Perfect Picture Book Friday – Double Feature! – Sophie’s Animal Parade AND Dress Me!

Well, what do you know!

It’s Perfect Picture Book Friday again!

And I’m about to something unprecedented…

I’m reviewing two picture books today!

I know!

Unheard of!

But here’s why:

Two of my dear writer friends had books release this week on the SAME DAY from the SAME PRESS!  What are the odds?  And both books are too wonderful to pass up, and I couldn’t possibly choose one over the other in their book birthday week, so there you have it – two for the price of one 🙂

I hope you enjoy them both! (And in case you’re wondering, they are genuine Perfect Picture Books, not just here because they were written by friends!  That is just a happy coincidence :))

Title: Sophie’s Animal Parade
Written By: Amy Dixon
Illustrated By: Katia Wish
May 2015, Sky Pony Press, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-5

Themes/Topics: imagination, loneliness, friendship, animals

Opening: “Everything Sophie drew came to life.  Mama called it Sophie’s imagination.  Sophie called it magic.
When Sophie felt hungry, she drew something scrumptious to eat.
When Sophie felt sleepy, she drew somewhere cozy to rest.
And when Sophie felt cold, she drew something snuggly to wear.

Brief Synopsis:  Sophie’s drawings have the magical ability to come to life.  One day, feeling lonely, Sophie draws a friend.  And then another… and another…  Sophie’s room isn’t quite the place for any of them, and accommodating their needs makes them impossible to play with (the polar bear can’t reach the scones and jam from inside his igloo; the duck can’t play hide-n-seek in a wading pool with nowhere to hide etc.)  But in the end, Sophie finds a friend – no pencils or paper required 🙂

Links To Resources: if your drawings could come to life, what would you draw? Someone to be friends with, like Sophie? (animal, human, alien, unicorn, fairy etc.???)  Someplace you’d like to visit (a castle, a beach, an enchanted forest, etc.???) Something you’d like to do (perform on Broadway, compete at the Olympics, explore the jungle etc,???)  Now draw it!; discuss how you know if something is real or imaginary; why might an imaginary friend be better than a real friend?  why might a real friend be better than an imaginary friend? Sophie Coloring Pages

Why I Like This Book:  The concept of drawings coming to life is so engaging and fun – what child wouldn’t want to have that ability?!  And hasn’t every child felt lonely at some point and longed for a friend?  This is an endearing story with delightful animal-antic-filled illustrations, and the sweet message that as fun as imagination is, real friends are what matter.  The page where Sophie meets Luke and checks to make sure she hasn’t drawn him (no pencils!) is perfect, as is the very real friendship between two imaginative animal lovers 🙂

Title: Dress Me!
Written & Illustrated By: Sarah-Frances Hardy
May 2015, Sky Pony Press, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 2-5

Themes/Topics: careers, being yourself, exploration, self-expression

Opening: “Dress me!
Tutu me!
Dancer me!

Brief Synopsis: A little girl tries outfit after outfit, exploring the many possibilities of what she can be- dancer, artist, teacher, lawyer etc until she finds just the right one.

Links To Resources: think up 3 careers you’d like to try.  Do any of them require special outfits or equipment? If so, what is required?  See if you can find or make some items so you can dress up like the people in those careers.  Play charades and act out a job/career you’d like to try – fireman, doctor, plumber, lawyer, carpenter, teacher, minister, etc.

Why I Like This Book:  With simple text (the word count is 44!) and adorable illustrations, a little girl tries out being a dancer, an artist, a monster, a doctor, a plumber, and many other things.  In each case, her little dog is right alongside her, joining in the fun and often sporting his own accessories.  This is a wonderful story that makes exploration, self-discovery, the freedom to choose who you are and what you want to be accessible to youngest readers.  Sweet and fun.

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

If anyone would care to visit Amy Dixon or Sarah Frances Hardy, they are both very talented and have wonderful sites!   Please visit Amy HERE and Sarah Frances HERE.  Should you be interested, their sites include links to purchase their delightful books! (Actually, I’m not sure Amy’s does, but you can find her books in all the usual places :))

PPBF bloggers please be sure to leave your post-specific link in the list below so we can all come visit you!  I can’t wait to see this week’s bounty of books!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!  And Happy Mother’s Day to everyone who is a mother, or has a mother, or knows a mother!!!  🙂

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Perfect Picture Book Friday – Alice And Greta

OMG!  SUCH exciting news!  The lovely Wendy who blogs over at Noodling With Words submitted #PPBF to WriterUnboxed and they accepted it for sharing!  Look!

Aren’t we so official now?  Our little hashtag mentioned by Writer Unboxed!  Do you feel famous?  I do! 🙂

I am embarrassingly bad at twitter, although I’m really trying to get better at it, but now I must really make an effort to remember to use our PPBF hashtag!

Phew!  That was a lot of excitement!  But now it’s time for today’s Perfect Picture Book, a sort of Halloween-y choice since it’s about witches 🙂

Title: Alice And Greta
Written By: Steven J. Simmons
Illustrated By: Cyd Moore
Charlesbridge, July 1999, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 5-8

Themes/Topics: consequences, behavior (listening, what goes around comes around), perspective, good vs. bad

Opening: “Once, a long time ago, two witches lived on top of a mountain.  Although they looked out at the same view, they saw things differently.”

Brief Synopsis: Alice and Greta are two young witches who use their power in opposite ways.  Alice helps people.  Greta makes mischief.  But it’s important to watch out for “the Brewmerang Principle: Whatever you chant, whatever you brew, sooner or later comes back to you!”

Links To Resources: Alice And Greta Coloring Page, Alice And Greta Mystery Maze, The Master Magic Wand Maker’s Guide To Creating Wonderful Wands, Classroom Guide (from the Picture Book, Teacher’s Edition.)

Why I Like This Book:  This book has a fun story about two little witches, and a nice message about reaping what you sow 🙂  It’s full of spells and enchantments and mischief.  But it’s the delightful art that takes it over the top for me.  The drawings are full of fun details that kids can spend lots of time looking at and that bring the story so appealingly to life.

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

Before we all head off to read everyone’s amazing picks for today and then on to our weekends, I just have to say that I’m so excited for the Halloweensie Contest which opens MONDAY!!!  If you haven’t written your entry yet, you still have the weekend and a lot of next week – the deadline isn’t until midnight on Halloween (so appropriate, no? :))  This is one of the most fun contests we do because the entries are short, so I hope you’ll all participate!  (If you haven’t seen the rules, mosey on over HERE.)

First Prize is a PB Critique from the amazing Corey Rosen Schwartz, author of The Three Ninja Pigs, Hop! Plop!, and the forthcoming Goldirocks, Ninja Red, and What About Moose? AND a copy of Linda Ashman’s new Nuts And Bolts Guide to Writing Picture Books (your choice of e-book or PDF)!

Second prize is a PB manuscript and query letter critique from talented author Heather Ayris Burnell, author of Bedtime Monster.

Third prize is a set of personalized signed picture books just in time for the holidays – Charlotte Gunnufson‘s Halloween Hustle, Tiffany Haber’s The Monster Who Lost His Mean, and Amy Dixon’s Marathon Mouse (perfect timing because NYC Marathon Sunday is next weekend!)

Please join me in thanking these very generous authors for contributing their books and writing expertise as prizes by visiting their websites and blogs, considering their books for holiday purchases, rating and/or reviewing their books on GoodReads, Amazon, B&N or anywhere else if you like them, or supporting them in any other way you can dream up 🙂

And now, off to read everyone’s fabulous choices!  PPBF bloggers, please put your post-specific link in the list below, and then tweet with #PPBF to your hearts’ content! 🙂

Have a great weekend, everyone!!! 🙂

Monday Short And Sweet AND The 2nd Annual Holiday Contest!!!

I hope you’re ready because boy are we going to have fun today!

badge created by the uber-talented Loni Edwards

First off, we’ll be having birthday cake because we have a birthday in our family today 🙂  Happy Birthday, Justin!  Cake anyone?

Yum!  Now that we’re all supplied with a nutritious breakfast (why do you think I put strawberries on?), we’ll have a Short & Sweet to get our writerly gears turning for a week of exceptional productivity.

For today’s Short & Sweet we’re going super simple:

There’s been some kind of holiday mishap, mix-up, miscommunication, mistake, or potential disaster.  Write the newspaper headline (and a couple lines of the article if you like)!

(Admit it.  You didn’t think I could come up with anything that simple!  Well, I’m giving you a break after my very long-winded post on Friday 🙂  Also, my mouth is full of cake :))

Here are a couple examples 🙂

Santa’s Letters All Delivered To South Pole Penguins!  Postal service blames malfunctioning GPS.  The penguins only comment was, “Hrowrrk, Hrowrrk!”

Viking Delegation Arrives At Rockefeller Center.  “We thought you asked for a Norway Truce!” exclaims Harald V whose senior advisor is looking into new hearing aids for the king.

Monopoly Dispute May Ground Sleigh!  “I called first dibs on the shoe!” Dasher yelled as he was hauled off to time out.  Dancer was quoted as saying, “You poopy head!” which earned him a stint in time out as well.  A spokesman for the Clauses said, “This is trouble.  The sleigh won’t fly with only 6 reindeer!”

Post your headline (and as much article as you like :)) in the comments and hopefully yours or someone else’s will give you a great idea for a story!

And finally!!  The moment you’ve all been waiting for!!  Announcing….

The 2nd Annual Holiday Contest!!!
The Contest:  Write a children’s holiday story beginning with any version of “Dashing through the snow in a one horse open sleigh.”  You may use that actual opening, or you may change it to any similar version “[Verb of your choice]ing through the [any substance you choose] in a [conveyance of any kind].”  For example, “Dashing through the sand in a two-wheeled donkey cart” or “Sloshing through the swamp in a green and white canoe” or “Flying through the air in a striped hot air balloon…”  You get the idea, I’m sure 🙂  But “Dashing through the snow in a one horse open sleigh” is completely acceptable too – whatever works for you 🙂  Your story may be poetry or prose, silly or serious or sweet,  religious or not, based on Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or whatever you celebrate, but is not to exceed 350 words (because I have to read them all in the week before Christmas! :))
Post:  Your entry should be posted on your blog between Saturday December 15 and Wednesday December 19 at 11:59 PM EST (no WYRI that day), and your post-specific link should be added to the link list on the official holiday contest post which will go up on my blog on Saturday December 15 and remain up through Wednesday December 19 (no new post on Monday December 17).  If you don’t have a blog but would like to enter, please copy and paste your entry into the comments on my December 15th post.  (If anyone has trouble commenting, which unfortunately happens, please email me and I’ll post your entry for you!)
The Judge:  My lovely assistant and I will narrow down the entrants to seven (or possibly a couple more :)) finalists which will be posted here on Friday December 21 (no PPBF that day) for you to vote on for a winner.  The vote will be closed on Christmas Eve and the winner(s) will be announced on Wednesday December 26 (no WYRI that day).  Whoever gets the most votes will be first and so on down to fifth place.
The Prizes!:  When I said the prizes were fantastic, I wasn’t kidding.  In the spirit of the holidays, winners will be named for 1st – 5th place, and will each receive a picture book manuscript critique AND a $20 Amazon gift card to spend on the reading material of your choice AND the incredible fame of being able to say you won (or placed in) the Pretty Much World Famous 2nd Annual Holiday Contest!  The critiques have been generously donated by the following fabulous children’s authors (in alphabetical order by first name :)):
Alison Hertz: author and illustrator of FLAP! (Magic Dreams Publishing, November 2012)
Amy Dixon: author of MARATHON MOUSE (Sky Pony Press, October 2012)
Corey Rosen Schwartz: author of Hop! Plop! (Walker Children’s Books, April 2006), THE THREE NINJA PIGS (Putnam Juvenile, September 2012), and the forthcoming GOLDIROCKS AND THE THREE BEARS and NINJA RED (both coming from Putnam).  Corey also writes the Meter Maids blog with Tiffany (below).
Sarah Frances Hardy: author and illustrator of PUZZLED BY PINK (Viking Juvenile, April 2012)
Tiffany Strelitz Haber: author of THE MONSTER WHO LOST HIS MEAN (Henry Holt, July 2012).  Tiffany also writes the Meter Maids blog with Corey (above).

Wow!  Would one of those critiques be an awesome prize to win or what?!  And $20 to spend on a book you wanted but didn’t get for the holidays?  Plus bragging rights?  So put on your thinking caps!  Sharpen your pencils!  Fire up your imagination!  And start writing those holiday stories 🙂  You’ve got 2 whole weeks! 🙂

Just to be clear, in case it wasn’t above, in the interest of leaving time and space for the contest and giving y’all time for the busy-ness of the holidays and all the things I know you have going on in your homes and lives at this time of year, my usual posting schedule will be in a complete shambles between Dec. 15 and 26.  I will have a special post on Saturday December 15 (not a usual posting day for me) to kick off the contest, there will be no new post on Monday Dec. 17 (so we can keep posting and reading each other’s stories), no WYRI on Wednesday Dec. 19 (so we can finish posting and reading each other’s stories), no PPBF on Friday Dec. 21 (so I can post the finalists and you can vote), no new post on Christmas Eve (because it’s Christmas Eve :)) and no WYRI on December 26 (so I can post the winners!)  Hopefully that will free you up to write, read all the wonderful entries I sincerely hope we’re going to get, because with 5 such fabulous prizes to give away it would be very sad if we only got 3 entries :(, vote, and still have time for your families 🙂  I think we got somewhere between 30 and 35 entries last year – I hope we can meet or exceed that this year so our critique donors will feel loved and appreciated 🙂

I can’t wait to read your Short & Sweet headlines :), and then I guess I’d better get to work on my sample entry for the holiday contest since I have absolutely no idea what I’m going to write! 🙂

Happy Monday, Everyone!  And please spread the word of the Holiday Contest to anyone you think might be interested.  It’s a chance for some writing fun, lots of blog visits, and maybe even a prize 🙂

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Marathon Mouse AND Giveaway Winner AND Hallloweensie Contest Winner!!!

It’s finally Friday!  Hooray!  That means I finally get to show you Marathon Mouse!  Also, I will be announcing the winner of Monday’s giveaway signed copy of Marathon Mouse at the end of the post (I know – so much excitement!) so stay tuned!

Oh, and there is one other thing… halloween related… 🙂

But first things first, and you know the Perfect Picture Book always has to go at the top of Friday’s post.  Those are the rules.  And the person in charge around here made the rules so I really have to follow them 🙂

Marathon Mouse
Written By: Amy Dixon
Illustrated By: Sam Denlinger
Sky Pony Press, October 2012, Fiction

Suitable For: ages 3-8

Themes/Topics: Running, Marathons, Goals, Believing In Yourself, Determination

Opening: “Every New York City mouse dreamed of living under the bridge bewteen Brooklyn and Staten Island.  There, they didn’t have to dodge taxi cabs or escape hungry sewer cats.  And when they wanted to visit, the bustling city was just a hop, skip, and a scamper away.  But there was one day each year that their life under the bridge was not dreamy…

Brief Synopsis: Preston Mouse lives beneath the Verrazano Bridge and dreams of running the New York City Marathon.  “Mice were not made to run,” says Papa.  “A mouse could get crushed,” says Mama.  “You? Run 26.2 miles?” his sisters tease. With this lack of faith, Preston trains secretly, but train he does because he believes he can do it.  At least, he wants to try.

Links To Resources: Teacher’s Guide from author’s website.  Also I think reading this story gives an excellent opportunity to discuss with kids what they dream about – what do they think they can do?  what do they hope to accomplish?  Younger kids can draw pictures of themselves working toward or achieving something that matters to them.  Older kids can write a story about it.  Discover Marathon Kids.  And a little about the first marathon and some related activities HERE.

Why I Like This Book:  Ah, so many reasons 🙂  First, it’s really well written, a captivating story told with gentle humor and warmth.  Second, this is the only picture book I’ve ever seen about running/marathoning, so it’s a new, fresh topic and one I think kids will love.  Third, I don’t think there can ever be too many books that encourage kids to work hard toward something that’s important to them, believe in themselves, and follow their dreams.  Finally, when Preston gets out there to run, I dare you not to cheer him on, and I think you’ll be surprised and touched by how the story ends 🙂  And seriously, how cute is this little guy? 🙂

Preston Mouse from Marathon Mouse by Amy Dixon & Sam Denlinger

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

And now that you’re all just desperate to own a copy, I’ll tell you who won Monday’s giveaway 🙂  And I would just like to say that I so enjoyed reading about all the things you guys have accomplished (which was what you had to tell us to qualify for the drawing) – what an amazing group!  If you didn’t happen to read the comments from Monday’s post, hop over and have a look – you’re in impressive company over here!  But I digress… 🙂

Cue the trumpets!

The winner of a signed copy of Marathon Mouse is…

JARM!!!
(who it just so happens rode a camel to the top of Mt. Sinai and after sunrise walked all the way down! which is not why she won the book – that was just random.org – but I really thought you should know! :))

Please email me (by using the handy button on the side or by actually, physically, manually typing in susanna[AT]susannahill[DOT]com) and tell me your address and (never mind, Jarm – I have it from the PPB book mark mailing!) how you’d like Amy to sign it, and we’ll get it straight out to you!

So, have a nice weekend everyone!

What?

Oh, you think I forgot something?

Tee hee 🙂

Okay.  You twisted my arm.  I’ll tell you who won the Halloweensie Contest.  And let me just say – it was quite the nail biter!  But the voters have spoken!

And the winner is…

Oh.  I guess we better have trumpets AND a drum roll this time.

Okay.  The winner is…

Wait!  Maybe we should also throw some confetti, wouldn’t that be nice?

Okay, really.  The winner is…

Cake, anyone?  Something festive and Halloween-y?

Okay, really and truly.  The winner is…

Julie with Hallow‘s Eve!!!

Congratulations, Julie, for a fun story that even included the term halloweensie!!! and was artistically presented in the shape of a cat 🙂  (At least, it looks like a cat to me, but I suppose it could be a halloweensie mouse :))  Julie, you are the lucky recipient of the 5 signed picture books from our generous and talented fellow authors.  You will receive Marathon Mouse by Amy Dixon, The Three Ninja Pigs by Corey Rosen Schwartz, Puzzled By Pink by Sarah Frances Hardy, Flap! by Alison Hertz, and The Monster Who Lost His Mean by Tiffany Strelitz Haber!  Please email me and let me know how you’d like them signed and we’ll all get on the case 🙂  You are also the distinguished recipient of the incredible fame that comes with winning a contest of this caliber.  You can now hold your head high and proudly tell everyone you see that you won the Halloweensie Contest!  Not just anyone can say that!  (In fact, at the moment, only one other person in the world can say that – Cathy who won last year :))  Fame, I tell you! 🙂

Second place and a $25 Amazon gift card goes to Laura R for Jack O’Lantern!

Third place and a $15 Amazon gift card goes to Nancy for Halloween Drives Me Batty!

Congratulations to all the winners!

But I’d like to say again how fabulous ALL the entries were, and congratulate everyone who entered.  You all did a great job, and I know how hard it is to put your work out there, so BRAVO!!!  I know I speak for everyone when I say how much we all enjoyed reading ALL the entries!

And here’s a little heads up.  I’m not running the Thanksgiving Contest this year.  I think it’s just too much with everything else going on in November and having just finished the Halloweensie Contest.  But I WILL be running the Holiday Contest during the week of December 19-24.  And I’ll tell you right now that there are 5 (that’s FIVE!) Picture Book Manuscript Critiques up for grabs to the winners of that contest!!!  And maybe some other good stuff too!  So start thinking holiday thoughts.  Make some notes.  And be sure to keep your calendar open enough to participate!  The reason there are 5 fabulous prizes is because we got so many entries for that contest last year, which gave me the impression (possibly misguided :)) that it was popular.  So I hope people will enter, and please spread the word to anyone you know who might be interested.  I will post the contest rules in the first week of December… hopefully… 🙂

Okay.  Now for real, go have a nice weekend 🙂  PPBF bloggers, please remember to add your post-specific link to the list below!

Guest Post From Author Amy Dixon! (And A Giveaway!!!)

Happy Monday Everyone!

Boy did I wrestle with this post.

As you know, today is our day for a guest post from Amy Dixon, author of MARATHON MOUSE.  (And did I mention there’s a giveaway?!!)

It was also supposed to be the day I posted the Halloweensie Contest Finalists (of which there are a lot more than 3 because at final count we had 38 entries and 3 finalists was simply not a number I could get down to with so many fantastic stories!!!)

I actually started writing the post thinking I’d put everything in.

But by the time I got to the end of Amy’s part, I knew it wasn’t going to work.  Wonderful as you all are, I felt it was just too much to ask you to go on from Amy’s post to the contest finalists – it was getting VERY long.  So since today is her scheduled day, I hope you will all thoroughly enjoy her post, which is full of inspiring words for writers!  I will post the Halloweensie Contest finalists in a separate post either later on today or tomorrow (which I realize is not a normal posting day for me) – feel free to tell me in the comments which you’d prefer!

So without further ado, heeeeerrrre’s AMY!

Amy Dixon

When I was growing up, some of my favorite books involved one Miss Ramona Quimby. I’m sure I related to her trials as the little sister, and to her attempts to prove herself worthy of admiration and acceptance. I will say though, that Ramona went to much greater lengths to gain such admiration. I never accidentally cracked a raw egg on my head, or wore a Chiquita banana sticker on my face in order to be a part of the latest fad. But I was always delighted by her antics, and always wished, in spite of what seemed like constant embarrassment, that I could be more like her. What perhaps now I would categorize as impulsiveness, I then regarded as bravery. Ramona was brave. I wanted to be brave, too.
It was my affection for Ramona that made the nickname I earned on the soccer field when I was 10 a little more palatable. My sister and I both played on a team called The Golden Touch. I wasn’t a flashy player. I don’t think I ever saved or scored a goal. But our coach would put me in the midfield, point out one of our opponents and say, “Don’t you let her get by you.” I took his charge seriously. I followed that player around on the field like a stray puppy who was once given a scrap and was hoping for more. I would not leave her alone for a second. And so, on the soccer field, I became Amy the Pest.
When I started writing for children six years ago, I had no idea the tenacity that would be required to make things happen in this business. It definitely called for a bit of…pesty-ness.  Not a bombard-agents-and-editors-with-e-mails-and-phone-calls-till-your-name-is-engraved-on-their-list-of-psycho-writers kind of pesty-ness. But a persistent, persevering, resilient kind of pesty-ness. A pesty-ness that revises the same manuscript 27 times until it is just perfect…and then starts from scratch because an editor thinks it would work better in third person.  A pesty-ness that takes in each painful rejection and yet still finds a way to send the story back out again. A pesty-ness that makes us certain those rejections will be fun to share later in a “look how many times my amazing, award-winning story was scoffed at before it sold!” presentation.
And so, 20 years after my days as a half-back for the Golden Touch, Amy the Pest was resurrected. I wrote. I revised. I critiqued. I conferenced. I submitted. I was rejected. I revised some more. I submitted some more. I was rejected some more. I buzzed in the ear of the publishing world, and was swatted away again and again.
But like Ramona and her questions about Steam Shovels and their bathroom habits, I wouldn’t go away. I believed in my work. I had critique partners who believed in my work. And somewhere in there, somewhere in between growing as a writer and learning the business of publishing, I became brave. Brave enough to send out MARATHON MOUSE, even after getting some discouraging editor feedback. (So…all that happens in this book is…he runs? Am I missing something?) Brave enough to get a publisher’s offer on MARATHON MOUSE, and ask the editor for 2 weeks to follow-up with agents before saying yes. Brave enough to now say out loud, “I am a writer.”
Get your copy today! 🙂
So here I am…Amy Dixon, Age 37. Here to encourage you to channel your inner Ramona. Release your pesty-ness.  Learn to be brave. You will grow as a writer, even if, every once in a while, you end up with a little raw egg on your head.


Wasn’t that just terrific?  Thank you so much for those inspiring words, Amy!

I will tell you all that I have read MARATHON MOUSE and will be posting it this Friday as my Perfect Picture Book – it’s fantastic and I highly recommend it and you should all find any excuse you can to buy it! 🙂

In the meantime, one lucky, lucky reader is going to win a signed copy, because Amy is just that wonderful!  All you have to do is leave a comment telling about something you accomplished (like a marathon :))  For example, I could say that once I was Sneezy in our third grade play of Blanche Neige – and if you’ve ever tried to sneeze in French you will know just what an accomplishment that was!  But I realize it’s Monday morning and many of you may not be fully caffeinated yet, so if you can’t remember anything you’ve accomplished at this hour you can just write why you’d like the book 🙂

Stay tuned for the Halloweensie Contest Finalists and don’t forget to let me know if you have a preference for later today or tomorrow.  The post is already written because it used to be half of this one 🙂

Have a lovely Monday 🙂

Perfect Picture Book Friday – All The Places To Love, And A Teensy Halloweensie Update

You know me.  Planning is not my strong suit.  I’m definitely a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kinda gal.  But for today, I planned.  I had a book in mind.  I was all set.  I ordered my copy well in advance.  Unfortunately the release date was shifted.  Fortunately, it still shipped in time.  But… thanks to Sandy… delivery has been delayed, so today’s book, which was supposed to have been Marathon Mouse by Amy Dixon, just in time for the NYC marathon and in advance of her interview here on Monday, ain’t happenin’.  Sad face.  Apparently I am not destined to be a planner!

So instead, in the aftermath of Sandy when so many have lost so much, I’ve chosen a book I dearly love.  I know.  This makes two quiet books in a row.  But after the craziness of this hurricane week it seemed like a good choice.  I dare you to read it without feeling touched 🙂

All The Places To Love
Written By: Patricia MacLachlan
Illustrated By: Mike Wimmer
HarperColllins, 1994, Fiction

Suitable For: ages 3-8

Themes/Topics: appreciating what you have, love, family, new baby

Opening: “On the day I was born my grandmother wrapped me in a blanket made from the wool of her sheep.  She held me up to the window so that what I first heard was the wind.  What I first saw were all the places to love…”

Brief Synopsis: Everyone in Eli’s family has a favorite place – Mama loves the blueberry barren, grandmother loves the river, grandfather loves the barn.  “Where else,” he says, “can the soft sound of cows chewing make all the difference in the world?”  Eli knows that no matter where he goes in the world, all the places to love are right here, connected to his family, and always to be cherished.  Then one day, Eli and his grandfather wait together in the barn until grandmother holds someone new up to the window, wrapped in a blanket made from the wool of her sheep – Eli’s sister Sylvie – and he looks forward to sharing his joy, showing her all the places to love including his favorite, which is revealed in the end, but I won’t spoil it 🙂

Links To Resources:  here is a nice Teacher’s Guide, but I also think this book lends itself perfectly to discussion of the places YOU love and why.  Draw a picture of a place you love.  Make a list of places you love.  Talk about why you love them, what makes them special.

Why I Like This Book: I don’t just like this book – I absolutely love it.  The language is poetic and lyrical with a rhythm that makes it wonderful to read aloud.  The art is warm, loving, and so appealing.  The story is all about love, appreciation, and family.  It’s a quiet book, just right for bedtime or those moments when children need to settle down.  It brings all the warmth and comfort of love and family to the surface, giving children a model whereby they can revel in their own experience of the people and places they love.  I read this book many, many times to my kids and after all those readings, even now, it makes me teary every time (in a good way :))  Simply a gem.

Here’s the only other picture that was available on the internet for a glimpse of the beauty inside:

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

And now, before you all rush off to read everyone’s wonderful offerings for today, a teensy Halloweensie Contest update.  We had an INCREDIBLE turn-out – 37 entries at the time of this writing (and I did say I’d extend the deadline to the end of today to help people who lost their power and couldn’t post or link up.)  If you haven’t had a chance to read them, please go HERE and have fun following the links and checking the comment section for the 6 that were entered there.  All these writers worked so hard, and produced such wonderful, entertaining stories I’d hate for you to miss any of them.  And a couple got added late and I’m worried they didn’t get many visitors 😦 so please, if you’re looking for a little light reading over the weekend, check them out!

Now, if all you amazing PPBF bloggers would kindly leave your post-specific links below, we’ll all come visit you with a piece of paper and a pencil so we can make extensive library lists 🙂  OH!  And don’t miss Monday’s post – with Amy Dixon, author of Marathon Mouse, and the vote for the Halloweensie Contest Winner (assuming my assistant judge and I have any luck narrowing this unbelievable field!)

Have a great weekend, everyone, and GOOD LUCK to anyone who is running the NYC Marathon (and that includes my better half! :))!!!