Perfect Picture Book Friday – Extraordinary Endangered Animals PLUS The Contest Winners!!!

Thanks to Joanna over at Miss Marple’s Musings, I realized in the nick of time that today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday coincides with the 8th Annual Endangered Species Day.  So I have chosen a special book.  I hope you will enjoy it.

Title: Extraordinary Endangered Animals
Written By: Sandrine Silhol and Gaelle Guerive
Illustrated By: Marie Doucedame
Abrams Books For Young Readers, November 2011, Non-Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 10 and up

Themes/Topics: endangered species

Opening: “Our lives are closely connected to those of the animals that surround us.  The monkey is our cousin, we’ve domesticated the horse, the now-extinct aurochs has become the ox, the wolf has turned into our dog, the silkworm has given us beautiful clothes, and the maggot protects us from serious infections.  We’ve identified roughly over a million animal species.  Of those numbers, the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List indicates that close to 43,000 are endangered and face possible extinction.”

Brief Synopsis: The book begins with a brief overview of living in harmony with nature, biodiversity, which animals need protection, and how important any effort to help is, as well as a map of the world showing where you would find the animals listed in the book.  (It really is brief – only about 4 pages.)  This is followed by the main part of the book which details 34 species that are endangered (from Europe, Asia, North and South America, Africa, and Oceania).

Links To Resources:  The book itself is a resource, full of information on many endangered animals.  It has a glossary in the back along with several sections on how you can help endangered animals.  It could be used in conjunction with study of animals, the environment, science etc.

Why I Like This Book:  Full of large, gorgeous color photographs, this book is appealingly written in fairly small chunks of text that are informative in a fun way with lots of little details about the animals.  I think kids would find it interesting and accessible.  I think the plight of endangered species is an important one to be informed about and to try to help with.  And it’s hard to stop looking at those photographs! 🙂

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

Now.  We have one other item on the agenda today.  Usually I tease you for a while before I tell you what you want to know, but today I’m going to be very mature.

I’m going to get right to the point.

Without wasting a moment, I’m going to just come straight out and tell you that the Can’t Sleep Without Sheep Jingle Contest and the Can’t Sleep Without Sheep Kids’ Drawing Contest have both been clearly and decisively won.

Congratulations to the winners!  Well done!

Have a great weekend, everyone!  See you Monday!  (PPBF Bloggers, please put your post-specific links in the list below so we can all come see your recommendations for this week.)


You’re still here?

Shouldn’t you be off reading everyone’s picture book recommendations?


You want to know WHO the winners are?

Golly!  You guys are sticklers for details!

Fine.  I’ll be more specific 🙂

The winners are…

both human!

Not good enough, eh?

OK.  The winners both…

used sheep in their winning entries!


Well, how about this:

The winners are both…

under 12 and from the same family!!!

Need I say more?

That’s right!  The popular vote has spoken, and the winner of the Can’t Sleep Without Sheep Jingle Contest is none other than the incredible 11 year-old film wizard himself, ERIK!!!

And the winner of the Can’t Sleep Without Sheep Kids’ Drawing Contest is his sister,  the very talented JOSIE!!!

Apparently talent is genetic 🙂

Hearty congratulations to Erik and Josie for amazing entries, and to all our other contestants who did a truly fabulous job – each and every one of you!  I can’t thank you enough for putting it all out there for Can’t Sleep Without Sheep, even though after all that we are still waiting for the technical glitch to be resolved and the e-book is still not available.  Who cares?  It was tons of fun! 🙂

Oh, and lest I forget, we have one more winner – the winner of the Social Media Love Contest, for FB posting, tweeting, and/or blogging to raise awareness.  That winner, selected by, is Beth Stilborn!  (Apparently really likes Beth! :))

Thanks to everyone for writing, recording, filming, drawing, reading, listening, watching, FB posting, tweeting, blogging, and voting – what a wonderful bunch you are!!! 🙂

Erik, Josie, and Beth – please email me and we’ll talk prizes 🙂

NOW PPBF bloggers leave your post specific links and everyone go have a great weekend! 🙂

Would You Read It Wednesday #88 – Nobody Loves Roberto A. Tailbottom (PB)

Bonjour, mes amis!  It’s Mercredi, so let’s have some pain au chocolat!!  (I know… you guys always forget how multi-lingual I am 🙂  But really, you just heard all my French right there :))

So, petit déjeuner? (Oh, except that 🙂  Who knew?)

Mmmmm, that’s good!  Kind of puts you in the mood for a picture book pitch, doesn’t it?  Luckily, I have one for you right here!

Today’s pitch comes to us from Rita, whom you may all remember from last year for her part in the mini-series on self-publishing as well as for her pitch for Elephant And Dolphin last June.  Living in Malta but raised in the New York City, Rita Antoinette Borg has written seven picture books and an anthology. The picture books are mostly in bilingual Maltese- English format. But her newest book is Meg The Egg and you can buy it on Amazon in English. She loves being a writer more than her previous jobs as dog walker, rubber band counter and airline ground hostess. She is a mother of three, married to a doctor, and searching hard for a new dog to love.

Her website is Look her up on facebook.
Here is her pitch:
Working Title: Nobody Loves Roberto A. Tailbottom

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 3-7)
The Pitch: A picture book for ages 3-7 about a street rat that is always hungry. When anyone sees him they all scream and want to grab him. But one day he enters a food factory with caged animals ready to be eaten. Freddie, the owner of the place, tries to capture Roberto. But Roberto is much more clever and rescues the other animals making him hero of the day.

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 Rita 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 the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  There are openings in July so you have a little time to polish your pitches for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Before you all race off to your Wednesdays, may I beg desperately on my knees politely and not at all pushily ask anyone who hasn’t voted in the Can’t Sleep Without Sheep Jingle Contest to head over HERE and vote?  I wasn’t kidding when I said the competition was fierce.  We need votes!  The poll will be open until noon tomorrow (Thursday.)

Rita is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to seeing who will win the Can’t Sleep Without Sheep Jingle Contest!!!  How many minutes until Friday????

Have a great day, everyone! 🙂

Vote For You Favorite Jingle! – And Your Favorite Kids Entry!

Alrighty my friends!  I hope you ate your Wheaties this morning!

Today is the day you get to vote for your favorite jingle!

You’ve got two big decisions ahead of you, so I won’t waste your time with a long intro.  Just go through the entries below, and after you’ve viewed them all, choose your favorite and vote!  Feel free to have your friends and relations visit and vote too.  You will have until Thursday May 16 at noon EDT to cast your vote, and I will announce the winner on Friday after Perfect Picture Books.  The prizes (if you need a refresher) can be viewed HERE.

Oh and BTW, I’m sorry I couldn’t get all the entires to load right here.  I tried.  But you know me and technology.  So I apologize if you have to click.  They should at least all open in separate windows or tabs!

Ready? Set? Vote!

#1 Ruth – rhyme, no tune

Text/Jingle Copyright Ruth Benedum 2013
Illustrations Copyright Mike Wohnoutka 2010

#2 Vivian – rhyme, no tune

Ava Ava needs some sleep.
Ava Ava counts some sheep.
Ava Ava wide awake!
Ava Ava take a break,
Count some pigs and cows instead.
Much too noisy for my bed!
If you please, I need my sleep
Cannot sleep without my sheep.

#3 Nancy – to the tune of Swagger Jagger

You can’t stop reading this book
Reading this book
Reading this book
You can’t stop reading this book
So get a copy now
You can’t stop counting those sheep
Counting those sheep
Counting those sheep
You can’t stop counting those sheep
So get a copy now
Can’t sleep without sheep
Can’t. Can’t.
Can’t sleep without sheep
So get a copy NOW!

#4 Heather – camp chant
Leader:  What do you do when you cannot sleep?
Group:  Call for sheep!  Call for sheep!
Leader:  What will you do when they jump the gate?
Group:  Count and wait!  Count and wait!
Leader:  What are you waiting for?
Group:  Sleep!  Sleep!  Sleep!
Leader:  What kind of sleep?
Group: Long and deep!  
Leader:  What will you do when the sheep wear out?

Group:  Um’s and uh’s and shoulder shrugs. 

Leader:  Sounds like you guys need a back up plan.  Read Susanna Hill’s  E-Book “Can’t Sleep Without Sheep” to find out what  happens after the sheep get tired.

#5 Delores – to the tune of Ghost Riders In The Sky
Go HERE to hear Delores sing it!
Young Ava
she went to bed
one dark and stormy night.
She said “Oh Mommy
please don’t turn out the light.
I’ve lost my sheep
and I can’t sleep
without him by my side.
How will I get to sleep tonight.”
was her mournful cry. 
“I need my sheep.
I need my shee-eep.
No sleep for me tonight.”
Up in the land of happy dreams
her mournful cry was heard
and one brave soul raised his head
and gazed upon his herd.
“We’re needed now
and we must run
to stand by Ava’s side.
If we don’t bleat
she won’t sleep.
Come on my friends, let’s ride.”
“She needs her sheep.
She needs her shee-eep.
Let’s help her sleep tonight.” 
They gathered
all around her bed
their bleating rose on high.
Young Ava smiled
and counted them
as round her bed they’d fly.
“I’ve got some sheep
now I can sleep
and every thing’s all right.
Brave Wulliam and the herd
have come to save the night.
I’ve got some sheep
Now I can slee-eep
Now I can sleep tonight.” 

#6 Iza – please click HERE to hear her jingle to the tune of The Beverly Hillbillies
Or go HERE and click on the link in her post if the above doesn’t work!

#7 Carrie

#8 Catherine – go HERE to see her video if it doesn’t come up below!
Ava hard time fallin’ asleep
Pigs and hippos too slow
and through the fence go buffalow
Lots of rushin’
Tush Tushin’
Haulin’ and hollerin’
Crowdy and rowdy
Oh sheep…come back!

#9 Penny – Go HERE to see her video!

#10 Julie – Go HERE to see her video if it doesn’t show up below

#11 Erik – please click HERE to see Erik’s sheep rap

#12 Laura – please click HERE to see her video to the tune of Clementine

#13 Tim – please click HERE to see his video if it doesn’t show up below


#1 Josie – please click HERE to see her 2 drawings.

#2 Matthew – please click HERE and scroll past Catherine’s video to the TOP drawing

#3 Rylee – please click HERE and scroll past Catherine’s video and Matthew’s drawing to the BOTTOM drawing.

As with the jingle poll, please cast your vote for the kids’ contest winner by Thursday May 16 at noon EDT.

Thank you all for being such good sports about entering and about voting!  Especially since, after all this, the e-book is still not available!  But we had fun anyway!

Looking forward to seeing who the winners will be!!!

Please spread the word to anyone you think would like to vote!

Have a great day, everyone! 🙂

The Can’t Sleep Without Sheep E-Book Launch Jingle Contest!

It’s finally Monday!

It’s okay.  You can admit it.  I know you couldn’t sleep last night (even with plenty of sheep to count :)) because you were So Excited about today’s contest! 🙂

And today’s contest is happening because tomorrow, May 7, Can’t Sleep Without Sheep is coming out as an E-Book!!!

It will be available on all platforms, and it is one of 4 books that Walker has chosen to launch their E-Book line.  For that reason, it is very important that it do well.  It is a representative!  Sallying forth and bearing the flag of honor!  So I really want to help spread the word so that Woolliam and Ava don’t end up hanging their heads in disgrace!

Here is the E-Book link for Bloomsbury! Can’t Sleep E-Book – Bloomsbury

This contest has gone through a few metamorphoses, but has ended up as follows.  You may participate in any or all of the 3 categories! 🙂 (and if you’ve already read the rules you can skip a bit :)):

1.  Write a jingle that makes Can’t Sleep Without Sheep sound irresistible!  So that everyone will want to read it!!  On whatever electronic device they happen to have!!!  The judges will look with extra favor on anyone who produces a video (sorry, they can’t help it :))  For more details on writing your jingle, please go HERE)

On Monday May 6 – Tuesday May 7, please post your jingle of awesomeness on your blog and include the links to the E-Book (which I’m sorry you’ll have to add tomorrow because the links don’t exist yet!)  Add your post-specific link to the list below so we can all come and be entertained by your jingle.  (And as always, if you’d like to participate but don’t have a blog, you may either post in the comments or email me and I’ll add your entry to this post.)

On Monday May 13, we will vote for a winner.  If we get fewer than 15 participants (*sob*) I will post them all here for popular vote.  If we get 16 or more (YAY! :)) my lovely assistant and I will select up to 10 finalists for your voting pleasure.

Prizes for Category #1- The Jingle (given for 1st place if 15 entries or fewer, 1st-3rd if more than 16 entries) are as follows:
Winner’s choice of one of the following:

#1 The Serenity Spa Gift Basket from It’s Only Natural – a $55 value of organic soaps and lotions!
#2 A $50 gift certificate to Amazon!
#3 Tangy lemon bars, fudgy brownies, and sugared butter cookies from Sweet Sally’s Bakeshop! (A $40+ value)
#4 Winner’s choice of any 3 of my books, specially signed for whoever you like (A $30-$50 value depending on which books you choose)
#5 Winner’s choice of my online picture book writing course (a $99 value) OR a picture book manuscript critique by yours truly (a $75 value)

2. Face Book post, Tweet, and/or blog that Can’t Sleep Without Sheep is coming out as an E-Book for all platforms, including links (which won’t be available until Tuesday May 7 when the e-book is actually available – I will add the links to this post as soon as I have them.)  Make sure to tag me on your FB posts (Susanna Hill), mention me on your tweets (@SusannaLHill), and email me at susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com to tell me you blogged so I can keep score.  You may post, tweet and blog to your heart’s content all week – May 6 – May 14 at 9 PM EDT – and you will receive a point for every single one!

Your names will be entered into at 9 PM EDT on Tuesday May 14, with the number of times you’re entered equal to the number of points you earned (so if you tweet 14 times, your name will be entered 14 times etc.)

Prizes for Catogory #2 – Social Media Love (FB posting, tweeting and blogging):
The randomly selected winner will have his/her choice of either:
#1 A signed copy of any of my books PLUS the new Can’t Sleep e-book on their choice of platform (which they may also choose to have gifted to a young friend :)) or
#2 A $25 amazon gift certificate


Download The Sheep Drawing Activity so your child/children/preschool or kindergarten class 🙂 can draw something for Ava to count and/or The Sheep Hats Activity so they can draw hats on the sheep and/or write entertaining captions for what the sheep are saying.

Scan the gorgeous results and post them on your blog and link to the same link list that will be posted here on Monday May 6-Tuesday May 7 – just put (kids) so we’ll know 🙂  (Again, if you want to participate and don’t have a blog, just email me the scanned pictures and I’ll post them for you here.)

Kids Contest participants will also be voted on May 13, and of course there will be a prize for that too! The winner of the Kids Contest will receive either the new Can’t Sleep Without Sheep E-Book on the platform of his/her choice or a signed hardcover copy PLUS a Folkmanis Sheep puppet!
All winners will be announced on Wednesday May 15!

Now.  Fasten your seat belts.  I have a sample (don’t I always?), maybe two!  And I also have an entry from Ruth!

Are you ready?

This video is a Hill Family Production featuring the musical talents for Eric who made up the jingle and is singing and playing guitar, the videography talents of Number Five who was roped in because I didn’t have enough hands, and Yours Truly as actor/prop manager, producer and director!  As you can see, we are amateurs at movie-making 🙂

Great Scott it took me about two days to get this to load!  I hope it’s running properly.  You might have to turn your volume pretty high…  Fingers crossed it works!

And now, at last, here comes video #2.  Fair warning… don’t put your volume too high and get ready to cover your ears 🙂  Never let it be said that I’m not willing to make a fool of myself for my art 🙂

Here is Ruth’s  Entry:)

Text/Jingle Copyright Ruth Benedum 2013
Illustrations Copyright Mike Wohnoutka 2010

And may I just say that Ruth and I struggled mightily to get something up that worked.  This is her third effort.  I’m sorry the first one with sound wouldn’t load properly, but isn’t this beautiful and fun?

And here is Carrie’s Entry! 🙂

Now, all you talented people who have your jingles posted, please add your post-specific links to the list.  We’re all coming to see you! 🙂

Perfect Picture Book Friday – A Chocolate Moose For Dinner


How perfect is this book?

Could there be a better title for me to post?  (Besides Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake, which I LOVE, but it’s already on the PPBF list!)

Title:  A Chocolate Moose For Dinner
Written & Illustrated By: Fred Gwynne
Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers, 1976, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 7 and up

Themes/Topics: language, homonyms, idioms, humor

Opening: “Mommy says she had a chocolate moose for dinner last night.  And after dinner she toasted Daddy.”

Brief Synopsis:  This isn’t so much a story as a string of what the girl (who isn’t named) thinks are wild stories her Mommy and Daddy are making up because they mean it one way and she takes it quite another.  For example, Mommy means she ate chocolate mousse for dinner, but the girl thinks she had a moose made out of chocolate over to eat with her 🙂

Links To Resources: I didn’t have much luck finding any fun or interesting links, but here are some activities you could do: have kids draw what they think it looks like when you get up on the wrong side of the bed, or when time flies, or when it’s raining cats and dogs, or when someone has a green thumb – or anything else you think up 🙂  Give kids homophones and see which word they think of immediately and then whether they can think up the other word that sounds like it but means something different, for example ate/eight, bear/bare, cent/scent/sent, dear/deer etc.  Talk about how words can be confusing because they sound the same but mean different things – the way orange is both a color and a fruit.  Other books that can be used in conjunction are the three other titles in this series by Fred Gwynne and the Amelia Bedelia books.

Why I Like This Book:  This book perfectly exemplifies how literal children are, and how often we as adults say things that we understand to mean something quite different from the way a child takes it.  Each page expresses a homonym, idiom, or figure of speech that sounds like an adult would say it, but the picture shows what the child thinks Mommy or Daddy means.  For example, “After dinner she toasted Daddy” – of course we know she means with a glass, but the picture shows Daddy in the toaster 🙂  Although children younger that 7 might enjoy the pictures and understand some of the humor, a lot of the expressions (like toasting) are for older readers.

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

Now then.  Before you all rush off to read all the other fantastic picks for PPBF and onto your weekends, I want to mention 3 things:

1.  Sue Morris over at Kid Lit Reviews very kindly nominated me for the WordPress Family Award!  “The WordPress Family Award is reserved for folks in Cyberspace who are  unceasingly kind, sympathetic, encouraging, and open to laughter—and who keep each other going by sharing, commenting, and making personal connections even though they may actually be virtual strangers.”  I am so honored to have been nominated (sweetly overlooking the fact that technically I’m a blogspotter not a WordPresser)!  Thank you, Sue.  Of course, I’m supposed to pass this along to 10 people I feel are deserving, and you know how bad I am at that.  I’ll have to think on it…  I think you all deserve it!

2.  About that Jingle Contest.  You, the people, have spoken… although not in a way that makes for an easy decision 🙂  Enough people said they wanted to take a crack at writing a jingle that I’m going to leave that part of the contest as is.  And I think there might be a few kids out there who want to do the kids contest, so we’ll leave that as is too.  However, almost as many people said they’d like to just FB post, tweet and/or blog.  So I’m going to add a separate category for that.  With one smaller prize.  And I’ll put that on Monday’s post when the contest goes up.  Sound good?  Hopefully everyone will be happy?  I hope so!

I’ve also got the actual e-book waiting to download to my husband’s iPad, so I’ll get to see it later today!!!  And I’ve been told the links for the different platforms will not be available until Tuesday May 7 when the e-book is officially available, so we’ll just have to wait to add those in!

3.  I’m giving you all a fair-warning heads up.  I’m going to put Perfect Picture Books on hiatus for the summer again.  Our last PPBF post before the summer break will be Friday June 14.  I hope you guys won’t mind too much.  We’ll still do fun stuff.  Maybe Summer Short & Sweets again, or maybe something else I think up.  And there will be a writing contest in early July.  But I need time to catch up and update, and I’m hoping this summer, without all the college visits, I might actually get it done 🙂

Okay.  Class dismissed 🙂  Have a wonderful weekend everyone, and PPBF bloggers, please put your post-specific links on the list below!