My View Book Review: If I Could Climb Trees by Jeff Minich


Title: If I Could Climb Trees

Author: Jeff Minich

Illustrator: Renan Garcia

Publisher/Year: Nuggies Inc./2017

Coco the puppy is back and ready for fun in volume 5 of the Nuggies picture book series by author Jeff Minich and illustrator Renan Garcia. Coco dreams of climbing trees. She wants a birds-eye view of the world. She imagines the amazing things she might see, a vast ocean with a sandy beach or snow-capped mountain peaks. Coco wants to leap from branch to branch like the squirrels and lick sweet sap like the ants. When the sun goes down, she’ll stretch out on a sturdy limb as the lights of the city twinkle in the distance. And as she begins to fall asleep, she’ll wonder what the birds, and the bugs, and the squirrels dream about. Maybe they dream about doing the things that puppies do.

If I Could Climb Trees is a sweet and inspiring ode to dreams, not just the dreams we have while we’re asleep, but the dreams each one of us aspires to. Once upon a time, I had a dream to publish a book and see it on the shelves of libraries and bookstores. My dream came true with the publication of The Peddler’s Bed. My husband dreamed of earning a black belt in karate. He accomplished that goal and now actually has a fifth degree black belt. 

I believe that kids should be encouraged to follow their dreams. This colorfully illustrated book with its super cute animal characters is a great starting point for light discussions about their hopes for the future. If we encourage and support the aspirations of children, there’s no doubt that one day they will reach great heights…perhaps higher than a little puppy that climbed a tree.

To read a review of volume 2 in the Nuggies series, All The Other Nuggies, click HERE.

For more information about the Nuggies book series, click HERE.

Picture Book Personals (37)


Picture Book Personals

Baby bird seeks missing mother bird.

What Classic Picture Book Am I?

Are You My Mother

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…

Good Night, Gorilla


Of course!

Picture Books At The Library 109

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.


Little Shaggy, a fuzzy monster, is tired of everyone calling him little until his mother brings home his new baby sister.


Pandora lives alone in a world of broken things. One day, something falls from the sky…a bird with a broken wing.

A tortoise from the Galapagos Islands goes on an adventure–at her own speed.


Two friends discuss things that are scarier than riding the roller coaster.


When Swanda first moves to the city, she misses the wildlife she left behind. But she soon discovers that Brooklyn has a wildlife of its own: pigeons.


For the rabbits, birds, and squirrels, the tree is home, but when two new arrivals show up to create their dream house, the tree is in jeopardy.

When Lola’s beautiful wool is cut off, she runs away and hides, until the day she discovers a surprise.


When Charlotte asked her parents for a pet, a rock wasn’t exactly what she had in mind.


A girl living in a dangerous city finds a way to feel safe as she goes about her day.


A king’s daughter undertakes a difficult task to rescue her six brothers from the enchantment imposed on them by their wicked stepmother.


It’s time to go to the pool. But a fruit should never forget her suit.


Fleeing a home destroyed in the Syrian Civil War, Sami worries about the pet pigeons he left behind.


A letter from someone who was once an exasperating second grader reveals her experiences with a teacher who brought out the best in her.


As winter approaches, a bird and her chick flee south, a mouse and her child build a nest, and a rabbit pair races ahead of a wolf and cub, all seeking home. Lovely!


Louie has a great life–the life every chihuahua dreams of, until things suddenly change and Louie wonders if he should run away. Love, love, love the ending!


Olivia wants to hear what’s being said about her, so she blends in as best as she can. Hilarious!

Picture Book Personals (36)


Picture Book Personals

Animals seek good night’s sleep in zookeeper’s cozy home.

What Classic Picture Book Am I?

Good Night Gorilla

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…

Katy and the Big Snow


Got it!

Happy Book Birthday to WHAT CAN YOUR GRANDMA DO? by Anne Sawan











  • TITLE: What Can Your Grandma Do?
  • AUTHOR: Anne Sawan
  • ILLUSTRATOR: Sernur Isik
  • PUBLISHER: Clavis Publishing
  • RELEASE DATE: May 16, 2017
  • FORMAT: Hardcover
  • SUMMARY: Next week there’s a talent show for grandparents at school. Some grandmas are excellent cooks, one grandpa is a painter, others are very good dancers. But Jeremy’s grandma doesn’t have any special talent. Or does she?
  • AUTHOR’S WEBSITE: Five More Minutes 

Picture Books At The Library 108

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.


Poppy Louise is not afraid of snakes, spiders, roller coasters, or the dark, but there may just be one thing that scares her.


When his new born sister is not what he expected, a boy struggles to accept her.


Little Wolf can hardy wait. Tonight he will howl the moon to the top of the sky. Can he do it just like Big Wolf? Clever!


Colin is tall and orange. Lee is round and green. Can they ever be friends?


A sister and brother witness something extraordinary in the woods and make some new friends.


Little Hippo is the youngest and smallest in his family and sometimes feels like the tiniest animal in the world.


When Sam starts to organize his things, he quickly runs into trouble. Where should he put things that belong in more than one category?


A young boy wakes up on a summer morning and looks out at the sea. He goes about his day, but all the while, his mind strays to his father who is digging for coal deep beneath the sea.


Boats of all shapes and sizes travel on the river, through every season, toward the sea.


Jackson’s mom is getting married, and Jackson is nervous about his role and his new family.


Charlotte, a serious scientist, uses the scientific method to solve her problem: being squished by her many brothers and sisters.


Celebrate the differences and similarities between ten families as they eat, sleep, work, and play together.


This rhyming tale envisions the bedtime rituals of animals from whales to otters, squirrels to gorillas.


Liam wants to play with his twin brothers, but they’re always competing and things get out of hand.

Raisin has a lot of favorite things, but change is not one of them, and when her mother has a new baby, everything changes for the worse. Adorable!

Picture Book Personals (35)


Picture Book Personals

Big, strong crawler tractor seeks lots of snow to plow.

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…



Nothing fishy here!

Picture Books At The Library 107

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.


Mr. Brown has a hat for every occasion, and today he needs them all.


If you’re having trouble getting your monster to go to bed, follow the instructions in this handy guide book.


A builder sketches a project, then gets to work with his friend, digging, lifting, and sawing.


Rupert the mouse wants to star in an artistic, wordless picture book, but his friends cause problems by talking too much.


After digging, driving, and clawing their way through a busy building site, it’s time for a team of sleepy vehicles to make their way back home.


The day ends, the night falls, and in between, there is the blue hour, when a plethora of blue creatures stir.


From cars and planes to tractors, diggers, and trains, Old MacDonald and his animals love to go, go, go.


At the end of the day, monsters get ready for bed, just like we do.


A squirrel and a rabbit are each searching for a friend, and missing each other by inches.


Mr. Fish goes off on his vacation, but things don’t go exactly as planned.


Parents and kids can seem pretty different, but despite their differences, there is one thing they share, their love for each other.


Drasko must run the family flower stand alone when his father is called to war.


Georgie and his friends are all having a bad day, so they decide to do their favorite things to turn the day around.


Lucy the giraffe can’t sleep because of all the noise at the zoo, so Ellie, determined to help her friend, tries to tone down the ruckus.

Interview Alert: Me

I have interviewed many authors and illustrators over the past eight years for my Interview Alert feature here on Frog on a Blog. Most recently, I posed questions to author and artist Abraham Schroeder, who didn’t disappoint with his candid and detailed responses.

Today, Abraham has turned the tables on me, becoming the interviewer, and I, the interviewee. But instead of appearing on his site, the interview is right here. I have to admit, I’m a bit more comfortable asking the questions than answering them, but I had fun. Have a look! Perhaps you’ll learn a little something new about me. Take it away, Abraham!

AS) You have interviewed almost 30 authors and illustrators for your blog over the years, and it is inspiring to read so much about their different backgrounds and journeys. You also recently interviewed me, thank you, and I thought it would be fun if you were interviewed for your blog too. Then I realized this is my first time interviewing anyone, so for ideas I did some careful combing through your interviews, ones you conducted, and other people interviewing you.


AS) What have you learned from interviewing so many people? Have you been surprised by anything in particular?

LF) I’ve learned that children’s book authors and illustrators, besides being incredibly talented, are also some of the nicest people you could meet, so generous with their time and always willing to share their knowledge with those aspiring to be where they are, that is, published. I’ve also learned that those who write or illustrate for children are, each one of us, on our own path. So we should do ourselves a favor and not compare our journeys to other’s.

AS) You have talked about how, as a librarian, you see a lot of new books. Do you have input on what kinds of books are acquired by your library?

LF) I should clarify that I am not a librarian, rather a library assistant. More specifically, I’m a processing assistant, which means I catalog all of the new materials my library acquires. So just about every new book, DVD, music CD, and etc. that the library receives, goes past me before going out to the public. The best part of my job is being one of the first people to read the brand-new picture books. I don’t have a lot of input on what books the library acquires, but I do make occasional requests. (The images below show part of my cataloging process at the library, including a cart of new books waiting to be cataloged, my computer screen, and my own book’s back cover and spine when I cataloged it in 2015.)

AS) Going to the library with small kids in tow, I often find myself with limited time to flip through the stacks, and sometimes I’m literally grabbing randomly. “Here’s a handful, let’s go!” Sometimes we find amazing books that way, some of our favorites, and sometimes we get a bag full of duds. How do you help people who visit the library find great books?

LF) I’m happy to recommend books I’ve read and enjoyed, but usually I refer patrons to the children’s librarian. Librarians really know their stuff and are more than willing to help.

AS) Do you see any trends in what kinds of books are popular these days? What are your thoughts about what you see being published, or at least what crosses your desk?

LF) In picture books, though I wouldn’t call it a trend exactly, based on my observations, the most popular amongst my library’s young patrons are the superhero, Star Wars, television series, and Disney tie-ins. It’s the sad truth, but at least they’re reading!

As far as trends in what’s being published, I’m pleased to report that picture books are all over the place in terms of word count, illustration style, and type of story (humorous, lyrical, thought-provoking, whimsical, concept, rhyme, prose, interactive, nonfiction, etc.). Any writers out there reading this, don’t write to perceived trends. Just write your best stories.

AS) Why do you think picture books are important? Why do you spend so much time working with, reading, writing, and sharing them?

LF) I love that picture books are both mirrors, for kids to see themselves in, and windows, for kids to learn about the world and to develop empathy for others. But even before I gave much thought to that spot-on analogy, I was a fan. Where else can you find a story and page after page of incredible art packaged up so perfectly and ready to transport readers or listeners of all ages to amazing places?

I also believe that literacy is an important milestone to success in life. If children are introduced to books and reading early on and throughout their growing-up years, they will become strong readers. The best way to start is by reading picture books. I encourage all of you to read picture books with the kids in your lives often.

AS) You’ve said in other interviews that you have dozens of stories written and many more ideas. What is your process for turning those ideas into finished stories?

LF) I wish I could say I had a process. Usually, my ideas sit for weeks before my mind generates enough substance to start formulating an actual story. The ideas that “speak” the loudest are the ones most likely to become finished stories. I have tons of ideas; many will never be stories because after that first spark, they never speak again. On the flipside, I sometimes get ideas that come to me as fully formed stories, ready to be written down. Sadly, that doesn’t happen too often.

AS) Do you work on one story at a time or several at once?

LF) I definitely work on several at once. If I’m stuck on one, I work on another. I have many in various stages of development.

AS) Do you think about vocabulary and age range when you write?

LF) I’ve read so many picture books that I think those things are ingrained in me at this point. I just concentrate on writing the best story I can.

AS) In one interview, kids asked if you were rich and famous now that you have a book out. I’m sure many adults also assume you’ve hit the big time now. When you’re not too busy counting your money and going on shopping sprees, how do you spread the word about your books? What sort of personal outreach and publicity do you do?

LF) I can’t answer this question right now because I’m off to do some shopping in Paris. Okay, I’m back. Seriously though, I don’t talk about this much, but I’m struggling with a chronic illness that makes it difficult for me to do as much promotion as I would like, outside of social media and local book signings. I experience severe fatigue on a daily basis and have trouble with walking and balance. With some possible new treatments coming up, I hope to feel better in the near future.

Some ways that I have promoted my book include, sending copies to reviewers, interviews, local book signings, donating copies to literacy organizations, features in local newspapers, blogging, tweeting, etc.

Java and MeAS) When you’re not living, breathing, and thinking picture books, what do you like to do?

LF) Spending time with my dog is at the top of the list. I like teaching him new tricks. Also, my husband and I watch a lot of movies together, all kinds. I enjoy Japanese anime too.

AS) Is there anything else you’d like to share?

LF) I just want to say thank you to fans of my picture book The Peddler’s Bed, followers of Frog on a Blog, and all of my supportive family and friends. I appreciate you all!

And thank you, Abraham, for the interview! You’re a pro at this now! (Those were some tough questions.) 😊

Picture Book Personals (34)


Picture Book Personals

Tiny fish seeks school of similar fish to help chase away big fish.

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…

Tikki Tikki Tembo