Aaand… We Have A Winner!

Happy Monday, Everyone!

You would think, given that it’s Monday, the start of a new week full of possibility, that I would have something pithy or inspiring or at the very least entertaining to share with you all.

And I do!

I have exactly ONE THING!

(Prepare for the shortest post in the history of this blog!)

I’m sure you will all recall that on Friday we held a giveaway thanks to the generosity of Lori Degman.  One of the commenters on Friday’s post was promised a signed copy of Lori’s new book, Cock-A-Doodle Oops!

Lori and I were amazed and delighted by how many of you stepped up to admit you were donkeys, chickens, pigs, goats, horses, cows, sheep, ducks, and wow! a whole lot of barn cats!  Also, we loved your creative and original crows! has done its thing, and I’m thrilled to announce that Farmer McPeeper and his barnyard menagerie will be winging their way to sunny Italy, because none other than the lovely Renee has won Lori’s book!

Lori, thank you again for generously donating a copy of your wonderful new book!

Everyone who commented, thank you so much for joining the fun, and I hope you all get a chance to read Lori’s fabulous book!

And Renee, please email me your address again because although I’m pretty sure I have it somewhere you will get your book a whole lot sooner if you just send me your address than if I start rooting around for it.  I’m very ADD when it comes to searching… or house cleaning… and have a tendency to get distracted from my original task and go off on unrelated tangents and would likely end up sending myself a box of Perugina Chocolate instead of figuring out where in Italy to send your book 🙂

Have a marvelous Monday, everyone! 🙂

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Cock-a-Doodle Oops! PLUS A Giveaway!!!

Thank goodness it’s Friday!

I’ve been waiting for MONTHS to share this book with you (because I was lucky enough to get an advance copy), and it’s finally officially out, so I can finally post it for Perfect Picture Book Friday!

Not only that, but I have a signed copy to give away to one lucky commenter!  All you have to do is bake me cookies er tell me and Lori which farm animal you are and why in the comments 🙂

I, for example, would be the horse because I am beautiful and graceful and I can run like the wind…


Yeah, I didn’t think anyone would buy that 🙂  I can’t even sell it to myself 🙂  But I do really love horses – that should count for something!

If it’s too hard to think of yourself as a farm animal on Friday morning at the end of a long week, you can just tell us who you’d like the book for.  That will be less sporting and some people might judge you for wimping out, but not me!  Nosirreebob!  I will not think any less of you if you don’t have the gumption to declare to the world that you belong in the donkey shed!

Title: Cock-a-Doodle Oops!
Written By: Lori Degman
Illustrated By: Deborah Zemke
Creston Books, May 2014, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-8

Themes/Topics: friendship, helping others, jobs, animals (farm)

Opening: “Farmer McPeeper was such a deep sleeper;
not even an earthquake could shake him.
A poke or a pinch wouldn’t budge him an inch,
’cause only his rooster could wake him.”

Brief Synopsis: Poor Rooster!  He’s tired of getting up so early every morning!  What he needs is a vacation.  Leaving the other animals in charge, Rooster heads for the beach.  Animal after animal tries their best, but no one can wake Farmer McPeeper.  Rooster’s return is greeted with relief, but he’s caught a cold.  How will they ever get the sleepy Farmer up now?

Links To Resources: Teacher’s Guide to Cock-A-Doodle Oops,  Farm animal coloring pages, classroom activities to learn about volunteers, emergency animal rescue, what do I want to be when I grow up, workers and the work they do.  Talk about jobs kids are familiar with and what kind of skills are necessary to do those jobs, or what personality traits would be helpful.  Talk about friendship and what kinds of things friends might do for each other.  Enjoy the YouTube video where Marissa Moss reads the story aloud HERE.

Why I Like This Book:  This book is fun from start to finish!  The rhyme is expertly written, catchy, and fun to read aloud.  The attempts of the various animals to wake the sleeping farmer are hilarious, and kids will enjoy calling out the different crows – cock-a-doodle moo, cock-a-doodle baa, etc.  The illustrations are bright and colorful and a perfect match for the story.  When Rooster returns from his vacation with a cold, the animals have to come up with an inventive solution to get the farmer out of bed.  When at last the farmer is up, he delivers a surprise ending that is clever and funny… but I can’t say what it is here because that would be telling 🙂  Just mosey on out and get yourself a copy.  You won’t be sorry.  It’s delightful 🙂

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

Lori and I were going to do a little interview or something to go along with this post, but it appears we didn’t quite get our act together in time.  I don’t know how that happened.  I am the epitome of organization.  Ask anyone.  And please ignore the rapidly increasing length of my nose 🙂

So anyway, at the very least, here’s Lori 🙂

Lori Degman is a teacher of Deaf/Hard of Hearing students by day and a writer of picture books by night, weekend and school holiday. She lives in a northern suburb of Chicago with her husband and two dogs. Her debut picture book, 1 Zany Zoo was the winner of the Cheerios New Author Contest and a mini version was distributed inside 2.2 million boxes of Cheerios. The hardcover was published by Simon & Schuster in 2010. Ms. Degman’s second picture book, Cock-a-Doodle Oops! was released by Creston Books on May 13th.

You can also see a wonderful interview with her over at Laura Sassi’s HERE, another review of Cock-A-Doodle Oops at Sue Morris’s HERE, and another terrific interview at Carrie Brown’s HERE.

Now then, my little chickens, get thee to the comments and tell us which farm animal you are and why (or just tell us who you’d like the book for), and one lucky commenter will get a signed copy of this fabulous book!


Ooh!  How ’bout this?

If you REALLY want to impress us, you can write your own crowing line!  Examples from Lori’s book are:
Her cock-a-doodle-cluck didn’t have any pluck
His cock-a-doodle-bleeeeat just couldn’t compete
Her cock-a-doodle-whoooooooo just didn’t ring true
What kind of rhyming crow can you think up for the farmyard animal of your choice??? 🙂

Please leave your comment by Sunday May 18 at 5 PM EDT and then will choose the winner and I will announce it on Monday.

PPBF bloggers, please leave your post-specific link in the list below so we can all come visit you and see what treasures you have to share this week!

Have a lovely weekend, everyone!!! 🙂

The March Madness Writing Contest Is Here!!!


Spring is here!

And so is

The MarcMadness Writing Contest!

The Contest: Write a children’s story, in poetry or prosemaximum 400 words, that is a fractured fairy tale.  Feel free to add a theme of spring, or mix in one of the spring holidays if you like – St. Patrick’s Day, April Fools Day, Easter or Passover, Arbor Day, Earth Day…  Have fun with it!  The madder* the better! 🙂
*as in wild and wacky, not angry 🙂

You do not have to include spring – that is optional.
The story can be a picture book or a short story – whatever you like.
If it’s a picture book, you may NOT include art notes, because we get into a weird area of whether that’s fair in terms of word count and added description etc.  So if you write a picture book that’s wonderful, but make sure art notes aren’t necessary to understand it.
“Fairy Tale” apparently turned out to be a very debatable term, so my fellow judges and I will do our best to handle whatever you’ve come up with.
Title not included in word count.
Post:  Your entry should be posted on your blog between right now this very second and Monday March 24 at 11:59 PM EST, and your post-specific link should be added to the link list below which will remain up through Wednesday March 26 so we can all take our time reading and enjoying everyone’s stories!  (No PPBF on Friday March 21, no new post on Monday March 24, no WYRI on March 26).  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, please email me and I’ll post your entry for you!)

The Judge:  My lovely assistant and I will narrow down the entrants to 6 finalists (or possibly a couple more depending on the number of entries :)) which will be posted here on Thursday March 27 for you to vote on for a winner.  The vote will be closed at 5PM EST on Sunday March 30 and the winner will be announced on Monday March 31.  (No PPBF on Friday March 28.)

The Prizes!:  

 – 1st Prize is a read and critique by Karen Grencik of Red Fox Literary!!! (Unless for some reason you don’t want a read and critique by an agent, in which case you may swap for any of the other prizes)
 – 2nd Prize is a picture book manuscript critique (for rhyming mss only) by Lori Degman, author of 1 ZANY ZOO and the forthcoming COCK-A-DOODLE-OOPS! OR a picture book manuscript critique (for non-rhyming mss only) by Cori Doerrfeld, author/illustrator of LITTLE BUNNY FOO FOO and PENNY LOVES PINK as well as illustrator of many others.
 – 3rd Prize is personalized signed copies of THE THREE NINJA PIGS and GOLDI ROCKS & THE THREE BEARS by Corey Rosen Schwartz PLUS a $25 Amazon Gift Card
 – 4th and 5th Prizes are your choice of any two of the following picture books PLUS a $20 Amazon Gift Card:
     – LITTLE RED WRITING by Joan Holub
     – THE PRINCESS AND THE PEAS by Caryl Hart

 – 6th Prize (which just skated in under the wire – thank you Sudipta!) is a personalized signed copy of hot-off-the-presses SNORING BEAUTY by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen

And don’t forget, all you illustrators, that this will be followed by a related Illustrator Contest in April!!! (to be announced and elaborated on as soon as the writing part of the contest is over! :))

And now, so that everyone will feel happy and confident about posting their stories, I will share my sample, a Wild West twist on The Gingerbread Boy at exactly 400 words (phew!):

The Cornpone Cowboy

     Once upon a time (because that is the way all good fairy tales begin), Farmer Bubba and his lovely bride ThunderLily had the most beautiful ranch in the Wild West.
     The grass was emerald green.
     The rivers were pure as morning dew.
     The cattle were sleek and fat and gave such rich, creamy milk that all the ice cream makers in the world fought over who would get it.
     But even with all this beauty and excellent ice cream, Bubba and ThunderLily were sad.  For though they were surrounded every spring by velvet-eyed calves and stilt-legged foals, fluffy chicks, pink piglets, and wooly lambs, they never had a child of their own.
     Luckily, ThunderLily was not one to sit around moping.  “If I can’t have a child, I’ll make one,” she told her darling Bubba.
     She got cornmeal and buttermilk, eggs, salt, and bacon drippings, and quick as you like she whipped up a sturdy little Cornpone Cowboy.
     “We’ll call him Charlemagne,” she said dreamily as she plucked the skillet from the barbeque pit.
     “You’ll have to catch me first!” snorted the Cornpone Cowboy, and off he rode as fast as his cowpony could carry him.
     He passed the pigpen and the piglets grunted, “Oh, Charlemagne! Come be our friend!”
     “Don’t call me that!” said the Cornpone Cowboy, and he galloped on his way.
     He passed the sheepfold and the lambs baahed, “Oh, Charlemagne! Come be our friend!”
     “Don’t call me that!” said the Cornpone Cowboy, and he galloped on his way.
     He passed the cow barn and the calves mooed, “Oh, Charlemagne! Come be our friend!”
     “Why does everyone insist on calling me that?” said the Cornpone Cowboy, and he galloped on his way.
     And so it was at the hen house…
     . . . the horse pasture…
     . . . and the goat shed.
     Along about sundown a voice called, “Hey, Cowboy! Won’t you come set a spell by the campfire?”
     “Don’t mind if I do,” said the Cornpone Cowboy, tuckered out from galloping. He hopped down from his pony, spurs a-janglin’, and came face to face with…
     . . . COYOTE!
     Quick as a wink he twirled his lariat. . . 
     . . . hog-tied Coyote . . .
     . . . and lit out for home!
     When Bubba and ThunderLily heard his story, ThunderLily said, “That’s our boy! Lightning fast!”
     Which is how he came to be called LightningCharlie instead of Charlemagne (because really, who could live with that?) and they all lived happily ever after!

The End

Wasn’t that nice of me?  Now you can all feel brave and smug, secure in the knowledge that your story is better than that!!! 🙂

Anyone besides me feeling an urge to sing?
     “Like a Cornpone Cowboy
     riding out on a horse in a star-spangled rodeo
     Cornpone Cowboy…

No? Darn! I was hoping the exceptional quality of my singing would distract you from that story even though “cornpone” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as “rhinestone”  🙂

I can’t wait to read what you have all come up with!  Let the fun begin! 🙂

And remember to check back here for entries added in the comments.  I’ll list them as they come in 🙂 (Titles link to stories in comments – give them an extra moment to load)

Jennifer C – The Princess And The Pete
Pat H – Jack And The Giant
Angela – The Belle And The Sticker Burrs
Sean – No Spring Chicken Little
Shelly – Prince Frog
Kirsten B – Goldi And Red
Pen – The Sweetie Witch
Connie – Chocolocks And The Three Bunnies
Karen – Little Red Hen’s Shiny New Friend
Teresa S – Little Red’s Green Cloak
Eric – A Sleeping Beauty
Katie – Little Dead Riding Hood
Robert – Jack And The Beanstalk
Lisa – Rabbi Wolfberg And The Boarmans Celebrate Sukkot
Denise – The Biscuit Man
Kristen – The Boy Who Cried Spring
Jennifer Mc – Little Red Ray
Debbie – The Three Kittens
Gaye – Chocolate Muffins
Nancy – Big Bad Wolf And Red Riding Toad
Robert2 – The Emperor’s New Clothes
Kelsi – Goldinocks And The Three Scares
Jen – The Mischievous Fire Truck
Heather – Rap-unzel
Robert3 – Humpty
Hilary – Hare And Tortoise
Sandy – The Three Little Pigs And The Shoemaker
Kelly V – A Fractured Fairy Tail (Literally)

Would You Read It Wednesday – The 45th Pitch Plus Several Tidbits :)

I have lots to share today, but I’ll try to be brief 🙂

First, I’m so glad everyone enjoyed Joanna’s post.  It was terrific, wasn’t it?  Let’s all give her a round of applause by way of thanks! 🙂  clapclapclapclapclapclapclap!  Also, I don’t think a shower of confetti is out of line 🙂

Second, I am SO excited for the self-publishing mini-series!  This is because I get to read everything coming in ahead of time, so I already know how great it’s going to be and I just can’t wait to share it with you all! 🙂

Third, in the midst of all the busy-ness around here, it had slipped my mind that we were going to have a guest post with the one and only Erin Molta where she answers questions sent in by you!  Luckily she sent me the answers yesterday, which reminded me 🙂  Due to the fabulous mini-series, I don’t have room to fit that post into June unless you all want to turn on your computers on the weekend, so I think that post will go up on Monday July 9.  Mark your calendars! – it’s great!

Fourth, in case you hadn’t realized it yet, I’m just a little bit nuts 🙂  This is obvious because, in the midst of all the afore-mentioned busy-ness, I’ve decided it’s necessary to work on a new secret project which turns out to be very time-consuming.  More on that if and when I succeed with it, but don’t hold your breath 🙂

Speaking of which, I’m a little out of breath after telling you all that!

But now it’s time for Would You Read It, so make sure your Something Chocolate is handy and have a look-see at what we’ve got here.

Today’s pitch comes to us from the Habitual Rhymer herself, Lori Degman!  Lori teaches deaf/hard of hearing children by day and writes picture books by night, weekend and school holidays.  Her picture book 1 Zany Zoo was the winner of the 2008 Cheerios New Author Contest and was published by Simon & Schuster in 2010.  It received the Gold-Level Mother’s Choice Award in 2012 and has been nominated for the 2012-2013 South Carolina Book Award.

You can find her in all these places!

Here is her pitch:

Working Title:  These Little Piggies
Age/Genre: Rhyming Picture Book (ages 4-8)
The Pitch:  In this Mother Goose mash-up, five little piggies are living happily in a shoe until a callous old woman forces her way in and turns their lives head over tails.  The piggies decide to set a trap for the old woman so, the first little piggy goes to market… the second little piggy stays home…  Will they succeed in giving the old coot the boot?

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 Lori 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 August, so you have time to polish 🙂 for a chance for it to be read by editor Erin Molta!
Lori is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  And I am looking forward to seeing you all on Friday for the first up in our self-publsihing mini-series, Suzanne McGovern! 🙂