Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloweensie: Boo!

Happy Halloween!

Author Susanna Leonard Hill is hosting a Halloweensie Story contest this week.

Wilda, Frankie and Barry
By Stacy S. Jensen

A witch, Frankenstein and a bat walked down the street with pumpkin shaped pails.

The trio yelled “Trick-or-Treat” at every door, until they arrived at the Nelson place.

Vines snaked along the dark path to the front door.

“I’m scared,” Frankie said.

“I need a light,” Wilda said.

“I want to go home,” Barry said fluttering his wings.

Before anyone knocked, they saw a flash of red as Santa jumped out. 


“I want my Mummy,” the children screamed all the way home.

Santa scratched his head. "But, the last group of kids got a treat.”


Good grief, I couldn't figure out how to write this one. The result: Four different versions. They all seemed to have a line similar to a picture book I've recently read or wanted to read. 

As time slipped away, I decided on "Boo!" So, for those Owl Babies fans, you'll note the nod to "I want my mommy." That's my digital collage at the top, using images I recently purchased for a use just like this. One day, I hope to create my own characters.

I can't wait to read the entries this year. Please visit Susanna's blog for the 100 words or less stories.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Perfect Picture Book: It Looked Like Spilt Milk

Before I share my Perfect Picture Book Friday, I wrote about the Denver SCBWI conference on Writing from the Peak the Pikes Peak Writers blog.

Now for some milk and ... Oh, I knocked over my glass. Good thing there's a book for that and it's my choice for Perfect Picture Books this week.

It Looked Like Spilt Milk
Written and Illustrated Charles G. Shaw
Harper Collins Publishers, 1947

Suitable for: ages 4 and up

Theme/topic: Shapes, Imagination

Opening: Sometimes it looked like Spilt Milk. But it wasn't Spilt Milk.

Brief Synopsis: "The white shaped silhouetted against a blue background changes on every page. Is it a rabbit, a bird, or just spilt milk? Children are kept guessing until the surprise ending — and will be encouraged to improvise similar games of their own." — from Amazon

Link to resources: There are lots of lesson plans and activities available for shapes. This is a SPOILER ALERT, but a nice day activity would be to stare at the clouds and talk about the shapes you see. A messy activity would be to spill some milk and study the shapes. This might be a spontaneous activity rather than a planned one. We still spill milk around our house.

Why I chose the book: I found this book at the library. It's a simple story with a surprise ending.

To find more Perfect Picture Books visit Susanna Leonard Hill's blog.

I know many of you have signed up for  Picture Book Idea Month already. If you haven't, please do. I had tons of fun participating last year. The challenge made me take time to write down my ideas. Those ideas now provide a dose of inspiration when I can't think of what to write for my 12 x 12 in 2012 draft. Happy Writing!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

PPBF: Rhyming on Rushmore from A to Z

Here's my selection for Perfect Picture Book Friday:

Rhyming on Rushmore from A to Z
Written by Jodi Holley Latza
Modern Photography by Greg Latza
Mount Rushmore History Association, 2005, second printing 2010

Suitable for: ages 4 to 8

Theme/Topic: History, Mount Rushmore

Opening:  "A is for America. Mount Rushmore embodies the hopeful foundation of an independent, fair, democratic nation. A home for all people, despite wealth or needs, America welcomes all colors and creeds."

Brief Synopsis: Discover the history behind Mount Rushmore, the man who carved a mountain Gutzon Borglum and the presidents on Mount Rushmore in this book. The alphabet takes the reader through the history and "Did you know?" facts about the monument. 

Link to resources: The National Park Service has a page with several activities on its site under For KidsMount Rushmore Teacher's Guide from the American Experience at PBS. If you visit, it's fun to find your state in the Avenue of Flags. I've never sat there and counted, but the book tells you how many are displayed. It's 56 to be exact — 50 states plus districts, territories and commonwealths of the United States.
My guys at "The Faces"

Why I chose the book: Our family visited Mount Rushmore several weeks ago. I insist on a visit every time I go to the Black Hills of South Dakota. I found several picture books in the gift shop near the museum exhibit. The book incorporates historic photos with some modern ones to illustrate each letter of the alphabet. K is for Kids is my favorite letter. You'll have to read it to find out why. 

I've visited Mount Rushmore four times in the last five years. My first visit coincided with the annual Independence Day Fireworks display. It's the I in the book. I've had my photo taken in front of my current state during each visit. I'm up to three states so far. 

And, for those wondering, this is NOT the misplaced book from last week. That book remains missing.  One day, I'm sure it will appear. Thank goodness it wasn't a library book. Have a great week. 

For more Perfect Picture Books, visit Susanna Leonard Hill's blog.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Perfect Picture Book: The Sneetches

Here's my selection for Perfect Picture Book Friday:

The Sneetches and Other Stories
Written and Illustrated by Dr. Seuss
Random House, 1961, renewed 1989

Suitable for: ages 4 and up

Theme/Topic: Diversity, Discrimination

Opening: "Now, the Star-Belly Sneetches
Had bellies with stars.
The Plain-Belly Sneetches
Had none upon thars.

Those stars weren't so big. They were really so small
You might think such a thing wouldn't matter at all."

Brief Synopsis:
Ah, the stars do matter to the Sneetches. Everything changes when Sylvester McMonkey McBean "the Fix-it-Up Chappie" arrives and promises to fix it all — for a fee. Confusion follows as Sneetches remove stars and add them. The other three stories in this book are whimsical, funny and share a message.

Link to Resources: Apples4Teacher has some games and activities involving Sneetches. Teaching Tolerance has an anti-racism activity for The Sneetches. The Teach Peace Now site shares a learning activity video called A Class Divided.

Why I chose the book:  Toddler Tornado aka Enzo had a long day on Thursday. I couldn't find the book I planned to review. "Here booky. Come out booky." Why doesn't that work? The book may be hiding under a pile — that's my code name for organization. Before bed, Enzo grabbed The Sneetches. I was hesitant to read it with him, because he doesn't always tolerate the length of Dr. Seuss books. He sat there hand under chin, listened to every word and studied the illustrations of the yellow sneetches with stars and without.

An hour later, I saw a few "plain-belly sneetches" and "star-belly sneetches"-like comments on Facebook and Twitter during the vice presidential debate. So, it was probably a good thing that I have "misplaced" my other book. The sneetches made me focus on tolerance and different viewpoints.

Don't worry, Toddler Tornado will kick up some dust (or a stack of picture books) to find my intended selection. I have faith in his abilities to find the right book at the right moment.

For more Perfect Picture Books, visit Susanna Leonard Hill's blog.

Friday, October 5, 2012

I'm on the move

On the Move!

Last week, I talked about Peepsqueak! being on the move for Perfect Picture Book Friday. This week, well, I'm on the move. I wish I could say I have a new website ready, but that's not an announcement for this week.

Since the SCBWI conference in Denver, I compressed homework, family life, a little fun, etc. into a short week. Then, we traveled to the Black Hills of South Dakota to visit with Hubby's parents. Enzo enjoyed visiting Grandma and Grandpa. I took lots of shadow people pictures. Why? I'm not sure, but I'm sure it will reveal itself to me one day.

I researched and sketched out a draft for a non-fiction picture book idea — perhaps the beginning of my October 12 x 12 in 2012 draft. 

Instead of adding another book to the PPBF list, I'm spending my weekend catching up with books from the last two weeks (and on homework). I picked up a couple of picture books at Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Memorial. These may make a future post.

I will be guest blogging at Beverly Diehl's on Oct. 8 for her series about Domestic Violence Awareness month. I worked at a domestic violence shelter and talk about that experience. 

Have a wonderful weekend.