Perfect Picture Book Friday – Balloons Over Broadway AND The Linda Ashman Rhyme Clinic Announcement

Wow!  Aren’t we all so glad it’s Friday?  Not only is the weekend so close you can taste it, we get a whole stack of Perfect Picture Books to start it off right!

I have a great book to share today, which I think is just perfect given that the Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City is only 3 weeks away.  And yes, those of you who have been here from Perfect Picture Books’ inception will know that I am totally cheating and recycling a perfect picture book that I already did on December 2, 2011 .  Here’s my excuse:

1. I did this for the 2nd week of PPBF back when only 9 of you were involved… so I’m hoping guessing a lot of you haven’t seen it 🙂

2. I just plain ran out of time this week.  Got my finger in too many pies or something, apparently 🙂  And I am doing a Young Writer’s Workshop on Sunday which I’m not done preparing for, so I needed every second I could snatch.

So, my apologies if you’ve seen this before, but if you haven’t I think you’ll love it and my advice is get thee to a library lickety-split so you can see the whole thing for yourself because it’s really great!

Title: Balloons Over Broadway
Written and Illustrated By: Melissa Sweet
Houghton Mifflin Books For Children, November, 2011, Non-Fiction Biography/History

Suitable For: ages 4-8

Themes/Topics:  art, puppeteering, pursuing a dream, non-fiction, biography

Opening and brief synopsis:  “From the time he was a little boy, Tony Sarg loved to figure out how to make things move.  He once said he became a marionette man when he was only six years old.”  Melissa Sweet tells the true story of Tony Sarg, inventor of the huge balloons that are the trademark and centerpiece of the Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Parade in New York City.

Links to resources:  this story is perfect for a curriculum section that covers art, history, biography, or Thanksgiving, or just as a good story for children interested in where things come from and how they work.  Balloons Over Broadway Activity Kit.  (Please be patient – the activity kit loads slowly because of all the art but it’s well worth the wait!)  There is also a spread of interesting and helpful back matter at the end of the book to expand your lesson.

Why I like this book: this book is interesting, entertaining and educational.  Tony Sarg is an inspiration because he had little or no formal art education and yet he went on to pursue his dreams and become world-renowned for his work.  One of his apprentices, Bil Baird, created the “Lonely Goatherd” marionettes for The Sound Of Music, and one of Bil Baird’s apprentices was Jim Henson who invented The Muppets!

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

Now, just one more quick thing before you head off to read everyone’s perfect picks for this week.

The Linda Ashman Rhyme Clinic!

As I mentioned somewhere at some point 🙂 the one and only Linda Ashman will be HERE!!! on Monday December 2 conducting a Rhyme Clinic!!!

The purpose of the Rhyme Clinic is to help writers with those pesky rhyming difficulties that snarl up our perfectly good works-in-progress!  Writers who have picture book manuscripts written in rhyme who feel that the rhyme is perhaps not working as well as they’d like are encouraged to submit samples and questions.

Any writer who would like Linda’s help may email the first 20 lines of their rhyming picture book manuscript along with any specific questions to susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com with “Rhyme Clinic Submission” in the subject line between now and Monday November 18.

I will forward the submissions on to Linda.

Linda’s reasoning for requesting the first 20 lines is that:  “Submitting the first stanzas of their story, up to 20 (or so) lines, I think works better than sending only problem stanzas because it gives me a decent sense of their story and allows me to comment on how well the stanzas work as a beginning in addition to how well they work as rhyme.”

Submissions will NOT be chosen on a first-come first-served basis.  Instead, Linda will look over the submissions and choose as wide a variety as possible in order to address as many types of problems as she can, and therefore hopefully help the greatest number of readers.

Linda will go over the chosen manuscripts in detail, examining what works well and what needs work and explaining how to correct problems in rhyme.

In the interest of keeping the Rhyme Clinic post to a manageable length, we will probably choose about 5 submissions.  If we get a lot of submissions, we will run another day or two of the clinic as  our schedules permit.

This promises to be a VERY interesting and informative learning experience.  It’s a chance to get expert guidance from one of the best in the business at no cost!

So dig out those troublesome rhyming manuscripts and send them forth on the double!

Enjoy this week’s crop of Perfect Picture Books, everyone!  PPBF bloggers, please be sure to leave your post-specific link in the list below so we can all come visit you!

Have a great weekend!!!

Oh, and P.S.  Great post with everyone’s favorite writerfella Mike Allegra on Monday, same Bat Time, same Bat Channel!  See you then! 🙂

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Little Red Writing

Well, would you look at that?  It’s Perfect Picture Book Friday again!

Wowee! did last week disappear fast!

I have a tons-of-fun, 3 day old book to share with you today.  I hope you like it!

Title: Little Red Writing
Written By: Joan Holub
Illustrated By: Melissa Sweet
Chronicle Books, September 2013, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 5-8

Themes/Topics: Fairy Tale retelling, writing, bravery

Opening: “Once upon a time in pencil school, a teacher named Ms. 2 told her class, “Today we’re going to write a story!”
“Yippee!” said the birthday pencil.
“Slammin’,” siad the basketball pencil.
“Sharp!” said Little Red.”

Brief Synopsis: Ms. 2 sets her pupils on the story path and let’s them loose to write their very own stories.  The other pencils stick to what they know about, but Little Red wants to write “a story about bravery because red is the color of courage.”  With a basket of 15 red words from Ms. 2 to use in case she runs into trouble, Little Red sets out to find adventure.

Links To Resources: The obvious resource here is the book itself accompanied by giving kids the opportunity to write their own story!  If they need a little help getting started, supply some story starters.  They can base their story on a well-known fairy tale – like Little Red Riding Hood 🙂  You can give them a “basket” with 3-5 words that they must include in their story.  You can give them an opening line and let them continue, for example, “Once upon a time there was a lonely princess whose best friend was a bear…” or “The night I threw pizza on the roof Mom got really mad…”  For younger kids, you could make up the story together.  There is a classroom guide aligned to common core HERE but be forewarned it took awhile to load.  Hang in there, though.  It shows up eventually 🙂

Why I Like This Book:  I love fractured fairy tales.  I love clever.  And I love books that show kids the fun in writing and teach them a little something about how to do it in the process.  In this story, Ms. 2 (the teacher) writes “The Story Path” on the blackboard: “1. Idea, characters, setting  2. Trouble  3. Even bigger trouble  4. Fix the trouble.”  She gives Little Red a basket of emergency nouns.  As Little Red travels her story path she discovers that action verbs are better than boring ones, adjectives may overwhelm your story and need to be cut down, conjunctions can get you in trouble with run on sentences, adverbs can be helpful (“We deliver speedily!”), that the right word in the right place can make all the difference, and that it takes courage to follow your story through to the end… but it’s worth it when you share it with a rapt audience 🙂  Melissa Sweet’s art (which I love – if you haven’t seen Balloons Over Broadway check it out immediately! :)) is the perfect accompaniment for this story as Little Red wends her way through the forest of adjectives and has to face down the Wolf 3000!  (Can you guess what that is??? :))  I also love the little extra touches, like the fact that they attend the Pencilvania School, and the cover page admonition to “Write often and carry a big notebook” 🙂

This book would pair well with Aunt Isabel Tells A Good One.

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

Before we all head off to read all the other Perfect Picture Books, I’d just like to let you know that on Monday we’ll be having a special guest!  She’s pretty entertaining, so you won’t want to miss her debut appearance!

Have a great weekend, everyone!  And PPBF bloggers, please be sure to leave your post-specific links in the list below so we can all come visit!