Perfect Picture Book Friday – A Is For Musk Ox

I would just like to start today by saying that it’s only 15 days until GROUNDHOG DAY (in case anyone besides me and Phyllis is counting :))

illustration copyright Jeffrey Ebbeler 2005

Also, Phyllis’s FB page is feeling unloved (because I never do anything with it :)) so if anyone wants to go chat with her she would love that.  You’re going to have to work hard to beat out Cathy as her number one fan though 🙂  Phyllis says comments on what makes groundhogs lovable would be a good start…  She also loves groundhog jokes, so if you know any, please share 🙂

Okay!  Are you ready for today’s Perfect Picture Book selection?

Given my well-documented love for silly alphabet books and the title of today’s pick, I’m sure you can already tell it’s tons of fun!  Just wait until you hear about it – I DARE you not to go straight to the library! 🙂

A Is For Musk Ox
Written By: Erin Cabatingan
Illustrated By: Matthew Myers
Roaring Book Press, October 2012, Fiction

Suitable For: ages listed variously as Preschool – Grade 4, and ages 5 and up.  I would go with 5 and up – I think some of the humor might fly over the heads of the littlest ones.

Themes/Topics: alphabet, humor, animals (musk oxen), consequences

Opening: (Well, you’ve really got to start with the cover… which he has eaten through! :))  “HEY! Hey you, Musk Ox!  Did you do this?  Did you eat that apple?”
“Who me?  I can’t remember.

Brief Synopsis:  After Joseph the musk ox eats the apple that “a” is supposed to be for, he proceeds to make the entire alphabet be all about him much to Zebra’s annoyance!  But Zebra has the last laugh 🙂

Links To Resources:  Musk Oxen Pictures And Facts, Eco Field Guide – Musk Ox, Musk Ox Print Out, Coloring Page 1, Coloring Page 2

Why I Like This Book:  SO FUNNY!  Every letter is for musk ox except the odd one here and there…  P is for Wolf, T is for headache, (you’ll just have to read it to follow that logic!) and my favorite, M is for apple… because he feels bad about eating it at the beginning 🙂  Musk ox is just a bit pushy in his insistence, and in the end gets his comeuppance, which is just a bit fair 🙂  This book may not be terribly helpful in teaching the alphabet, but it’s sure to tickle the funny bone.  The art is particularly hilarious.

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

Now then, please don’t keel over with shock, but that is the end of today’s post.  I KNOW!  So brief!  But the truth is, I’m under the gun to get all the details squared away for my new writing course after the announcement leaked out a little ahead of schedule last week – nose to the grindstone and all that – and you know how me and technology get along… we DON’T… so enough said!  Wish me luck with my email template!

Have a great weekend, everyone!  And PPBF bloggers, please put your post-specific links in the list below – I can’t wait to see what you picked this week!

Would You Read It Wednesday #71 – Civil (MG Fantasy/Adventure) AND A Huge Announcement!

Well, the proverbial cat is out of the bag.

Months have I slaved in secrecy, awaiting the moment to unveil my latest hair-brained scheme, and what should happen?  It accidentally gets unveiled elsewhere before I got to tell you!

I’m kind of hoping most of you didn’t see it… but I know some of you did because you told me!  And on the off chance you did… or might… I thought you really ought to hear about it here first – straight from the horse’s mouth, as it were 🙂  (I know – first with the cat, now the horse, all this ridiculous cliche…!  Sorry, it’s nerves :))

So, slightly before I am truly ready, I will share my long-kept secret!

Ready?  (Steady now!  Deep breath…)

2013 is the first year since 1987 to have four different numbers!

Hee hee.  That is actually true but it’s not my long-kept secret.  I’m just foolin’ with you 🙂

Seriously, are you ready?

What’s that?  You need Something Chocolate?  Well of course you do!  It’s Wednesday!  Go get something.  I’ll wait.  In fact, here, let me offer you some Monkey Cake!

Photo copyright Stacy S. Jensen 2012 used by permission

Mm mm good and chocolaty!!!

Now then, ready for the secret?

Frankly, I’m a little afraid to tell you in case you don’t think it’s as fun as I do.  Maybe that’s why I’ve been hemming and hawing, tweaking and perfecting and generally mucking about and finding reasons not to tell you.  But the time has come.  Stiff upper lip and all that.  (See?  There’s the cliche again!  It’s like a disease… a disease of nerves! :))

Last May I thought to myself, you know, self? I think I’d like to write a writing course.  I know a little about writing and a little about teaching, and I would like to share with people who would like to learn.

So I got to work and, in between other writing and blogging and taking our son to visit every college on the eastern seaboard and westward into Ohio this summer and on into fall… and then winter…, I wrote a course on how to write picture books.  I polished and tweaked and roped in some beta testers (who shall not be named to protect the innocent but you all know them :))  I added lessons and took lessons away, turned some lessons into supplements and some supplements into lessons.  I reached out to 10 talented artists who very kindly contributed their fabulous work at a fraction of its worth to decorate the lessons and inspire my hopefully someday students.

And the result is my little writing course:  Making Picture Book Magic!  (I wish I could make that sparkle or something!  How about we all pretend it’s sparkling? :))  Look!  Here’s the awesome  header graphic designed by our own fantastic Loni Edwards!

illustration copyright Loni Edwards 2012

Making Picture Book Magic is designed to fit into a busy life-style and be fun, friendly, and affordable.  Each lesson will be delivered in a manageable-sized piece by email.  I did not reinvent the wheel, but I hope I do have something to offer that isn’t quite like anything else out there.  It is my opinion, for what it’s worth :), that it’s helpful to take multiple courses if you can because different people say things and explain things in different ways, and sometimes one way will make more sense to you than another.  Different courses stress different things and offer different exercises, resources and experiences.  There are lots of great writing courses available – Emma Walton Hamilton’s, Anastasia Suen’s, the Institute Of Children’s Literature’s (which I took many years ago) just to name a few.  But I’d like to be able to add mine to the mix in case it’s helpful.  And by working hard to make it affordable, I’m hoping it will be an option for lots of people.  You will note that there is now a tab in the header above.  You may click on it, or HERE, and learn all about the course if you are interested.

But in case you aren’t, I won’t go on about it any longer now.  It’s time for Would You Read It!!!

Today’s pitch comes to us from Wendy.  In what seems like a former life, Wendy was a middle school science teacher and principal. Now a writer and mom, she has published several personal essays and articles on parenting and education. When she is not pulling her sons around the backyard on a sled (100 laps on a recent afternoon), she works on her middle grade novel and her blog, The Family That Reads Together.

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Civil
Age/Genre: Middle Grade/Fantasy Adventure
The Pitch:  Five seventh graders–a sensitive ballplayer, a new student from Africa, a feared social outcast, a popular cheerleader, and a 9-year-old technical genius–are invited to join a secret time-traveling society. Soon, they must work together to chase an enemy through the bloody battlefields of Gettysburg, an increasingly dystopian Washington, DC, and their own dangerous school hallways. Charlie, Thabo, LV, Adriana, and Caitlin fight against time to restore history, rebuild a country, and survive middle school.

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 Wendy 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 February, so you have time to polish 🙂 for a chance for it to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Wendy is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  And I am looking forward to getting the finishing touches done on my course just in case anyone ever wants to take it!

Oh, and if you haven’t signed up yet but you’d still like to, the Free Virtual Conference runs until Saturday the 12th (one more expert was added) so hop over and check it out!

Have a supercalafragilisticexpialidocious kind of day, everyone 🙂