Perfect Picture Book Friday – The Camel Who Took A Walk, And The April PPBF Prize

Happy Friday, everyone!  Would anyone care for a donut?

Please!  Help yourselves!

For those of you who expressed concern, thank you, my sprained pancreas appears to be on the mend 🙂  But there will be no more interpretive dance for a while… 🙂

I’ve been trying to resist posting today’s Perfect Picture Book for a while because it is out of print.  But it is one of my all time favorite books ever, and since I got notification this week that one of my books is going out of print, I thought this would be a nice time to celebrate books that don’t always get as much recognition as one might hope.  This is a story my parents read to me, and that I read to my kids.  It was always a favorite in our house.  I hope you’ll be able to find a copy at your local library, or get a used one through some channel or other.  It’s really wonderful!

The Camel Who Took A Walk
Written By: Jack Tworkov
Illustrated By: Roger Duvoisin
Aladdin Books, 1951

Suitable For: ages 4-8

Themes/Topics: expectation/suspense, cause & effect/chain reaction, unexpected outcomes

Opening:  “The forest was dark and very quiet.
Not a creature was stirring.
Even the wind had stopped breathing.
Not a leaf was falling, not a blade of grass was moving.
And do you know why this was so?
it was just the time between night and day,
when night was ending
and day was about to begin.”

Brief Synopsis:  A very beautiful camel goes for a walk in the forest.  Unbeknownst to her, a tiger waits hidden “by leaves, flowers, vines and grasses.  He was hidden also by the darkness.”  But the tiger is not the only one waiting and watching.  Each of the creatures hidden in the forest has its own secret plan.  What will happen to the very beautiful camel?

Links To Resources: Camel Coloring Pages, Tiger Coloring Pages, Monkey Coloring Pages, discuss cause and effect, read other books where one thing leads to another, like If You Give A Pig A Pancake or Stuck.

Why I Like This Book:  For starters, the language is lyrical.  Just read that opening aloud to yourself and hear the music of those words!  The whole book is like this – simply a delight to read aloud because of the rhythm of the language.  For writers, it’s a great example of how to do language really well.  The description is also beautiful, and not the kind of thing we find so much in PBs these days:
Night in the forest is very dark, and it creeps away slowly.”
Suddenly the first glimmer of light trembled in the sky.
Her nose smelled the early morning sweetness, and her eyes took in all the blue and pink colors of the sky.”
Isn’t is beautiful?  But aside from the exquisite language, I love the way the book builds tension.  The camel approaches the hidden tiger.  She comes closer… and closer… and you just have to wonder, how will she get out of this?  The ending is deliciously unexpected!

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

Also, as you know, I like to thank all the wonderful participants in PPBF for their hard work each month by randomly selecting a blogger to receive a prize!  The winner for April is and the prize is JOANNA!!!  (And lest there be any confusion, as there was with Beth Doozenfloofer, that’s Joanna Marple :))  Please email me, Joanna, and let me know which you would like for your prize: *rummaging in my bag of goodies…* let’s see… your choice of The Writer’s Guide To Crafting Stories For Children by Nancy Lamb, Chloe by Peter McCarty (which I will be posting on PPBF next week or the week after – it doesn’t come out until May 15 but it’s really good!), or a $15 gift certificate to Merritt Bookstore (my own beloved local indie :))

Phyllis is still traveling – I hope you’ve all had a chance to keep up!  There should be posts from North Carolina and Italy, and maybe another from St, Lucia coming up soon!

I also hope you’re all hard at work on your Birthday Contest entries!  I am mulling… and hoping I’ve come up with an idea for the sample… but it remains to be seen 🙂

For those of you interested in Would You Read It (or simply in learning how to write a good pitch) there was an excellent post on Cheryl’s blog: How To Pitch Your Book.  The post uses a novel as an example, but it can easily be applied to picture books.  If you follow the basics rules, it will help you come up with a beautiful 3 sentence pitch.  Just right!

And as for NaPiBoWriWee, I’m happy to report that I’m technically ahead of schedule since as of this writing (on Thursday evening) I have already completed 4 PBs (which means I’m up-to-date until bedtime Saturday when I should have a fifth… which heaven knows how I will get written Saturday… Sunday either… hmm… maybe I’d better stay up a little longer!)  But RIGHT THIS SECOND, I’m ahead of the curve!

Now off you go to hop around the blogosphere and see all the Perfect Picture Books posted today.  PPB bloggers, please add your post-specific link to the list below.

Have a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious weekend everyone!  (I’m allowed to say that because Beth has dubbed me Susanna Poppins! :))

66 thoughts on “Perfect Picture Book Friday – The Camel Who Took A Walk, And The April PPBF Prize

  1. Vivian Kirkfield says:

    I'll have a chocolate covered one with sprinkles, please. 🙂

    Great choice of book, Susanna…I don't remember reading this one…and you know how I love older classics (like myself :)…I will definitely try to find a copy. Thanks for the link for the pitch info!

  2. Joanna Marple says:

    I have written a camel story and love camels, I have put this straight onto my TBR list. i think it is a shame we often have to cut such beautiful descriptive passages from our picture books today….

    And, WOOT, thank you indeed for this lovely surprise. Normally I would have taken a book, but as I am in the process of a huge move to (destination unknown at present!) I would love the Indie Gift certificate please!

  3. Rosalind Adam says:

    I love the language that's used in the extracts you've given us. Isn't it a shame that publishers don't feel the need to accept this type of manuscript these days. I read a couple of newly publishes picture books the other day and the language wasn't a patch on this extract. The plots were weak too.

  4. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Vivian, I thought you were one of the few people who might have read this, since you love the older books! But if you haven't, you must! It's so delightful! Enjoy the donut and the pitch info – I hope you'll find it helpful!

  5. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Camels do have such lovely eyes, don't they? I think it's the lashes 🙂 I am thrilled to be able to do something nice for you and something nice for my local indie at the same time and will send it out immediately… although I'm pretty sure I've accidentally deleted your address, so it would be great if you could email it to me again 🙂 Are you intending to move to another town, or a whole nother country?

  6. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    I always think I'm the only one that thinks that, Ros, so I'm glad you agree! I wish this book was still readily available. I usually give books as new baby gifts, and this one would definitely be in the chosen group if I could get it!

  7. patientdreamer says:

    *whew* finally… internet is sooooo slow today! lol.
    I love your camel book, what beautiful text, I can see why you love this classic. Must see if I can find it here.
    I'll have a white chocolate with sprinkles donnut thanks, although my hips won't thankyou for it….LOL!

  8. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    It's so great! Inside, the early pages are drawn in mostly dark blue ink to show ow dark it is just before dawn in the forest, and as the book progresses, the colors lighten, until by the end they're all pink and gold and green. Amazing!

  9. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    That's good! Maybe you can go live near Renee 🙂

    Joanna Marple wrote, in response to Susanna Leonard Hill:

    Yes, I like the idea of helping the Indie, too! If I can pull it off it will be a continent move!

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  10. Catherine Johnson says:

    Oh poor you I hope you are better now x
    I love the lyrical language in the camel book too, I wish I could read it.
    Which one of your books is out of print then? I'll have to catch up with Phyllis this weekend and I plan to write the birthday story today. Have a super weekend!

  11. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    There are other parts that are really fun – different language, but where the author really draws the reader in with a conversational tone – it's such a fun book! And the Boston creme is all yours – enjoy it 🙂

  12. Julie Hedlund says:

    “Even the wind stopped breathing.” How beautiful! And I SO want to know what happens to the camel!

  13. Kirsten Larson says:

    What a beautiful book, Susanna. It's amazing how the language and illustrations can still have an impact all these years later. I'm crossing my fingers that the LA County system has the book. And CONGRATS on your MSs this week.

  14. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    You have a good library! I hope you like it – let me know! 🙂

    Kirsten Larson (unregistered) wrote, in response to Kirsten Larson (unregistered):

    The library system has seven copies! I've got it on hold.

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  15. Stacy S. Jensen says:

    I'll see if my library has it. Good books are always worth sharing whether in print or out. I didn't do a book this week. I post and refer folks to this page, but explain all my PB reading involves the PPBF list and cookbooks. I'll be making my way through the list. I do like the Susanna Poppins title.

  16. Cathy Mealey says:

    Thank you for the donuts!
    Happy to report my library network has 2 copies of “Camel” because I HAVE to know what happens!
    Sorry to hear about 'Sword Fighting' moving out of print : – (
    but happy to hear of your progress with NaPiBoWriWe!
    Congrats to Joanna and best wishes on your big move!

  17. Beth Stilborn says:

    Where to start, where to start… A donut! That's where to start. I'm allowed to eat cyber-donuts, because the sugar doesn't throw my blood sugar out of whack when it's just virtual sugar. I'll have the one on the top, please.

    Next, congratulations, Joanna! (And good plan to add her surname. I suspect that when my copy of Puzzled by Pink arrives, Beth Doozenfloofer will be arm-wrestling me for it.)

    What a lovely sounding book. I miss books where lyrical language was allowed free rein. I've just checked our library's online catalog, and there is ONE copy in all the city's libraries, and it's library use only. But that's okay, at least I can sit in the library and read it. I think. I've not encountered a picture book in the “professional collection” yet. I will give it the old college try.

    May you find a way to stay ahead of the curve in NaNoPiBoWee as the weekend progresses. Does the “think system” work for picture books?

    Great post, Susanna Poppins! Practically perfect in every way!

  18. Amy Dixon says:

    This book looks really beautiful and I will be keeping my eyes peeled for it. Camels are underrepresented picture book mcs, don't you think? 🙂

  19. Beth Stilborn says:

    Since they're cyber-donuts, they replenish as they're taken from the plate, which is a good thing, because I, too, love Boston Creme the best! Erik, you have good taste!

  20. Dawnie23 says:

    I love the language in the Camel book! From the excerpts, it sounds like a nice going-to-bed book or a great classroom read after recess for calming.

  21. Beth Stilborn says:

    The “Think System” is the system Professor Harold Hill uses in The Music Man to “teach” the kids how to play instruments (since he can't play a note himself, incorrigible conman that he is). If they hum the Minuet in G, and THINK the Minuet in G, they will be able to PLAY the Minuet in G. (Doesn't quite work out that way…)

  22. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Oh, yes, of course! I should have remembered Dr. Harold Hill (no relation :))! I love The Music Man!

    Beth Stilborn (unregistered) wrote, in response to Susanna Leonard Hill:

    The “Think System” is the system Professor Harold Hill uses in The Music Man to “teach” the kids how to play instruments (since he can't play a note himself, incorrigible conman that he is). If they hum the Minuet in G, and THINK the Minuet in G, they will be able to PLAY the Minuet in G. (Doesn't quite work out that way…)

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  23. Christie Wild says:

    So sad to hear one of your books is being put in out of print status. Which one? So far, I have ONE great book ms for the NaPiBoWriWee. Can't wait to write today's first draft!

  24. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    It's No Sword Fighting In The House that's going out, Christie 😦 And best of luck with your writing today – I'm so hogtied by PPBF that I won't get to my ms until much later… So far I have 4 mss, but none in what I would consider a finished state. They all need significant work, but the bare bones are down, and I have an optimistic feeling that there's hope for them… eventually 🙂 (And of course for me, bare bones means they're all about 3 million words long and will have to be pared down to what really matters :))

  25. Darshana says:

    Had my chocolate Friday morning donut.
    Sorry to hear you have a book going out-of-print.

    The camel book sounds lovely, I hope my library has it, checking now. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  26. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Well, I'm grateful it stayed in print for 5 years – I have friends who have had great books go out of print in 8 months because they aren't selling enough. Enjoy your donut and the book 🙂

  27. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    I don't think that's humanly possible – even for me 🙂

    Hannah Holt (unregistered) wrote, in response to Hannah Holt (unregistered):

    This is the problem with reading post in backwards chronological order. I thought you had really sprained your pancreas.

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  28. Clarike Bowman-Jahn says:

    Yes, I agree that the language is beautiful in “Camel who took a walk. Sounds a little like a poem and reminds us writers that the rhythm is important in our manuscripts.

    Congrats to Joanna.

  29. Tiltonph says:

    This book sound beautiful and mysterious. Oh my, adjectives the depict beauty and add to the lyrical nature of the story. Sounds like how I'd like to write book. Will have to look this one up!

  30. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    He really does it so well, because for all those beautiful moments of description, the text is not overly long – probably longer than today's sweet spot of 300-550 words – I didn't count – but not as long as many of that era.

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