Monday, April 30, 2012

Z: Z End!

Z END!
Woo-hoo! We made it to z end of z A-Z challenge! We did it! And today is my birthday too! Short and sweet. Time to celebrate! I need a break...

Next month, please come back for a NEW Monday feature about story elements and craft techniques. It's gonna be good. See you then!

Keep on keepin' on...

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Y: [your] Winners are Announced

You've been waiting for [your] day to arrive. [Hint: this is another clue!] 

The winner of the Lucky Clover Picture Book Contest - Winter 2012 is being announced today! Many wonderful contestants entered the contest, alas I could only choose one. The winner of the famous critique is...

...Gail Kamer...

...for her story: Cleveland, the Dirty Bird. Congratulations! You can expect your critique within a week.

Keep on keepin' on...

Friday, April 27, 2012

X: Explore Ideas

File:US Navy 070825-N-8949D-013 Youngsters explore the ^ldquo,bounce house^rdquo, during this year^rsquo,s SEAL Pup Campout.jpgExplore.

Another idea.

I just got another idea this morning as I was telling my child to hurry up and get ready for school, to focus on what needs to be done. I'm so excited! I'm exploring it right now!

Explore is another clue for my A-Z secret message. Explore my blog. It's as plain as the nose on your face. Clues abound everywhere. Check out the U: Unscramble post. Good luck. Go ahead... EXPLORE (hint: the word "explore" appears in the message).

Keep on keepin' on...

Thursday, April 26, 2012

W: The Word Collector

READ-4-LUCK is the weekly feature that acts as a book recommendation, book review, teaching tip, and writing lesson for children, parents, teachers, and writers. I post a link most weeks with Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Book Fridays.

 = Not bad. Might read twice.

 = Fun read first few times. Would get from library again.
 = Very enjoyable. Wouldn't mind owning a copy.
 = Awesome! Never tiresome for children, parents, teachers, or writers. May just have to buy it.



This week's pick is The Word Collector written and illustrated by Sonja Wimmer.
"Luna loves words. She loves their glow, and laughs when they tickle her. But one day she realizes that, little by little, all of the funny, beautiful and magnificent words are disappearing from the world—and the little girl decides that it’s time to do something about it!"
 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

V: Venture

Source: Skateandannoy.com
How many of us are brave enough to venture into the unknown? I believe that change, adventure, and bravery go hand in hand. I'm venturing forth to get another college "degree". Technically, it's a certificate, but it's only available to those who already have a BA degree. I'm excited! So first, I have to fill out the college application. So that's where I'm headed right now, to start on that...

What will YOU venture into today?

Keep on keepin' on...

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

U: Unscramble

Source: Buzzle.com
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to unscramble all my clues to try to figure out the secret A-Z message. The following 11 letters are HUGE clues: B, E, F, H, I, M, R, T, X, and Y. Their words are in the secret message. Other letters with clues are: C, D, L, N, and Q. I already have one winner! I'll even give a second book away for the second person to guess. Or if you prefer, I'll give a story critique. Okay, enough jabbering, get to cracking those clues! Just leave your guesses in the comments or e-mail me if you prefer.

Keep on keepin' on...

Monday, April 23, 2012

T: Thoughts

Sometimes thoughts propel me into action. Today's thought is to choose my seven ideas for NaPiBoWriWee. I know, I know, NO writing yet. But I can plan, plot, and get the stage ready for May 1st. Anyone else participating with Paula Yoo's event?

Any guesses for my secret message for the A to Z event? Remember, the winner gets a picture book!

What are your thoughts for today?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

S: Saturday's Silly Story

S is for Saturday's Silly Story, also known as Pass the Paper!

It's the third Saturday and you know what that means! It's time to play Pass the Paper! Last month, we started with The Picnic Party. Since it's not finished, I encourage you to go there now and add a comment to help move the story along.

Holly was so excited to have graduated 2nd grade, but she was even more excited about summer. She LOVED summer picnics, but she HATED thunderstorms. Her favorite picnic meal was an egg-salad sandwich, a giant sweet pickle and watermelon. She and her friends spent several days planning...

their sumptuous feast out by the pagoda next to River Rune. This was their third year of this tradition and not once did they ever notice ...

the lodge of the mutant killer beavers in the middle of the river. It looked like a regular beaver lodge, but as they sat looking at the river, one of the beavers came ashore. That's when they saw ...

the giant snowman. That didn't make sense since it was warm enough to melt ice cream before you could finish your cone. The beaver quickly ran into his secret...

...the most wonderful birthday picnic of her life. As they gathered the basket with the sandwiches, fruit and cold beverages and began their walk into the forest,an unexpected guest arrived...

"A snowman for my birthday! Wow! Thanks, guys!" Holly felt like a beaver was following her. Her friends suddenly saw THREE beavers right behind her. "Aaack!!!" she yelled. 

Debra grabbed the picnic blanket and...

So far, that's all we have. Want to add to it? Just go to the original post and leave a comment there! Thanks for playing!

Friday, April 20, 2012

R: Remaining

Reflective Letter R with Inferno Purple Flames
Source: Westonsigns.com
R is for "Remaining"

  • remains
  • ready
  • rites
  • real
  • rote
  • rock
  • read
  • rural
There. That's 8 R words for the remainder of the 8 blogging challenge days left for us. 

*Clue... Any guesses yet? You don't have to buy a vowel. Just guess the secret message, already!

Of the 8 words above, what's YOUR favorite? Mine's a tie between read and ready. I'm always ready to read!

Keep on keepin' on...

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Q: Quotes for the Day

Source: thosewhodreambyday.blogspot.com
Here are a few writing quotes for the day.
"A writer is someone who can make a riddle out of an answer." -Karl Kraus
"A bad book is as much of a labour to write as a good one; it comes as sincerely from the author's soul." -William Shakespeare
"Once writing has become your major vice and greatest pleasure only death can stop it." -Rachel Billington
Like those? Want more? Go HERE. By the way, that was a clue for the secret message.

What's one of your favorite writing quotes?

Keep on keepin' on... 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

P: Place of Provocation and Privacy

Source: dealectiblemommies.com
Sometimes my mind seeks a place of provocation and privacy simultaneously.

Provocation:
noun: something that incites or provokes; a means of arousing or stirring to action


Privacy:
noun: the quality or condition of being secluded, concealed, or hidden from the presence or view of others

I like to watch movies by myself sometimes, especially when everyone else is gone or asleep in the bed. If it's a great story with an exciting plot and likable characters, I get sucked in quickly. I really get excited about my movies. It doesn't have to be a private adventure, but sometimes it's nice to be alone. I like action, adventure, family, children's, drama, romance, comedy, romance comedy, and suspense. I don't like westerns, black and white movies, horror, musicals, or classics.

Where do you turn to find provocation and privacy? OR... What type of movies are your favorites?

Keep on keepin' on...

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

O: Open Story (Pass the Paper: The Picnic Party)

picnic 01O is for Open Story. No clues today...

"The Picnic Party" is the current story being "passed around". Join in the fun. Click the link and leave a comment on the original post.

I have disabled the comment verification so it's easier to leave a comment now.

Will Holly ever get to eat her favorite meal? Will her friends find a spot to settle down? Will Holly's birthday turn out to be a happy day or a sad day?

Keep on keepin' on...

Monday, April 16, 2012

N: Next Book, Please!

Today's letter is for next book, please! This is so totally a CLUE for the secret message! Anyone like playing Hangman? Well, here you go.

- ---- -- --- -n-- ----- -n ---- --- --n -----n- - ------- ------- ------- ------n- --, -- ------- -n --------- ---- ------- ---- -- ---- -- --- -n ---- ----....-- -- -n- -- --- --- ----n- -----n-n- ----- ---- --n- --n --- ---- ----------n -n- -------.

The first five commenters that guess a letter, I'll insert them and reenter the clue in the comments. Have fun!

Keep on keepin' on...

Saturday, April 14, 2012

M: Many Thanks to Mormon Mommy Writers

My Pot-O-Gold Blogger Award #15 goes out to: Mormom Mommy Writers. [I'm a "Mormon" aka Latter-day Saint. I'm a mom. I'm a writer.] And Mormon Mommy Writers just so happens to also be participating in the A to Z challenge this month. They are at #1441 on the A to Z list. (No clue in today's post.)


It's time to award another lucky blogger with the Pot-O-Gold Blogger AwardI created this award for excellent blogs based on... 

  1. interesting and helpful content AND
  2. visually appealing and easy-to-navigate design
It's an award that says, "Look at this awesome blog! There's a wealth of information here! If you visit once, you'll want to return again and again." In other words, it's like discovering a pot of gold.

My ratings (out of 4):  Content  Design  (It would be nice to have a SEARCH feature.)

Mormon Mommy Writers is...an awesome place to visit. It's a group of seven women that got together to write about raising children and writing novels. You'll find some amazing information, inspiration, and friendship there, as well as lots of great contests. Some of the giveaways have featured books by famous LDS authors such as Tristi Pinkton and Josi S. Kilpack. Congratulations to all of you fabulous ladies that run the show over at Mormon Mommy Writers, a great group blog, even for us "picture bookies" out there.

The Rules (copy and paste):

  1. Say thank you to the person who gave it to you and link back to their blog.
  2. Post the award on your blog and link back to the WRITE WILD blog.
  3. Award FOUR bloggers this award and tell why each is a Pot-O-Gold!
  4. Share FOUR simple things about yourself regarding FAITH, HOPE, LOVE, and LUCK.
Keep on keepin' on...

Friday, April 13, 2012

L: Lord Byron and Love

portrait of Lord Byron in Albanian dress by Thomas Phillips, c1835I'm having fun on this A to Z Blogging Challenge. Remember that I've added my own personal little challenge for all my readers. I'm leaving clues throughout the month about a secret message. The first person to discover the secret message and leave it in a comment will receive a picture book. Have fun.

Lord Byron is a famous British poet from the early 1800's considered to be one of the great Romantic poets. The poem below is such a delight for the mouth! I LOVE reading it aloud. Perfect as prep work for picture book writers, rhyming or not.
I can never get people to understand that poetry is the expression of excited passion, and that there is no such thing as a life of passion any more than a continuous earthquake, or an eternal fever. Besides, who would ever shave themselves in such a state?     - Lord Byron, in a letter to Thomas Moore, 5 July 1821
By the Rivers of Babylon We Sat Down and Wept, 1815
                                        1
                         We sat down and wept by the waters
                             Of Babel, and thought of the day
                         When our foe, in the hue of his slaughters,
                             Made Salem's high places his prey;
                         And ye, oh her desolate daughters!
                             Were scattered all weeping away.
                                        2
                         While sadly we gazed on the river
                             Which rolled on in freedom below,
                         They demanded the song; but, oh never
                             That triumph the stranger shall know!
                         May this right hand be withered for ever,
                             Ere it string our high harp for the foe!
                                        3
                         On the willow that harp is suspended,
                             Oh Salem!  its sound should be free;
                         And the hour when thy glories were
                                     ended
                             But left me that token of thee:
                         And ne'er shall its soft tones be blended
                             With the voice of the spoiler by me!

Keep on keepin' on...

Thursday, April 12, 2012

K: Kick Out the Imposter

Source: bupbilla.blogspot.com
Another fun game to play. Choose the ONE answer that is NOT an excerpt from a picture book. Even if you are a "novel" person, it's still fun to at least guess. Go ahead. Give it your best shot. Kick out the imposter.
  1. "The night before the first day of a new school year can be a long one. When the lights go out, the noises seem louder. The shadows seem darker. Even your bed can seem hard and uncomfortable."
  2. "'Quiet, everyone! Annabelle, that sweater of yours is a terrible distraction. I cannot teach with everyone turning around to look at you!'"
  3. "In the spring, they rolled down the gentle hills of soft grass that surrounded Little Rabbit's house."
  4. "Early the next morning, Sylvia Jean went to the library to do research. 'Ah-ha,' she said as she looked at books on all kinds of subjects, from animals to architecture, fairy tales to foreign lands, history to harmonicas."
So...which one do you think is NOT from a picture book? (It's harder than it looks, right? Right?)

Keep on keepin' on...

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

J: Jump on the Bandwagon

mattkang.blogspot.com
Jump! It's time to enter the Lucky Clover Picture Book Contest. The Spring Quarter is now OPEN! Deadline is June 30th. Here's your chance to win a critique and recognition. Jump on that bandwagon today. Be brave!

Any other contests you want to share?

Keep on keepin' on...

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I: Ideas

A writing idea is like being in the market for a new car. Your mind is exploding with possibilities. You settle on a certain make and model. Suddenly you see it everywhere! A new idea expands your mind, your horizons, your excitement, and your hope. The A to Z challenge pushes each of us to the limits and makes us think. So in the effort to keep all my posts short, I now close with this question:

What is your new idea for today? 

It doesn't have to be a shiny writing idea. It could simply be how to make an even cooler Easter egg for next year!

Keep on keepin' on...

Monday, April 9, 2012

H: Haven

graphicsfuel.com
A good book is a haven from the world. Whether it's to explore or to escape, reading a book is like being in heaven. 


Heaven:


  • noun - the abode of God and the angels




  • noun - any place of complete bliss and delight and peace




  • Haven:

  • noun:   a shelter serving as a place of safety or sanctuary



  • noun:   a sheltered port where ships handle cargo




  • Sanctuary:
  • noun:   a consecrated place where sacred objects are kept



  • noun:   a shelter from danger or hardship




  • See the similarities? I never really thought of a book as a shelter before, but I guess they can shelter us from our own insecurities, or even open ourselves up to them. What a quandary!


    What do you think? How do you view books? A haven or something else?

    Saturday, April 7, 2012

    G: The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School (High Five Interview #15)

    So Laura, your debut picture book is out. Here’s a big HIGH FIVE congratulations to you!
    Thank you so much, Christie!  And thanks for hosting me on your wonderful blog!  And I love the fact that you collect four-leaf clovers! My daughter does the same thing. J

    Title: The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School
    Author: Laura Murray
    Illustrator: Mike Lowery
    Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
    Month/year of release: July 2011
    Word count: Approximately 900 words
    Short summary or blurb:

    Fresh out of the oven, the Gingerbread Man is ready for school. But when recess arrives, the class who baked him leaves him behind to cool. Longing to be a part of the class, this smart cookie takes off after them: “I’ll run and I’ll run, as fast as I can. I can catch them! I’m their Gingerbread Man.” 
    With the help of the gym teacher, the nurse, the art teacher, and even the principal, the Gingerbread Man finds his way back to his class and discovers that they have been searching for him, too. A deliciously sweet ending is served up for both the Gingerbread Man and the children who made him.

    Question ONE:
    What are five of your favorite picture books? Just five mind you… (This might be a test.)
    Wow – this is hard to answer because there are so many incredible picture books out there! So I guess I’ll just pick the first five that come to mind.

    1. Blackout by John Rocco – This is one of my new favorites and it just won a Caldecott Honor. I not only love the illustrations, but I love the theme of this book and I feel that it is so relevant and identifiable today. It is about what happens when a “very busy” family and community loses power. Suddenly all those things, like chores and technology, that were keeping the family so “busy,” are no longer available, and the family and community rediscovers a feeling of connection that is so important.
    2. Little Pea by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Jen Corace – My children and I love the simple, endearing illustrations and text, as well as the completely identifiable theme of being a picky eater, but “with a twist.”  We laugh out loud each time we read this book.
    3. The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg – This was one of my favorites when I used to teach. The illustrations are beautiful and theme of continuing to believe in magic and wonder is close to my heart.
    4. The Mitten by Jan Brett – We just love the fun story of what happens when a child loses a mitten in the snow and various woodland animals decide to make it their snuggly home. The illustrations are incredible, you could just jump into the pictures, and the sidebar illustrations give kids hints about what is going to happen next.
    5. Roxaboxen  by Alice McLerran, illustrated by Barbara Cooney – This is a wonderful story about what children can create when they use their imagination. It reminds me of the sheer joy of summers when I was a kid - creating outside forts and imaginary worlds that would keep my friends and I entertained for hours.
    Question TWO:
    What is your bedtime routine like; how do books play a part in that?

    I treasure the fact that my children are still young and at home. Books have always played a big part in our bedtime routine. They are not only a way for us to learn and be entertained, but they provide a wonderful connection between us, as well. My husband and I read to our children as babies, and we still read to each of them nightly, after they have done a little reading on their own. It is definitely a special time that allows us to reconnect after a busy day and often starts other conversations. My tween son and I sometimes read separate copies of the same book, and then come together at night to talk about how far we’ve each gotten and what’s going on in the book.

    Question THREE:
    Aside from the great page on your website with teacher resources, how might , let’s say, a 4th or 5th grade teacher use your book for a writing lesson? (Hee-hee-hee…and you thought you were gonna have easy questions…) By the way, do you still teach?

    I taught Kindergarten for 7 years, in Tennessee and Florida. I have an Elementary Education degree and a specialization in Early Childhood, so Kindergarten was a perfect fit. I am not currently teaching, as I am taking time off to raise my children. But boy, I sure am learning a lot from them! J Right now, I am concentrating on raising my own children, as well as thoroughly enjoying the creative process of children's writing, but I haven't ruled out going back to teaching eventually.

    A fun lesson for the 4th grade level might be on Character Mapping or Identifying Characterization, and how characterization can affect plot. These are some things that could be discussed or mapped:

    • Who is the main character of this story?  A Gingerbread Man that was made by a class
    • What are some of his character qualities? What are his strengths and vulnerabilities? (Strengths = smart, tough, determined, friendly, plucky.  Vulnerabilities = he is lost, he is little, he might get eaten.)
    • What does the character want?  He wants to find and be a part of his class. He wants to belong.
    • What’s keeping the character from getting what he wants (conflict)?  Not knowing his way around the school, a rolling ball, a broken toe, accidentally landing in a lunch sack
    • Does he get what he wants in the end? Do any of his character qualities help him get what he wants?  Yes, he finds his class in the end with help from the school staff members, and by seeing the missing posters of himself hanging throughout the school. Yes, all of his strengths (being smart, tough, determined, friendly, and plucky) help him overcome obstacles to find his way back to his class.
    Question FOUR:
    What was your road to publication like? I see you have an agent. (I met Marietta Zacker at a writing conference!) Can you tell us a bit about your process and how it all happened?
    The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School was 6 years in the “baking.” The story took me about 2 years to write because I was also learning how to write for children and how to write in rhyme, through SCBWI, conferences, and my critique groups.  I also had very young children at the time, so my writing time was limited each week. Eventually, I started to research and send my manuscript out to publishers who seemed to be a good fit. After many rejections, it was pulled from the slush pile by an editor at GP Putnam’s Sons and acquired. Needless to say I was giddy with happiness and still am!  After many more months, the illustrator, Mike Lowery came on board with a very fresh, endearing, child-friendly style to match the story.  I finally got to hold the hardback book in my hands a month or two before its launch in July of 2011!  What a thrill!

    During this process, I continued to write picture books and started a middle grade mystery/adventure novel as well. I met my agent, Marietta Zacker (who is just awesome!) at a Florida SCBWI conference. She just negotiated a new picture book sequel-of-sorts with GP Putnam called The Gingerbread Man Loose on the Fire Truck. (Oh… the adventures the GB Man can get into on a field trip to the fire station!) J

    So the Gingerbread Man was a slush pile success story! Did Ms. Zacker get involved after the contract was signed? After publication? What led her to take you on?
    I submitted The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School  to publishers after doing extensive research, attending and learning about the industry from SCBWI conferences, and networking with other children's writers.  My story was pulled from the slush pile at GP Putnam's Sons (in other words – I sent it in to an editor, unagented.) I submitted to publishers myself, because I felt that I didn't have enough other material to show to an agent at the time.

    During the submission process, I continued to work on other books. I met Mrs. Zacker at a regional SCBWI conference when I turned in a middle grade novel chapter for professional critique.  She was interested in the work, and invited me to submit it to her when it was ready. After some time
    had passed, I wrote and submitted another picture book to my editor at GP Putnam's, The Gingerbread Man Loose on the Fire Truck. They seemed to be very interested in the book and asked for a small revision. During that time, I'd also written a third picture book and made quite a bit of progress on my middle grade novel.

    By then, I felt my body of work was sufficient enough to show an agent that I was a dedicated writer, so I decided it might be a good time to contact the ones who seemed like they might be a good fit. I contacted Mrs. Zacker and she invited me to submit all my work. After several phone conversations to decide if we would be a good fit for one another professionally, and discussion about my writing career and goals, she offered representation. I accepted and have been very happy with her as an agent. She is professional, knowledgeable, genuine, honest, easy to get along with (and has a good sense of humor - which is often very important. J

    Did your book get to keep the same title you had chosen for it? If not, what was the original title while it was on submission? Did you use any illustrator notes?
    The book was originally titled The Gingerbread Man is Missing! We decided to tweak the title a bit so that the school adventure was highlighted in the title as well. I didn’t include illustrator notes with this manuscript – I hoped that my words painted a visual picture, but still left room for Mike’s unique interpretation of the story through the illustrations.

    Question FIVE:
    What are some writing tips you can offer other picture book writers seeking publication?   
    This can be a difficult question to answer well because there are several steps in the writing journey and some readers will be at the very beginning and others will be close to publication. But here are a few tips that I hope are helpful to other PB writers wherever they are on their journey.

    When I first started to write for children, I had lots of ideas, but no idea of how to begin the process of writing a children’s book. So, of course, I turned to books on the subject. Here are some really excellent books that I found so helpful. Check them out at the library or at your local bookstore.
    • Ø  The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Publishing Children’s Books by Harold Underdown. (Don’t let the title dissuade you. Full of wonderful, easy to digest information on getting started.)
    • Ø  You Can Write Children’s Books by Tracey E. Dils.
    • Ø  What's Your Story By Marian Dane Bauer (it is for young writers, but is an excellent resource for adult writers as well.)
    • Ø  The 2012 Children’s Writers and Illustrator’s Market Guide (where you can find publishers who are accepting manuscripts, contests, agents, etc.)
    • Ø  Look up SCBWI.org (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) online and consider joining.
    • Ø  Consider joining a local critique group (you can find them on the regional SCBWI websites.) See if you can get some feedback on your story, from someone other than family members (who love you and many times can’t give you the honest feedback you need to make your story the best it can be.)  Look on SCBWI's site under regional chapters and research where the local critique groups are in your area.
    • Ø  See when the next regional or national SCBWI conference is - you can make connections with super supportive people who are like-minded and you can get your story professionally critiqued.
    • Ø  You can also consider trying to submit to Children’s Writing contests. The Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market Guide 2012 has a listing of reputable contests, as well as information about publishers who are accepting manuscripts. 

    Check out the Spoonful of Stories contest sponsored by Simon and Schuster for new children’s book writers. It runs every March through July. If chosen as a winner, your book will be published and copies of it will be distributed nationwide in Cheerios cereal boxes. Fantastic exposure, and this particular contest has led to publishing contracts for other stories by the winners as well. The 2012 contest is likely getting ready to start in March, so consider checking their website for past winners and the rules.

    I also contacted Esther Hershenhorn, a professional writing coach, to critique my manuscript when I felt it was almost ready to be submitted to publishers. She is wonderful!

    Thanks again Christie for hosting me on your blog, and the Gingerbread Man too, of course! 

    Thanks for joining us. What a delightful story! Good luck on all your future writing and teaching endeavors. Thanks again!

    ...and keep on keepin' on...

    Friday, April 6, 2012

    F: FRAGILE

    Shutterstock.com
    Writers are perhaps some of the least fragile people I know. We are brave. Our stories are written. We are strong. We accept criticism. We are flexible. Our stories change. Often. We are determined. Our files are full of rejection letters. We are vigilant. We will get published. Again and again. Fragile? Hardly.

    Our thoughts may be fragile, so writing our stories is a great way for us to keep it at bay. Yesterday, I got a great new idea for a shiny new story! Today, I will explore its possibilities.

    Remember to read all my A to Z posts to uncover the secret message and win a book! First person to discover the message is the winner. Good luck.

    Lucky Clover Picture Book Contest - Spring Quarter is now OPEN!

    Keep on keepin' on...

    Thursday, April 5, 2012

    E: Examine Extra Yarn

    Examine what I have in store for you today with this ball of EXTRA YARN.

    READ-4-LUCK is the weekly feature that acts as a book recommendation, book review, teaching tip, and writing lesson for children, parents, teachers, and writers. I post a link most weeks with Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Book Fridays.

     = Not bad. Might read twice.

     = Fun read first few times. Would get from library again.
     = Very enjoyable. Wouldn't mind owning a copy.
     = Awesome! Never tiresome for children, parents, teachers, or writers. May just have to buy this book.

    This week's pick is Extra Yarn written by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen.
    "With a supply of yarn that never runs out, Annabelle knits for everyone and everything in town, until an evil archduke decides he wants the yarn for himself."

    Publisher: Balzer and Bray  
    Year: 2012
    Word Count: 566
    Book Level: 3.2
    Age: 4-8
    Topic: yarn
    Theme: imagination, determination
    First Lines:
    On a cold afternoon, in a cold little town, where everywhere you looked was either the white of snow or the black of soot from chimneys, Annabelle found a box filled with yarn of every color.
    RATINGS
    CHILDREN:  Such a fun and silly little book. The illustrations are fun and colorful.

    PARENTS:  Magical and imaginative. Funny because it's so impossible. Pictures are perfect.

    TEACHERS: 
     Best suited for a writing lesson. Also good for younger children for predictability. Could possibly teach basic knitting.

    WRITERS: 
     Simply wonderful. The more I read it, the more I notice fun patterns.

    Be sure to visit other "perfect picture books" at Susanna Leonard Hill's blog.

    Keep on keepin' on...