Perfect Picture Book Friday – What About Moose?

Well, dearies, here we are again, about to wade into summer!

And you know what that means.

It means Perfect Picture Books will go on hiatus until September.

I know.  It’s sad.  But luckily we have a big list of books to tide us over (if I ever finish updating it, it will be REALLY big!)  And a little break is good for us.  It means we’ll come back refreshed and filled with renewed enthusiasm 🙂

For the last PPBF before summer hiatus, I have a fantastically fun book to share!  You will probably all want to rush out and read it immediately 🙂

Title: What About Moose?
Written By: Corey Rosen Schwartz and Rebecca J. Gomez
Illustrated By: Keika Yamaguchi
Atheneum Books For Young Readers, June 2015, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: teamwork, behavior (bossiness), language fun (rhyme), forgiveness

Opening: “Fox met her friends with her toolbox in hand.
‘Time to start building!  Now here’s what I’ve planned.’
She divvied up jobs and then Moose trotted in.
‘I’m HERE!’ he announced.  ‘Let construction begin!’

Brief Synopsis: The forest animals are working together to build a tree house… all except Moose who is so busy being in charge that he fails to perceive exactly what’s happening.  When he finds himself in a tight situation, his kind-hearted friends help him out in spite of his previous bossiness.

Links To Resources: Team Building Games; design your own treehouse – draw the kind of treehouse you’d love to have, including amenities :); moose coloring pages; recipes for lemonade (to drink while you’re building or playing in your treehouse :))

Why I Like This Book: As you’ve probably all gathered by now (due to the fact that I’m always adding her books to Perfect Picture Books list :)) I am a die-hard Corey Rosen Schwartz fan.  Her books are always clever and fun with fabulous rhyme that is a pleasure to read aloud.  This new addition is no exception.  Moose is delightful in his bossiness, hollering commands through a megaphone, oblivious to the predicament he’s getting himself into.  His friends are forgiving, willing to help him out even though he’s been a pain in the backside.  The illustrations are appealing and engaging.  The story is light-hearted and fun while still getting the message across that it’s best to work together – one all ages will enjoy!

Here’s the trailer:


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

I know we will all be reading picture books throughout the summer, but with so many wonderful outdoor things to do (and the kids all home from school :)), our time for writing posts, reading reviews, and visiting one another’s blogs will be limited.  And summer is all about spending time with our families.  So go forth and enjoy – we’ll be here when you get back to start up PPBF again on Friday September 11!

PPBF bloggers please be sure to leave your post-specific link in the list below so we can all come visit you!

Have a wonderful summer, everyone, and those of you who only visit for PPBF, we’ll see you in September!  Everyone else, we’ll still be here with Would You Read It Wednesdays, the pitch picks, and Straight From The Editor, the upcoming Children’s Illustration Contest to be followed by some other high jinx for writers, and maybe a few surprises… depending on whether I manage to get things done 🙂  I’ve got at least three new things I’m hoping to share soon 🙂

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!  And I hope to see some of you in New Jersey! 🙂

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Perfect Picture Book Friday – Ninja Red Riding Hood

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, Everyone!

I was certain this book had been reviewed already for PPBF, but when I went to find the link (so I could add it to the prize mention on the Halloweensie Contest) I couldn’t find it anywhere!  Is it possible that since it came out in July while we were on hiatus it never got reviewed?  Or did I just not see it?  Who knows?!  But it’s too good to miss, so enjoy!  (And if someone already did it, you’d better give me the link! :))

Title: Ninja Red Riding Hood
Written By: Corey Rosen Schwartz
Illustrated By: Dan Santat
G.P. Putnam’s Sons, July 2014, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: fractured fairy tale, humor, girl power, language fun (rhyme)

Opening: “Once upon a Ninja-filled time,
a wolf couldn’t catch any prey.
He kept getting licked
by the dinner he picked
and was growing more ticked by the day.

Brief Synopsis: The big bad wolf, having taken a licking from the three nina pigs, decides to attend martial arts school and then see if he can snack on Little Red Riding Hood.  But Red turns out to be way more than he bargained for!

Links To Resources: Teacher Guide/Activity Pages; compare this version of RED with the traditional tale of Little Red Riding Hood, Little Red Writing, and any other versions you like (this page lists quite a few!) – how are the stories alike? How are they different?

Why I Like This Book: For starters, I love fractured fairy tales, and this is such a clever one!  The rhythm of the rhyme is terrific, and just begs to be read aloud.  The story, complemented perfectly by the illustrations, is tons of fun.  I love that Red has a few tricks up her sleeve and is well able to take care of herself – a great message for girls.  Gran has a few surprises too.  And the poor old wolf… you just have to feel a little sorry for him 🙂

Hopefully, here’s the trailer (although my internet is currently being extremely uncooperative and refusing to show any videos, so we’ll just have to see if this works or not!)

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

PPBF bloggers please be sure to leave your post-specific link in the list below so we can all come visit you!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!  I hope you’re all thinking about and/or writing your Halloweensie stories!  Personally, I am still in the thinking about stage 🙂

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!