Friday, October 28, 2016


     There's no Perfect Picture Book Friday post today because--it's Halloweensie time!

     If you write for children and you aren't familiar with Halloweensie, get over to author Susanna Leonard Hill's blog and read about it! I'll wait. In brief, this is a brief--weensie--Halloween story contest. 100 words or less, using the magic words (this year: spider, moon and ghost).

     Susanna's holiday contests always put me in the spirit. All of the stories are linked to her blog so everyone can read the myriad of ways different writers approached a simple story prompt. After I post mine, I'll be heading over to start reading.

     My story this year squeaks in at 99 words!

Halloween Costume Countdown by Wendy Greenley

Sometimes it’s hard to find a good costume.
Spider tried being an eight-legged ghost.
“Hi, Spider!”
Eight-legged superhero?
“Hi, Spider!”
Eight-legged rock star?
“Hi, Spider!”
Spider sagged. “Phoeey! Everyone guesses it’s me.”
“I understand. It’s hard to hide my shell,” said Snail.
“Same problem with my wings,” said Moth.
“Don’t complain to me,” said Centipede.
They agreed to help each other create monstrously clever costumes, so no one would recognize them.
“Monstrously clever! That’s it!” said Spider.
By moonlight, the four friends painted, snipped and sewed.
Legs, wings, shells? Check! Check! Check!
“Trick or Treat!” shouted four matching Franken-bugs.

So- be careful when you open the door this year for trick or treaters, lol.
Thanks for stopping by. Happy Halloween everyone!

Friday, October 21, 2016


 High-lighting lesser known authors and artists is fun for me. I feel like I'm uncovering hidden gems. But sometimes the big names blow me away and I have to shout their praises.

Title: We Found a Hat

Author/Illustrator: Jon Klassen
Publisher: Candlewick Press, 2016
Intended Ages: 4-8 
Themes: Animals, Temptation, Friendship
Opening Lines: "We found a hat
                             We found it together."
Synopsis: Two turtles find a hat. It looks good on both of them. But there are two turtles, and only one hat.

What I like about this book: Jon Klassen is the master of understatement and the power of single glances. His newest addition to his "hat cycle" of stories adds a layer of tenderness and friendship to his spot-on deadpan humor. This is another story that leaves the emotional inner story to the reader to fill in. Klassen is the master of what happens in the story, off the page. The limited, muted palette keeps the focus squarely on the text and those expressive eyes. Constructed in three chapters, the 56 pages fly by. I believe it's appropriate for even young toddlers, age 2 and up.


  • Read the author's hat trilogy (This Is Not My Hat, I Want My Hat Back and We Found a Hat). Discuss which you like best, and why
  • Talk about things you have. Which would you share? Why or why not? Does it matter if it's something that can be returned, or something gets consumed (like cookies)?
  • Brainstorm alternate endings for this book. Could they have taken turns wearing the hat? Made another hat? Could one turtle have taken the hat? How does the choice of an ending affect the characters' friendship?
  • Share something with a friend.
  • Buy a new hat for yourself or to donate to charity. Why do you pick the one you do?

Thanks for stopping by! Hope you enjoy my selection this week. 
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

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Ketzel the Cat who Composed - #PPBF

 I love stories that seem like they can't be "real"--but they are!  The book I'm high-lighting this week is one of those stories.

Title: Ketzel, the Cat who Composed
Author: Leslea Newman 
Illustrator: Amy June Bates
Publisher: Candlewick Press, 2015 
Intended Ages: 5-8 
Themes: Animals, music
Opening Lines: "Moshe Cotel lived in the middle of a noisy building in the middle of a noisy street in the middle of a noisy city. But Moshe didn't mind. Everything he heard was music to his ears."
Synopsis: When Moshe can't compose an entry for a music contest, a kitten he rescued finds a way to make beautiful music.

What I like about this book: The cover made me pick this one up. And I'm not a cat person. But the adorable kitty on the cover, sitting on piano keys, smiled it's way into my arms. Definitely not a grumpy cat, this one. The story starts slowly, introducing a man named Moshe as the main character. When he rescues a kitten off the street, even though the story is Moshe's, Ketzel (the kitten) carries the story--and saves the day. This book is based on true events--with an author's note at the end detailing what is fact and what was fictionalized for storytelling purposes. Do you think a kitten can play the piano?? I don't want to spoil the story, you'll have to read it to believe it! The book is a 2016 Association of Jewish Libraries Sydney Taylor Award Winner.

  • Using any instrument (tap different things with a pencil or rap with your voice if you don't have an instrument handy) compose a short song. 
  • Try composing music online. I didn't get past the "Beat Lab" at free-online music-making for kids. Too much fun!
  • There are more than 1000 cat crafts to choose from on Pinterest!
  • Collect food for homeless cats like Ketzel. Maybe even bring one home to discover their special talent! :)
  • Attend a concert. Talk about which music you liked and why.

Thanks for stopping by! Hope you enjoy my selection this week. 
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