New Year=New Beginnings: October’s Winner (plus November’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.

Yikes! It’s November! Where in the world did the year go? Time flies whether you’re having fun or not, it would seem (though I hope you’ve had some fun this year). And since we’re on the subject of time, how is it that a week seems to drag, but a month can zip by in the blink of an eye? It’s a time paradox that has always puzzled me. Oh well, back to the matter at hand. It’s TIME to recap January through October and announce the October prize winner. Then stick around to see November’s prize, which is one of my favorites of the year.

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!

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

October’s prize was a stylish scarf designed to look like a library due date card.

Scarf

And the winner of October’s prize is…

Sandra M.

Congratulations Sandra! I will e-mail you for a mailing address. Enjoy the scarf!


If you haven’t won a prize yet, there are still two 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.

November’s prize is one of my favorites of the year. It’s a new copy of an old classic: Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

This beautiful picture book pairs poet Robert Frost’s lyrical text with illustrator Susan Jeffers’ exquisite art. Though not directly a Christmas book, it would fit in well with any holiday classic, or certainly any winter-themed picture book. Personally, I love it anytime of year. It’s gorgeous! I, of course, own a copy.

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Comment on this post or any post during the month of November 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.

My View Book Review: Where Is Robin? USA

Title: Where Is Robin? USA

Author: Robin Barone

Illustrator: Robyn Mitchell

Publisher/Year: Diplomat Books/2017

Special Features: Includes a fold-out map of the United States in the back of the book


An enthusiastic young robin packs her bags, says goodbye to her mom, and flies off to see as much of the country as she can. She begins her journey in Pennsylvania. From there she goes to Washington D.C., Tennessee, Florida, and Louisiana, before heading west to Texas, Arizona, California, and Washington. Then she swings around and visits Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, Illinois, Michigan, Massachusetts, and finally, returns back home to New York.

Along the way, she sees fantastic sites: the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, the Grande Ole Opry in Nashville, Mount Rushmore, the Grand Canyon, and Hollywood, to name but a few. By the time Robin returns home, laden with souvenirs from every stop, she’s ready to set a date to see the world.

Where Is Robin? USA is a great first introduction to travel and the United States for kids. Every page includes information about the location, conveyed to the reader through simple rhyming text and colorful, engaging illustrations.

This island was home to the Brothers Wright.

Thanks to them in 1903, the first plane took flight.

Look for more books in the Where Is Robin? series.

Picture Books At The Library 126

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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While getting ready for a bath one evening, a little boy gets stuck in his clothes.

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A boy promises his friend, an elderly lady, that one day he will fix up her old house. Love the use of color in this one!

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Nokomis Josephine walks to raise awareness of our need to protect water for future generations.

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When Lola the armadillo accidentally knocks over a jug of juice, she panics and decides to run away.

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An adventure-loving boy dreams he is Robinson Crusoe.

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A prayer from mother to son that he will always be in safe hands.

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When three bear brothers are sent on an urgent quest, the middle bear discovers he’s just the perfect size to save the day.

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A little toy train has a big adventure in the great outdoors. Great illustrations and nice intro to different types of trains!

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When Moonlight Pond freezes over, the forest animals come out to take part in the annual talent contest, but Toad doesn’t have a talent like the others. Beautiful art!

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Inspired by a real hero dog named Vera who lived at the US Coast Guard base in the San Francisco Bay.

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A young frog is bored and has trouble finding something to do.

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Monkey tries to make a trade with owl for his red balloon. Clever!

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A lyrical celebration of multiculturalism as a parent shares with a child the value of their heritage.

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When a girl finds a mysterious book of martial-arts poses, she ignores the warning printed inside. Fun!

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Leon is confused about where they will put the new baby now that he’s home. Cute!

Picture Books At The Library 125

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 celebration of the many tender, madcap ways we love one another.

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When the whole family and guests show up for the big dinner at Grandma’s house, it’s clear that the house is much too small to hold them all.

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Big Monster must find a way to outwit Little Monster when Little Monster says he’s not tired.

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Edmond Bigsnout sets off to catch a city bunny for his dinner, but is thwarted at every turn.

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When two fearful children are terrified of each other, their monsters try to help.

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When an antlered ship arrives in the harbor, an inquisitive fox joins the crew on a quest for adventure. Beautiful art!

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When a mountain separates Manjhi’s poor village from schools and hospitals, he uses a hammer and chisel, and twenty years of his life to create a road through the mountain.

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Once a year, Abuelo comes from Mexico to visit his family; he brings his guitar, his music, and his memories.

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Cap’n Rex must convince his crew that they can overcome a giant shark, a thick fog, and an erupting volcano to find the buried treasure.

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An excited dog see lots of fun things through the window.

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Little Elliot and Mouse take a trip to the country and make some new friends.

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A day in the life of a squirrel.

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Inspired by Little Kunoichi’s relationship with her pet ninja bunny, Chibi Samurai sets off to find a companion for himself.

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Three kids take a flashlight with them and go outside to play at night. Imaginative illustrations!

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A young boy tries to follow all of the rules in order to attend his friend’s party. Funny!

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When Little i’s dot falls off and rolls away, he sets out on a journey to find it. Clever!

Picture Books At The Library 124

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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Napoleon the chameleon tries to make friends with the animals that live near him in the jungle, but has a hard time being seen.

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A young child realizes the connection between the natural world and himself and gives thanks.

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A skater leaves lines across the ice and the page. 

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Spending all of his time on social media making online friends, Nerdy Birdy neglects his live friend Vulture.

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Two dogs decide to follow their dads when they leave for yet another trip, but end up having an adventure of their own.

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When William stumbles upon a delivery of food destined for Fairy-tale Headquarters, he decides to spice things up.

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A young boy and his father awake early to go fishing on the shores of a small pond.

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A bossy girl named Maddie tries to tell Ally and her friends that they have to follow her rules.

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Two dinosaur friends go for a drive, but the driver can’t resist the urge to honk the horn.

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Maria and her family spend the day making applesauce.

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Pepper goes with her mother to the tailor to have a dress made just for her.

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Children excitedly discuss the details of their upcoming birthdays.

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Explore the mysteries of life and death–mourn those who have passed, but celebrate those who have been born.

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Lulu is sick and can’t go outside to climb trees, her favorite thing to do, so she finds another way to climb a tree.

A child walks an old dog very, very slowly.

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A ghost is too afraid to go into the scary dark woods.

My View Book Review: Lucky To Live In New York by Kate B. Jerome

Title: Lucky to Live in New York

Author: Kate B. Jerome

Illustrator: Roger Radtke

Publisher/Year: Arcadia Kids/2017

Series: Read Together/Do Together


New York is home–and I think quite a lot that I’m lucky to live in this wonderful spot. 

The first line sets the tone for the rest of the book. Lucky to Live in New York isn’t a traditional picture book. It’s a fun, rhyming memory book with bright, colorful, lively illustrations depicting a fox family, diverse children, animals, and more. The left-hand page sports the text that introduces a simple concept or idea about the state where the child reader lives. The right-hand page encourages interaction and creativity by offering an activity related to the concept. Children are prompted to draw, write, and color in the book.

For example, one page reads, In this state we make noise for our favorite home teams. Win or lose–all great plays deserve very loud screams. The accompanying page depicts a blank T-shirt that kids can color in with their team colors.

Another page reads, New York land provides homes for more critters than me. So it’s good to protect even what we can’t see. The accompanying page invites kids to list or draw some of their favorite animals.

The book even features a family tree to fill in, and directions to make a time capsule. Children will enjoy sharing the book with their family members, either once they’ve completed the activities or to work on the activities together.

Lucky to Live in New York is part of the Read Together/Do Together series, which currently offers a book for almost every state in the U.S. If you’re stuck for ideas this holiday season, these books would make great gifts.

Back Cover to LUCKY TO LIVE IN NEW YORK

Picture Books At The Library 123

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 toddler enjoys the range of sounds he hears as his busy day comes to an end.

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Uni the unicorn brings a little girl to meet the other unicorns so that they’ll finally believe.

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When a mysterious shopkeeper tells Isaac about a legendary book that holds the answers to every question ever asked, he embarks on a lifelong search for the Book of Gold.

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A boy and his parents drive to the city of Havana, Cuba in their old family car.

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It’s time for Flynn to sleep in his first big boy bed, but there’s one rather large problem–a walrus!

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A twist on the classic fairy tale in which a queen places a pea under a young lady’s mattress to see if she truly is a princess.

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Goose is all packed up and ready to cross the street to the picnic spot. What could go wrong?

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After tossing and turning in his bed, a little boy embarks on a nighttime quest to find a cozy place to rest.

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Groovy Joe doesn’t get upset when his house fills up with dancing dogs. He keeps on rocking.

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Little Chengdu the panda tries to do as much as he can on his own, until he learns he could use some help.

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One night, both Bunny and Dog see a shooting star. Could this shared moment be the start of a friendship.

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A child on a trip with his mom, who only wants to play his video game, goes outside to explore.

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When all of the apples are missing from the tree, Fox sets off to solve the mystery.

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Robot has lost his arm. He searches everywhere, but cannot find it. Incredible cut paper art!

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Two sheep set out on an adventure and meet a third sheep who may actually be a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Funny and clever!

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In this nearly wordless alphabet book, a little cat runs away and gets caught up in a wild chase that goes everywhere from A to Z. Also funny and clever!

Interview Alert: Henry Herz

34006335Did you know that September 19 was International Talk Like A Pirate Day? You didn’t? Well, I’ll bet today’s interviewee, multi-published author Henry Herz, knew. His latest picture book, Cap’n Rex & His Clever Crew, published August 1, is overflowing with pirate pizzazz and dinosaur daring.

Let’s find out more about Henry Herz and Cap’n Rex, and a bit about his two sons, too, who’ve helped Henry create four indie-published children’s books!


 

 

We don’t often hear about authors working with their children. How did this collaboration begin?

Ten years ago, when my sons were five and seven years old, I wanted to share my love of fantasy with them. Struck by inspiration one day, I came up with a way to share the joy of entering the magical realms of fantasy. I would write a fantasy book for them.

What I did not anticipate was that my boys would give me feedback on the story. They devised some of the character (Nimpentoad) and creature (Neebel) names, and made plot line suggestions. And who better to help make the story appealing to kids than other kids? We were sufficiently encouraged by feedback, that we decided to self-publish.

My sons also helped with the art direction. Our artist would give us a rough sketch, and we would provide feedback on details and color palette. My goal of interesting my sons in fantasy transformed into encouraging them to participate in the creative process. In the end, it was a great experience for my sons, and I discovered that I loved to write children’s fiction.

Your latest picture book, Cap’n Rex & His Clever Crew, is hot off the presses. Tell us a bit about the story.

The kernel of this story was the idea that if kids like pirates and they like dinosaurs, then kids would really like a story that combined both. Sort of a literary Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. In fact, I was originally going to write about dinosaur SPACE pirates. However, my critique partners reeled me in, and said that was mashing up too many things. So, my big buccaneers set sail in a triceratops trireme, not a spaceship.

The original title was going to be DINOSAUR PIRATES. As the artwork was being finalized, I discovered that another book was coming out with that very title. So, at my suggestion, we changed the title to better reflect the story.

My favorite illustration shows the crew trudging across an island toward the buried treasure. The illustrator, Ben Schipper, did a great job conveying the personality of Cap’n Rex. He’s out in front, of course, as the leader. But he’s got this jaunty walk that just screams self-confidence or perhaps hubris. And we all know what happens to characters that get too full of themselves…

What do you like best about picture books?

From an author’s perspective, I love the challenge of telling a story, conveying a theme, and developing empathetic characters in 500 words. The whole “brevity is the soul of wit” thing. It really is a unique art form that is very little like writing a novel.

From a reader’s perspective, I love how the illustrations add depth and texture, taking the story to a higher level. What I find ironic, and most non-authors don’t realize, is that there is often very little collaboration between the author and illustrator of a picture book. You sell your manuscript to a publisher, and they take your baby and hand it over to a stranger. Authors must trust the illustrator and publisher to make the story even stronger.

What’s your favorite thing about writing and/or writing books for kids?

The fame and fortune! Seriously, I write fantasy and science fiction for kids because (a) it’s fun and challenging at the same time, and (b) I think those genres are particularly powerful ways to spark a child’s imagination and plant the seed for a lifelong love of reading. I still remember to this day escaping into the magical world of WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE in my elementary school library. And if I’m doing my job as a writer, the books will have a secondary appeal to the little kid inside all adult readers. I still love picture books, and so should you! Check out JOURNEY by Aaron Becker or THIS IS NOT MY HAT by Jon Klassen to see what I mean.

Any other books set to be published in the near future?

I have three picture books scheduled to be published next year:

HOW THE SQUID GOT TWO LONG ARMS (Pelican Publishing) – Ever wonder why two of a squid’s ten arms are longer than the others? A selfish squid is cold, so he swipes other animals’ clothing. Will he learn it’s wrong to steal in the end? This modern fable demonstrates you reap what you sow.

GOOD EGG & BAD APPLE (Schiffer Publishing) – Not all the foods in the refrigerator get along like peas in a pod. Bad Apple and Second Banana are at the root of the problem. The vegetables are steamed. Good Egg suggests his friends try different responses to the bullies, but his tactics don’t bear fruit, at first. Only by using his noodle does Good Egg save their bacon.

ALICE’S MAGIC GARDEN (Familius) – Alice lives in the dreariest boarding school in England. She pours her love and attention into caring for her little garden and its denizens. Unknown to her, these include a large caterpillar, gryphon, and a talking white rabbit. When Alice is in trouble, the magical creatures come to her aid. Love, it turns out, is magical.

Where can fans connect with you online?

Fans can find me at any of the following. I especially recommend the website because it features interviews with successful authors and illustrators, as well as humorous and artistic posts.

Websitehttps://henryherz.wordpress.com/capn-rex-his-clever-crew/

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/henry.herz/

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/HenryLHerz

Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5329496.Henry_L_Herz

Thanks so much for stopping by, Henry! I’m definitely going to keep an eye out for your next books, especially GOOD EGG & BAD APPLE! It sounds perfectly peachy! 🙂


Henry HerzHenry Herz has an engineering Bachelors from Cornell, an engineering Masters from George Washington U., and a national security studies Masters from Georgetown, none of which helps him write fantasy and science fiction for children. He is represented by Deborah Warren of East/West Literary Agency. Henry is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI). He participates in literature panels at a variety of conventions, including San Diego Comic-Con and WonderCon. Henry reviews children’s books for the San Francisco Book Review and the San Diego Book Review.

Picture Books At The Library 122

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.

There’s a book for every taste in this batch!

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A student who uses a wheelchair finds a way to see her dog each day in school.

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A group of kids finds a way to enjoy the day, rain or shine, indoors or out.

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A girl who cannot sleep decides to count sheep and other woolly animals by ones, twos, fives, and tens.

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When the sun goes down, the gorillas come out to dance and play.

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Hippo feels bad that he didn’t bring anything to the picnic, so he sets off to find some berries for his friends.

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Ben loves the very large, very unusual “dog” he adopted, but the townsfolk don’t appreciate the trouble she’s causing.

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When firefighter duckies rescue everyone and everything, chaos ensues.

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A new twist on the classic tale of the hunt for Moby Dick.

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Jack and the townsfolk are tired of eating beans, so Jack climbs up the beanstalk to find something else to eat.

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Counts up ten dogs who are waiting in a shelter, then counts back down to one as each is adopted.

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Rodney’s class goes on a field trip to the park, but it’s not the park Rodney expects.

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A curious cat wonders who owns the moon and all manner of creatures from a bird to the ocean claim it as theirs. Fun to read! Great for repeat readings!

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In the stillness of a summer dawn, two siblings leave their campsite with fishing rods, tackle, and bait and push a red canoe into the lake. Lovely art!

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Philomena gets new glasses, so sister Audrey gets some too. Sister Nora Jane thinks if both of them have them, then shouldn’t she? Adorable!

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Buddy and Earl enjoy their time in school–Buddy as student and Earl as teacher. Cute addition to the series!

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Whobert the owl sets out to solve the case of who killed Perry the Possum. Clever!

New Year=New Beginnings: September’s Winner (plus October’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.

I cannot believe how quickly this year has passed. It’s October! The holidays are right around the corner! Time is moving too fast for me these days, but at least I have the pleasure of announcing September’s prize winner and the October prize. First let’s recap January through September:

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!

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

Dr Lorax2

And the winner of September’s prize is…

Sheri Murphy

Congratulations Sheri! Please contact me with your mailing address by clicking HERE. The Lorax and his friends will soon be heading your way!


If you haven’t won a prize yet, there are still three 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.

October’s prize is a splendid scarf designed to look like a library due date card. It’s not too heavy, so it’s perfect for the cooler temperatures of fall or just for looking stylish.

Scarf

Comment on this post or any post during the month of October 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.