September 30, 2015

Would You Read It Wednesday #187 - Dear Cat (PB)

Happy Wednesday, Everyone!

I hope you're all wearing your raincoats and galoshes and holding tight to your umbrellas!

After the driest summer in recent memory, we are experiencing heavy rain.  The crunchy grass and thirsty trees are drinking it up gratefully, and the Weather People (who may or may not be related to the Village People :)) are all in an uproar, delighted to have weather drama to report in the form of flood watches.  I'm not sure when weather became entertainment, but boy do they do their best to keep you riveted!

Of course, when it rains like this, you know what that means...  I'll be in my basement paddling about in the canoe and bailing out :)

There is an upside, though.  All that paddling calls for extra sustenance (I've got to keep up my strength! :)), and what better than Something Chocolate?  Hmm... what should it be today?  I don't think we can go wrong with Oreo Brownie Trifle, do you? :)

Recipe HERE at BakerHomemaker
http://www.bakerhomemaker.com/2012/09/oreo-brownie-trifle.html
Yeah.  Forget the bowl/plate.  I'm just grabbing a spoon and digging in! :)  Enjoy!

Today's pitch comes to us from Zainab.  Zainab Khan is a pre-published author who writes picture books that are quirky or interactive. She also writes picture books that deal with serious issues like disabilities, homelessness, and diversity. In addition, Zainab is in the midst of writing a middle grade mystery about ancient civilizations.

Before venturing on a full time writing journey, Zainab was an elementary school teacher. Having an entrepreneurial heart, she ran her own in home based  preschool. 

Raising two energetic kids  and a cat with her husband keep Zainab occupied at all hours of the day. She is also busy as the SCBWI Alameda/ Contra Costa Meet Up coordinator. 
Zainab loves making new quirky friends.  You can connect with her on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/zainab.khan.967) or on twitter 

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Dear Cat
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)
The Pitch: Persistent Bird keeps bugging Cat with his letters to be his friend.  Cat snubs Bird...until it's snack time. Cat is ready for a tasty meal except Bird has his own devious plan in mind for this "clever" cat. 

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 Zainab 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 November 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!

Zainab is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to rescuing any salamanders who might have floated into the basement.  Very Sorcerer's Apprentice :)

Ahoy, matey's!  Have a wonderful Wednesday!!! :)


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September 25, 2015

Perfect Picture Book Friday - How The Sun Got To Coco's House

Hey there, picture book peeps!  Happy Friday! :)

I have such a lovely book to share with you today!  And guess what?  As promised, it doesn't rhyme :)  I have noticed something else, though, which is that all three of the books I've chosen so far this Perfect Picture Book season have been authored and illustrated by the same person.  Interesting... don't you think?  Given that all three are new titles, I wonder if this is a reflection of the state of the publishing industry... and if I should learn to draw! (Yeah, okay, stop laughing!) :)

Anyway, I hope you'll enjoy this one!

Title: How The Sun Got To Coco's House
Written & Illustrated By: Bob Graham
Candlewick, September 2015, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-6

Themes/Topics: nature, writing (personification), language (poetic)

Opening: "It had to start somewhere.  While Coco slept far away, the sun crept up slowly behind a hill, paused for a moment, and seemed to think twice...
before it plunged down the other side and skidded giddily across the water."

Brief Synopsis: The sun comes up and takes a poetic journey across the world to Coco's house.

Links To Resources: Warmth Of The Sun discussion and activity; Shadow Play classroom activity; measuring solar activity; info about the sun with 17 related links; sun coloring pages; Happy Sunshine Cookie recipeRenewable Solar (with many thanks to Jilanne for the link!)

Why I Like This Book:  How can you not love a book that contains phrases like "skidded giddily across the water"?  The whole story is a gentle, lovely, poetic description of how the sun comes up, travels across the world touching everything in its path with light and warmth, and finally arrives at Coco's house to spend the day.  It's a very quiet book, but one that can be enjoyed for the beauty of the language, the deceptive simplicity of the art (wait until you see the pinks and golds), and the feeling of comfort bestowed by the fact that, come what may, the sun rises each morning and makes a new day.

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!  I can't wait to see what treasures await us this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!! :)


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September 23, 2015

Would You Read It Wednesday #186 - Wait For Cate (PB)

Happy Wednesday, folks!

It's been a busy week on Blueberry Hill.  I know you'll all be gratified to learn that our house is, at last, all one color!  I know this shouldn't seem like an accomplishment - after all, most people's houses are all one color.  But we are not "most people."  Our house has not been all one color for 3 years because one of the gable ends is very high and hard to reach, so the rest of the house got stained dark brown... but that one triangular patch stayed the old lighter, redder cedar color.  It did NOT look good.  Now our house is very happy and feels like it can show its face in public again.  (Not that there's much public to see it up here in the wilderness.  But you know, it's the principal of the thing :) ) And if any bears happen to wander by (which they do pretty frequently) they will certainly say to themselves, "Hmm!  How handsome that house looks now that it's all one color!" :)

It's like when you write a picture book and it begins as one story... and somehow ends as another.  You've got to pick one story and stick with it - make sure you're ending the same story you began - you know, make it all the same dark brown.  (See what I did there? :) )

Speaking of dark brown (smooth segue alert :)) makes me think of chocolate (what doesn't?), so how about Something Chocolate?  Great idea, if I say so myself!  Always is a good time for Something Chocolate :)  Some days you can get by with a tootsie roll or a handful of chocolate chips, but some days you just have to throw moderation to the wind and go whole hog, and it turns out this is one of those days... I am seriously in need of gooey, chocolatey, deliciousness... so let's have some Smores Cupcakes, shall we? - YUM!!!
See recipe at OMGChocolateDesserts
http://omgchocolatedesserts.com/hershey-smores-cupcakes/

Now that we are all covered in chocolate properly nutritionized (or possibly nutrisized? or nutriated?), today's pitch comes to us from Diana who says, "I am a retired 1st and 2nd grade teacher with an M.S. in reading, diagnostics, and remedial reading. I retired from the U.S. Army/Army Reserves (HOOAH!) and also retired as a special effects designer and Pyrotechnician with my husband's company. When my husband doesn't have me hiking through the Himalayas, crewing on a 100 year old square rigger, or volunteering at airshows, I hide out and enjoy my passion for reading and writing children's stories." 

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Wait For Cate
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)
The Pitch: Cate has made a promise to her school friends to be on time for the big kickball game at recess. And they need her! When Cate encounters the new girl stuck in the sand in her wheelchair, Cate needs to make a decision. Should she keep her promise to her kickball team or help a new friend out of a “sticky” situation? 

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 Diana 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 November 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!

Diana is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to writing a story about bears admiring a dark brown house.  I think the main character's name will be... Brownielocks!  And she will enter the dark brown house and find a pan of brownies cooling on the counter... some of which will likely be too hot, too cold, and just right...  But if you're thinking you've heard this story before you totally haven't, because Brownielocks is a bear (obviously) and the house belongs to humans.  Completely different story :)

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!!! :)




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September 18, 2015

Perfect Picture Book Friday - Llama Llama Gram And Grandpa

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, Everyone!

I seriously don't know how the week flies by so fast!  How is it Friday again already?  I'm still doing Tuesday's work, so we need to back up the truck a bit!  Or I need a personal assistant... any volunteers?  :)

I've got another great book to share with you today, and I promise it's just a coincidence that like last week's it's in rhyme - I'm not going to post rhyming books every single week... probably... maybe... :) But this one is too good not to share.  I hope you all enjoy it as much as I do!

Title: Llama Llama Gram And Grandpa
Written & Illustrated By: Anna Dewdney
Viking Books For Young Readers, September 2015, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-5

Themes/Topics: grandparents, common childhood experiences (first sleepover, transitional object), bedtime, language fun (rhyme)

Opening: "Llama Llama, big big day!
It's a first - a special stay!
Pack up clothes and pj's tight - 
Llama's going overnight."

Brief Synopsis: Llama Llama is spending his first night away from home with Gram and Grandpa.  There are lots of fun things to do - a tractor to climb on, a garden to explore, grass to mow, Grandpa's workshop to try out, and Gram's food to sample - but what happens at bedtime when Llama's special Fuzzy is nowhere to be found?

Links To Resources: Llama Llama Matching Game, Coloring Book, and more fun stuff; Curriculum Connections Guide for Llama Llama books, free downloadables and printables for teachers including desk plate, poster, and activities.

Why I Like This Book: If you've spent much time at all around this blog, you'll know I love Llama Llama :)  This new addition to the collection is no exception.  The story, written in engaging, fun-to-read-aloud rhyme, perfectly captures the emotion of a child's first time spending the night away from home.  The illustrations are warm and comforting.  Observant children will enjoy seeing (before Llama Llama does!) what happened to his Fuzzy :)  And of course, there is that trademark sweet "aww" moment that makes all Llama Llama books so special.  A great choice for preschoolers who are about to spend a night away, or for any child who enjoys the warmth and security of Llama Llama's world :)

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!  I can't wait to see everyone's choices!  Look out library, here I come! :)

Have a great weekend, everyone!


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September 16, 2015

Would You Read It Wednesday #185 - Firefighters' Busy Day (PB)

Hello, darlings!  Happy Wednesday!

I don't know about where you all live, but here on Blueberry Hill autumn seems to think it's coming early.  The hummingbirds have almost all departed for warmer climes, the mornings have been very cool, and the leaves are falling much too soon.  I hope winter doesn't get any bright ideas because seriously I feel like last winter only just ended!  I'm not kidding! and I'm not ready for colder weather yet!

Something about September and cooler weather, though, gets me thinking about baking.  And baking gets me thinking about chocolate.  (You're shocked, I know! :))  So I think we need something baked and chocolatey and delicious for our Something Chocolate this morning... but also healthy since we're eating breakfast and breakfast is the most important meal of the day... hmmm... how about this???

From The Baker Upstairs
recipe here: http://www.thebakerupstairs.com/2013/08/chocolate-zucchini-cake.html

See?  I always have your best interests at heart! :)  This snack even has zucchini in the title.  That's how healthy it is!  (And I'm betting this cake would be a good way to sneak a little health food into your youngsters if you have any picky eaters at home!)

Mmm-mmm!  Something Chocolate always gets the day off to a good start!  And now that you're all fortified and ready for anything, today's pitch comes to us from Maria, whose PB pitches for The Trouble With Homework and A Pup Called Freelance you may remember from January and March respectively. Maria is an educator with a municipal fire department. She thinks she’s got the best job in the world! When she isn’t teaching others how to be safe, she can be found writing under a pecan tree, playing with her dogs and cats, or cruising around town “with the top down” searching for inspirational ideas or the next big story.

You can find her online at:
www.pinterest.com/ktownfiregirl
and
https://www.facebook.com/MJBostian?ref=hl

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Firefighters' Busy Day
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 2-6)
The Pitch: Wow! Firefighters are Busy! Did you know that firefighters do more than just put our fires? They have many important jobs to do! Can you name some? “Washing, waxing shining the truck. Cleaning the gear, getting rid of muck.” Join author Maria Bostian as she takes you on a journey through a busy day with some of America's favorite heroes! You can even help the firefighters get their jobs done! Busy little firefighters are safe and smart! Be sure to try some of the exciting Fire Safety Activities to turn everyday learning into firefighter fun!

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 Maria 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 November 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!

Maria is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to going horseback riding one of these days soon.  I help do the barn chores every weekday morning, but somehow I rarely seem to find time to ride.  I don't really mind - I just like being around horses in any way, shape or form - they are so warm and comforting and peaceful - but autumn is one of the nicest times to ride if you get a chance - good weather and no bugs :)



Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!!




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September 11, 2015

Perfect Picture Book Friday - Old King Cole

Happy Friday, Everyone, and welcome back to Perfect Picture Books!

Golly, it's fun to get back in the groove, isn't it?  I know some ambitious bloggers kept up with Perfect Picture Book Friday through July and August, but for those of us who have been lazing away our summer on hiatus, what better time then the start of the new school year to explore all the fabulous, fun titles coming out?!

I love sharing every Perfect Picture Book I find, but I especially love it when someone who is a favorite author and good friend has a new book out.  Today's title is an absolute delight and I hope you'll all enjoy it... and then rush out and get a copy for yourself and copies for all the littles in your life! :)

Title: Old King Cole
Written & Illustrated By: Iza Trapani
Charlesbridge, August 2015, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 2-5

Themes/Topics: Nursery Rhymes, Language Fun (poetry)

Opening: "Old King Cole was a merry old soul,
And a merry old soul was he.
He called for his pipe, and he called for his bowl,
And he called for his fiddlers three.

"Welcome all to the King Cole ball."
Said the king to the guests within.
"We'll romp and we'll dance in the royal hall.
Let the tunes and the fun begin!"

Brief Synopsis: Old King Cole stays up so late preparing for his annual ball that when the festivities begin he can't stay awake!  Numerous familiar nursery rhyme characters try to come to his rescue, but only the Queen of Hearts can save the day!

Links To Resources: music and lyrics are included on the final page of the book for sing-along fun; take time to explore the illustrations and see how many nursery rhyme characters you can find; Old King Cole craft; make a paper crown; easy recipe for fruit tart (get the mini graham cracker crusts for smaller tarts :))

Why I Like This Book:  As you all know, I am a die-hard Iza Trapani fan, so it is no surprise that I love this latest addition to her stellar collection.  The story is amusing and fun with enough suspense to keep youngest readers wondering whether Old King Cole will EVER wake up.  The rhythmic rhyme is fun to read (and sing!) aloud.  The illustrations are bright and delightful with plenty of details to keep pre-readers interested, including the ruckus caused by the rooster, Old Mother Hubbard's dog investigating the treat table, and the goats who take advantage of every opportunity to kick up their heels :)  Kids (and grown-ups) will enjoy searching for and finding so many familiar nursery rhyme characters!  You won't want to miss this one!!!

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!  I can't wait to see what everyone has to share this week after so long out of the loop!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!! :)


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September 9, 2015

Would You Read It Wednesday #184 - Moms (PB) PLUS The July Pitch Winner!

Well howdy, pardners!

Long time no see!  I hope you all had wonderful summers and are coming into September renewed, refreshed, and ready for lots of picture book reading, writing, and pitching, and for contests and fun and high jinx and shenanigans of all kinds!

After a busy summer and a pretty long (for me) blog break, I'm still trying to find my stride again and it will probably take me a couple weeks, but boy am I glad to see you all!!! :)  I have missed this wonderful community and all you lovely folks!

I think this calls for a round of Something Chocolate, don't you?  How about some Chocolate Coconut Pound Cake?


Yum!!!

Now then!  Would You Read It business!  The winner of the July Pitch Pick (I  know! It was so long ago!) was Kirsten with her pitch for Stuck In The Muck!  Congratulations, Kirsten, on a wonderful pitch!  I have sent it to editor Erin Molta for her comments... but it occurs to me that it's been summer, and everyone has been busy, and I have lost track of Erin... so if you haven't heard from her yet I will see if I can discover her whereabouts :)

Congratulations to our other brave and talented July pitchers as well.  As always, I think you're winners just for writing your pitches, putting them out there, and then taking the valuable feedback from our amazing readers and using it to improve your pitches for the pitch pick!  Well done everyone!

Onto today's pitch which comes to us from Lizette who says, "I am from Ontario Canada. I am heading into my 14th year as an Early Childhood Educator and I love it. Working with toddlers keeps me young! I have read many books to the children over the years and I am pretty good at picking stories to read to them as well as engaging them as a storyteller. I am in the process of writing a manuscript and I think this would be a great opportunity to get my idea out there and to get some feedback."

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Moms
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 1.5 - 3)
The Pitch: This book is an illustrated story about mothers. It demonstrates that mothers from all over the world love and care for their children no matter what walk of life they come from. It is very reflective of Canada's multicultural community and celebrates diversity. It is a simple story where the only text is the word " Mom" "Mother or "Mommy " in various languages. The illustrations will represent the feelings and interactions that occur daily between a mother and her children.  Pictures can capture emotions and can be understood by all and make for an open ended reading experience .  

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 Lizette 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 November 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!

Lizette is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to getting back into the swing of things around here and catching up with you all!

It's been a summer of change on many levels, and I am hoping to institute a few changes around here as well... but I'm not quite ready to announce anything so you'll just have to wait and see...! :)

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!!! :)

See you Friday for the return of Perfect Picture Books! :)


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