Today I’m delighted to have LITTLE EWE featured on Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday Series. Head on over to get Susanna’s take on the book. And in the extra fun department, she asked me to share an activity to go along with the book. It’s a fun one! What could it be, you ask? You’ll have to pop over there to find out. I’ll make it easy for you. Here’s the link:
I have a special place in my heart for Noah’s Ark themed stories. Indeed, one of my very first childhood writings was a retelling of Noah’s Ark. It’s written on pale green lined paper in second-grade print, includes crayon illustrations… and is very dramatic. Later, when my own kids were little, I loved reading Lucy Cousins NOAH’S ARK with them. We even had the matching puzzle and enjoyed assembling it and naming all the animals. And even later, when I was inspired to write a bedtime story about being scared during a storm, the ark became the setting for my rollicking, yet ultimately soothing rhymer, GOODNIGHT, ARK.
So, as you can imagine, I was very excited this week when a fun new Noah’s ark themed board book sailed on to my porch. Written by Brock Eastman and illustrated by Lee Holland, BEDTIME ON NOAH’S ARK (Harvest House Publishers, September 2020) offers young readers and their parents a fresh take on this iconic bible story – this time with a bedtime routine theme.
There are three things I especially enjoyed about this book.
First, the sweet cartoon-like illustrations are warm and inviting with oodles of animals doing fun things – like brushing their teeth and putting on their pajamas. As a parent, I can see lots of opportunities to engage little ones in simple counting and naming games.
Second, I really enjoyed Brock’s use of similes throughout the board book text to describe the bedtime routines of the animals. My favorite might be “hop into your pajamas like a kangaroo” with “stick your tongue out like a giraffe” (when brushing your teeth) as a close second. Rich, fun language like this not only warms little ones’ ears to the vividness of words, but also provides fun opportunities to play some fun “_____ like a ____” games.
Third, this simple, fun story was a sweet reminder to me (and probably to parents everywhere) of how special bedtime is. Having a nightly routine, like the animals do in Brock’s story, really does lay an important foundation in the growing up experience. Those seemingly simple nightly habits not only foster good dental and hygiene habits, they also set the stage for important unwinding techniques to treasure for a lifetime like reading before bed and laying the joys and concerns of our day releasing through prayer.
Writing this post sparked fun memories for me of bedtime at our house when my kids were little. I must have been doing something right because bedtime was never something my kids complained about or tried to delay. In fact, they sometimes even asked to go to bed early. Why? Because, just like in Brock’s story, bedtime at our house was a special, cozy time involving bubbles and bath toys, toothpaste and brushes, bedtime stories and sometimes even a couple of before bedtime games… and always ended with prayer and a song.
I suspect that if my kids were still little, this little board book would quickly have become a favorite. Happy reading!
Learn more about Brock Eastman and is books here.
[Note: Thank you to the the publisher for a sneak peek at the book which I was under no obligation to review. The views and opinions expressed on this blog about books and other things are purely my own.]
Did you know that LOVE IS KIND celebrates the precious bond between little ones and their grandparents? Indeed, it’s Little Owl’s love for his grammy that sets the story in motion… and it’s Grammy’s love for him that brings the story to a cozy resolution.
Here’s a sweet glimpse of that bond in a special clip illustrator Lison Chaperon made to celebrate LOVE IS KIND:
And now, in celebration of Grandparents Day, I’m excited to share that LOVE IS KIND is featured over at Celebrate Picture Books today with a thoughtful review, a baking activity (see picture above) and a giveaway of the new board book edition! So grab a cup of coffee, or tea, as I prefer, and head on over. I’ll make it easy for you. Press here.
Today children’s author Glenys Nellist is featuring LOVE IS KIND on her lovely blog. Head on over there to read her review. Then keep reading as I share FIVE FUN FACTS about WRITING THE BOOK! (Oh, and there’s also a giveaway!) So grab that cup of tea and head on over. Happy reading, all!
And here’s the complete list of stops I’ll be making. I hope you will join me each step of the way. =)
I’m excited because today Susanna Leonard Hill is featuring DIVA DELORES AND THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE as part of her Perfect Picture Book Friday series! Head on over there to find out why she thinks DIVA DELORES makes a great mentor text (Thank you, Susanna!). And after her review, keep reading as I share FIVE FUN FACTS about WRITING THE BOOK! (Oh, and there’s also a giveaway!) So grab that cup of tea and head on over. HAPPY FRIDAY, all!
And here’s the complete list of stops I’ll be making. I hope you will join us each step of the way. =)
Miss A. did such a lovely job on this book jacket and review that I’ve decided once again to celebrate this reluctant reader’s blossoming joy of the written word by sharing her latest book review. Our children’s librarian recommended the prequel to this book, “The War that Saved my Life”, and Miss A. loved it so much that we were both ecstatic to learn that a sequel was in the works. “The War I Finally Won” released this past October, but the copy we read was an advanced copy. Miss A. loves the thought that she was one of the first kids to read it and hopes that many, many more take her advice and enjoy this wonderful story. Anyway, here’s her review. Happy Reading!
THE WAR I FINALLY WON
The War I Finally Won, written by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, is a sequel to The War That Saved My Life. In this story, Ada and Jamie are living with Susan in a cave-feeling house in Kent, England. Susan takes Ada to get surgery to heal her crippled foot. Ada’s surgery goes well, but then Lord Thorton, Maggie’s dad, brings a German girl named Ruth, for Susan to tutor. Ruth stays with Ada, Jamie and Susan in the cave house. Ada doesn’t trust Ruth because she’s German, but Ruth tells Ada that she’s from Germany but despises Hitler because she’s Jewish.
To complicate the situation, Lady Thorton also moves in with them because the soldiers need the Thorton’s house for a place for the soldiers to stay and rest. What’s even worse is that Maggies brother, Jonathan is fighting in the war and everyone is worried that he’s going to die. There’s a lot of drama in this book, and it actually helps Ada to overcome her struggles with loss, acceptance and love.
I love this book because I can relate to Ada on many levels. For example, when Ada didn’t trust Ruth, I thought she was a spy and didn’t trust her at first either. But later, as they grew to be close as sisters, I learned that trust is important to friendship. For most of this book, Ada dislikes Lady Thorton, but soon realizes that she and Lady Thorton have several things in common like lonely childhoods and feelings of loss. She realizes they are both just doing their best to survive in a tough world. I can relate to feeling that sometimes life is tough, too. Finally, when Susan got sick and Ada felt worried and sad, I was worried about Susan too, since her friend Becky had died from pneumonia. This is the scene when Ada finally says “I love you” to Susan. This shows that Ada has accepted Susan’s love and accepts her into her life.
I give this book five out of five stars! I thought it was sad, funny and engaging all at the same time. It was sad because there was death and loss because of the war. It was funny because everything is still so new to Ada and she often misunderstands things in funny ways. For example, she thought dragons were real. It was engaging because the story felt so real that I didn’t want to stop reading it. Again, like the first, I recommend this book with all my heart!
Today I’m extra excited because I get to be the host of a very special interview (with book review included)! Please join me in welcoming picture book author Penny Parker Klostermann and young readers, James and Luke, ages 7 and 5, as they review Penny’s new book A COOKED UP FAIRY TALE (Random House Books for Young Readers, September 5, 2017) and then interview the author in a special Author Spotlight.
Before we begin – I’d like to set the stage a little. One hot afternoon in early July a shiny gold package – containing Penny’s charming new picture book – was mistakenly delivered to James’ and Luke’s doorstep. Since they were greatly excited by the arrival of the package I said they could read it first. So they did and they LOVED it. They kept asking and wanting to read the story again and again and it was actually quite some time before I got to see the book myself. Their enthusiasm inspired me and so, with their mother’s permission, I asked if they’d be interested in reviewing the book and interviewing the author for my blog!
They said yes! And the result is… well… delightful! Thank you James, Luke and Penny! Now on to the review and interview with the boys’ words in purple and Penny’s in green to match the bubbling cauldron on the book’s cover.
First, Penny’s response to how A COOKED UP FAIRY TALE was delivered to the wrong house:
I have to say that I’m in love with this delivery mishap and the events that followed. In A COOKED-UP FAIRY TALE, there is a delivery mishap too and it’s essential to the story. Not only is there this wonderful delivery mishap coincidence, but also because Laura let the boys read the book first, there’s a fun “kid review” of my book! And isn’t a “kid review” the absolute best and most important kind of review possible? It makes me smile from ear-to-ear that James and Luke loved A COOKED-UP FAIRY TALE enough to spend time with it, write a review, and even create their own art. This is definitely a happily-ever-after moment for me as an author.
Next, the review:.
A BOOK REVIEW BY JAMES
Title: A COOKED UP FAIRY TALE
Author: Penny Parker Klostermann
“This book is about a boy named William that LOVED to cook! William loved to cook so much that he used the ingredients from the fairy tales and when the fairy tales began, what William cooked messed up the fairy tales. What I thought was funny about this book was the William tried working at Gingerbread-on-the-go. I would recommend this book!”
James’s review is a treasure. Now that this book is out in the world it’s no longer mine. But when I wrote it there were certain things I hoped readers would take away when they read it. I’m excited that James thought about William just as I did when I created his character. I love that he found humor in the story. And I especially love that he recommends A COOKED-UP FAIRY TALE!
And now… the interview with authentic kid questions! (Thanks, again, boys!)
Where did you get the idea for the book?
I love David Ezra Stein’s book, INTERRUPTING CHICKEN. I think it’s so fun the way he used well-known fairy tales to tell a tale of his own. I wondered if I could come up with an idea for a story that would include fairy tales but be a story of its own. I researched by listing fairy tales and their common elements. While doing this I noticed how many fairy tales have food in them and the idea grew from there.
How did you pick the characters?
When I noticed that so many fairy tales had food items in them I had to decide how a main character would interact with food in mind. A chef seemed perfect—a chef who loved cooking so much that he ignored all else in the magical land of fairy tales. Enter William, the chef.
Then I needed a character that ran the land so that when things went wrong she could make sure the fairy tales got back on track. Enter Judy, Chief of Fairy Tale Headquarters.
Do you like cooking?
Yes and no. I do like baking. Cakes, pies, cookies, brownies, cobblers, and anything else to feed my sweet tooth. But when it comes to cooking a full-blown meal, I don’t do that very often any more. I’d rather be doing other things like writing ☺, walking, reading, or watching TV. It’s just my husband and me at home so we’d just as soon have a salad or something else simple. I am a good cook though and I can whip up a full meal when I need to.
Where did you get the title from?
Well that’s an interesting question because it wasn’t the original title. The original title was APPLES, BEANS, AND PIE, OH MY! Sort of Wizard of Oz-ish, right? But my critique group thought since that title gave a nod to the Wizard of Oz that people would expect my story to have a hint of Oz, which it didn’t at all. They had a good point. So I played around with it and thought about William cooking up trouble. That’s when A COOKED-UP FAIRY TALE came to mind.
Where did you get the illustrations?
Aren’t they perfect? My editor at Random House, Maria Modugno, picked Ben Mantle to do them. She picked him for my first book and he did an amazing job. She thought he would be just right for my second book, too. I didn’t talk to Ben at all when he was drawing the illustrations because he gets to use his creativity to tell half of the story with pictures. He’s such a talented artist.
Finally, I asked each boy to draw a picture of their favorite scene. Luke picked the three little bears (because they are funny) and James picked the city scape (because it reminded him of where he used to live).
Penny’s reaction to their delightful artwork:
If any of you reading this post follow my blog series, A GREAT NEPHEW AND A GREAT AUNT, you’re aware of my fondness for children’s artwork. Children’s artwork has an energy and an element of confidence that I wish they could hold on to forever. When I saw Luke’s drawing of the three bears and James’s drawing of the cityscape you can imagine how happy it made me. They included details from the book but made their artwork unique and special. If they lived closer I might have to borrow their drawings for a week so that I could hang them on my refrigerator and see them every time I walked by.
Thanks so much, Laura, for featuring A COOKED-UP FAIRY TALE and for sharing your preview copy with James and Luke.
James and Luke, thank you for all of your hard work. Your review, questions, and drawings made me very, very happy ☺
And thank you, Penny, for joining in the fun. Congratulations on this book and I hope it’s just the second of many more to come!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Penny Parker Klostermann is the author of A Cooked-Up Fairy Tale and There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight, both from Random House Children’s Books. She loves all kinds of books, but especially loves very silly picture books that make her laugh. Penny has been known to hug her favorite picture books and seriously hopes that someday her books will gain huggable status too. You can learn more about Penny on her website at https://pennyklostermann.com/.
Miss A. did such a lovely job on this book jacket and review that I’ve decided to celebrate this reluctant reader’s new joy of the written word by occasionally sharing her thoughts on what she’s been reading. Our children’s librarian recommended “The War that Saved my Life” and we loved it so much that we bought our own copy to keep. It turned out to be an extra timely selection because Miss A. and I will be traveling to England in June. That’s where this story is set and because of the story Miss A. is now extra excited about the trip and hopes that we will be able to see an Anderson shelter. I’ll have to see what we can do about that. Anyway, here’s her review. Happy Reading!
The War That Saved My Life
The War That Saved My Life, by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, is set in England during World War ll. Ada has a clubbed foot and she lives with her cruel mother and her younger brother Jamie. Soon after the story begins, Ada and her brother Jamie escape London so they won’t be bombed. Once Ada and Jamie arrive in the countryside, they stay with a woman named Miss Smith. Even though Miss Smith has never had children and is nervous about caring for them, she quickly grows to care for them. But Ada doesn’t understand this.
Instead, Ada is overwhelmed and confused. So, when Miss Smith tries to hug her, Ada thinks she’s trying to punch her. When Miss Smith gives Ada a compliment, she feels like she doesn’t deserve it because of her crippled foot. When Miss Smith sews her a beautiful dress, she cries uncontrollably and can’t stop. And, just when she’s starting to accept Miss Smith’s love, her mother comes and forces them to return to London. Will Ada and Jamie be forever doomed to life with their cruel mother, or will they be reunited with Miss Smith? You’ll have to read to find out.
I liked this book because it is very touching. When I read it I felt so emotional on the inside. My favorite part is when Ada makes a friend by a odd greeting. Her friend named Margaret fell off her horse and Ada helped her up and brought her home safely. I was rooting for Ada to meet a friend because she was so lonely. I felt so happy that Ada was finally able to feel what love and friendship is, not only with Margaret, but with Miss Smith too.
I give this book a 5 star rating because it’s sad, happy, and a little bit funny. This book has such a good beginning and ending, that’s why I loved it. I laughed sympathetically when Jamie kept wetting the bed because he’s lonely. I cried when Mam came and took them and Miss Smith didn’t even wave goodbye. Finally, I was happy when Miss Smith came to save Ada and Jamie from the bombing. From the first page to the last, I recommend this book with all my heart!
Earlier this week GOODNIGHT, MANGER was reviewed by John A. Sellers, the children’s reviews editor at Publishers Weekly. The review was part of KidLit TV‘s “2015 Holiday Children’s Book Special” which aired on STORYMAKERS, an entertaining KidLit TV talk show, hosted by Rocco Staino, Contributing Editor at School Library Journal, a contributing writer at The Huffington Post, and Director of Empire State Center for the Book. His special guests for the holiday-themed episode were John A. Sellers of Publishers Weekly, Maria Russo, children’s book editor for the The New York Times, and John Schumacher (aka Mr. Schu), Ambassador of School Libraries for Scholastic and former K-5 teacher-librarian.
The episode runs approximately half an hour but it is well worth the watch, so grab a cup of eggnog and cozy up for 3o fun-filled minutes of festive kidlit book talk!
If you don’t have time for the whole show, please take a peek at the GOODNIGHT, MANGER review which begins at 24:40 and runs about two minutes.
For a lovely introduction to the episode which includes descriptions and links for all the books reviewed, press here.
Finally, I want to thank KidLit TV for being such a fabulous resource for kid lit fans of all ages. Comprised of a diverse group of parents, educators, librarians, kid lit creators, and award winning filmmakers, KidLit TV works creatively to bring great books to kids. Their self-described mission is to create fun new ways to reinforce an appreciation of reading that children will carry with them for the rest of their lives. They are doing a great job and have even been awarded the Parents’ Choice Gold Award! What a wonderful contribution they are making to the world of children’s literature!
Today I am delighted to have Penny Klostermann here to share three extension activities for her delightful debut picture book THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT, published by Random House (2015), and illustrated by Ben Mantle. Though out less than a week, this rollicking rhyming tale about a very hungry dragon is already receiving rave reviews. “No matter how many swallowed-fly titles you own, this one belongs on your shelf too,” writes Kirkus Reviews. “This will be a great addition to the kindergarten/first grade curriculum on comparing and contrasting similar stories,” raves School Library Journal. To these, I would add that from my perspective as writer, teacher, and mother, Penny’s twist on the beloved “Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly” has everything eager (and even reluctant) young readers desire – great plot, hilarious illustrations, and (my own daughter’s favorite) – gassy humor! Without giving too much away, let’s just say that this bit of gassiness was a big hit at our house.
Now here’s Penny with three engaging extension activities for THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT. And, if you can’t already guessed, Penny’s first career was in the classroom!
Extension Activities For There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight
Feed The Knight To The Dragon: Classroom or party play activity. This will be a Pin the Tail on the Donkey type activity. Using the images from the book as a guide draw a dragon on a large piece of poster board. Either draw small knights for students to color or have students draw and color their own knights. If you plan to play the game multiple times, laminate the dragon and the knights. Students will take turns being blindfolded as they tape their knight to the dragon. The student whose knight is closest to the dragon’s mouth wins the game.
There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Rhyme: Rhyme recognition activity. Since my book is written in rhyme, it is perfect for a rhyming game. Using the images from the book as a guide draw a dragon on a large piece of poster board. Draw 9 wooden stakes similar to the one holding the “turn around now” sign in the picture below. Make stakes long enough to hold 2-4 signs (rhyming words). Place stakes in front of dragon as if he is eyeing them for a tasty rhyming meal. Make signs from rhyming words to attach to wooden stakes. Start with these words-knight, polite, steed, speed, squire, fire, cook, book, lady, shady, castle, tassel, moat, throat, enough, stuff. Have students take turns taping the signs with matching rhyming words on the stakes. Challenge students to come up with other rhymes that would match those on the stakes.
There Was an Old Dragon on the Loose: Large group tag game-Perfect for playground time or physical education class. Using images from the book as a guide, create small cards (approx. the size of playing cards) with these images: 1 dragon card (student with dragon card will be the dragon)
10 of each-knights, steeds, squires, cooks, ladies, castles, moats. Choose one student to be the dragon. The dragon will wear a red scrimmage vest or a red wristband. Distribute other cards among the remainder of students. Remind them to keep their card a secret. The instructor should be left with a pile of extra cards. (If you have more cards than students, make sure at least 2 knight cards are distributed) Have all students scatter except for the dragon. When instructor calls, “There was an old dragon,” the dragon will begin chasing the other students. If a student is tagged, they must hand their card to the dragon. If they have a knight card, they must take the dragon’s card and the red vest/wristband to become the new dragon. After the previous dragon hands over the dragon card and the wristband, they exchange their knight card with a new card from the instructor’s pile of cards. On the other hand, if a tagged student has any card other than the dragon card, they are free to take another card from the instructor after turning their card over to the dragon. They may continue the game with their new card. Periodically, the instructor should collect the cards the dragon has collected so they will have cards to distribute to other students. The game is ongoing since the dragon card changes hands time after time.
BIO: Penny Parker Klostermann is the author of THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT. She loves all kinds of books, but especially loves very silly picture books that make her laugh. She has been known to hug her favorite picture books and seriously hopes that someday her books will gain huggable status too. Penny lives in Abilene, TX. Find out more about Penny on her website. You can also follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY! If you’d like a chance to win a FREE copy of THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT, published by Random House (2015), and illustrated by Ben Mantle, please post a comment below. If you’d like to increase your chances of winning, please also tweet about this post on Twitter, share it on Facebook, and reblog it. For each additional “shout out,” an extra piece of paper will be added to the magic sorting hat with your name on it, so be sure to let me know if you send any “shout outs”. (NOTE: Must be U.S. resident to enter.) The contest ends Thursday, 8/13/2015 at 11:59 pm EST. The winner will be announced on Friday!