willing and the creek don't rise! :)

So please, share amongst yourselves, visit each other, enjoy all the picture books on offer this week... and I'll catch up as soon as I can!

PPBF bloggers please be sure to leave your post-specific link in the list below so we can all come visit you!

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

Have a great weekend, everyone!!! :)


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April 8, 2015

Would You Read It Wednesday #169 The Princess And The Pee (PB) PLUS The March Pitch Pick

Howdy boys and girls!

I'm going to be so succinct today you won't even recognize me!

(That is because my sister is visiting from Georgia and I barely ever get to see her, so I'm taking advantage of the time :))

So straight down to business!

First off, the March Pitch Pick.

Our March pitchers have taken all your good advice to heart and revised their pitches for your consideration.  Please read through them and then vote below for the pitch you like best.  Hopefully we will not get a three-way tie this time! :)

#1 Donna - The Chocolate Train Wreck - ER - ages 6-9

Nine–year-old Abigail must do an essay about one of her favorite things. But train whistles or chocolate-chip-cookies don’t seem big enough for her paper and nothing new ever happens in Hamilton. That is, until an airborne diesel engine and 50 tons of chocolate create a delicious mystery still unsolved more than fifty years later.

#2 Maria - A Pup Called Freelance - PB ages 5-8

My dad and the other firefighters were just doing their job when they rescued the two tiny puppies. Back at the firehouse, one was quickly adopted, while "Freelance," who chewed on fire boots and hid under the ladder truck​, was headed for the pound. But all that would change during his overnight visit to my house. Despite his mischievous nature, Freelance had a "nose for danger." His heroic efforts to save us earned him a place in our home forever!
#3 Pam - Freedom's Eve - PB ages 5-8

Eight-year-old Eve-Lynn groans about attending Watch Night service. A night commemorating the vigil of December 31st, 1862, when her ancestors watched and waited for the dawn of a new day. Freedom from slavery. But it is 1962. Gathering in an old barn, with a bunch of old relatives holds little excitement for Eve-Lynn. She dislikes her old-timey name. A hush interrupts Eve-Lynn’s grumbling. Eve-Lynn comes face to face with her one-hundred-eight- year old aunt, Lil’ Eve, an former-slave for whom she was named. The old aunt's voice rings out with an ancestral song, signaling the start of Watch Night. It is a song Eve-Lynn loves but has never understand the words, until tonight. Will Eve-Lynn learn to honor the Watch Night tradition? Will she learn to appreciate the significance of her name, and its link to her rich heritage?


#4 Carrie - Stepping Into Adventure: The Magic Rocks - PB ages 4-8

Stepping Into Adventure: The Magic Rocks is the story of Jude, a boy who is on a quest to find adventure because boredom has captured him.  He discovers he cannot escape his suddenly dull days without the help of his step-mom.  This results in high-flying adventure and a discovery that they are even better together.  

Please vote for the pitch you think most deserves a read and comments from editor Erin Molta by Sunday April 12 at 5 PM.

Today's pitcher is sharing her own favorite Something Chocolate with us: Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream with thawed frozen raspberries on top!



YUM!!!  Help yourselves :)

Now then, today's pitch comes to us from Amelia who says, "I am a former teacher - preschool, elementary, and middle school, both general education and Spanish, and now I'm staying at home with two boys who love to roar at each other.  I've been a writer my entire life, and have my eyes set on a second career as an author, so I've committed to saying yes to every writing opportunity that arises in 2015, to see where that takes me!

Links:

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: The Princess And The Pee
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 2-5)
The Pitch: When little Addy discovers an unexplored room in the family castle, her sister informs her that it holds The Royal Throne - a special seat only true princesses can use.  True princesses who are so sensitive they just can't play one second in a dirty diaper.  True princesses who are so clever they can sense wiggles and tinkles moving around even before they come out.  Addy knows she's a princess, but if she ever wants to see The Royal Throne for herself, she'll have to find a way to prove it!

So what do you think?  Would You Read It?  YES, MAYBE or NO?

If your answer is YES, please feel free to tell us what you particularly liked and why the pitch piqued your interest.  If your answer is MAYBE or NO, please feel free to tell us what you think could be better in the spirit of helping Amelia improve her pitch.  Helpful examples of possible alternate wordings are welcome.  (However, I must ask that comments be constructive and respectful.  I reserve the right not to publish comments that are mean because that is not what this is about.)

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  There are openings in September so you've got a little time to polish up your pitches and send yours for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Amelia is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to hanging out with my sister!

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!!! :)


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April 3, 2015

Perfect Picture Book Friday - Flap Your Wings

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, Everyone!

Since it's technically Spring, and since Sunday is Easter, I chose a book about an egg :)  It is another older book - almost 20 years older than last week's older book! - but it is one of my All Time Favorites!


Flap Your Wings
Written & Illustrated By: P.D. Eastman
Random House, 1969, Fiction
Suitable For: ages 3-8
Themes/Topics: assumptions, non-traditional family, unconditional love, responsibility
Opening: (this is actually the first three pages.)
"An egg lay in the path.
A boy came down the path.  He saw the egg.  "Someone might step on that egg and break it," he said.
He looked around.
He saw flamingos and frogs, and turtles and alligators.  "Whose egg is this?" he called.  But no one answered."

Brief Synopsis:  A little boy finds an egg.  He doesn't want it to get damaged, so he looks around until he finds the nest and carefully puts it back.  When Mr. and Mrs. Bird come home, they are surprised to find an egg in their nest... it wasn't there when they left!  But Mr. Bird says that if an egg is in their nest it must be their egg, so they must take care of it.  So they do... with very surprising results!

Links To Resources:  Ideas And Activities For Guided ReadingIncubation & Embryology Activities, use with An Egg Is Quiet (from PPBF link list), talk about what kind of animals, insects and reptiles lay eggs and how the eggs are the same and different.

Why I Like This Book:  This book is fun to read as a picture book, but is also an I Can Read type book that is very accessible to new readers.  The pictures are delightful - Mr. and Mrs. Bird's expressions are very entertaining.  But I really love the story because it doesn't go where you would expect.  It's funny.  And it's a great example of what agents, editors and reviewers mean when they talk about re-readability.  This book delighted me as a child, and delighted my children in their turn.  I've read it so many times that even now, years since I last read it to my kids, I can recite almost the whole book.  It's fun every time :)

If you get a chance to read it, I hope you like it as much as I do!

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

Before we head off to our weekends, I just want to share a little housekeeping note for those of you who are new to Perfect Picture Book Fridays:

Perfect Picture Books are more than just reviews.

The thing that sets Perfect Picture Books apart is the resources.

It is our goal to make it easy for parents, teachers, and homeschoolers to expand on the use of picture books.

Essentially, we're handing them a great picture book and one or more activities they can use with it ready-made.

The resources you provide may be online links, but they don't have to be.  Many PPBF bloggers think up GREAT activities and discussion questions and recipes and games etc...

The crucial thing is that the book you post must have at least one good resource to expand on its use at home and/or in the classroom in order to be added to the comprehensive list.  And the resource must be ready to use - by which I mean, saying a book can be used for finger rhymes or a math activity doesn't help a parent or teacher who doesn't know any finger rhymes or math activities, so please tell us which finger rhyme and how to do it, or provide a specific math activity, etc.  Thank you so much!

PPBF bloggers please be sure to leave your post-specific link in the list below so we can all come visit you and see what terrific books you've chosen this week!

Have a lovely weekend, everyone, and Happy Easter and Happy Passover to those who celebrate!



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April 1, 2015

Would You Read It Wednesday #168 - Don't Pinch Me! (PB)

Does everybody know what day it is???

Woo hoo!

It's April Fools' Day!

And Mother Nature is certainly April Fooling with us, as she continues to send snow!  Which I am ignoring.  Pointedly.

I hope you will all indulge me in a moment of shameless self-promotion (due to the fact that I never seem to remember ahead of time to do anything about this!)

Enjoy April Fools' Day high jinx and shenanigans with Phyllis and the gang!
Grab a copy for yourself, one of the littles in your life, your local library, etc... :)
Helpful purchasing links for your convenience:
AMAZON, B&N, INDIEBOUND, Merritt Bookstore
If you feel the urge to share April Fool, Phyllis! on FB, twitter, etc, Phyllis and I will be extremely grateful and will sing a song in your honor :)  It will go like this:

FOOORRR you're a jolly good fellow
For you're a jolly good fellow
Oh you're a jolly good fell-ooowwwwwww
And Phyllis and I love you!

As you can see, we worked hard on the music and lyrics, and we practiced our singing all night... which is why we might sound a little hoarse.

Neigh!

And now for your Something Chocolate!
Meatloaf with gravy, mashed potatoes, and peas!!!
Recipe HERE at Party Pinching
http://www.partypinching.com/parties-holidays/april-fools-day/

Tee-hee-hee!  April Fool! :)

The "meatloaf" is a chocolate rice krispie treat with chocolate sauce for "gravy", the "mashed potatoes" are half a cupcake with vanilla frosting, a yellow starburst, and a little yellow gel icing, and the "peas" are from the peas and carrots Jelly Belly pack!  Pretty clever, don't you think?  :)

Now that you're properly fortified (I mean, talk about a healthy breakfast! :)) today's pitch comes to us from Lidia.  Lidia Varesco Racoma is a graphic designer and mom in Chicago. She is owner of graphic design studio Lidia Varesco Design and children’s apparel line typebaby. She writes about juggling motherhood and small business on her blog Biz Mama, and has self-published a children’s book called City Kid: ABC.

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Don't Pinch Me!
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)
The Pitch: The pencil is always getting pinched at school as the preschoolers learn to write and he’s really cranky about it…until he realizes just how important his job is.

So what do you think?  Would You Read It?  YES, MAYBE or NO?

If your answer is YES, please feel free to tell us what you particularly liked and why the pitch piqued your interest.  If your answer is MAYBE or NO, please feel free to tell us what you think could be better in the spirit of helping Lidia improve her pitch.  Helpful examples of possible alternate wordings are welcome.  (However, I must ask that comments be constructive and respectful.  I reserve the right not to publish comments that are mean because that is not what this is about.)

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  There are openings in September so you've got a little time to polish up your pitches and send yours for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Lidia is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to when it stops snowing and gets above 20!  Which I know it is going to do soon!  I have faith.  It could possibly even happen today. You never know :)

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!  Happy April Fools' Day!  Happy April!  Happy Spring! :)


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March 27, 2015

Perfect Picture Book Friday - The Baby Blue Cat Who Said No

My Perfect Picture Book is below - I promise! :) - I just have a little explanation for it first.

As some of you may know, I teach an online picture book writing class.

This week, we got into a discussion about subjectivity.

As a writer, how do you know if your story will appeal to agents, editors, and readers (both the adults who will read your picture book aloud and the children who will listen)?

There are some basic rules of thumb: your story should have a beginning, middle and end (i.e. actually BE a story), it should have an engaging character and/or plot, it should strike an emotional note of some kind, and it's best not to write about inappropriate subjects, use foul language, glorify violence etc... - pretty much common sense :)

But beyond a certain point, there's really no way to tell for sure who is going to like what.  If it appeals to you, if it touches a chord in your heart, if it highlights a truth in your life, chances are it will do that for other people too.  But there will always be at least one person out there who can find something to criticize.  And I don't mean that in a bad way. I mean it in a comforting way.  You can't please everyone, so write the best story you can and likely you'll please someone.  Probably lots of someones :)

My Perfect Picture Book choice for today is a case in point - an older book, beloved by many (me and my children included!) - that received the following review:

"Line drawings that look like doodles of cute kittens in gray, orange, white, and blue cannot save this lame tale of a contrary kitten... This is a story of manipulation at its worst. The language is flat, especially when read aloud. This reviewer says ``NO!''" Marianne Pilla, formerly at Allard K. Lowenstein Library of Long Beach, N.Y. Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Ouch!

But I don't find it manipulative.  I find it an endearing and true-to-life example of the way toddlers behave - naughty one moment, full of remorse the next, right back to their own agenda the minute after that, but not mean-spirited or malicious in their intent.

Subjectivity :)

I hope you like this book as much as the people in my house do! :)

Title: The Baby Blue Cat Who Said No
Written & Illustrated By: Ainslie Pryor
Re-issue March 1988, Viking Juvenile, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-7

Themes/Topics: behavior (contrariness), humor

Opening: "Have you heard the story of the Baby Blue Cat who said No?
Once there was a Mama Cat and her four baby cats.
Baby Orange Cat,
Baby White Cat,
Baby Striped Cat, and
Baby Blue Cat.
Mama Cat loved all of her baby cats very much."

Brief Synopsis: Baby Orange Cat, Baby White Cat and Baby Striped Cat all behave the way little kittens should, but Baby Blue Cat is feeling ornery.  No matter what his Mama asks, he says, "No!"  But when he pushes his Mama too far, he apologizes and behaves... until his contrariness gets the better of him again :)

Links To Resources: Teaching Children A VocabularyFor Emotions; make cards with different emotions pictured and/or written  - e.g. a smiley face and/or HAPPY - and play emotion charades by letting kids pick a card and act out the emotions for the rest of the class or family and see if the observers can guess; talk about behavior - have you ever refused to do something just to be difficult? Do you sometimes do bad things and then feel sorry? Talk about how to say you're sorry - resource HERE.

Why I Like This Book:  The "flat language" :) is fun to read aloud.  (Years later, we still use the phrase "and here's your delicious cupcake, YUM YUM" :) )  The "line drawings that look like doodles" :) are cute and engaging (right down to the smile on the fish sandwich :))  But mostly, anyone who has ever spent 3 minutes around a toddler will recognize and appreciate Baby Blue Cat's desire to have some control, and some opportunity to be independent of his mother and siblings.  As I mentioned above, he's naughty, but when he goes too far he's genuinely remorseful.  Mama Cat loves her baby cats very much, and it is clear that Baby Blue Cat loves his Mama Cat too :)

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

PPBF bloggers please be sure to leave your post-specific link in the list below so we can all come visit you and see your fabulous picks for this week!

Oh, and P.S. The lovely Alayne Christian invited me to be part of her platform building series, so I will have a post on her blog tomorrow if anyone cares to stop by.  She deserves lots of visitors, and there are other (undoubtedly much better :)) posts in the platform building series already published from Julie Hedlund, Miranda Paul, and Tara Lazar, as well as more coming from Katie Davis and I think maybe KidLit411 - so definitely worth checking out the series!

https://alaynekaychristian.wordpress.com

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!!


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March 25, 2015

Would You Read It Wednesday #167 - Adventures With My Step-Mom: The Magic Rocks (PB) PLUS The February Pitch Winner AT LAST!

The tension has been just unbearable, hasn't it?

You could just cut it with a knife!

I know you guys have barely managed to go about your daily activities, what with the wondering and anticipation and general angst over WHO WON THAT PITCH PICK!

I mean, seriously!  When have we ever had to do a pitch pick twice?  And even the second time I had to jump on Face Book at the eleventh hour and beg people who hadn't voted to go read and vote quickly in order to break yet another tie!

Talk about closely matched!  I came THIS CLOSE to having to let random.org make the decision.  But luckily it didn't come to that.

So it is with great pleasure (and no small measure of relief) that I announce that the tie was finally broken and we do have a winner!

So who's following March Madness?

Are you all basketball fans?

Everyone's brackets still holding up?

Can you believe Villanova is out?  Where did THAT come from?

Okay, I can't keep this up - I'm just fooling with you.  I don't even watch basketball.  I had to ask my kids for a team name :)

So anyway, yeah.  The winner of the hotly contested February Pitch Pick is. . .

Kirsten!
with her pitch for Finley vs. The Fly!

Congratulations, Kirsten!  Your pitch is on its way to editor Erin Molta for her read and opinion!

And congratulations to ALL OF YOU!  My goodness what a close race!  You all did such an amazing job, and I truly am sorry I didn't have the nerve to ask Erin to read and comment on all of them because you all deserved it!  But you are all winners just for working so hard on your pitches and putting them out there for feedback and then polishing them up to the point where literally no one could decide whose was best! :)

Whew!  After all that tension (which no doubt burned off at least a million calories) I think we need a little Something Chocolate, don't you?

I was going to go with just a plain old-fashioned delicious chocolate eclair...
Image and recipe at Tender Crumb HERE
... but then I thought of you nutty chocolate-isn't-for-breakfast types, so I added the healthy version :)

Image and recipe at Tender Crumb HERE
Scrumptious, no?!  We are all geared up for an amazing day with a start like that! :)

Today's pitch comes to us from Carrie who says, "I currently live just north of Cincinnati and am a step-mother to a hilarious and sweet eight-year-old boy. When I am not working as a pediatric social worker, I enjoy photography, running, and taking my best shot at this writing thing."

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Adventures With My Step-Mom: The Magic Rocks
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)
The Pitch: Days had grown dull until Jude discovers magic rocks, one for him and one for his step-mom.  Only when connected, the rocks send them sailing through the sky together on an adventure full of twists and turns. 

So what do you think?  Would You Read It?  YES, MAYBE or NO?

If your answer is YES, please feel free to tell us what you particularly liked and why the pitch piqued your interest.  If your answer is MAYBE or NO, please feel free to tell us what you think could be better in the spirit of helping Carrie improve her pitch.  Helpful examples of possible alternate wordings are welcome.  (However, I must ask that comments be constructive and respectful.  I reserve the right not to publish comments that are mean because that is not what this is about.)

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  There are openings in September so you've got a little time to polish up your pitches and send yours for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Carrie is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to going outside in a t-shirt and shorts and not being cold.  I know it's going to happen!... though maybe not this week :)

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!!


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March 20, 2015

Perfect Picture Book Friday - Step Gently Out

Happy First Day of Spring!!!

Pay no attention to the fact that it's freezing cold and snowing!

SPRING is officially HERE!

We should definitely celebrate with spring-colored cake!  Help yourselves :)

Lemon Cake with Lavender Icing -
pretty AND delicious :)
In celebration of spring and getting outdoors, I have such a beautiful, beautiful book to share with you!  I hope you'll love it as much as I do!

Step Gently Out
Written By: Helen Frost
Photography By: Rick Lieder
Candlewick, March 2012, Fiction

Themes/Topics: nature, insects, taking time to look closely, poetry

Suitable For: ages 2-7

Opening: "Step gently out,/ be still, and watch a single blade of grass."

Brief Synopsis: (From the Booklist starred review) "Nature’s miracles are often small and hard to capture, but in a syncopated harmony of text and image, Frost and Lieder manage to depict tiny moments as seen through a bugs-eye-view of the world... Moving from day to night, the poem makes for a soothing bedtime lullaby that includes a reminder to children about the book’s small creatures: "In song and dance / and stillness, / they share the world / with you.""

Links To Resources: the back of the book includes lots of information on all the insects pictured - a resource all in itself.  In addition, here are some Insect Coloring Pages.  Try taking some photographs of your own.  Try writing a short poem about an insect.

Why I Like This Book:  I am always in favor of books that encourage kids to go outside and look closely at the real world around them, really observe it, think about it, be part of it.  I'm not an insect lover per se :), but this book is amazingly beautiful.  I cannot stress enough how absolutely exquisite the photography is.  Such detail!  I wish I could share every page, but that would probably be frowned upon :)  Here's one more little sample:


It's breathtaking, isn't it? and I think kids and adults alike will thoroughly enjoy looking at it, especially in combination with the poetic text which is as gorgeous in it's imagery as the photography is.  This book is a feast for eyes and ears and hearts!

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

PPBF bloggers please be sure to leave your post-specific link in the list below so we can all come visit you!   And now everyone go out and enjoy Spring!  Just, if you live in my neck of the woods, put on your jacket... your hat... your snow boots... your scarf... your mittens... and then go frolic :)

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! :)


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March 18, 2015

Would You Read It Wednesday # 166 - Freedom's Eve (PB) And The Continued Saga Of The Three-Way Tie

Long ago...

...in a galaxy far, far away...

PITCH PICK WARS!

What?

A little overly dramatic?

You think?

Okay, well, how about:

Two weeks ago...

... er, right here in the exact same place where we are right now...

(but don't think that just because we're all still here in the same place we are couch potatoes, or joined at the hip to our computers, or that we haven't gotten up for two weeks because we are taking the writer's commandment of butt-in-chair far too seriously and no those are NOT potato chip crumbs in the cushions)

...PITCH PICK THREE-WAY TIE!

I think the second version inspires the same goods bumps of anticipation as the first, don't you?  And I feel sure it's only a matter of time before George Lucas/Lucasfilms/Disney produces the blockbuster hit Pitch Pick Wars :)

Anyway, there we were, voting out little hearts out, and lo and behold a three way tie resulted.  Quel horreur!  What to do?

Many of you suggested random.org... which I almost did... but it seemed so, well... random... and the pitch pick is supposed to be based on merit.

Others suggested voting between the three that were tied... but I felt bad for the 4th one who was the only one not in the tie, and I didn't want anyone to feel bad.

So here's the plan:

We shall have a new vote on all 4.

If by chance we get another tie, I'm giving the pitchers fair warning that it will go to random.org.

I'm hoping this is fair, and that you guys don't mind voting again too much.  I have a special treat to reward you with right after!  So ready, set, VOTE!

#1 Kirsten - Finley VS. The Fly PB ages 4-8

When a pesky fly fixes his eye on Finley’s peanut butter and jelly sandwich, the game is on. Armed with a magazine, vacuum cleaner, and sink sprayer, Finley is determined to deliver a final blow to the buzz. But when Finley serves up the final swat and the fly lands — splat — on the sandwich, Finley wonders whether he’s really won after all.

#2 Kathy - King Of The Boards PB ages 4-8 (formerly Son of Boogie)

Dean dreams of matching his father's expertise on the boards–skateboards, surf boards, snowboards - but his flip flops at Half Pipe Park, and he wipes out at the beach. Monstrous moguls and an ice storm stop him cold on the slopes. While chillin’ at the ski lodge, Dean discovers a different board he rocks- a game board. KING OF THE BOARDS is a 332 word picture book that champions perseverance and finding your own groove.

#3 Robyn - Barebones The Skeleton PB ages 4-8

When BAREBONES loses his click-clack, he has to find it before the sun goes down, or he'll lose his Halloween job. With a little help from his pumpkin friend, he searches through water and wind trying to uncover where he lost it. Where he finds it is truly a musical surprise. 

#4 Joanne - The Animal Crackers PB ages 3-6

Meet the newest member of The Animal CrackersElephant wants to join his animal friends' jazz band, but every time he tries his trunk at an instrument, it ends tragically. After destroyed drums, harmonica havoc, and a tuba torpedo, Elephant discovers he's had music in him all along: it's as plain as the trunk on his face. 

Please vote below for the one you feel most deserves a read by editor Erin Molta by Friday March 20 at 9 PM EDT (when we will all be enjoying the first day of spring!!!)

Today's pitcher requested "a supremely rich chocolatey dessert... With peanut butter... Ooh, and caramel bits" for her Something Chocolate.  I know she's feeling a little anxious, so I did my best!  Plus, I promised you all a reward for voting a second time!

So here is an assortment - a smorgasbord of chocolatey peanut buttery caramelly deliciousness!  I feel sure there's something here for every taste (except maybe those of you who have the misguided sense to eat fruit, yogurt, and/or granola for breakfast... but don't worry, we love you in spite of your weird taste in breakfast :))

For the cake lovers: Chocolate Peanut Butter Torte
From Lemon Sugar - recipe HERE
From Lemon Sugar - recipe HERE

For the bar lovers: Peanut Butter Caramel Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookie Bard
From Mom On Timeout - recipe HERE

For the bonbon lovers:  5 Ingredient Salted Caramel Peanut Butter Truffles
From Minimalist Baker - recipe HERE
(and these, believe it or not, are vegan and gluten-free, so really, health food :))
Thank you all for voting again - I hope you enjoy the treats! :)

Today's pitch comes to us from Pamela who says, "I have a  love for reading and using music to increase descriptive language, which prompted me to create a music and literacy program called MyLMNOP (Language & Literature-Music-Naming-Oral language-Phonemic Awareness). Children love learning new vocabulary from books with beautiful, visual language. But I couldn’t find exactly what I needed. “I’ll write my own picture books, get them published this year (2005), and use them in my program.” Cut to 2012..writing courses (Making Picture Book Magic) webinars, retreats, and revisions of (fiction & nonfiction), poetry, and even Middle Grade drafts and I discovered it would take more than a year for me to meet my goal as writer extraordinaire. Thank you for helping me become a better writer."

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Freedom's Eve
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 5-8)
The Pitch: Ten year old Eve-Lynn grumbles about her name and spending her last day of the year observing Watch Night, “In an old barn with a bunch of old relatives.” She comes face to face with her namesake, Lil’ Eve. Through the eyes of her 102 year old aunt, Eve-Lynn learns to appreciate the history of her name and the significance of Watch Night. A nighttime vigil honoring her people, who watched and waited for the dawn of freedom. The first Watch Night of December 31, 1862, known as Freedom’s Eve.


So what do you think?  Would You Read It?  YES, MAYBE or NO?

If your answer is YES, please feel free to tell us what you particularly liked and why the pitch piqued your interest.  If your answer is MAYBE or NO, please feel free to tell us what you think could be better in the spirit of helping Pamela improve her pitch.  Helpful examples of possible alternate wordings are welcome.  (However, I must ask that comments be constructive and respectful.  I reserve the right not to publish comments that are mean because that is not what this is about.)

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  There are openings in September so you've got a little time to polish up your pitches and send yours for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Pamela is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to the phone conversation with the head of Lucasfilms/Disney which I feel sure will occur at any moment.

Oh!  Hey!  Is that the phone???  :)

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!!! :)


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