When Your Books Go On A Blog Tour (plus a Giveaway)

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It’s been a while since I’ve participated in a book blog tour. That’s why I’m extra excited to be a part of the amazing Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog tour celebration of her TWO brand new children’s books WHEN YOUR ELEPHANT HAS THE SNIFFLES and WHEN YOUR LION NEEDS A BATH! Take a look at the covers; could they be any cuter?!

I wanted to know how Susanna created her “When Your” series. Her blog tour offered the perfect opportunity to find out! Susanna, the page is yours!

Hello Everyone!

Thank you so much for joining the When Your Books Blog Tour fun!
Lauri thought it would be interesting to talk about writing a series today, since that’s something a lot of us haven’t attempted.
So let’s talk! 🙂

It may surprise you to know that I did not set out to write a series!
Nope.
The WHEN YOUR… books began with a case of the hiccups. (Mine 🙂 )
I don’t know about you, but in my household of 5 kids we have plenty of hiccup remedies…none of them particularly successful, mind you, but all of them guaranteed to induce silliness.

So on the day I got the hiccups, I started thinking about those ridiculous remedies – chasing, tickling, laughing, breath-holding, scaring, drinking backwards etc. – and I suddenly had an idea for a story: When Your [child/animal/something?] Has The Hiccups!

I sat down to write – my goal to produce that one single story.
But as you writers all know, the mind works in mysterious ways, and creativity begets creativity.

I wrote the hiccup story, but before I was even finished with it, I started thinking about sniffles…and baths…and haircuts… 🙂
“Hmmm…,” I said to the dogs who were asleep under my feet. “I wonder if I have more than one book here…!”
The dogs (shockingly) did not reply, but I felt I was onto something.
I knew something about series, obviously. We’ve all read them. But what I was used to thinking of as a series were things like Fancy Nancy – several books that feature the same familiar character in varied situations.
That was not what I had.

So I had to think a little about exactly what makes a series.
Clearly, there has to be an element of coherence – something to hold the stories together even without that familiar main character.
In the case of the WHEN YOUR… books that element of coherence is theme.
Every book in the series addresses “things kids sometimes find unpleasant.”
Baths.
Sniffles.
Haircuts.
Bedtime.
Hiccups.
Etc… 🙂
I would not write a story for this series about how much fun someone’s birthday is – that would not fit!
A common theme is important and helpful, but since the characters change from book to book, I knew I needed more than that.

As I moved from writing the hiccup book to writing the sniffles book, I deliberately incorporated several things:

1. A similar tone and voice.
All the books feature an unseen narrator who offers advice.
The overall tone of the books is humorous.
2. A similar objective.
All of the books are instructional – they tell you how to do something.
3. An animal character who is particularly well-suited (in a kind of backwards way) to the situation – e.g. a lion who needs a bath (because cats hate water) or an elephant with the sniffles (because what could be worse than sniffles with a nose like that?!)
4. A child who is in charge.
5. No adults.
6. An ending where, without realizing it or objecting to it, the child ends up doing whatever s/he was trying to get the animal to do 🙂

Because the stories are about things kids sometimes find unpleasant, I wanted to inject humor, hoping to make those objectionable things seem a little more palatable.

And because these objectionable situations are things kids often have to be coerced into, I wanted the child character to be the one in control (since kids tend to lack that in real life! 🙂 ) and I didn’t want any adults.

As a result, even though each story features a different child, a different animal, and a different situation, they have a cohesiveness that holds them together and makes them feel like a matched set even though each story is just as capable of standing on its own.

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Text copyright © 2017 by Susanna Leonard Hill
Illustration copyright © 2017 by Daniel Wiseman
Used by permission of Little Simon

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Text copyright © 2017 by Susanna Leonard Hill
Illustration copyright © 2017 by Daniel Wiseman
Used by permission of Little Simon

I hope that gives you a little idea of one way you might go about writing a series. If you have questions, feel free to ask in the comments and I will do my best to answer in a timely fashion. 🙂

Thanks again for joining the blog tour fun, and I hope you’ll enjoy the books if you get a chance to read them!

And thank you so much, Lauri, for having me here today and for so kindly hosting this stop on the blog tour!

It was my pleasure, Susanna! You’ve given us all a mini lesson on writing a picture book series. Awesome! 

And as if things couldn’t get any better, Susanna is generously offering one signed copy of each book, WHEN YOUR ELEPHANT HAS THE SNIFFLES and WHEN YOUR LION NEEDS A BATH, to one lucky winner.

To win, all you have to do is share your favorite book series in the comments!

A winner will be chosen at random and will receive their books after July 12.

Let’s keep the blog tour fun going! Be sure to visit the rest of the stops on the tour. The schedule is posted below. And don’t forget to visit Susanna’s blog for the “When Your Books Go On A Blog Tour” kickoff post. You may discover more chances to win fabulous prizes. Click Here!

Blog Tour Schedule (1)

Don’t forget to share this post using #whenyourbooks!  Every time you post with #whenyourbooks you get an entry in the end-of-tour raffle for a Special Prize!

Click Here to find out more!

Picture Book Personals (42)

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Picture Book Personals

Bold little girl seeks end to pains while eleven friends seek toys and games.

What Classic Picture Book Am I?

Madeline

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 Paper Bag Princess

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Did you get it?

Picture Books At The Library 114

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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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Join a young girl and her father, the falconer at a medieval castle, as they experience the joys of taking a goshawk out for a training flight.

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Lucy is not tired and she is not going to take a nap today.

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When something happens that’s terrific, you can’t help but feel a sense of happiness and wonder. Share that feeling with someone else.

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When a lengthy to-do list gets in the way of playtime with dad, one boy turns obstacle into opportunity.

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Little Pig is too small to go to sailing camp with his brothers and sisters, so his grandfather makes him a model ship to sail on the stream.

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Each day, rain or shine, Honey works in her garden, and each day, the little girl who lives next door is right by her side.

Follow a gecko as he scurries through the grass and trees searching for food and avoiding danger.

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Horse, Cat, Goat, and Pig practice their instruments, filling the barnyard with happy sounds.

Big Bear doesn’t pay attention to the old oak tree when it tells him to share his berries with his friends.

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On her ranch, Lexie watches over baby letters while they grow into words; she herds words into sentences and hitches sentences together to tell a story.

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Lucy knows how to do everything. When Toshi arrives, Lucy thinks he does everything wrong because he does things differently.

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A long-empty birdcage takes a chance and leaves behind its attic home to find a bird to keep.

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Discover the big ways this little insect contributes to the beauty of the environment.

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A mother and son use a unique call and response phrase to stay connected, even when Mom has to be away.

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Inspector Croissant begs Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast to help him find the source of a terrible odor.

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When Shark Dog gets homesick, will he decide to return to Shark Dog Island or will he stay with his new best friend?

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The letter B is missing from this book. Until it comes back, the reader is going to sound really, really silly.

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Ice Boy has been told to never go outside, but he wants more from life, so he goes to the beach. Cute!

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A little fox explores the forest during his very first year. Sweet!

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The mailman works hard to create peace and happiness in the neighborhood by delivering letters to everyone, but he never receives any letters himself. Gorgeous art!

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Goat keeps telling Frog he is not a unicorn, but Frog truly believes he is. Will the power of positive thinking cause real magic to happen? Tons of fun!

Picture Book Personals (41)

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Picture Book Personals

Princess seeks kidnapped prince and possibly new wardrobe.

What Classic Picture Book Am I?

Paper Bag

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…

Stellaluna

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Awesome!

Picture Books At The Library 113

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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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A little girl imagines herself as Wonder Woman.

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Hattie makes friends with the monster in the lake and saves him from being captured by the townspeople. Gorgeous illustrations!

Reginald the T. Rex feels like an outcast because he prefers to eat fruits and vegetables instead of meat.

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Three robot brothers have trouble falling asleep.

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A young boy decides that he is ready to jump off of the diving board.

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Fifteen children’s book artists draw their favorite colors and explain why they love them.

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From flip-flops to fireworks, summer has something for everyone.

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The ghost of a goldfish searches for a new home and a friend.

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A little bulldozer wants to help the other trucks, but a little surprise keeps him from doing his job.

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Two little nuts keep on rolling and rolling until they finally roll all the way home.

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Cats of all shapes and sizes scamper, yawn, and stretch, and sometimes they pile into a stack.

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An energetic youngster tries to coax his dad out of bed very early in the morning.

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A toad in the road causes chaos and car crashes.

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A toddler creates Godzilla-like mayhem.

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A fox becomes a little chicks daddy.

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An interesting group of characters put a robot together, wind him up, and watch him go.

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Even the biggest blunders can spark the brightest inspiration when you’re an artist. Clever!

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Two cockatoos make stew for two toucans and some gnus too. Clever wordplay!

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Number 6 claims that 7 ate 9 and now 7 is after him. Fun!

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Sukie, a small dog, is afraid of everything. How will she overcome her fears to save her beloved stuffed monkey. Cute!

Picture Book Personals (40)

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Picture Book Personals

Young bat seeks way to land on her feet.

What Classic Picture Book Am I?

Stellaluna

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 Rainbow Fish

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Too easy?

Picture Books At The Library 112

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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.

Lots of cute and sweet in this bunch!

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Wherever Gloria goes, she spreads glitter along the way, even through town. The townsfolk have had enough.

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Nina is determined to go fishing with her grandfather on his old banca boat even though he says a boat is not a place for girls.

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Long ago, there lived a princess named Cinnamon, with pearls for eyes, who never spoke, until a tiger came to the palace and changed everything.

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When Wade’s antlers become wiggly and he realizes they’ll be falling out soon, he tries his best to keep them as long as possible.

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Cub is full of energy and wants to play and explore, but Tiger just wants to take a nap.

The fruit have a dance party in the kitchen while we’re all asleep at night.

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A badger wants to know what his rabbit friend is waiting for and asks lots of questions in order to get clues and guess.

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Discover what airplanes, helicopters, and blimps do to get ready for bed after a hard day’s work.

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When the moles are running low on food, it’s up to Morris, the littlest one, to save the day.

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A little girl takes care of her beloved baby doll.

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Pirate dinosaurs sail across the sea in search of buried treasure.

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A father expresses his love for his son through a love song.

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A mother and child plant flower bulbs in the fall, wait through the winter, and see them bloom in the spring.

Picture Book Personals (39)

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Picture Book Personals

Beautiful sparkling fish seeks happiness.

What Classic Picture Book Am I?

Rainbow Fish

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…

Love You Forever

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Sweet!

Picture Books At The Library 111

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.

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A boy, expecting a kitten for a pet, receives a lion instead, and must learn the proper way to care for it.

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As Little Red is transported across the countryside, down a river, and through the city, he feels anxious about his destination.

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Feeling unappreciated during the performance, a magician’s assistant grabs the wand and performs some feats of her own.

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Three little pugs set out, each with a plan to build the perfect house, but the big, bad cat is lurking nearby.

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Kids have all kinds of feelings and questions when their moms or dads are incarcerated.

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Norton and Alpha always find a use for the things they collect on their walks together, but one day, they encounter something very unusual and very baffling.

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To build a surprise, the carpenter ants measure caterpillars, butterflies, and other insect friends in units of ants.

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Celebrate the third year, full of make-believe, new friends, and growing independence.

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A spot runs away from its cheetah and has many exciting adventures.

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All the animals are afraid of the Giant Jumperee who is hiding inside Rabbit’s burrow.

A boy walks through the forest and discovers all the wonders within.

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Shawn loves sharks more than anything, so he isn’t happy when Stacy is assigned ‘sharks’ for the big class project and he’s stuck with ‘seals’.

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Sea Monkey is afraid he might sink and Bob is afraid he might float. But together they are safe.

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George wants to build the best sand castle ever, but when he meets a strange new creature, the night takes an unexpected turn. Sweet with A+ illustrations!

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When Clem goes out one day, Shorty finds a package addressed to Clem. He will most definitely not open it. So Much Fun!!

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Plankton tries hard to get Mister Mussel to return a friendly greeting, but when Mussel finally opens his mouth, the results are unfortunate for Plankton. Funny!

May’s Winner (plus June’s prize)!

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.

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.

And the winner of May’s prize is…

Pat Kolceski

Congratulations, Pat! A hippo and a crocodile will be on their way to your house very soon!


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

I loved these when I was a child and I still own a set today. 

Comment on this post or any post during the month of June for your 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.