Halloweensie Contest 2016

Halloweensie Contest 2016

Happy Halloweensie! It’s that time of year again when children’s writers gather ’round the cauldron to craft a story in 100 words or less. Author Susanna Hill is the gracious founder of the contest. She and her assistants deserve tons of treats for reading all the contest entries.
This year, each 100-word or less entry must contain the words spider, ghost and moon. Variations of the words are allowed. Stories should be kid-friendly and contain no illustration notes. Here are the rules, if you want to participate. You have until the strike of 11:59 p.m. EDT.
Here’s my 2016 entry:

Halloween Tracks 

By Stacy S. Jensen

Oliver saw the tracks every Halloween.
They were colorful with a sweet aroma and looked like scat. Oliver never ate it, but other owls did.
“Who?” he wondered made them. He flew over the streets in the moonlight searching
And, in circles for the critter.
He saw bunnies, coyotes, and spiders and almost gave up.
Until, he heard …
Oliver followed the noises to a little ghost.
“Your tracks!” Oliver screeched.
“My candy,” Ghost cried.
Oliver helped Ghost collect his spilled loot.
“Here’s a treat!” Ghost tossed a candy to Oliver. “Happy Halloween!”

Word tells me I’m at 98 words!

There will be plenty of entries at Susanna’s blog. I am always impressed by the very talented work created in this contest and also how similar our thought process can be. I’ve been a happy Halloweensie participant since 2011 — 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011.
I hope you all have a spooky, fun-filled Halloween!

P.S. I’ve been re-working my website in recent weeks between other projects. It’s not “done,” but decided Halloweensie is more important than “done.”

Douglas, You Need Glasses!

Douglas, You Need Glasses!

Here’s my selection for Perfect Picture Book Friday:

Title: Douglas, You Need Glasses!
Author and Illustrator: Ged Adamson
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade Books, 2016
Suitable for ages: 3-7

Theme/Topic:  Glasses, Being Unaware, Humor

Opening Spread: Nancy and Douglas were chasing squirrels.

Brief Synopsis: (from Amazon) Meet Douglas, a dog with a big problem: he needs eyeglasses but doesn’t know it, and his bad eyesight tends to land him in some pretty hairy situations.

Readers will laugh along with the new picture book character Douglas as he chases a leaf that he mistakes for a squirrel, walks through wet cement because he can’t see the warning sign, and annoys the neighbor’s dog by mistakenly eating out of his bowl. And when Douglas’s owner Nancy finally takes him to what is clearly an eyeglass store and Douglas asks, “Why are you taking me to a shoe store?” everyone will be giggling.

After an eye exam confirms that Douglas needs glasses, and Nancy helps him find the perfect pair, readers will rejoice with Douglas as he sees all the amazing things he’s been missing!

Both kids and parents will laugh out loud—and may even recognize themselves!—while reading this utterly irresistible, hilarious picture book.

Resources: Articles on children wearing glasses. Encouraging your child to wear glasses.

Why I Like This Book: Douglas was a random find at the library. We spend much of May and June reading picture books about children with glasses after Enzo began wearing his own. It’s fun to laugh along as Douglas makes his discovery of how glasses can make a difference.

For more PPBF books, visit Susanna Leonard Hill’s Blog.

I Didn’t Do My Homework Because …

I Didn’t Do My Homework Because …

Here’s my selection for Perfect Picture Book Friday:

Title: I Didn’t Do My Homework Because … 
Author: Davide Cali
Illustrator: Benjamin Chaud
Publisher: Chronicle Books LLC, 2014
Suitable for ages: 6-9
Theme/Topic:  Homework, Fantasy
Opening Spread: “So, wh

y didn’t you do your homework?” [Teacher character asks]
[Boy] “I didn’t do my homework because … An airplane full of monkeys landed in our yard.”

Brief Synopsis: (from Amazon) How many excuses are there for not doing homework? Let us count the ways: Giant lizards invaded the neighborhood. Elves hid all the pencils. And then there was that problem with carnivorous plants…. The excuses go on and on, each more absurd than the next and escalating to hilarious heights. Featuring detail-rich illustrations by Benjamin Chaud, this book is guaranteed to amuse kids and their parents, not to mention anyone who has experienced a slacker student moment—and isn’t that everyone?

Resources: There is a companion book called I Didn’t Do My Homework Because … Doodle Book of Excuses. Homework tips from Scholastic.

Why I Like This Book: Homework can be a struggle. This book offers a number of fantasies on why one’s homework isn’t finished. We’ve had fun reading this book and thinking about all the fun ways to explain why homework is not completed. Of course, at the end of the week, the reality is that homework is complete.

For more PPBF books, visit Susanna Leonard Hill’s Blog.

Roly Poly Pangolin

Roly Poly Pangolin

For the picture book world, it’s been a very sad week with the deaths of Anna Dewdney and of Deirdre Sheridan Englehart.

Enzo wondered how Ms. Dewdney’s books will be finished. I told him we need to read all of her books again and again!

I thought I had already posted about this book. Apparently, not. So, here’s an official post for PPBF.

Title: Roly Poly Pangolin
Author and Illustrator: Anna Dewdney
Viking, 2010

Themes/Topics: Pangolins, Fear, Friendship

Opening: Roly Poly, very small,
doesn’t like new things at all.

Brief Synopsis: (from author and illustrator’s website) —
Roly Poly, very small, doesn’t like new things at all.
Meet Roly Poly Pangolin’s little pangolin who’d rather stick close to his mama instead of facing anything unfamiliar. Whether it’s a line of ants, a friendly monkey, or a loud noise, Roly Poly runs the other way. Then he hears something that really scares him. So he does what all pangolins do when they’re frightened: he rolls up into a tiny ball. But Roly Poly is surprised when he finally peeks out, because another ball is peeking back…it’s a small pangolin just like him!

Resources: In obituaries that circulated after her death, Ms. Dewdney asked people to read a book to a child. As a tribute to her, I believe that’s a great activity.

Why I Like this Book: Enzo and I were introduced to this book at a neighborhood story time. Everyone brought a book to share. I can’t recall the book we dropped off. Enzo picked up Roly Poly Pangolin. I loved it from the first spread.

Don’t wait! Go read a book to a child. Do it for the writers who have left us, for the writers still sharing stories with us, and for the children, who enjoy a stories. Have a wonderful weekend!

For more PPBF books, check out the list over at the incredible Susanna Hill’s website.

This Is Not a Picture Book

This Is Not a Picture Book

This week, I’m sharing a Perfect Picture Book that claims to not be one — well a picture book anyway.

Title: This is not a picture book!
Author and Illustrator: Sergio Ruzzier
Chronicle Books, 2016
Themes/Topics: Reading, Books

Opening: A book!

Brief Synopsis: (from Amazon) In this quirky yet sweet picture book about the joy and power of reading, Duck learns that even books without pictures can be fun. While he and his friend Bug may struggle at first to decipher their book, they stick with it, and before long they discover that not only can they read it, but it deserves a place on the shelf with all their favorite picture books. Author-artist Sergio Ruzzier has created a fanciful tribute to books of all kinds. It includes both words AND pictures.

Resources: Here’s a variety of kindergarten writing activities. Children could also try to illustrate a phrase from one of the spreads in the book like “Some are funny!” or “There are wild words … and peaceful words.”

Why I Like This Book: It’s clearly a picture book despite the title. 🙂 The words create a variety of mood evoking images. My favorite spread may be “Some are very sad.” This may be my favorite image, because I just finished reading Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys. Indeed, some words are sad. Duck and Bug make a unique pair to take a child through the words of a book. Sergio masterfully takes the reader on an adventure with his words and images. This is so different than The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak.

For more PPBF books, check out the list over at the incredible Susanna Hill’s website.

A Winner:

I’ve promoted a giveaway for  Monday is Wash Day for a few weeks.
Rosi Hollinbeck won! I have sent you an email Rosi to arrange delivery of your book.

The book is available on Sept. 27, so consider taking a look at it or request it from your library.

Super Bugs

Super Bugs

This week, I wanted to share a Perfect Picture Book about bugs.

Title: Super Bugs
Author: Michelle Meadows
Illustrator: Bill Mayer
Orchard Books, 2016
Themes/Topics: Rhyme, Bugs, Community Helpers

Opening: Antennae up, eyes down. Buzzing all around the town. Super Bugs, Super Bugs, mighty, mighty Super Bugs!

Brief Synopsis: (from cover flap) When bugs need help, who come to the rescue? Why, Super Bugs of course! Follow a tor of heroic Super Bugs from morning till night as they save their fellow insects from hungry frogs, falling tomatoes, and even human feet. When danger is near, Super Bugs are here!

Resources: Lesson plans on community helpers and another one. Scholastic has a variety of lesson plans and activities on bugs. Michelle Meadows has some very nice activity guides on her book page for her other books. Check out her site to see if one has been added for Super Bugs.

Why I Like This Book: Super Bugs was a random find at the library. The Super Bugs are super cute. These little bugs in capes are community helpers, who take care of other insects in the community. The note about the artwork is unique. It says Bill Mayer points in miniature. “In fact, the Super Bugs are actually about the size of a thumbnail!” He then scans the miniature paintings and enlarges them to fit the size of the book.

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for Monday is Wash Day. I’m keeping that open until Sept. 2.

For more PPBF books, check out the list over at the incredible Susanna Hill’s website.