Winner of the Picture Book Critique from Gayle Krause

Before I announce the winner…Exciting news!!!


RATGIRL is now available from Amazon in paperback or Kindle.
For Paperback version click HERE.
For Kindle version click HERE.

Ok…Two Lies and a Truth
The answer is #2.

From Gayle:
Though I have made acorn muffins and I have made rabbit, I have NOT cooked them in a solar oven. Although I made a solar oven in the 70’s when I taught Home Economics. 🙂

And yes, I have killed a rat with a cinder block when I was 10.

And yes, I was stupid enough to go spelunking in my twenties, swallowed up by the dark mountainside and 12″ from a cliff feeling my way with my hands and feet. STUPID!!!!!

And….The winner is…………………….

Wendy Greenley whose name was drawn from commenters who guessed #2!

Wendy, please email me with your email information, and I will pass it on to Gayle.

Congratulations on winning a picture book critique!

Perfect Picture Friday-Soup For One

Soup for One

Soup For One

Written and Illustrated by Ethan Long

Running Press Kids 2012

Ages 3-6

Themes: Counting to 10

Synopsis: (from publisher’s website) Shoo, fly, shoo! One little fly thinks he’s getting a big bowl of hot soup all to himself. Little does he know, interlopers wait around every corner. Help him to count the unwelcome pals that join him for lunch—one after another after another—up to ten! Who will get the last slurp of soup? Does the ravenous chef have a chance against ten hungry flies? Or will the sneaky spider hiding on every page be the one to triumph?


Tee hee hee!
Some soup for me!
Shoo, fly, shoo!
It’s not for two!

Resources: Try Dot-to-dot  and Counting Fish at ABCya! HERE, there are 15 online activities to help with counting to 10. I came up with an activity, too. Write the numbers 1-10 on blank index cards. Lay them out on a table. Give each child a plastic fly swatter. Let them take turns swatting the number you call out.

Top Ten Reasons I Like This Book
10. It’s a delightful little counting book.
9. It can be easily be used in the classroom with curriculum connections.
8. It’s a concept book with a story that invites page turns.
7. Photographic elements in the illustrations add unique dimension.
6. The rhyme is simple and moves the story forward effectively.
5. The fact that each fly has personality.
4. The slurping lizard.
3. Adults will giggle.
2. Kids will giggle.
And the #1 reason I like this book. The lurking spider who may just get a taste of something delicious!

Susanna Leonard Hill features Perfect Picture Book Friday on her blog. This is a wonderful resource if you are wondering what books to give as gifts, needing material for a lesson, or just looking for a great book to read. Here is a list of books by category. Each book listed has a link to a review, information about that book, and resources for activities. There is also an alphabetical list.

Blog Tour and Picture Book Critique Giveaway-RATGIRL: Song of the Viper by Gayle C. Krause

Today I am happy to have Gayle  C. Krause as a guest on my blog.

photo (1)Her debut YA novel, RATGIRL: Song of the Viper, will be released this month! How exciting! Want to know something else exciting…you can win a free picture book critique. Details to follow.

Although RATGIRL is YA, Gayle is more than qualified to critique picture books as she has a successful, published picture book. I own Gayle’s picture book, ROCK STAR SANTA, and it is one you will want to read again and again.

I have seen more than a taste of Gayle’s creativity and talent as we are both in The Poets’ Garage, a children’s poetry critique group.

Read on to learn more about RATGIRL, and two lies and a truth about Gayle herself. Take it away Gayle.

Penny has mentioned that most of you are picture book enthusiasts and she has asked me to tailor my post to your interest. I think I can do that, as my first published book was a picture book. It’s titled ROCK STAR SANTA. A rhyming seasonal story, it was contracted as an original Scholastic Book Club selection in 2008 and has gone on to be a perennial favorite, selling over 139,000 copies to date.

I hope my second book, RATGIRL: Song of the Viper, will do as well. Here is a brief synopsis:

This urban fantasy is filled with betrayal, revenge and hope. Part thriller, part mystery, part love story, it has something for every reader.

Streetwise orphan, Jax Stone, is an expert at surviving in a dangerous city, where the rich have fled to the New Continent, and the deadly daytime sun forces the middle class to live in abandoned sewer tunnels and subway stations. But she and the other homeless must be wary of rats —the furry ones underground that steal their food and invade their shelter, and the human ones above ground, that steal their children and threaten their lives. When the tyrannical mayor kidnaps her little brother, it’s no coincidence. Jax must use every bit of her stamina and intelligence to get him back.

Since family plays a key role in this story, I thought I might concentrate on the original lullaby that Jax sings to Andy every night. It’s crucial in his rescue ,and it could also be found in a children’s picture book.

Close your sleepy eyes. Come rest your weary head.
You will be safe in your comfy, cozy bed.
I will protect you. Sleep without a care,
and know by my love that I always will be there.

These words are crucial to the story, because when Andy is kidnapped Jax was not there. She didn’t lie to him. She was doing what she always does, scavenging for trinkets or valuables to barter, or foraging for food to feed him. But she fears he might think she did.

Which leads me to Two Truths and a Lie. I’m going to list three situations, as related to RATGIRL, and you must guess which one is the lie. Those of you that get it correct will be placed in a drawing for a free picture book critique from First Peek Critique my critique service.

Okay, here goes:

#1 “The rats must know they don’t stand a chance around me. I chase any rat that crosses my path, and if they’re bold enough, or stupid enough to come back, I smash them in the street beneath cinderblocks left scattered from collapsed buildings. But this rat isn’t in the street. He’s in our home. Well, technically, we’re in his.”
— Like Jax, I have smashed rats with cinderblocks.

#2 “I look forward to the joy on Andy’s face when he sees what we have in store for him. The sweet acorn bread baked all day in Cheinstein’s oven contraption, and Astoria said the rabbit Rafe trapped is solar roasting in the rusted kettle grill I’d picked up on an abandoned apartment balcony.”
–I have eaten acorn bread and rabbit cooked in a homemade solar oven.

#3 “Even though the sun blasts the mountain outside, inside the dampness of the ancient cavern is unmistakable.The sun’s warmth must never touch this cave.
The pathway narrows, as the rock face falls off to the left. I run my fingers along the moist earthen wall to guide me.
The path runs up, and then down, sloping gently to a rock floor, where a small opening appears to be a tunnel. I remember following my mother into this tunnel. As a child, I thought nothing about crawling through a dark, narrow tunnel burrowed deep within a mountain, but as an adult, the thought of the weight of the earth above me only adds to my worry about the children and Alder.”
— I have crawled through a dark tunnel, far beneath the earth, feeling my way along a rock wall, precariously dangling on a steep cliff within a mountainside, with only my sense of touch to guide me.

RatGirlFinalMedRatgirl: Song of the Viper

Written by Gayle C. Krause

Noble Young Adult 2013

Synopsis: A dark, gritty retelling of The Pied Piper set in a dystopic future, where a girl uses her hypnotic singing voice to lure rats to their deaths and children to safety. An urban fantasy filled with betrayal, revenge and hope, it’s part thriller, part mystery, and part love story.

Leave your answer in a comment below by midnight (CST), this Monday, February 25. Correct answers will be included in the drawing for a free picture book critique from Gayle.

You can find Gayle HERE at her website, and HERE, The Storyteller’s Scroll, where she blogs. Be sure to continue on Gayle’s blog tour or even play a little catch up if you have missed the previous posts. Here is her schedule.

Gayle C. Krause – The Storyteller’s Scroll
Introduction to RATGIRL: Song of the Viper
Laura Weller – Hey Writers, It pays off! 
Author interview
Sandy Green – The Sandy Side of Life
Guest post about sustainable foods found in RATGIRL: Song of the Viper
Recipe included
Mary Ann Scott – Haunting the Broken Tree
Character Interviews
Elliah Terry – The Itsy Bitsy Writer
Author Interview
Gayle C. Krause – The Storykeeper’s Scroll
Valentine’s Day with the characters from RATGIRL: Song of the Viper
Kim Sabatini – YA author blog
Guest post by author with writing tips
Kip Rechea – Write Travel Eat Repeat
Author interview
Penny Klosterman – ~a penny and her jots~
Two Truths and a Lie – Author Guest Post
Carrie Finison – Storypatch
Author Interview – The Jump from Picture Books to YA
Author Guest post with Writing Tips
Roxanne Werner – Words from Werner’s Woods
The Retelling of Fairy Tales
Suzi Ryan –  A Tale of Two Suzies
Book Review
TBA (somewhere between 2/5 and 3/5) 
Alison Ashley Formento –  Splashing About New Books
Author Interview

Perfect Picture Book Friday-Princess In Training

Princess in TrainingPrincess in Training

Written by Tammi Sauer

Illustrated by Joe Berger

Harcourt Children’s Books 2012

Ages 4-8

Themes: Princesses, Be Yourself/Individuality

Synopsis: (from Goodreads) Princess Viola is great at skateboarding and karate-chopping, but she’s lousy at the royal wave, walk, and waltz. The king and queen are not pleased. What’s a princess to do? Attend the skill-polishing Camp Princess, of course. In the end, it’s a good thing Viola is made of tougher stuff. Who else will save the day when the green dragon comes along?

Opening: Viola Louise Hassenfeffer was not an ordinary princess. She spent her time karate-chopping-HI-YAH!, diving into the moat-SPLASH!, and skateboarding up and down the drawbridge-ZIP! SUP! ZOOM! The kingdom was beside itself. “You’re supposed to be prim,” said the king. “You’re supposed to be proper,” said the queen. Princess Viola stared at her tiara. She was supposed to royally fit in. She wanted to! But how would she ever get this princess thing right?

Resources: Although I didn’t find resources on the Internet, I came up with a few.
1. As a writing activity, children could describe three things they would like to teach the other attendees if they were attending Princess Camp/Prince Camp.
2. As a second writing activity, have each student come up with their own idea for a camp, and, then, write a letter enticing others to attend. Use Madame Gertrude’s letter as a model.
3. Using Joe Berger’s cartoon-type illustrations as a example, have children make a drawing of themselves involved in a favorite hobby. Talk about onomatopoeia so that children can add some fun text to their drawing.

Why I Like This Book: Viola Louise Hassenfeffer!! Do I need to give you another reason?? Doesn’t that name just invite you to skateboard right to your library…karate-chop anyone who tries to grab the book before you…and, then, hurry home to dive right into the story??? Seriously, I fell in love with the feisty Viola and rooted for her throughout the story. The pacing is excellent and kept me turning pages. Berger’s cartoon style artwork is a perfect match for Viola’s personality.

Susanna Leonard Hill features Perfect Picture Book Friday on her blog. This is a wonderful resource if you are wondering what books to give as gifts, needing material for a lesson, or just looking for a great book to read. Here is a list of books by category. Each book listed has a link to a review, information about that book, and resources for activities. There is also an alphabetical list.

Perfect Picture Book Friday-Nightsong



Written by Ari Berk

Illustrated by Loren Long

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers 2012

Ages 4-8

Themes: Animals, Bats, Adventure

Synopsis: (from Simon and Schuster) A breathtaking picture book illustrated by mega-bestseller Loren Long, about a young bat setting off into the world using only his good sense!
Sense is the song you sing out into the world,
and the song the world sings back to you.
With these words, Chiro’s mother sends him off into the night for the first time alone. It’s an adventure, but how will he find his way? And how will he find his way home? As the young bat discovers, navigating the world around him is easy as long as he uses his good sense.

Opening: The sun had set, and the shadows clinging to the walls of the cave began to wake and whisper. “Chiro? Little Wing?” the bat-mother said to her child. “Tonight you must fly out into the world, and I will wait here for you.”

ResourcesHERE is the link to the fun music video on echolocation that I decided was so cute that it had to be included in my review. I can just see a classroom of first graders jamming to the beat!

Kidzone has a nice list of activities HERE. Their activities include printable, online activities, and worksheets. You will find a bat mask HERE. Bats4Kids, found HERE, has a slue of information, activities, and even an echolocation game. HERE is a link to National Geographic’s Creature Feature on the vampire bat.

Why I Like This Book: I was mesmerized by the text and illustrations from cover to cover. The well chosen language in the text connected me to Chiro as he took his night flight. The illustrations gave me a bats-eye view, seeing only what Chiro was seeing by singing and using his “good sense.” The combination told a story that will children will want to hear over and over again.

Susanna Leonard Hill features Perfect Picture Book Friday on her blog. This is a wonderful resource if you are wondering what books to give as gifts, needing material for a lesson, or just looking for a great book to read. Here is a list of books by category. Each book listed has a link to a review, information about that book, and resources for activities. There is also an alphabetical list.