B.A.R.F. Books by Jaclyn Kruzie

The Kid Lit community is filled with talented, knowledgeable, amazing people who are always ready to share what they know. Author Jaclyn Kruzie is one of those people. Jaclyn loves to do school visits and her Young Author’s Workshops focus on teaching second through sixth grade students about character development, plot progression, and language concepts. Jaclyn has stopped by Frog on a Blog today to talk about B.A.R.F.

B.A.R.F. Books

By Jaclyn Kruzie

Does your favorite picture book B.A.R.F.? Chances are, it does. The best ones always do. Naturally, the retching HU-WA of a troubled tummy is foremost in your mind right now, but bear with me as we explore what makes a picture book B.A.R.F. and why it’s so important.

Readers are drawn to books with action, conflict, and loveable characters. When a character is loved, the reader wants them to succeed. They feel their failures, cheer their conquests, and long to meet them in the real world because surely, they would become the best of friends. That is a B.A.R.F. book.

When a story has a character the reader can BELIEVE IN, that is ACTIVE in accomplishing their goal, that is RELATABLE, and FLAWED, that story will be read again and again and again.

A few notable B.A.R.F. books that debuted in 2016:

NNNormal Norman by Tara Lazar – Norman, “a regular, ordinary, common, everyday creature” steals the hearts of readers with his not so normal behaviors. Like when he chooses pizza over a banana, I can relate to that! Norman’s flawed actions create conflict which creates a seamless flow (another word that fits our acronym, because flaws equal conflict which equals flow). 

TTA Tiger Tail by Mike Bolt – Anya wakes to find she has grown a tiger tail overnight, and on the first day of school! Going to school feeling self-conscious and different is out of the question. I still feel that way from time to time. Like the time I walked around all day in a shirt that I didn’t realize had a gross stain on it. The more I tried to fix it, the worse it got and I was positive everyone was staring me. Sorry to make this excerpt all about me, but isn’t that what a good book does? It makes the character’s story your story. 

WWWorm Loves Worm by Mike Curato – Wiggly worms have a wedding, and it’s adorable! Which completely surprised me seeing how worms are not on my cuddly creature list. But their determination and wit won me over. They earned my respect and my desire for them to succeed. With every page turn I hoped to discover how they were going to solve each problem that arose (there’s that flow again). I cheered every time they succeeded.

Now my list of B.A.R.F. books wouldn’t be complete without a nod to my favorite picture book of all time…

MMMiss Nelson is Missing! by James Marshall – Relatable to every kid who has ever sat in a classroom. Full of action as the kids try to find where Miss Nelson has gone. The furiously flawed Miss Viola Swamp who terrified me to my toes. And of course, I wanted Miss Nelson to be found! I wanted those kids to succeed in finding her and rid themselves of the sour substitute. This book affected me in such a way that 25 years later, I read it to my kids.

So you see, B.A.R.F. is a good thing, at least when it comes to picture books.

 

JKJaclyn Kruzie is a picture book author and creator of The Young Author’s Workshop, a school presentation that teaches students how to create works of fiction using the B.A.R.F. method. She serves on the library board for the Gunter Library and Museum in Gunter, Texas and is the regional advisor for the SCBWI North Texas chapter. Follow Jaclyn on Twitter @JaclynKruzie and subscribe to her blog at jaclynkruzie.com.

 

 

My View Book Review: Watersong by Tim McCanna and Richard Smythe

Watersong

Title: Watersong

Author: Tim McCanna

Illustrator: Richard Smythe

Publisher/Year: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers/2017

Jacket flap blurb: With a drip drop plip plop the rain starts—just a sprinkle at first. But as the storm builds, one lone fox seeks shelter.


A fox, perhaps heading home after a hunting trip, makes its way through the woods. Along the path, it encounters frogs, and mice, and ducks. The sky is gray and soon it begins to rain. At first it’s a gentle pitter patter. But before long, soft sprinkles give way to whirling winds and crashing tree branches. Picking up its pace, our fox friend looks for shelter from the storm—and finds it just in time.

Watersong is incredibly expressive, yet it employs such few words to convey the before, during, and after of a rainstorm. It’s not the number of words that matters. What matters is how they’re used. Author Tim McCanna uses onomatopoeia, or sound words, brilliantly. As the rain begins, we can almost hear the soft drip drop plip plop of the rain droplets hitting the surface of the pond. As the rain picks up, we hear the gurgle burble babble bubble of the fast moving stream. And in the midst of the storm, we hear the hiss, slap, slam of the wind and the branches. His words allow us to experience the emotional drama of the storm.

No matter how expressive the words, without the illustrations, the story would be incomplete. It’s Richard Smyth’s lovely and lively watercolor art that invites us into the woodland setting, that introduces us to the little fox, that allows us to follow the frightened creature to the safety of the hollow log. Had we just the words, we would still hear the rainstorm, but we wouldn’t experience it as vividly. We would just “get out of the rain” instead of fearing for the wellbeing of the fox.

Have you ever heard the expression “April showers bring May flowers”? It seems appropriate to feature Watersong, a book about rain, now that it’s April and spring weather is finally here. I often wonder during a storm, whether it’s a rainstorm, snowstorm, or something even worse, about the animals. Where do they go? Are they safe? How do they survive? I like to believe a higher power is looking out for them. It gives me peace of mind… just like the satisfying ending to Watersong.

Final thoughts: Be sure to check out the back matter on the last page to learn about ecosystems, the water cycle, how rainbows are formed, and more.

Watersong

Illustration from Watersong provided by The Bright Agency | copyright 2017 by Richard Smythe

 

Picture Books At The Library 104

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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When Chunk goes missing, Yeti has to go to bed all by himself. Bedtime can be scary without your best friend.

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In a village on the African plains, a little girl stalls bedtime by saying good night to various animals and objects. Gorgeous illustrations! This could be a Caldecott contender for next year!

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Fox has lost a sock. Ox is on the case, but his silly antics frustrate Fox.

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Mr. Fuzzbuster the cat sets off to prove he’s the favorite pet in the house.

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At bath time, Marlo the dog is thrust into an underwater adventure filled with fish and predators.

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A boy shrugs off cleaning up after himself, and his lack of cleanliness meets with disastrous results, an infestation of barbarians!

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A little bear learns from his mother what it means to make and break a promise, as well as the lesson that some things in life simply cannot be promised.

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A bird wants to make friends with a bear, but the bear already has a friend.

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Three great warriors, Rock, Paper, and Scissors meet up for an epic battle that continues to this day.

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After a long winter, ferns uncurl, cherry blossoms pop, animals wake up, and birds return.

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A girl befriends a bee and together they fill their city with beauty. Incredibly imaginative!

Picture Book Personals (31)

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Picture Book Personals

Lonely old woman seeks sweet and fluffy little cat–just one.

What Classic Picture Book Am I?

Millions of Cats

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…

Strega Nona

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You knew that, right?

Picture Books At The Library 103

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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Triangle plays a sneaky trick on his friend Square, but it’s Square who gets the last laugh.

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For an anywhere farm, all that you need is soil, sunshine, water, a seed, and you.

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When one little boy notices a grasshopper, he exclaims, “Mama, look!” and sets off a series of curious baby creatures noticing other curious baby creatures.

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Lucia proves she’s just as brave and daring as the boys on the playground, with or without her mask.

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Percy and his friends spend time at the dog park doing what dogs do best.

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Although unable to grow a beard, Al the garden gnome, after discovering his talent for barbering, wins a special award at the beard contest.

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Sophie has trouble saying hello and thank you. Will she ever learn?

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The Catawampus Cat walked into town one day at a slant, and since then everyone in town is seeing their world with fresh eyes.

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There was a cat who lived alone. Until the day a new cat came.

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A lonely hedgehog sets out on an adventure to find friendship. Cute!

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Alice and Jack were outside playing when they heard something…a strange and curious noise…coming from the forest. Sweet!

Picture Book Personals (30)

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Picture Book Personals

Man seeks way to stop avalanche of pasta from destroying town.

What Classic Picture Book Am I?

Strega Nona

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 Cat In The Hat

233093

Yep!

Picture Book Personals (29)

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Picture Book Personals

Bored boy and girl seek fun and games on cold rainy day…mess making cats need not apply.

What Classic Picture Book Am I?

Cat in the Hat

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…

Pat the Bunny

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Yay!

Picture Book Personals (28)

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Picture Book Personals

Boy and girl seek playmate to pet bunnies, smell flowers, read books, and play peek-a-boo.

What Classic Picture Book Am I?

Pat the Bunny

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…

Caps For Sale

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Of course!

Picture Books At The Library 101

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.

30312840

Asks readers to think about ways in which the natural world has provided for them by exploring all the different elements of a house.

30422487

A daring young astronaut arrives on Mars, certain he will find life there. But soon he’s lost and there’s no sign of life anywhere.

31425215

A child uses his imagination to build all sorts of things while, at the same time, his father builds a boat.

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A little girl’s favorite stuffed toy has been stolen by a fox and she’s determined to get it back.

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A stray kitten is rescued from the dangerous streets and soon finds a loving home.

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Rosie is a family dog who goes about her day exploring opposites.

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Four young girls search for the perfect hats to complete their big surprise.

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A boy explains to his new baby brother all the fun adventures they will have together.

 

Picture Book Personals (27)

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Picture Book Personals

Angry peddler seeks way to get caps back from mischievous monkeys.

What Classic Picture Book Am I?

Caps for Sale

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…

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

1800224

Too easy?