I THOUGHT THIS WAS A BEAR BOOK by Tara Lazar AND a giveaway!

I’m so excited to be sharing a book birthday with agency-mate, Tara Lazar. Her latest book, I THOUGHT THIS WAS A BEAR BOOK, is out in the world today, too. I’m here with Tara hoping to ask her a few questions but we keep getting interrupted by Prince Zilch and Dragon.

Let’s see what they’re talking about.

Dragon and Prince Zilch

Adorable Graphic by Tara Lazar

Dragon: It’s a good thing you didn’t crash land in my book!

Prince Zilch: Correct, fiery creature. Your unusual land already has a Prince! But I do not see him. Did you swallow him, too?

Dragon: That is only known by the deep depths of my belly. Perhaps you’d like to have a look-see? 

Prince Zilch: No, zank you. But why don’t you ask this yellow-haired, nosy human I know.

Dragon: You know a yellow-haired nosy human? How did you meet said yellow-haired nosy human?

Prince Zilch: She was annoying hairy, brown creatures. Who were annoying me. Did the knight annoy you? Is that why you ate him?

Dragon: I ate the knight because I love a “good” knight. It was the steed that was annoying. I had no choice but to swallow him right down! Would you like me to take care of the hairy, brown creatures? They sound like a “just right” snack.

Prince Zilch: Zep. They are stuffed with blueberry filling.

Well, it seems as if Prince Zilch and Dragon have struck up quite a friendship. I think they could talk all day. So why don’t we leave them to it and get back to the questions I wanted to ask Tara. Oh! I do want you to take special notice of the cute graphic Tara made for the Prince Zilch/Dragon conversation. Adorable!
bear book
Penny: Being that you are the genius behind PiBoIdMo I found you online very quickly when I started writing picture books. But, I don’t think I’ve ever heard what brought you to writing picture books. Can you share that?

Tara: What brought me to writing PBs is that I have always naturally written short. Short stories in college, flash fiction as an adult, and since I always wanted to write for kids (ever since I was one), now picture books!

I have begun and abandoned MG novels because writing more than 1000 words just gets me lost in the wilderness! I can’t keep track of things. (This is the same at home. I am so disorganized, I lose the laundry.)

Penny: I love the idea of a character landing in the wrong book after an unfortunate bookshelf collapse. Did you have a hard time deciding in which book the alien would land? Was there a runner up?

Tara: The alien was always in my mind as the “character who didn’t  belong.” I arrived at the bears by thinking about the complete opposite of a small, green, slimy alien. I decided a large, brown, furry bear was the best prospect. So the book wasn’t originally about the Three Bears, but just BEARS. But as I continued to write it, I kept finding myself writing jokes about Goldilocks and finally figured out what was going on! LOLonce upon

not planet zeroPenny: Benji Davies illustrations are amazing. How excited were when you found out he’d be illustrating your book?

Tara: Honestly, I didn’t really know Benji’s work when he was selected, which was 4 years ago! But I looked at his online portfolio and his books (like BIZZY BEAR! Hello!!!)  and knew that he’d be perfect. Of course, he blew me away!

bear tushThis page alone totally sold me on Tara’s book!

Penny: I know that this isn’t the only book you have coming out this fall. Plus PiBoIdMo is right around the corner. I can’t imagine how busy you must be. Can you give us a glimpse of how you keep all these balls up in the air? Any words of advice? An organizational tip?

Tara: I have no organizational advice because, contrary to popular belief, I am not a naturally organized person. I’m so TYPE B that I’m really TYPE C. I’m very laid back and I tend to try to keep everything straight in my own head. Only recently have I begun to use a daily calendar. (I hate it. LOL). I just know what has to get done and I do it. It’s just the way I operate. If I had to get more organized than I am, I wouldn’t survive! I like flying by the seat of my pants. Being too regimented about anything strips away my creative mojo.

Well I say stay disorganized then, Tara, because I love your books and I don’t want you doing anything that strips away your creative mojo!

I hope you have the happiest of book birthdays!!

Thank you so much for creating the adorable graphic, answering my questions, and sharing a signed copy of your book for the giveaway.

For all you readers out there…make sure you leave a comment because some lucky person is going to win a signed copy of I THOUGHT THIS WAS A BEAR BOOK! A winner will be chosen in two weeks.

Tara is well known in the Kidlit community. She has another picture book coming out this fall and several more to follow. If you haven’t met her yet, here’s your chance.tarafall2011picrounded1

Street magic performer. Hog-calling champion. Award-winning ice sculptor. These are all things Tara Lazar has never been. Instead, she writes quirky, humorous picture books featuring magical places that everyone will want to visit. Here are the places you can find Tara.
Website
Twitter
Pinterest
Facebook

 

Power Down, Little Robot-Perfect Picture Book Friday

Info Alert: Robots have a bedtime, too! Yes, they do! And little robots, like little kids, will do their best to avoid it. You must read this book! Adorable!
power down little robotPower Down, Little Robot
Written by by Anna Staniszewski
Illustrated by Tim Zeltner
Henry Holt and Co. 2015
Ages 2-6
Themes: Bedtime, robots

Synopsis: It’s time to power down for the night, but Little Robot isn’t ready! He quickly opens his stalling program. Luckily, Mom Unit knows exactly how to get him into his sleep module.

Opening:
“Bedtime, my little robot!” Mom Unit calls.
I quickly open my stalling program.
“I’m thirsty. Can I have a can of oil?” I ask.
“You’ve already gone over your daily limit,” Mom Unit says. “It’s time to power down for the night.”

Don’t miss the fun book trailer.

Resources: Click HERE for sleepy time tips and a printable door hanger. And I had some ideas of my own to enhance sharing this book with children.
1. Create a matching game by drawing pictures on cards. Another option is to snap photos of the items in the book and photos of your child’s corresponding item. Instead of a matching game, this could easily be a discussion between parent and child.
Can of Oil-Drink of Water
Brush Cogs-Brush Teeth
Read Manual-Read Book
Robot Toy-Stuffed Animal or Blanket
Circuit Hurts-Tummy Ache
Sleep Module-Bed

2. After reading, go through the book again, looking at illustrations and noting how things are similar, but different to our world. Compare food, toys, house, mom, little robot’s, bed, etc.

Why I Like This Book: Let’s face it, bedtime stories have been around forever and are hugely popular. What delights me about Power Down, Little Robot is Anna Staniszewski‘s fresh approach. She takes all the excuses a child makes and translates to “robot”. She does it with a sweet humor that stays with me and brings me back to read and read again. I fell in love with Little Robot  and Mom Unit. I’ll bet you will, too 🙂

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-One is a Feast for Mouse: A Thanksgiving Tale

I am repeating a post today for the first time ever. I posted this back in 2012. It’s one of my favorite books and so I’m going to share it with you again. If you haven’t read it, you must! I learned about this book when Sylvie Frank read it to us 2012 Rocky Mountain SCBWI conference. I loved her reading and have read this book over and over many times since.

One is a Feast for Mouse: A Thanksgiving Tale

Written by Judy Cox

Illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbeler

Holiday House 2008

Ages 4-8

Themes: Holidays, Thanksgiving

Synopsis: (from Kirkus) Mouse creeps out on Thanksgiving Day as the human family enjoys its post-prandial nap. He spots a pea on the uncleared table, and then a cranberry, then an olive, then a carrot stick…Thinking to himself, “One is a feast for me,” he soon amasses one of everything, until a tower of food teeters on its base of one pea. Ebbeler’s full-bleed, double-page spreads make the most of the humor made available by situation and scale—spot the bespectacled mouse dwarfed by his pile as he marches past Pilgrim salt-and-pepper shakers just his size. Greed goeth before a fall, however, in a slapstick climax children will relish.

Opening: After Thanksgiving dinner Mouse crept out of his hidey-hole and looked around. The house was quiet. Dad snoozed in his chair with his book. Mom dozed in front of the TV. Outside, the kids played football in the crisp yellow leaves. Cat curled up by the fire.  He yawned and stretched his stripy tail. Then he closed his greeny eyes and went to sleep. Mouse scampered up the tablecloth. Thanksgiving leftovers were still on the table. So much to eat! Mouse saw a teensy-tiny, toothsome, green pea all by itself under a plate. Give thanks, he thought. One will be a feast for me.

View the adorable book trailer.

ResourcesResources on Holiday House website include activities for Language Arts and for Mathematics. Draw your favorite food activity on pages 24-25 of this activity guide. HERE is a link to some Thanksgiving activities.

Why I Like This Book: As I said, this book is charming. It is a humorous tale, with plenty of action, where readers will recognize Mouse’s temptation to be greedy and, in the end, his thankfulness for the little things. Judy Cox’s uses words that beg to be repeated such as catter-whumpus, toothsome, greeny, and stripy. Although I was too far away to see the illustrations when Sylvie read to us at the conference, I was completely engaged. After picking up a copy at my library, I was even more taken by the text when merged with the artwork. The illustrations by Jeffrey Ebbeler (who, also, illustrated some of our own Susanna Leonard Hill’s books) are from Mouse’s perspective. Your mood will be very Thanksgiving-y after reading this fun story!

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-Way Down Below Deep

Last October, I reviewed On a Windy Night by Nancy Raines Day. Today, I’m reviewing her latest book.

way down below deep

Way Down Below Deep
Written by Nancy Raines Day
Illustrated by David Sheldon
Pelican Publishing Company 2014
Ages: 5-8
Themes: Ocean, Animals, Language Fun

Synopsis: Far below the jeweled surface of the oceans, deeper than the sun’s rays can dive, there are fantastical creatures unlike anything seen on land. Deep currents—cold, black, and full of mystery—are home to secretive fellows such as the anglerfish, which uses light as bait, and vampire squid, whose red eyes peer out from a cloak of spiny tentacles as it “flies” through the water. Down in these depths, whale bones become entire cities where palm worms sway. Abyssal residents come from near and far to visit the pages of this book!

Teeming with information, Nancy Raines Day’s clever rhymes transport readers to the extraordinary world at the bottom of the sea. How big is a giant squid’s eye? What do sea cucumbers eat? Where do bottom dwellers go to get warm? In this aquatic adventure, kids and adults alike will be delighted by what they learn about some of the world’s most unique inhabitants. Accompanied by stunning artwork, the strange depths of Earth’s oceans have never been closer and more inviting.

Opening: Way down below deep, where the sun never goes,
Imagine the creatures that nobody knows.
Though deep sea fills up most of Earth’s total space,
We’re just finding out about life in this place.

Resources: There is a glossary of terms in the back of the book that would bode well for research. Each creature is named with a short definition. Older students could research a creature further. For the very young, I found some adorable cupcakes HERE that children could make. HERE are some Under the Sea activities on the KidsAhead website.

Why I Like This Book: WAY DOWN BELOW DEEP is rhyming nonfiction. The rhyming is fun, of course! Plus, deep sea creatures are so intriguing to me. I know from teaching school for 26 years that kids are intrigued by them, also. WAY DOWN BELOW DEEP gives young kids a quick, informative glance at twelve creatures. Each creature is given a whole spread. Within that spread is an extra fun fact or two. For instance: Tube worms can grow taller than a man in a few years and they smell like rotten eggs! Fun, huh? But that’s all I’m sharing…so unless you own a ROV (remotely operated vehicle) to view way down below deep yourself, you need to grab this book and have a look 🙂

Susanna Leonard Hill, most magnificent host of Perfect Picture Book Friday, has compiled a categorized list of the books that have been reviewed. It’s an incredible resource for parents and teachers. For me as a writer, it has been a way to build my library list each week. To access the list, click HERE.

GHOST IN THE HOUSE-Perfect Picture Book Friday

Use your most ghostly voice to read the following . . .

O-o-o-o-O-o-o-o-O-o-o-o-o-O

O-o-o-o-O-o-o-o-O-o-o-o-o-O

O-o-o-o-O-o-o-o-O-o-o-o-o-O

O-o-o-o-O-o-o-o-O-o-o-o-o-O

o

o

o

o

BOO!

Welcome to Perfect Picture Boo Friday! Actually it’s Perfect Picture Book Friday :-), but I’m trying to set a mood here!

Don’t be scared, but I have a spooky pick for today. And my pick should be in your house. Because it is …….

ghost in the house

GHOST IN THE HOUSE
Written by Ammi-Joan Paquette
Illustrated by Adam Record
Themes: Counting, Rhyme, Language Fun, Holiday
Ages: 3-7

Synopsis: When a little ghost goes slip-sliding down the hallway, he suddenly hears…a groan! Turns out it’s only a friendly mummy, who shuffles along with the ghost, until they encounter…a monster! As the cautious explorers continue, they find a surprise at every turn — and add another adorably ghoulish friend to the count. But you’ll never guess who is the scariest creature in the house!
Boo! Watch out for this rollicking, cumulative counting book for a Halloween treat that’s more playful than scary.

Opening: There’s a ghost in the house,
In the creepy haunted house,
On this dark, spooky night, all alone.
And he goes slip-slide
With a swoop and a glide
Until suddenly he hears . . .
A GROAN!

Resources: I don’t think it will give anything away to tell you about the characters that appear in the story-a ghost, a mummy, a monster, a skeleton, a witch, and a child. I have crafts to go along with each. HERE is the cutest Ghostly Ghoul Wreath made with tissues and a few other items. The wreath is adorable, but you could also make individual ghosts. And click HERE to have a look at these paper towel mummies. HERE are footprint monsters that are too adorable to miss! HERE are Q-tip skeletons. And HERE are handprint witches. Parents could help young children make these at home. The child/children could hold up the characters as they appear in the story and pretend that they are the child in the story. The same thing could be done in the classroom, or the teacher could divide the class into five groups (ghosts, mummies, monsters, skeletons, witches), and each group would make and represent a character in the story.

Why I Like This Book: I love the month of October. Crisp mornings, colorful foliage, cups of pumpkin spice coffee, and of course . . .
Halloween picture books! This is a spooktacular (sorry, couldn’t resist) Halloween picture book! And it’s rhyming! Those of you who drop by often know that I LOVE rhyming picture books and this one is so much fun! The language! Oh the language! I just love, “he goes slip-slide with a swoop and a glide”! Oh.my.ghostness! Isn’t that too cute? Can’t you just see the ghost ghosting along? And the too-cute-to-be-scary illustrations are especially appealing. I rarely think of hugging a ghost or a mummy or a monster or a skeleton or a witch, but I’m telling you, if these little characters were haunting my house, I’d insist on a group hug 🙂 So float on down to the bookstore or to your library and haunt the salesperson or librarian until they bring you GHOST IN THE HOUSE!

Susanna Leonard Hill is the host of Perfect Picture Book Friday. Check out today’s links on her blog. She has compiled a categorized list of the books that have been reviewed on other Fridays. It’s an incredible resource for parents and teachers. For me as a writer, it has been a way to build my library list each week. To access the list, click HERE.

Perfect Picture Book Friday-One Big Pair of Underwear

Can you believe we’re going to talk about underwear today? Especially bears in underwear? Especially two bears in one big pair of underwear? Well, it’s not my fault. It’s Laura Gehl’s fault for writing a book that I just had to share on this Perfect Picture Book Friday.

one big pair of underwwear

One Big Pair of Underwear
Written by Laura Gehl
Illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
Themes: Counting, Sharing, Rhyme, Language Fun
Ages: 3-8

Synopsis: (from Booklist) The word underwear is enough to make kids erupt in giggles. But when two bears contemplate sharing one pair of underwear, youngsters will be rolling in the aisles. Add rhymes, tongue twisters, and alliteration into the mix, and you’ll find spirited entertainment in this picture-book introduction to basic concepts. A joy to read aloud with its well-paced rhythms…Placed on crisp white backgrounds, the digitally colored pencil illustrations are full of charm and humor. With a unique method of introducing subtraction, this wholly engaging title will be requested over and over again.

Opening: ONE big pair of underwear.
TWO brown bears who hate to share.
ONE bear wears the underwear.
ONE bear cries, “This isn’t fair!”

Resources: On her website, Laura has guides for using One Big Pair of Underwear for Language Arts and Math. Click HERE to view her guides.

  • Why I Like This Book: Those of you who read my Perfect Picture Book posts know that I love silly, humorous books. So the fact that this is over-the-top silly is my number one reason for liking this book. But, last night I was rereading it to see if I could pick a few other reasons why I like this book (even though over-the-top silly is good enough for me 🙂 ). I read it out loud, of course, because that is way a picture book should be read. And even though I have read this book many times and I know what’s coming, I couldn’t stop giggling. So here we are back at the over-the-top silly reason, and that’s what I’m going with! That’s why I like this book! And without spoiling anything, I’ll mention a few things that made me giggle besides the underwear.
  • the tongue-twisty Seuss-ish rhyme
  • the yaks
  • the goats
  • “SIX cooks pull books out of nooks.” (divine)
  • the SIX divinely illustrated cooks (no, I’m not telling what the cooks look like)
  • the whining cow
  • the parade

So put on your underwear (and a few other items of clothing) and get to a bookstore or the library! Pronto!

Susanna Leonard Hill is the host of Perfect Picture Book Friday. Check out today’s links on her blog. She has compiled a categorized list of the books that have been reviewed on other Fridays. It’s an incredible resource for parents and teachers. For me as a writer, it has been a way to build my library list each week. To access the list, click HERE.

 

Perfect Picture Book Friday-Tuck-In Time

Perfect Picture Book Friday is back! Very exciting. A big part of the excitement is being able to introduce books that I have read and that I don’t want anyone to miss. So today I want to tell you about an adorable book for naptime/bedtime.

Tuck In Time

Written by Carole Gerber
Illustrated by Tracey Campbell Pearson
Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2014
Ages:1 to 3
Themes: Naptime, Bedtime, Language Fun

Opening:
When I tuck you in,
what do I see?
Two little eyes shining at me.
I see two little ears
that I want you to tweak
and a round little nose.
Can you push it? Beep! Beep!

Brief Synopsis: (from School Library Journal) A stuffed bunny cavorting on the endpapers as well as a puppy, bunny in its mouth, standing guard by a bed in the following scene, usher children into this delightful bedtime ritual.

Resources: Reading the book encourages parent/child interaction as different body parts are introduced in the bedtime ritual. And HERE are some fun bedtime games.

Why I Like This Book: There can never be enough bedtime books and this one is sure to be a favorite. The rhythmic rhyme uses simple language that will have the toddler chiming in with the parent. Didn’t you want to chime in when you read the opening?? The illustrations are a perfect fit. Cozy and delightful! I especially loved the puppy and the bunny being a part of the bedtime ritual. There is no doubt that this is a Perfect Picture Book!

Susanna Leonard Hill, most magnificent host of Perfect Picture Book Friday, has compiled a categorized list of the books that have been reviewed. It’s an incredible resource for parents and teachers. For me as a writer, it has been a way to build my library list each week. To access the list, click HERE.