Monday, May 24, 2021

I'm a Hare, So There! Book Review

     My friend Julie Rowan-Zoch is an extremely talented illustrator. Check out her work in Louis by Tom Lichtenheld! 

     I had seen a bit of the idea for her author/illustrator debut, but was blown away by the final product.

Do you like picture book characters with attitude? Check! Do you like to learn a little bit about desert creatures? Check! Do you wonder if some animals that look alike are as similar as they appear? Check!

Julie's illustrations convey emotions with simplicity and style. For those of you who have a "no violence" policy, note that there is a Roadrunner/Coyote type moment (an old cartoon to check out for those of you who aren't old enough to know the reference!) of comedic violence near the end to save Hare and Squirrel's lives. For me, it's two thumbs up for I'M A HARE, SO THERE. 

Note: I learned that Google Blogger is no longer supporting Feedburner subscriptions as of July, so I may have to migrate my blog elsewhere. It's disappointing that tech companies do this. I'll try to give everyone a heads up as I figure this out.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021


For those of you who are wondering where the posts went--- I had the draft of a post ready to go in January. Then, my mom passed away two days before the end of 2020. I didn't want to celebrate the new year, or anything else. 

Those of you who use my blog to help find book suggestions, here are a few links to other blogs I personally refer to that have helped to get the word out about fantastic new picture books while I was on hiatus.

Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Books:

Kirsten W. Larson's Books for Curious Readers on IG and Youtube:

 John Schu: Books. Connect. Read.

The Brown Bookshelf :

 I haven't been totally absent from the writing world. I've been drafting and writing shorter pieces. Some for "work" and some just for my own fun. Amanda Davis' #haikufromtwo Storystorm challenge is one example of the fun writing. (Select two words at random from a book you just finished and write a haiku--it doesn't have to have anything to do with the book). Today was my sixth haiku post for IG (PAPBwriter):

#HaikufromTwo #6 by Wendy Greenley

Two random words from Disappear DoppelgÀnger Disappear by

Matt Salesses

Writing Exercise inspired by amandadavis_art #Storystorm


Trouble and Troubling

Startling words selected

Karma, Fate or luck

 I'm also part of a panel discussion this weekend. The book festival is FREE, so register now:

 Hopefully, I'll be back to the regular picture book review posts soon. Meanwhile, I wish everyone a belated Happy New Year.

Friday, October 2, 2020

Fall Writing Frenzy - Ghouls will be Ghouls by Wendy Greenley


 I realize I haven't posted in some time. The pandemic has slowed time for me, but unfortunately not for the rest of the world! I've hesitated to go into the public library since March which for a huge reader like me has been hard. But I don't want to be the one who brings covid germs to older relatives, and so I've been waiting. I think I've reread every book on my shelves. I hope to get back to posting picture book reviews soon.


Kaitlyn Sanchez and Lydia Lukidis are hosting a fun writing contest. Challenged to write a short story (under 200 words) inspired by one of their posted photos, I penned the following. I hope you enjoy it! The photo that inspired the story is posted below.


Ghouls will be Ghouls by Wendy Greenley               193 words

“Coming out to sweep the porch?”

I shouldn’t tease my sister. I know it isn’t nice.

But her costume looks more Cinderella than scary witch.

“Sorry. I couldn’t help myself,” I apologize.

“You think yours is better?” She smiles and taps me with her wand.

All forgiven, I look down.

Where’s my cocoa?

Whose socks are these?

Whose feet are these?!

My hands find their way down a strange sports uniform, down strange legs, to large sturdy ankles.

Where are my superhero boots?

Is this me?

Aaarrrggghhh! “Anna! Wait! Come back!”

She waves from the curb and joins her friends.

Shareen and her dad come up the walk. “Where’s Tarah?” she asks.

I’m dumbstruck. She doesn’t recognize me.

I need a mirror!

“She isn’t feeling well,” I mumble to disguise my voice, and bolt inside.

My brain is inside a football player’s body.

Or maybe, my body is—this—now?

Either way, Shareen will have to trick or treat without me while I wait for Anna’s spell to wear off.

It will wear off, won’t it?

Her costume was better than I thought.

I shouldn’t tease my sister!

I really am sorry, now.


Thanks for visiting! I'd love to know what you think of my ghoulish tale. đŸ˜±

I look forward to visiting your sites in the upcoming days to read your stories! Fall FUN!

Image courtesy of Lydia Lukidis and

Friday, May 1, 2020

YOU ARE NEW by Lucy Knisley

Title: YOU ARE NEW                               

Author/Illustrator: Lucy Knisley

Publisher: Chronicle, 2019
Intended Ages: 4-8 (I would say 2+)
Themes: Beginnings, Love

Opening Line (s): "HELLO, YOU! YOU ARE NEW.

 Synopsis: A slice of life look at the arrival of new babies, and all of the new situations they encounter and new skills they achieve.

 What I like About this book: While this is a perfect book for expectant parents, it's also a good read aloud for the toddlers that will recognize themselves in the illustrations and a reminder to children as they grow older that everyone is dealing with new things all the time. Even adults! The text is printed in big block letters with rhyme, repetition and simple illustrations, making it a good candidate for new readers.

  •  Do something new! Can't leave your house because of COVID-19? Do something new at home. HGTV had a good list of activities for parents and kids recently. It made me want to make my own paper! Maybe look in the back of the pantry for something that needs to be eaten and try a Chopped style family cookoff. Be new!
I hope you enjoy this book. Happy reading!

This review is part of PPBF (Perfect Picture Book Friday) where bloggers share great picture books. Organized and curated by author Susanna Leonard Hill, she keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture Books. #PPBF

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Papillon Goes to the Vet AND Max Attacks

The coronavirus has changed many things in our world. Luckily, humorous books for kids are out there, to keep their world less stressful.

I'm a dog person. I've been one for as long as I have memories. Maybe it's the Siamese that attacked me repeatedly. Maybe it was the kitten I rescued from a tree that clawed my neck in thanks. But--I'm a dog person. But these two books are so funny and sweet, I have to admit to a smile.

First Title:    Papillon Goes to the Vet               
Author/Illustrator: A. N. Kang

Publisher: Disney Hyperion, 2017
Intended Ages:4-8
Themes: Humor, Sickness

Opening Line(s):
"Papillon is a very fluffy cat. He can float like a cloud in the sky."
Synopsis: A playtime accident lands a cat at the veterinarian (no worries cat lovers--there's a happy ending!).

What I like about this book:
This story combines absurdity and reality in a charming way. A bird and a cat are best friends! And the cat--well, it can do things no real cat can, in a believable setting and story. The squirrel in the background of the illustrations adds more humor.

Second Title: Max Attacks
Author: Kathi Appelt     

Illustrator: Penelope Dullaghan
Publisher: Atheneum, 2019
Intended Ages: 4-8
Themes: Animals, humor

Opening Line (s): "This is Max. He attacks. In a bowl of water brimming . . . Fishes! Lots of fishes swimming."

 Synopsis: A slice of life look at a cat that fancies himself a predatory champ, but turns out to be a better napper.

 What I like About this book: Don't we all fancy ourselves a bit more skilled than we are in reality? I know I do! Max is an endearing look at an ordinary cat and his foibles. Told in rhyme, this story is a fun read aloud.


  •  Compare and contrast the cats in these two books.
  • Make cat toys for a local shelter (call ahead to see if they're open, or deliver them later)
  • Read about animal "manners" and training methods. The ASPCA is one source for information.
  • If you have pets of your own, check your pet's toys for loose bits or hazards. Fix them or throw them away.
  • Play with your pet and see who tires out first!
  • Draw a picture of your pet, or one you'd like to have.
I hope you enjoy these books. Happy reading!

This review is part of PPBF (Perfect Picture Book Friday) where bloggers share great picture books. Organized and curated by author Susanna Leonard Hill, she keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture Books. #PPBF

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Let's Dance!

Title:    Let's Dance                 

Author: Valerie Bolling
Illustrator: Maine Diaz   
Publisher: Boyds Mills Press, 2020
Intended Ages:3-7
Themes: Dance, Rhyme

Opening Line(s):
"Tappity-tap. Fingers Snap."
Synopsis: A rhyming survey of dance styles.

What I like about this book:
If you want a story time that leads into physical activity, this could be the book for you. The text is extremely spare, using lots of action verbs. Back matter provides information about each of the dances spotlighted in the text. The graphic style illustrations are vibrant and evocative.

  •  Research the origin of a favorite dance.
  • Use the dances as an opportunity to practice writing directions. How would you describe the moves? 
  • Discuss who can do these dances, and why? (Hint: they may have regional origins but everyone can do them!)
  • Examine the endpapers and match the shoes to the dances you think they might be good for
  • If you live near Stamford, CT, attend the book launch on Saturday, March 7th!
  • Invent your own dance!
I hope you enjoy this book. Happy reading!

The reviewer was provided with an advance copy of this book. No payment was expected or received in exchange for an honest review. 
This review is part of PPBF (Perfect Picture Book Friday) where bloggers share great picture books. Organized and curated by author Susanna Leonard Hill, she keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture Books. #PPBF

Friday, January 24, 2020

The Fishing Lesson

Title:  The Fishing Lesson                      

Author: Heinrich Boll

Illustrator: Emile Bravo
Adapted by: Bernard Friot (first published in German in 1963!)
Publisher: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2018
Intended Ages: 5+
Themes: Ambition, Contentment, Humor

Opening Line(s):
"In a small harbor on the coast, a man in shabby clothes dozes in his tiny fishing boat."
Synopsis: This book explores what it means to be contented. What is "enough" in life. A bit deep for the youngest readers, but I believe they will see their busy schedules mirrored in the action.

What I like about this book:

This book works on many levels. What it means to look at another culture from the outside. Tourism etiquette. Even the existential question of what it means to be content. Told in a contemporary graphic format with multiple images per page, the text is still fairly sparse for easy comprehension. A friend who works at my local library shared this book with me. Thanks, Eric! I must admit that I didn't recognize the author's name as a winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1972.

  •  Discuss what it means to be ambitious
  • Write a list of goals, then discuss how you will know when you achieve them. For example, if you want to be a singing star--do you need to have a number one hit? If you do, would you continue singing after your song reached number one? What would you sacrifice to achieve your goals? Compare your answers with a family member or classmate.
  • Enjoy your favorite seafood lunch!
  • Read about another country. How would you act differently if you visited there?
I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did!

This review is part of PPBF (Perfect Picture Book Friday) where bloggers share great picture books. Organized and curated by author Susanna Leonard Hill, she keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture Books. #PPBF