Perfect Picture Book Friday – Alice And Greta

OMG!  SUCH exciting news!  The lovely Wendy who blogs over at Noodling With Words submitted #PPBF to WriterUnboxed and they accepted it for sharing!  Look!

Aren’t we so official now?  Our little hashtag mentioned by Writer Unboxed!  Do you feel famous?  I do! 🙂

I am embarrassingly bad at twitter, although I’m really trying to get better at it, but now I must really make an effort to remember to use our PPBF hashtag!

Phew!  That was a lot of excitement!  But now it’s time for today’s Perfect Picture Book, a sort of Halloween-y choice since it’s about witches 🙂

Title: Alice And Greta
Written By: Steven J. Simmons
Illustrated By: Cyd Moore
Charlesbridge, July 1999, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 5-8

Themes/Topics: consequences, behavior (listening, what goes around comes around), perspective, good vs. bad

Opening: “Once, a long time ago, two witches lived on top of a mountain.  Although they looked out at the same view, they saw things differently.”

Brief Synopsis: Alice and Greta are two young witches who use their power in opposite ways.  Alice helps people.  Greta makes mischief.  But it’s important to watch out for “the Brewmerang Principle: Whatever you chant, whatever you brew, sooner or later comes back to you!”

Links To Resources: Alice And Greta Coloring Page, Alice And Greta Mystery Maze, The Master Magic Wand Maker’s Guide To Creating Wonderful Wands, Classroom Guide (from the Picture Book, Teacher’s Edition.)

Why I Like This Book:  This book has a fun story about two little witches, and a nice message about reaping what you sow 🙂  It’s full of spells and enchantments and mischief.  But it’s the delightful art that takes it over the top for me.  The drawings are full of fun details that kids can spend lots of time looking at and that bring the story so appealingly to life.

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

Before we all head off to read everyone’s amazing picks for today and then on to our weekends, I just have to say that I’m so excited for the Halloweensie Contest which opens MONDAY!!!  If you haven’t written your entry yet, you still have the weekend and a lot of next week – the deadline isn’t until midnight on Halloween (so appropriate, no? :))  This is one of the most fun contests we do because the entries are short, so I hope you’ll all participate!  (If you haven’t seen the rules, mosey on over HERE.)

First Prize is a PB Critique from the amazing Corey Rosen Schwartz, author of The Three Ninja Pigs, Hop! Plop!, and the forthcoming Goldirocks, Ninja Red, and What About Moose? AND a copy of Linda Ashman’s new Nuts And Bolts Guide to Writing Picture Books (your choice of e-book or PDF)!

Second prize is a PB manuscript and query letter critique from talented author Heather Ayris Burnell, author of Bedtime Monster.

Third prize is a set of personalized signed picture books just in time for the holidays – Charlotte Gunnufson‘s Halloween Hustle, Tiffany Haber’s The Monster Who Lost His Mean, and Amy Dixon’s Marathon Mouse (perfect timing because NYC Marathon Sunday is next weekend!)

Please join me in thanking these very generous authors for contributing their books and writing expertise as prizes by visiting their websites and blogs, considering their books for holiday purchases, rating and/or reviewing their books on GoodReads, Amazon, B&N or anywhere else if you like them, or supporting them in any other way you can dream up 🙂

And now, off to read everyone’s fabulous choices!  PPBF bloggers, please put your post-specific link in the list below, and then tweet with #PPBF to your hearts’ content! 🙂

Have a great weekend, everyone!!! 🙂

Summer Short And Sweets – Week 3

Hurray!  Hurray!  It’s a Summer Short & Sweet day! 🙂

badge created by Loni Edwards

First off, help yourself to some of these delicious cookies

and a glass of refreshing iced tea

because we can be more creative after a little snack 🙂

Now then, are you ready for today’s Short & Sweet?

I totally wrestled with this one and I hope it’s going to be fun and also work right… I guess we’ll see 🙂

So we have to go on the honor system again – no peeking! 🙂 – and I need you to get a piece of paper and a writing implement of your choice.  Then write down the following things in a list bearing in mind that everything below is supposed to be related so it can hang together:

1.  A noun (you know, a good old person place or thing)
2.  A color that describes that noun or some part of that noun you’d like to highlight (e.g. red, or, lavender, or, cerulean)
3.  A comparison to that color (in the manner of simile or metaphor e.g. summer sunset, or, shadowed snow on a January evening)
4.  Something that belongs to your noun written as adjective, adjective noun (e.g. wide, feathered tail, or, slim, brown limbs, or brass ratcheted gears)
5.  A verb ending in -ing that is something your noun could do (e.g. soaring, or, stretching, or, grappling)
6. Another verb ending in -ing that is something else your noun could do (e.g. sailing, or, reaching, or, frowning)
7. A place written as: preposition [a/an/the] adjective adjective noun (e.g. over [a] broad green valley, or, across [the] shimmering shining stream)
8. A description of something your noun could do in relation to something else, written as:  verb ending in -ing preposition adjective noun (e.g. scouting for silver salmon, or, basking on sun-baked sand, or, digging up acorn jewels) – (yes, I realize “for” is a conjunction, not a preposition, but you can use it if you want.  The reason I didn’t put conjunction is because the others – and, or, nor, but, yet – won’t work.  But use “for” if you want :))
9. Repeat #8 with another description (e.g. plunging toward immovable earth)
10. Repeat #8 with a final description (e.g. hoping for sweet success, or, diving for delicious dinner)
11. A simile for the action in #10 (e.g. like a rocket ship, or, like a bow drawn across singing strings)
12.  Your original noun from #1.

Okay!  Got your list?  What we are accomplishing here is part Madlib, part poetry, and will hopefully result in lots of descriptive poems (haha – like how I tricked you into writing a poem? :)) that will also serve as story sparkers by giving all the devoted readers specific, detailed, poetic descriptions of characters, settings, or objects that they could use in a story!  For those of you who write picture books, there are a lot of similarities between picture books and poetry, so this is good practice 🙂

Wasn’t that totally awesome how I snuck that up on you?

So now, all you have to do is type your poem into the comments using this template and your list:

I am [a/an/the] noun from #1
Color from #2 as [a/an/the] comparison from #3
With [a/an/the] adjective adjective noun from #4
Verb from #5, verb from #6
Prepostition [a/an/the] adjective adjective noun from #7
Description from #8
Description from #9
Description from #10
Like [a/an/the] simile from #11
I am [a/an/the] noun from #1

Here’s my example:

I am a falcon
Gray as a stormy sky
With powerful, peregrine wings
Soaring, sailing
Across the shimmering, shining stream
Scouting for silver salmon
Plummeting toward wavering water
Diving for delicious dinner
Like an arrow sprung from a huntsman’s bow
I am a falcon.

Here’s another one because I think this is fun 🙂

I am a birch
Silver as starlight on snow
With strong, slim limbs
Reaching, stretching
For the faraway, fickle moon
Gazing at kaleidoscope constellations
Soaking in the dewdrop dawn
Standing among my slender sisters
Like a dancer waiting for the music to begin
I am a birch.

And one more:

I am Sarah
Gold and brown like honey on toast
With hidden, heartfelt hopes
Uncurling, unfurling
From their secret silent space
Running with quiet concentration
Leaving behind even the fastest few
Flying on winged feet to finish first
Like fleet Atalanta
I am Sarah.

Ok, I’ll stop now because I’m really not very good at this even though I think it’s tons of fun 🙂

So do you get the idea?  You may of course tweak a bit.  If you need a different verb form or fewer adjectives or an extra word or one less line or two colors, etc. feel free to change it up.  The word prompts and template were just to make the job easier and less intimidating 🙂

I hope you’ll all have fun with this!  I can’t wait to see what you write!  And after my humble examples, I hope everyone will feel very brave about putting theirs up – I know without a doubt you can all do better than I did! 🙂

Have a great weekend, and please join me Monday to welcome Tiffany Haber as she talks about her debut picture book, The Monster Who Lost His Mean (which I just had the pleasure of reading and it is REALLY TERRIFIC and you should all get a copy for the littles in your life, or for yourself as an example of a well-done picture book in verse!!!)

Happy weekend 🙂

Would You Read It Wednesday – The 49th Pitch!

Wow!  Do you know what I just realized?  This week’s pitch is #49, which means we’ve been doing Would You Read It for almost a whole entire year!  And week #52 – the WYRI Anniversary – is going to coincide with final week of the Olympics!  I have a feeling this calls for a celebration of some kind… I’m just not sure what 🙂  Feel free to make suggestions!  Especially if they involve chocolate cake 🙂 and open flame 🙂

All we need here is a little photoshopping so it says

I actually do have a special Would You Read It announcement today.  Remember that poll I took last week?  Well, some late voters changed the picture a bit.  The results indicated that the majority of you were happy either way, but a fairly large group were in favor of change, while only 3 people felt it should definitely stay the same.

So here’s what we’re going to try.  Beginning with July (you know, the month we’re in right now… last time I checked anyway… :)), any pitcher WHO WOULD LIKE TO (it is not in any way, shape, or form required!) may rewrite their pitch before the pitch pick based on the feedback they received from all you generous and helpful readers.  They will just have to get their rewrites in to me before the last day of the month.  Sound good?  I’m game to give it a try if you are.  If we all decide we hate it, we can always go back to the old system 🙂  But a lot of people have asked about it and would like the opportunity to improve, and I’m all for encouraging improvement 🙂

I would also like to take this opportunity to say how much fun I’m having with Summer Short & Sweets!  I’ve been amazed and gratified at how many people have been participating, and everyone is so creative and talented!  It’s such a pleasure to see what you all come up with that I find myself eagerly looking forward to Fridays!  Thank you all for being such great sports 🙂

But now, onward!  It’s time for today’s pitch which comes to us from the lovely Vivian whom I’m sure you all remember from last month’s incredibly informative guest post for the self-publishing mini-series, but just in case you don’t know her, here’s a little info:

Vivian Kirkfield has been involved in the care and education of young children for over 50 years.  From babysitting to teaching kindergarten and Head Start to raising her own three children while operating a home daycare, Vivian’s passion for picture books encouraged her to write her award-winning book, Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking.  She shares her mission to help every young child become a lover of books and reading during her school visits with kindergarteners and her presentations to parent and teacher organizations.  Julie Hedlund’s 12 x 12 Challenge was the catalyst that started her writing picture book stories again…and now she can’t stop!  Many of her stories are based on her experiences as a teacher, mother and grandmother.  The Tomato Turner is a true story about her own family…and she plans several sequels…Confessions of the Tomato Turner and The Tomato Turner Returns.
Vivian’s book/author website:

And now, here is her pitch:

Working Title:  The Tomato Turner
Age/Genre:  Picture Book (ages 3-8)
The Pitch:  Stuck in the middle between a brainy older brother and an adorable baby sister, four-year old Peter is determined to do something spectacular that will make everyone proud of him – when he sees the basket of green tomatoes on the kitchen counter, he seizes the opportunity to astonish his family.

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 Vivian 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, which is not very far away at all at this point, so we could really use some new pitches!!
Vivian is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!

And before we all go off to our wonderful Wednesdays, I wanted to mention a special upcoming treat!  My friend and fellow author, Tiffany Haber, had her debut picture book release yesterday!!!  Here is her book:

Awesome, no?!  And here’s where the special treat part comes in: Tiffany is coming over to visit with us here on Monday July 23 – that’s in like 5 days! – and along with what I’m sure will be a fabulously entertaining post, she will be giving away a signed copy of this exceptionally fun-looking brand new book!!!  Mine is on order and due to arrive tomorrow.  I can’t wait to read it!

Alrighty.  You’re excused.  Have a lovely day 🙂  Hope to see you Friday for Short & Sweets!