May 31, 2013

Perfect Picture Book Friday - The Three Little Pigs And The Somewhat Bad Wolf

Good Morning Everyone!  Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday!

I'm a big fan of fractured fairy tales, and the three little pigs is one of my favorites, so I'm excited to share today's selection :)


Title: The Three Little Pigs And The Somewhat Bad Wolf
Written & Illustrated By: Mark Teague
Orchard Books, April 2013, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-7

Themes/Topics: fractured fairy tale, humor, responsibility, girl power

Opening: "Once there were three little pigs.  They lived on a farm, as most pigs do, and were happy, as most pigs are.  Then one day the farmer told them that he and his wife were moving to Florida.  He paid the pigs for their good work and sent them on their way.
"Let's buy potato chips," said the first pig.
"Let's buy sody-pop," said the second pig.
"Let's buy building supplies," said the third pig, who was altogether un-pig-like."

Brief Synopsis: Three little pigs set off to find a new place to live.  One is more interested in potato chips and hanging about in a hammock than building.  Another is more interested in sody-pop and mud-bathing than building.  Only the third pig (who is also the only girl in the group!) is smart enough to use her money for building supplies and her time for building.  Then, along comes the big, somewhat bad wolf... :)

Links To Resources: I think it would be fun to read the original Three Little Pigs, and then a bunch of other versions including Corey Schwartz's The Three Ninja Pigs, Jon Scieszka's The True Story Of The Three Little Pigs, Eugene Trivizas's The Three Little Wolves And The Big Bad Pig, and any others you might come across and compare how the stories are alike and different and which elements the author chose to change or twist and how that affects the story.  Here is a link to a lesson plan for the original Three Little Pigs.

Why I Like This Book:  I love fractured fairy tales, and I love Mark Teague's sense of humor.  This is an entertaining twist on the familiar tale, in which the only girl pig is the one who builds a strong house, eats healthy food, and comes up with a solution for the wolf.  I love the details in Mr. Teague's art.  My favorite page is the one where the wolf tries to get something to eat at the donut shop, the hot dog stand, and the pizza parlor :)

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

PPBF bloggers, please add your post-specific link to the list below so we can all come see what you picked this week!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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May 29, 2013

Would You Read It Wednesday #90 - The Word Thief (PB) AND The Biannual What-To-Wear Challenge



Good Morning, Folks.

If you hear any gnashing of teeth, don't worry, that's just me.

You see, it's time for my Biannual What-To-Wear Challenge.

When you have kids approximately 2 years apart, 8th grade graduations, high school graduations, and college graduations come along at fairly regular intervals.  And along with graduations comes the whole what-to-wear headache.

One of the many perks of being a writer is that there is no dress code.

I can wear blue jeans (my outfit of choice) every single day and no one cares because no one sees me.  For that matter, I could wear this

or this

and no one would even know!

(And I think I would look quite fetching.)

But on occasion it is necessary to go out in public, and that is where I run into trouble.  Unfortunately blue jeans are not considered appropriate attire for graduations (why not? I ask!), and I have a graduation to attend... tomorrow!  As I am absolutely hopeless when it comes to fashion and have the figure of a dumpling, I am faced with quite the challenge.

What to do?

Being resourceful, (but not in the sense of having financial resources or I would hire a personal shopper... or possibly a model to go in my place... :)) I decided to consult Google: "How to dress for your shape."

Right away, I ran into problems.  Hourglass, rectangle, diamond, apple....  Hmm....  no dumpling.  What's with that?  My second shape choice, garden gnome, doesn't show up either...  I don't look exactly like any of the choices they offer.

Figures.

(Ah-ha-ha, my punster is showing... :))

Oh, well.  Picking one that seemed somewhat close, I looked at the clothing suggestions.

A line? Wedge heels?
Balance? Elongate the torso?

Wrap tops?  Belted jackets?  Are they serious?

There is absolutely no hope.

So I will be going to the graduation in this:

(Feel free to share your fashion advice.  I can use all the help I can get :))


Gosh!  All that fashion anxiety is exhausting!  I definitely need a little Something Chocolate!  Let's go traditional this morning and have chocolate-chip pancakes, shall we?


Ah!  That's better :)  Ready for Would You Read It?

Today's pitch comes to us from Sian who says, "I live in San Jose California.  I come from England and although I love the beaches and the weather over here my heart will always belong in my rainy but beautiful homeland.  I've 2 kids - 6 and 4 and am a SAHM.  In my life BC (before children) I was a primary (elementary) school teacher and I love everything to do with teaching (apart from the tedious paperwork - that I do not miss!).  I have no publishing accolades to brag as I'm still at the very start of my writing 'career' (can I call it that??).  I'm learning stuff every day."

Working Title: The Word Thief
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)
The Pitch: Benedict’s an unusual Vampire.  He likes nothing more than snacking on a tasty noun because Benedict eats words.  He rampages through the city gobbling ‘words, whispers, songs and shouts’ until there are none left.  A silent city is a soulless and very eerie place.  Who can stop him?  There may be something furry lurking in the sewer that has the answer….

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 Sian 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 July so you have a little time to polish for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Sian is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to the graduation, even though I can't wear blue jeans :)

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone! :)

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May 27, 2013

Monday Short & Sweet - Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day, Everyone!

I hope you're all getting to spend the day with family and friends, ushering summer in with all kinds of happiness and fun!
badge created by Loni Edwards
                                             
Since I know we're all busy today, our Short & Sweet will be really short and sweet.

List three words that make you think of either Memorial Day or summer.

Using one or more of your own three words, or someone else's that are listed in the comments, or some of the samples listed below as inspiration, give us the first sentence or two of a story and/or a one or two sentence idea for a story.

Here are a few sample words you can use for inspiration if you can't think of any:

family
soldiers
honor
duty
red, white, and blue
Old Glory
barbecue
fireworks
swimming
ice cream
lemonade
beach
sand pail
sea shell

Here is a sample opening sentence or two:

"Just keep digging," said Jamie, dumping out another pail of sand.  "We're almost there!"

Here is a sample idea for a story:

Ari plans a special welcome for his mother returning from active duty in the armed forces.

Now you go!  Don't over think it - remember, this is supposed to be short and sweet! :)  Share your words and your opening and/or story idea.  maybe it will give you a great idea for a story, or maybe someone else's words, opening sentence or story idea will inspire a great story!

Have fun!  I can't wait to see what you come up with!

And have a wonderful Memorial Day!


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May 24, 2013

Perfect Picture Book Friday - The Complete Adventures Of Big Dog And Little Dog

Woo-hoo!  It's Perfect Picture Book Friday!

I'm sure you'll all be thrilled to know that I'm in a mad rush today, which means I shall attempt brevity (stop laughing - I can hear you!), which means a quicker than usual read for you :)


Title: The Complete Adventures Of Big Dog And Little Dog
Written & Illustrated By: Dav Pilkey
Harcourt, June 2003, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: publisher says 4-8, I'd say 3-6

Themes/Topics: friendship, humor

Opening: "Big Dog and Little Dog are hungry.  Big Dog and Little Dog want food."

Brief Synopsis: (from the jacket) "Big Dog is ready for some fun!  Little Dog is ready too.  Join these irresistible puppy pals on five zippy adventures, together for the first time in one cozy picture book collection."

Links To Resources: activities to help teach opposites, opposites worksheets, friendship activities

Why I Like This Book: You may be familiar with Dav Pilkey from The Stupids or Captain Underpants.  This is a different side of him - simple and sweet with gentle humor.  These two dog friends do everything together (including get in trouble!) and always look out for each other.  These five stories were originally published separately but are now all together in one book which gives them the feel of George And Martha or Frog And Toad, but with a lot less text.  Simple and fun, I know from experience that these stories appeal to very young readers.  And also, as many of you may have figured out, I like dogs :)

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

So there you have it!  Wasn't that the shortest post ever?

Oh, except, due to a blog comment yesterday I'm all worried about my comment system.  I'm going to try replying differently.  I would be EXTREMELY grateful if you guys could let me know if you're receiving my replies to your inbox or not today!

Have a great, safe and happy Memorial Day weekend, everyone!  And PPBF bloggers, please be sure to leave your post-specific link on the list below so we can all come see what you have to share! :)


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May 22, 2013

Would You Read It Wednesday #89 - Bonjour Remy! (PB)

Happy Wednesday, Everyone!

First I just have to show you who appeared under the tree in the horse pasture.



Isn't that just the sweetest little cutie-pie?  First one of the year, and thankfully the dogs were nowhere around.  Time for collars and leashes until these little ones are better able to fend for themselves! :)

Next I will entertain you with the fact that I've entered into a brave new world.  With my track record it will probably only last about 14 seconds, but I'll pass it along to you in case anyone is interested and has more self-dicipline than I do :)

You know how we all have so much to do these days and it can feel a bit overwhelming?  And how we seem to find ourselves often working through the weekends even though that's supposed to be family time?

Well, Katie Davis happened to mention a (relatively) new system called Simpleology.  I read about it and thought it sounded interesting... and tempting... and then Pat Miller said she was trying it.  So I thought, what the hey?  I'll try it too.

If you'd like to find out about it, go HERE.  It claims it will organize you and make you more productive.  I don't know if there's any realistic hope for me, but many of you might benefit.  (On the other hand, many of you might not even need it because you're already organized! :))  And it's FREE.  (At least the basic level is... :))

It's going to require some discipline: no turning on the computer in the morning and reading intriguing-looking blog posts or checking email or Face Book.  No sirree Bob!  Straight to Morning Brainstorming!  But, since it's free, I'm willing to give it a try for 14 seconds and see if I like it.  Check with me on Friday and see if I've thrown it over yet :)

Now.  I don't know about you, but where I am, it's breakfast time and that means...
...health food!  YUM! :)

In case you are somehow not familiar with my line of reasoning, let me explain: chocolate chip cookies are comprised of crucial nutritional elements: dairy, protein, and vegetables (I'm sure I don't need to remind you that chocolate comes from a bean! :))

Ah, that's better.  I'm sure you're feeling much stronger now.  Breakfast, after all, is the most important meal of the day!

Ready for Would You Read It?

Today's pitch comes to us from Kimberly.  Kimberly says, "I'm a 23-year-old student at the University of North Texas who is just now starting to really explore the world of publishing. I'm discovering a fantastic group of well connected children's authors and trying to learn all that I can from their experience."

Working Title: Bonjour Remy!
Age/Genre: Picture Book (age 6-8)
The Pitch: Six-year-old Remy loves adventure—just so long as it never leaves the garden. So she hesitates when her parents surprise her with a trip to Paris. How can she leave all of her favorite things? It might take some convincing, but if Remy will leap into the new and wonderful Parisian culture she might just learn that beauty and her favorite things can be found in many places. They just might have different names.

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 Kimberly 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 July so polish up those pitches for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Kimberly is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to seeing if Simpleology can help me be more organized and productive.  Really, if it can work for me, it can work for anyone!  I'm full of optimism :)

Have a great day, everyone! :)

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May 20, 2013

Just Another Lazy Monday

Happy Monday Everyone!

I know we're due for a Short & Sweet or an Oh Susanna (though I can't for the life of me remember which right now since the Jingle Contest disrupted the schedule.)

But you know what?  We're taking the day off today.
these two totally have the hang of it :)
Fill up your water bottle with ice water and slice or two of lemon, or whatever you like.

Pack a little snack (may I suggest some fresh strawberries and homemade banana bread?)

Put on some sunblock.

Grab that paperback you've been dying to indulge in but haven't found the time, or your pad and a pen if you've been struggling to get into your writing groove lately and been foiled by distractions and/or obligations.

Now head out onto the back porch where the bees are humming in the lilacs...
yeah... these are rhododendrons because I don't have a picture of our lilacs :)
... or the hammock swinging gently beneath the new leaves.

A park bench under the apple blossoms is always nice...

... or a blanket on the wave-lapped sand if you're lucky enough to be near a beach.

A small table at an outdoor cafe would be lovely...

... or a meadow dotted with wildflowers... or the slow glide of a canoe on a still pond.

Get comfy.

Soak up the sunshine.

Breathe in the fresh air.

And enjoy doing something just for you.

Feel free to share your choice of day off (real or imaginary :)) in the comments below.

And have a lovely day :)

(And forgive me - I spent my weekend driving to and from Vermont to fetch half a dorm room's worth of stuff so #3 has room for the rest in her car when she comes home this week, spending some quality time with #5, and seeing #4 off to his senior prom *sniff* I may need a hanky :)  As a result, I ran out of time to prepare a Short & Sweet or an Oh Susanna.  But I do truly want you all to have a lovely day off! :))


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May 17, 2013

Perfect Picture Book Friday - Extraordinary Endangered Animals PLUS The Contest Winners!!!


Thanks to Joanna over at Miss Marple's Musings, I realized in the nick of time that today's Perfect Picture Book Friday coincides with the 8th Annual Endangered Species Day.  So I have chosen a special book.  I hope you will enjoy it.

Title: Extraordinary Endangered Animals
Written By: Sandrine Silhol and Gaelle Guerive
Illustrated By: Marie Doucedame
Abrams Books For Young Readers, November 2011, Non-Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 10 and up

Themes/Topics: endangered species

Opening: "Our lives are closely connected to those of the animals that surround us.  The monkey is our cousin, we've domesticated the horse, the now-extinct aurochs has become the ox, the wolf has turned into our dog, the silkworm has given us beautiful clothes, and the maggot protects us from serious infections.  We've identified roughly over a million animal species.  Of those numbers, the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List indicates that close to 43,000 are endangered and face possible extinction."

Brief Synopsis: The book begins with a brief overview of living in harmony with nature, biodiversity, which animals need protection, and how important any effort to help is, as well as a map of the world showing where you would find the animals listed in the book.  (It really is brief - only about 4 pages.)  This is followed by the main part of the book which details 34 species that are endangered (from Europe, Asia, North and South America, Africa, and Oceania).

Links To Resources:  The book itself is a resource, full of information on many endangered animals.  It has a glossary in the back along with several sections on how you can help endangered animals.  It could be used in conjunction with study of animals, the environment, science etc.

Why I Like This Book:  Full of large, gorgeous color photographs, this book is appealingly written in fairly small chunks of text that are informative in a fun way with lots of little details about the animals.  I think kids would find it interesting and accessible.  I think the plight of endangered species is an important one to be informed about and to try to help with.  And it's hard to stop looking at those photographs! :)

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

Now.  We have one other item on the agenda today.  Usually I tease you for a while before I tell you what you want to know, but today I'm going to be very mature.

I'm going to get right to the point.

Without wasting a moment, I'm going to just come straight out and tell you that the Can't Sleep Without Sheep Jingle Contest and the Can't Sleep Without Sheep Kids' Drawing Contest have both been clearly and decisively won.

Congratulations to the winners!  Well done!

Have a great weekend, everyone!  See you Monday!  (PPBF Bloggers, please put your post-specific links in the list below so we can all come see your recommendations for this week.)




















What?

You're still here?

Shouldn't you be off reading everyone's picture book recommendations?

OH!

You want to know WHO the winners are?

Golly!  You guys are sticklers for details!

Fine.  I'll be more specific :)

The winners are...


both human!


Not good enough, eh?

OK.  The winners both...


used sheep in their winning entries!


No?

Well, how about this:

The winners are both...


under 12 and from the same family!!!

Need I say more?

That's right!  The popular vote has spoken, and the winner of the Can't Sleep Without Sheep Jingle Contest is none other than the incredible 11 year-old film wizard himself, ERIK!!!

And the winner of the Can't Sleep Without Sheep Kids' Drawing Contest is his sister,  the very talented JOSIE!!!

Apparently talent is genetic :)

Hearty congratulations to Erik and Josie for amazing entries, and to all our other contestants who did a truly fabulous job - each and every one of you!  I can't thank you enough for putting it all out there for Can't Sleep Without Sheep, even though after all that we are still waiting for the technical glitch to be resolved and the e-book is still not available.  Who cares?  It was tons of fun! :)

Oh, and lest I forget, we have one more winner - the winner of the Social Media Love Contest, for FB posting, tweeting, and/or blogging to raise awareness.  That winner, selected by random.org, is Beth Stilborn!  (Apparently random.org really likes Beth! :))

Thanks to everyone for writing, recording, filming, drawing, reading, listening, watching, FB posting, tweeting, blogging, and voting - what a wonderful bunch you are!!! :)

Erik, Josie, and Beth - please email me and we'll talk prizes :)

NOW PPBF bloggers leave your post specific links and everyone go have a great weekend! :)


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May 15, 2013

Would You Read It Wednesday #88 - Nobody Loves Roberto A. Tailbottom (PB)


Bonjour, mes amis!  It's Mercredi, so let's have some pain au chocolat!!  (I know... you guys always forget how multi-lingual I am :)  But really, you just heard all my French right there :))

So, petit déjeuner? (Oh, except that :)  Who knew?)


Mmmmm, that's good!  Kind of puts you in the mood for a picture book pitch, doesn't it?  Luckily, I have one for you right here!

Today's pitch comes to us from Rita, whom you may all remember from last year for her part in the mini-series on self-publishing as well as for her pitch for Elephant And Dolphin last June.  Living in Malta but raised in the New York City, Rita Antoinette Borg has written seven picture books and an anthology. The picture books are mostly in bilingual Maltese- English format. But her newest book is Meg The Egg and you can buy it on Amazon in English. She loves being a writer more than her previous jobs as dog walker, rubber band counter and airline ground hostess. She is a mother of three, married to a doctor, and searching hard for a new dog to love.
Her website is www.ritaborg.us. Look her up on facebook.
Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Nobody Loves Roberto A. Tailbottom
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 3-7)
The Pitch: A picture book for ages 3-7 about a street rat that is always hungry. When anyone sees him they all scream and want to grab him. But one day he enters a food factory with caged animals ready to be eaten. Freddie, the owner of the place, tries to capture Roberto. But Roberto is much more clever and rescues the other animals making him hero of the day.

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 Rita 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 July so you have a little time to polish your pitches for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Before you all race off to your Wednesdays, may I beg desperately on my knees politely and not at all pushily ask anyone who hasn't voted in the Can't Sleep Without Sheep Jingle Contest to head over HERE and vote?  I wasn't kidding when I said the competition was fierce.  We need votes!  The poll will be open until noon tomorrow (Thursday.)

Rita is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to seeing who will win the Can't Sleep Without Sheep Jingle Contest!!!  How many minutes until Friday????

Have a great day, everyone! :)

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May 13, 2013

Vote For You Favorite Jingle! - And Your Favorite Kids Entry!

Alrighty my friends!  I hope you ate your Wheaties this morning!

Today is the day you get to vote for your favorite jingle!

You've got two big decisions ahead of you, so I won't waste your time with a long intro.  Just go through the entries below, and after you've viewed them all, choose your favorite and vote!  Feel free to have your friends and relations visit and vote too.  You will have until Thursday May 16 at noon EDT to cast your vote, and I will announce the winner on Friday after Perfect Picture Books.  The prizes (if you need a refresher) can be viewed HERE.

Oh and BTW, I'm sorry I couldn't get all the entires to load right here.  I tried.  But you know me and technology.  So I apologize if you have to click.  They should at least all open in separate windows or tabs!

Ready? Set? Vote!

#1 Ruth - rhyme, no tune
Text/Jingle Copyright Ruth Benedum 2013
Illustrations Copyright Mike Wohnoutka 2010


#2 Vivian - rhyme, no tune

Ava Ava needs some sleep.
Ava Ava counts some sheep.
Ava Ava wide awake!
Ava Ava take a break,
Count some pigs and cows instead.
Much too noisy for my bed!
If you please, I need my sleep
Cannot sleep without my sheep.

#3 Nancy - to the tune of Swagger Jagger

You can’t stop reading this book
Reading this book
Reading this book
You can’t stop reading this book
So get a copy now
You can’t stop counting those sheep
Counting those sheep
Counting those sheep
You can’t stop counting those sheep
So get a copy now
Can’t sleep without sheep
Can’t. Can’t.
Can’t sleep without sheep
So get a copy NOW!

#4 Heather - camp chant

Leader:  What do you do when you cannot sleep?
Group:  Call for sheep!  Call for sheep!
Leader:  What will you do when they jump the gate?
Group:  Count and wait!  Count and wait!
Leader:  What are you waiting for?
Group:  Sleep!  Sleep!  Sleep!
Leader:  What kind of sleep?
Group: Long and deep!  
Leader:  What will you do when the sheep wear out?

Group:  Um’s and uh’s and shoulder shrugs. 

Leader:  Sounds like you guys need a back up plan.  Read Susanna Hill’s  E-Book “Can’t Sleep Without Sheep” to find out what  happens after the sheep get tired.

#5 Delores - to the tune of Ghost Riders In The Sky
Go HERE to hear Delores sing it!
Young Ava
she went to bed
one dark and stormy night.
She said "Oh Mommy
please,
please don't turn out the light.
I've lost my sheep
and I can't sleep
without him by my side.
How will I get to sleep tonight."
was her mournful cry. 
"I need my sheep.
I need my shee-eep.
No sleep for me tonight."
Up in the land of happy dreams
her mournful cry was heard
and one brave soul raised his head
and gazed upon his herd.
"We're needed now
and we must run
to stand by Ava's side.
If we don't bleat
she won't sleep.
Come on my friends, let's ride."
"She needs her sheep.
She needs her shee-eep.
Let's help her sleep tonight." 
They gathered
all around her bed
their bleating rose on high.
Young Ava smiled
and counted them
as round her bed they'd fly.
"I've got some sheep
now I can sleep
and every thing's all right.
Brave Wulliam and the herd
have come to save the night.
I've got some sheep
Now I can slee-eep
Now I can sleep tonight." 

#6 Iza - please click HERE to hear her jingle to the tune of The Beverly Hillbillies
Or go HERE and click on the link in her post if the above doesn't work!

#7 Carrie
video


#8 Catherine - go HERE to see her video if it doesn't come up below!
Ava hard time fallin’ asleep
Pigs and hippos too slow
and through the fence go buffalow
Lots of rushin’
Tush Tushin’
Haulin’ and hollerin’
Crowdy and rowdy
Oh sheep…come back!

http://youtu.be/jbo2QsFD9Fo

#9 Penny - Go HERE to see her video!

#10 Julie - Go HERE to see her video if it doesn't show up below

http://youtu.be/zYi6BRceTig

#11 Erik - please click HERE to see Erik's sheep rap

#12 Laura - please click HERE to see her video to the tune of Clementine

#13 Tim - please click HERE to see his video if it doesn't show up below

http://youtu.be/rzsXyiplJK8


KIDS CONTEST

#1 Josie - please click HERE to see her 2 drawings.

#2 Matthew - please click HERE and scroll past Catherine's video to the TOP drawing

#3 Rylee - please click HERE and scroll past Catherine's video and Matthew's drawing to the BOTTOM drawing.

As with the jingle poll, please cast your vote for the kids' contest winner by Thursday May 16 at noon EDT.

Thank you all for being such good sports about entering and about voting!  Especially since, after all this, the e-book is still not available!  But we had fun anyway!

Looking forward to seeing who the winners will be!!!

Please spread the word to anyone you think would like to vote!

Have a great day, everyone! :)

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May 10, 2013

Perfect Picture Book Friday - Tasha Finds Her Forever Friend

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, Everyone!

I am excited to share today's book.  Published by Deborah Hall and Donna Vaquer, both trainers of assistance dogs, not only is it a wonderful story, it's part of a lovely, child-friendly series about the many ways dogs help people.  A related website, Dogs On Call, has pictures and information about all the dogs featured in the stories as well as many others.  The books are all available from Bunny Bud Books - please visit!  Deborah is very nice :)

Title: Tasha Finds Her Forever Friend (Part of The Rainbow Series: Dogs Who Help)
Written By: Deborah J. Hall
Photographs By: "many generous contributors"
Published By: Bunny Bud Books, Non-Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-10

Themes/Topics: therapy animals, special needs, friendship

Opening: "Tasha is a beautiful German Shepherd.  She has very big ears."

Brief Synopsis:  Tasha learns to be an assistance dog and then longs to find a person she can help.

Links To Resources: From the Bunny Bud website:  BunnyBud Books is offering various coordinating items such as coloring booklets, activity pages, bookmarks, vinyl stickers, various word puzzles, t-shirts, and special packages designed to help you start your own Rainbow Reading Buddies Book Club (posters, display 'dogs', etc.). PleaseContact Us for information about these fun additions.
Interesting facts about pet therapy, questions about dogs? contact Dog Chat at the Bunny Bud website, Dogs On Call

Why I Like This Book:  This is a very down-to-earth, easy-to-understand story about how dogs are trained to help people and what a difference they can make in the life of someone who needs assistance.  Numerous photographs show readers the kinds of things dogs can learn to do, and then how a dog and a person (in this case a young girl with cerebral palsy) learn to work together.  But it's not just about the practicality - the story is also heart-warming as it shows the deep bond that develops between child and dog.  The clear, straightforward text and the lovely photographs are very accessible to young readers and will introduce them to the concept of assistance dogs in a very child-friendly way.

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

Even though I am still waiting for the Can't Sleep Without Sheep e-book to actually really and truly be available, I am very excited about voting for a jingle winner on Monday!  I hope you will all tune in (ah, I'm such a punster :))

PPBF bloggers, please add your post-specific links to the list below so we can all come visit :)

Have a great weekend, everyone! :)


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May 8, 2013

Would You Read It Wednesday #87 - Story Bored (MG) PLUS Straight From The Editor and The April Pitch Pick Winner!


Yeah, so, the Can't Sleep Without Sheep e-book launch didn't go off quite as planned.  Best laid plans, right?

But WOW was I impressed with everyone's jingle entries!  You guys never cease to amaze me with your creativity and willingness to have fun!  I feel so lucky to be surrounded by such talent and generosity of spirit.  You are all the best! :)

I will of course update you as soon as the e-book is available.  (Translation: you probably won't be able to shut me up :))  Meanwhile, let's have some sheep cake, shall we?  It's Something Chocolate AND Something Marshmallow!  And they put marshmallows in all kinds of breakfast cereal, so I have to assume that makes this healthy breakfast food :)


We have a jam-packed agenda today, so let's get right to it.

First, before I forget, Tonja Drecker was kind enough to host me on her blog yesterday, so if anyone would like to read about where Can't Sleep Without Sheep came from, please pop over HERE.  And while you're there, have a look around.  Tonja runs a nice blog :)

Next, I get to announce the winner of the April Pitch Pick!

Drum roll, please.....

The winner is Pam for Flood Dogs!

Congratulations, Pam!  Your pitch is winging it's way through cyberspace to editor Erin Molta!  And congratulations to all our other brave pitchers who put forth excellent work!  I love this new system we have of revising pitches before the pitch pick.  Everyone makes such improvements - it's wonderful to see.  And you all have such great ideas for stories!

Next up, we have Straight From The Editor for Erik, our March Pitch Winner.

You will recall Erik's pitch for The Adventures Of Tomato And Pea, the first in a planned chapter book series:

In a plan gone wrong, the evil villain Wintergreen tangles with super crime-stopper Tomato and his sidekick Pea in a runaway rocket ship that crashes on a strange planet called EAR-TH. Now these perennial enemies must learn to work together to survive the dangers on this strange world and find a way home to planet Oarg.

Here are editor Erin Molta's comments:


This sounds like it could be an exciting adventure. However, it is a little confusing. You might want to be just a little more straightforward. For instance, whose plan went wrong? Were Tomato and Pea chasing Wintergreen onto the rocket ship and it blasted off accidentally? Or did Wintergreen trap them in the rocket ship and then get stranded himself? It indicates character if you specify what happens and gives an editor an idea besides the super-crimestopper and evil villain labels. And it might help to mention a danger on planet EAR-TH. Is it the air or are they allergic to water? If you do something like this, it might prove intriguing to an editor:
 Super Crime Stopper Tomato and his sidekick Pea chased super-villain Wintergreen onto a rocket ship.  But Wintergreen blasted off, they crash landed on the planet EAR-TH and now these perennial enemies must work together to survive dangers such as toxic sheep (or caterpillars or cows – something to add humor and imply that these are aliens) and find a way home to planet Oarg.

As always, I find Erin's comments very insightful and helpful, and I have to love that she managed to get sheep into this pitch :)

Finally, we have today's Would You Read It!

Today's pitch comes to us from James. James Radke is a medical writer who writes about and/or for children with medical conditions at www.raredr.com and www.wordpharm.com/comicmeds.html . And sometime he just likes to dissect the book world in his stories and leave the medical world alone.

Working Title: Story Bored
Age/Genre: MG
The Pitch: The book narrator has a problem. Too many of the books on his bookshelf have changed. Humpty Dumpty is in a recipe for chocolate cake, The old lady who lived in a shoe changed her name to the old lady who lives in nice big  house with a cozy couch and big screen TV, And the hare has no tortoise to race. None of those are the real problem. The narrator’s major concern is that the 8 year old writer who did all those changes is missing. Rumor has it, the boy writer is being held in one of the books. If true, the narrator will need to find another writer to write the first writer out of the book. The narrator sighed, ‘why are books so complicated?’

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 James improve his 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 June so you have time to polish for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

James is looking forward to your thoughts on his pitch!  I am looking forward to that e-book coming out!  I'm dying to see it, and hear the voice on the read-to-me feature!  And I'm wondering now whether the reason I wasn't able to download it onto my husband's iPad last Friday when they tried to send me a sample had something to do with that technical glitch...  But whatever, let's hope it's ready soon! :)

Have a great day, everyone! :)

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May 6, 2013

The Can't Sleep Without Sheep E-Book Launch Jingle Contest!

It's finally Monday!

It's okay.  You can admit it.  I know you couldn't sleep last night (even with plenty of sheep to count :)) because you were So Excited about today's contest! :)

And today's contest is happening because tomorrow, May 7, Can't Sleep Without Sheep is coming out as an E-Book!!!
It will be available on all platforms, and it is one of 4 books that Walker has chosen to launch their E-Book line.  For that reason, it is very important that it do well.  It is a representative!  Sallying forth and bearing the flag of honor!  So I really want to help spread the word so that Woolliam and Ava don't end up hanging their heads in disgrace!

UPDATE:
Here is the E-Book link for Bloomsbury! Can't Sleep E-Book - Bloomsbury

This contest has gone through a few metamorphoses, but has ended up as follows.  You may participate in any or all of the 3 categories! :) (and if you've already read the rules you can skip a bit :)):

1.  Write a jingle that makes Can't Sleep Without Sheep sound irresistible!  So that everyone will want to read it!!  On whatever electronic device they happen to have!!!  The judges will look with extra favor on anyone who produces a video (sorry, they can't help it :))  For more details on writing your jingle, please go HERE)

On Monday May 6 - Tuesday May 7, please post your jingle of awesomeness on your blog and include the links to the E-Book (which I'm sorry you'll have to add tomorrow because the links don't exist yet!)  Add your post-specific link to the list below so we can all come and be entertained by your jingle.  (And as always, if you'd like to participate but don't have a blog, you may either post in the comments or email me and I'll add your entry to this post.)

On Monday May 13, we will vote for a winner.  If we get fewer than 15 participants (*sob*) I will post them all here for popular vote.  If we get 16 or more (YAY! :)) my lovely assistant and I will select up to 10 finalists for your voting pleasure.

Prizes for Category #1- The Jingle (given for 1st place if 15 entries or fewer, 1st-3rd if more than 16 entries) are as follows:
Winner's choice of one of the following:

#1 The Serenity Spa Gift Basket from It's Only Natural - a $55 value of organic soaps and lotions!
#2 A $50 gift certificate to Amazon!
#3 Tangy lemon bars, fudgy brownies, and sugared butter cookies from Sweet Sally's Bakeshop! (A $40+ value)
#4 Winner's choice of any 3 of my books, specially signed for whoever you like (A $30-$50 value depending on which books you choose)
#5 Winner's choice of my online picture book writing course (a $99 value) OR a picture book manuscript critique by yours truly (a $75 value)

2. Face Book post, Tweet, and/or blog that Can't Sleep Without Sheep is coming out as an E-Book for all platforms, including links (which won't be available until Tuesday May 7 when the e-book is actually available - I will add the links to this post as soon as I have them.)  Make sure to tag me on your FB posts (Susanna Hill), mention me on your tweets (@SusannaLHill), and email me at susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com to tell me you blogged so I can keep score.  You may post, tweet and blog to your heart's content all week - May 6 - May 14 at 9 PM EDT - and you will receive a point for every single one!

Your names will be entered into random.org at 9 PM EDT on Tuesday May 14, with the number of times you're entered equal to the number of points you earned (so if you tweet 14 times, your name will be entered 14 times etc.)

Prizes for Catogory #2 - Social Media Love (FB posting, tweeting and blogging):
The randomly selected winner will have his/her choice of either:
#1 A signed copy of any of my books PLUS the new Can't Sleep e-book on their choice of platform (which they may also choose to have gifted to a young friend :)) or
#2 A $25 amazon gift certificate

3.  KIDS CONTEST!

Download The Sheep Drawing Activity so your child/children/preschool or kindergarten class :) can draw something for Ava to count and/or The Sheep Hats Activity so they can draw hats on the sheep and/or write entertaining captions for what the sheep are saying.

Scan the gorgeous results and post them on your blog and link to the same link list that will be posted here on Monday May 6-Tuesday May 7 - just put (kids) so we'll know :)  (Again, if you want to participate and don't have a blog, just email me the scanned pictures and I'll post them for you here.)

Kids Contest participants will also be voted on May 13, and of course there will be a prize for that too! The winner of the Kids Contest will receive either the new Can't Sleep Without Sheep E-Book on the platform of his/her choice or a signed hardcover copy PLUS a Folkmanis Sheep puppet!

All winners will be announced on Wednesday May 15!

Now.  Fasten your seat belts.  I have a sample (don't I always?), maybe two!  And I also have an entry from Ruth!

Are you ready?

video

This video is a Hill Family Production featuring the musical talents for Eric who made up the jingle and is singing and playing guitar, the videography talents of Number Five who was roped in because I didn't have enough hands, and Yours Truly as actor/prop manager, producer and director!  As you can see, we are amateurs at movie-making :)

Great Scott it took me about two days to get this to load!  I hope it's running properly.  You might have to turn your volume pretty high...  Fingers crossed it works!

And now, at last, here comes video #2.  Fair warning... don't put your volume too high and get ready to cover your ears :)  Never let it be said that I'm not willing to make a fool of myself for my art :)

Here is Ruth's  Entry:)
Text/Jingle Copyright Ruth Benedum 2013
Illustrations Copyright Mike Wohnoutka 2010

And may I just say that Ruth and I struggled mightily to get something up that worked.  This is her third effort.  I'm sorry the first one with sound wouldn't load properly, but isn't this beautiful and fun?

And here is Carrie's Entry! :)
video


Now, all you talented people who have your jingles posted, please add your post-specific links to the list.  We're all coming to see you! :)


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