A Great Nephew and a Great Aunt, Guests-Trains + Bots with Miranda Paul and son, Amani + friend-bots Tiffany and Aria

Ants may rule the hill, but they don’t rule here! Art by Landon (Click to Enlarge)

Ants may rule the hill, but they don’t rule here! Art by Landon (Click to Enlarge)

Hello, Great Readers of our series! Just In case you haven’t visited before, let me tell you a little about A Great Nephew and A Great Aunt. My great nephew, Landon (a sixth-grader) and I (his great aunt) collaborate. I write a poem which he illustrates. We started this collaboration in the fall of 2014 and have had so much fun with it that we decided to invite others along. Landon and I will continue to have a new episode on the second Friday of each month. The other Fridays are filling up quickly with guests.

I have created a page on my website to view all the episodes of A Great Nephew and a Great Aunt. Click HERE to visit the page and enjoy past episodes.

Before today’s episode, I wanted to announce that I am taking a blogging break this summer. But the collaborations on A Great Nephew and a Great Aunt will return after the break. If you’ve missed episodes or want to revisit some of them over the summer, remember all episodes are gathered HERE.

Now that that’s out of the way, enjoy today’s creative collaboration . . .

Trains + Bots with Miranda Paul and son, Amani + friend-bots Tiffany and Aria

From Miranda: A few years ago, I set off to write a train story—for my son, Amani, whose favorite book at the time was FREIGHT TRAIN by Donald Crews. I first came up with a poem about a mouse and a special delivery. But the poem was long, and quiet, and didn’t quite have enough action to be published as a picture book. So I asked my son what else I should write about. He said, “Robots!”

With that, I was on track to write a new poem called Trainbots. I had so much fun challenging myself to follow a chugga-chugga rhythm throughout, as well as write my lines in “robot speech” (I used many sentence fragments).

Here’s an excerpt of Trainbots that my son and his friend Aria used as inspiration for their recent art and craft project.

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With the help of my extremely talented friend Tiffany Hoffman, my son and Tiffany’s daughter Aria made art of the most scrumptious kind – FOODBOTS!

First, the kids let us grown-ups help with the cutting and prepping of the food. We used cheese and/or fruits, such as kiwi, apple, and cantaloupe for the body and head.IMG_3164

Other items such as veggie straws, fruit leather, candies, crackers, peppers, and carrots became the accessories for the bots.IMG_3191

Amani and Aria made sweet and savory varieties, and took artistic license when filling in the details with lots of colorful shapes. IMG_3169

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What talented creators! In the end, their foodbots looked—and tasted—delicious.IMG_3211

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We loved their art so much, Tiffany and I will be making a step-by-step activity guide to the Trainbots Food Art in the coming weeks, so watch for it at MirandaPaul.com.

And, I’m excited to say that the full poem/story, Trainbots, will be released as a picture book on June 7, 2016! It has been illustrated vibrantly by Shane McG, and is published by little bee books.

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If you’re in Wisconsin, please join us for the Trainbots launch party on June 14, 2016 at the Kress Library in De Pere, WI where we will have the fixings to make Foodbots as well.

Thank you, Penny, for having all of us on your wonderful blog. This was a fun collaboration that I’ll remember for a long time to come. Tiffany, Aria, Amani and I had a blast! I’m pretty sure we’ll be friend-bots for a long time to come.IMG_3219_1

And my thanks to Miranda, Amani, Tiffany, and Aria for this delicious collaboration.


Miranda Paul is an award-winning children’s author who has worked as a freelance writer, teacher, volunteer zookeeper, and more. She began writing in elementary school, thanks to her wonderful teachers. She also enjoys science, trivia, and board games. Most of Miranda’s heroes are ordinary people who do extraordinary things—including her own kidbots who invent all kinds of gadgets with their super-handy dad. When she’s not traveling, you can find Miranda chugging around in Green Bay, Wisconsin, or online at mirandapaul.com.


Jone at Check it Out has the Poetry Friday Roundup today. today. If you’d like to know more about Poetry Friday, click HERE for an explanation by Renee LaTulippe.poetry friday button

35 thoughts on “A Great Nephew and a Great Aunt, Guests-Trains + Bots with Miranda Paul and son, Amani + friend-bots Tiffany and Aria

  1. Love those food bots and the excerpt–what great chugga-rhythm!

    I know a few kids who are going to LOVE this book!! Congrats on another winning title, Miranda!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is all such fun.
    I especially luv the thought in the last line rhyme of this excerpt of the
    exiting new picture book. Full speed ahead for launch & more!

    And appreciations to Penny-bot + Miranda-bot,
    true friend-bots to the Poetry Friday train crew-bots.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love the active rhyming in the book and the illustrations are a perfect match for the words. The series of food bots pictures are adorable. What a great activity for the children. Good luck with your book launch on June 14!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wonderful post, all! My son also loved FREIGHT TRAIN when he was small. The book looks adorable, but I especially enjoyed the food art. What a creative idea to make food bots!

    Liked by 1 person

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