Would You Read It Wednesday #256 – Oscar’s Noggin (PB) PLUS The May Pitch Pick!!!

Howdy, Friends!

Big doings in our bustling metropolis (population about 200 plus some bears and bobcats and a lot of deer.)  My sister is coming to visit!!!

So now that I’ve updated you on what will probably be the entire year’s worth of news here in Busy Town 🙂 let’s get down to business, starting with the May Pitch Pick!

Behold the contenders:

#1 Gabrielle – Follow In My Footsteps (PB ages 4-8)

When his dad is injured on a winter hike, Zach must find help. Without a cell phone or map, he worries he won’t find the way home in time until his father’s words echo in his head, “Just follow in my footsteps.”

#2 Joanna – Princess Ickybelle (PB ages 4-8)

When messy and mucky Princess Ickybelle needs a bath, the fed-up Queen calls for help. Queen Granny arrives with some terrific tricks up her sleeve but Princess Ickybelle leads Granny on a wild goose chase around the castle, determined to foil Granny’s perfect plans. When the Princess finally succumbs to a scrubbing, she discovers that some Princesses aren’t meant to stay spotless for long.

#3 Erin – Colors Want To Play (PB ages 3-6)

In COLORS WANT TO PLAY, colors (and maybe you) unravel in a fun-filled journey of demanding direction from the hues themselves. One color is missing and needs some coaxing to join the others. Readers learn the ride can be just as much fun as the destination. Don’t forget comfortable shoes!

#4 Suzie – Gracie Gopher IT Specialist (PB ages 4-8)

Gracie Gopher is an Infrastructure Tunnel (IT) Specialist for Ground City. She is helping Ground City set up and build its tunnel infrastructure. When water blocks the drainage tunnel, Gracie goes down to debug the system. The problem is more difficult than anticipated, so Gracie will have to think fast and come up with a solution on the fly!

#5 Cortney – Olive Hills (PB ages 4-8)

Elle’s mind drifts through an olive grove as she tries to keep memories of her grandma alive. She surprisingly finds herself with a familiar, yet forgetful brontosaurus. The two set out to retrace their footprints in hope to relive fading memories. When they reach the giant tree where Elle’s grandma used to sit and reflect, they discover love ones will always be with you no matter where they are.

Please read and evaluate these 5 lovely pitches and vote in the poll below by Sunday June 18 at 5 PM Eastern for the one you think is best and most deserves a read and comments by editor Erin Molta!

As a reward for all that hard work, we shall now have Something Chocolate.  And okay.  I’m just not even going to pretend health food today.  This is cream cheese and sugar and chocolate!  Enjoy! 🙂

Something Chocolate: No Bake Brownie Batter Cheesecake

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Chambrae who says, “My name is Chambrae Griffith. I studied political science in college and am trying my best to use my education to effectively govern the four little dictators currently running my house hold. I have a love for reading and running, all though I don’t recommend doing them at the same time. Treadmills and page turns don’t mix well. I have always wanted to write and since my youngest has started school I figured no time is as good as the present!”

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Oscar’s Noggin

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)

The Pitch: Oscar has an extraordinary noggin! He can decode any dilemma, unravel any riddle and obliterate the most overwhelming obstacles – except one. Oscar must go to school and school is simply not nogginey enough for a kid with such big ideas. When his teacher tires of Oscar’s disastrous attempts to make school more stimulating and hires a substitute, Oscar’s noggin starts to spin. Has he finally found a way to finagle his freedom?

So what do you think?  Would You Read It?  YES, MAYBE or NO?

If your answer is YES, please feel free to tell us what you particularly liked and why the pitch piqued your interest.  If your answer is MAYBE or NO, please feel free to tell us what you think could be better in the spirit of helping Chambrae improve her pitch.  Helpful examples of possible alternate wordings are welcome.  (However, I must ask that comments be constructive and respectful.  I reserve the right not to publish comments that are mean because that is not what this is about.)

 

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on Would You Read It in the dropdown under For Writers in the bar above.  There are openings in July, so you have a little time to polish your pitch before putting it up for helpful feedback and have a chance to have it read by editor Erin Molta!

Chambrae is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to spending a week with my sister and her family!

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

 

Oh, and P.S. – if anyone has a question for the July 3 Oh Susanna, please send it in!!!

 

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Green Green: A Community Gardening Story

Happy Friday, Everyone!

So, over Memorial Day weekend I put my planters full of flowers out on the back porch for summer.  (Please see exhibit A)

Exhibit A

 

(I refer to them as “flowers” because I grew up in an apartment in New York City where our windowsills were decorated with pigeons and we didn’t have a back porch.  I’ll hazard that some of my “flowers” are petunias.  And some others are possibly geraniums.  But that’s as far out on that limb as I’ll crawl! 🙂 )

Anyway, then we had a violent thunderstorm with fierce wind and giant hail.

I will not depress you with exhibit B – the resulting carnage.  I’ll just say it was sad!  Very sniff VERY sniffsniff sad!

While I am waiting for my poor little flowers to resurrect themselves (which is uphill work for them due to continued rain and not very much healing sunshine), I will share a gorgeous picture book about a garden that does grow 🙂  I think it will inspire us all to go out and spend the weekend digging in dirt 🙂

Green Green

Title: Green Green: A Community Gardening Story

Written By: Marie Lamba & Baldev Lamba

Illustrated By: Sonia Sanchez

Farrar, Straus & Giroux, May 9, 2017, fiction

Suitable For Ages: 2-5

Themes/Topics: community, environmental preservation, gardening, city, nature

Opening: “Green green,
Fresh and clean.
Brown brown,
Dig the ground.”

Brief Synopsis: First a green meadow is wide and fresh and clean for kids to play in, and brown dirt is just right for digging. But buildings grow up around the green space, gradually crowding it out.  Will the community lose their green?

Screen Shot 2017-06-08 at 1.55.22 PM

text copyright Marie Lamba & Baldev Lamba 2017, illustration copyright Sonia Sanchez 2017

Links To Resources: wonderful resource material at the back of the book gives a guide to making your world more green, helping bees and butterflies, and making bee and butterfly decorations.

Why I Like This Book: Simply told with gorgeous pictures (so beautiful I couldn’t decide which interior spread to share because I wanted to share them all!), this story is perfect to introduce youngest readers to the idea of community gardening.  It’s also empowering because it’s the kids who band together to save the green space.  I love the concept that even if a child lives in the city, he or she can have a garden and care for our earth.  The illustrations are wonderful and offer something for everyone from plants to animals to construction vehicles 🙂

Screen Shot 2017-06-08 at 1.55.04 PM

text copyright Marie Lamba & Baldev Lamba 2017, illustration copyright Sonia Sanchez 2017

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 🙂

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

PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific links (and any other info you feel like filling out 🙂 ) to the form below so we can all come see what fabulous picture books you’ve chosen to share this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!! 🙂  I’m off to the Children’s Writers of the Hudson Valley Conference.  I hope I’ll see some of you there! 🙂

 

Would You Read It Wednesday – Topsy Turvy Fun And Games!

Good Morning Everyone!

You will never guess what happened!

The person who was scheduled to pitch today, well, uh… she never showed up!!!

I realized yesterday morning that she’d scheduled a date but never sent her pitch.  I emailed her immediately, but though I waited very patiently for about 16 hours I sadly got no reply.

“Whatever shall I do?” quoth I.  “I have no pitch for tomorrow!”

Not wanting to disappoint you, and being full of hare-brained ideas incredibly resourceful I thought, why not play a Would You Read It game?

So I thought one up on the spot! 🙂

First, I will fortify you with Something Chocolate to gear you up mentally!  It would not be fair to drag you into a game without a little sustenance!  (Besides, it wouldn’t be Wednesday morning without chocolate!)

Let’s see… how about some Extreme Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies?

Scrumdiddlyumptious!!!!  Plenty to go around.  Have 5 🙂

Now that you’re raring to go, here’s the game:

I will share three pitches/jacket copy for upcoming picture book releases, all taken from the Amazon descriptions, and you say in the comments whether or not you would read them based on only the description I supply – no title, no author or illustrator, no publishing house, no cover image, NOTHING!  If you happen to recognize them, try to put your knowledge aside and remain objective, evaluating only on the basis of the supplied information.

Anyone who would like to increase the fun may post the pitch/jacket copy for a picture book of their choosing in the same way in the comments and let us respond to that too!

Okay?  Sound good?

Here we go!

#1 – Yes, Maybe, or No?
“Princess Magnolia and Princess Sneezewort have plans . . . mysterious plans, like a princess playdate! They dress-up slam! They karaoke jam! They playhouse romp and snack-time stomp! But then a shout from outside Princess Sneezewort’s castle interrupts their fun. It’s a monster trying to eat someone’s kitty! This is a job for the Princess in Black. Yet when the Princess in Black gets there, she finds only a masked stranger and no monster in sight . . . or is there?”

#2- Yes, Maybe, or No?
“When Kiniro, a young mermaid, comes upon a gorgeous house made of seashells and coral, she is so curious that she goes inside. She’s thrilled to find a just-right breakfast, pretty little chair, and, best of all, a comfy bed that rocks in the current.

But when the Octopus family returns home, they are not happy to find that someone has been eating their food and breaking their things. Baby has the biggest shock when she finds the mermaid asleep in her bed! Luckily, shock turns to happiness when Kiniro gives her a thoughtful gift before escaping from the twenty-four arms coming her way.”

#3- Yes, Maybe, or No?
“Erin loves to lie on the jetty, looking for the weirdest fish in the sea—the weirder, the better! And she knows the best ones must be further out, where her mum won’t let her go . . .

Out there in the deepest sea lies the Black Rock: a huge, dark and spiky mass that is said to destroy any boats that come near it! Can Erin uncover the truth behind this mysterious legend?”

So now!  You be the judge!  Would You Read #1, #2, or #3?  Yes, maybe, or no?

Post your response in the comments in the form of #1 – yes, #2 – no, #3 -maybe, or whatever, and if you care to say why you can put that too! 🙂  We can take a poll at the end (and by “poll” I mean I can go through the comments and count 🙂 ) and see which book gets the most YES votes 🙂

Extra Credit/Bonus (which means extra cookies for you if you get it 🙂 ) I noticed something after I’d chosen these three books.  Can you guess what I noticed?

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!  These are actual blurbs by actual publishers, so I will be VERY interested to know your response to these “pitches” without the aid of title, cover, etc!

Oh, Susanna! – What Picture Books Can Help A Child Cope With Loss Of A Loved One?

Good Morning, Everyone!

So sorry to be late with this post!  Cable is coming to Blueberry Hill but it’s not here yet! and heavy HEAVY rain last night took out my internet (just for a change! 🙂 ).  Since I spent the weekend in New Brunswick at NJSCBWI (SO awesome, and SO great to see everyone I got to see!!!) I did not write this ahead of time and schedule the post.

(Okay.  Who am I kidding?  I’m always writing posts at the last minute!  You know me too well 🙂 )

Anyway, although today’s topic is sad, I think it’s a very important one for parents, teachers, kids, and writers, so I hope even though you might not have need of it right now, you’ll tuck it away as a resource just in case the need should arise.

Today’s question comes from Anonymous who says, “I am in the unfortunate and sad situation of needing to find picture books about loss.  My friend has two young kids – ages 6 and 3 – who lost their father 2 1/2 years ago, and now recently lost a cousin to SIDS.  I would love some recommendations for books to help them understand death and deal with it.”

First, let me take a moment to say how sorry I am for all the loss – to your friend’s kids, to your friend, and to you.  So much hardship, so much to cope with at such a young age… it is heartbreaking.

But one of the things books are good for – not just for kids, but for all of us – is helping us to understand the common life challenges we all share, and helping us to know we’re not alone in the experience.  There is comfort in knowing that others know and understand.

I’m sure there are many people besides our questioner for today – parents, teachers, grandparents, and other good friends seeking to help someone they love – who will find the following list of books useful at some point.  Although these are all amazing books, I recommend that you pre-read before sharing with your child.  Some books may not be quite right for your child’s personality or sensibilities or specific situation.  Browse the list and find the ones best suited.

A side note to writers: well-written books on difficult topics are always in demand, precisely because hard things happen even to the very young and they (and the adults in their lives who search for a way to explain) need help to find their way through the tough times.  The books listed below are excellent and may serve as mentor texts for anyone trying to write picture books on painful topics.

Boats For PapaBagley, Jessixa, Boats For Papa (Roaring Brook Press, June 2015): “”They didn’t have much, but they always had each other.” So begins this spare tale of longing and acceptance. Buckley and his mother (a pair of beavers) spend their days near their ocean-front home, gathering driftwood treasures, playing together, and having picnics in the sand. His favorite pastime is using his discoveries to make miniature ships to send out to sea with a note that reads, “For Papa, Love Buckley.” He is sure the boats will reach his father if they don’t wash back up on shore. He works tirelessly over the course of a year to create new and beautiful boats for his absent parent. One evening when he forgets his customary note, he runs back to grab a piece of paper from Mama’s desk and discovers his ships hidden there.That night when Mama goes to retrieve Buckley’s boat, the note reads, “For Mama, Love Buckley.” Bagley’s tender watercolors and lyrical text give weight and volume to a family’s grief. Her portrayal of Buckley’s hope and his mother’s acts of love are heartbreakingly beautiful and authentic. The ambiguity of Papa’s absence allows this story to transcend specifics and gives it a timeless and universal appeal. VERDICT The only thing better than this title for anyone who has experienced loss is the redemptive nature of time.—Jenna Boles, Greene County Public Library, Beavercreek, OH” (from School Library Journal)

Where Is GrandpaBarron, T.A., Where Is Grandpa? (Philomel Books, January 2000): “Where is Grandpa? This question haunts a young boy on the day his grandpa dies. Grandpa has been so richly present in so many places–at the tree house, at the waterfall, at the door ready to carve pumpkins. But where is he now? As the boy searches for an answer, he makes a surprising discovery: perhaps Grandpa is closer to home than anyone ever realized. In this deeply moving tale, the poetic words of T. A. Barron and the luminous illustrations of Chris K. Soentpiet remind us all that a family’s sorrow can be shared–and that even in the greatest loss, love can still be found.” (from the Amazon description)

Sun KissesBernardo, Susan Schaefer, Sun Kisses, Moon Hugs (Inner Flower Child Books, November 2012): “Sun Kisses, Moon Hugs is a beautiful picture book with a simple but powerful message: love lasts forever. Lyrical writing and delightful illustrations provide perfect bedtime reading for any child. The book is also ideal for supporting children through grief, separation anxiety, divorce, illness or other traumatic situations, by wrapping them in a warm and comforting emotional security blanket and opening a dialogue on the nature of love. Even when loved ones cannot be with us, we can feel their presence through our deep connections to the natural world. Sun Kisses, Moon Hugs has received glowing testimonials from parents, librarians, social workers, teachers, hospice caregivers…and most importantly, kids.” (from the Amazon description)

Tess's TreeBrallier, Jess, Tess’s Tree (Harper Collins, August 2009):
“Tess loved her tree.
She liked to swing on it
and sit in its shade
and catch its leaves in the fall.
When Tess’s tree has to come down, Tess is very sad . . . until she finds a way to gather friends and family and celebrate her tree’s remarkable life.” (from the Amazon description)  Reviewer Jack Keely adds: “This emotionally resonant picture book tells the story of Tess who is “nine years, three months, and two days old” and her love for a one hundred and seventy five year old tree. When the tree has to be cut down, Tess must find a way to deal with the anger and sorrow she feels. Jess Brallier has managed to craft a story about dealing with loss and grief in a way that a child can understand, and he has done it with charm, sensitivity, and a touch of humor. The illustrations by Peter H. Reynolds have a subtle, soft focus charm. With expert lines and a wash of color Mr. Reynolds creates memorable images that perceptively illuminate the text.”

When Dino'sBrown, Laura Krasny, When Dinosaurs Die: A Guide To Understanding Death (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, April 1998): ” The authors explain in simple language the feelings people may have regarding the death of a loved one and the ways to honor the memory of someone who has died.” (from the Amazon description)  An added note from reviewers: although this book is written and intended for picture book aged kids and is nicely done, it does touch on many ways that people CAN die including some that may not be appropriate for your child’s specific situation.

Fall of Freddie LeafBuscaglia, Leo, The Fall Of Freddie The Leaf (Slack Incorporated, June 1982): “This story by Leo Buscaglia is a warm, wonderfully wise and strikingly simple story about a leaf names Freddie. How Freddie and his companion leaves change with the passing seasons, finally falling to the ground with winter’s snow, is an inspiring allegory illustrating the delicate balance between life and death.  Both children and adults will be deeply touched by this inspiring book.” (from the jacket)

RabbitynessEmpson, Jo, Rabbityness (Child’s Play International, November 2012): “I am an elementary school counselor and am using the book in my practice.
Sometimes I get requests from parents or teachers for books dealing with very specific grief situations. If I can’t find the perfect fit from my bookshelf I definitely feel frustrated. Rabbityness is a really special story I can use to cover a lot of different grief or tragedy situations. Rabbit disappears in the story – but no one knows why or what happened to him. I like that there’s no answer as to what happened because I can help the child relate their own story to Rabbit.
“One day. Rabbit disappeared. The other rabbits were very sad. They couldn’t find him anywhere. The woods were quiet and gray. All that Rabbit had left was a hole…a DEEP dark hole.”
Wow. The deep dark hole can represent a lot of different feelings for children. The second part of the story shows the other rabbits learning how to cope with their loss. What I see as a healing step for kids is to talk about how to fill the void they might be feeling. What coping skills could they use to fill that deep dark hole…….
Absolutely love this one and see it HELPING me as a counselor and the grieving children I work with throughout the year.” (from an Amazon review by an elementary school counselor)

Goblin
Fox, Mem, The Goblin And The Empty Chair (Beach Lane Books, September 2009): “In a time long past, in a land far away, a family has suffered an unspeakable loss.
But a lonely goblin has been watching. And he knows what to do to help them heal.
From internationally acclaimed picture book masters Mem Fox and Leo and Diane Dillon, here is a rich and moving original fairy tale about family, friendship, and the power compassion has to unite us all.” (from the Amazon description)

The Next Place
Hanson, Warren, The Next Place (Waldman House Press, August 2002): “”The Next Place” is an inspirational journey of light and hope to a place where earthly hurts are left behind. An uncomplicated journey of awe and wonder to a destination without barriers.” (from the Amazon description)

Death Is Stupid
Higginbotham, Anastasia, Death Is Stupid (The Feminist Press at CUNY, April 2016): “This exploration of death and grieving begins with a boy mourning the loss of his grandma and his bold observation that “When a loved one dies/people can say some/…stupid things”—referring to the platitudes offered to him (e.g., “Just be grateful for the time you had with her.”). Through mixed-media collage, speech bubbles, and simple text, Higginbotham explores a child’s experience of loss: “Dying is not a punishment. But it mostly doesn’t feel fair.” The bold collages, set against a plain brown background, visually reinforce the child’s disoriented swirl of emotion. A few of the images are unclear or ambiguous, but the boy’s grief and responses are kidlike and recognizable. Readers follow along as he contemplates the reactions of his family members, imagines having a conversation with Gramma, and continues to feel her absence in his life. Eventually, he shares cherished memories with his father, and they work together in Gramma’s garden. The author recommends activities that may help (“keep someone and, at the same time, let them go”), such as reading the same books that they enjoyed. She also offers suggestions for dealing with the death of a pet. VERDICT Clearly written to validate and respect a child’s feelings, this book is a useful resource for parenting collections or patrons looking for a relatable exploration of death.—Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA” (from School Library Journal)

Heart And BottleJeffers, Oliver, The Heart And The Bottle, (Philomel Books, March 2010): “A little girl delights in the boundless discoveries of the world around her with an older gentleman, likely her grandfather. But then the man’s chair is empty, and the girl puts her heart in a bottle to help with the hurt. As she grows older, she loses her sense of wonderment, and it isn’t until she meets another young girl that she finds a way to free her heart again. This book showcases some absolutely captivating artwork. The way in which Jeffers employs pictures in word balloons to convey the limberness of imagination is brilliant: the man points to the sky to talk about constellations, while the girl sees stars as inflamed bumblebees. But what begins promisingly runs into trouble, and it’s not clear who the message is directed toward: children just opening their eyes to the world, or parents who have lost their sense of curiosity? Even if children don’t glean much from the abstractions and subtleties of the narrative, they’re nevertheless in for a treat with the unforgettable visuals of imagination at play. Preschool-Grade 1. –Ian Chipman” (from Booklist)

Invisible StringKarst, Patrice, The Invisible String (Devorss & Co, September 2000): “Specifically written to address children’s fear of being apart from the ones they love, The Invisible String delivers a particularly compelling message in today’s uncertain times that though we may be separated from the ones we care for, whether through anger, or distance or even death, love is the unending connection that binds us all, and, by extension, ultimately binds every person on the planet to everyone else. Parents and children everywhere who are looking for reassurance and reaffirmation of the transcendent power of love, to bind, connect and comfort us through those inevitable times when life challenges us!” (from the Amazon description)

Ida AlwaysLevis, Caron, Ida, Always (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, February 2016): “A beautiful, honest portrait of loss and deep friendship told through the story of two iconic polar bears.
Gus lives in a big park in the middle of an even bigger city, and he spends his days with Ida. Ida is right there. Always.
Then one sad day, Gus learns that Ida is very sick, and she isn’t going to get better. The friends help each other face the difficult news with whispers, sniffles, cuddles, and even laughs. Slowly Gus realizes that even after Ida is gone, she will still be with him—through the sounds of their city, and the memories that live in their favorite spots.
Ida, Always is an exquisitely told story of two best friends—inspired by a real bear friendship—and a gentle, moving, needed reminder that loved ones lost will stay in our hearts, always.” (from the Amazon description)

LifetimesMellonie, Bryan, Lifetimes: The Beautiful Way To Explain Death To Children (Bantam, October 1983): “When the death of a relative, a friend, or a pet happens or is about to happen . . . how can we help a child to understand?
Lifetimes is a moving book for children of all ages, even parents too. It lets us explain life and death in a sensitive, caring, beautiful way. Lifetimes tells us about beginnings. And about endings. And about living in between. With large, wonderful illustrations, it tells about plants. About animals. About people. It tells that dying is as much a part of living as being born. It helps us to remember. It helps us to understand.
Lifetimes . . . a very special, very important book for you and your child. The book that explains—beautifully—that all living things have their own special Lifetimes.” (from the GoodReads description)

The ScarMoundlic, Charlotte, The Scar (Candlewick, November 2011): “When the boy in this story wakes to find that his mother has died, he is overwhelmed with sadness, anger, and fear that he will forget her. He shuts all the windows to keep in his mother’s familiar smell and scratches open the cut on his knee to remember her comforting voice. He doesn’t know how to speak to his dad anymore, and when Grandma visits and throws open the windows, it’s more than the boy can take–until his grandmother shows him another way to feel that his mom’s love is near. With tenderness, touches of humor, and unflinching emotional truth, Charlotte Moundlic captures the loneliness of grief through the eyes of a child, rendered with sympathy and charm in Olivier Tallec’s expressive illustrations.” (from the Amazon description)

Flat RabbitOskarsson, Bardur, The Flat Rabbit (Owlkids, September 2014): “When a dog and a rat come upon a rabbit flattened on the road in their neighborhood, they contemplate her situation, wondering what they should do to help her. They decide it can’t be much fun to lie there; she should be moved. But how? And to where? Finally, the dog comes up with an inspired and unique idea and they work together through the night to make it happen. Once finished, they can’t be positive, but they think they have done their best to help the flat rabbit get somewhere better than the middle of the road where they found her. Sparely told with simple artwork, The Flat Rabbit treats the concept of death with a sense of compassion and gentle humor — and a note of practicality. In the end, the dog’s and the rat’s caring, thoughtful approach results in an unusual yet perfect way to respect their departed friend.” (from the Amazon review) This book received starred reviews from Kirkus and Booklist, but a few other reviewers felt it might be too humorous for children actively grieving, so again, check it out first 🙂

Goodbye BookParr, Todd, The Goodbye Book (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, November 2015): “This picture book shows young children that even when goodbyes bring sadness and unfamiliar emotions, those feelings will ease with the help of time, remembrance, and support. The Goodbye Book addresses the range of emotions someone might feel after a loss, including anger, sadness, lack of joy, and denial, as well as the desire to stop eating or sleeping. Parr explains that even when a person starts to feel better, there could be moments of grief or confusion, but at the end of the day, another person will always be available to provide love and comfort. The colorful illustrations, in an naive, childlike style and outlined in black, feature a goldfish that experiences the emotions discussed throughout the book. Young readers can infer what the goldfish is feeling by looking at the picture, and the imaginative representation gives the book a soothing tone. The Goodbye Book never specifies what the exact scenario is, making it an appropriate choice whether a child is dealing with death or another difficult situation. VERDICT An honest but gentle look at the grief that comes with saying goodbye. An essential purchase for all early childhood collections.—Liz Anderson, D.C. Public Library” (from School Library Journal)

Cry Heart

Ringtved, Glenn, Cry, Heart, But Never Break (Enchanted Lion, February 2016): “Aware their grandmother is gravely ill, four siblings make a pact to keep death from taking her away. But Death does arrive all the same, as it must. He comes gently, naturally. And he comes with enough time to share a story with the children that helps them to realize the value of loss to life and the importance of being able to say goodbye.” (from the Amazon description)

 

 
Waterbugs and Dragonflies
Stickney, Doris, Waterbugs And Dragonflies: Explaining Death To Young Children (Pilgrim Press, December 1998): “Waterbugs and Dragonflies is a graceful fable written by Doris Stickney who sought a meaningful way to explain to neighborhood children the death of a five-year-old friend. The small book is beautifully illustrtated by artist Gloria Ortiz Hernandez.” (from the Barnes & Noble description)

 
The Memory Tree
Teckentrup, Britta, The Memory Tree (Orchard Books, November 2014): “A beautiful and heartfelt picture book to help children celebrate the memories left behind when a loved one dies.
Fox has lived a long and happy life in the forest. One day, he lies down in his favourite clearing, takes a deep breath, and falls asleep for ever.
Before long, Fox’s friends begin to gather in the clearing. One by one, they tell stories of the special moments that they shared with Fox. And, as they share their memories, a tree begins to grow, becoming bigger and stronger, sheltering and protecting all the animals in the forest, just as Fox did when he was alive.
This uplifting, lyrical story about the loss of a loved one is perfect for sharing and will bring comfort to both children and parents. (from the Amazon description)

BadgerVarley, Susan, Badger’s Parting Gifts (HarperCollins, July 1992): “Warm and sensitive illustrations reflect the hopeful mood of this tale about woodland animals learning to accept their friend Badger’s death.” (from Publisher’s Weekly)
“Badger’s friends are overwhelmed with their loss when he dies. By sharing their memories of his gifts, they find the strength to face the future with hope.” (from School Library Journal)

Jubilee
Yeomans, Ellen, Jubilee (Eerdmans Books For Young Readers, January 2010): “This book works beautifully on two levels: it shares the simple joyous experience of a family reunion/picnic and, on a deeper level, if the adult reader chooses, it introduces the child to heaven. The book helps the reader envision a loving, light-filled place that exists beyond life as we know it. Beautiful illustrations, lyrical text. The author should be congratulated for approaching the very difficult idea of “what happens to us after we die” with a very tender hand.” (from reviewer Susan Keeter)

I’m sure this list just begins to scratch the surface.  There are undoubtedly others that have been reviewed for Perfect Picture Book Friday (actually, several of these have been.)  (And Perfect Picture Books also includes books that more specifically address loss of a pet or loss of a beloved item/object.)

If anyone has other titles they highly recommend to add to this list, Anonymous and I would be grateful.

Have a question for Oh, Susanna!?  Please send it to me!!!  Our next installment will be on Monday July 3!

Have a marvelous Monday, everyone (in spite of our heavy topic for today!) 🙂

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Lost In The Woods

Happy June, Everybody!

It seems we’ve had rain forever. It’s so bad that the farmers can’t get enough rain-free days in a row to cut the hay, and it’s now well past time for first cutting.  Wednesday evening we had a violent thunderstorm with tornado warnings and hail that turned my porch garden into a cuisinart special.

But yesterday morning, as if to welcome June, we had a gorgeous clear sunny morning – the kind that makes you glad you’re alive to be out in it.

My daughter and I went for a walk.  We saw Mama and Papa Goose out on the pond with their 6-gosling flotilla (I tried to get you a video but they were too far away!)  And upon our return to the driveway we found a tiny fawn – not quite newborn, but pretty close, maybe a couple weeks old.  The fawn and our two dogs came face to face.  They were all the same size, looking at each other, and for a moment no one knew what to do!  Then I called the dogs off (they did not listen!), and the fawn bleated for his mama who was quite nearby and came running, and I panicked lest the dogs hurt the fawn or the mama deer hurt the dogs! and there was a bit of chaos!  But in the end I got the dogs in the house and the fawn and her mama scampered safely off into the green woods.

So after that, there was no doubt about what Perfect Picture Book I would share today!

I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do!

Lost In The Woods: A Photographic Fantasy

Written By & Photographed By: Carl R. Sams II & Jean Stoick

Published By: Carl R. Sams II Photography, June, 2004, Reality Based Fiction

Suitable For: ages 5 and up

Themes/Topics: Animals, Patience, Seasons (Spring), Trust

Opening: “The Spring frogs sing-singing with a thousand trilling voices were silenced by the rising sun.  New life came into the woods before the sun touched the tops of the trees.  He slept quietly in the tall grass on the north edge of the meadow where the trees start the forest.”

Brief Synopsis:  The woodland creatures are worried that a newborn fawn might be lost.  “Mama said to wait right here,” the fawn whispers.  “She will come back.”  But the other animals aren’t convinced and offer their advice and help.  Does the doe come back?  What do you think? 🙂

Links To Resources:  The book itself is a resource.  Page after page of gorgeous photographs of woodland creatures will introduce children to animals and birds they may never have seen, especially if they live in the city.  The very last page of the book challenges readers to look back through the pictures and see if they can find a number of hidden animals.  Activity pages, Lesson Plan.  If you’re lucky enough to live in a rural area, go for a “deer drive” in the evening, cruising slowly along back roads, and see how many different animals and birds you can spot 🙂

Why I Like This Book:  I love this story!  It’s simple and sweet.  On the first page where the fawn appears, he is a tangle of fragile limbs.  His spotted fur helps him blend into the forest floor.  By the last page, he has mastered those rascally legs and can be seen bounding through the meadow grass with such joy you can’t help but smile at his airs above the ground.  But the best part is the photography.  It’s breathtaking.  Absolutely stunning!  The fawn’s fur looks like you could reach out and touch it.  You can see his eyelashes!  And there are so many other animals pictured – chipmunk, goslings, a tree frog whose camouflage is amazing!, cardinal, red-winged blackbird, raccoon, and many others.  I know I’m an animal lover (and therefore biased :)) but I think this book is exquisitely beautiful and one that anyone would enjoy!

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

PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific links (and any other info you feel like filling out 🙂 ) to the form below so we can all come see what fabulous picture books you’ve chosen to share this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!! 🙂  I hope to see lots of you at the NJSCBWI Conference!!!  And please tune in Monday for the next installment of Oh Susanna!

Also, just a heads up that we will have 2 more weeks of Perfect Picture Books – Friday June 9 and Friday June 16 – and then go on hiatus for the summer!

Would You Read It Wednesday #255 – Olive Hills (PB)

Howdy folks!  Can you believe tomorrow is June???!!!

April showers bring May flowers… what do May flowers bring?  (And don’t say “pilgrims”! 🙂 )  I’m serious… are May flowers supposed to bring something June?  Maybe June bugs? (About which my mother has a dreadful story concerning what her aunt used to do to them which I will not share at this hour of the morning!)  🙂  Up on Blueberry Hill I’m afraid the answer is deer flies, but that doesn’t sound very nice!  We also get lovely things like this:

IMG_0137

awww! 🙂

and this:

IMG_1744

Mountain Laurel

I think everyone should say in the comments what they think May flowers bring for June!  Who knows?  There could be a story in that…!

Anyway, let’s see May out in style with Something Chocolate!  How about Mocha Chocolate Chunk Cookies today?

Mmm mmm good!!!  Perfect with a nice hot cup of coffee (or a nice cold cup of iced coffee if you happen to live somewhere where the weather is seasonable – as opposed to here where, with the exception of 2 90 degree days, we’re still keeping an eye out for frost! 🙂 )

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Cortney.  Cortney Benvenuto is a picture book writer and illustrator living with her family in Portland, Oregon. She is an active member of SCBWI and 12×12 and loves reading, writing, and illustrating.

Find her on the web at:

 

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Olive Hills

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)

The Pitch: Elle, a little girl struggling with ways to remember her beloved grandma chances upon Olive, a forgetful brontosaurus in search of something she cannot recall.  Together the two set out to retrace their fading steps in hopes to relive their memories before the oncoming storm washes them away.  As they comfort each other in this poignant, sweet journey of love, loss, and remembrance they discover, sometimes you have to let go to find what you’re looking for.

So what do you think?  Would You Read It?  YES, MAYBE or NO?

If your answer is YES, please feel free to tell us what you particularly liked and why the pitch piqued your interest.  If your answer is MAYBE or NO, please feel free to tell us what you think could be better in the spirit of helping Cortney improve her pitch.  Helpful examples of possible alternate wordings are welcome.  (However, I must ask that comments be constructive and respectful.  I reserve the right not to publish comments that are mean because that is not what this is about.)

 

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on Would You Read It in the dropdown under For Writers in the bar above.  There are openings in June, so you could get your pitch up pretty soon for helpful feedback and a chance to have it read by editor Erin Molta!

Cortney is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to the New Jersey SCBWI conference this weekend!  Anyone else going?

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

 

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Tuesday Tucks Me In

Good Morning, Everyone!

It’s Perfect Picture Book Friday…and it’s the front end of a long weekend (at least here in the US)… and it’s the psychological beginning of summer (which technically goes from June 21 – September 21, but really seems to be more measured by Memorial Day to Labor Day! 🙂 )  So that’s a pretty extra-special good Friday, wouldn’t you say? 🙂

Since it’s Memorial Day weekend, my choice for today is on a more serious topic, but the book is well written – on a level that kids can understand and appreciate without it being scary/upsetting in any way – and I hope you’ll enjoy it and find it a useful addition to your libraries.

Title: Tuesday Tucks Me In: The Loyal Bond Between A Soldier And His Service Dog

Written By: Luis Carlos Montalvan & Bret Witter

Photographs By: Dan Dion

Roaring Brook Press, May 2014, Nonfiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: service/therapy animals, military life, photographic book, love, nonfiction

Opening: “In the morning, every morning, my friend Luis wakes up to . . .   this.”

Brief Synopsis: After tours in Iraq left him wounded and distressed, Captain Luis Montalvan returned home to a life he was no longer comfortable living.  He reached a point where he was afraid to leave his apartment.  But a service dog named Tuesday changed everything for him.  Tuesday helps Luis with daily tasks, and he calms and comforts Luis by always being there for him.  Tuesday has made it possible for Luis to live a rewarding life.

Links To Resources: Facts About Service Dogs for Kids; Wayside Elementary Schools Special Needs Awareness Program (SNAP) (video); discuss how animals make you feel and what they do for you; discuss whether you have veterans in your family,  or members of your family currently serving in the armed forces –  how does that make you feel?

Why I Like This Book:  Every day, men and women risk their lives overseas for our freedom and way of life.  When they return home, it is often difficult to readjust, and to carry on with a life so at odds with what they’ve seen and survived.  This book gives kids a glimpse of the difficulties a soldier might face upon coming home at an appropriate and accessible level.  It also shows how the love and care of a therapy animal has the power to change a life.  It’s written from the point of view of the dog, which makes it friendly and non-threatening.  For kids who have a relative or family friend who is a veteran, this book could be very helpful in understanding what they might be going through and in opening a discussion.  For any child, this book can encourage empathy and understanding.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 🙂

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

PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific links (and any other info you feel like filling out 🙂 ) to the form below so we can all come see what fabulous picture books you’ve chosen to share this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!! 🙂

Would You Read It Wednesday #254 – Gracie Gopher, IT Specialist (PB) PLUS Straight From The Editor X 4!!!

Fasten your seat belts, boys and girls!  We’ve got quite the agenda today!  I recommend packing a lunch.  I’d be happy to make it for you.  I am an absolute whiz with peanut butter and jelly.  I can make it in myriad ways – all delicious, if I do say so myself.  Creamy peanut butter, or crunchy? White, wheat, rye, pumpernickel, or raisin bread (that’s how my sister’s family likes it – on raisin bread!), or bagel, English muffin, hard roll, or baguette?  Grape, strawberry, apricot, raspberry, or blackberry jam?  Or would you prefer peanut butter and honey?  Or peanut butter and bananas?  And would you like it regular, or grilled panini style?

And you guys thought I couldn’t cook!

But I digress…

I had a point…

…oh, yes!

We have a lot to do today so stop talking about peanut butter and jelly and let’s get down to brass tacks!

🙂

We’ve got an entire education in pitching today: Straight From The Editor for January, February, March, and April!

So let’s dive in, shall we?

You will recall that the January Pitch Pick was won by Costantia with her PB pitch for Understanding George:

George has ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) and doesn’t behave or react like the other children in his class. When he is unable to play with them, the children are left upset, and struggle to understand what makes George so different. Seeing the world from his perspective helps them to empathize with the challenges that ASD children face daily, and to accept that everyone is unique.

Here are editor Erin Molta’s comments:

Definitely a book that is needed in this day and age! I would suggest, however, to make it less textbook-y or institutional, to pick one example and build off that. If you started out with: George has ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) and doesn’t behave or react like the other children in his class. But then perhaps go into an empathy example next, so say something like: When teacher gave all the children blank masks and they were to act out an emotion without saying anything, they realized how different and even difficult George might find an interaction that they take for granted. (or some other exercise that can be described briefly). And then wrap it up with a line like: Stepping into George’s shoes helps his classmates understand the challenges that ASD may face and to learn to accept each student and their uniqueness…

The February Pitch Pick was won by Kathryn with her MG pitch for Penelope Pickles And the Troll Kingdom:

Toadstool is a troll who just wants to be left alone. But the Troll Kingdom is relying on him to start a plague in order to ward off pesky humans. His plan goes amiss when he meets Penny, a spunky girl with a contagious imagination. The Troll Kingdom isn’t happy about his new friend, and Toadstool soon finds himself having to choose between saving the Troll Kingdom or saving Penny.

Here are Erin’s comments on Kathryn’s pitch:

The conflict sounds fab. But must Toadstool choose between saving the Trolls or Penny or—since the trolls don’t like Penny (or humans, in general), it sounds like it’s more a matter that he must choose to save himself or Penny. If that is not the case, then what is going after the trolls that Toadstool must save them from? Or is it that he must choose the Trolls over Penny—one or the other? If that’s the case, then I would reword the last line slightly: Toadstool soon finds himself having to choose between becoming an important member of the Troll Kingdom, or saving his friend Penny from certain doom. You just need to clarify the conflict and address it and then this will have a much better shot. I would also use the word awry, rather than amiss, because it seems more appropriate for what you are trying to say,

The March Pitch Pick was won by Traci with her PB pitch for Riley And The Haunted Cupboard:

What started out as a fun game of candy hide and seek between Riley and his dog, Scout, turns hairy when creepy noises coming from the cupboard under the stairs halts the game. Scout seems to be missing which forces Riley to first face his fear of dark places but more importantly face his fear that Scout may be gone forever.

Here are Erin’s comment’s on Traci’s pitch:

Question—is this book about a boy and his dog and the boy overcoming his fears of the dark and unknown noises to “rescue” his best friend? Or is it about a overcoming the sadness about a dog dying? If it’s more about being brave for someone you love (and the sounds are that Scout is trapped in the cupboard,  then I would eliminate the bit about him facing a fear that Scout may be gone forever. Otherwise it seems like two separate stories. If it IS about dealing with a dog’s death by overcoming fears of a cupboard, then I’d rework the beginning because it makes it seem trivial and happening so fast with the candy hide and seek…

Especially in a picture book, you need to stay linear and keep to one conflict and resolution.

And finally, the April Pitch Pick was won by Ana with her PB pitch for No More Cats!:

When Lilly’s dad agrees to adopt a cat, he thinks one will suffice. But now Lilly seems to be on a mission to rescue every stray she encounters; a calico evading traffic, a kitten rummaging through trash, a tabby outrunning a dog. One by one the cat count rises while the number of potted plants and dad’s patience decreases. Together they must find new homes for their furry friends to make life sane again.

Here are Erin’s comments on Ana’s pitch:

This premise is all too real for me, as my daughter is constantly sending me pictures or sad stories about cats—and we already have three in our two bedroom apartment! Anyway. This is sounding good, but I am imagining that it will be humorous because you’ve got that somewhat in your descriptions of how Lilly finds the strays, but you need to end with something more lighthearted–to catch an editor who doesn’t have my particular sympathy J. Maybe something simple, like: As the cat count increases in her house, dad’s patience decreases and they seek to find her furry friends forever homes with relatives or neighbors…

Many, many thanks to Erin, whose comments I always find so interesting and enlightening, as I hope you do too!  And many thanks to all our pitchers for giving us the opportunity to learn from each other and from Erin!

I’m a little exhausted from all that learning, though, so how about a Something Chocolate snack break?  Today (in a complete departure from the aforementioned peanut butter and jelly) I am serving Brown Butter Walnut Brownies!

 

Nomnomnomnomnom!

Ah!  That hit the spot, didn’t it?  I hope you’re feeling refreshed! 🙂

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Suzie Olsen who is a systems engineer in Phoenix, AZ. Her passion is to encourage students, especially girls and minorities, to consider careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). She is a member of the Society of Children Book Writers and Illustrators, 12×12 Challenge, as well as the Society of Women Engineers. She lives with her husband and son, reading book after book to her son.

Find her on the web at:

 

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Gracie Gopher, IT Specialist

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)

The Pitch: Gracie Gopher is an IT Specialist for Ground City; Chief Infrastructure Tunnel specialist that is. She is helping Ground City set up and build their tunnel infrastructure.  Gracie loves the problem solving that comes with her job. There seems to be a problem of water getting blocked in the drainage tunnel.  Gracie goes down there to troubleshoot and finds a bug.  The bug won’t move, so Gracie has to come up with a solution on the fly.

So what do you think?  Would You Read It?  YES, MAYBE or NO?

If your answer is YES, please feel free to tell us what you particularly liked and why the pitch piqued your interest.  If your answer is MAYBE or NO, please feel free to tell us what you think could be better in the spirit of helping Suzie improve her pitch.  Helpful examples of possible alternate wordings are welcome.  (However, I must ask that comments be constructive and respectful.  I reserve the right not to publish comments that are mean because that is not what this is about.)

 

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on Would You Read It in the dropdown under For Writers in the bar above.  There are openings in June, so you have a little time to polish your pitch before putting it up for helpful feedback and have a chance to have it read by editor Erin Molta!

Suzie is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to experimenting with that Brownie recipe!  I’m going to leave the walnuts out.  I don’t like walnuts… they’re bitter… and it is my personal opinion that nuts of any kind should not be allowed anywhere near brownie batter.  Chocolate chunks? fine.  Peanut butter chips? fine.  Crushed peppermint (at Christmas) or toffee (anytime 🙂 ), fine!  But NO NUTS! 🙂

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

 

Perfect Picture Book Friday – My Name Is Not Isabella

Let’s see.

Yesterday (according to my reckoning) was Thursday…

Tomorrow is Saturday (I’m pretty certain this is true, because I’m going to be at the Millbrook Literary Festival along with Iza Trapani, Karen Orloff, Nancy Furstinger, and lots of other wonderful authors, illustrators and friends – you should come join us if you’re in the neighborhood! – we’d love to see you!)…

But wait a second…  Where was I?

Oh yeah.  Yesterday Thursday, tomorrow Saturday, calendar currently saying “FRI”… all of which signs lead me to believe that today is indeed Friday!  Perfect Picture Book Friday!

I love Friday, don’t you? 🙂

So here’s my Perfect Picture Book for the day and then it’s officially the weekend and you should feel free to lie in the hammock with a good book and an iced tea and a large plate of homemade chocolate chip cookies while the kids and the dogs run amok and unsupervised because that’s what weekends are for 🙂  (Alternatively, if it’s as unseasonably warm at your house as it is on Blueberry Hill – 92 degrees on May 17 and 18 I kid you not! – feel free to turn on the sprinkler and run amok through it along with the kids and the dogs 🙂 )

Isabella

Title: My Name Is Not Isabella

Written By: Jennifer Fosberry

Illustrated By: Mike Litwin

SourceBooks Jabberwocky, September 2010, fiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: careers, imagination, dreams, self-identity, girl power

Opening: “‘Good Morning, Isabella,’ the mother said.  ‘It’s time to get up and out of bed.’
My name is not Isabella!‘ said the little girl.
‘Then who has been sleeping in my daughter’s bed?’ asked the mother.

Brief Synopsis: A little girl goes through her day imagining herself as women she admires for different reasons – an astronaut, an activist, a doctor, etc. – and decides by the end that she is herself but possesses some of the qualities of all these women she looks up to.

Isabella 2

text copyright Jennifer Fosberry 2010, illustration copyright Mark Litwin 2010

Links To Resources: the back matter of the book is an excellent resource with information about all the accomplished women Isabella admires as well as definitions of all their careers; discuss what YOU want to be when YOU grow up!; draw a picture of yourself as the person you imagine becoming; write a poem or a story about yourself as the person you imagine being.

Why I Like This Book: I’m very fond of this book because of its strong girl power theme, the women it celebrates, and the encouragement it gives girls to dream big.  I also like it because, years before it was published, I wrote a similar kind of book, though mine was more imaginative and not focused on famous women 🙂  Still, I like to think great minds think alike 🙂  This book is a great introduction for kids to a number of very accomplished women, and the art brings their fields of endeavor visually to life in a very appealing way.  A great read to foster a discussion of “what I want to be when I grow up”! 🙂

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 🙂

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

PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific links (and any other info you feel like filling out 🙂 ) to the form below so we can all come see what fabulous picture books you’ve chosen to share this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!! 🙂

Would You Read It Wednesday #253 – Colors Want To Play (PB)

Happy National Pack Rat Day Everyone!

For those of you who weren’t born back in the middle of the last century, a pack rat is what you young whippersnappers these days call a hoarder.  Take this quiz to see if you are one:

Instructions: For each question choose ONE answer – A, B, OR C

1. You have no intention of cleaning your closets, basement, garage, attic, or any other room today or any day!

A.  Are you nuts?  Of COURSE I plan to clean!  What kind of filthmonger do you take me for?

B.  Are we talking cleaning as in applying Lysol to surfaces and removing cobwebs, or as in getting rid of potentially valuable stuff? (which, we are word people here so we have to split hairs and define this as decluttering as opposed to cleaning!) Cleaning is acceptable (as long as it’s not overdone), decluttering is not to be entertained for one second!

C.  What’s cleaning?

2. You spy the clean, empty box that your birthday Moose Munch came in on the coffee table and

A. Throw that useless piece of garbage in the single-stream recycling bin and feel virtuous for your efforts to stop global warming!

B. Pick the box up and look at it from every angle and think that you could potentially use it to wrap the 10 bars of expensive specialty soap you give Great-Aunt Joan for Christmas every year, or as the cockpit for the rocket ship your son will have to make for the Science Fair in two years because his sister had to do one last year so you know it’ll be his turn next, or to collect buttons or possibly old cell phone chargers in, and put it back on the coffee table so you’ll know where to find it when you need it.

C. Seriously?  The Moose Munch is gone?  When did THAT happen?!

3. You’re walking the dog and notice that your three-doors-down neighbor apparently suffered a Spring Cleaning Attack and left a whole pile of stuff at the curb for the Thursday trash pick-up.  You

A. Hurry past because by gum! you feel a Spring Cleaning Attack coming on too and you’re anxious to get home and take advantage of it before it passes!

B. Tie the dog’s leash around your waist so you have both hands free to carry off the only slightly smelly comfy reading chair that is certainly nothing a little Febreze can’t fix!, the almost perfect lamp that only needs a shade, a bulb and a new electrical cord, and the vintage bookshelf that only needs shelves to round out your brand new-to-you cozy reading nook!

C. Try the large hula hoop but it’s too big, try the medium hula hoop but it’s bent into an egg-shape and won’t hula, then try the small hula hoop and discover that it’s Just Right!

Now.  For every answer “A” give yourself 37 points.  For every answer “B” give yourself 3.5 points.  For every answer “C” give yourself 4,567 points.

If your score is more than 4,567 points you have good taste in activities and snacks and are likely footloose and fancy free!

If your score is more than 15 points but less than 4,567 points, you may suffer from obsessive compulsive cleaning disorder and should gradually desensitize yourself to dirt and clutter by sitting in a sandbox full of sand toys and trucks with a toddler for an hour every day!

If your score is less than 15, you have a great imagination and would make a great writer!  You are also a pack rat! Congratulations!  🙂

Now that you’ve enjoyed that little smidgerel of enlightenment (isn’t it always fun to learn something new about yourself?) let’s get on with the items on today’s agenda!

First, I’m thrilled to announce that the winner of the April Pitch Pick is Ana with her PB pitch for No More Cats!  Congratulations, Ana!  Your pitch has been sent to editor Erin Molta for her thoughts, and you were hopefully hear from her before too long!

Congratulations also to our other brave and talented pitchers who wrote wonderful pitches, and then took the incredibly helpful advice supplied by our cherished readers to heart and wrote great revisions!  It’s no easy thing to put yourself out there for comment and critique, and it can be hard to part with a pitch you’ve worked on and polished when feedback suggests it could benefit from changes.  So pat yourselves on the back and have…

. . . Something Chocolate!

This morning, we are serving Chocolate Lasagna Cupcakes because why not?! 🙂

chocolate-lasagna-cupcakes

Recipe HERE at CakesCottage

I have one word:  YUM!

(Okay, five words… YUM! YUM!! YUM!!! YUM!!!! YUM!!!!! 🙂 )

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Erin who says, “I am a member of both SCBWI and the12x12 Writing Challenge. I have many family and friends entrenched in education, from teaching to administration throughout the Hudson Valley and Northern NJ areas. I have an undergraduate degree in English and am working on a new blog as well.”

Find her on the web at:

Twitter: @erin_forrester

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Colors Want To Play

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 3-6)

The Pitch: In COLORS WANT TO PLAY, colors (and maybe you) unravel in a fun-filled journey of demanding direction from the hues themselves. One color is missing and needs some coaxing to join the others. Readers learn the ride can be just as much fun as the destination. Don’t forget comfortable shoes!

So what do you think?  Would You Read It?  YES, MAYBE or NO?

If your answer is YES, please feel free to tell us what you particularly liked and why the pitch piqued your interest.  If your answer is MAYBE or NO, please feel free to tell us what you think could be better in the spirit of helping Erin improve her pitch.  Helpful examples of possible alternate wordings are welcome.  (However, I must ask that comments be constructive and respectful.  I reserve the right not to publish comments that are mean because that is not what this is about.)

 

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on Would You Read It in the dropdown under For Writers in the bar above.  There are openings in June, so you have a little time to polish your pitch before putting it up for helpful feedback and have a chance to have it read by editor Erin Molta!

Erin is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to a day of writing which involves no cleaning or decluttering of any kind – celebrating my inner Pack Rat! 🙂

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂