Cap’n Rex & His Clever Crew: A Piratey Post With Author Henry Herz + GIVEAWAY!

I beg of ye to tell me . . . what be more fun than dinosaur pirates?

Nothing I tell ye! Nothing!

So if ye care to have fun then lend an ear. Henry Herz be having a new tale! CAP’N REX & HIS CLEVER CREW just be released on August 1st!

Ye must sail on down to yer local bookstore or yer library and nab a copy! It be a treasure!

From Kirkus Reviews: The dinosaurs may be extinct but let’s hope dinosaur pirates keep on sailing for arr-ternity.

I be thinkin’ ye have questions about how such a tale came to be. Well jump aboard cuz I be askin’ Henry just that! And he be answerin’.

Me: Ahoy there, Henry. I see ye’ve written a clever tale o’ dinosaurs and pirates. How in the seven seas did ye come up with such an idea?

Henry Herz: I thought it would be fun to do a mashup – a combination of unlikely elements. In fact, my original title was DINOSAUR SPACE PIRATES! But it became clear as I worked on the manuscript that mashing up three ideas was one idea too many. Kids love dinosaurs, and they love pirates. So, they must REALLY love a book featuring dinosaur pirates, right?

I also wanted to do a book with the theme of thinking outside the box. Captain Rex and his dinosaur pirates sail the seven seas in search of buried treasure. But whenever they hit an obstacle—like a giant shark or pea-soup fog—the crew members are quick to say they can’t overcome. To this, Captain Rex always glares with teeth bared and says, “CAN’T YE?” And, somehow, the crew always comes up with a clever solution. Being clever is always preferable to being eaten, I always say.

Me: Well sink me! Ye be a clever buccaneer! Once ye had yer clever idea, how did ye steer yer tale in the right direction? Did ye experience rough seas or were it smooth sailin’ the whole way? (As a fellow buccaneer I be used to rough seas when spinnin’ tales. Sometimes I feels as if my tales may end up in Davy Jones’s Locker!)

Henry Herz: Great question. And it reminds me of the terrific saying: “Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.” That’s certainly true for writing. I checked my computer to see how many versions of the manuscript I wrote. 27. That said, a score of revisions is not that uncommon (for me, at least) for perfecting a picture book. Certainly, my editor at Sterling was a pleasure to work with – no rough seas there.

Me: Blimy! Ye had to be bloody bullheaded to tell yer tale. Seems there be no hornswagglin’ nor dabloon-bribin’ bookmakers into publishin’ yer tale. And since there be no hornswagglin’ do ye have a bit of advice for other mateys who be wantin’ to their tales to be books like yers?

Henry Herz: I’m going to parse from my blog post on this topic at https://henryherz.wordpress.com/2014/11/21/be-an-animal-to-write-a-picture-book/

  • Be a honey badger. Have no fear. Don’t be scared to put words to paper. Don’t flee from constructive criticism. Don’t be afraid of rejection. They all line the path to traditional publication. Honey badger don’t care, and neither should you! Get outside your comfort zone.
  • Be a dung beetle. Be tenacious, even on crappy days. Becoming published isn’t easy. But it won’t happen if you stop trying. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a one step. Revise, revise, revise. But remember that perfect can be the enemy of good enough. At some point, you need to submit!
  • Be an armadillo. You need to be thick-skinned and learn to roll with the punches. Understand that a publisher’s or agent’s rejection isn’t personal, but it is highly subjective. Many great works of literature were rejected repeatedly before being published, so you’re in good company.
  • Be an ant. No man is an island, and no ant is a bridge. Teamwork is your best friend. Take advantage of critique groups to hone your craft. Join the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators to develop a support network. Leverage social media to connect with fellow writers. You’re not alone.
  • Be a hagfish. Be flexible enough to incorporate helpful feedback. But feel free to ignore feedback that doesn’t resonate with your gut. Follow the rules, but recognize that they can be broken when the result is a success. Drew Daywalt’s The Day the Crayons Quit is a picture book with over 1,000 words and inanimate characters. But it’s also a New York Times bestseller.

Me: Ye not only be clever . . . ye also be wise. Speaking of clever and wise I be thinking ye must have other tales that be sailin’ into bookstores in the future? Will ye share a bit if ye have such tales?

Henry Herz: Well, there are three picture books my agent is shopping around right now:

TOP OF THE HEAP – Barnyard animals debate who is the best animal on the farm. Each makes their claim, even Dung Beetle. In response to the others’ laughter, Dung Beetle takes a vacation. Eventually, they all recognize even tiny Dung Beetle’s important contribution. That’s how he rolls.

NEVER FEED A YETI SPAGHETTI – Two young goblin siblings throw their mom a monstrous birthday party. Despite their best efforts, things go further and further awry, thanks to the yetis. One should never feed them spaghetti.

ALLEN & ALIEN – Like many boys, Allen doesn’t like to eat his veggies, pick up his toys, or take baths. But he loves playing with his alien toys. When an indefatigably inquisitive alien drops in to study humans, the alien’s enthusiasm (even for the mundane) is infectious. Allen learns an important lesson about appreciating one’s blessings, while his parents are pleasantly surprised at their son’s new alien behavior.

And these three books are scheduled to be published next year:

HOW THE SQUID GOT TWO LONG ARMS (Pelican Publishing) – Ever wonder why two of a squid’s ten arms are longer than the others? A selfish squid is cold, so he swipes other animals’ clothing. Will he learn it’s wrong to steal in the end? This modern fable demonstrates you reap what you sow. It’s Kipling’s HOW THE RHINOCEROS GOT HIS SKIN meets Klassen’s THIS IS NOT MY HAT.

GOOD EGG & BAD APPLE (Schiffer Publishing) – Not all the foods in the refrigerator get along like peas in a pod. Bad Apple and Second Banana are at the root of the problem. The vegetables are steamed. Good Egg suggests his friends try different responses to the bullies, but his tactics don’t bear fruit, at first. Only by using his noodle does Good Egg save their bacon.

ALICE’S MAGIC GARDEN (Familius) – Alice lives in the dreariest boarding school in England. She pours her love and attention into caring for her little garden and its denizens. Unknown to her, these include a large caterpillar, gryphon, and a talking white rabbit. When Alice is in trouble, the magical creatures come to her aid. Love, it turns out, is magical. GARDEN FAE is A SICK DAY FOR AMOS MCGEE meets ALICE IN WONDERLAND.

Me: Well shiver me timbers! That be a slew of tales ye be sharing with the world!

For more about Henry‘s books and blog interviews, see www.henryherz.com.

GIVEAWAY!!!

Ahoy! There be treasure! Ye won’t need a treasure map. But ye must walk the plank and outsmart the sharks to win! Har! That be a pirate joke. All ye really have to do is leave yer comment below. Leave yer comment no later than midnight (CDT) Tuesday, October 3, 2017. A winner be randomly chosen. ***You must be in the United States to win.

Details: Enter for a free chance to win an original signed painting by Benjamin Schipper, illustrator of the picture book, CAP’N REX & HIS CLEVER CREW, by Sterling Publishing. The painting of Kyle the Ankylosaurus pirate is roughly 8.5″ square, and was created with Holbien Acryla gouache and Prismacolor pencils on Arches Cold-pressed illustration board. It’s suitable for framing and mounting in any dinosaur pirate-loving kid’s room.

Incredible Prize

Thanks to Henry for sharing with us today and huge congratulations on CAP’N REX & HIS CLEVER CREW!


Meet Henry: Henry Herz writes fantasy and science fiction for children. He and his sons wrote MONSTER GOOSE NURSERY RHYMES (Pelican, 2015), WHEN YOU GIVE AN IMP A PENNY (Pelican, 2016), MABEL AND THE QUEEN OF DREAMS (Schiffer, 2016), LITTLE RED CUTTLEFISH (Pelican, 2016), CAP’N REX & HIS CLEVER CREW (Sterling, 2017), GOOD EGG & BAD APPLE (Schiffer, 2018), HOW THE SQUID GOT TWO LONG ARMS (Pelican, 2018), and ALICE’S MAGIC GARDEN (Familius, 2018).

Happy Book Birthday to Matt Forrest Esenwine and Flashlight Night!

Happy Book Birthday, Matt!

Congratulations on your debut picture book, Flashlight Night

I read hundreds of picture books every year and Flashlight Night is one of my favorite reads. Not just one of my favorite reads of the year, but one of my favorite reads of all time. It’s a magical book and as soon as I finished the last page, I flipped back to the front to read it again. There is so much to take in between the words and the art. I think the blurb on the book jacket may sum up what I’m trying to say.

“What happens when you combine a flashlight, a storyteller, and the dark of night? You find MAGIC, WONDER, and a life-changing ADVENTURE.”

It’s obvious from the reviews that I’m not the only one who felt the magic.

“The verse is incantatory…a simple idea that’s engagingly executed” – School Library Journal

“Delicious language…ingenious metamorphoses” – Starred Review Kirkus Reviews

“[Esenwine and Koehler] don’t just lobby for children to read—they show how readers play” – Publisher’s Weekly

“Imaginative…fantastical” – ALA Booklist

“An old fashioned, rip-roaring imaginary adventure” – The Horn Book

I imagine those of you reading this post can’t wait to open the pages of this book and experience the magic for yourselves. Once you’ve experienced it, you may be curious like I was. Where did this magical book start? What sparked the idea? Guess what? I have someone “in the know” here today! Lucky us!

So Matt, I would love it if you’d share the inspiration for Flashlight Night and “shine a light” on your writing process, from idea to completed manuscript. Tell us how you captured MAGIC, WONDER, and ADVENTURE in just 32 pages.

I have been asked by numerous folks about the inspiration for Flashlight Night , and I have yet to come up with what I feel is a decent answer. I know how the book came about – I’m just not sure why. It started off, simply, with me attending a local SCBWI (Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators) event in Massachusetts.

Back in August 2014, a number of local SCBWI members had gotten together at Kimball Farm in Westford, Mass. to hang out and chat over appetizers and drinks and as I was driving home, the idea of a flashlight “opening up the night” popped into my head. It was at least 10pm or so, and all I could see was what my headlights revealed…so I started thinking about what to do with the words in my head, and by the time I was home (and hour and a half later) I had the opening and closing stanzas pretty well nailed down.

The following week, I continued working on it – still not sure if it was a stand-alone poem or a picture book manuscript – and had completed the first draft within just 6 or 7 days. By the time it was done, I knew it was a picture book, albeit a very poetically-written one. (Of course, I continued tweaking it over the course of the following 2 or 3 weeks, because I wanted it to be as polished as possible before sending it out to my editor, Rebecca Davis at Boyds Mills Press.

As I write primarily poetry, I deliberately made use of alliteration and internal rhyme, unusual end rhymes, and fun words that would not only lend themselves to fleshing out the story and imagery, but would perhaps stretch a young person’s vocabulary.

There were actually several things I deliberately did, which I wasn’t sure were going to help or hinder me:

  • The word ‘flashlight’ is used only once, as the very first word.
  • There is no mention of any other characters – boys, girls, animals, names.
  • The main subject of the book (the flashlight) is inanimate.
  • Imagery was abundant, but often ambiguous.
  • The story arc does not follow any sort of formula, other than there is a loose narrative.

Knowing there was a lot of imagery in this manuscript, I tried to keep specific details out of the story, so an illustrator could have ample room to share in telling the tale. For example, in one scene I make reference to a “peculiar door” – and that’s all I say about it. I figured, I’d let the illustrator determine why it’s peculiar!

Click to enlarge.

In another instance, I describe a “vessel, tightly moored.” Again, that’s the only description I give – and although I had a pirate ship in mind, I was happy to let an illustrator make that call. (which Fred Koehler did!)

Click to enlarge.

Speaking of Fred, I can’t thank him enough for taking on this manuscript. He told me loved the classic feel of the text so much that he wanted to create a classic look to the illustrations – so this is his very first manuscript using traditional media. He drew all the illustrations by hand, inked them in, then scanned them into his computer to colorize them.

So every detail you see – from the dark, foreboding sky to the spooky, textured shadows – is painstakingly hand-drawn! (And as someone who has a minor in studio art, it just boggles my mind to know Fred did all that freehand – and just wait til you see the fur on the giant bear.)

I hope everyone enjoys the book, and thank you so much, Penny, for shining your spotlight on “Flashlight” today! And congrats to you, on your “Cooked-Up Fairy Tale!”

Thank you for taking the time to share your process, Matt. It was very interesting and the attention you gave to Flashlight Night makes me love it even more!

A couple of things!

***Goodreads giveaway! You could win one of TWENTY COPIES of Flashlight Night. Starting at midnight 12:00 am PT, TODAY, Tuesday, September 19 (publication day) you can enter! The contest will wrap up at 11:59 pm PT on Tuesday, Sept. 26.

To learn more about Flashlight Night be sure to check out the stops on Matt’s blog tour.

Friday 9/15                  Jama’s Alphabet Soup
Monday 9/18               KitLit Exchange/ Loud Library Lady
Tuesday 9/19               Penny Klostermann Book Blog
Wednesday 9/20        Unleashing Readers
Thursday 9/21             KidLit Frenzy
Friday 9/22                  Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook
Monday 9/25               Librarian in Cute Shoes
Tuesday 9/26               Nerdy Book Club


Meet Matt: Over the years, Matt Forrest Esenwine has had several adult poems published in literary journals and magazines around the country, and in 2012 his poem, “Apple-Stealing,” was nominated by the Young Adult Review Network (YARN) for a Pushcart Prize. Meanwhile, his children’s poetry can be found in numerous anthologies including J. Patrick Lewis’ The National Geographic Book of Nature Poetry (National Geographic Children’s Books, 2015), Kenn Nesbitt’s One Minute till Bedtime (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2016), and Lee Bennett Hopkins’ School People (Boyds Mills Press, 2018), as well as “Highlights for Kids” magazine. His picture books include Flashlight Night (Boyds Mills Press, 2017) and Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018, co-authored with Deb Bruss).

 

Winner of THE ROAD THAT TRUCKS BUILT!!!

We

have

a

WINNER!!!

And

that

winner

has

won

a

copy

of 

by

Susanna Leonard Hill!!!!

I do believe we actually have two winners because these two are always together!

Congratulations

to

Genevieve Petrillo and Cupcake! A-rooooo!

If you missed the post about about THE ROAD THAT TRUCKS BUILT, you can go right HERE and read my interview with Susanna. If you weren’t a winner just click on the book cover and you can buy your own copy 😀

GIVEAWAY!!! Two Copies of A Cooked-Up Fairy Tale! Plus Book Signing and Pre-Order Information

Yes! A Goodreads giveaway. Easy to enter! I’ll send a signed copy to each of the two winners. US residents only. Simply click on the cover of A Cooked-Up Fairy Tale and you will be taken straight to the giveaway. Good luck!

I hope you’re able to join me at my signing to celebrate the release of my new book, A Cooked-Up Fairy Tale (on-sale date 9-5-17). See synopsis and reviews below.

Book Signing with Penny Parker Klostermann
Tuesday September 5th • 4:00-6:00 pm
Texas Star Trading Co.•174 Cypress St.•Abilene, TX
**See convenient Pre-Order Details below

If you’d like a copy of my book please take advantage of the pre-order price of only $15.00 (Regular retail price is $17.99) by giving Texas Star Trading Co. a call at 325-672-9696. They’ll reserve a copy for you and it will be waiting for you when you arrive. You can even have it signed ahead of time if you choose. Just give them the personalization details when you call to pre-order. Copies will be available at the book signing for the special, pre-order price of $15.00

Even if you can’t make it to the signing you can take advantage of the pre-order price through Sept. 5, 2017. Go straight to their website by clicking HERE, add your personalization details per website instructions, and have your signed book shipped to you.

If you are going to pick your pre-ordered copy up from Texas Star Trading Co. instead of having it shipped, then you should call to pre-order and let them know your personalization details at that time.

Synopsis: From the creators of There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight comes a fun fractured fairy tale about an aspiring chef who mistakenly turns story ingredients into delectable dishes. . . . Uh-oh!

In the magical land of fairy tales, William doesn’t quite fit in. He’d rather poach pears than pursue princesses, and he values gnocchi over knighthood. . . .

When he stumbles on a delivery of food destined for Fairy-Tale Headquarters (a pumpkin, apples, and a few measly beans), he decides to spice things up and whips the paltry ingredients into delectable dishes. But as you might have guessed, Snow White’s wicked stepmother doesn’t exactly want her magic apple baked and drizzled with caramel.

The team that brought you There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight delivers a hilariously fractured, whipped, and souffléed fairy tale that is chock-full of delicious details and jokes to satisfy every appetite!

Praise for A Cooked-Up Fairy Tale:

KirkusKlostermann’s triple-twisted tale is a cute concoction that children familiar with the traditional stories will enjoy.

School Library Journal~ a fine recipe for a fractured fairy tale—blend familiar storybook characters with lots of dialogue, add a pinch of disharmony, and stir in a happy-ever-after ending.

Road Trip! Trucks on Tour With Susanna Leonard Hill + a Giveaway!

Road Trip! Yep! That’s right . . . a road trip with Susanna Leonard Hill and her new book, The Road That Trucks Built! On this road trip we will explore interesting tidbits about the construction of her book!

Pick your favorite from below!
Start your engine. Let’s go.

Speaking of Road Trip, Susanna’s book has been on a road trip of sorts. It’s been on a blog tour. Later in the post there’s a list of all the places it’s been. And guess what . . . A special prize will be raffled off among anyone who comments on every single blog tour stop, so don’t miss a single fascinating installment! I’ve left handy links below.

Now let’s start that road trip and hear from Susanna.

Me: Susanna, I just finished reading and rereading and rereading, etc. THE ROAD THAT TRUCKS BUILT. I’m completely in love with this book. The cumulative structure is just right for your story. The trucks are perfect — mighty, but adorable and friendly.

Text copyright © 2017 by Susanna Leonard Hill Illustration copyright © 2017 by Erica Sirotich Used by permission of Little Simon

Susanna: I know! Aren’t they cute? Er, I mean tough!

Me: And the cover is a toy! Genius! (A cardboard wheel is part of the cover and readers can turn it to make the trucks move in a circle!)

Susanna: I wish I could claim it was my genius… but it wasn’t really. It was the editor’s (although I may have nudged his genius with my genius because my original conception for the manuscript was a pop-up book or a book that had moving parts… 🙂 )Me: I predict this book will be movin’ on down the road into the homes of many young truck-loving readers!

Susanna: I sure hope so! It seems like it would make an excellent car seat companion 🙂

Me: One very special thing about picture books is the marriage of text and art. As I mentioned above, the trucks are perfect. Erica Sirotich did an amazing job of making your wonderful text come to life. It was delightful to spend time with each spread and take it all in. In doing this I quickly noticed that the art not only includes hard working trucks, but also includes hard working, hardhat wearing birds! They’re just as adorable as the trucks and I love the fact that little birds are helping big trucks build the road. They’re certainly not birdbrains and add much fun to the visual story.

I thought it would be interesting to compare some of the work these hardhat wearing birds are doing to the work that has to be done to bring a book to life.

We could call it . . . Book Construction: Not for Birdbrains!

Let’s start with the yellow bird that is carrying a rock. This reminded me of digging for an idea. On the same spread there is an orange bird surveying the road. We must have ideas for stories … but beyond that we must survey (carefully consider) the idea in terms of story. When did you realize your idea had enough “story” for a book?

Susanna: Hmm… let me just adjust my thinking cap hard hat… I think I knew it from the beginning. The idea was the story of trucks working together to build a road. It was more a question of execution – how to tell the story. I wanted to keep it fairly simple for young readers, but not “dumbed down” (if you’ll forgive the expression 🙂 ) I wanted to call all the trucks by their proper names and teach a little about the jobs they do, and I wanted to tell it in a way that was fun but also interesting and educational. The cumulative structure and engaging read-aloud rhythm of The House That Jack Built seemed like a nice model to build on.

Me: On another page, there is a pink bird observing the road building progress and a blue bird clearing debris.

Did this story progress easily or were there times when it was messy and you had to clear debris and clean things up as far as rhyme, meter, word count, or other details?

Text copyright © 2017 by Susanna Leonard Hill Illustration copyright © 2017 by Erica Sirotich Used by permission of Little Simon

Susanna: The actual story was pretty clear in my mind from the beginning. But yes, there was definitely mess! There is always mess. Really. I am never inviting any of you to my office lest you grow faint at the sight of my “filing” system:-) I’m not sure how easily your rhymes come to you, Penny, but for me there is always a great deal of experimentation. I went through MANY versions of the rhyme, because I wanted it to work smoothly without feeling forced and without adding unnecessary words or lines just to make the rhyme and meter work. So I tried a lot of different ways of saying what I wanted to say, switching the words and ideas around until I got a balance between story, rhyme and meter.

Me: One of my favorite bird characters is the green bird that wears a traffic cone as a hat and appears to be totally enjoying himself. I know that writing is extremely difficult and can be frustrating. But was there a part of this book journey that was especially enjoyable for you?

Susanna: Well, I have to admit… I like big trucks and I cannot lie 🙂 (Me: That cracks me up, Susanna!) As I’ve mentioned in other interviews, I did plan (at age 3) to drive a steam roller, and although I ended up taking a road less, umm, flattened? 🙂 , my love of trucks is long-standing. So it was enjoyable to write about trucks. I also really like telling a story of how something works, in this case, building a road. I liked learning about it myself, and I like the idea that kids could enjoy learning about it too, through the story. But probably the most enjoyable part was that I wrote this book for my son, so it was something I got to do for him and share with him even before it was published. (A long time before it was published, actually, since I wrote it when he was under 5 and now he’s 21! 🙂 ) Also, I don’t know about you, but when I think of trucks, I think of truckloads of good things… like chocolate… 🙂

Me: Later in the book two of the birds are riding on the Paint Marker truck. They seem very happy with the stripes being painted on the road. Maybe they think of it as “road art”. 🙂 Describe how you felt when you first saw Erica’s art for your book?

Susanna: I was thrilled! I think her art really suits the story. I love how colorful it is. I love how each truck has its own personality and facial expressions. I love all the little details, like the flower in the bulldozer’s smoke stack. And I LOVE the construction worker birds! The one with the cone on his head is probably my favorite too 🙂

Me: Her details are amazing. Let’s face it . . . the whole book is amazing and kids are going to treasure it!
I appreciate you sharing about the construction of this book. I can tell that both you and Erica put a lot of thought and hard work into making it so delightful. Hearing about your process is useful to writers and reader alike.

Susanna: Thank you so much for having me on your blog (again!), Penny! I so appreciate the opportunity to share with your readers, and I’m so grateful to you for helping spread the word of my new books. Plus, you gave me an idea! You know how, on the highway, you see those signs that say ROAD CONSTRUCTION AHEAD? Well, I think I need one over my desk that says BOOK CONSTRUCTION AHEAD! 🙂

Me: That’s a wonderful idea! Perfect for a writer’s desk.


As promised, here is a look at where Susanna’s trucks have been and I’ve made it easy for you. Here are the links to every single stop. Just click, enjoy, comment, and move on down the road to the next one because remember . . . someone is going to win a special prize. Comment on each of these blog posts and you’ll be in the running. But do it today because I’m the last stop on the tour 🙂

Blog Tour Kickoff

Book Review/Arts and Crafts Activity   

Book Review and another Arts and Crafts Activity  

Activity Kit Reveal

Interview With Illustrator, Erica Sirotich – Giveaway

Q&A With Susanna – Giveaway

Guest Post by Susanna – Giveaway

Interview With Susanna

Recipe

Interview With Susanna 

Interview With Illustrator, Erica Sirotich

Giveaway Winner Announced

Book Review, Craft  – Giveaway

Publishing Life and a Recipe

Interview With Susanna With an Art Emphasis

I’m the last stop on the tour 😀

GIVEAWAY: Readers! Lucky you! Susanna is giving away one signed copy of The Road That Trucks Built! All you have to do is leave a comment below. Leave your comment no later than midnight (CDT) Sunday, August 20, 2017 so that I can draw a winner! ***You must be in the United States to win.

And don’t forget to share on social media.  The hashtag we are using to promote the book is #trucksontour.  Every time you share a post on FaceBook, Twitter or Instagram using #trucksontour you will get an entry into a raffle where 3 winners will each get a $25 Merritt Bookstore and Toystore gift card.


Meet Susanna: Susanna is the award winning author of over a dozen books for children, including Punxsutawney Phyllis (A Book List Children’s Pick and Amelia Bloomer Project choice), No Sword Fighting In The House (a Junior Library Guild selection), Can’t Sleep Without Sheep (a Children’s Book of The Month), and Not Yet, Rose (a Gold Mom’s Choice Award Winner and an Itabashi Translation Award Finalist.)  Her books have been translated into French, Dutch, German, and Japanese, with one forthcoming in Chinese.  Her newest books, When Your Lion Needs A BathWhen Your Elephant Has The Sniffles, and The Road That Trucks Built will be published by Little Simon in July 2017.  When Your Llama Needs A Haircut (Little Simon) and Alphabedtime! (Nancy Paulsen Books, an imprint of Penguin Books) are forthcoming in Spring 2018 and Spring 2019 respectively, with additional titles coming in 2018 and 2019.  She lives in New York’s Mid-Hudson Valley with her husband, children, and two rescue dogs.

Places to Find Susanna: Website: http://www.susannahill.com/HOME.html
Blog: http://susannahill.blogspot.com
Face Book Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/SusannaLeonardHill
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SusannaLHill
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/SLHill1
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=26268678&locale=en_US&trk=tyah&trkInfo=tas%3ASUSAN%2Cidx%3A2-1-2
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/102248907287284628149/posts/p/pub
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/susannaleonard/
Making Picture Book Magic (online picture book writing course): http://susannahill.com/for-writers/making-picture-book-magic/

When You’re Lucky Enough to Win a Copy of One of Susanna Leonard Hill’s Books!!!

Winners!!!

 

Buffy Silverman!

You have won a copy of

Are you ready??? An elephant should be arriving soon so you’ll really need this book!
Kleenex not included so stock up!

and

David McMullin!

You have won a copy of

A lion is on its way so you will really need this book!
Bubble bath not included so stock up!

Thanks to everyone who visited my blog to read about these two adorable books. If you missed the post, you can go right HERE and read my interview with Susanna. If you weren’t a winner just click on a book cover and you can buy your own copy 😀

 

 

When We’re Lucky Enough to Have TWO New Books From Susanna Leonard Hill

Yes! You read the blog post title right! TWO new books from Susanna Leonard Hill! As you can see from the banner above, the covers are adorable. And I promise you the books are just as adorable as the covers. In case you would like to read other posts about Susanna’s new books, here is a handy schedule so that you can visit other stops on the blog tour.

But now let’s get down to the business of learning more about these books.

Due to the nature of these two books, WHEN YOU ELEPHANT HAS THE SNIFFLES and WHEN YOUR LION NEEDS A BATH, I thought it only fitting that I should check in on Susanna. Her books are instruction manuals and I have no doubt that her instructions are tried and true. However, hers aren’t your everyday instruction manuals. They involve (of all things) an elephant and a lion. Knowing how serious Susanna is about her writing I imagine her bravely taking on the dangerous task of caring for an elephant with the sniffles. And the even more dangerous task of giving a lion a bath.

In fact I imagine these dangerous tasks so … uh … well … uh … like I said dangerous, that I strongly suggested to Susanna that I conduct this interview by email instead of in person. I mean I’m not the one who chose to write these books and I don’t fancy putting myself in that kind of danger. Call me chicken if you like but I sure didn’t want any part of tromping or chomping!

Speaking of tromping, let’s start with the elephant.

Me: Susanna, I realize that elephants can look all gray and trunky and sweet, but let’s face it … they’re BIG! How did you do the research for this book? Did you actually observe an elephant? Was the elephant in your home for any length of time? Did you go through a lot of trial and error to determine the best way to deal with an elephant with the sniffles? Did you go through a lot of tissues? That’s a lot of questions (because I’m very curious) but, in general, I would like to know what your process was like as you wrote this brilliant instruction manual for those of us who some day might have an elephant with the sniffles?

Susanna: Penny! Penny, is that you? Argh! Urgh! If this elephant would justMoveOVER!
Ah! *gasps with relief* There you are!
Oh! And you have company! Hi, everyone!
Penny.
PennyPennyPenny. I think we’d better begin by addressing the elephant in the room, don’t you?
No, not Umberto. (Although I should introduce him. Umberto, meet everyone. Everyone, Umberto.)

elephant

Text copyright © 2017 by Susanna Leonard Hill, Illustration copyright © 2017 by Daniel Wiseman, Used by permission of Little Simon

No. I am referring to the fact that you, my dearest Penny, refused to come here in person, feeling that you’d be in danger.
Oh, ye of little faith!
They don’t call me Safari Su for nothing! Did you really think I’d let my elephant tromp you?
Because of course you are right. I do take my research seriously, so Umberto has been camped out
here on Blueberry Hill for many moons. But he’s pretty harmless unless you happen to dart behind him when he’s about to sit down and he doesn’t see you in time… 🙂

As you may know, I have a bunch of kids. Some might say a horde. So I have dealt with many a kid-sniffle. And when kids have the sniffles, well, they often feel a little bit miserable – runny-nosed, itchy eyed, scratchy-throated, sorry-for-themselves little critters. So I got to thinking… (always dangerous 🙂 )… what would make them feel better?
If I were a chef, I might have whipped up a healing ganache or some such.
If I were crafty, I might have knitted, crocheted, or quilted a cozy coverlet.
If I were musically-inclined, I might have strummed a little ditty to cheer them.
Alas, I am none of those things.
But I am a writer.
So I thought to myself, how about a story?
And that is how this little instruction manual came about.
No kid wants to know how to take care of kids, though. That’s no fun!
So I thought to myself, hmmm…a kid might not want to take care of a kid, but EVERY kid needs to know how to take care of their elephant! (Every kid HAS an elephant, right? It’s not just me..? 🙂 )

Elephants, as it turns out, are not so very different from kids.
They like the crusts cut off their peanut butter sandwiches.
They insist on wearing rainboots even if the cloudy sky is only hinting at rain. Just In Case!
They won’t even consider going to sleep at night until you conduct the Mommy Sweep (clearing out any monsters who might be lurking in the closet or under the bed.)
So it came as no surprise that when they have the sniffles, just like kids, they need to be tucked in bed, entertained, waited on hand and foot, and kept happy and quiet so as to avoid sneezing and get better!
They just need everything exponentially larger and in greater quantities 🙂

Me: Why that doesn’t sound so dangerous. It seems like Umberto wasn’t into tromping at all. He just needed a little love.
But the lion . . . Yikes! They seem to like to chomp things. And people seem just right for chomping. Yet you and the lion must have come to some kind of agreement since you’re still standing. Same questions apply here—How did you do the research for this book? Did you actually observe a lion? Was the lion in your home/bathtub for any length of time? Did you go through a lot of trial and error to determine the best way to bathe a lion? Again, that’s a lot of questions (because I’m still very curious) but, in general, I would like to know what your process was like as you wrote this brilliant instruction manual for those of us who might have a lion in bad need of a bath?

Susanna: Now, the lion was another matter.
That lion ruled my house for months!
Months, I tell you!
At the time, he was not a lion. He was a 21 month-old old girl. A 21 month-old girl who had been treated with nothing but love and kindness since the day she was born, bathed tenderly and carefully from day one (well, day eight actually, since there can be no bathing before belly buttons) never carelessly splashed or doused or traumatized by water in any way.

And yet…
…one dark day…
…that 21 month-old girl decided there would be NO MORE BATHS!
NEVER!
NOT EVER!
And she was just as fierce as any lion, and just as LOUD!, believe you me!
And let me tell you, there was a great deal of experimentation, trial and error, coaxing, cajoling, middle-naming, and bribery involved in solving that problem!LION-2Text copyright © 2017 by Susanna Leonard Hill, Illustration copyright © 2017 by Daniel Wiseman, Used by permission of Little Simon

After that, getting a lion into the tub was child’s play 🙂
It turns out that when you live with a horde of kids, research on wild animal behavior is easier than you might think. It seems to come with the territory 🙂

Me: Goodness! I never thought of it that way but you make excellent points. And after hearing from you, I’m certain that every household . . . and I mean EVERY household . . . should own a copy of your two books just to keep everything under control.

What’s that you said, Susanna? REALLY??? Oh.my.goodness!!! How generous of you! Listen up everyone!!!

Susanna is giving away one signed copy of each book! All you have to do is leave a comment below. Leave your comment no later than midnight (CDT) Thursday, August 10, 2017 and your name will be written on a tissue and place in my bathtub so that I can draw a winner! If an elephant and lion show up at my house before the drawing, I may have to use another method for the random drawing. Either way I will draw a winner for each book! ***You must be in the United States to win.

Don’t forget to share this post using #whenyourbooks!  Every time you post with #whenyourbooks you get an entry in the end-of-tour raffle for a Special Prize!


Meet Susanna: Susanna is the award winning author of over a dozen books for children, including Punxsutawney Phyllis (A Book List Children’s Pick and Amelia Bloomer Project choice), No Sword Fighting In The House (a Junior Library Guild selection), Can’t Sleep Without Sheep (a Children’s Book of The Month), and Not Yet, Rose (a Gold Mom’s Choice Award Winner and an Itabashi Translation Award Finalist.)  Her books have been translated into French, Dutch, German, and Japanese, with one forthcoming in Chinese.  Her newest books, When Your Lion Needs A BathWhen Your Elephant Has The Sniffles, and The Road That Trucks Built will be published by Little Simon in July 2017.  When Your Llama Needs A Haircut (Little Simon) and Alphabedtime! (Nancy Paulsen Books, an imprint of Penguin Books) are forthcoming in Spring 2018 and Spring 2019 respectively, with additional titles coming in 2018 and 2019.  She lives in New York’s Mid-Hudson Valley with her husband, children, and two rescue dogs.

Places to Find Susanna: Website: http://www.susannahill.com/HOME.html
Blog: http://susannahill.blogspot.com
Face Book Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/SusannaLeonardHill
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SusannaLHill
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/SLHill1
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=26268678&locale=en_US&trk=tyah&trkInfo=tas%3ASUSAN%2Cidx%3A2-1-2
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/102248907287284628149/posts/p/pub
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/susannaleonard/
Making Picture Book Magic (online picture book writing course): http://susannahill.com/for-writers/making-picture-book-magic/