Perfect Picture Book Friday – Jackie And The Mona Lisa PLUS A Giveaway!

It’s Perfect Picture Book Friday and I have a wonderful treat for you!

A great Perfect Picture Book, a little insight from the author, 3 fabulous activity pages, and the chance for one of you (US resident only) to win a copy of the book just by leaving a comment in the comment section below by Wednesday March 30 at 9PM Eastern!

I really enjoyed this book, so I hope you’ll like it too!

Title: Jackie And The Mona Lisa

Written By: Deborah Rovin Murphy

Illustrated By: Jen Brickling

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press, March 15, 2022, nonfiction

Suitable For Ages: 6-8

Themes/Topics: American History, Jackie Kennedy, art appreciation

Opening: “Jackie Kennedy loved poetry. She loved dance and music. And she loved art. In 1961, Jackie became the First Lady of the United States. And everyone loved Jackie. More than that, everyone wanted to be just like her.”

Text copyright Debbie Rovin Murphy 2022, illustration copyright Jen Brickling 2022, Sleeping Bear Press

Brief Synopsis: From the publisher: “Jackie Kennedy loved the arts. And America loved Jackie Kennedy. The first lady knew she had the country’s attention–what would she do with it? Encourage Americans to appreciate art, of course! She turned the White House into a historical site filled with some of America’s most treasured artifacts and pieces of art. She brought Shakespearean theater to the White House and ballerinas to the South Lawn. And most epically, she brought the Mona Lisa to the states (much to the chagrin of many Parisians) to encourage Americans to visit museums–and it worked! An inspiring story about one of the nation’s most influential first ladies.”

Text copyright Debbie Rovin Murphy 2022, illustration copyright Jen Brickling 2022, Sleeping Bear Press

Links To Resources: The back matter of the book has additional information about both Jackie Kennedy and the Mona Lisa. Please see below for some activity pages you can use with the book.

I asked Debbie what inspired her to write JACKIE AND THE MONA LISA, and she responded: “Growing up, art was always my favorite class. I teach second grade now (which I love) but had also dreamed about becoming an art teacher. This, combined with my love of history and museums, and my admiration of Jackie Kennedy, came together to inspire me to write Jackie and the Mona Lisa. Another reason for writing this particular story is my love for all of the “little known stories” in history or incredibly interesting stories that have been lost in time that I believe kids (and adults) would love to know. When I hear someone say that history is boring… I just think that they haven’t heard all of the interesting stories and anecdotes that correspond with all of the names, dates, and people we are taught to remember. I hope that this book can inspire children to go to museums and learn about the arts.”

A little bit about the author:

Author Debbie Rovin Murphy is a children’s book writer, teacher (of more than 25 years), and mother to two grown sons. She has loved visiting museums since her class trip to the Philadelphia Museum of Art when she was in elementary school, and she was lucky enough to have seen the Mona Lisa on a trip to France. She lives in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

 Here are a few activity pages to use with the book:

Why I Like This Book: I found this book interesting, accessible, and engagingly written. I learned a lot about Jackie Kennedy’s time as First Lady and her passion for the arts. It was wonderful to have a glimpse of someone who seems so elegant searching through the White House basement! The story (without ever saying anything preachy!) clearly sends the message that if something is important to you, you can accomplish it if you put yourself into it. Young readers will really enjoy this book about everything Jackie Kennedy did for the arts in America.

Text copyright Debbie Rovin Murphy 2022, illustration copyright Jen Brickling 2022, Sleeping Bear Press

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 😊

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

PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific blog links (and any other info you feel like filling out 😊) to the form below so we can all come see what fabulous picture books you’ve chosen to share this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! 😊 Don’t forget to leave a comment below by Wednesday March 30 at 9PM Eastern for your chance to be randomly selected to win a copy of this wonderful book! (US residents only – sorry!)

Perfect Picture Book Friday – How To Dress A Dinosaur PLUS A Giveaway!

Hi Everyone!

I’d like to start by apologizing for my absence lately, and for making you all wait so long for the results of the Valentiny Contest. I’m afraid a family medical situation has been demanding most of my time and, burn the candle at both ends as I might, I can’t seem to find time for everything. But I am making my way through the entries – wonderful, AMAZING entries, really! You guys all did such a good job! – enjoying every minute of reading, dreading having to narrow the field to 12, and I hope to have your results soon! Thank you all for your patience. I so appreciate it. You have been so kind about the wait!

Meanwhile, I have a treat for you today! A wonderful new book I know you’re going to love, plus a few words from the author and some wonderful activities she has provided, AND she’s offering a giveaway!!! All you have to do is leave a comment on this post by Wednesday March 9 at 9 PM Eastern and you’ll be in the running to be randomly selected to win a copy of today’s delightful book!

So let’s have a look, shall we?

Title: How To Dress A Dinosaur

Written By: Robin Currie

Illustrated By: Alycia Pace

Publisher: Familius, March 1, 2022, fiction (board book)

Suitable For Ages: 2-5 years

Themes/Topics: humor, getting dressed, dinosaurs

Opening: “Roar! Oh no – You turned into a dinosaur!”

Brief Synopsis: Every parent knows the struggle of getting a child dressed and out the door. But with a cast of hilariously coiffed dinosaurs to teach toddlers how to stomp their feet into pant legs and reach their claws into shirts, getting dressed becomes a game.

Links To Resources:

First, a few words from author Robin Currie! It’s always interesting to know where a book came from 😊

Back Story (or the Tail of the Dinosaur)

The original inspiration for this story was in the fall of 2014 when my youngest grandson was 3 years old and had many things on his mind to do with dinosaurs but few with getting dressed. James was in the dinosaur phase where he can’t pronounce “Spaghetti” but can say “Pachycephalosaurus” and correct my mispronunciation. He also owned dinosaur-themed shirts, hats, socks, jackets, and underwear. And hundreds of plastic painful-to-step-on in-the-dark dinosaur figures.

A brain burble became first a badly rhyming text – what rhymes with Diplodocus? (Hopped aboard a bus? Was oozing green pus? Super-flu-i-us?).  Now I am pleased to introduce you to 14 chewable pages of How to Dress a Dinosaur! If you are counting, that is a total of 8 years for a board book! Always believe that the best ideas out there will find a home! Even if it seems to take longer than the Pleistocene era!

Dino Breakfast Starts The Day!
Dino Feet!
Thumb Dino!
Populate the jungle with Handy Dinos!

More dino crafts, books and snacks at https://www.pinterest.com/currie0535/how-to-dress-a-dinosaur/

Wow! So many fun things to do!

Why I Like This Book: If you’re a parent, you’ve had the showdown at the getting dressed corral! This book makes getting dressed so much fun kids will probably want to do it extra times each day 😊 How can you not love a story that will make a necessary chore fun for everyone involved? But to make it even better, young readers will learn a little bit about dinosaurs. The art is adorable. All those cute baby dinos are irresistible. (My personal favorites are diplodocus and triceratops 😊) A fun story to read aloud, a way to make getting dressed something to look forward to, a little info about dinosaurs, and appealing illustrations – what’s not to love?

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 😊

Robin Currie learned story sharing by sitting on the floor, in library story times. She has sold 1.7 M copies of her 40 storybooks and writes stories to read and read again! How to Dress a Dinosaur is available now! How to Dress a Dinosaur – Familius.com Shop

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

PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific blog links (and any other info you feel like filling out 😊) to the form below so we can all come see what fabulous picture books you’ve chosen to share this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! 😊 (And don’t forget to leave a comment by Wednesday at 9PM so you can be in the running to win a copy of this delightful book!)

Giveaway Winner – BUNNY FINDS EASTER!

Hi Everyone!

There’s no one up for Tuesday Debut today, so instead let’s party!

First, we get to celebrate the randomly selected giveaway winner of Laura Sassi’s beautiful book, BUNNY FINDS EASTER!

And the lucky winner is . . .

Pat Tilton!

I hope your great-granddaughter enjoys it! (I think she will! 😊) Please email me so I can get your book to you!

And what would a celebration party be without cake? I said we might have some, and so we shall!

How about this one?

Chocolate enough?

Let’s find out! 😊

And now, let’s round out our party by having everyone share the book they’re currently reading in the comment section. I’ll start. I’m reading something not at all kidlit – a psychological thriller by Michael Robotham called When You Are Mine. So far, it’s keeping me turning the pages! I also (as always) have a stack of picture books including How To Apologize by David LaRochelle, If You Ever Want To Bring An Alligator To School, Don’t! by Elise Parsley, and Strictly No Elephants by Lisa Mantchev (and let me tell you, that tiny elephant is SO CUTE! 😊)

What are you reading?

For a bonus party favor to take home with you, here is a little writing prompt to get the creativity flowing:

Q: What do you get when you cross a turtle with a porcupine?
A: A slowpoke!

Write a story about a slowpoke 😊

OR

Work on your Valentiny Contest entry – only a couple more days to go! If you haven’t read the guidelines yet, hop on over and check them out HERE. You can write THAT story today! 😊

Enjoy your Tuesday (and help yourself to seconds on cake! 😊)

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Bunny Finds Easter PLUS A Giveaway!

It’s the first Perfect Picture Book Friday of February, and we get to celebrate by being part of Laura Sassi‘s “Bunny Hop” for her brand new book!

What could be better in the midst of ice, snow, and freezing rain than an adorable bunny and a little glimpse of springtime and hope?

I’ll tell you! We have a wonderful activity to do with the book designed by Laura herself AND a book giveaway! One lucky reader will win a copy of this sweet book! All you need to do is have a US street address (sorry no PO addresses, and USA only) and leave a comment on this post by Monday February 7 at 5 PM Eastern to qualify for the random drawing (which I will do on Monday February 7 at 5 PM Eastern 😊.) The winner will be announced on Tuesday February 8 because there is no one up for Tuesday Debut that day so we can just celebrate. Maybe we’ll have cake 😊 (I would have posted the winner with PPBF next week, but we won’t be having it because the VALENTINY WRITING CONTEST will be underway! If you haven’t written your entry yet, click HERE for details!)

So let’s have a look at this wonderful book!

Title: Bunny Finds Easter

Written By: Laura Sassi

Illustrated By: Ela Jarzabek

Publisher: Zonderkidz, February 1, 2022, fiction

Suitable For Ages: baby – 4 years

Themes/Topics: holidays (Easter)

Opening: “Bunny wakes.
Hip hip hooray!
Let’s celebrate –
It’s Easter Day!

But what is Easter?”

text copyright Laura Sassi 2022, illustration copyright Ela Jarzabek 2022, Zonderkidz

Brief Synopsis: From the publisher: “Coloring eggs, wearing a lovely bonnet, joining in the fun of an egg hunt, and attending church with family are special things that are a part of Easter! But the most important thing about this holiest of seasons is remembering the reason we gather to celebrate and focusing on Jesus most of all.”

text copyright Laura Sassi 2022, illustration copyright Ela Jarzabek 2022, Zonderkidz

Links To Resources: We are so lucky to have resources provided by the author herself! Thank you, Laura!

BOOK-THEMED CRAFT: Make Your Own Bunny Ears

by Laura Sassi

Inspired by Ela Jarzabek’s whimsical Easter egg patterns in BUNNY FINDS EASTER, here’s a colorful version of bunny ears for little ones to make and wear after they read the book so they can go on an Easter hunt just like Bunny does in the book.

You will need:

  • one strip of heavy paper (card stock weight) for the band.  (approx 2” by 24”)
  • one pair of bunny ears  cut from card stock for each child.  (approx 2” by 8” – rounded at the top)
  • an assortment of crayons, markers, stickers, etc.
  • tape or glue

Instructions:

  1. After reading BUNNY FINDS EASTER, take a moment with your child to hunt for all the Easter eggs in the book. Together, name the colors you see and count how many patterns you can find.
  2. Next, set out the precut bunny ears and have your child decorate with colorful patterns inspired by the book. 
  3. Glue or tape the finished ears to the precut paper band. Test for size by placing it on your child’s head. Tape accordingly.

Play a game: Hide ten jelly beans (or other Easter treats) around the room. Then, have your child put on their ears so that, just like Bunny, they go on a hunt to find out what Easter is all about. Afterwards, as they enjoy their treats, remember together what Bunny discovered – that Easter is about Jesus!

And click HERE to download an Activity Guide created by Zonderkidz to go with the book!

Click HERE to download

Why I Like This Book: With simple text told in engaging rhyme, and adorable pictures that will delight any child, this lovely book reminds us what Easter is all about. Yes, there are hot cross buns, egg decorating, pretty bonnets, and Easter egg hunts, but at the heart of it all is the gift of love, hope, and faith that Jesus gave to everyone. Without being heavy-handed, this book is a just-right introduction for little ones that Easter is about more than jelly beans. The art is bright and friendly, with plenty for pre-readers to look at and engage with while they listen to the story.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 😊

text copyright Laura Sassi 2022, illustration copyright Ela Jarzabek 2022, Zonderkidz

Watch the adorable book trailer!

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

PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific blog links (and any other info you feel like filling out 😊) to the form below so we can all come see what fabulous picture books you’ve chosen to share this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! 😊 Stay warm and dry, and think of spring 😊

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Bindu’s Bindis

It’s another Perfect Picture Book Friday, and not only do I have a wonderful book to share, I also have a giveaway thanks to Sterling Children’s Books!

Leave a comment on this post to be entered in the random drawing and you could be the lucky winner of a hot-off-the-presses copy of Bindu’s Bindis when it releases March 16!

Let’s have a look at this wonderful book! 😊

Title: Bindu’s Bindis

Written By: Supriya Kelkar

Illustrated By: Parvati Pillai

Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books, March 16, 2021

Suitable For Ages: 3-7

Themes/Topics: family, tradition, culture, courage

Opening: “Every month Bindu’s nani sent her a new set of bindis from India.
Bindu adored her bindis.
She wore them to the temple.
She wore them on holidays.
She wore them at home
.”

text copyright Supriya Kelkar 2021, illustration copyright Parvati Pillai 2021, Sterling Children’s Books

Brief Synopsis: Bindu loves her family, especially her nani, and she loves the bindis that nani sends her. But sometimes, she feels different in a way that doesn’t feel good. But with her nani beside her and a lightning bolt bindi for courage, she finds she’s able to embrace who she is even if others sometimes find her differences strange.

text copyright Supriya Kelkar 2021, illustration copyright Parvati Pillai 2021, Sterling Children’s Books

Links To Resources: an author’s note at the end offers wonderful information and details about bindis; we are all unique – what are some things about you that others might find different, strange, or hard to understand about you even though they seem completely normal in your family?; we all have things in common – what are some things you share with people who seem different in some ways?; Bindu chooses certain bindis to match her mood/emotional state – a lightning bolt for feeling brave, an oval for pride, squiggly lines for feeling unique. Would you choose as Bindi does? What shapes would you choose to match feeling shy? Fierce? Uncertain?

text copyright Supriya Kelkar 2021, illustration copyright Parvati Pillai 2021, Sterling Children’s Books

Why I Like This Book: Bindu is a delightful and charming main character who bounces believably between exuberant self-confidence and sudden worrying uncertainty, but no matter what she faces she feels surrounded by and grounded in the love of her family, especially her beloved nani. I love the warm feeling of family, Bindu’s deep connection to nani, and the way culture and tradition come through as a natural part of the story without feeling forced or contrived. The bright, colorful art is a perfect complement to the brighter moments of the story, dimming to more subdued colors on the pages where Bindu’s confidence and security are challenged, and rising to a swirl of bright pink dress in the purple background of the stage when Bindu finds the courage to join nani. A lovely book that will introduce young readers to the meaning and importance of bindis.

text copyright Supriya Kelkar 2021, illustration copyright Parvati Pillai 2021, Sterling Children’s Books

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 😊

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

PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific blog links (and any other info you feel like filling out 😊) to the form below so we can all come see what fabulous picture books you’ve chosen to share this week!

Don’t forget to leave a comment to get entered in the random drawing to win a copy of this lovely book!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! 😊

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Love Is Kind with a GIVEAWAY!

Today is a special day!

Not only is it Perfect Picture Book Friday, it’s the day author Laura Sassi is stopping at my little blog on her blog tour!  (Thanks so much for joining us, Laura, and including us in the launch of this wonderful book!)

As a result, we have a great book to share as well as FANTASTIC activities from the author herself!

Let’s get right to it, shall we? 🙂

thumbnail_loveiskindcover

Title: Love Is Kind

WrittenBy: Laura Sassi

Illustrated By: Lison Chaperon

Zonderkidz, August 2018, fiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: love, kindness, doing the right thing

Opening: “Little Owl jingled the coins in his pocket.  It was Grammy’s birthday.  And, finally, he had enough money to buy her something special – a heart-shaped box of chocolates.
He took out the coins – so shiny and new – and ready to spend.  But then. . .

Brief Synopsis: Little Owl has planned a special gift for Grammy’s birthday, but one thing after another goes wrong.  He perseveres, doing the right thing even when it is difficult, and ends up giving Grammy an unplanned but even more wonderful gift.

Links To Resources: Today we have wonderful, special resources straight from the author!  Take it away, Laura! 🙂

(With apologies from me that the text is so crunched together – I  could not get this to format properly no matter what I did!)

Little Owl’s Tea Party: FIVE TIPS for Pairing Picture Books with a Tasty Treat
by Laura Sassi
Today I’m delighted to share with you a sweet baking activity created by French illustrator Lison Chaperon, with a little collaboration from the author (me!) to adapt the recipe to US measurements. Click HERE to download a high quality at scale version for better printing. I hope you enjoy it!
 
thumbnail_Little Owl Tea Party 1
thumbnail_Little Owl Tea Party 2
In addition to being absolutely delicious, this LOVE IS KIND-inspired baking activity has gotten me thinking about how wonderful it is when we pair picture books with a tasty book-themed treat. In doing so, not only are we giving our kids the opportunity to learn some baking/cooking skills, we are helping them to connect to the story in a new and fun way.  As we nibble and chat about the book, we’re also instilling in them a framework to talk about the stories we read and an opportunity to think about how picture books relate to our lives and the world. Finally, we’re fostering good critical thinking skills as we converse with our little ones about what treat would be best paired with a particular picture book.
With all these benefits in mind, here are FIVE tips for PAIRING PICTURE BOOKS with TASTY TREATS.

1. Pick any picture book.  (Better yet, let your child pick the book.)

2. Pre-read the story so you can gather your ingredients. Once you’ve selected your picture book, take a few minutes a day or two ahead of time so that you can anticipate what types of treats you and your child might want to create to pair with the story.  This way you can be sure to have the ingredients in stock for a seamless and tasty brainstorming to baking to eating experience. 
3. As you read with your child, ponder the treat-making possibilities. It’s most beneficial (and engaging) to your budding critical thinkers if you include them in the process of deciding what book-themed treat to create, though it’s perfectly acceptable, in my opinion, to gently lead them towards the ingredients you have on hand (see step two). As you are pondering, the treat might be obvious. For example, in my third book DIVA DELORES AND THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE, Fernando the mouse loves gumdrops, popcorn, and cheese on try toast, so those would be obvious picks. 
But…
4. Sometimes you will have to be creative!  Some picture books, however, won’t have such obvious choices. My recommendation, in these instances, is to pick a character or a defining element of the story and create a treat inspired by that.  For example, on her blog, Easy Elegant Entertaining™, trained chef and cookbook author (and mom to an adorable young budding reader), Addie Gundry, uses the concept of tails in GOODNIGHT, ARK to create an adorable book-themed treat. http://addiegundry.com/theblog/2018/3/21/tails-on-the-ark-two-by-two 
You can also create character-based cookies for almost any book, as my daughter did for Tara Lazar’s THE MONSTORE and my GOODNIGHT, ARK.

thumbnail_loveiskindcookies

Tiger Cookies for Goodnight Ark

5. Have fun!  (Need I say more?) 

 

Thank you, Laura!  What a fun activity!

Why I Like This Book: The story is sweet with a beautiful message about what love really is (from 1.Corinthians.13). While the story unfolds, the lovely words from the Bible verse appear in dreamy lettering in the background – on the breeze, in a rainbow, etc.  Not at all heavy-handed, but beautifully woven into the story.  Little Owl’s behavior and reactions are realistic and believable – frustration, disappointment, envy, sadness – but he doesn’t give in to his negative emotions, choosing instead to be a good person.  He shows up at Grammy’s empty-handed and unhappy, only to find that by being himself he has given her the best gift of all.  The art is warm and appealing, and Little Owl is adorable 🙂

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 🙂

Here’s the book trailer in case you’d like a further glimpse of the book!

Laura Sassi with Sunflowers

Children’s Author Laura Sassi

Laura Sassi
Children’s book author and poet
GOODNIGHT, ARK (Zonderkidz, August ’14)
GOODNIGHT, MANGER (Zonderkidz, October ’15)
DIVA DELORES AND THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE (Sterling, Spring ’18)
LOVE IS KIND (Zonderkidz, Fall  ’18)

twitter.com/laurasassitales

The publisher has generously offered a giveaway of one copy of LOVE IS KIND to one of our readers. To qualify, you must be a U.S. resident with a street address (as opposed to a P.O. Box) and at least 18 years old to enter.  If you wish to be considered, please leave a comment below indicating your interest by Monday October 8 at 9PM Eastern and we will randomly select a lucky winner!

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

PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific links (and any other info you feel like filling out 🙂 ) to the form below so we can all come see what fabulous picture books you’ve chosen to share this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!! 🙂

(And don’t forget to enter the giveaway if you’re interested!)

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Diva Delores And The Opera House Mouse PLUS 5 Fun Facts From The Author AND A Giveaway!

Hurray!  It’s Perfect Picture Book Friday, and boy do I have a treat for you today!

It’s Diva Delores’s debut!

diva-1.jpeg

Isn’t she gorgeous?! 🙂

You’re going to get to see this beautiful book AND hear from the author AND the publisher is generously doing a giveaway, so one lucky commenter from the US or Canada will be chosen at random to receive a copy of the book!

Let’s jump right in, shall we?

First, a look at the book!

IMG_5301

Title: Diva Delores And The Opera House Mouse

Written By: Laura Sassi

Illustrated By: Rebecca Gerlings

Sterling Children’s Books, March 2018, nonfiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: friendship, manners, opera

Opening: “Fernando loved chocolate
and cheese on dry toast,
and popcorn and gumdrops,
but what he liked most . . .

was feasting on Mozart,
Puccini, and Strauss,
and lending a paw
at the Old Opera House.

Brief Synopsis: Fernando the mouse loves everything about opera.  He wants to help Delores with her debut, but the diva thinks she deserves bigger and better help!  It takes a few opening night jitters to get Delores to truly appreciate her helpful little friend.

Links To Resources: Teacher Approved: Seven Things Kids Can Learn From Diva Delores; Opera Facts For Kids; discuss what it means to be a “diva” and dress up one of your stuffed animals as a diva!  (AND, you can use the 5 Fun Facts from the author below as bonus material to go along with the book! 🙂 )

Why I Like This Book:  The fun of this book is in the setting – an opera house – and the main characters – who both love opera!  Although the story is really about friendship, manners, and appreciation, the fact that it takes place in an opera house and involves operatic performance makes it educational as well as original and fun.  (Picture books writers – this is how you make a theme like friendship original, fresh and fun by putting your own twist on it!  Add this to your mentor text list 🙂 )  The story is told in fabulously-written rhyme which makes for a fun read-aloud, and artist Rebecca Gerlings does a gorgeous job of capturing both the feel of an opera house and the personalities and expressions of our heroes 🙂

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 🙂

As an added bonus, I thought it would be fun to learn a little about the story behind the story and Laura’s writing process/path to publication with this book, so I asked her to share five fun facts about writing this delightful, creative, and original story.

Here’s what she had to say:

FIVE FUN FACTS ABOUT WRITING DIVA DELORES AND THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE

FACT #1 The journey from spark to publication took seven years.

I got the original idea for my story while participating in Tara Lazar’s wonderful STORYSTORM challenge, or Picture Book Idea Month as it was called back in 2011.  I then worked on the story off and on for five years. I played with plot, rhyme, character development – everything but setting, really – until finally it was ready to sub in 2016. It was acquired by Sterling Children’s Books that spring and took another two years to be published, which is typical for picture books.

FACT #2  Diva Delores wasn’t always a seal.

Originally, I imagined everyone at the opera house, including Diva Delores, as human, except of course, for Fernando the mouse. The team at Sterling , however, felt that mixing humans with a talking mouse might be problematic so early on we decided that all the characters in the opera house world would be animals. Early ideas for Delores included a hippo and an ostrich. Ultimately, illustrator Rebecca Gerlings used her wonderful talent and imagination to create the delightful seal Delores who we now know and LOVE!

FACT #3 I chose an opera house setting, because an opera, IMHO, is a lot like a picture book.

Both tell a full story in very few words with magnificent characters. Because there are so few words each word/note must work charmingly to move the story forward. Finally, both are gorgeously illustrated – one with stunning sets and props and the other with delightful painted spreads.

FACT # 4 I didn’t attend my first opera until I was in college.

I attended university about 90 minutes from Manhattan and my freshman year signed up for a special bus-excursion field trip to the Met to see TURANDOT!  I loved everything about the evening.  It was a magical introduction to opera, which I hope my book is too.

FACT #5 According to my kids, I am hard to be around when I am working on a rhyming manuscript.

This is because I click and tap to the beat as I write. I also, apparently, talk to myself in rhyme as I am writing. Worse yet, I sometimes even do this in public places, like if I’m out walking the dog or if I’m working at a coffee shop. This is mortifying to my children, but it works for me. And isn’t part of a mother’s job to embarrass her children?

Thanks for having me, Susanna!

Thank YOU so much for joining us, Laura, and for sharing all that interesting back story!  I am the first to admit that, although I love music, I know absolutely nothing about opera, so I love the whole concept!  (Also, Delores and Fernando are darling 🙂 )

Diva 2
BIO:  Laura Sassi has a passion for telling humorous stories in prose and rhyme. She is the author of GOODNIGHT, ARK (Zonderkidz, 2014)and GOODNIGHT, MANGER (Zonderkidz, 2015), DIVA DELORES AND THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE (Sterling, 2018) and LOVE IS KIND (Zonderkidz, 2018) She lives in New Jersey with her husband, two children, and a black Cockapoo named Sophie.

Links:
blog:http://laurasassitales.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LauraSassiTales
Twitter: twitter.com/laurasassitales
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/laurasassitales/

To join Laura on the rest of Delores’s Blog Tour, please stop off and visit these other fabulous blogs:

Diva 3

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

PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific links (and any other info you feel like filling out 🙂 ) to the form below so we can all come see what fabulous picture books you’ve chosen to share this week!

Don’t forget, Sterling has offered to do a giveaway. They will send one book to one lucky winner in the US or Canada. It will not be signed because they are sending but it will be fresh off the press!  Just leave a comment below by Tuesday March 20 at 5 PM Eastern to get yourself in the running for the random drawing!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!! 🙂

 

Trucks On Tour – Kickoff!

Just when you thought it was safe to venture back into the blogosphere . . .

duhn duhn duhn . . .!

. . .I’ve got another blog tour starting!

I know!  The first one isn’t even finished!

I’m sorry!

They’re right on top of each other and overlapping and I know it’s a lot to keep up with!

*hides under the kitchen table*

(Believe me I know!  My house hasn’t seen a vacuum in two weeks and my refrigerator is empty except for a wrinkled lemon no one’s been desperate enough to tangle with!)

But the trucks and I would be ever so grateful if you’d journey along the road with us a little ways.  They’re VERY cute!  And I don’t want them to feel less loved then LION and ELEPHANT!  That would be sad 😦

So let’s break out their shiny new blog tour banner, shall we?

truckbanner

Have you ever seen such friendly little trucks?

Er… I mean BIG trucks!  MIGHTY trucks!  They’re strong!  They’re tough!  They’re heavy duty! (And they have really nice teeth, don’t they? 🙂 )

Julie is really kicking off the tour over at Little Red Story Shed today.  She has a review of the book and a delightful activity she did with her preschoolers.  I hope you’ll hop on over and visit her!

We’ve got a great line-up of fun-filled posts – interviews with me and Erica Sirotich (the talented illustrator), activity and coloring page reveals, book reviews and giveaways, games, recipes, crafts, and a book trailer reveal (a little farther into the tour because I haven’t made it yet! 🙂 ) as well as a couple of special prizes!

As with the WHEN YOUR… blog tour, I’m really hoping that the lovely people who are being kind enough to host, especially on this second, overlapping tour where readers will undoubtedly be feeling a little burned out on Susanna Hill blog tours!, will get some visitors for all their kindness and hard work.  (Please also bear in mind that with the exception of a couple days in August – I think August 3, 10, and 15 – you’ll get a nice break from me until the around the second week of September… so there’s hope if you can just soldier through the next couple weeks 🙂 )

To make it even more fun, I will once again offer a Special Prize to be raffled off among people who visit and comment on every stop on the tour!

I’d also love the trucks to get their little moment in the social media limelight, so every time you share on Face Book, Twitter, or Instagram using the hashtag #trucksontour you will get an entry in a raffle to be conducted at the close of the tour in which 3 $25 gift certificates to Merritt Bookstore and Toystore will be up for grabs!  We can support a wonderful independent bookstore, and you can get your choice of any book on your wishlist and a great selection of high quality toys! (And if a book on your wish list should happen to be one of mine, I can sign it for you 🙂 )

Here’s the schedule so you can plan your summer so as not to miss anything important 🙂

Truck Blog Tour Schedule

(With a million, billion, trillion thanks to Katie Hill for fixing all the formatting issues after I totally screwed it up even though she was tired and sunburned from a long day at work!  Love you, sweetie ❤ )

So HERRRHERRRHERRR!

RUMBLEGRUMBLETHRUM!

VRRROOOOM!

VRRROOOOOOOM!

Off we go with TRUCKS ON TOUR!

Don’t forget to share today’s post and Julie’s or any other relevant delightful items – photos, books in the wild sightings, truck-related crafts, activities, games or recipes – with the hashtag #trucksontour! (Credit for that clever hashtag to Julie Abery!  Thank you again, Julie!)

Tune in tomorrow for an interview with yours truly at Writer’s Rumpus for the WHEN YOUR BOOKS TOUR, and a book review and craft activity at Lynn’s blog, Polilla Writes,  for the TRUCK TOUR.

(Yeah… you can see how this is gonna go… give me about 12 seconds and I’ll be hopelessly confused between the two tours!  I’m hoping you guys will be able to keep it all straight! 🙂 )

Have a marvelous Monday, everyone!!! 🙂