Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Perfect Your Writing With the Perfect Pet

It's time for READ-4-LUCK, the weekly feature that acts as a reading recommendation, book review, teaching tool, and mini writing lesson. This week's pick is The Perfect Pet written by Margie Palatini and illustrated by Bruce Whatley.
After Elizabeth's parents do not agree with her various suggestions for the perfect pet, she discovers a solution.
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
Year: 2003
Word Count: 850
Book Level: 2.2

  We all know kids love animals and most want a pet of their own. This is definitely a fun one. 

 Gets more interesting the more you read it. Love the illustrations, too!

TEACHERS:  Could use in Kindergarten or 1st grade as an intro to animals. Could be a story starter for 2nd or 3rd grades. Could help teach how to make a list and go through different ways for finding a solution.

 Your basic problem/solution story. Elizabeth has a problem. She tries three ways to fix it. All fail. Tries one more idea, then happens across a solution. A bigger problem ensues. Acceptance happens. YOUR TURN: Try mapping out a plot that follows the same structure.

Keep on keepin' on...

Monday, August 29, 2011

Lucky Clover Picture Book Writing Contest: Now Accepting SUMMER Entries

Four leaf clover ImageSummer is still here through the end of September. One more month to get those PB entries in. Want to win a free critique? Send in your best work and rub the clover pendant for luck. READ ALL ABOUT IT HERE!!!

Good luck! And thanks for stopping by.

Know of any other good contests going on right now?

Keep on keepin' on...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Top Job: Read-4-Luck

The Top Job
Dutton, 2007
This week's READ-4-LUCK pick is The Top Job by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel and illustrated by Robert Neubecker.
"Elizabeth's mother is a jeweler. Emma's dad is a UFO hunter. Aidan's mom is a racecar driver. Why would anybody at school be interested in one dad's boring job of changing a light bulb? Because that light bulb happens to be at the top of a very tall building - and changing it is one very big adventure!"
Publisher: Dutton
Year: 2007
Word Count: 1237
Book Level: 4.1

 They can relate with the feeling of being laughed at. That's what the children in the classroom did when the girl told said her dad changed light bulbs for a living. Great illustrations, too!

 Very interesting. Even though it's over 1,000 words, it's a pretty quick read. I really loved it!

TEACHERS:  A great way to introduce different jobs. Perfect for 1st - 4th grades. Also a great segue into character development and treating others with respect.

WRITERS:   Another great study for pacing. The action slowly builds. When the children laugh, the teacher says that's all the time they have for the day and asks her to sit down. But she respectfully doesn't. She keeps talking. And then the WHOLE class becomes really interested. The ending is awesome, too. Study this one!

Do you know of a great book to study pacing or endings?
Keep on keepin' on...

Monday, August 22, 2011


Product DetailsChowder by Peter BrownWhy is it agents love to use the word quirky? They love quirky picture books or quirky characters. I feel like it's becoming cliche. I always thought it meant weird, different, funny, odd, fun, goofy, eccentric, and unique. According to RhymeZone's definition, quirky means: strikingly unconventional. That's a lot more specific than my definition. Or is it? And the synonyms are: far-out, kinky, offbeat, unconventional, way-out. According to Webster, quirk (as a noun here) means a sudden twist or turn, and a peculiarity. I think more than anything, it's a feeling. Like beautiful. We all have our own opinions on what makes something beautiful. Same thing goes for quirky. I think it's: very unconventional, different, fun, unique.
Product DetailsProduct Details  Product Details

  So, what does quirky mean to you? Read any good quirky books lately (picture books or otherwise)?

Keep on keepin' on...

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Pass the paper with me today! Whoever ends the story (and it makes sense) will win a first-250-words critique. Lets see if we can give Fred a happy ending today... After you read through to the end below, CLICK HERE TO ADD TO THE STORY and make a comment at the end.

BEGIN HERE:  Fred rode his bicycle up and down the street each afternoon after school.  One day, he stumbled upon a...


Christie Wright Wild said...
bright green envelope at the tippy edge of his very next door neighbor's driveway. The envelope was heavy and had no name on the outside. Fred picked it up and...
Alison Stevens said...
decided it would make a great wheel decoration for his bike. He wove it in between the spokes of his front wheel. Then he...
Antonella said...
rode off to show his friends. Although the envelope made the steering clumsy, Fred sat atop his seat as proud as a king in a procession. On his way to the park, he passed a...
Christie Wright Wild said...
mailbox. Fred wondered who in the world would put something in a green envelope and not address it to someone. He thought about buying a stamp and sending it to someone just for fun. But he was nearly to the park where all his friends were...
Christie Wright Wild said...
...playing soccer. Before he reached them, his next door neighbor, who just happened to be the 2nd grade bully, ran over to Fred and yelled, "Hey, that's my envelope! Give it back!" Fred got off his bike and took the envelope and ran as fast as he could to his friends. They huddled together and opened the envelope. Inside was a...
Peter West said...
newspaper. When they looked at the date, a chill crept up their spines and made the hairs stand up on the back of their necks. The paper's publication date was a week away. That was not what had scared the boys, however. There, in bold over-sized type, the headline read...
Mary Louise said...
"Local Boys Are Heroes Following Earthquake." But the subhead was "They help family of their fallen friend." There was a photo of the town with buildings fallen down, but no photo of a "fallen friend." Then they saw the name: It was Fred's brother, Randy. Randy had been ...
Tarissa said...
...playing in his backyard with a couple friends the afternoon of the earthquake. His friends scattered at the first rumblings of the ground. Little Randy dashed to hide underneath the wooden swingset. Only seconds later, as the rumbles of the earthquake increased, the tall oak tree in the backyard was uprooted and crashed into the swingset, trapping Randy there...
Christie Wright Wild said...
...until someone came to help him. That someone was the second grade bully. Fred and all his friends looked up at Spike and glared. "How'd you know about my brother? Where'd this newspaper come from, anyway?" Spike took one look at Fred and said...
Oxygenink said...
"I subscribe."

Friday, August 19, 2011

Books About M.C. Escher: Art and Writing

This week's READ-4-LUCK pick is Palazzo Inverso D.B. Johnson.
Mauk is in a rut. Every day seems the same – wake up, work for the Master, repeat. Today, however, something is different. Mauk can’t put his finger on it until he visits the Master’s Grand Palazzo, which is still under construction.
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Year: 2010
Word Count: n/a
Book Level: n/a

Especially to turn the book upside down and look at the pictures over and over again. 

Very interesting. A quick read for bedtime, but make sure you GO SLOW AND SOAK UP ALL THE IMAGES.

TEACHERS:  A great way to integrate art and writing. Show students a picture (M.C. Escher or any other artist) and ask them to write a short story about it.

WRITERS:  I loved the middle and the ending. Great study for pacing! 
Take one of your stories and cut it in half. See if the text is where the middle of the story ended up. Work on pacing today.

Keep on keepin' on...


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