A Great Nephew and a Great Aunt Guests: Patricia Toht and a Class of First Graders + Giveaway!

poetry friday buttonThanks to Jane at Raincity Librarian for hosting the Poetry Friday Roundup today. If you’d like to know more about Poetry Friday, click HERE for an explanation by Renee LaTulippe.

Ants may rule the hill, but they don’t rule here! Art by Landon

Ants may rule the hill, but they don’t rule here! Art by Landon

Hello Friends! 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 (now an eighth-grader) and I (his great aunt) collaborate. I write a poem which he illustrates. We started this collaboration in the fall of 2014 and had so much fun with it that we decided to invite others along. Landon and I will continue to have a new episode on one Friday of each month. The other Fridays are filling up quickly with guests sharing poetry and art in beautiful collaborations. 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.

**GIVEAWAY! Before you view today’s collaboration I wanted to let you know that Patricia has generously offered a signed copy of Pick a PIne Tree. Today’s collaboration is based on an excerpt from this beautiful book and I have a feeling you’re going to want get your hands on it! I already have my hands on a copy and I’m in love with it! Hug! Hug!
**All you have to do is leave a comment below by December 1st at midnight CST. A winner will be randomly selected. Those who enter must have a US address.

About the Story: Part of the magic of the Christmas season stems from the traditions that families and friends take part in every year: hanging up stockings; putting lights in the windows; and, one of the most important of all, picking out and taking home the Christmas tree. With style and warmth, debut author Patricia Toht and Jarvis, the author-illustrator of Alan’s Big, Scary Teeth, evoke all the rituals of decorating the tree — digging out boxes jam-packed with ornaments and tree trimmings, stringing tinsel, and, at long last, turning on those twinkling lights. Joyously drawn and rhythmically written, this celebration of family, friends, and the holiday season is as merry as the tradition it depicts.


Look What Reviewers Have to Say! (Notice the starred review from Kirkus 😀 )

“Pick this delightful story for a Christmas storytime, for library collections, or for family reading around the Christmas tree.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Holiday spirit crackles in Toht’s warm, step-by-step recounting of how humble stately pines transform into shimmering Christmas trees.”
Publishers Weekly

And now it’s my pleasure to share a creative collaboration from . . .

Patricia Toht and a First Grade Class

From Patricia: When Penny invited me to do a post for “A Great Nephew and a Great Aunt,” I hoped to be able to nab some young relatives to collaborate with me. But our family is spread around the country, and we wouldn’t be gathering together until after the holidays.

Then came an invitation from the American Writers Museum in Chicago to host a story time featuring my new book, Pick a PIne Tree. How exciting! I asked Penny if students might work instead of relatives, and she agreed.

Ms. Jackson’s class from Ogden International School arrived in high spirits. Pick a PIne Tree tells the story of a family turning a pine tree into a Christmas tree, so we brainstormed about decorations. The kids had loads of ideas for ornaments, and I told them about my original text:

“My editor in England didn’t like one of the ornaments,” I said. “Which one do you think it was?”
The students made their guesses before I revealed the answer: the cookie boy.
“What?” they said. “Why?”
“She wanted me to use gingerbread man,” I said.
But gingerbread man had too many beats and ruined the rhyme, I explained. I sent a note back to the editor.
“The readers will see in the illustrations that cookie boy is a gingerbread man,” I insisted.
“No cookie boy,” the answer remained.
I was grumpy about it until it finally dawned on me what the crux of the problem was – Brits don’t use the word cookie; they say biscuit!
“How about biscuit boy?” I suggested.

I then read this passage from the finished book:

“What’s missing?” I asked.
“The cookie boy!” the kids called out.
In the end, I explained that I left out gingerbread man/cookie boy completely, and the book is really no worse for it!

Following story time, the students made their own Christmas trees. They used markers to decorate foam cutouts and tied on a gold ribbon for hanging. Little bags of jewels went home with them to apply later (so they wouldn’t fall off in transit).

The trees were super cute. And, in the end, it tickled me pink that nearly every student included a cookie boy on their tree!

The Students’ Artwork Inspired by Patricia’s Book

Many thanks for Patricia and the students for this heartwarming collaboration!


 

Meet Patricia: Patricia Toht once owned a children’s bookshop called Never Never Land before turning a love of books into a love of writing. She is the author of All Aboard the London Bus and Pick a Pine Tree, as well as numerous poems in children’s magazines. She lives with her family outside of Chicago and very soon will be setting out with them to find the perfect Christmas tree.

A Great Nephew and a Great Aunt: Landon and Penny

poetry friday buttonThanks to Jama at Jama’s Alphabet Soup for hosting the Poetry Friday Roundup today. If you’d like to know more about Poetry Friday, click HERE for an explanation by Renee LaTulippe.

Ants may rule the hill, but they don’t rule here! Art by Landon

Hello Friends! 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 (now an eighth-grader) and I (his great aunt) collaborate. I write a poem which he illustrates. We started this collaboration in the fall of 2014 and had so much fun with it that we decided to invite others along. Landon and I will continue to have a new episode on one Friday of each month. The other Fridays are filling up quickly with guests sharing poetry and art in beautiful collaborations. 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.

One fun thing that Landon has done in almost all of his drawings is to include a hidden object. It’s the same object every time, so many of you know exactly what to look for. But that doesn’t always make it easy. If you don’t know what Landon’s “special” object is and can seem to find a hidden object at all, you can take a look HERE for hints.

And now for today’s collaboration.

Penny’s Poemtext on backgroundLandon’s Art

text on background landon's art

Art by Landon

I’m always delighted and surprised when I see the creative ways that Landon interprets the words in my poem. I love that he has little dino reading, while parent dino is sound asleep! By the way, little dino is reading a certain book that’s pretty close to my heart . . .  it’s about a dragon 😀 Once again, Landon adds something special!

Thanks so much for joining us today. I appreciate all of you who read this series. See you next week when I’ll have guest collaborators.

A Great Nephew and a Great Aunt Guests: Susanna Leonard Hill and Her Granddaughter, Annabelle

poetry friday buttonThanks to Linda at TeacherDance for hosting the Poetry Friday Roundup today. If you’d like to know more about Poetry Friday, click HERE for an explanation by Renee LaTulippe.

Ants may rule the hill, but they don’t rule here! Art by Landon

Ants may rule the hill, but they don’t rule here! Art by Landon

Hello Friends! 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 (now an eighth-grader) and I (his great aunt) collaborate. I write a poem which he illustrates. We started this collaboration in the fall of 2014 and had so much fun with it that we decided to invite others along. Landon and I will continue to have a new episode on one Friday of each month. The other Fridays are filling up quickly with guests sharing poetry and art in beautiful collaborations. 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.

Today it’s my pleasure to share a creative collaboration from . . .

Susanna Leonard Hill and Her Granddaughter, Annabelle

Here’s a bit from Susanna to tell us how the collaboration came about:

Me: Hey, Annabelle!  Want to draw a picture and I’ll write a poem to go with it?

Annabelle: Let’s play princess and wear our tiaras and have a tea party.  You can use that picture if you want to (points carelessly at the artistic subject of this post whilst dragging me off to her castle.)

(So obviously, Annabelle’s art was inspirational enough for Susanna to come up with the perfect poem. But what I’m wondering is if Susanna wrote the poem while in the castle, while wearing a tiara, while sipping tea?)

Annabelle’s Inspirational Art

And the Poem it Inspired

A photo of the collaborators enjoying some time together.

Many thanks to Annabelle and Susanna for sharing their bewitching talents with us today 😀


Meet Annabelle: Annabelle is 6 and in first grade. She is a talented artist, cheerleader, and assistant cauldron-stirrer, but her activity of choice is being a princess. She does not currently entertain visitors online.

Meet Susanna: Susanna Leonard Hill is the award-winning author of more than a dozen books for children including the newly released WHEN YOUR LION NEEDS A BATH (the Parents Magazine #1 Board Book for 2017), WHEN YOUR ELEPHANT HAS THE SNIFFLES and THE ROAD THAT TRUCKS BUILT. Her first book, which she wrote in 2nd Grade, was called The Girl And The Witch.  Coincidence??? Quite prescient given the subject of today’s collaboration with her granddaughter! Susanna has no actual experience flying (or surfing) a broomstick, but she can can cook up gunk in a cauldron with the best of them. Feel free to come visit her at www.susannahill.com or like her author page on FB https://www.facebook.com/SusannaLeonardHill She’s also on twitter and instagram if you prefer to hang out there.