Perfect Picture Book Friday – Old King Cole

Happy Friday, Everyone, and welcome back to Perfect Picture Books!

Golly, it’s fun to get back in the groove, isn’t it?  I know some ambitious bloggers kept up with Perfect Picture Book Friday through July and August, but for those of us who have been lazing away our summer on hiatus, what better time then the start of the new school year to explore all the fabulous, fun titles coming out?!

I love sharing every Perfect Picture Book I find, but I especially love it when someone who is a favorite author and good friend has a new book out.  Today’s title is an absolute delight and I hope you’ll all enjoy it… and then rush out and get a copy for yourself and copies for all the littles in your life! 🙂

Title: Old King Cole
Written & Illustrated By: Iza Trapani
Charlesbridge, August 2015, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 2-5

Themes/Topics: Nursery Rhymes, Language Fun (poetry)

Opening: “Old King Cole was a merry old soul,
And a merry old soul was he.
He called for his pipe, and he called for his bowl,
And he called for his fiddlers three.

“Welcome all to the King Cole ball.”
Said the king to the guests within.
“We’ll romp and we’ll dance in the royal hall.
Let the tunes and the fun begin!

Brief Synopsis: Old King Cole stays up so late preparing for his annual ball that when the festivities begin he can’t stay awake!  Numerous familiar nursery rhyme characters try to come to his rescue, but only the Queen of Hearts can save the day!

Links To Resources: music and lyrics are included on the final page of the book for sing-along fun; take time to explore the illustrations and see how many nursery rhyme characters you can find; Old King Cole craft; make a paper crown; easy recipe for fruit tart (get the mini graham cracker crusts for smaller tarts :))

Why I Like This Book:  As you all know, I am a die-hard Iza Trapani fan, so it is no surprise that I love this latest addition to her stellar collection.  The story is amusing and fun with enough suspense to keep youngest readers wondering whether Old King Cole will EVER wake up.  The rhythmic rhyme is fun to read (and sing!) aloud.  The illustrations are bright and delightful with plenty of details to keep pre-readers interested, including the ruckus caused by the rooster, Old Mother Hubbard’s dog investigating the treat table, and the goats who take advantage of every opportunity to kick up their heels 🙂  Kids (and grown-ups) will enjoy searching for and finding so many familiar nursery rhyme characters!  You won’t want to miss this one!!!

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!  I can’t wait to see what everyone has to share this week after so long out of the loop!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!! 🙂

http://www.simply-linked.com/listwidget.aspx?l=cd3fa672-c557-46a3-bce6-225f74c85d26

The First Ever Pretty Much World Famous Illustration Contest for Children’s Illustrators!!!

Fasten your seat belts and prepare for take off!  It’s finally here!

The First Ever PrettyMuchWorldFamous Illustration Contest!!!
the fact that this particular illustrator resembles a female
is in no way meant to deter any male illustrators! 🙂

The ContestDraw/Paint/Create a children’s picture book cover illustration (no text required – art only) for one of the following stories (which you will recognize as the top finishers in the March Madness Fractured Fairy Tale Writing Contest – a little extra surprise for those authors :)):

 – The Three Wiggly Worms Bluff by Wendy Greenley
 – Goldilockup by Mike Allegra
 – Goldibawks And The Three Pairs by Dawn Young
 – The Sweetie Witch by Pen Avey
 – The Princess And The Stinky Cheese by Lauri Meyers
 – Mongoose’s Holi Party by Darshana Khiani
 – The “Princess” And The Pete by Jennifer Caritas
 – The Jackrabbit Who Cried Gila Monster by Elliah Terry

Illustrations should be 8×10, horizontal or vertical, any medium, posted in jpg at least 72 px
All stories can be read on the March Madness Finalist Post HERE so you will know what to illustrate 🙂  Illustrators may enter more than one entry if they’re feeling ambitious enough to illustrate more than one book title 🙂
Post:  Your entry should be posted on your blog between right now this very second and Monday April 28 at 9 PM EDT (contest deadline!), and your post-specific link should be added to the link list below.  This post with the link list will remain up through Tuesday April 29 so that people can come visit and enjoy your gorgeous artwork!  (For regular blog followers, there will be no PPBF on Friday April 25, no new post on Monday April 28, but there will be a brief interruption for WYRI on Wednesday April 30 because I forgot to leave it open for the contest :)).  If you don’t have a blog but would like to enter, please copy and paste your entry into the comments below.  (If anyone has trouble commenting, which unfortunately happens, you may email me and I’ll post your entry for you!  Also, since this is the first time we’ve done an illustration contest, I’m not sure if you actually CAN paste your entry into the comments.  If this turns out to be a problem, email them to me and I’ll add them directly to this post.)

Judging:  entries will be judged by multi-talented, award-winning author/illustrators Iza Trapani, author and illustrator of over 20 gorgeous picture books, and Lisa Thiesing, author and illustrator of at least 16 beautiful and fun picture books and early readers!   Judging criteria to include:


 – is the picture readable to a young audience,
 – how well does it show the character(s) and
 – is the character(s) appealing (character development),
 – does it make you want to read the story,
 – originality
 – skill.


They will narrow down the entrants to 6 finalists (or possibly a couple more or less depending on the number of entries :)) which will be posted here on Thursday May 1 for you to vote on for a winner.  The vote will be closed at 5PM EST on Sunday May 4 and the winner will be announced on Monday May 5.  (No PPBF on Friday May 2.)


The Prizes!:  There will definitely be a 1st prize.  Whether we give prizes for 1st only, 1st-3rd, or 1st-6th will depend on how many entries we get.  We need at least 12 entries to place through 3rd, and at least 20 to place through 6th.

    First Prize is absolutely amazing!  A portfolio critique by celebrated author/illustrator Michael Garland, who has over 20 picture books to his credit!!!

 – Second Prize – a $50 gift certificate to Dick Blick Art Materials (which is online)
 – Third, Fourth & Fifth Prize will be winner’s choice of one of the following books:
      – Writing With Pictures by Uri Shulevitz

 – Sixth Prize – a Canson sketch pad and a small set of Derwent or Faber Castell colored pencils

I’m so excited to see what everyone comes up with!  As a person whose artistic ability is limited to stick figures, scribbling and relatively easy coloring books, I am in awe of anyone who can draw/paint/cause anything recognizable to appear on paper/canvas/computer screen 🙂  I hope we’ll get plenty of entries, and that there will be at least one attempt at every title!

Tweet: Enjoy the art! Enter yourself! Children’s Book Cover Illustration Contest @SusannaLHill http://ctt.ec/58ZUb+ #kidart #illustration

Let the artistic fun begin!!!  🙂

Don’t miss Laura’s entry for The Three Wiggly Worms Bluff in the comment section! (click HERE and be a little patient :))

And here’s Katie’s entry for Goldibawks And The Three Pairs! (click HERE and be a little patient :))

And here’s Laura’s entry for The Sweetie Witch! (click HERE and be a little patient :))

And here’s Angela’s entry for The Three Wiggly Worms Bluff! (click HERE and be a little patient :))

and here’s Suzy’s entry for The Three Wiggly Worms Bluff! (click HERE and be a little patient :))

Entry from Hilary Swann for The “Princess” And The Pete

Hilary Swann – The “Princess” And The Pete

Announcing The First Ever Illustrators Contest!!!

Whoopeee!  Yahooo!

I’m excited!

Can you tell I’m excited?

It’s because I’m about to launch a new hare-brained scheme and you guys are all going to get to be part of it!

(And no, just because it’s April 1st and we just had a contest, this is NOT an April Fool.  I just couldn’t add this to yesterday’s Winner Celebration Post or tomorrow’s WYRI!)

I’ve been thinking for a while that children’s authors get all the fun.  Contests and prizes and being able to claim top finishes in Pretty Much World Famous Writing Contests. . .

It isn’t entirely fair.

In the world of picture books, authors are only half the story.

We couldn’t do what we do without our illustrators!

I think it’s high time to let the illustrators have some fun and a contest and prizes and be able to claim top finishes in a Pretty Much World Famous Illustration Contest!

So that’s what we’re going to do!

Are you ready?

Announcing

The First Ever PrettyMuchWorldFamous Illustration Contest!!!
the fact that this particular illustrator resembles a female
is in no way meant to deter any male illustrators! 🙂

The ContestDraw/Paint a children’s picture book cover illustration (no text required – art only) for one of the following stories (which you will recognize as the top finishers in the March Madness Fractured Fairy Tale Writing Contest – a little extra surprise for those authors :)):

 – The Three Wiggly Worms Bluff by Wendy Greenley
 – Goldilockup by Mike Allegra
 – Goldibawks And The Three Pairs by Dawn Young
 – The Sweetie Witch by Pen Avey
 – The Princess And The Stinky Cheese by Lauri Meyers
 – Mongoose’s Holi Party by Darshana Khiani
 – The “Princess” And The Pete by Jennifer Caritas
 – The Jackrabbit Who Cried Gila Monster by Elliah Terry

Illustrations should be 8×10, horizontal or vertical, any medium, posted in jpg at least 72 px
All stories can be read on the March Madness Finalist Post HERE so you will know what to illustrate 🙂
Post:  Your entry should be posted on your blog between Thursday April 24 at 5 AM EDT and Monday April 28 at 9 PM EDT, and your post-specific link should be added to the link list on my Thursday April 24 post which will remain up through Tuesday April 29 so that people can come visit and enjoy your gorgeous artwork!  (No PPBF on Friday April 25, no new post on Monday April 28, but there will be a brief interruption for WYRI on Wednesday April 30 because I forgot to leave it open for the contest :)).  If you don’t have a blog but would like to enter, please copy and paste your entry into the comments of my April 24 post.  (If anyone has trouble commenting, which unfortunately happens, you may email me and I’ll post your entry for you!  Also, since this is the first time we’ve done an illustration contest, I’m not sure if you actually CAN paste your entry into the comments.  If this turns out to be the case, email them to me and I’ll add them directly to my April 24 post.)

Judging:  entries will be judged by multi-talented, award-winning author/illustrators Iza Trapani, author and illustrator of over 20 gorgeous picture books, and Lisa Thiesing, author and illustrator of at least 16 beautiful and fun picture books and early readers!   Judging criteria to include:


 – is the picture readable to a young audience,
 – how well does it show the character(s) and
 – is the character(s) appealing (character development),
 – does it make you want to read the story,
 – originality
 – skill.


They will narrow down the entrants to 6 finalists (or possibly a couple more or less depending on the number of entries :)) which will be posted here on Thursday May 1 for you to vote on for a winner.  The vote will be closed at 5PM EST on Sunday May 4 and the winner will be announced on Monday May 5.  (No PPBF on Friday May 2.)


The Prizes!:  There will definitely be a 1st prize.  Whether we give prizes for 1st only, 1st-3rd, or 1st-6th will depend on how many entries we get.

First Prize is absolutely amazing!  A portfolio critique by celebrated author/illustrator Michael Garland, who has over 20 picture books to his credit!!!

 – Second Prize – a $50 gift certificate to Dick Blick Art Materials
 – Third, Fourth & Fifth Prize will be winner’s choice of one of the following books:
      – Writing With Pictures by Uri Shulevitz

 – Sixth Prize – sketch pads/pencils

Illustrators, we can’t wait to see what you’ve got in store for us!

Everyone else (authors, parents, teachers, librarians, farm equipment retailers, etc. :)) think how much fun it’s going to be so see what the illustrators come up with!

You’ve got three weeks, illustrators!

On your mark, get set, GO!!! 🙂

An Author’s Guide To Skype School Visits With Guest Iza Trapani!!!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Everyone!

I have a present for you!

It’s not green.  And it’s not Irish.  But it’s still a great present 🙂

Remember on Friday I promised a guest post on a very interesting topic?

Ta-da!

Allow me to introduce the multi-talented and delightful Iza Trapani!

Author/Illustrator Iza Trapani

Hi Iza!

Thank you so much for joining us today!

I personally am very interested in the topic of Skype school visits.  I think they’re a wonderful alternative to in-person visits for many schools, allowing authors and illustrators to visit classrooms without the expense associated with in-person visits.  Having never done one myself, I was curious to know the details of how one goes about it, and I thought you guys might like to know too!  So I asked Iza (who is a pro :)) to elucidate, and she very kindly did (VERY kindly because not only did I ask her for a guest post, it was on short notice!)

Take it away, Iza!

While an in-person school visit is always better, a Skype session is a nice alternative for schools  struggling with tight budgets and/or for schools wanting to invite an out-of-state author. Most authors charge travel expenses  in addition to their presentation fees, so it can get expensive. Skype visits are a convenient and affordable option. They are also great for authors and illustrators who are often up against deadlines.  Cutting out the travel leaves more time for the works in progress.

I’ve been doing skype visits for a couple of years now, and I’m glad to share my experience.


Getting Skype Visits

Advertising for Skype visits is no different than for in-person visits. On my website I have a link with information on my school visits. It includes a description of my presentation, a short video of me presenting to a class, my fees, list of my titles, short bio,  feedback on my presentations and more. When a school contacts me, I also have a school visit PDF that includes all the relevant info plus references. A few years ago we added a blurb that I am now available for Skype visits as well. When I started doing Skype, I sent out an e-mail announcement to all my school contacts, teacher friends, and fans. A few years ago I’d also sent out a flyer to numerous schools within a 50 mile radius. The flyer had a brief bio, description of my presentation and contact info. I am also listed in Arts in Ed directories in several counties. Mostly, the schools find me either via my website or by word of mouth. Because my writing and illustrations (especially) are so time consuming, I can not do too many school visits. But that is a personal choice. Some authors do lots of school visits and I am sure they promote much more aggressively than I do.



Setting up the Session

I set up right in my studio which has good, glare-free northern light and overhead track lights.  My laptop will rest on a small table. I’ll have a stool to sit on and my materials (illustration samples, books I’ll be using etc.) will be within reach on top of my flat file cabinets on the left. To my right will be an easel with an 18×24 pad on which I’ll do drawing demonstrations. Behind me, a low bookshelf will showcase some of my books face out. It makes a nice backdrop.

Before doing my first school visit I did a test with my sister (in Poland!)  to make sure the light was good, that the books behind me were well arranged and that the easel was at the right height. When I first started I was worried that the class wouldn’t see me well, but I soon learned that the image I see of me in the little window on the bottom right in Skype is what they are seeing. I can tilt the computer screen to adjust the view as needed.

Makeup? Attire?

One of the advantages of a Skype visit is that I don’t have to fuss over my appearance. First of all, it’s never a crystal clear image-at least not on my end. I rarely wear make-up but I  will wash my hair and wear a nice, casual top for the session. It doesn’t matter what’s on my bottom half- clown pants or a tutu- they won’t see it 🙂

Interruptions?

I turn off the phone and leave a note on the front door. If it’s UPS or FedEx, they can drop off in our front foyer.  My big Mastiff, Jambo, might stay in my husband’s shop- but I have had requests from some schools that the kids wanted to see my pets, so in those cases I will leave him with me. Part of the attraction of Skype is seeing the author at home.


 Technical Problems

Sometimes there are technical problems – usually no sound. So far, the problems  were on the school’s end and were quickly fixed. A quick test Skype with the teacher ahead of time is always a good idea. I also do a test Skype with a friend or relative beforehand.

Sound can be a bit problematic. When the children join me in singing there is a slight delay. Also, I don’t always hear the children when they ask me questions; the teachers usually have to repeat them, and I can hear the teachers just fine. They say they can hear me very clearly, so I am glad about that.


My Presentation

My Skype presentations are the same as my in-person visits. I start off with a short intro, telling a little bit about me- how I was born in Poland and came to the U.S. when I was seven and went right into first grade not speaking any English, and then how my dream of making books for children came true. Then I sing/read one of my nursery rhyme books, and I’ll have the kids sing at least the first verse along with me. Then I will discuss the bookmaking process, talk a bit about getting ideas and turning them into stories, and then the many revisions that are needed. I will show samples of my storyboards, dummy sketches, color studies and final art. I will also show some of my rejected works- paintings I had started but wasn’t happy with. And I have some press sheets to show them so they can understand the printing process. After that I will do Q+A then go on to a drawing demonstration. I’ll choose a character from one of my books and have the kids think of some ideas of what the character could be doing and I will draw it for them. Then I’ll ask the kids to help me add details to the drawing and I will put them in. A typical scene might be a bear riding on a skateboard and juggling. For details they will ask me to put in the sun, birds, bunnies, flowers, ladybugs, etc. I love that! There are so many edgy books out there and it’s reassuring to me to know that kids are still charmed by the beauty and wonder of nature.


My books are ideal for preK to 1st grade, but I will also present to older kids. I will adjust my presentations- doing more singing and reading with the little ones and more bookmaking discussions with the older kids.

Fee

I charge $150 for a 45 minute to 1 hr session. My in-person visits are $250 per session plus travel expenses beyond 50 miles. I will do up to 4 presentations in one day. In both cases, the school will send me a check after the visit.

And that’s all there is to it! 🙂

Thank you, Susanna, for featuring me. I hope this info is helpful to your many wonderful readers!
Thank YOU, Iza!  I’m sure I speak for all of us when I say it was very interesting and enlightening!
Iza is the author and illustrator of 20 lovely picture books for children, including Itsy Bitsy Spider (a favorite in our house), Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, The Bear Went Over The Mountain, Little Miss Muffet and many more. She is also the illustrator of 4 books written by other authors.
Teachers, you can learn all about Iza’s school visits here:
and everyone – teachers, parents, readers, writers, homeschoolers, librarians, kids etc. – you can find Iza around the web here:

www.izatrapani.com
http://izatrapani.com/blog
Like me on Facebook
Follow me on twitter

I hope you enjoyed learning about Skype visits (I know I did! :)) and if you have any questions, I think Iza will be happy to answer in the comments!

Have a marvelous Monday, everyone, and once again, Happy St. Patrick’s Day! 🙂

Fun Times At Sheep And Wool

Haaappy Monday, everyone!

I just flew in from the New York State Sheep & Wool Festival and boy are my arms tired!

Ba-da-boom!

Thank you, folks!  I’ll be here all week!  Try the chicken cacciatore!

Seriously, though, I really did go to Sheep & Wool and I had tons of fun!

More than 3 people bought copies of Can’t Sleep Without Sheep – awesome!

I saw MANY sheep – always fun!  One was being led around like a dog on a leash, baaing plaintively to his mates behind in the pen.  I didn’t get a picture because I was carrying all my stuff, but he had very cool long ropy hair – kind of like Bob Marley but a different color 🙂

I got to read to a bevy of little munchkins in various stages of sugar overdrive from fair food 🙂

My signing table was right next to Nancy Shaw – yes, THE Nancy Shaw who wrote SHEEP IN A JEEP and many, many others – books I read over and over to my kids when they were little – and I got to meet her and be in a picture with her!

And on the OTHER side of my signing table was my dear friend Iza Trapani!  Here we are:

That’s Iza on the left and me on the right, which I felt I should explain since we look so much alike –  almost like we’re twins 🙂  Or like someone who forgot to take a photo before Iza left just drew a picture 🙂
Here she is for real (in a surreptitious photo taken by my camera-girl) signing for her hordes of loving fans with my hair in the background – that’s the closest I could come to an actual picture with both of us in it 🙂
I hope you enjoyed that Fun Photo Fest and my incredible drawing skills.  (Now you know why I don’t illustrate my own books :))
Oh, and before we go, now seems like a good moment to mention some upcoming fun stuff!
Next week, from October 28 – Nov. 1 we’ll be having the 3rd Annual Halloweensie Contest!  (Go HERE for details if you’d like to enter!)
Monday November 11 will feature an interview with the one and only Mike Allegra!

Wednesday November 13 we will have a very special Would You Read It!

Monday December 2 we’ll be having our Rhyme Clinic with Linda Ashman!
And who knows what other amazing things may happen by 🙂
So with all that awesomeness to look forward to, have a marvelous Monday, everyone! 🙂

NYS Sheep And Wool Festival Contest/Giveaway for Can’t Sleep Without Sheep

[To all my regular devoted readers, this post is a special one for the NYS Sheep And Wool Festival and you may read it or skip it as you wish :)]

Come Join The Fun At The 2013 New York State Sheep And Wool Festival!!!
October brings fresh apples, autumn leaves, and the NYS Sheep And Wool Festival at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds in Rhinebeck, NY!
Come join me on Saturday October 19 from 11-3, with a special story time at 12:15 when I’ll read Can’t Sleep Without Sheep!
While you’re waiting for the Sheep & Wool Festival to get here, you can do something fun!
In Can’t Sleep Without Sheep, Ava has a hard time falling asleep so she counts sheep.  But she has to count them so many times that they get tired and quit!  Ava has to find something else to count instead!
illustration copyright Mike Wohnoutka 2009
For a chance to win a free, signed copy of Can’t Sleep Without Sheep, you can do one of two fun things!
1.  On a piece of paper, write down what animal Ava could count instead of sheep and why it would be a good choice for falling asleep.
OR
2. Draw a picture of an animal Ava could count!  (You can draw on your own piece of paper or use this free downloadable page)
Bring your entry with you to the Merritt Bookstore booth in Building B on Saturday October 19 by 1 PM (but come at 12:15 if you want to hear the story!)  Please make sure your name is on your entry.  After the story, we will randomly choose one winner to receive a free, signed copy of the book.  You must be present to win.
My friend, Iza Trapani, will also be at the festival reading her delightful book, Baa Baa Black Sheep!  Please visit her site for a chance to win a book from her, and be sure to come see her at the festival on Saturday between 9 and 12:30 or on Sunday from 10-5!
If you’re excited to share you entry ideas or drawings, you are welcome to post them in the comment section below.  You can also take a picture of your drawing and email it to me at susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com and I will be glad to add it to this post so visitors can enjoy your artwork!
Have fun writing and drawing!  I look forward to seeing you at the festival!

Perfect Picture Book Fridays Are Back! – With A Giveaway! – Little Miss Muffet

Let the joyous news be spread!

Perfect Picture Book Fridays are back!!

And we’re starting off with tons of fun!!!  A great book and a giveaway!

Today, I am thrilled to be sharing this hot-off-the-presses new book from the one and only Iza Trapani!

Title: Little Miss Muffet
Written & Illustrated By: Iza Trapani
Sky Pony Press, September 10, 2013, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-7

Themes/Topics: bravery, positional and directional words

Opening:
Little Miss Muffet
Sat on a tuffet
Eating her curds and whey.
Along came a spider
Who sat down beside her
And frightened Miss Muffet away.

All through the room,
She zipped and she zoomed
And looked for a place to hide.
A mouse came to find her;
It scurried behind her.
The dainty Miss bolted outside.

Brief Synopsis:  Poor Miss Muffet is frightened by a spider.  But as she rushes to find a place to hide, she’s frightened by a mouse!  Running from the mouse she is frightened by a frog!  No matter where she runs, she seems to find something to be afraid of.  What is the poor girl to do?

Just for fun, here’s an interior page:)

copyright Iza Trapani 2013 all rights reserved

Links To Resources:  Iza has created many wonderful resources for this book which I’m sure will be available soon on her website, but for now you can get them my emailing her at iza[at]izatrapani[dot]com and asking for them.  (I had hoped to include them here, but blogger won’t allow uploads of PDFs!  I will refrain from sharing my feelings about blogger since this is a kid-friendly blog :))  The resources include a Miss Muffet Coloring Page, a Miss Muffet Hidden Animals challenge, a Miss Muffet Maze, and a page that allows you to make bookmarks.  The book also includes many positional and directional words which makes it excellent for preschool!  Please enjoy the book trailer HERE.  And Iza writes a wonderful blog which you can visit HERE.

Why I Like This Book: If you haven’t had the pleasure of reading Iza’s books, I can’t recommend them highly enough.  Most of them are based on familiar, beloved songs – the kind all children and parents love to sing together – including Twinkle Twinkle Little StarBaa Baa Black SheepRow Row Row Your BoatI’m A Little TeapotJingle Bells,  Itsy Bitsy Spider (celebrating it’s 20th anniversary this year having sold over a million copies!) and many more.  Iza takes the basic verses and spins them into delightful, original stories that are a joy to read (and sing :)) aloud.  Her accompanying art is warm and inviting, a safe-haven for young children, full of comfort, perfect for bedtime or anytime.  Miss Muffet is another brilliant addition to her list and a must-have!

If you’d care to purchase a copy, here is a helpful link: Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Little-Miss-Muffet-Iza-Trapani/dp/1620879867/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1378415299&sr=1-1&keywords=little+miss+muffet

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

Today, since we are celebrating the release of Iza’s book, she has been kind enough to offer a signed copy as a giveaway!!!  One lucky commenter is going to be a winner 🙂  All you have to do to qualify is leave a comment in which you share your choice of the following things:

1. Name something that YOU are very afraid of!
2. Tell us your favorite Iza Trapani title and why you love it!
3. If you’re feeling writerly and inspired, write your own verse of Miss Muffet in which she is afraid of something besides the traditional spider!

You may do one of them or all of them, whatever you like!

Please leave your comment by Sunday September 15 at 5 PM EDT.  At that time, a winner will be selected randomly by random.org.  The winner will be announced Monday along with a very special post!  Which you’ll just have to wonder about.  All weekend 🙂

PPBF bloggers, please add your post-specific link to the list below.  I can’t wait to come and visit you all after our long summer hiatus!

Have a terrific weekend, everyone!

Oh Susanna – Will Agents Rep Poetry?

Happy Monday Everyone!

It feels like ages since we had an Oh Susanna day, and the next question in the queue seemed like a good one for the start of a new year.

Penny asked: I have noticed when researching agent blogs, that a lot of them don’t represent poetry. So what if you write poetry along with picture books/middle grade, etc.? Do you have to submit poetry on your own? Or will agents usually work with you to find a home for your poems, too?

This is the first time an Oh Susanna question has come in that I really had no experience with, but I think it’s something a lot of you might wonder about, so I wanted to address it.  Since I don’t have any direct, personal knowledge on the topic, I of course reached out to writer friends who might know the answer.  And being children’s writers they were of course all wonderful and helpful and wrote back immediately with the best information they could provide.

Laura Sassi whose poems, stories, articles and crafts have appeared in many publications including Highlights for ChildrenCricketLadybugSpider, Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse and Clubhouse Jr.FamilyFun, and Pack-O-Fun and whose debut picture book GOODNIGHT, ARK is forthcoming from Zonderkidz, a division of HarperCollins says:

According to my contract, when I had an agent, she represented all of my writing, but what she was interested in were my rhyming picture books, so that’s what I focussed on and sent her.  Not sure this answer helps in your question – except to point out that maybe part of the answer needs to be that it’s a very individual thing.  Depends probably on name recognition of poet etc.

Iza Trapani, author and illustrator of many wonderful rhyming stories for children, including ITSY BITSY SPIDER (Whispering Coyote Press, 1993) and THE BEAR WENT OVER THE MOUNTAIN (Sky Pony Press 2012) as well as 2 poetry compilations – RUFUS AND FRIENDS RHYME TIME (Charlesbridge 2008) and RUFUS AND FRIENDS SCHOOL DAYS (Charlesbridge 2010) says:

My agent represents me on picture books, individual poems, poem collections, whatever I write. But that’s our agreement. I am sure some agents may be only interested in picture books, rhyming or not. Poetry continues to be a hard sell…

Laura Purdie Salas (not to be confused with Laura Sassi :)) who is the author of many books and poems for children including
A LEAF CAN BE… (Millbrook Press, 2012) (which was  Perfect Picture Book HERE)
BOOKSPEAK! (Clarion, 2011) NCTE Notable; 2012 Minnesota Book Award
STAMPEDE! (Clarion, 2009) Finalist, 2010 Minnesota Book Award says:

Good question. I've run into that same thing. What seems to be the
typical case is that if an agent represents you for picture books and
novels, she will also submit your poetry, but only for book
manuscripts for traditional publishers. Not individual poems for
anthologies, magazines, etc. Poetry, in general, makes so little money
that agents don't have a whole lot of interest in representing it,
even if they personally love it. They know that it's just not all that
salable (can you hear me sob as I type that?).


Just my 2 cents. Interested to hear if others have different
experiences.

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater who is the author of FOREST HAS A SONG (Clarion 2013) and READING TIME (Wordsong, date TBA) and who you can visit at The Poem Farm and Sharing Our Notebooks in addition to her website linked to her name above has this to contribute:

I don’t know the bigger answer to this question, only my own experience.  I met my agent through the generous introduction and sharing of my work by my teacher, Lee Bennett Hopkins.  Elizabeth Harding (Curtis Brown Ltd.) does represent and submit my poetry, and while I have not yet sold a picture book…she is encouraging me to write one.  

From this, I’d imagine that if you’re already working with an agent, s/he would most likely work with you and your poems.  But poetry is such a tough sell these days, I wonder if agents hesitate to advertise that they might even read it.

I hope this helps?

Clearly this is a tough question to answer!  In general, it seems that if you write other children’s genres, at least some agents will probably help you sub traditional book length poetry mss.  But it sounds like poetry by itself would be a hard way to secure an agent.  Thanks ever so much to Laura, Laura, Iza, and Amy for sharing their knowledge and expertise, and if anyone in the reading audience has experience in this area, please share!  We are all very curious to find out!  Catherine? Anyone?  Not to put you on the spot or anything 🙂

I hope we’ll get some good information in the comments!  Thanks for a great question, Penny!

Have a wonderful day everyone! 🙂