PPBF: Froodle

FroodleCoverAuthor/Illustrator: Antoinette Portis
Publisher: Neal Porter/roaring Brook Press, 2014
Ages: 4-8yrs
Themes: birds, birdsong, individuality
Opening: All year long, the dogs went ‘Woof’. The cats went ‘Meow’. And the birds in the neighborhood went ‘Caw’, ‘Coo’, ‘Chip’, ‘Peep’,…
Summary: (from my library catalog) In a normal neighborhood, on a typical day, the birds chirp, the dogs bark and the cats meow. When Little Brown Bird decides she doesn’t want to sing the same old song, out comes a new tune that shakes up the neighborhood and changes things forever in this funny, innovative book that kids will love to read outloud.

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I like this book because: I like birds. Just ask Debbie, or Teresa. And I really admire crows, like Whitney. And I even asked my library to purchase it before it was released! But they forgot to notify me when it came in. If I didn’t love ‘em so much, well…! I love it’s beautiful graphic composition, and the spunky little sparrow/main character who entices her friends into creative disobedience! And my favorite new bird call? ‘Itsy boggen!’ Read it to see why!

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Resources/activities: this book would be great in the art room, because kids should learn how to use simple shape changes to differentiate between animals of the same class. AND the story promotes creativity – booyah!; I’d even go as far as college with this, for logo development! Find a list of Portis’ awesome books – HERE; watch this full PBS documentary online: A Murder of Crows.

Perfect Picture Book Friday has lots of selections listed on a themed and alphabetized list, each with teacher/parent resources, on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.

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My Books Released! And a Tandem

My books released! Early! As a newbie I am learning (check Amazon for release dates!). Lucky for me I had friends to toast with that evening!

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Click on the image to link to this page on the Bailiwick Press site.

It’s Thanksgiving Day in Canada and Columbus Day in the U.S., so Catherine Johnson and I are using the holidays as prompts for a tandem post (words/doodles). BUT I don’t celebrate Columbus Day, though I do remember the day off from school fondly! Every year we’d pack the family and a few neighborhood kids into the station wagon and head north for leaf peeping, picnicking and cave crawling in Connecticut’s oldest state park: Putnam Memorial in Redding (see image below).

Click on the image for more info on Putnam Memorial State Park

It was the highlight of autumn, my favorite season.

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For more on the new books: Carrie Charley Brown invited me to be her Mystery Guest tomorrow on Carrie On…Together!, and that includes a GIVEAWAY – HERE

PPBF: Happy Birthday, Madame Chapeau

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Author: Andrea Beaty
Illustrator: David Roberts
Publisher: Abrams, 2014
Ages: 4-8yrs
Themes: hats, birthdays, hatmakers
Opening: In a three story house with a shop down below lived the world’s finest hatmaker, Madame Chapeau.
Summary: (from my library catalog) When a crow flies off with her birthday bonnet as she walks to dinner, Madame Chapeau chases the thief through the streets of Paris while admirers offer her replacement hats, but none seem quite right until someone offers a special gift.

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I like this book because: this has to be one of the perfectest perfect picks ever! The rhyme is so delicious, you have to read it again and again – aloud! The story is adorable, and the pictures – OH! I want to spend my next vacation IN this book!!! The illustrator includes an interesting note in the front, about his own influences and work as a milliner. The look of main character is based on the fashion editor, Isabella Blow. Get the book and read more for yourself!

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Resources/activities: make paper hats – instructions HERE; learn to knit -tutorial HERE; make a chocolate gateau, like the one below – click on the image for the recipe post.

Perfect Picture Book Friday has plenty of selections listed on a themed and alphabetized list, each with teacher/parent resources, on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.

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PPBF: The Worst Princess and 3 WINNERS

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Author: Anna Kemp
Illustrator: Sara Ogilvie
Publisher: Random House, 2012
Ages: 3-7yrs
Themes: princesses, dragons, stories in rhyme
Opening: Once upon a time, in a tower near you, lived a lonely princess – the Princess Sue.
Summary: (from my library catalog) Lonely Princess Sue longs to leave her castle tower, but when her prince finally rescues her, she realizes she is destined for a less traditional partner.

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I like this book because: first of all, I love how the opening line tells us we’re in for some great humor! The rhyme frolics sprightly without hurrying – and gosh, who can resist a princess in chucks intent on adventure? And for those who know me, the ART!

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Resources/activities: check this Pinterest board for fun dragon activities; make an egg box dragon like THIS one; check out A Might Girl’s list of books featuring independent princesses HERE

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And now for the WINNERS, 100% teen-disregard guaranteed, of a copy of BAD APPLE”S PERFECT DAY by Edward Hemingway – read the GIVEAWAY post HERE

Wendy Wahman

Edna Hokunaauao Cabcabin Moran

Kirsten Williams Larson

For more Perfect Picture Book picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE

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PPBF: Bad Apple’s Perfect Day and a GIVEAWAY!

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BONUS! Interview with the author/illustrator below!

Author/Illustrator: Edward Hemingway
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2014
Ages: 3-5yrs
Themes: apples, worms, friendship
Opening: The sun was rising. The crickets were chirping. And Mac and Will were getting ready for the perfect day.
Summary: (from the publisher) Mac the apple and Will the worm set out for a perfect day at the watering hole, and although little goes as they plan, friendship, imagination,and a sense of fun make everything turn out fine.

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I like this book because: these two charming buds are back with a sequel (Check out my recommendation HERE). I am crazy for the end papers in this one (above), and for the color palette – simply sumptuous! The story promotes all my favorite things: creativity, imagination, story-telling and looking on the bright side of a rainy day. Living in Colorado I actually miss rain (yep!) but this year has been the moistest in the 16yrs I’ve been here. Still, there is nothing like a slate colored sky against green leaves – and apples if you’re lucky!

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Resources/activities: read together with Bad Apple: A Tale of Friendship; go apple picking at an orchard nearby (for help finding one, click HERE); have your own Perfect Day Picnic; watch the book trailer below

Edward was kind enough to answer a few questions too:

JRZ: I’m going to skip the proverbial ‘what comes first for you as an author-illustrator’ question (unless you’d really like to answer that!), but would you share a bit of how Bad Apple came to be?

EH: I tend to come up with simple ideas/ titles first, and with Bad Apple it was no different. I was trying to convince my friend Brian Floca to come out to an orchard with me and my friend Sara Varon. I told him, “It could be inspirational. You could write a book about the tractors on the orchard, Sara could write a book about the goats, and I could write a book about a…bad apple.” It just came to me like that, and then I said to myself, hey, that’s not a bad idea. Then I started to think about what a “bad apple” could be. I decided it didn’t have to be bad, just misunderstood, and the story flowed from there.

JRZ: Do you use critique partners for your manuscript drafts, illustrations or initial ideas?

EH: Yes. It’s important to have artists and readers in your life with a critical eye, who aren’t afraid to give you honest, constructive criticism. I also like to put work away and come back to it after a week or so and approach it fresh.

JRZ: As you like to paint in oils, how difficult is it if there is an editorial change?

EH: By the time I am working on painted finishes, there is often little room for editorial change, as my sketched finishes are always very detailed. But I have been known to bring a brush to the offices and touch up pages at the request of and in front of my art director…

JRZ: Would you share one piece of advice you have received on your journey that stands out?

EH: ALWAYS be working on your NEXT project. Thanks Maira Kalman for giving me that advice!

JRZ: Is there something else that you do, a hobby perhaps, that you feel influences your writing or illustrating?

EH: I love reading and going to films, what better way is there to hone one’s own storywriting skills than by appreciating others?

*Read an extensive interview with the author/illustrator on Seven Impossible Things – HERE

AND we’ve got THREE copies of Bad Apple’s Perfect Day(courtesy of G.P. Putnam’s Sons)  for a GIVEAWAY! Please comment below with your full name – by 12pmMST on Sept.18th – to enter. I’ll have a random couch potato teen – with earbuds – pick 3 names from a hat (rest assured, full attention will NOT be paid to the picking!) and reveal the winners next Friday, Sept.19th.

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Perfect Picture Book Friday is BACK! There are still plenty of selections on a themed and alphabetized list, each with teacher/parent resources, on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.

PPBF: This Moose Belongs to Me

MooseCoverAuthor/Illustrator: Oliver Jeffers
Publisher: Philomel Books, 2012
Ages: 4-8yrs
Themes: moose (or meese if you’re being silly), pets, ownership
Opening: Wilfred owned a moose.
Summary: (from my library catalog) A young boy learns that moose do not always follow the rules of proper pet behavior.

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I like this book because: it got me. Some books just do that. Was it the wry humor, the fun character drawings, the use of existing landscape art in collage? Can’t quite pinpoint, but I keep coming back to this book.

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Resources/activities: ask students what makes a suitable pet and discuss why some don’t; make collages with magazine pages of landscapes and drawn characters placed in them. For a GREAT poem, in a GREAT new series from Penny Parker Klostermann, AND a moose – click HERE!

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Listen to this:

Perfect Picture Book Friday is still on hiatus for the summer (back next week! Come back for a GIVEAWAY!), but there are still plenty of selections on a themed and alphabetized list, each with teacher/parent resources, on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE

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PPBF: A Lion in Paris

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Author/Illustrator: Beatrice Alemagna [English translation by Rae Walter]
Publisher: Tate Publishing, First published in French by Autrement, 2006; Engl. edition 2014
Ages: 3-8yrs
Themes: lions, paris, statues
Opening: He was a big lion. A young, curious and lonely lion. He was bored at home on the grasslands, and so one day he set off to find a job, love and a future.
Summary: (from Amazon) “A lion … bored by his rural life in the savanna, seeks excitement and opportunity in the City of Light. Upon arriving in Paris, the lion is disappointed to find that despite his size, people barely pay attention to him, not even when he lets out a ferocious roar on the busy underground Métro”

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I like this book because: of the art. Hands down. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the story, but I almost feel the words were superflous. The art is so powerful, so full of energy, whimsy and detail (deserving of the thick paper used in the making) and left me thinking about them all day. I am so glad the size (15 x 11.3 inches) is large enough to accommodate, and I wonder if the the vertical opening was necessary for the image below, but having neck and shoulder problems I would have appreciated a horizontal format (selfish!). This is a must-read for all budding artists!

LionInterior2Resources/activities: learn about a local statue in your town/city and it’s history; create stories for statues about how they might have found their resting spot; make pap-mâché statues after watching a tutorial – HERE.

Perfect Picture Book Friday is still on hiatus for the summer (back in 2 weeks!), but there are still plenty of selections on a themed and alphabetized list, each with teacher/parent resources, on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.

 

 

PPBF: The Sheep of the Lal Bagh

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My well-loved 2nd-hand copy

Author: David Mark
Illustrator: Lionel Kalish
Publisher: Parents’ Magazine Press, 1967
Ages: 4-8yrs
Themes: sheep, India, modernization
Opening: In a little city in the heart of India there was a big park called Lal Bagh.
Summary: (from my library catalog) A sheep lives in a special park in India and nibbles the grass in decorative designs until he is replaced by a lawnmower.

I like this book because: not only are the illustrations killer, but the story is so sweet! A wonderful tale of appreciating the natural world and creatures, as well as an willingness to accept modernization – preferably in moderation! Gentle and welcome repetition round things out nicely too. If you don’t know this book already it’s bound to become a favorite!

Resources/activities: if you enjoy Kalish’s art, check out Tina Kugler’s pinterest boardHERE; this would make a good supplement to teaching about other countries around the world for K-3rd grade; learn about the history of sheep and lawncare in America – HERE.

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Perfect Picture Book Friday is on hiatus for the summer, but there are still plenty of selections on a themed and alphabetized list, each with teacher/parent resources, on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE

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Gorgeous endpapers!

Not-So-Accidental-Blog-Tourist-Hop

FrogSleepwalkingWelcome to this wandering tour of blogs by artists – writers, musicians, painters, photographers, and more. Catherine Johnson invited me to hop-along.

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Catherine is a female Dickon (Secret Garden clue for kid-lit lovers), currently swinging a maple stick in a hockey tree –  with a worrisome weakness for fried Kiwi and chips, or was it fishlips? In any case she writes and paints funny stuff – check out her blog and books at catherinemjohnson.wordpress.com

Now to blog-hop questions, and the stuff I am currently working on: portfolio pieces in preparation for the regional SCBWI conference in September; a fish-out-of-water picture book dummy; a ms based on a folk song; a rhyming board book (yeah, me – a rhymer – go figure!), and a slew of others in need of further polish. Also excited about 3 board books I illustrated for Bailiwick Press, due out in October.

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How my work differs from others of its genre: With illustration, I try to harness the energy of an initial sketch; I scrap what isn’t working and start fresh numerous times. Maybe that is why my work is simpler, less detailed, but that doesn’t mean the process is any less complicated (that’s what I tell myself!). I spend a lot of time on the emotional connection in the face or posture of my characters. Humor and imagination are what I hope to convey and promote in both my illustrations and writing.

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Why do I write/create what I do? I am a picture book junkie. The way the words and pictures meld together with the imagination of the readers elevates my spirit. The desire to make them has not always been there, but I have always found creative outlets, and still cannot understand how anyone gets bored.

How does your writing/creating process work? A snippet of a word, a scent in the air, a memory released by the shape of a cloud  – anything, essentially, can spark the process of writing or illustrating. I trust my gut to take me on it’s own journey, then later apply skills to shape, restructure and refine. When I feel good about it I will send a manuscript draft to my AWESOME online and local critique partners (sometimes 27 times – sorry, pals). Doodling every day has improved my drawing skills tremendously – I am truly grateful for the Doodle Day facebook group for the support, encouragement and super silly fun.

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Passing the baton to fellow artist Dani Duck at Dani Duck: Artist ObscureMarried, toddlered and reluctant cat owner. Writes, Illustrates and Moms. Basically awesome. Seldom boring. Avid coffee drinker and chocolate fan …

photoCheck out Dani’s post on Monday, Aug.25th – HERE