Friday, November 20, 2015

Otter in Space: PB Review & Book Trailer

words & illustrations by Sam Garton
published by Balzer + Bray 

Thinking BIG, being creative, and solving problems

More picture books in this series
I Am Otter
Otter Loves Halloween!

Summary According to Otter
"This is a story of the time my best friend Teddy and I did something really incredible. We went on a very, very important mission - to the moon! In a rocket!"

The Story begins . . .

On Sunday, Otter Keeper took me and Teddy to the museum. 
The museum is the best place ever!

I love Otter's voice. 
In all the books in this series, Otter has a concrete problem, creates a plan, deals with obstacles and meets her goal. Otter acts and reacts in a very kid-like way.
In Otter in Space, Otter plans a mission to the moon with Teddy. Otter makes a space suit, trains Teddy, gives Giraffe (another friend) an important job, makes a spaceship and prepares for launch. With each page turn, Otter takes readers along for this exciting mission! 

Resources for Teachers: 
Otter's Fun and Games page has 6 printable activities for young students

Meet Author/Illustrator Sam Garton

Otter in Space Book Trailer

Visit Susanna Leonard Hill's blog for a complete list of today's Perfect Picture: HERE!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Picture Book Idea Month

November has become one of my favorite months. Yes, I love gathering for Thanksgiving. And celebrating lots of birthdays in our family. But November is much more. Thanks to Tara Lazar, it's PICTURE BOOK MONTH! If you write or love to read picture books, click on the link and join Tara each day for a new post by a writer and/or illustrator. 

Register by going to PiBoIdMo 


Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Rhyming Picture Book Revolution Weekend

RPB Reg Open Logo

 The Rhyming Picture Book

Revolution Weekend


is marching into New York City

December 4th-6th!

KidLit TV logo - new
Thank you to Julie Gribble and KidLit TV
for hosting this exclusive weekend
celebrating three days of R P B events!*
RPB Rev header logo for website
On the evening of Friday December 4th, we will be announcing the 2015 BEST IN RHYME at an exclusive award ceremony. This is a red carpet, live, streaming announcement of the best Rhyming Picture Book of 2015, nominated and voted on by Angie Karcher’s RhyPiBoMo (Rhyming Picture Book Month) group, which consists of over 400 serious rhymers. One winner and several honor books will be awarded. Thanks to KidLitTV and Julie Gribble for hosting this exciting award ceremony. It will be fabulous!
This evening is by *invitation only*.
RPB Rev header logo for website
Saturday, December 5th is the RPB Revolution Conference.
Join us if you write rhyming picture books and poetry!
This is NOT your typical poetry conference!
*We will discuss our four R’s of Rhyming Picture Books: Reject, Revolt, Rules and Rewards  This beloved genre, when done professionally, is tough to write and often tough to sell. Our amazing faculty will share personal tips and insight on how rhyme sells easily when done to perfection.
Reject ~ What’s NOT working in RPB manuscripts.
Revolt ~ The story and meter MUST be perfection!
Rules ~ Poetic techniques and lyrical language
Rewards ~ The heart of the story brings them back!
Most rhyming manuscripts that editors receive are really, REALLY bad! That’s why rhyming is discouraged. Frequently authors focus on the rhyme rather than the story.  Often they don’t apply meter and poetic techniques with the rigor needed to polish their manuscripts to their full “rhyming shine” potential.  Learn how to write professional rhyme that revolutionizes the way RPBs are perceived and celebrated!
RPB Rev header logo for website
  *  *  Faculty  *  *
Author Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen
Author Lori Degman
Author Rebecca Kai Dotlich
Author Corey Rosen Schwartz
Author Karma Wilson
Editor Justin Chanda
Editor Rebecca Davis
Agent Kendra Marcus
Agent Rachel Orr
RPB Rev header logo for website
This intimate setting provides a day of learning, sharing and schmoozing. Meet editors and agents and submit a RPB manuscript to them following the conference. Mingle and toast to a day well-spent with the faculty at the Poetry Post Card Schmooze that ends this glorious day celebrating rhyme!
The conference is being held at the Home of KidLitTV.
112 Franklin St.
NY, NY 10013
There is very limited space so register today if you plan to attend.
The first 20 registrants will be invited to the
Best in Rhyme Award Ceremony on December 4th!
RPB Rev header logo for website
Sunday, December 6, 2015 rounds out the RPB Revolution Weekend with a book signing from our conference faculty.
1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen
Corey Rosen Schwartz
Karma Wilson
Rebecca Kai Dotlich
Lori Degman
Authors will participate in a panel discussion, read and sign their latest rhyming picture books. Don’t miss this chance to meet these amazing authors!
18 W 18th St,

New York, NY 10011

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Hear the Beat of Rhyming Picture Books

If you read aloud rhyming picture books, you know it's not all about the end rhyme. There should be a rhythm that takes the reader effortlessly through the story. For those beginning rhymers, here's a great picture book to help you hear the beat. The opening layout shows a hand-clapping game and music.

Miss Mary Mack
by Mary Ann Hoberman
Illustrated by Nadine Westcott
Little, Brown and Company, 1998

Clap your hands to the beat of this classic children's chant.
"Miss Mary Mack. 
All dressed in black, black, black,
With silver buttons, buttons, buttons, 
All down her back, back, back.
She asked her mother, mother, mother, 
For fifty cents, cents, cents,
To see the elephant, elephant, elephant, 
Jump the fence, fence, fence.
He jumped so high, high, high, 
He reached the sky, sky, sky,
And didn't come back, back, back, 
Till the fourth of July, July, July.
He fell so fast, fast, fast, He fell so hard, hard, hard,
He made a hole, hole, hole, In her back yard, yard, yard.
The catsup splashed, splashed, splashed, 
The soda popped, popped, popped,
The people screamed, screamed, screamed, 
The picnic stopped, stopped, stopped." 

Writing in Rhyme Tips
Picture books are meant to be read aloud, especially rhyming ones. I read every stanza over and over to my dog, Calvin. And I focus on the sound.
1. Does it sound like natural speech? Or do I stumble on a word or phrase?

2. Did I rearrange words to be consistent with the pattern?

3. Is there a playfulness to the language? Is it fun to read?

4. Does a line sound like it has too many or not enough beats/syllables?

Here's another version of Miss Mary Mack. Have fun listening to the beat! 

Friday, June 5, 2015

The Terrible PLOP: PB Review & Illustration How-To

Last weekend, my 5-y-o nephew and 3-y-o niece visited. I left a stack of picture books on the coffee table. Out of 20 books, The Terrible Plop was the big hit. It’s a perfect read-aloud with fun rhythm and rhyme.

by Ursula Dubosarsky
Illustrated by Andrew Joyner
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009
Theme: don't follow the crowd

Here is the story
Of the Terrible PLOP,
With a bear and a rabbit
And a hop hop hop.
But what is the PLOP?
And where does it hide?
Open the book
And look inside . . .

The Story begins
Six little rabbits
Down by the lake
Munching on carrots

Learn how to draw a bear from The Terrible Plop
by Illustrator Andrew Joyner

 Visit Susanna Leonard Hill's blog for a complete list of today's Perfect Picture: HERE!

Friday, May 29, 2015

The Quiet Place: PB Review & Author Interview

by Sarah Stewart
Illustrated by David Small
Farrar Straus Giroux Books, 2012 
Themes: moving away, fitting in

“When Isabel and her family move to the United States, Isabel misses all the things she left behind in Mexico, especially her aunt Lupita and hearing people speak Spanish. But she also experiences some wonderful new things--her first snow storm and a teacher who does not speak Spanish but has a big smile. Even better, Papa and her brother Chavo help her turn a big box into her own quiet place, where she keeps her books and toys and writes letters to Aunt Lupita. As she decorates and adds more and more on to her quiet place, it is here that Isabel feels the most at home in her new country while she learns to adjust to the changes in her life.”

The Story begins 
April 5, 1957
Dear Auntie Lupita,
Here is my first letter in English. I am going to practice my new language by writing to you. Thank you for your letter in Spanish.

I love how Sarah Stewart shares the whole story through letters from Isabel. The illustrations by David Small add another layer of emotion through Isabel's expression and color tones.

Resources for Teachers: 
Activities and Discussion Topics

Sarah Stewart reads an excerpt from The Quiet Place. 
If you wish to watch the entire interview with her husband David Small, go to 
Meet the Author/Illustrator Team

Visit Susanna Leonard Hill's blog for a complete list of today's Perfect Picture: HERE!

Friday, May 22, 2015

My Pen: PB Review & Author Interview

by Christopher Myers
Disney Books, 2015 
Theme: imagination

“Acclaimed author and illustrator Christopher Myers uses rich black-and-white illustrations to bring a sketchbook to life, showing that with a simple pen, a kid can do anything!”

Favorite lines on the first spread
“Sometimes I feel small when I see those rich and famous people.
But then I remember I have my pen.”

I love the diverse stories Christopher Myers has illustrated. Here are a few.

Resources for Teachers
"Christopher Myers comes from a long line of creative storytellers. In this exclusive video interview with Reading Rockets, Christopher Myers talks about his Brooklyn neighborhood, his work, and how reading touches every part of his life."


Visit Susanna Leonard Hill's blog for a complete list of today's Perfect Picture: HERE!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Wherever You Go: PB Review & Author Interview

by Pat Zietlow Miller
Illustrated by Eliza Wheeler
Little, Brown and Company, 2015 
Themes: adventures and choices

“Join an adventurous rabbit and his animal friends as they journey over steep mountain peaks, through bustling cityscapes, and down long, winding roads to discover the magical worlds that await them just outside their doors. This book celebrates the possibilities that lie beyond the next bend in the road – the same road that will always lead you home again.”

The Story begins 
When it’s time for a journey, to learn and to grow,
roads guide your footsteps wherever you go.

Resources for Teachers: 

* Have a class discussion on urban vs. rural environments, or geography.
* Wherever You Go: Graduation Event Kit for ages K - 12

I love the positive vibe of WHEREVER YOU GO. So I was curious about the creative process.
Illustrator Eliza Wheeler’s posted “The WHEREVER YOU GO Illustration Journey” ( Great post! 
It appeared the author/illustrator roles were kept separate. I reached out to Author Pat Zietlow Miller to learn more.

Did you include any illustration notes in your manuscript? If not, when do you use illustration notes?

Pat Zietlow Miller:
Thank you for your question. You are right that Eliza Wheeler and I did not interact at all while she was working on the art for the story. So I was thrilled to read her blog post about the process, as well. I am not artistic, so I was fascinated to see exactly how she created something so beautiful.

I did not include any illustration notes in the text for WHEREVER YOU GO when my agent submitted it to editors. I purposefully wanted to leave it open to interpretation, and I knew it could be illustrated several ways.

So when Connie Hsu was interested in acquiring the manuscript, we talked on the phone about different directions the art could possibly take. Then, she and Little, Brown art director Patti Ann Harris put their heads together and found Eliza Wheeler and I had no further involvement until I saw her lovely sketches.

Sometimes, people hear that and are concerned. “But weren’t you worried the art wouldn’t be what you wanted?” they ask. And my answer is honestly, “No.”

I usually don’t see pictures in my head when I write, and I am more than willing to let a professional illustrator and art director take my story and make it even better by applying all the knowledge and expertise they have that I do not.

I have, on rare occasions, used an illustration note with my original story. But only when reading the text alone makes a plot point in the story unclear. And then, it’s more of a clarification like: (“The father is now hopping, too.”) rather than specifics about how the art should look.

Pictures books are collaborations, with each person bringing very specific skills to the project. So I trust what the other folks involved are doing just like they trust me. I wouldn’t want the illustrator to tell me how to write the story, so I wouldn’t tell him or her or her how the art should be. 

Thank you for sharing, Pat!

Enjoy the WHEREVER YOU GO Book trailer!

Visit Susanna Leonard Hill's blog for a complete list of today's Perfect Picture: HERE!