Hey, Kid! You Matter. (What is a Picture Book?)

What is a picture book? So many things! It’s a window to the world, a mirror in which to see oneself, a mini art gallery, a door that leads to exploration, a tool for together time, a gateway to literacy, a generator of joy, even an inspiration for thought and creativity, and so much more.

Though I could argue that picture books are for everyone, that’s a post for another day. Because, first and foremost, picture books are for kids. In the midst of so much going on in our country and across the world right now–protests, civil unrest, the pandemic, and natural disasters–let’s not forget the children.

Note to authors and illustrators, books hold a lot of power. That’s something we don’t think about very often. But think about it now. If children see themselves reflected in the pages of a book, that means something. That tells the child, hey, you know what, you matter. All children deserve that.

To quote children’s author Jarrett Lerner from a recent Facebook post (https://www.facebook.com/jarrett.lerner), “We need to keep working for children’s literature that reflects, honors, and celebrates the lives of ALL young people.

Years ago, there was a psychologist (I wish I could remember her name.) who said something like this: When children are born, they are blank slates. Everything they experience in their lives is written on the slate of who they are and affects who they will become. That idea has always stuck with me, and I try to keep it in the back of my mind when I write picture book stories. Good stories, both fictional and true, are important.

So, today, I’m sharing picture books that feature black children. When your libraries reopen, seek out these beautiful books and share them with your kids. Many libraries offer eBooks, too. Check your library’s website or call them to see how you can access their digital collection. Then browse the picture books there to discover more wonderful titles like these.

And Remember, Kids, You Matter!

It’s Time for a #VirtualFieldTrip to the Everywhere Book Fest! by Anna E. Jordan

Read more about the Everywhere Book Fest on the Nerdy Book Club site!

Nerdy Book Club

There were plenty of things about field trips in the “before times” that were difficult. Budgets for busses were minimal, permissions slips never came back, charging for events magnified inequities between students, and chaperones were often hard to find. Even so, we know that authentic experiences with experts inspire children and give classroom learning context. Our class discussions after the field trips were energized and as a teacher, I loved letting someone else take the lead so I could learn new ways to present subject matter I thought I knew backward and forwards.

Young readers have an exciting opportunity for a #virtualfieldtrip to visit the Everywhere Book Fest on May 1st and May 2nd.

Author visits, either IRL or via Skype, create a new joy for student reading and writing. The Everywhere Book Fest is an author visit times one thousand! Where else can you find three Ambassadors…

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Picture Books At The Library 208

I catalog hundreds of new picture books each year, and I read as many of them as I can. Unfortunately, I can’t review them all. But I can share them! Below are a few recent titles. (Summaries have been taken directly from the books whenever possible.) Check your local library or bookstore for availability.
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WHEN NUMBERS MET LETTERS: Toy numbers and letters meet and, in some cases, clash in a classroom during recess, but soon discover that they have some things in common. Clever and fun!
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OLD ROCK: Tall Pine, Spotted Beetle, and Hummingbird are certain that being a rock is boring until Old Rock shares what he has seen and done since he first flew out of a volcano.
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THE GIRL WHO SPOKE TO THE MOON: When Sofia dreams of visiting the Moon one night, she discovers people are hurting the Earth, and with the Moon as her guide, she learns how we can work together to make the Earth feel better. Rhyme
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WHERE LILY ISN’T: Lily is no longer in the house, or the park, or waiting by the door, but she remains in one little girl’s heart forever.
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SNAIL CROSSING: A determined snail spots cabbages on the other side of the road, and thus begins his epic journey. Funny!
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ONE HUG: A celebration of the many ways we embrace our loved ones. Rhyme
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FREEDOM BIRD: In the antebellum South, two siblings shelter a large, mysterious, wounded bird and eventually follow it west toward freedom.
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SUNNY: Sunny likes to look on the bright side of things, even when she was stranded at sea, until she found herself all alone and close to losing hope. Love this one!
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MAGNIFICENT HOMESPUN BROWN: An exuberant celebration of feeling at home in one’s own skin.

Picture Books At The Library 207

I catalog hundreds of new picture books each year, and I read as many of them as I can. Unfortunately, I can’t review them all. But I can share them! Below are a few recent titles. (Summaries have been taken directly from the books whenever possible.) Check your local library or bookstore for availability.

Two of these lovely picture books were illustrated by the same artist. Can you tell which ones by just looking at the cover art?

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THE BEAR MUST GO ON: Rabbit, Bear, Squirrel, and Other Squirrel make big plans for a show, but they have forgotten one very important thing, and only shy Bear can help.
HOSEA PLAYS ON: Rain or shine and with his saxophone case in hand, Hosea rides the bus to his favorite place–the Rochester Public Market–to play for everyone there.
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OVERGROUND RAILROAD: A girl named Ruth Ellen tells the story of her family’s train journey from North Carolina to New York City as part of the Great Migration.
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THE HEART OF A WHALE: Lonely Whale’s beautiful song calms a wriggly octopus, cheers a sad urchin, and much more, but it cannot cure his longing to meet another whale.
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I AM GOOSE!: Goose asks to play Duck, Duck, Goose with the other animals, but causes trouble by insisting that none of them can possibly be goose.
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NUMENIA AND THE HURRICANE: When Numenia and her sisters fly into a hurricane, fierce winds rip Numenia away from her family during their migration.
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BIG PAPA AND THE TIME MACHINE: In this dialogue between a child and his grandfather, crucial moments of African American history and stories of courage are shared.
IN A JAR: When Llewellyn, a little rabbit who collects ordinary things in jars, meets a friend named Evelyn, he joins with her to capture the extraordinary.
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THE PERFECTLY PERFECT WISH: A young girl has so many choices, but only one wish.
THE MUSIC OF LIFE: In Paris, Lenny has trouble starting to compose his symphony until he discovers that there is music all around him in everyday life.

My View Book Review: EVERYONE LOVES A PARADE!* by Andrea Denish


Author: Andrea Denish

Illustrator: Guilherme Franco

Publisher/Year: Boyds Mills Press/2020

I haven’t done a book review in a while, but with the sun shining, birds singing, kids playing outside, and the scent of spring in the air, I feel like celebrating. What better way to celebrate than to share a picture book that’s all about parades! Parades really are the epitome of celebrations, after all.

Author Andrea Denish’s brand new picture book EVERYONE LOVES A PARADE!*, officially due out on April 28, features nine of America’s most popular parades, including the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Tournament of Roses Parade.

Andrea’s fun rhyming text, combined with illustrator Guilherme Franco’s expressive and colorful art, makes this book a joy to read and share with the little parade enthusiasts in your household. Back matter offers more information about each parade featured, such as the fact that St. Patrick’s Day Parades in Boston and New York are the oldest parades in America, dating back to the 1700s, and that Chicago held the first official Pride Parade in 1970.

Reading about parades takes me back to my childhood home in Canastota, NY. Every year, my little hometown holds a Memorial Day Parade. My house happened to be on the parade route, which was the main street through town. We used to sit on our front porch, ready to watch the parade go by. But, the parade was so small that if you happened to run inside for a minute, you were likely to miss it.

There’s another parade that takes place in Canastota every summer, and that’s the Boxing Hall of Fame Parade or Parade of Champions, which is part of a days-long celebration of boxing (Canastota was the home of professional boxer Carmen Basilio), and ends with an induction ceremony on the last day. The festivities usually attract several boxing celebrities.

No conversation about books and parades would be complete without mentioning the Oz-Stravaganza! Parade, held in another little town (just 6 miles west of Canastota), Chittenango, NY. This town holds a weekend-long celebration every year, including the parade, to celebrate Oz creator L. Frank Baum, who was born there.

If you like parades and picture books, then I highly recommend you pick up a copy of EVERYONE LOVES A PARADE!* It is, in itself, a celebration of one of the most perfect examples of celebrations, the parade! 🙂

P.S. Did you notice the little asterisk at the end of the title? What could it mean? Read the book to find out. 😉

F&G provided by publisher

New Children’s Book Publisher, BiblioKid Publishing, Gives Back to Education + a Giveaway!

Kid’s book author, Brooke Van Sickle, has just launched her own publishing house and it’s pretty remarkable. BiblioKid Publishing is the children’s book publisher that donates 50% of its profits back to help fund literacy programs at low-income schools.

Brooke sat down to discuss the inspiration behind this cause and to let us know more about what to expect from BiblioKid Publishing in 2020 and years to come. Read all about it below.

Tell us a little about BiblioKid Publishing.

BiblioKid Publishing is a children’s book publisher who donates 50% of its profits to help fund literacy and reading programs at low-income schools. Right now, that’s through two national charities, Pencils for Promise and First Book, but we will eventually venture into more local and individual school fundraising opportunities.

Because we’re a huge advocate for a love of reading and education, BiblioKid likes to focus on that same purpose in our books. Our picture books always include humor and heart for the reader, and if there’s a learning component or moral, that comes second. Our mission is to always bring a quality book that kids will love first.

What made you want to start this company?

I’ve always been a proponent of education because I believe it’s the axis that leads us to chase our dreams and become successful. However, it wasn’t until I was substitute teaching for inner-city schools that I realized the great need for kids to have access to books and feel empowered to want to read.

And with education being the first thing that tends to be cut from government budgets, it takes people giving to these places to help keep them funded. I wanted to be one of those to give back to education, particularly through reading initiatives, and this was the best way to do that. With a traditional publisher, my royalties would have been too minuscule to have that opportunity.

What can we expect first from BiblioKid Publishing?

Our first book sets sail on February 25th called Pirates Stuck at ‘C’. This alphabet picture book is about a crew of pirates that find the perfect island for a treasure hunt. (Or so they think!) But as they start searching, all sorts of mishaps happen.

Daryll’s in deep water, Killian’s tangled in kelp, and Larry’s got a lobster clamped to his toe. And none of the pirates are having any luck finding treasure.

It should be a fun read for kids and parents to read together. Plus, there’s a free classroom guide for teachers to incorporate the book into their lesson plan.

Do you have any other books coming in 2020 or after?

Yes! We just announced the next book, Humans In-Training, which comes out in June about a puppy named Buster who has to train his humans. The illustrator, Stephanie Vanderpol has been creating some amazing scenes for this story, so I’m really excited for everyone to see it.

And the final picture book in 2020 will come out in September called Together in Our Castle. This is a touching friendship story that will give you all the feels. Plus, we’ve already got a line-up in 2021 of 4 new picture books and plan to open it up to even more authors, too.

If an author wants to submit to you, how would they go about that?

Great question! On the site, there’s a tab with our submission requirements. We’re always looking for children’s book illustrators and should open up to authors by 2021. The best place to stay informed when submissions open up is through my email list. (Plus, you’ll get lots of tips on how to write and publish a kid’s book!) Get signed up here and I’ll even give you my free “How to Write a Kid’s Book” guide.

Thank you so much for reading. To learn more about BiblioKid Publishing, visit their website here. You can also pre-order the picture book Pirates Stuck at ‘C’ before it debuts on February 25th and 50% of the profits will be donated back to help fund low-income schools.

Brooke Van Sickle is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) and Regional Webmaster for the Iowa-SCBWI region. She’s also a member of the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) and Midwest Independent Publishers Association (MiPa).

PIRATES STUCK AT “C”, published by BiblioKid Publishing, is Brooke Van Sickle’s debut picture book. She also has 2 more books expected in 2020. When not writing her own books, Brooke teaches other aspiring writers how to write and publish kid’s books at www.journeytokidlit.com.

Learn more about her on her website www.brookevansickle.com and connect with her on social @authorbrookevs.

Time For A Giveaway!

Brooke Van Sickle is generously giving away a hardcover, signed copy of her debut picture book PIRATES STUCK AT “C” to one lucky person who comments on this post by February 29th! If you share this post on social media, let us know in the comments to earn an additional chance to win.

The winner will be chosen randomly. Open to U.S. residents only.

Picture Books At The Library 206

I catalog hundreds of new picture books each year, and I read as many of them as I can. Unfortunately, I can’t review them all. But I can share them! Below are a few recent titles. (Summaries have been taken directly from the books whenever possible.) Check your local library or bookstore for availability.

These recent picture books couldn’t be more different in story or art style, and each one is worth checking out!

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YOU LOVES EWE!: Homonyms cause great confusion as an increasingly cranky yam tries to make introductions and provide explanations to his silly donkey friend. Funny!
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BEDTIME FOR SWEET CREATURES: As a young child protests bedtime by behaving like different animals, Mommy struggles to wrangle her sweet creature into bed.
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SOMETHING FOR YOU: When a field mouse discovers that his friend is sick in bed, he is determined to make her feel better, but things don’t go as planned. Sweet!
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FREEDOM SOUP: As Ti Gran teaches Belle how to make Freedom Soup, she tells her the history of her family and the history of Haiti.
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PENGUIN & MOOSE: Penguin is determined to learn how to fly, and his friend Moose is determined to help him, or support him when he fails.
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THE BEST KIND OF BEAR: Bear goes on a mission to find out what kind of bear he is, a grizzly bear, a sun bear, a polar bear, a spectacled bear, or something else entirely.
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TOOTH FAIRY IN TRAINING: A new tooth fairy learns the trade from her older sister, and discovers there’s more to it than just collecting teeth from sleeping children. Rhyme
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THE OLD TRUCK: A girl grows up on a farm, learns to build and fix things, and eventually restores the old family truck.
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CAVEBOY CRUSH: Neander, determined to win over Neanne, brings her gift after gift, but she remains unimpressed, until he comes up with the grandest gesture of all.

Top 10 Circulating Picture Books of 2019

Which picture books were checked out most often from the Community Library of DeWitt and Jamesville in 2019?

There was a tie for the top spot between two wonderful stand-alone titles! That’s right, a movie or TV tie-in did not take the top spot this year! Shocking, I know! But also pretty awesome!

The Library’s top circulating books were The Color Monster : A Story About Emotions and Sophie Johnson : Unicorn Expert. Both circulated 20 times. This may seem like a small number, but when you consider that each book may be checked out for up to 3 weeks (21 days), that 20 times means the top books were checked out over and over for the entire year!

Circulated 20 Times:

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Of course, there are a couple of movie and TV tie-ins in the Top 10. Paw Patrol is on the list again this year with a book that made the list last year, and, in fact, Real Rescue Dogs circulated one time more this year than last.

And Llama Llama–from the Netflix series, not the book series–is on the list as well.

The rest of the Top 10 spotlights a terrific mix of picture books featuring ever-popular characters, such as penguins, trucks, and dinosaurs. Two surprising, but well deserving, titles made the list too: Tomie dePaola’s Quiet and Brian Lies’ The Rough Patch. Check out all of the covers below.

Circulated 19 Times:

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Circulated 18 Times:

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Circulated 17 Times:

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What are the top circulating picture books at your local library?

Take a look at the top circulating picture books at the Community Library of DeWitt & Jamesville in prior years:

Top 21 of 2018

Top 17 of 2017

Top 19 of 2016

Top 15 of 2015

Happy New Year! 2020!

Prince of Wales � Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, everyone! Let me take a moment to thank all of you for following my humble blog. I truly appreciate every Like, Comment, Share, and visit, and I hope you’ll continue to visit in 2020. I wish each of you a very happy, healthy, and successful new year! May 2020 be your year! Cheers!

Frog On A Blog will return soon with more picture book posts, so stay tuned.

*virtual hug* 🙂

5 Terrific Dogs In Children’s Books by Rob Biddulph

I love picture books about dogs (I think I’ve mentioned that a time or two), so I’m super pleased to welcome author/illustrator Rob Biddulph to Frog on a Blog! Rob’s new picture book Odd Dog Out was just released December 3 by HarperCollins. Odd Dog Out features an adorable little dog who doesn’t feel like she belongs, so she sets off on a journey to find her place in the world. Rob’s stopped by today to share five literary dogs who have made an impact on his life.

Before we get to that, allow me to share three of my favorite dogs, one real, one literary, and one loved since childhood: my precious dog Java, Happy (from my book The Peddler’s Bed, illustrated by Bong Redila), and Sunshine (my stuffed dog in overalls, whom I received for Christmas when I was 7, and still have).


Now, let’s hear from Rob Biddulph, author and illustrator of Odd Dog Out!

5 Terrific Dogs In Children’s Books

by Rob Biddulph

Dingo Dog

Dingo Dog – Richard Scarry

Growing up, I loved reading anything and everything by Richard Scarry. His work has directly influenced me many times, particularly when I was working on Odd Dog Out. I tried really hard to cram as much detail into my artwork as he did in his. I love the idea that readers might spot something on the ninth or tenth read that they hadn’t noticed before. I would love trying to spot Dingo Dog, my favourite of his characters, as he zoomed through the pages of Storybook Dictionary or What Do People Do All Day?. He would always wear his white cowboy hat and drive his smart red sports car with sharks teeth painted on the front. I thought he was the coolest! 

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Snoopy – Charles M Schultz

One of my all-time favourites. He was, in turn, funny, selfish, wise, crazy and reckless. But, in my eyes, he was always loveable. I particularly liked his British World War I flying ace persona. I had a plush version of Snoopy that would sleep in my bed with me every night. In fact, I think I need to go up into my attic and see if I can find him. He must be lonely…

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Odie – Jim Davis

I spent a large proportion of my childhood copying Jim Davis’s drawings of Garfield, Odie and Jon. I can still draw them perfectly now. When I speak to children on my book tours, I always advise them to have a go at copying their favourite cartoon characters from comic books or newspapers. Then I usually have to explain what a ‘newspaper’ is (!) but they eventually get the idea. I think that by working out how someone else draws a cat or a dog, it can really help when it comes to inventing your own characters. I always particularly enjoyed drawing Odie. That tongue! He’s just so loveable.

Image result for dogger by shirley hughes

Dogger – Shirley Hughes

Dogger, the story of a little boy who loses his beloved toy dog at the school fair, is the first book I ever remember reading. In many ways, it has defined the art of storytelling for me ever since. I know from experience how difficult it is to squeeze a complete story arc into just twenty-eight pages, but Shirley Hughes somehow manages to take us on a journey through a huge range of emotions: happiness, excitement, worry, sadness and, ultimately, exhilaration. Rarely has the end of a story felt so satisfying. She also manages to throw in an element of mis-direction (we’re really not overly thrilled when Bella wins the bear) and hide a few visual clues as to what is going to happen within her wonderfully evocative illustrations. This makes the second read a very different experience to the first – something that is essential in a picture book that will, in all probability, be read night after night. 

Related image
Fang from Harry Potter (movie)

Fang – J K Rowling

Has there ever been a dog less appropriately named than this gentle giant? Well, actually, yes there has. Fluffy, the three-headed chap guarding the trapdoor leading to the underground chamber where the Philosopher’s (Sorcerer’s) Stone was hidden. I would have liked to have rehomed Fluffy. I think he just needed some love and affection.

After taking the world by storm with his first two picture books (Blown Away and The Grizzly Bear Who Lost His GRRRRR!), Rob Biddulph decided to blaze his own trail and is now a full-time author and illustrator. Rob Biddulph was the award-winning art director of Observer magazine. 

When not working doggedly on creating his characters, he makes up stories for his three daughters and draws pictures to go with them. He lives and works in London, and his very first book, Blown Away, won the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize.

Thank you so much, Rob!

Happy Holidays everyone! And remember, picture books, such as Odd Dog Out, would make great Christmas gifts for the little ones on your list this year, especially dog lovers!

Happy Book Birthday to SO YOU WANT A PUPPY? by Raven Howell!

Title: So You Want a Puppy?
Author: Raven Howell
Illustrator: Ann Pilicer
Publisher: Handersen Publishing
Release Date: November 26, 2019
Format: Hardcover, Softcover
Summary: Getting a new puppy or dog can be a lot of fun, but it’s also a lot of work, especially when the pup tracks muddy paw prints in the kitchen and chews on shoes. So You Want a Puppy? tells the story of a family welcoming a new dog into their home. The family learns how to train, care for, and share love with new dog Murray as they explore daily life adventures. This rhyming book for early & young readers is an introduction to pet care, responsibilities and joys. It is also a teaching resource for prospective pet owners, current pet owners – or any child who wants to learn more about dog behavior.

Author’s Site: www.ravenhowell.com

Do you have a children’s picture book coming out soon? I’d love to wish it a Happy Book Birthday here on Frog on a Blog! CLICK for more information.

Picture Books At The Library 205

I catalog hundreds of new picture books each year, and I read as many of them as I can. Unfortunately, I can’t review them all. But I can share them! Below are a few recent titles. (Summaries have been taken directly from the books whenever possible.) Check your local library or bookstore for availability.
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BRUCE’S BIG STORM: Grumpy Bruce the bear does not like neighbors, but is forced to help when a big storm draws them all to his home. Fun!
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A STONE SAT STILL: A stone is considered from a variety of environmental and emotional perspectives as it sits where it is, an unchanging certainty in the world. Lovely!, Rhyme
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FIVE MINUTES: Throughout a child’s day, five minutes can go by quickly, such as when you’re on a roller coaster, or slowly, such as when you’re in the dentist’s chair. Definitely relatable!
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SMALL IN THE CITY: A little boy offers advice to his cat, which is lost in the city, from taking shortcuts through alleys to finding a friend in the park. Sweet!
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ALONG THE TAPAJOS: When the rainy season comes, Caua and Inae’s family must leave their village and relocate to higher ground, but after moving, the siblings realize they’ve left something important behind.
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WONDER MOLE’S SCENT COSTUME PARTY: When a wily weasel sneaks into Wonder Mole’s scent costume party with plans for a two-mole dinner, a policemole nearly foils his ruse. Funny!
THE AWESOME, IMPOSSIBLE, UNSTOPPABLE GADGET: A budding young scientist at Camp C.R.E.A.T.E. must save the day when another creative camper’s invention goes out of control. Rhyme
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THE BOY WITH BIG, BIG FEELINGS: When a boy with big feelings–so big that they glow from his cheeks and spill out of his eyes–meets a girl who also has big feelings, he discovers that having big emotions is nothing to be ashamed of. Rhyme
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WHEN A KID LIKE ME FIGHTS CANCER: When a young boy is diagnosed with cancer, he learns he can fight it, but he doesn’t have to fight alone.
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AS WARM AS THE SUN: Toby, a French bulldog who dreams of being warm all the time, is not pleased when Pinkie arrives and takes all of his favorite warm spots.

Picture Books At The Library 204

I catalog hundreds of new picture books each year, and I read as many of them as I can. Unfortunately, I can’t review them all. But I can share them! Below are a few recent titles. (Summaries have been taken directly from the books whenever possible.) Check your local library or bookstore for availability.
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PIGEON MATH: Telling a story about pigeons should be simple, but what’s a narrator to do when the number of feathered friends keeps changing? Funny!
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AT THE MOUNTAIN’S BASE: As a Cherokee family waits for their loved one, a pilot, to return home, the strength in their song sustains them.
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PEOPLE SHARE WITH PEOPLE: Touts the importance of sharing everything from blankets to toys, but not sneezes, cups, or toothbrushes. Fun Read Aloud!, Rhyme
ELBOW GREASE VS. MOTOZILLA: To face off against the monster machine Motozilla, Elbow Grease and his brothers will have to learn to work as a team.
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OAK LEAF: An oak leaf travels on an autumn breeze, up and over the world, then down again, and comes to rest on the pages of an open book.
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MR. SCRUFF: A lonely old dog longs for a home, but no one seems to be a match until a boy comes along. Sweet!, Rhyme
SULWE: Sulwe, who has skin the color of midnight, longs to be beautiful and bright like her mother and sister. Powerful Message!, Gorgeous Illustrations!
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SUPER SLOTH: Though it takes a while, Super Sloth eventually saves the day after a sneaky anteater steals all the animals’ mangoes.
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THE LOVE LETTER: After Hedgehog, Bunny, and Squirrel each find a love letter, they mistakenly think it was written for them.
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FLY FLIES: Fly tries to fly straight, glide on the wind, and fly in a flock, just as the birds tell her she should, but she soon discovers that those are not her ways to fly.
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EXPLORERS: When a boy loses something important while at the museum with his family, the kindness of strangers leads to new friendships. Wordless

Picture Books At The Library 203

I catalog hundreds of new picture books each year, and I read as many of them as I can. Unfortunately, I can’t review them all. But I can share them! Below are a few recent titles. (Summaries have been taken directly from the books whenever possible.) Check your local library or bookstore for availability.
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SING A SONG: Tells the story of five generations of families who gained hope and strength from an inspiring song.
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STORMY: With patience and kindness, a young woman gains the trust of a frightened little homeless dog. Lovely!, Wordless (This reminds me so much of my dog!)
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ONE RED SOCK: When a little purple hippo cannot find the mate for her red sock, she tries every sock in her drawer in order to be fashionable, or, at least, to match. Cute!, Rhyme
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THE GIFT OF RAMADAN: When Sophia attempts to fast for Ramadan, her hunger gets the better of her and she breaks her fast, but she finds another way to celebrate the special month.
AND THEN THE SEED GREW: When a seed drops from the sky and takes root, the new plant wreaks havoc for all the garden’s inhabitants.
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NYA’S LONG WALK: When Nya’s little sister takes ill on the long journey to fetch water, Nya must find the strength to carry her and the water all the way home.
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READING BEAUTY: When a curse threatens to turn her kingdom into a place barren of books, the space princess sets out to break the curse and bring books back to her planet. Rhyme
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PUMA DREAMS: A young girl yearns to see an elusive puma in the wild, knowing that their numbers are dwindling and that what her gram calls a “long-dream” may never come true.
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THE KEY FROM SPAIN: Just as her ancestors were forced to leave Spain during the Inquisition, Flory flees Europe for a new life in the U.S., bringing with her a precious harmoniku and a passion for Ladino music.
THE MANY COLORS OF HARPREET SINGH: When Harpreet’s mom finds a new job in a snowy town, and the family has to move, he finds himself choosing to wear white so he can be invisible, instead of one of his colorful turbans.
AT THE STROKE OF GOODNIGHT: A busy world settles in for a warm night’s sleep. Interesting art!, Rhyming bedtime book

Picture Books At The Library 202

I catalog hundreds of new picture books each year, and I read as many of them as I can. Unfortunately, I can’t review them all. But I can share them! Below are a few recent titles. (Summaries have been taken directly from the books whenever possible.) Check your local library or bookstore for availability.

This group of eclectic picture books has something for every taste!

THE PHONE BOOTH IN MR. HIROTA’S GARDEN: When the tsunami destroys Makio’s village, his neighbor Mr. Hirota creates something that helps the villagers heal.
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JUST SO WILLOW: When a storm covers Willow’s backyard in a clean, smooth blanket of snow, she’s determined to keep it that way.
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THIS IS A SEA COW: When an imaginative child writes a school report about sea cows, the subject is not happy with her portrayal. Funny!
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GHASTLY GHOSTS: When Dave moves into his uncle’s old house, he hears lots of creaks and squeaks, but nothing scares him until he hears a spooky voice. Rhyme
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THERE WAS AN OLD WOMAN WHO LIVED IN A BOOK: When several fairy tale folks and magical items go missing, including her children, it’s up to the Old Woman Who Lives in a Book to get them back. Fractured Fairy Tale
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HO’ONANI HULA WARRIOR: When Ho’onani, who feels like neither a girl or a boy, finds out there will be a school performance of a traditional hula chant for boys, she longs to be a part of it.
IF I BUILT A SCHOOL: Imaginative Jack describes the kind of school he would build–one full of animals, tubes to transport students, books that come alive, and much more. Fun!, Rhyme
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THE ONE & ONLY WOLFGANG: Celebrates senior pet adoption and shows that families come in all shapes and sizes.
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VERY LULU: While helping to train Lulu as a police dog, Lulu’s handler quickly discovers that Lulu’s not suited to that type of work, but she may be perfect for something else.
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LOOKING FOR YESTERDAY: A boy puts all his scientific knowledge to work to try to turn back time, until his grandfather shows him that each new day brings a chance for more good times and happy memories.
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COME NEXT SEASON: Celebrates the changing seasons as children swim in summer, collect pecans in autumn, play in snow in winter, and visit a farm in spring. Lovely art!
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FLY: Mama bird wants Baby bird to learn to fly so he can migrate with the rest of the flock, but Baby bird has other ideas. Cute!, Wordless

Picture Books At The Library 201

I catalog hundreds of new picture books each year, and I read as many of them as I can. Unfortunately, I can’t review them all. But I can share them! Below are a few recent titles. (Summaries have been taken directly from the books whenever possible.) Check your local library or bookstore for availability.
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SWEEP: Ed’s in a bad mood and, before long, his bad mood grows and grows and sweeps through the whole town.
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ARRIVEDERCI, CROCODILE: A crocodile follows Napoleon from Paris to Venice in search of watery canals and Italian food, and discovers that he fits right in with the people there.
JUNIPER KAI: SUPER SPY: When Juniper’s parents start making secret plans, she sets out on a mission to find out exactly what they’re up to.
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OUR FAVORITE DAY: Thursdays are Papa’s favorite days because that’s when his granddaughter comes to visit. And they are her favorite days because Papa always makes them special.
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BETTY BUILDS IT: Lonely Betty builds herself a friend, but when her friend goes haywire, her little brother comes to the rescue.
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TWO FOR ME, ONE FOR YOU: When Bear brings home three tasty mushrooms for Weasel to cook up, they argue over who gets two and who only gets one.
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MY SHAPE IS SAM: Sam was a square who longed for softer corners and rounder edges, and to roll like circles do.
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SONG OF THE RIVER: A young boy named Cam decides to follow a trickle of water down the mountain and out into the sea.
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BY THE LIGHT OF THE MOON: As a little frog sings to himself in the swamp one night, he realizes his song isn’t complete, so he invites other animals to join in. Rhyme
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SENORITA MARIPOSA: Every autumn, millions of monarch butterflies fly south, all the way from Canada to Mexico. Rhyme, Bilingual

Interesting variety in this group of picture books!

Picture Book Critique Fest 2019=An Amazing Opportunity!


Are you a picture book writer? Or Illustrator? Would you like a chance to get your picture book manuscript or dummy critiqued by an industry professional: an experienced author, a professional illustrator, or a literary agent? If you answered YES! then you won’t want to miss Picture Book Critique Fest 2019, a one-time picture book critique giveaway, created by Brian Gehrlein, the brains behind the splendid site Picture Book Spotlight! Thirty-five winners will be selected and matched up with one of the thirty-five participating professionals (there are some big names here, folks) to receive a critique. This is an amazing opportunity! I’ll be applying; you should too. You only have until 9 AM CST on October 25th, so get going! Click the #PBCRITIQUEFEST logo above for more information.

Happy Book Birthday to IF MONET PAINTED A MONSTER by Amy Newbold!

  • Author: Amy Newbold
  • Illustrator: Greg Newbold
  • Publisher: Tilbury House Publishers
  • Release Date: October 1, 2019
  • Format: Hardcover & eBook
  • Summary: If Monet Painted a Monster introduces readers to 16 different famous artists by showing how they might have painted a monster in their artistic style. Readers are then invited to create in their own unique way.
  • Author’s Site: https://www.amynewbold.com/

Do you have a children’s picture book coming out soon? I’d love to wish it a Happy Book Birthday here on Frog on a Blog! CLICK for more information.

Picture Books At The Library 200 (+ a Giveaway!)

I catalog hundreds of new picture books each year, and I read as many of them as I can. Unfortunately, I can’t review them all. But I can share them! Below are a few recent titles. (Summaries have been taken directly from the books whenever possible.) Check your local library or bookstore for availability.

Hey, Everybody! I can’t believe this is my 200th Picture Books At The Library post! Time flies when you’re reading picture books. 🙂

To celebrate this milestone, I’m giving away two books to one lucky winner: A copy of my book The Peddler’s Bed and winner’s choice of one of the books I’ve featured in today’s post. All you need to do is leave a comment on this post (and reside in the U.S.) and I’ll choose a winner at random on September 30. Be sure to follow this blog so that I’ll have access to your email address and can contact you if you win.

RUBY FINDS A WORRY: Ruby has a worry, and it’s all she can think about, but when she meets a boy with a worry of his own, they both find a way to make their worries disappear.
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LIONEL AND THE LION’S SHARE: Lionel doesn’t like to share, but after he eats all of the cake at Chloe’s birthday party, he learns a valuable lesson about what it means to be a friend.
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DUCK!: When Duck runs around the farm shouting “Duck!” to all the other animals, they grow increasingly frustrated as they try to explain to Duck just which animal is which. Funny!
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MY GRANDMA AND ME: Whether it is down the hall to visit their friends or to the mosque during Ramadan or on a flight of fancy on a rocket ship, Mina and her grandmother are never far apart.
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HATS ARE NOT FOR CATS!: A patronizing, plaid-hat-wearing dog informs a cat that hats are only for dogs, but the cat, joined by others, dons a wide assortment of hats, proving, at last, that hats are for everyone. Rhyme
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SQUEAK!: A woodland mouse wakes up with a squeak, and his noise sets off a chain reaction of animals waking each other up.
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MY TINY PET: After moving to a tiny house, a young girl is forbidden to get a pet until she introduces her parents to microscopic tardigrades, also called water bears.

Don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win two books: The Peddler’s Bed, written by me, and a book of your choice from the titles listed in today’s post! I’ll choose a winner at random on September 30. Be sure to follow this blog so that I’ll have access to your email address and can contact you if you win. Good luck! (U.S. residents only)

El Chupacabra: Beware of the Dog by Carlyn Beccia

Hello Frog on a Blog readers! With Halloween just around the corner, I decided it was the perfect time to feature something a little different today. Carlyn Beccia, author of MONSTROUS: The Lore, Gore, and Science behind your Favorite Monsters (a gorgeous nonfiction picture book for ages 9-14, which was released just last week) is here to share the spooky history and science behind el Chupacabra, a mysterious dog-like creature known throughout Puerto Rico and beyond. Read on. If you dare!!!

El Chupacabra: Beware of the Dog

by Carlyn Beccia

We are taught from an early age – don’t approach scary looking dogs, especially if we don’t know what kind of dog it is. In MONSTROUS: The Lore, Gore, and Science behind your Favorite Monsters I wrote about several cryptids – creatures whose existence have not been proven by the scientific community. Although no one seems to ever get a picture of Bigfoot, the Kraken or the Loch ness monster, there is one monster that is oddly not camera shy. Meet the legendary el Chupacabra.

Is this the legendary monster or some other cryptid?   

The Chupacabra was first sighted in Puerto Rico in the 70’s with a wave of sightings then reoccurring in the late 1990s. During this time, livestock throughout Puerto Rico was found with its last drop of blood drained from its carcass. These Chupacabra or “goat-sucker” attacks caused panic with local residents who claimed a vampire was feeding on their livestock. Although descriptions have varied, most describe a hairless, alien-like monster about 4-5 feet tall with spikes going down its back and glowing red eyes.

A pet only an alien could love….

Many believe this beast is a secret government project gone horribly wrong – possibly an escaped group of rhesus monkeys from Puerto Rico’s Monkey Island. Others have theorized the creature is the lost pet of aliens.

Illustration of the Chupacabra from MONSTROUS: The Lore, Gore, and Science behind your Favorite Monsters

Several people got photos of this monster which begs the question; How could so many people be taking pictures of the same ugly doglike creature? The answer may be found in science…..

I am so ugly….I am kind of cute

The Science behind the Chupacabra

The science community has a few theories to explain the legendary Chupacabra. One theory is that this monster is actually a manmade one. The Chupacabra could be a hybrid species created from inbreeding wolves, coyotes and dogs. This theory was confirmed in 2008 when History Channel’s MonsterQuest ran DNA analysis on a suspected Chupacabra. Their tests found a creature with a mix of chromosomes shared by coyotes and wolves.

Another and even more plausible theory is that these creatures are really coyotes suffering from Sarcoptic mange – an inflammatory skin condition caused by the itch-inducing mite Sarcoptes scabiei. Wolves, dogs, and coyotes infected with Sarcoptes scabiei will have extreme hair loss, skin shriveling and constricted blood vessels to the point of life-threatening fatigue. And while normally a coyote or wolf will have no problems hunting prey, once infected with mange, coyotes may choose to go after easier meals….such as livestock.

Sarcoptes scabiei, scabies mite.
This parasite also infects humans causing the itchy rash known as scabies. Because humans have evolved with Sarcoptes scabiei the infection is not life threatening in people.

How to Survive the Chupacabra

In MONSTROUS: The Lore, Gore, and Science behind your Favorite Monsters I gave readers several tips on how to survive a werewolf attack. Fortunately, these tips can also be used with the Chupacabra because this monster most likely has canine ancestry.

Never look a Werewolf or Chupucabra in the eye. It is seen as an act of aggression.

You should also remember the signs that an angry werewolf, dog, or wolf is about to attack. Here is a helpful graphic from the book.

Werewolves, dogs, wolves….Chupacabras. They all use similar body language to communicate their displeasure.

You can learn more about the science and origins of other monsters in MONSTROUS: The Lore, Gore, and Science behind your Favorite Monsters by Carlyn Beccia.

Carlyn Beccia (pronounced Betcha) is an author, illustrator and graphic designer with blood type B+ (in case any vampires are reading this). Beccia’s children’s books, including The Raucous Royals, I Feel Better with a Frog in My Throat, and They Lost Their Heads have won numerous awards, including the Golden Kite Honor, the International Reading Association’s Children’s and Young Adult Book Award, and the Cybil Award. If you would like to know what she has in her zombie preparedness kit, visit her at www.CarlynBeccia.com or follow her on instagram.com/carlynbeccia.

Picture Books At The Library 199

I catalog hundreds of new picture books each year, and I read as many of them as I can. Unfortunately, I can’t review them all. But I can share them! Below are a few recent titles. (Summaries have been taken directly from the books whenever possible.) Check your local library or bookstore for availability.
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PAPER MICE: One night, two newly made paper mice explore a dark house and discover a shared love for adventure.
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IS 2 A LOT?: While on a magical car ride, a boy asks his mom if two is a lot, and she answers in a clever way.
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IT’S NOT A BED, IT’S A TIME MACHINE: A boy is afraid of bedtime because it’s dark and spooky, until he discovers that his bed is a time machine.
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THE INVENTION HUNTERS: When the globetrotting Invention Hunters visit a construction site in their flying museum, a boy helps them by explaining how simple machines work. Includes educational matter
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MOON BABIES: Follow baby moons as they awaken in their crescent cradles, have an outing, story time and more, before returning to sleep. Rhyme
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THE PECULIAR PIG: Penny, puzzled by why she’s different from the other piglets, uses her strange oink growl to chase away a snake that’s threatening her family.

Pencil-mania by Stephanie Ward

Please welcome picture book author Stephanie Ward to Frog on a Blog. Stephanie is the author of Arabella and the Magic Pencil, which recently celebrated its book birthday. She’s also the author of Wally The Warm-Weather Penguin, an adorable book I reviewed a few years ago.

Stephanie’s here to share five terrific pencil-themed picture books, perfect for back-to-school time. Take a look!


by Stephanie Ward

The new school year is upon us and students are rushing back to their classrooms with shiny new supplies. So there’s no better time to take a moment to appreciate all the amazing writing instruments in those backpacks.

One of the first books I loved was Harold and the Purple Crayon. How amazing would it be to be able to draw whatever you need at the instant you need it?

Then, there was Simon in the Land of Chalk Drawings – a children’s book series turned into a television program about a boy with a magic chalkboard that he entered into every day. Awesome!

Recently, of course, crayons have become a sensation when they went on strike (The Day the Crayons Quit) and eventually came back (The Day the Crayons Came Home).

But in 2019, the mighty pencil – and its often antagonistic eraser – is finally getting its moment.

When Pencil Met Eraser

Written by Karen Kilpatrick and Luis O. Ramos, Jr.

Illustrated by German Blanco 

Ever wonder why there’s a little pink eraser on every pencil? Find out in this picture book that tells the true story of how Pencil and Eraser became the best of friends. When Pencil draws on the pages of this book, Eraser erases parts of Pencil’s work, and the book itself becomes a canvas for their different takes on creativity–until the two discover their artwork is even better when they work together. 

Linus the Little Yellow Pencil

Written and illustrated by Scott Magoon

Linus and his eraser, Ernie, don’t always see eye to eye. But with the family art show drawing near, these two will have to sharpen their collaboration to make something neither one could do on their own!

The Pencil

Written by Susan Avingaq and Maren Vsetula

Illustrated by Charlene Chua

Susan and her sister, Rebecca, love watching their mother write letters to people in other camps. Their mother has one precious pencil, and she keeps it safe in her box for special things. One afternoon, Anaana leaves the iglu to help a neighbour, and Susan, Rebecca, and their brother Peter are left with their father. They play all their regular games but are soon out of things to do-until Ataata brings out the pencil!

Pencil’s Perfect Picture

Written by Jodi McKay

Illustrated by Juliana Motzko

Pencil is trying to draw the perfect picture for his dad. So, he asks his friends Brush, Pastel, Marker, Crayon, and Chalk what makes their art perfect. But they each have a different answer. How will Pencil be able to create his own perfect picture?

Arabella and the Magic Pencil

Written by Stephanie Ward

Illustrated by Shaney Hyde

Arabella is a beloved only child who has a picture perfect life until her brother, Avery, arrives. While she loves him, it’s sometimes hard to like him. She spends her days creating marvelous things with her magic pencil and ignoring him. But when Avery spoils a proper tea party, Arabella erases him from her life. Oops! How can she get him back? 

My own book, Arabella and the Magic Pencil, was inspired by the humble pencil. Way back in eighth grade, my English teacher asked us to write a creative story. I looked down and saw a pencil on my desk and wrote about a girl whose magic pencil made everything she drew become real and everything she erased disappear forever. Today, that story sits alongside a slew of creative books about all the wonderful things a pencil (and eraser) can do.

“I believe that the combination of pencil and memory creates a kind of practical magic…” 
― Stephen King, The Green Mile

Stephanie Ward is the author of Arabella and the Magic Pencil, illustrated by Shaney Hyde, published by EK Books in September 2019. Her next picture book is due for release in 2020 (stay tuned for details!). After many years in marketing, Stephanie now spends her time writing sweet, silly and sidesplitting stories for children. To find out more about her bookish activities, visit www.stephaniemward.com.

Happy Book Birthday to FANTASTIC YOU by Danielle Dufayet!

Author: Danielle Dufayet
Illustrator: Jennifer Zivoin
Publisher: Magination Press
Release Date: September 3, 2019
Format: Hardcover
Summary: There’s one special person you get to spend your whole life with: YOU! Which means there’s no one you should take better care of! When you cheer yourself on and cheer yourself up, you make the world a happier place. Life is amazing when you share it with the people you love: family, friends, and always with YOU!

Author’s Site: www.danielledufayetbooks.com

Do you have a children’s picture book coming out soon? I’d love to wish it a Happy Book Birthday here on Frog on a Blog! CLICK for more information.

Picture Books At The Library 198

I catalog hundreds of new picture books each year, and I read as many of them as I can. Unfortunately, I can’t review them all. But I can share them! Below are a few recent titles. (Summaries have been taken directly from the books whenever possible.) Check your local library or bookstore for availability.

Curious, creative, caring kids feature in this week’s list of picture books At The Library!

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ALBERT’S QUIET QUEST: When Albert settles into a quiet spot to read, he’s interrupted by a steady stream of rowdy friends who just want him to play.
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HEY, DOG: A boy cares for, feeds, and helps an abused stray dog to learn to trust humans again.
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A QUIETER STORY: A girl pens an adventure for her pet kitten, but after his fearful reaction she realizes her next story should probably have a little less pizzazz.
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MY PUPPY PATCH: A young girl takes her new puppy out for its first walk beyond the garden gate, practicing commands as they go.
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GHOST CAT: A boy who used to have a cat believes that its ghost is darting through his house by day and purring in his bed at night.
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NOPE. NEVER. NOT FOR ME!: When she and her mom add a little fun and exploration to their meal, a little girl discovers that trying something new may not be so terrible after all.
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ROCKET SAYS LOOK UP!: A girl named Rocket is excited about the meteor shower that will be visible tonight and wants the whole community to be excited too, especially her big brother Jamal.
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HOW TO BE ON THE MOON: Anna and Crocodile are going to need a lot of patience and plenty of sandwiches if they’re going to rocket to the moon.

Happy Book Birthday to ARABELLA AND THE MAGIC PENCIL by Stephanie Ward!

*Author: Stephanie Ward
*Illustrator: Shaney Hyde
*Publisher: EK Books
*Release Date: September 1, 2019 (Australia/NZ – September 1 2019, USA/Canada – September 10, 2019, UK – September 12, 2019)
*Format: Hardcover
*Summary: Arabella is a beloved only child who has a picture perfect life, until her brother, Avery, arrives. While she loves him, of course, it’s sometimes hard to like him. When he spoils a proper tea party, Arabella erases him from her life for good. But things aren’t the same without him. How can she get him back?
*Author’s Site:

Do you have a children’s picture book coming out soon? I’d love to wish it a Happy Book Birthday here on Frog on a Blog! CLICK for more information.