Posted tagged ‘Picture Books’

Music to My Ears

October 24, 2019

I love a piano,
love a piano
I love to hear somebody play
Upon a piano, a grand piano
It simply carries me away

~From Irving Berlin’s “I Love a Piano”

I’ve always loved music – especially piano music. The downside of my love of music is I can’t carry a tune, and I never learned to play the piano well. The upside is our daughter has a talent for playing the piano.

This past Monday, our beloved piano that had a special place in our home for twenty-seven years moved out of our house and into our daughter’s new home.

Old Home

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The downside of giving the piano to our daughter is a big empty space in our great room. The upside is the piano will once again have loving hands that will make it sing.

New Home

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I’m eagerly looking forward to seeing our granddaughters follow their mother’s musical talent and learn to create sounds that will be music to my ears.

This book will put a song in your heart and be music to your ears when you read it.

bear and piano

The Bear and the Piano written and illustrated by David Litchfield is a captivating story of a bear cub who finds a piano. Over the years, he learns how to play the piano and charms his woodland friends with his music. One day a man and his daughter hear the bear playing and invite him to come to the big city. The bear had always dreamed of learning more about music and “to play bigger and better than before.” He finds leaving behind his forest friends is difficult, but the city calls to him. The bear becomes a famous pianist, winning awards and playing for crowds who give him standing ovations. But one day he realizes with all that he has accomplished, there is something missing. David Litchfield has written and beautifully illustrated this touching tale of fame and lasting friendship. It’s a must-read book.

Beginning Lines that Hook a Reader

October 3, 2019

When it comes to writing, first lines in a book are important. You only have so long to hook a reader before they may decide to choose another book.

Here are some books that hooked me with their first lines.

hey water

Hey, Water! written and illustrated by Antoinette Portis

First lines:

Hey, water! I know you!

You’re all around.

This playful and informative book gives readers a look at the importance of water.

marshmallows

Most Marshmallows written and illustrated by Rowboat Watkins

First lines:

Most marshmallows don’t grow on trees

or come from storks

or even Mars.

This tasty book is a clever take on life according to marshmallows and how to be true to yourself.

crumugeon

The Unbudgeable Curmudgeon by Matthew Burgess and illustrated by Fiona Woodcock

First lines:

How do you budge

an unbudgeable curmudgeon

who really refuses to budge?

So how do you deal with someone who is a bad mood? You try all sorts of things in this rhythmic tale that takes readers on a bad mood-good-mood journey with a slight twist at the end.

star eater

Nova The Star Eater written by Lindsay Leslie and illustrated by John Taesoo Kim

First Lines:

Nova can’t stop eating. A munch here. A gobble there. A crunch, crunch, crunch.

If you love space, you’ll love reading about Nova’s humongous appetite for stars. But when Nova gulps down the sun, panic ensues.

Check out these books and see if you agree with me.

 

 

 

 

 

Catching the Eye of an Editor

May 23, 2019

I’m sure many of us wish we could write the perfect picture book that would immediately catch the eye of an editor.

 

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It’s not an easy task, but here are some tips to keep in mind while you’re writing your masterpiece.

First of all, your book should be marketable. Research your competition. Has your book done before? How is your book different from the others? Do you have a unique angle?

More tips to consider as you’re writing and revising. Does your manuscript have:

A strong voice

A compelling plot

Conflict

A unique theme

An interesting structure

Sentences that flow seamlessly

Visual potential

 

Other writing elements to consider:

Pacing

Page turns

Rhythm

Repetition

Rule of Three

Wordplay

 

Of course, there’s much more to consider when attempting to write the perfect picture book. Keep on your toes.

feet

Read, read, read everything in your genre. Hone your craft. Join critique groups. Revise, revise, revise and keep on writing. Never give up. When you least expect it, one of those picture books you’ve been working on, for what might seem forever, may catch the eye of an editor. And that just might happen because you finally discovered how to create magic!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Is A Home?

March 21, 2019

In one week, my daughter and her family are moving.

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Big deal you may say. For them, it is a big deal. With many moves behind them in both their single and married lives, they are now moving to a permanent home. No one is more excited than my husband and I are. No more storing their stuff at our house.

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We can now reclaim our basement. Yipee!!

I’ve always believed a home is where your heart is and what you make of it. It can be a cozy reading corner with your favorite chair, a kitchen where you can pump out delicious smells, a spectacular view from a window, a bedroom of your own, but most of all a home, no matter how big or how small, is a place where family gathers together.

Click on the covers below to discover which picture books you connect with?

 

 

Another Wintery Story

December 6, 2018

The Snowy Nap by Jan Brett

hedgie

After Hedgie, the hedgehog, hears the barnyard animals talk about the excitement winter brings, Hedgie decides he doesn’t want to miss out. No hibernating for him this year. Jan Bretts detailed and colorful illustrations show Hedgie as he tries to stay awake for winter, but he begins to shiver in the frosty night. Brett’s clever use of a secondary story in the border, depicts a young girl, Lisa, watching from a window. She sees Hedgie, bundles him up, and brings him into the warmth of her house. Wrapped in a tea cozy (So cute!), and placed by the window, Hedgie has a perfect spot to see winter. A snowstorm changes the landscape of the farm to a winter wonderland. Hedgie sees the chicken coop covered in snow and icicles, Lisa and the geese skating on the frozen pond, and snowmen. But poor Hedgie is getting tired. He’s almost asleep when he hears the jingle of bells. It’s pony pulling Lisa in the sleigh – a happy sight to see. Meanwhile, in the border story, the barnyard animals are peeking into the windows of Lisa’s house. With Hedgie sleeping longer each day, Lisa brings him to his burrow where he belongs. When she returns home, Lisa is in for a big winter surprise of her own. Jan Brett’s story and illustrations are truly charming. They are sure to delight any child with each page turn.

 

 

 

It’s Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day!

November 15, 2018

Beware! This could happen to you.

You open your refrigerator and your olfactory sensory neurons are suddenly attacked by a horrendous smell. Your refrigerator stinks! It’s time to clean it out.

Pull out those veggie, fruit, and cheese drawers. Dump and examine the contents. Who knows what you may find – petrified peas, a hairy strawberry, moldy cheese. And what’s on those overcrowded refrigerator shelves? Leftover Chinese takeout from last month, a piece of not-so-fresh fish you forgot to fry, chunky milk? Take it out. Get rid of that grub and scrub-a-dub-dub! Warm soapy water and a fresh sponge will clean up those spills in no time. And don’t forget to replace that two-year-old box of baking soda that supposed to keep your refrigerator smelling clean. Now that your refrigerator sparkles and you have received the Good Housekeeping Award, give yourself a pat on the back, and quick – empty out the garbage!

 

Speaking of stinky refrigerators, check out these two books by Josh Funk. Smells like a good deal.

stench

The Case of the Stinky Stench written by Josh Funk and illustrated by Brendan Kearney, Sterling Children’s Books, 2017

defrostable

Mission Defrostable written by Josh Funk and illustrated by Brendan Kearney, Sterling Children’s Books, 2018

Happy Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day!

 

Memories and Egg Magic

March 29, 2018

My grandmother came to America from what is now called Slovakia. She was a thrifty woman. She lived in a small bungalow in the city of Milwaukee. She never owned a car. Instead, she walked everywhere or took public transportation.  She made her own clothes and poo-pooed spending money on frivolous things. Her backyard was a garden filled with fruits, herbs, and vegetables. We ate them fresh in the summer and canned in the winter. The aroma from her kitchen was always inviting – especially during the holidays. Her breads and pastries were to die for. I was convinced my grandmother could do anything. She even made magic with Easter eggs. She used natural dyes – onion skins, cut beets, spinach … I was always amazed to see what color the eggs would be when they came out of the pot. Whether it be taking a special bus trip downtown, picking vegetables from the garden, or helping make apple strudel, being with my grandmother was always a magical and memorable experience.

Make a magical and memorable experience with your kids. Try using natural dyes to color your eggs. It’s a great science project!

https://www.stevespanglerscience.com/2012/03/28/day-4-egg-week-dying-easter-eggs-naturally/

Below are some other links to help you along the way to beautifully-colored eggs.

https://www.mommypotamus.com/how-to-dye-easter-eggs-naturally-with-everyday-ingredients/

http://www.kaleyann.com/naturally-dyed-easter-eggs/

https://whatscookingamerica.net/Eggs/EasterEggDye.htm

Speaking of memorable, here are some of my favorite classic books for this season.

golden

The Golden Egg Book written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Leonard Weisgard, Golden Books, 2004

country

The Country Bunny and the Little Golden Shoes written by Du Bose Heyward and illustrated by Marjorie Flack, Harcourt Brace and Company, 1939

eggs

Rechenka’s Eggs written and illustrated by Patricia Polacco, Philomel Books, 1988

velvet

The Velveteen Rabbit written by Margery Williams and illustrated by William Nicholson, Doubleday Books for Young Readers, 1958

peter

The Tale of Peter Rabbit written and illustrated by Beatrix Potter, Warne Frederick & Company, 2009

 


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