Friday, February 27, 2015

PB14:14 - Day 14!!!!!!!

Today is the last day of the Picture Book 14:14 which is organized each year by Christie Wright Wild. Be sure to check out her blog Write Wild. Not only can you find links to other PB14:14 posts but throughout the year Christie blogs about picture books, gives helpful advice for writers, posts about agents, discusses website management, and holds contests. In addition to all that, she's a really nice person. A round of applause for Christie for being our awesome PB14:14 hostess.   YAY, CHRISTIE!!!!! Thank you.

And now onto today's book:

Title: Spoon
Author: Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Illustrator: Scott Magoon
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Year: 2009
Word Count: 391
Top 10 Element: conflict

As far as the top ten element for picture books goes, I could have chosen character since the book is written from Spoon's point of view. I could also have picked beginnings and ending because Spoon feels one way at the beginning and the opposite at the end. I also could have chosen them, pattern, or dialogue. This book has used almost all ten elements effectively. But there is no rhyme.

So why did I pick conflict? There are two types of conflict in a book. The physical: it snows so much that you can't go out the door (Blizzard), character is sick and can't do his job (A Sick Dday for Amos Mcgee), character being chased by hungry dragon (Dragon Dinner) OR it can be emotional: character misses friend who moved away, character is afraid of the dark, character lacks confidence, etc. and needs to revolve the internal conflict. This book revolves around the latter, and I think it is very important for children to have books like this. (I also believe children should have a wide variety of books--fairy tales, humor, rhyme, non-fiction, character development stories, and ones that just plain entertain.)

When I first saw this book with the simple title Spoon and a basic illustration on the cover, I didn't think it was going to be a good book. Boy, was I wrong. I love this book. At the beginning of the story we meet Spoon and his family. On this day Spoon is feeling a bit down. He thinks all his friend have it better than he does. They get to do all the cool things. Knife get to cut things and spread things. Fork gets to twirl spaghetti and speer all sorts of things. And everybody loves Chopstick(s). This is a "the green is always greener" kind of story. Except that we all know the grass isn't always greener on the other side. In fact, while Spoon is lamenting his boring life, his friends are all discussing how lucky Spoon is. Knife says "Everyone's so serious with me. No one's ever allowed to be silly with me like they are with spoon." Fork mentions how he never gets to measure things like spoon does. And Chopstick(s) think Spoon is so super cool because he gets to do things alone. Soon Spoon comes to realize that it's not so bad being a spoon.

I like the message of the story but the kicker for me is the subtle humor in the book --for instance, his Aunt Silver being so proper or spoon going stir-crazy. The younger children might not pick up on the humor in those lines but older kids and parents do. And a good picture book has elements that appeal to both crowds. I especially love when Spoon can't sleep and his parents tell him to come into bed with them. His mom says, "Come, Spoon." And then they spoon. Sweet and silly at the same time. Also, there aren't many picture books where a spoon is the main character and original and/or quirky is usually a hit with me.

Yep, this book is a winner. Go out and read it. The author also has written books called Fork and Chopsticks, but I haven't read those yet. If you've read them all, please tell me which one is your favorite.

And if you haven't read spoon, you can hear a class of first-graders reading it at the following youTube link:

Also, the link to other day 14 posts is:

Thursday, February 26, 2015

PB14:14 - Day 13: This is Not my Hat

Wow, the Picture Book 14:14 challenge is almost over. How did we get to day 13 already? I wish we had more time, especially so I can read more of the other posts. I commented faithfully up until around day 8 and then my schedule got hectic and I've not been able to read many. I planned on reading and commenting on every post and now have a lot of catching up to do. Lately all I can do is post my review. Speaking of which...

here it my day 13 book.     

Title: This is Not My Hat
Author: Jon Klassen
Illustrator: Jon Klassen
Publisher: Candlewick
Year: 2012
Word Count: 196 (if I counted correctly, which is iffy as I am half asleep)
Top 10 Element: word play

If you like Klassen's earlier book I Want My Hat Back, then you might like this one as well. It has the same humor in it. Whereas in I Want My Hat Back the story centers on a bear searching for his hat, this story turns that concept around. Now the narrator is not the victim of the crime but the thief. When a small fish steals the little blue bowler hat of a big sleeping fish, he's not worried at all. He's sure he'll get away with it.

lThe fun part of the story is that the pictures and the words contradict each other. While the small fish tells us he's got a plan and it's working perfectly, the illustrations show the big fish following behind him. Usually we think of word play in a picture book as alliteration or silly puns or onomatopoeia. However, this type of humor is also considered word play, and children get a kick out of it. 

In the end the big fish does get his hat back. The fate of the little fish? That is left open-ended, so you can speculate what happened. Perhaps he got "a good talking to" when they were in the thick of the sea weed (or pond vegetation). Perhaps the little fish scurried off so fast when he noticed he'd been caught that the hat fell from head and that was that. Or maybe he became dinner. It's interesting to ask children what they think happened. Some of them come up with very interesting tales.

Some people say the book promotes stealing. Uh, really? (you can read the 30 one-star reviews at Amazon for examples of this and other complaints about the book... though the 213 five-star reviews totally tip the scale here) You know me. I always say its all in how you use the book. This book can actually teach children that just because they think they can get away with something, that doesn't mean they should try it. Wrong is wrong. And I think humor makes them actively think as well.

I was introduced to this book at a SCBWI conference last year. Since I don't have the book and my library doesn't have it either, I don't have a picture of the cover to post. BUT I checked youTube and someone has a video of it being read. To see it clink the link below.

And if you aren't familiar with I Want My Hat Back (or even if you are) you can listen to someone reading it at the following link. I especially love the turtle's voice.  :-)

Which of the two books do you prefer? This is Not My Hat or I Want My Hat Back? Let me know in the comments section.

to read other PB14:14 picture book reviews for day 13, here's the link:

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

PB14:14 - Day 12 - Yucky Worms

Welcome to Day 12 of the Picture Book 14:14. We're almost finished with the challenge, and I've written about 13 books so far (yesterday I did a "two for Tuesday" post). Thirteen books into it I realize I have not blogged about any non-fiction books. Sooooooooo...

today's book is:

Title: Yucky Worms: Read and Wonder
Author: Vivian French
Illustrator: Jessica Ahlberg
Publisher: Candlewick
Year: 2012
Word Count:749+ (word count not including the worm commentary in speech bubbles, sidebars with information, and back material on how to be a wormologist)
Top 10 Element: dialogue

Summary: Instead of this book just listing facts and pictures, the information is presented as a story. It begins One day when I was in Grandma's garden, Grandma dug up a slimy, slithery, wiggly worm. "Yuck," I said. "Throw it away!" But, of course, his grandmother doesn't. Through dialogue between the two, children learn how to tell which end is which on a worm, what worms eat, etc.

Sound boring? Not really, and children will especially love all the information about casts. Do you know what casts are? Casts are


And seriously, what kid doesn't get the laughs and giggles when it comes to poop. Children also learn the dangers of being a worm, how to trick worms into coming out of the soil, and lots of cool facts. Did you know that worms have bristles in their muscles. The bristles help them move. There are also looks of cool comments from the worms in speech bubbles within the illustrations and back material on being a "wormologist".

I know boys will love this book. Girls? I don't know. I know I would have enjoyed it as a child. Would you like it? Find out for yourself. I found a video (by mrssworley's channel on YouTube) of someone reading it.

Here's today's link to read other participants' day 11 picture book reviews:

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

PB14:14 - Day 11: Dragons Love Tacos and My Dad's a Dragon Catcher

Since we are in the second week of the Picture Book 14:14 challenge, I thought I'd do a "Two for Tuesday" post. But watch out! Both of the books have to do with...


The first one is:
Title: Dragons Love Tacos
Author: Adam Rubin
Illustrator: Daniel Salmieri
Publisher:  Dial Books
Year: 2012
Word Count: approx. 550
Top 10 Element: theme

Summary: What do you do when you want to lure a bunch of dragons to your party? That's simple. Just serve tacos. Everyone knows that dragons love tacos. Beef tacos, chicken tacos, big tacos, small tacos, the crunchier the better. Make sure you have lots and lots of tacos. But skip the hot salsa because when dragons eat spicy things there will be trouble. See when happens when a boy makes the mistake of not reading the fine print on the mild salsa jar that reads now with spicy jalapeños peppers.

I've heard a few parents say they weren't completely sold on this on, but their kids found it to be hilarious. I guess I am a kid at heart because I thought it was pretty funny. I also liked that the dragons help fix things in the end.

I found a youTube video for you to watch:

Since I have already reviewed Dragon Dinner by Susannah Corbett (see that post HERE), I had to find another dragon book to tell you about. While doing a search on Amazon, I came across this little-known book (at least I'd never heard of it and it has no reviews yet). Of course, I couldn't order the book and get it all in one day so I did another search and was lucky to find a video of the author reading it. I love her New Zealand accent and how she reads the story in an animated way. The children love both her and the story.

Title: My Dad's a Dragon Catcher
Author: Tanya Batt
Illustrator: Helen Bacon
Publisher:  Reading Alive
Year: 2012
Word Count: approximately 500 
Top 10 Element: dialogue

When children in his class are telling about the cool jobs their dads have, Toby doesn't know what to say. He doesn't have a father who is an actor or a pilot dad who takes him places. His dad spends a lot of time sitting around the house drawing in his notebook, but he couldn't say that. That's not very exciting, he thinks. So instead he blurts out, "My dad is a dragon catcher." That's where the tale begins and it grows and grows from there. Then his teacher announces that all father/grandfathers are invited to come to class and talk about their jobs. Of course, everyone wants a dragon catcher to come to class. Now what will Toby do?

The tale is told in dialogue between Toby and his friends and Toby and his father. I like that the dialogue is "real", just the way a child or father would speak. I also like the details Toby creates about different types of dragons and how to catch them. Eventually, the truth comes out but with a bit of a twist at the end.

To buy this book, visit this page on Amazon.

If you want to hear the book first (and get a bit of a sneak peek at the illustrations) go to this video.

To see other day 11 posts from PB14:14 participants, use the link below.

Monday, February 23, 2015

PB14:14 - Day 10: Hooray for Fall!

The book I am reviewing for day 10 of the Picture Book 14:14 challenge is a sweet book I found at our local library. They only have about 40 picture books in English, some old, some new, but I was lucky to find this gem.

Title: Hooray for Fall!

Author/Illustrator: Kazuo Iwamura

Year/Publisher:  English translation 2009 in USA, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand
by North-South Book, Inc., an imprint of NordSüd Verlag AG, Switzerland (original first pub. in Japan, 1984 under the title Makkana Seetaa)

Word Count: approx. 475

Top 10 Element(s): theme

Summary: Three little squirrels return home after a day of gathering nuts to find their mother busy knitting. They are curious about what she is making but are told they'll have to wait until she's finished. Mama knits through the night, and the next morning three bright red sweaters are ready to be worn. The children go outside to play. They come across several animals preparing (birds planning their trip south before winter, bear eating large quantity of persimmons to hold him over during the upcoming hibernation), and they see many signs of autumn.

I simply adore this book. The illustrations are so sweet. The information about autumn is woven into the story beautifully. There is a pattern of things being red-- red mushrooms, red leaves, red berries, red sun-- and they often reflect back to themselves.


they compare a group of red mushrooms to their family

(after seeing the berries have turned from green to red) "Winter is coming so they changed their clothes, just like us."

after seeing red leaves they realize things change color because winter is approaching "Everything turns red, just like our sweaters!"

But my favorite part is when they see the setting sun. "The sky is on fire!" Mack shouted. And sure enough up in the sky was a great red glow. "Let's climb up to the treetop and see what it is," said Mack. Then when you turn the page there is a beautiful two-page spread. On the left side the children are on the trunk and branches of a very tall tree gazing at the giant, glowing red sun which is front and center on the right page.

If you can get your hands on this, either at the library or at the bookstore, open it up and read it. Or purchase it at Amazon. I think you'll enjoy it.

To see more day 10 book reviews by other PB14:14 participants here's the link:

Sunday, February 22, 2015

PB14:14 - Day 9: The Day the Crayons Quit

For day 9 of the Picture Book 14:14 challenge I have picked:

Title: The Day the Crayons Quit
Author: Drew Daywalt
Illustrator: Oliver Jeffers
Publisher:  Philomel Books
Year: 2013
Top 10 Element(s): conflict 

First let me say, this in not a book for very young children. This is for the older picture book crowd. The word count is very high, and I am not sure if it would hold a younger child's attention. Also, I think they wouldn't grasp the concept either.

I won this book in a Twitter contest. I read it and (since my daughter is a teenager now) passed it on to my niece's two boys. One is in school and learning to read. He was excited to receive it from me, because he teacher had read it to the class only a week before I gave it to him. He thought it was a funny book. I think it is a funny book, too, but it's not for everyone. With that said, let me sum up the story.

Duncan, who likes to draw, pulls out his crayon box. But instead of crayons, he find a stack of letters addressed to him. Apparently, the crayons are on strike, and the letters explain why. The first letter Duncan reads is from red crayon. He states that he is exhausted from coloring all those fire trucks and other red things. In fact, he has to work on holidays, too--Valentine's hearts and Santa's red suit.

Green is perfectly happy but, like red, all the other crayons have complaints. What is Duncan to do? Of course, he finds the perfect solution to make everyone happy again.

I like the way the letters are shown hand-written (or should I say CRAYON-written), each in the appropriate color. I wish the writing would have varied a bit more for each letter. I also like how each letter is then accompanied by an illustrated example that is very true to children's drawings.

I've heard mixed reviews on this book. Some people love it and think it is the funny book they've read all year. Others say it's too negative. Some claim it is cheeky. A few read into way to much and think it is the devil in disguise. I think it has a lot of elements which can be used in a variety of ways to teach kids about cooperation, creativity, problem-solving. This book is all in how you use it. But that's just my opinion. You judge for yourself. Here's a YouTube I found of someone reading The Day the Crayons Quit.

And if you'd like to see more picture book reviews for day 9 of the PB14:14, be sure to go to this link:

Saturday, February 21, 2015

For Picture Book Fans who LOVE Frogs

If you've been following my PB14:14 posts this past week then you probably are a fan of picture books. Do you like frogs, too? I think they are adorable. And the upcoming picture book I Don't Want to be a Frog by Dev Petty and illustrated by Mike Boldt looks adorable, too. The main character, a tiny green frog, wants to be anything but a frog.

To find out more about the book and for a chance to win a free signed copy of it plus bookmark, hop on over to Tara Lazar's blog Writing for Kids (While Raising Them) where she interviews the author. All you need to do is read the post and leave a comment and the book could be yours. Here's the link:

Good luck!

PB14:14 - Day 8: Bear's Loose Tooth

Today starts the second week of the Picture Book 14:14 where participants blog about a picture book each day. I had the pleasure of visiting the library in Stuttgart this morning and discovered that they have very many picture books in English. What a treat it was to find the following book (because I admire the many works by both the author and illustrator).

Title: Bear's Loose Tooth
Author: Karma Wilson
Illustrator:  Jane Chapman
Publisher:  Margaret K. McElderry Books
Year: 2011
Top 10 Element(s): theme

It is obvious from the title what theme this picture book revolves around--losing teeth.  While bear is eating his lunch, something feels funny. Bear has his first loose tooth. He frowns and frets because what is he to do without his tooth? How will he eat?

Bears friends reassure him that all wtih be okay, that a new tooth will grow in with time and take its place.Then mouse tries to help Bear's tooth come out, but he can't get it to budge. Next wren gives it a try, followed by owl and badger. No such luck. Then bear moves it around with his tongue and voilà! Out comes bears tooth. As he is sleeping that night, the tooth fairy takes his tooth and leaves a piles of berries (which Bear later shares with all his friends.) At the end bear discovers he has another loose tooth.

This is yet another the series of Bear books by Karma Wilson (the first one I remember is Bear Snores On), all of which are written in perfectly flowing rhyme. If you are a Bear fan, you'll need to add this one to your collection.

And if you'd like to hear the book, I found a YouTube video.

You can find more of Karma's books at her website HERE.

To see day 8 book reviews from other participants CLICK HERE to go to the Linky list.

Friday, February 20, 2015

PB14:14 Day 7: Pigeon Needs a Bath

For day 7 of the Picture Book 14:14 challenge I present to you:

Title: The Pigeon Needs a Bath
Author: Mo Willems
Illustrator:  Mo Willems
Publisher:  Disney-Hyperion
Year: 2014
Word count: approx. 250
Top 10 Element(s): Beginnings and Endings

Pigeon is a sloppy, stinky mess. Pigeon needs a bath. But Pigeon doesn't want a bath. He tries to avoid it as much as possible. Then the water is in the bath. It's too hot. Too cold. Not enough toys. One excuse after the other. However, after Pigeon finally gets into the bath, things change. Oh, the bubbles! Oh, what fun! Now Pigeon doesn't want to get out of the bath.

How many times has this happened with your children? They huff and puff and resist until the last minute and then once they are finally in the tub they stay in until their toes and fingertips are all soft and shrivelled, still playing contently when the water has already turned cold. Then you need to dry off a shivering, tired tot. I think all of us have had this "little pigeon" at one time or another.

Here is a YouTube video of the book. And, by the way, Arwen Sharp has many picture book videos on YouTube. Be sure to check out more of them.

To see the other participants' picture book reviews for today, JUST CLICK HERE.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

PB14:14 - Day 6: Dragon's Dinner

Welcome back! Today is day 6 of the Picture Book 14:14 challenge where bloggers post about 14 picture books in 14 days. Today I am highlighting a wonderfully illustrated tale.

Title:  Dragon's Dinner
Author:  Susannah Corbett
Illustrator:  Lynne Chapman
Publisher:  Hodder Children's Books
Year: 2009
Word count: approx. 581
Top 10 Element(s): Plot

This action-packed story starts out with the lines "Deep in the woods in a cave inky black, a dragon was snoring away on his back. His yellow eyes opened the tiniest crack, and he said to himself, "I fancy a snack." So the dragon sets out to find something tasty to eat. Not far from his lair he comes across a bear. The bear, not wanting to become a dragon's dinner, runs off into the forest, through the trees, past bushes, over rocks, until he meets a fox. The dragon wouldn't mind eating a fox as well so they run off together. They run and run until they meet a cat. "Hello Mr. Kitty, you may have nine lives, but you'll need to have TEN if you want to survive..."  So the cat, fox, and bear all run away from the dragon and up to the tree where the owl lives.  Owl joins the flock of fur and feathers runnings from the dragon.

The plot up until this point is a series of chances meetings (rising action) and a growing group of animals trying to escape the sad fate of becoming dragon dinner. But now is where things start to change. Enter...the mouse!

Though the dragon has top billing in this book, the mouse is the top cheese. This tiny mouse has a house at the edge of the forest and is busy going about his work of painting that lovely little house blue. When all these animals suddenly come bursting out of a huge fireball followed by a fire-breathing dragon (climax) he has this well-how-about-THAT kind of attitude. And when the dragon threatens to make mouse part of a tasty meal, mouse is not intimidated at all. He springs into action and soon it is the dragon running from the mouse. (falling action and resolution wrapped up quickly) How does he do it? I'm not going to reveal his clever plan. You'll have to read the book to find out.

This story is written in rhyme with the most wonderful, colorful illustrations that make this book a real treat. Here's an example.

I think I am going to search out more books illustrated by Lynne Chapman.

To see the day 6 book reviews from other bloggers, all you need to do is  CLICK HERE. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

PB 14:14 - Day 5: Some Dogs Do

I am taking part in the Picture Book 14:14. This involves posting 14 picture book reviews in 14 days. Today is Day 5. Here's my next book. The first time I read it, I loved it.

Title:  Some Dogs Do
Author:  Jez Alborough
Illustrator:  Jez Alborough
Publisher:  Walker Books Ltd.
Year: 2004
Word count: approx. 275
Top 10 Element(s): Rhyme/Dialogue

One day, when Sid is walking to school, he suddenly gets a happy feeling. In fact, it is such a happy feeling that "without a how, without a why, Sid fell UP toward the sky." That's right! His paws lift up off the ground and he is flying. Of course, Sid can't wait to tell his friends at school about this amazing feat. But...

no one believes him. Not his friends. No even his teacher. They all say "dogs don't fly!". So he tries to show them that, yes indeed, he can fly. However, he can't fly again. This makes him very sad. When he gets home he tells his dad what happened and repeats the saying "dogs don't fly" but then something incredible happens. Sid's dad begins to fly. Upon seeing this, Sid becomes happy again and, once again, lifts off of the ground. This is an uplifting tale (pun intended) that shows that the impossible is sometimes possible. Never give up on your hopes and dreams.

The book is written in simple rhyme. No difficult words, no complicated rhyme scheme (aabb...). Example:

Miss Mare the teacher shook her head.
"Now, Sid, you shouldn't lie," she said.

     "But I did," said Sid. (this line is repeated each time someone doesn't believe him)

The book is full of dialogue between the characters.

Gus said, "Right! If you can fly, come outside...let's see you try!"

I think even younger children will be able to memorize this book easily, and they'll most likely want to do so. This story is so much fun and the colorful illustrations make it even more fun. See for yourself.

Here is a YouTube video I found of the book. Enjoy!

To read other book reviews for day 5 of  PB14:14:

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

PB14:14 Day 4: Cock-a-doodle-hooooooo!

Here is my book for day 4 of Picture Book 14:14.

Title:  Cock-a-doodle-hooooooo!
Author:  Mick Manning
Illustrator:  Brita granström
Publisher:  Little Tiger Press
Year: 2007
Word count: approx. 500
Top 10 Element: character

What is an owl to do when it is a cold, stormy night and he is alone and lost with no place to go? The owl in this book wanders onto a farm, squeezes through a hole in the side of the shed, and finds a cozy place to sleep. He awakens surrounded by a bunch of hens. The hens would prefer a cockerel (in U.S.= rooster) but give him a try. But owl can't peck, scratch, or cock-a-doodle. The hens aren't happy about this, but "the speckled hen put her bony wings round him. 'I'll teach you how to be a cockerel!" she clucked..."

Now we all know an owl is not anything like a cockerel, but owl does manage to learn a few important things, like guarding the hen house and puffing up his feathers. However, poor owl cannot cock-a-doodle. Every time he tries he just goes "Hoooo!"The hens are not impressed. Owl is not happy either at this point. He is hungry and has had enough of the hens silliness. "I'm an owl, not a fowl! Owls aren't hens. We hoot in the moonlight. We don't peck corn, we catch..."

Owl never gets to finish his rant because a hen suddenly squawks, "RATS!" A rat is in the hen house stealing eggs and eating corn. This is owl's chance to show what an owl can do. He flies into action and becomes the hero.

Everyone is happy and owl has new friends (and a new home) for life. AND...

he even learns to cock-a-doodle-hooooo!

This is a classic example of character. Everything revolves around owl. When he is introduced he is down on his luck. The others want to make him into something he is not. The owl even tries to fit in but he is an owl not a cockerel. In the end, when owl can be himself, he saves the day. Owl is accepted for who he is and everyone lives happily ever after.

Here is the link for today to see Linky with other bloggers posts.

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PB14:14 Day 3: The Bears in the Bed and the Great Big Storm

Today is day 3 of the Picture Book 14:14. Here is my book for today.

Title:  The Bears in the Bed and the Great Big Storm
Author:  Paul Bright
Illustrator:  Jane Chapman
Publisher:  Little Tiger Press
Year: 2008
Word count: approx. 250
Top 10 Element: theme

How the wind blew! That is the first sentence of the book, setting the theme of a stormy night. The illustration shows mama and papa bear sound asleep. But the wind howls loudly and soon "...Bear felt a tugging at his blanket. He opened one eye. There was baby bear."

Oh, yes. I remember it well. Those scary sounds. The frightening lightning. The creepy shadows. As a young child, I hated nighttime storms. Most kids do. And in this book, so does baby bear. Then Papa bear realizes baby is right. Those shadows DO look like monster horns. Soon everyone is awake--Bear, Mrs. Bear, Young Bear, Little Bear, and Baby Bear.

Then, as Bears goes to see what is tapping at the door, the wind blows the door wide open. The candle goes out. All is dark until the lightning flashes again and reveals something eery.

Papa dives straight under the bed. Luckily it is just a moose. Moose has lost his house to the terrible storm and needs a safe place to sleep. The children laugh. "What a scaredy-bear you are!" they said. "Don't you know...there's no such thing as monsters!"

This book on the theme of sleeping and storms and imagined monsters is one most any child can relate to. The addition of the moose makes the ending a bit more fun than the shadow just being a tree (which has been used often in the past.) This book also comes as a set with a cd which has the complete story with original music and sound effects. It also has page-turn pings to encourage young readers to join in. Unfortunately, I didn't check the cd out of the library but I am it would be a treat for children who have already had the book read to them.

Here is the link for Day 3 posts.
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Monday, February 16, 2015

PB14:14 Day 2: Splat says Thank You! by Rob Scotton

Yeah! Our local library had several picture books in English and French. So I picked up a few new books for the Picture Book 14:14 challenge. Here is my post for day 2.

Title:  Splat says Thank You!
Author:  Rob Scotton
Illustrator:  Rob Scotton
Publisher:  Harper Collins
Year: 2012
Word count: approx. 400
Top 10 Element: theme

Apparently there is a whole series of Splat picture books and this is the first I've come across. (That's one of the down sides of living in a foreign country.) So, you might already be familiar with Splat and his best friend, Seymour. What makes this friendship special is that Splat is a cat and Seymour is a mouse. Not your typical friends but they are oh so cute. The illustrations are a treat. The cover illlustration is nice but not nearly as great as the ones IN the book (in my opinion.) Some of them are very funny.

Here is the cover photo:

Splat says Thank You! cover (written & illus. by Rob Scotton)

The tale starts with a picture of Seymour in his bed, sleepy-eyed, furry grey snout turned downward and covered in spots. Poor Seymour is not feeling well. Spat wants to cheer him up a bit and pulls out a book from the drawer. But this is not a regular book. No. This is a very special book. What makes it so special? It is a friendship book that Splat made himself and it is called Thank You, Seymour.

Splat reads the book to Seymour. Each part repeats the form "When I (did something or other) you....(did something to help)" and ends with a "thank you".

For example, "When I was scared to audition for the school play, you encouraged me to do it anyway," said Splat. "Thank you!" Or "When I borrowed my brother's kite and we played for hours, you made it so much fun."

Throughout the book, Splat recalls all those moments when Seymour was there for him and thanks him for it. It is a sweet book dealing with the concept of friendship and the wonderful illustrations add a bit of a humorous side as well. This would be a great teaching tool for teachers of young children. It can certainly be a lead in to the questions "What is a friend?" Children could even make their own friendship books to say thanks to their good friend(s).


for stopping by today. Please be sure to visit the other participants blogposts. The links can be found here:

 Today's code is:

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Sunday, February 15, 2015

PB 14:14 Day 1: Snowy Valentine

I am taking part in a picture book challenge. It's called the Picture Book 14:14. As it states on the host site, Write Wild, "PB 14:14 is a blogging challenge. A blog hop. A learning adventure about books and craft ...with PRIZES!" It takes place for two weeks and it's not too late to sign up (if not for this week, then the second week.) So if you are interested in joining it, go to THIS POST to get all the information.

What do I need to do? For at least 5 of the next 7 days I need to post about a picture book that has been published within the last 5 years. The post is not necessarily a review of the book (though that sort of info will be provided) but will focus more of an aspect of the writing--character development, conflict, rhyme scheme, pacing, dialogue, etc. 

As beginning or unpublished writers (or even someone who has published but still learning more of the craft) we are told to study books on the market. The point of this project is to read a picture book and think, "what will a writer learn from this book?" Is it an example of flowing pitch perfect rhyme? Does it demonstrate how you can master character development in only 200 words? Does it show how pacing can make a picture book a quick favorite of kids? Perhaps the book presents us with an usual use of dialogue that makes it stand out from other books on the same topic.

This will be my chance to not just read and enjoy but to dig a little deeper into what makes a book work or not work. (My challenge will be finding enough picture books. Most of mine are older and our German library only has a few in English. I may need to resort to YouTube if I can't find 14.)

Since today is Valentine's Day I will start with Snowy Valentine.

Title: Snowy Valentine
Author: David Peterson
Illustrator: David Petersen
Publisher: Harper Collins
Year: 2011
Word Count: approx. 200
Top 10 Element: Conflict

 Snowy Valentine is a book about Jasper the Bunny. Jasper longs to find the perfect Valentine for his wife, Lily. He sets off in the snow, through the town, in search of it. He asks all the other animals in town what they are giving their wives. One animal is knitting a scarf but poor Jasper, though he tries, can't knit. Another is giving chocolate cover flies. Chocolate covered flies for a bunny is definitely not the right gift for his precious Lily. No matter what the others are giving, it just isn't the perfect gift for his wife. Plus, he almost gets made into rabbit stew by Mr. Fox! Just when he thinks he will never find the perfect gift, he discovers something by accident.

The conflict starts on page one and continues throughout the book until almost the very last page.

Here is a YouTube video I found of Snowy Valentine.

To see the other blogger's post for day 1 CLICK HERE:

Today's code is: 

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Weekend Window #3 - The Valentine's Wreath and A Shi!ty Valentine's Day

Since yesterday was Valentine's Day I thought for this week's Weekend Window I would link to a Valentine's Day poem. In searching for one I came across many that started with "roses are red...". I certainly didn't want to use any of those. But where was I to look? Finding love poems posted at literary journals isn't as easy as one thinks and though Neruda and other famous poets immediately come to mind, I wanted to find one you might not already be familiar with. So I turned to Poem Hunter. There you can search for poems on any subject. There are hundreds (or rather thousands or more) to search from. If you haven't visited Poem Hunter before and want to check it out, you can GO THERE NOW.

One of the poems I discovered there stood out among the rest. This is The Valentine's Wreath. It is written by James Montgomery. According to his biography, he lived from November 4, 1771 to April 30, 1854, and was a British editor, hymn writer, and poet. To read The Valentine's Wreath,  CLICK HERE.

And if you are a Scrooge this time of year and say bah-humbug to all this Valentine's stuff, then perhaps you'd rather skip right to A Shitty Valentine's Day by Michael Philips. As you'll notice, this one has a very different style and tone.  READ IT HERE.

Do you have a favorite love poem? A favorite Valentine's Day poem? Or even a favorite anti-Valentine's Day poem. If so, tell me about it in the comments section. I'd love to know.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Weekend Window #2 - Mesa Verde/City Scale/with Broken Eggs

It's time for the second weekend window where I invite you to take a peek at visual or written art I found online. (Sorry I am a bit late but for my American readers it is still Sunday). This weekend I have three links for you.

The first is very short poem consisting of only 18 words. I am not sure if this is a short form of some kind. It's has too many lines for a haiku. It's definintely not a tanka. Syllable count doesn't work for a shadorma. So I guess it is just a very short poem. It is written by Connie Peters and titled Mesa Verde. What do I like about this piece? Well, I've been to Mesa Verde on several occasions and already pictured it in my head when I read the title. However, those 18 words changed what I was thinking. The image painted in my mind is similar but with a different angle/slant. I love when a writer does that. CLICK HERE to read it.

The second piece is a photograph by Dorothee Lang. Two things I've always been drawn to in pictures are shadows and reflections. This one seemed perfect for Weekend Window because it shows a city reflection from London in the windows of a modern building. The post is titled City Scale. Check it out on her once upon each day blog HERE.

The last thing I want to share with you is the poem broken eggs which was published in the Rattle Young Poets Anthology and featured on the Rattle website recently. It was written by Danelle Antelo. I guess I was drawn to it because I remember having a similar experience as a child. I also think it is super cool that teenagers are still writing poetry and writing about subjects that matter. To read broken eggs CLICK HERE.

And remember, if you also enjoy any of the artworks I've linked to, feel free to let them know. Post a comment. I'm sure it will make them happy.

That's it for today.I'm off to bed and tomorrow starts a new week. I hope it is a good one for you (and me).