Perfect Picture Book Friday: Open This Little Book and more...


Perfect Picture Book Friday: Open This Little Book

I'm joining with the delightful Susanna Leonard Hill today, sharing a fun picture book I encountered this week for Perfect Picture Book Friday. Thanks, Susanna, for giving us a place to share our favorite picture books! (Check out her ever-expanding list of perfect picture books here - and check out what she, and several others, are adding to the list here at her blog)

Title: Open This Little Book
Author: Jesse Klausmeier
Illustrator: Suzy Lee
Publisher: Chronicle Books, 2013 fiction
Age Range: 3-8
Theme/Topics: Colors, Book Making, Friendship

Beginning: "Open this Little Red Book, and read abut a Ladybug, who opens a..."

Synopsis: What will you find when you open this little book? A fun story? Sweet characters? Enticing pictures? Yes! But much more. Open this book and you will find...another book...and another...and another. Debut author Jesse Klausmeier and master book creator Suzy Lee have combined their creative visions to craft a seemingly simple book about colors for the very youngest readers, an imaginative exploration of the art of book making for more sophisticated aficionados, and a charming story of friendship and the power of books for all.

Resources: Check out the teacher's guide for this book from Chronicle's website. Other ideas could include having the kids create their own book (out of construction paper) - and of course, talking about the different colors. Lots of room for imagination here.

Why I LOVE it: The design blew me away - ESPECIALLY when I learned it was written by a debut author (who I THOUGHT they didn't like to take risks on :D). I think kids will find that aspect fascinating as well (there are seven "books," each a bit smaller than the other, inside the main book proper.). Plus the story is super sweet with a touch of humor.

Hope you'll give this book a look - and check out the OTHER perfect picture books for today at Susanna's blog.
 
My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer. Psalm 45:1
     


Brainstorming Fun

This post is party of Patty Wysong's
A to Z meme. This week's letter is "B"
A to Z blog hop at Patterings.
 You know, I think most writers would agree that brainstorming for ideas and such is a lot of fun, no matter what you are writing.

But I've got a secret for you. Some brainstorming is more fun than others.

Sure, figuring out where to set your romance can lead you on interesting trails all over the earth (maybe even the universe, if you write that kind of thing). Figuring out what kind of disaster can befall your MC or villain can really get those synapses going.

But brainstorming for children's books? You can go all out crazy-looney-bonkers: and USE the ideas!
I'm polishing a picture book right now about an elephant who is trying to join a band - and tries to play a harmonica. I'd like to see you "adult" writers try to fit that little tidbit into your storyline. There is a new book out (by a debut picture book author!) called One Big Pair of Underwear. Ideas literally CAN come from anywhere - including the laundry basket.
Check out the site - join the fun!

And my favorite time to brainstorm? When I've got friends joining me. In just a couple weeks, I will be participating in my second year of the wonderful Tara Lazar's November challenge PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month) - which encourages/ challenges folks to come up with 30 different picture book ideas during the 30 days of November (I managed 47 last year). There are guest posts, prizes, a Facebook group, and more more MORE! And this year, as an added bonus, my daughter will be joining me - so I'll have a live brainstorming partner, along with hundreds of virtual ones.

This is my brain
This is my brain on PiBoIdMo

Totally looking forward to gearing up for my month-long brainstorming session. Anyone wanna join me? PrePiBo starts Saturday the 25th.

Got any fun brainstorming stories?

My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer. Psalm 45:1
Check out more  "B" posts here - and add your own if you wish! 

 
     

Anthropomorphic Animals


 This post is party of Patty Wysong's
A to Z meme. This week's letter is "A"
A to Z blog hop at Patterings.Winnie-The-Pooh
Arthur the Aardvark 

What do these characters have in common? At least two things:
  1. They are characters in children's stories
  2. They are anthropomorphic animals
In case you are unfamiliar with the word, anthropomorphism is the attribution of human characteristics or behavior to an animal or object. Many classic children's stories have animals that speak, and in other ways act like people.  It was actually pretty common for quite a few years.

But the thing is, some folks in the publishing industry are shying away from them. I've heard from more than a handful of folks that they can be a hard sell, depending on who you are talking to. I've seen writers' guidelines for at least a few magazines that specifically say "no talking animals." And I get it - it's unrealistic.

But there is certainly still a place for these kinds of stories - and they ARE being published. There are some sensitive subjects you can write about with animals as protagonists where it is much more difficult to do so with children as the characters(especially in the picture book market). And, of course, they're just plain fun.

I have been reading a picture book almost daily for the past six month - most of them published within the last half a dozen years, and I've come across quite a few super picture books with anthropomorphic animals. Here are just a few:

Chicks Run Wild by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen

Louise, the Adventures of a Chicken, by Kate DiCamillo

Punxsutawney Phyllis by Susanna Leonard Hill

Duck and Goose Go to the Beach by Tad Hills

I Want my Hat Back by Jon Klassen

And of course, there are plenty of children's stories where the animals don't talk (or don't exist, for that matter). But I have to say that I personally have a soft spot for those sweet people-like creatures. Probably half of the picture books I've worked on this year have anthropomorphic animals, and both of the ones I wrote for the FaithWriters Writing Challenge (many MANY moons ago!) did (if you wanna see them, you can click here and here).

So, all you ever wanted to know about anthropomorphic animals in children's books and were afraid to ask! (or something like that) Check out the links below for more "a" themed posts (NOT all about children's books - that I can promise you!) - and feel free to join in!

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ANTHROPOMORPHIC STORY/CHARACTER?
 
My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer. Psalm 45:1

     


Perfect Picture Book Friday: Have Fun, Molly Lou Melon

For those of you were "here" a few months ago, you know I found this fun little blog hop thing about three weeks before it went on a summer break. Well, it's back (a few weeks back, actually), and I am finally feeling like I have time to jump in. Thanks, Susanna Hill, for giving us a place to share our favorite picture books! (Check out her ever-expanding list of perfect picture books here - and check out what she, and several others, are adding to the list here at her blog)

Title: Have Fun, Molly Lou Melon
Author: Patty Lovell
Illustrator:  David Catrow
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile, 2012, Fiction
Age Range: 5-8 years
Theme/Topics: imagination, found art/objects, friendship

First Page:Molly Lou Melon's toy chest overflowed with whoseywhatsits of all shapes and sizes. Her grandma had told her, "Back in the olden days, I didn't have fancy dolls or action figures. I made toys out of twigs, leaves and flowers like hollyhocks an daisies."

Synopsis: Molly Lou Melon has a house full of plastic toys and gewgaws, but her grandmother never did, and she tells her granddaughter about how she made playthings from found objects when she was young. In spread after spread, the youngster learns to use her imagination. When a new girl moves in next door, Molly Lou introduces her to this new way of playing, but Gertie is stuck in the modern, TV-watching, static-toy world. Of course, Molly Lou is eventually able to turn the tide, showing that imagination rules.

Resources:The website Teach Mentor Texts has a post on this book, with several activities to go along with it. Check it out here . Any activity that challenges kids to use the things around them to have fun (and I'm not talking their tablets or Xboxes!) would go PERFECTLY with this story.

Why I love it:Molly Lou's imagination is CRAZY creative, and the illustrations show it so well. You really do have to see her creations to believe them. I also love her spunk and persistence and self-confidence. And while this story easily could have been preachy, Patty Lovell pulls off a message without being didactic. And don't forget to check the illustrations out - plenty of fun details to find!

 Hope you'll give this book a look - and check out the OTHER perfect picture books for today at Susanna's blog.

 
My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer. Psalm 45:1
     

Me...and Picture Books

Most of you know I changed my writing focus at the beginning of this year - to writing (actually more learning how to write) children's picture books. I am, and have been, participating in several opportunities to learn and develop my skill in this area this year, from classes to Facebook groups to organizations and more.


I've got a post about my journey to where I am now featured at one of them - Julie Hedlund's 12  x 12 - which challenges folks to write 12 picture book drafts in 2014. Hope you'll stop by and find out a bit about what got me here!

 
My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer. Psalm 45:1
     


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