Perfect Picture Book Friday – Meet The Dogs Of Bedlam Farm

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, everyone!

I hope you all had lovely a Valentine’s Day!  If you didn’t happen to see Renee’s (abridged) puppet show version of Romeo & Juliet you are totally missing out and I have to recommend that you scoot over there and watch it.  We’ll still be here when you get back 🙂

I have a great book to share today, and also please stay tuned afterwards for the winner of Phyllis’s Fun Photo Contest and a fun announcement!

Meet The Dogs Of Bedlam Farm
Written & Photographed By: Jon Katz
Henry Holt & Company 2011, True Story

Suitable For: ages 4-8

Themes/Topics: jobs, individuality, kindness

Opening: “In the morning after mist has cleared from the path, four dogs go out together for their first walk of the day.  They circle and sniff the wet ground carefully, listening and seeing things that only dogs can sense.  The dogs are called Rose, Izzy, Frieda, and Lenore, and they all live on Bedlam Farm.   They stay together, circling, never running off.  They are a happy group; their tails wag when they see one another.  But it wasn’t always this way.”

Brief Synopsis: Four dogs are good friends.  Each one has a job.  Rose herds sheep.  Izzy visits sick people.  Frieda guards the farm.  But what is Lenore’s job?

Links To Resources:  This book could prompt a wonderful discussion about what kids are interested in and what they are good at; about how different people (just like different dogs) are good at different things.  Talk about all the many jobs there are, (here’s a link to a job index for kids in grade K-5) and ask kids what they’d like to be when they grow up.  Have them draw a picture of themselves doing the job of their dreams, or write a short story in which they get to do that job.  What kinds of jobs can they do now?  At home or in the classroom, make a job or chore chart and let each child have a task they enjoy and can do well.  Here’s a site where kids can “try out” different jobs KidsWork!

Why I Like This Book: If you’ve spent any time at all around this blog, you know I love dogs – especially rescue dogs – so it’s not a big leap to see why I like this book 🙂  Exquisite photographs of Jon Katz’s dogs at home on their farm, doing what they do best, complement a lovely true story about how everyone has value.  Each dog’s story is told – where they came from, how they ended up on the farm, what job they do.  Three of the dogs have traditional jobs.  Lenore does not.  Lenore does not herd sheep, or visit sick people, or guard the farm.  But she teaches Rose the serious worker how to play, she is Izzy’s first friend when he comes to the farm from a sad, bad place, and she keeps Frieda company when she is lonely.  What do you think Lenore’s job is? 🙂

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

Okay everyone, have a great weekend!


Oh!  You want to know who won Phyllis’s Fun Photo Contest and what the fun announcement was?

Okay.  You’ve twisted my arm 🙂

I hope you all had as much fun with Phyllis’s Photo Contest as I did!  There were so many amazing entries – all so fun and creative!  I would never have been able to choose, so thank goodness I’m in charge around here and can make you guys do the choosing 🙂

When all the votes were in, the clear winner was…



Cathy, I think it was Phyllis upside-down in the nut bowl that did it for you.  Were you hinting that Phyllis is a nut?  I think you may be right.  There’s a lot of nuttiness around here 🙂

Congratulations, Cathy!  Please email me and we’ll discuss your prize, because I know you already have a signed copy of PHYLLIS.

A second prize for Phyllis’s Contest, consisting mostly of fame but I’m sure we can come up with something to go along with the fame, is being given at Phyllis’s insistence, and that one goes to ROBYN!  Really, it requires dedication to come up with a video of a tiny paper action figure winning a horse race.  So Robyn, kudos to you too and we’ll talk prizes privately!

And a huge thank you thank you and round of applause to everyone who took the time to color and cut and photograph and provide us all with such wonderful entertainment!  You are all the greatest!

The other fun announcement I mentioned (at least I think it’s fun!) is about Not Yet, Rose which you have seen in English…

… and Dutch…

… but now it’s available in GERMAN!

Is that fun or what?  I love having copies of my books that I can’t pronounce! 🙂  I’m thinking of making a video of myself reading my books in foreign languages to entertain you all… or at least myself 🙂

Alrighty!  That’s all the fun and games for today, folks!  PPBF bloggers, please add your post-specific links to the list below so we can all come visit you!

Have a blissful weekend, everyone! 🙂


You Make The Call! – Phyllis’s Fun Photo Contest AND The January Pitch Pick!

Happy Monday, Everyone!

Today is all about YOUR thoughts, YOUR opinions, and YOUR votes!

That’s right.  We’re going to have a voting extravaganza!

First, the January Pitch Pick for Would You Read It.

Our brave pitchers have all revised their pitches per your helpful comments.  Please read through them and then vote for the one you think deserves a read by editor Erin Molta!

#1 Wendy – Civil – MG
Five seventh graders are thrust into a secret time-traveling society and are soon fighting for their lives in the bloody battlefields of Gettysburg. The sensitive jock, popular cheerleader, African transfer student, feared social outcast, and 9-year-old technical genius had better work fast: Their own world is becoming increasingly dystopian and their own school hallways increasingly dangerous.

#2 Linda – The Good For Plenty Bibs – PB – ages 4 and up
When Jake outgrows his birthday overalls, he calls them the “Good for nothing bibs,” but Granny disagrees. With a stitch here and a stitch there, they travel through the rest of the kids. When the youngest, Annabella, also outgrows them, even Granny admits defeat: they’ve lost their midnight blue, their October sky blue, and even their milky morning blue. Now Annabella disagrees. With her brothers’ help, and a clever plan, their surprise leaves Granny speechless.

#3 Catherine – Cheeku The Cheeky Chinese Chicken – PB – ages 4-8
A chicken hatches an eggsiting escape plan when she discovers it’s more than scrambled eggs the chef is putting on the menu.  She karate-chops her way through the Chinese Temple and passed the cunning cats with help from flying feathers.

#4 Elaine – Slurp, Slurp, Slurp – PB – ages 4-8
When Becca receives a gecko for her birthday, mayhem ensues when the crickets that were bought to feed it, spill to the floor. Slurp Slurp Slurp is quirky and written in the cumulative picture book style- with some spirited twists to keep it fresh and fun for re-reading.

It’s a tough choice, I know!  But please cast your vote by Tuesday February 12 at 7 PM EST so I can announce the winner on Wednesday’s WYRI.

And now, it’s time for another vote!  Who do you think should win Phyllis’s Fun Photo Contest?  I have selected my favorite photo from each contestant, but if you click on their name, which is a link (except for Linda who doesn’t have a blog) you can see additional photos where indicated.

#1 Linda

#3 Erik
#4 Catherine additional photos here
#5 Delores additional photos here
#6 Dana (whose image I can’t copy and paste so you’ll have to click the link – sorry!)
#7 Lauri additional photos here
#10 Cathy additional photos here
#11 Romelle additional photos here (and I had 3 favorites but only posted one! :))
#12 Heather additional photos here
#13 Alayne additional photos here
#14 Coleen
#15 Teresa
#16 Janet
#17 Laura additional photos here
#18 Robyn (definitely click the link to see her video! :))
YIKES!  18 amazing entries!  Please vote for your favorite and tell everyone you know to come vote because with 18 we might never get a majority unless we get a lot of votes!!!  Please vote by Wednesday February 13 at 11:59 PM EST.
And now, after all that agonizing to make such tough decisions, go take a nice bubble bath 🙂
from Romelle’s photo shoot 🙂
Have a great day, everyone! 🙂

IT’S GROUNDHOG DAY!!! – Early Spring Or Six More Weeks?

February 4th Update:

Since I made you all read an extra post Saturday, I’m not posting a new post today.  Enjoy visiting all the blogs who hosted Phyllis – they all did such a great job! – and feel free to join in yourself if you’d like to – you have until tonight! 🙂



GROUNDHOG DAY!  The favorite day of your friend and mine, Punxsutawney Phyllis 🙂

Phyllis knows no better way to celebrate anything than with a party in her honor, so today we will all be entertaining ourselves, each other, and Phyllis with Phyllis’s Fun Photo Contest.

The challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to download the Phyllis action figure, color her in, and then photograph her today predicting Spring 2013 in your neck of the woods.  For full rules and prize, see HERE.

But first, no party is really in full swing without cake…

Groundhog Day cupcakes anyone? 🙂

Now then.  Let’s step outside, shall we?  And see what Punxsutawney Phyllis, Sage of Sages, Seer of Seers, Prognosticator of Prognosticators, and Weather Prophet Extraordinaire, has to say about the coming of Spring 2013!!!

She was prepared for anything – rain or snow or sleet…

She was hoping for sunbathing weather…

A quick check told Phyllis that is was a nippy 10 degrees, with clear blue skies and sunshine on the way…

recognize this Phyllis – created by the very talented Julie in CO? 🙂

In the final analysis, however, Punxsutawney Phyllis emerged from her burrow on Blueberry Hill at 7:25 AM on this February 2, 2013…

… and declared, “No shadow!  EARLY SPRING!!!!”

Even Uncle Phil had to agree 🙂

On the Sundial Bridge in Redding, California, Linda reports that Phyllis also saw no shadow and predicts an early spring!

Linda’s entry – Phyllis in Redding, CA

So what’s happening in your neck of the woods?

Quick!  Get your photo on your blog and your post-specific blog link on the list below so we can come see Phyllis predicting spring all over the world!  (And again, if you, like Linda above, do not have a blog, feel free to send my your picture and I’ll add it to this post with your weather caption, location, and name :))

I can’t wait to see all the pictures!  And Phyllis REALLY can’t wait!  She loves this day which is all about her!

Have a great weekend, everyone!  HAPPY GROUNDHOG DAY!!!

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Whose Mouse Is This?

You are going to fall over in amazement at how brief I am today!

The reason is because tomorrow is GROUNDHOG DAY!!! (sorry – it’s so hard to say that quietly! :)) and Phyllis and I will be having a special post, so since we’re asking you to read and participate on an extra day, I’m trying not to talk too much today 🙂  Maybe we’ll take Monday off to give you a break.  Feel free to vote in the comments 🙂  (If you want to read about the contest so you can join in, go HERE.)  (And if you want to participate but don’t have a blog you can email me your photo and caption and I’ll add it into my post for you! :))

Oh, but I just have one more thing –  Today is the first official day of Making Picture Book Magic!  Woo-hoo!!!

Okay.  That’s all.  Really 🙂

Here’s today’s Perfect Picture Book.

Whose Mouse Are You?
Written By: Robert Kraus
Illustrated By: Jose Aruego
Simon & Schuster, 1970, Fiction

Suitable For: ages 3-7

Themes/Topics: new baby/new sibling, feeling unnoticed

Opening: “Whose mouse are you?”
“Nobody’s mouse.”
“Where is your mother?”
“Inside the cat”
“Where is your father?”
“Caught in a trap.”

Brief Synopsis: a young mouse (whom we may assume is feeling a little unimportant due to the impending arrival of a new sibling) transforms himself into a beloved family hero.

Links To Resources: activities for Whose Mouse Are You?, make your own Whose Mouse story, discussion for Whose Mouse

Why I Like This Book: So simple.  So charming.  So spot on.  Hasn’t every child, waiting for a new sibling, wondered about his importance?  And what a delightful way to show the emotion – by transforming himself into a hero, bringing his family together in time to welcome the new baby.  One of the reasons I love this book so much is because, from a writer’s perspective, it is done so well.  A meaningful story with emotional resonance is told in only 105 words!

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

So now, if you haven’t made your Phyllis action figure, there’s no time like the present 🙂  You’ve still got plenty of time to gear up for the contest tomorrow!

PPBF bloggers, please leave your post-specific link on the list below so we can all come see what treasures you’ve selected for us this week!

Have a great weekend, everyone!  And if I don’t see you tomorrow, Happy Groundhog Day! 🙂

P.S.  On our school visit yesterday, Phyllis was identified as a raccoon, a beaver, a hedgehog, and a BEAR before we finally got around to groundhog 🙂  I’m hoping to have pictures at some point 🙂  AND, the kids made her a new crown for her collection!  Her only regret is that she can only wear one at a time 🙂

Would You Read It Wednesday #74 – Slurp, Slurp, Slurp (PB)

Woo-hoo!  It’s Wednesday!  Which means it’s only 2 days until February!  Which means it’s only 3 days until GROUNDHOG DAY!!!!!

Sorry for the shouting, but Phyllis and I are just so darn excited! 🙂

Are you ready for Phyllis’s Fun Photo Contest?  (If you need details and the downloadable Phyllis action figure check HERE.)

If you know any good groundhog/Groundhog Day riddles please post them on Phyllis’s FB page.  Cathy and Beth have already put up some good ones!

Also, it’s only 2 days until the official start of my course.  I’m very excited (and a little nervous!) about that!

So.  Who’s in the mood for Something Chocolate?  Let me take a peek in my pantry and see what I have today….  Oooh!  Yummmm!


We could probably use a glass of milk to go with that…

chocolate… of course 🙂

Today’s pitch comes to us from Elaine.  Elaine is an elementary school teacher by day, a mother of two (and two furry children) by night and a picture book author every minute in between. 

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Slurp, Slurp, Slurp
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-6)
The Pitch: When Becca receives a gecko for her birthday, mayhem ensues when the crickets that were bought to feed it, spill to the floor.

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 Elaine 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 March, so we could really use some new pitches!  It’s your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Elaine is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to starting my course… and Groundhog Day!!!

Have a great day, everyone! 🙂

Oh!  P.S.  I forgot to say, for anyone who was interested from Monday’s Short & Sweet, that the books I took the beginnings from were 1. Harry And Horsie  2. Boris And The Snoozebox  3.  McDuff Moves In  4. Tops And Bottoms  5. Imogene’s Antlers  6. The Carpenter’s Gift  7. Mr. Duck Means Business  8. Crafty Chloe  9. Hedgehog Goes To Kindergarten  10. Jeremy Draws A Monster

Monday Short And Sweet Plus

Happy first day of the week in which Groundhog Day finally occurs!!!

Phyllis is hopping up and down with excitement!  (And I’m sure that has nothing to do with the WHOPPING pile of strawberry pancakes she consumed for breakfast… with about a gallon of strawberry syrup :))

I hope everyone is keeping in mind Phyllis’s Fun Photo Contest (full description HERE) in which you can make your own Phyllis action figure and photograph her predicting spring in your neck of the woods on Groundhog Day.  Which is THIS SATURDAY!!!

Phyllis is hoping lots of people will join in the fun 🙂

badge created by Loni Edwards

Now then.  It’s Short & Sweet day!  Here’s what we’re going to do… 🙂

On the honor system (that means no peeking :)) pick a number between 1 and 10.

Then pick a letter: A, B or C

Then pick another letter: D, E or F.

Got ’em?  You should have a combination like 3 B D or 6 A F or whatever.

Okay!  The number between 1 and 10 gets you an opening sentence of a published picture book (except I’m not identifying it because I don’t want to prejudice your creativity by suggesting the actual story, and I may have changed a detail or two to make the openings less recognizable.)

Letter A, B, or C will fill in your first blank.

Letter D, E, or F will fill in your second blank.

And voila – you have a first sentence story prompt!  Please write in the comments what your opening sentence turns out to be, and then add a second sentence to continue the story.  (And a third if you’re feeling very inspired :))  Hopefully we will end up with a large number of first sentence story starters!

First, here are your options:

1. It was way past bedtime, but ________________ wasn’t tired.  Neither was Opie.  The moon was keeping them awake.  It was shining on the shelf where (name you chose)’s brand-new__________________ had been put away for the night.
A. Sarah
B. Lionel
C. Rover
D. baseball
E. flashlight
F. supersonic top

2. _________________ doesn’t have a bed.  Actually, s/he doesn’t have a home.  This is A-OK most of the time, but not when s/he is desperately in need of a ________________________.
A. Skippy
B. Josh
C. Violet
D. bath
E. nap
F. snack

3. In the back of _____________________’s truck sat a little white _________________ nobody wanted.
A. Farmer Joe
B. Mrs. Peabody
C. Officer Brown
D. duck
E. soccer ball
F. box

4. Once upon a time there lived a very lazy _____________________ who had lots of money and lots of land.  His father had been a hard worker and a smart businessman, and he had given all of his wealth to his son.  But all (character you chose) wanted to do was ____________________.
A. rabbit
B. farmer
C. florist
D. play basketball
E. drive a race car
F. explore the jungle

5. On Thursday, when ____________________ woke up, she found s/he had grown ______________.
A. Jessica
B. Kyle
C. Taffy
D. a tail
E. a foot taller
F. wings

6. Nearly a lifetime had passed, but ______________________ could still remember what it felt like to wake up in the ______________________________, especially during wintertime.
A. Finn
B. Jane
C. Carter
D. forest
E. little house
F. cave

7. ________________________ lived by him/herself at the ________________________.  Each day s/he followed a tight schedule.
A. Flopsy Bunny
B. Gilda
C. Wilson
D. firehouse
E. playground
F. ranch

8.  This is ___________________________.  S/he isn’t very good at ________________________.  Video games were never her/his thing.  And when s/he took dance lessons, s/he had the grace of a camel on roller-skates.
A. Luigi
B. Carla
C. Cinnamon
D. knitting
E. playing trombone
F. horseback riding

9. _______________________ stared out the window toward the _____________________ and quivered.
A. Saucy
B. Olivia
C. Taylor
D. ocean
E. big city
F. volcano

10. One beautiful day __________________________ was up in his/her room.  (Name you chose) didn’t like to be disturbed when s/he was ________________________.
A. Ursula
B. Froggy
C. Cleo
D. painting
E. singing
F. playing dress-up

And now, here’s an example 🙂

I chose 8 B F which gives me:

This is Carla.  She isn’t very good at horseback riding.  Video games were never her thing.  And when she took dance lessons she had the grace of a camel on roller skates.
(To which I add)
“I’ll never be good at anything,” Carla said sadly.
“Of course you will,” said her mother, putting a bandaid on Carla’s skinned knee.  “You just have to find out what your talent is.  What do you like to do?”

See how it works?  Yay!  Now you try! 🙂

Have a happy Monday everyone! 🙂