Returning Soon: Picture Books At The Library

You may have noticed that I haven’t posted a new Picture Books At The Library list is several weeks. The reason I haven’t is because my library was in the process of moving into a brand-new building and no new items, books or media, had been ordered or received for the collection during that time. 

But now we are all settled into our beautiful, modern, two-story, built-from-the-ground up, completely new building, and ordering has resumed. Items that had been on hold at our vendors have been arriving, including picture books. That means I’ll be posting a list of shiny new picture books next Monday.

In the meantime, for your viewing pleasure, I’ve got pictures of the new Community Library of DeWitt & Jamesville to share with you. 

*All photos are the property of the Community Library of DeWitt & Jamesville

Front Entrance

Front Entrance of the Community Library of DeWitt & Jamesville

Upper and Lower Level

A view of the upper and lower levels of the Library


One of the coolest spaces in the Library is the teen room. We call it the Vault.



The Provisions Express cafe in the Library’s lobby


Me At VIP Event

This is me standing on the outdoor patio. The photo was taken through the window from inside the Library and you can see the books reflected in the glass.

The Library also features the Hive, our makerspace for all sorts of creative endeavors, several community rooms for group meetings and tutoring, a green roof with solar panels and plants (including chives, Angelina stonecrop, and Aizoon stonecrop), and a spacious, colorful children’s room with a gorgeous mural depicting the Erie Canal, done by local artists Elliott Mattice and Kathy Maio. Here’s one section of the three-piece mural:


The centerpiece of the Library’s Erie Canal themed mural by Elliott Mattice and Kathy Maio

If you’re ever in the neighborhood, stop by, say hi, and check out our new Library (and a few picture books, too)! 🙂

Picture Book Personals (51)


Picture Book Personals

Young pig seeks enchanted bone to foil hungry fox’s dinner plan.

What Classic Picture Book Am I?

Amazing Bone

Leave your best guess in the comments below. Find out the answer when the next Picture Book Personals is posted.

And the answer to last week’s Picture Book Personals is…

Bark, George



Picture Book Personals (50)


Picture Book Personals

Frazzled mama dog seeks vet to help pup bark.

What Classic Picture Book Am I?

Bark George

Leave your best guess in the comments below. Find out the answer when the next Picture Book Personals is posted.

And the answer to last week’s Picture Book Personals is…

Go Away Big Green Monster!


Of course!

My View Book Review: Sayni and the Windowjet Brothers by Garth Laidlaw

Title: Sayni and the Windowjet Brothers

Author/Illustrator: Garth Laidlaw

Publisher/Year: Friesen Press/2016

Back Cover Blurb: Every child’s compass must be made very precisely, and each one is unique.

When children reached the age of ten in the town of Candleton, they began to build their compasses. The compasses were very important, as they helped guide their makers throughout their lives. So when Sayni turned ten, she began to build her compass from bits and pieces she had collected. Sometimes, though, she’d look at the unfinished object and feel as if she’s wasting her time. Yet she knew that working on her compass was the right thing to do, so she continued to collect and to construct.

One day, she found herself in a dark and unfamiliar part of town, surrounded by factories, and pushy factory workers who tried to sell her generic, ready-made compasses. Sayni was tempted to buy a finished compass, but she resisted. She wanted to build her compass herself. But it wasn’t until she met the mysterious and magical Windowjet brothers that she learned how important is was for every child to build his or her own compass. Sayni decided from then on that she’d teach the children of Candleton how to create compasses that were unique to each of them.

As I read this book, it became clear to me that building the compass was like writing a story, a life story. So every life experience, every memory, every feeling, everything you learn throughout your life, from the moment you’re born to the moment you leave this Earth, is part of your life story. Each person’s life story is special, unique just to him or her. Each person’s path is different too. But where we’ve been can help determine where we’re going, much like a compass can help guide us in the right direction.

Sayni and the Windowjet Brothers is a lovely, beautifully illustrated story about embracing life, living it to the fullest (to fill up that compass), and following our own paths.

Magic Kingdom: a children’s magazine

Magic Kingdom is a new children’s magazine independently published by Zenith Publishing. Each boldly illustrated issue features fairy tale stories, crafts, and other fun and educational activities suitable for kids from preschool through elementary school. I would have loved this magazine when I was that age, especially the colorful pictures and the kid-friendly, slightly challenging activities.

Our magazine is specially designed for little hands and growing minds; it will inspire your kids to make their first attempts in reading, painting, drawing, writing. Also, it will encourage your child to play, imagine and explore with his friends. Interesting practical tasks, recipes to cook together with Mums, home workshops and board games give your children opportunity to enjoy time with parents, grandparents and loved ones.” ~Amazon

Issue #1 contains:

  • Fairy tale “Porridge pot”

  • Fairy tale “Porridge from the axe”

  • Smart little tasks for little ones (includes a maze, spot the differences, simple addition, and more activities)

  • Encyclopedia of fairy-tale characters. Elves

  • Playdough country. Kitchen

The Kindle edition of Magic Kingdom Issue #1 is available for free on Amazon. Click HERE! Issues 2-9 are also available now in both Kindle and paperback versions. Check them out today!


New Year=New Beginnings: August’s Winner (plus September’s prize)

Back in January, I posted about a year-long giveaway called New Year=New Beginnings that I’m offering here on Frog on a Blog–a new prize each month for folks who comment on blog posts. With so much negative energy floating around in the world, I wanted to do something positive to show my gratitude to my followers, fans, and friends for their support.

Let’s recap January through August and announce August’s winner!

January’s prize was a copy of my book The Peddler’s Bed.

February’s prize was an adorable plushie Curious George.

March’s prize was a set of Pilot’s pens, a Night Writer 2-pack with LED lights, perfect for writing in the dark, and a must have for writers or travelers.

April’s prize was winner’s choice of either a picture book manuscript critique (for writers) or a Personal Library Kit (for book lovers).

May’s prize was a set of two darling bookmarks: A Hippo and a Crocodile.

June’s prize was a Maurice Sendak Nutshell Library box set that includes four tiny classics: Alligators All AroundChicken Soup With RiceOne Was Johnny, and Pierre.

July’s prize was a set of two music CDs by the amazing Emily Arrow: Storytime Singalong volumes 1 and 2!

August’s prize was a super cute, super fun novelty Writer’s Block Journal filled with 300 blank pages, ready and waiting for inspiration to hit!

And the winner of August’s prize is…

Susanna Leonard Hill

Congratulations Susanna! You know the drill, please contact me HERE with your address and your Writer’s Block journal will soon be on its way to you.

If you haven’t won a prize yet, there are still more chances to win this year!

And even if you can’t win because you’ve won already or because you’re not a US resident, I still welcome your comments and appreciate your support of Frog on a Blog.

September’s prize is a Dr. Seuss finger puppet set featuring three lovable characters from The Lorax (my favorite Dr. Seuss book)!

Comment on this post or any post during the month of August for a chance to win. For more information on how to qualify for prizes, click HERE.

Due to contest/sweepstakes regulations in other countries, this giveaway is available to U.S. residents only. I’m very sorry fans and followers from other nations. I still appreciate you! All winners are chosen at random.

Picture Book Personals (49)


Picture Book Personals

Brave reader seeks way to chase away monster.

What Classic Picture Book Am I?

Green Monster

Leave your best guess in the comments below. Find out the answer when the next Picture Book Personals is posted.

And the answer to last week’s Picture Book Personals is…

The Monster at the End of this Book


Yay for Grover!

Picture Book Personals (48)


Picture Book Personals

Lovable, furry monster seeks way to stop reader from turning pages.

What Classic Picture Book Am I?


Leave your best guess in the comments below. Find out the answer when the next Picture Book Personals is posted.

And the answer to last week’s Picture Book Personals is…

The Story About Ping



The Writing Room

As a writer with a chronic illness, I spend a lot of time at doctor’s appointments. What that really means is that I spend a lot of time waiting. Anyone who’s ever had to make a trip to the doctor’s office, and I’d guess that’s most of us, has experienced the loss of a huge chunk of time, stolen from the day.

Does this scenario sound familiar? You rush around at home in order to get to your doctor appointment early. You arrive fifteen minutes before your scheduled appointment, your child in tow. You check in, take a seat, and wait.

That momentary feeling of pride because you made it on time is quickly replaced with the thought, how long will we have to wait for the doctor?

You glance at your child playing with the waiting room toys in the corner. You think about all of the sick kids who played there before. You reassure yourself that surely someone must sanitize the toys on a daily basis.

You leaf through a magazine, so boring. You scroll through your phone, check your e-mail, Facebook, Twitter. You wonder if it’s okay to have your phone on in here. You look around and notice that half the other people waiting are on their phones too.

Now it’s five minutes past your appointment time, now ten, now twenty, now thirty. Your child has played with every toy and looked at every book. He/she’s grown restless and so have you. Your mind wanders to all the things you could be doing. Is writing one of them?

Next time, grab a notebook and pen on your way out the door. Here’s why you’ll want to bring these valuable tools to all of your appointments:

1. To pass the time. You’ll be surprised at how much writing you can get done while waiting for your appointment. If you write picture books, as I do, you may even get a whole draft written.
2. To record observations. Watch people, especially children, and write down character traits or bits of dialogue you overhear. They might come in handy for current or future writing projects.
3. To practice writing. Study the paintings on the waiting room walls or look at pictures in magazines and use what you see as writing prompts to exercise your writing muscles. Jot down words or feelings that come to mind, or write a short story.
4. To brainstorm ideas. Use your waiting time to think about a work in progress or a new story you’ve been wanting to start. Brainstorm words, characters, names, revisions, dialogue, setting, etc.
5. To practice drawing. If you’re an illustrator, use your wait time to sketch new characters and scenes or just to practice your skills. Sketch objects or people you see in the waiting room. Make notes on colors that have caught your eye. Copy pictures from magazines.
6. To support your budding author or artist. Bring an extra notebook and pen for your child so that he/she can practice writing or drawing too.
7. To keep your mind off of unpleasant things. I don’t know anyone who would say they enjoy going to doctor’s appointments. If you have to go, it’s usually because you, or your child, are sick or suffering from a medical condition of some kind. Writing or drawing will allow your mind to drift away from a potentially unpleasant experience and focus on something fun instead.

So, the next time you’re rushing out the door to get to an appointment, don’t forget to bring along a notebook and pen. When your wait time seems to fly by because you’ve written three new paragraphs for your middle grade novel, or you’ve come up with an idea for a brand-new picture book story, or you’ve outlined your entire YA contemporary, you’ll be glad you turned the waiting room into a Writing Room.

Picture Books At The Library 120

PB at the library 2

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.

Chirri and Chirra are surprised by the magical world they discover in the tall grass of the meadow.


Twins Dax and Zoe are ready for kindergarten, but, oh no, they’ll be in different classrooms!


Frog has had enough of being sat on by Dog, so he changes the rules. Fun!


Zoey the chicken creates a school in the barn for her friend Sam the pig.


Arnold is nervous about his first day of kindergarten, so he becomes the brave Super Saurus.


A boy goes searching for a bear at bedtime. Sweet!


Manny puts on his invisible cape to stand up to a bully at school.


Explains the rules a kid must follow to survive the perilous world of the lunch room.


Here’s everything you need to know to help your teacher get ready for the first day of school.


Sometimes being a boat is full of adventures on the high seas, but at other times, arguing passengers can run you aground.

Erin sneaks aboard her mother’s fishing boat to find out if the legend of Black Rock is true. Whimsical and artistic!


Five unlikely heroes must save the Super Happy Magic Forest from Zorgoth, Super Slug of Doom.


Grace and Walter’s father tells them a scary story about two children in a dark forest. Clever story within a story!


Casey wants what his older sister has–a shimmery skirt, glittery nails, and a sparkly bracelet.