The Black Rabbit

The Black Rabbit

Here’s my Perfect Picture Book Friday choice:

The Black Rabbit
Written and Illustrated by Philippa Leathers
Candlewick Press, 2013
Suitable for: ages 3-7
Themes: shadows, fear

Opening Lines: RABBIT WOK UP ONE MORNING and stepped out of his burrow into the bright sunlight. It was a beautiful day.  (Yep, those caps are in the book.)
Synopsis: Rabbit discovers a black rabbit behind him. He tries to run away , but he can’t seem to get rid of the black rabbit. In the dark woods, he escapes the black rabbit and discovers another danger.

Link to Resources: Go outside and look at how your shadow follows you. Try to outrun it. See how your shadow disappears at different times of the day and in different places. You can also draw a chalk outline of your shadow, but you must stand still! Lesson plans on shadows.

Why I Like The Book: Philippa Leathers takes a fun approach to shadows. Enzo laughed at the images of the rabbit trying to outrun the black rabbit. There’s a funny chase scene. Simple and cute.

The Rocky Mountain Chapter of SCBWI conference was wonderful. I met some online writer friends in person and met some industry professionals.

RMC-SCBWI events always provide an opportunity to spend time with Julie Rowan-Zoch, who had the three board books she illustrated for sale in the conference bookstore. Enzo gives her books a thumbs up!

Salina Yoon’s workshops were my favorite. I needed to hear the tips about story, process, and the business side of writing picture books. I love novelty and concept books, so it was wonderful to learn about her creation and marketing process for these books. Bonus: She read us Tap to Play!, which releases in October.
Avi was the keynote speaker. While he said he didn’t intend to be inspirational, he was. He shared many thoughts and a few jokes about writing. What’s the difference between a writer and a 14-inch pizza? A pizza can feed a family of four! Ouch, right?

A few of the presenters at this conference spoke about the limited market for rhyming and ABC books. A couple of people mentioned rhyming manuscripts cannot sell outside the U.S. due to translation issues, as well as market preferences in the U.K. They are also tricky to translate. ABC books were also mentioned as being limited to a U.S. market.

Post-conference I am working on revisions. I received helpful feedback in an editor’s critique and in a picture book intensive with the same editor and 14 (I think) other writers, who shared their thoughts after a quick reading of stories. Fresh eyes are always priceless.
Hope your writing is going well this week.

Find more PPBF at Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog.



Here’s my Perfect Picture Book Friday choice:

No it’s not a penguin book, but it’s from the author/illustrator creator of a very famous Penguin and Pinecone.

Written and Illustrated by Salina Yoon
Walker Books for Young Readers, April 2014
Suitable for: 2 and up
Themes: Friendship, Comfort Items, Returning Found Items

Opening Lines: One day, Bear found something in the forest.

Synopsis from Amazon: When Bear finds a lost stuffed toy bunny in the forest, he begins to worry. After all, the stuffed bunny must feel lonely and want to return safely to its owner and home! But as Bear diligently searches for the bunny’s owner, posting notices high and low, he begins to grow attached to his newfound friend. What will happen when the bunny’s owner finally comes forward? Was Bear meant to find Bunny all along?

Link to resources: If your child has a special item — think lovey, stuffed toy, blankey, etc. — this book offers a great talking point on how those items could be passed on to someone else. You could take a field trip to a real “community board” and look at the Lost and Found items. The book is a great talking point on what to do when you find something? What’s the right choice — do you keep it or give it back? You also could share a story of your own favorite item as a child. I didn’t see any resources on Salina’s website, but her story time visits look awesome.

Why I like the Book: The end papers with the lost board items and Bear’s one Found item is priceless. Take time to find all the children’s book references! We had many giggles. Bear and Rabbit make a cute pair. I love Penguin and Pinecone and couldn’t wait to read this book. It’s a lovely friendship story.
I love the dedication: For lost toys everywhere — may you be safe and found.
We’ve suffered through a lost lovey (formerly called WAY). It’s not pretty. One can only hope that lost toys and special friends would be so lucky to be Found by someone as kind as Yoon’s Bear.

I remain grateful to Cathy for introducing me to Penguin. I see in the comments I was laser focused on the snail book, but I remain in love with Penguin.
Despite a lack of sleep, I enjoyed the Illustrator Intensive last Saturday with Will Terry and Aaron Terry, who spoke about storybook apps.

I especially enjoyed watching the illustration critiques. I’m such a dork. A few times, I gasped at how one little change to an illustration tightened the focus of the work. A great reminder that sometimes it only takes a little revision to improve a manuscript.

I enjoyed spending time with Julie R-Z! She wrote about the workshop, so I’ll direct you to her site (plus her awesome logo!!!!!)

Here is Julie with another Bear. This is Jacque Duffy’s Bear from The Bear Said Please. I took a handful of recent picture book purchases Found, The Bear Said Please, and Naked! by Michael Ian Black and Debbie Ridpath Ohi to share with Julie. I always enjoy talking about picture books in person with Julie, as much as I enjoy sharing them with you all in cyberspace each week.
I found this link to a blog post about Salina Yoon’s creative space, which includes details of her workspace and some dummies. It’s a fun look for both writers and illustrators.

I should have taken a group photo with the illustrators with Found, as Salina is scheduled to appear at the Rocky Mountain Chapter SCBWI conference in September. I’ll be taking my copy of Found to have it signed. I’m ready for the fall conference.

Find more PPBF at Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog.

I’ll be back on Thursday, May 29 as part of a blog tour for the new book Edmund Pickle Chin A Donkey Rescue Story by Susan April Elwood and Clara Bowman-Jahn. I asked them questions about the process of co-authoring a story. I’m always fascinated about this process.

If you made it this far, Thank You! I’m rambling today!

The Tumbleweed Came Back

The Tumbleweed Came Back

It’s Friday, so here’s my choice for Perfect Picture Book Fridays:

The Tumbleweed Came Back
Written by Carmela LaVigna Coyle
Illustrated by Kevin Rechin 
Rio Chico, an imprint of Rio Nuevo Publishers, 2013
Suitable for ages:  3 and up
Themes/Topics: Rhyme, family, tumbleweeds

Opening line:
A mighty wind blew in
as we sat to eat our lunch.
It plopped a tiny tumbleweed
into our jug of punch.
My granny shouted,
“EEK, oh my!
A prickly, wicked weed!”
So we flicked it back into the breeze
before it dropped a seed.”

Synopsis from the author’s website: When a pesky tumbleweed drops in for lunch one day, hilarity ensures. What starts out as a small problem, turns into a giant conundrum as one tumbleweed turns into thousands! The story’s infectious rhythm is brought to life by colorful, funny illustrations. The combination makes for a rollicking read aloud book for parents and grandparents, teachers and caregivers! She also mentions on her website that “the catchy rhythm, loosely based on the folksong — ‘The Cat Came Back’ …”

Link to resources:  This Squido post  has some useful information and a link on where to buy your own seeds. I found this sharing how a community makes snowmen from tumbleweeds. If you live near tumbleweeds (like I do), you can walk around and play a counting game with them. The book offers many creative ways to get rid of tumbleweeds. Have a discussion about how you would get rid of tumbleweeds at your house. Want to play The Cat Came Back on your harmonica? Here it is (thank you Internet) Update: There is a lesson plan for the book too.
Why I like this book: Carmela held this book in her arms in the registration line at the Rocky Mountain Chapter SCBWI conferencein September. All I saw was the back cover with a rocket ship. And, I thought, “I must have this” as we are in a rocket-ship phase in our house.

When she showed me the cover, all I saw was tumbleweed and realized “I MUST HAVE THIS!” Long story on why I needed this book. We’ve enjoyed it multiple times before bed.

Just so kiddo knows this one is my book.

Not that he really pays attention, but one day he will be able to read!

Find more Perfect Picture Books on Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog. Hope you have a great weekend. It’s a busy one around here filled with fairs, festivals, and friends.

I marked one item off my “to do” list this week. I signed up for Picture Book Idea Month over at author Tara Lazar’s website. This will be my third year as a participant! Did you sign up?