If It’s Snowy and You Know It, Clap Your Paws!-Perfect Picture Book Friday

I know we are all tired of this incredibly severe winter, but since lots of people are getting lots of snow . . . why not have a little fun with it? Ready?

If it's snowy

If It’s Snowy and You Know It, Clap Your Paws!

Written by Kim Norman

Illustrated by Liza Woodruff

Sterling Children’s Books 2013

Ages 3-7

Themes: Seasons-Winter-Snow, Language Fun

Synopsis: (from publisher’s website) This humorous variation on the classic song “If You’re Happy and You Know It” introduces a group of adorable animals playing joyfully in the snow. They tumble on the tundra, catch snowflakes on their tongues, sculpt snowcritters, and make a frosty fort. But can they go with the flow when their wild adventure drifts in a surprising direction? Young readers will laugh and sing along!

If it’s snowy and you know it, clap your paws.
You can tumble on the tundra, just because.
If it snowy and you know it,
roll a snowball up and throw it.
If it’s snowy and you know it  . . .
. . . clap your paws!

♫♪♫♪♫♪♫♪♫ I hear you all singing! ♫♪♫♪♫♪♫♪♫

You’re going to buy the book?
And you’re going to the library to check it out?
Well could you read the rest of the review before you head out?
Ahhh! You’re back in your chair. Thanks!


  • Definitely sing this book to the tune of If You’re Happy and You Know It, Clap Your Hands. In fact, I dare you to read this book and not be singing the song for the rest of the weekend! (I couldn’t help myself!)
  • Pick another season and have kids pick animals and brainstorm activities those animals could be doing for that season. Create a stanza or two of the song.
  • For those who are feeling especially industrious, I found the link to this Multi-Colored Igloo on the If It’s Snowy and You Know It, Clap Your Paws Facebook Page. I realize building the life-size igloo would probably be too much, but building a small version would be a fun winter project for kids at home in a snowy backyard.
  • Have kids come up with hand motions for each stanza in the book. Sing through with hand motions.

Why I Like This Book: The same reason why y’all were jumping up to go get the book! The rhyme is sublime! It is playful and fun and begs to be read aloud or sung. I was singing and smiling with every page turn. The illustrations complement the text perfectly and add humor. This one is a keeper for reading to your kids at home and for sharing in the classroom. Hat’s, mittens, and earmuffs off to Kim Norman and Liza Woodruff!

To find more perfect picture books, head on over to Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog and check out all the fantastic selections! Each book is reviewed by a picture book -lovin’ reviewer, AND includes activities to go along with the book. You will find a handy list right HERE.

What Floats in a Moat?-Perfect Picture Book Friday

This book is perfect mix of science and slapstick! The title caught me right off and the story did not disappoint. In fact, it delighted!

What floats in a moat

What Floats in a Moat?

Written by Lynne Berry

Illustrated by Matthew Cordell

Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers 2013

Age range: 5 – 8 Years

Themes: Science, Determination

Synopsis: Archie the Goat and Skinny the Hen have a delivery for the castle. But when they come to a moat, Archie is stumped. Skinny suggests the drawbridge, but Archie suggests Science! With fun text and illustrations, Archie and Skinny reenact the Archimedes Principal in order to successfully cross the moat.

OpeningArchie the Goat stopped short at a moat. He measured and mapped. He doodled and drew. He sketched and scribbled and scrawled.
“Aha! To cross the moat,” pronounced the goat, “we build a contraption to float!”
“Or,” said Skinny the Hen, “we could just take the drawbridge.”
“Bah,” said Archie,” drawbridge, straw-bridge.”
“This is no time for a drawbridge. This is a time for science!”
“Right!” said the hen. “Science!”

(Want a little more? Click on the cover above to see a few pages.)

An author’s note at the back of the book explains Archimedes’ Principle.
At the How Stuff Works website, I found a helpful page HERE on How Sailboats Float. There is an interactive activity on buoyancy.
Click HERE for some experiments and HERE for more.

Why I Like This Book: This book is full of humor and fun word play. There are sprinkles of rhyme throughout that added personality. Goat, moat, float…see? Fun! I feel like Berry nailed the characters. Archie, ever the science buff, simply ignores the obvious drawbridge and Skinny, the skeptical side-kick, goes along with Archie’s antics. Even though it’s silliness to ignore the easy solution, the characters were believable and endearing. I, also, like the fact that this can be easily used in the classroom for spicing up a science lesson. Of course, it’s no surprise that Cordell’s illustrations add that “extra special” to the text. He never disappoints in my opinion.

To find more perfect picture books, head on over to Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog and check out all the fantastic selections! Each book is reviewed by a picture book -lovin’ reviewer, AND includes activities to go along with the book. You will find a handy list right HERE.

Double Your Fun With a Double Dactyl and a Giveaway

On this Poetry Friday, I have a double dactyl and some information about an online course that you won’t want to miss.

poetry friday button

For those of you who know and love Renée LaTulippe and No Water River (her amazingly amazing website), you’ll be thrilled to hear that she will be offering an online writing course starting April 1, 2014! For those of you who don’t know Renée, you must get to know her. And you must visit No Water River which is truly an amazingly amazing website and a gift to children’s literature. No Water River has much to offer. I have a few links on my Poetry Resource page to get you started. You will quickly recognize Renée’s talent and love for writing.

Renée’s course, THE LYRICAL LANGUAGE LAB: Punching Up Prose with Poetry is designed for

  • Rhyming PB writers who would like a stronger foundation in the mechanics of poetry
  • Prose PB writers who would like to punch up the lyricism of their writing through poetic techniques
  • Writers who would like to learn more about writing poetry for children

For more information, click HERE.

To celebrate the launch of her course, Renée is giving away one admission to THE LYRICAL LANGUAGE LAB: Punching Up Prose with Poetry to be redeemed in the month of the winner’s choosing. Just leave a comment on her blog post HERE letting her know you’d like to be entered. You can enter for yourself or give the course to someone else if you win. Names will be entered into random.org and the winner announced on February 21.

Renée asked me to be a part of the beta class for THE LYRICAL LANGUAGE LAB: Punching Up Prose with Poetry. I was thrilled when she asked and even more thrilled as I worked through the lessons. I’ve written poetry since I was a child but I have never studied poetry. I would find myself feeling unsure and shying away from trying new things. By working through Renée’s lessons I gained new knowledge and new confidence. The double dactyl is one form I had been avoiding for a while. I mean a six letter word with all those back-to-back consonants is scary enough. But learning about dactyls and then doubling it…Whoa, Nelly! I have to admit the lesson on dactyls was the most challenging for me. I think because I didn’t understand a lot of the terms in the rules for constructing double dactyl:

There are two stanzas of four lines each.

  • All lines except Lines 4 and 8 are two dactylic metrical feet in length.
  • Line 1 is a rhyming dactylic nonsense phrase such as Higgledy piggledy.
  • Line 2 usually introduces the topic of the poem, either a person or place. Note that the topic needs to be a dactyl, like the name Hans Christian Anderson.
  • Line 6 should be a six-syllable, double-dactyl word.
  • Lines 4 and 8 consist of one dactyl plus a stressed syllable.
  • Lines 4 and 8 rhyme. None of the other lines need to rhyme.

But after Renée’s lesson, I finally knuckled down and wrote my first double dactyl. 

Purramew Kittynips

Purramew Kittynips,
Lickity Milkylips,
Kneaded her paws as she
Prowled through the house

Hot on a rodent’s trail,
Ended the happy tail—
Snoozed on a rug with a
Belly of mouse.

Looky there, Renée’s bite-size lessons were just what I needed to lessen my stress about stresses and to dip my metrical foot 😉 into the world of double dactyls.

You can see that I’m excited about writing a double dactyl. But since I write write picture books for the most part, in rhyme and in prose, I’m even more excited about what this course will bring to the language in my manuscripts. So make sure you head over to No Water River to read all about THE LYRICAL LANGUAGE LAB: Punching Up Prose and enter the GIVEAWAY. While you’re there, visit the other Poetry Friday links. It’s a wonderful way to spend your Friday.

Punxsutawney Phyllis and her Pre-Groundhog Day Celebratory Square Dance

Phyllis is bustin’ moves down in her burrow. She is so excited about tomorrow that she decided to have a Pre-Groundhog Day Celebratory Square Dance! Tomorrow she will either swing into Spring or do a do-si-do-ing dive back to the depths of her burrow to bundle up for more of this bitter cold winter. She couldn’t have this celebration without Susanna being a part of it. Don’t even ask how Susanna managed to squeeze through the burrow to join Phyllis and her friends. We all know Susanna has magical skills and I am chalking it up to that.

What’s more, Phyllis invited us to have a peek via Burrow-Cam.

And here is Phyllis sporting her square dance getup. Yes, her hair is big! But what Phyllis wants Phyllis gets and this is one time she wanted to be a little extravagant with her rat-tail comb and maximum hold hairspray. Don’t panic. She will be back in her precious overalls with her toboggan hat for tomorrow’s weather revelation. The hat should more than accommodate the aftermath of her big-hair.

phyllis sq dance

Not only did Phyllis celebrate with a Pre-Groundhog Day Square Dance, she has been all over the Internet as many bloggers have participated in Phyllis’s Fun Fashion Show! Susanna Leonard Hill is hosting this extravaganza and you just have to visit her blog and check out the links to see all of Phyllis’s fashions. By the time you’ve finished you will wonder why everyone asks, “How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?” The real question should be, “How many garments could a groundhog gather if a groundhog gathered garments?” OK! Maybe that isn’t as catchy! Ignore my lame joke and head over HERE to check out the fun.