Saturday, November 10, 2018

BOOK REVIEW: Stegothesaurus by Bridget Theos, Illustrated by T. L. McBeth

StegothesaurusTITLE: STEGOTHESAURUS
AUTHOR: Bridget Heos
ILLUSTRATED BY: T. L. McBeth
PUBLISHED: Henry Holt


JACKET FLAP: Once upon a time there were three dinosaurs. A stegosaurus. Another stegosaurus and a stegothesaurus.

Hello! Greetings! Salutations!

He was a little different from his brothers.

SPOILER ALERT: These notes give away the plot of the story.

NOTES: The pleasing rhythm of three beats can be seen here, in the three dinosaurs, the three words in which Stegothesaurus expresses himself, the way that the three each weigh in on what they see/feel, the three things they encounter (clouds, heat, allosaurus), the three attempts Stegothesaurus makes to describe the Allosaurus, the three groups of words they say/share when they spend the day together, and then Stegothesaurus' response to finding out how the Allothesaurus got so smart also had three beats, with three words in each of the first two beats. The text of run, ran, ran might also be considered three beats. And the following three spreads depict three dinosaurs again.  Finally, the resolution features the three each weighing in on their personal suggestions, with Stegothesaurus using three words in his and then the Stegosaurus citing three words for the end of his tale, with the author crossing them out and writing THE END.

I used this as a comp title for one of my dinosaur books, and found it to be interesting. Being a structure girl, I enjoyed the structure, but yet at times felt it was perhaps a bit over much. And while I really did like the subversive twist, I didn't feel the level of character change I might have liked to see. Still, I do think that the premise is extremely clever (hmmm...) and a good book and worth reading and rereading, which is the point.

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PLEASE follow this blog so you don't miss any tidbit of information and please feel free to leave any comment or question you may have. I will do my bes to answer all! 


Lynne Marie is the author of Hedgehog Goes to Kindergarten - illustrated by Anne Kennedy (Scholastic, 2011), Hedgehog's 100th Day of School – illustrated by Lorna Hussey (Scholastic, January 2017), The Star of the Christmas Play -- illustrated by Lorna Hussey (Beaming Books, 2018), Moldilocks and the 3 Scares -- illustrated by David Rodriguez Lorenzo (Sterling, pending) and Let's Eat! Mealtimes Around the World -- illustrated by Parwinder Singh (Beaming Books, 2019). You can learn more about her at www.LiterallyLynneMarie.com. 

To order the Star in the Christmas Play, click the title.

Monday, November 5, 2018

A Review of LIBBA: THE MAGNIFICENT MUSICAL LIFE OF ELIZABETH COTTEN by Laura Veirs

Image result for libba by tatiana veirs
TITLE: The Magnificent Musical Life of Elizabeth Cotten
AUTHOR: Laura Veirs
ILLUSTRATOR: Tatyana Fazlalizadeh
PUBLISHER: Chronicle Books, 2018

JACKET FLAP:

Like a girl doing what she was born to do, Libba played the guitar, upside down and backwards.

Elizabeth Cotten was only a little girl when she picked up a guitar for the first time. It wasn't hers -- it was her big brother's -- and it wasn't strung right -- she was left-handed. But she flipped that guitar up and around and figured out how to play it anyway. By the time she was eleven, she'd written "Freight Train," a song so famous you might even be able to hum it right now. And by the end of her life, everyone from the California beaches to the rolling hills of England knew her music. Libba's trip to success wasn't always stright, and it sure was bumpy, but she never stopped in her tracks. She always kept rolling.

This lyrical, loving book from acclaimed singer-songwriter Laura Veirs and debut illustrator Tatyana Fazlalizadeh tells the story of the determined, gifted, daring Elizabeth Cotten - one of America's greatest folk musicians.

BEGINNING:

Libba Cotten hear music everywhere. 

She heard it in the river when she brought in water for her mother. She heard it in the ax when she chopped wood for kindling. She heard it in the freight trains moving down the tracks near her home. 

NOTES: Written in beautiful, lyrical language and similarly illustrated. It's a wonderful, inspiring story of never losing sight of the track you're on. Even better, if you recognize the song Freight Train, and the names Pete Seeger and Peter, Paula and Mary, Bob Dylan and the Grateful Dead, you will find out some fascinating tie-ins and facts. So this book doesn't just have takeaway value for kids, but for adults too. So well written and so very inspiring!

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PLEASE follow this blog so you don't miss any tidbit of information and please feel free to leave any comment or question you may have. I will do my bes to answer all! 


Lynne Marie is the author of Hedgehog Goes to Kindergarten - illustrated by Anne Kennedy (Scholastic, 2011), Hedgehog's 100th Day of School – illustrated by Lorna Hussey (Scholastic, January 2017), The Star of the Christmas Play -- illustrated by Lorna Hussey (Beaming Books, 2018), Moldilocks and the 3 Scares -- illustrated by David Rodriguez Lorenzo (Sterling, pending) and Let's Eat! Mealtimes Around the World -- illustrated by Parwinder Singh (Beaming Books, 2019). You can learn more about her at www.LiterallyLynneMarie.com. 

To order the Star in the Christmas Play, click the title.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

A Review of BLOOM: A Story of Fashion Designer Elsa Schiaparelli by Kyo Maclear Pictures by Julie Morstad

Bloom: A Story of Fashion Designer Elsa SchiaparelliTITLE: Bloom: A Story of Fashion Designer Elsa Schiaparelli
AUTHOR: Kyo Maclear
ILLUSTRATOR: By Julie Morstad
PUBLISHER: HarperCollins, 2018

JACKET FLAP: As a little girl in Rome, Elsa Schiaparelli was told she was not pretty. What is beauty? Elsa wondered as she grew older. So she sought out beauty around her and found it everywhere, in colors and scents of the Rome flower market, in the garden, and in the attic of her family home, buried in a chest of old dresses. She found affection from her dear uncle in Milano.

"Voliamo," said Uncle Giovanni. "Let's fly!"

And Elsa did fly! "Schiap," as she later called herself, developed an artist's eye and imagination. These bloomed in wildly imaginative dresses, hats, shoes and jewelry that made her an important name in fashion. Defining beauty on her own creative and rebellious terms was the key to Elsa Schiaparelli's happiness and success and is still seen today in her legacy of wild imagination. Daring and different, Elsa Schiaparelli used art to make fashion and it was quite marvelous.

NOTES: This book really appealed to my artistic nature, from the title -- a suggestion to bloom, to the topic - a fashion designer and the pleasing chaos of the flowery cover. Elsa presented a flawed main character, which most of us would be able to identify with, as we all lack perfection in one way or another. Being a disappointment was an issue she dealt with during her life, even from the onset, when she was not the boy that her parents had longed for.

I enjoyed the colors, shapes and smells of the palazzo and the piazza and the flavorful words woven throughout, like canella, melone, fiori, Milano and more. I feel for the main character each time I hear the word brutta ("ugly"). I cheered that she made a name for herself and finally set herself free from what he parents and sister thought.

It has such an important message:

To the women I inspire, and the women who inspire me, and the girl I was, who once felt so ugly that she planted seeds on her face. All of us together: We BLOOM and BLOOM.

My rating: 5 out of 5 Peas

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PLEASE follow this blog so you don't miss any tidbit of information and please feel free to leave any comment or question you may have. I will do my bes to answer all! 


Lynne Marie is the author of Hedgehog Goes to Kindergarten - illustrated by Anne Kennedy (Scholastic, 2011), Hedgehog's 100th Day of School – illustrated by Lorna Hussey (Scholastic, January 2017), The Star of the Christmas Play -- illustrated by Lorna Hussey (Beaming Books, 2018), Moldilocks and the 3 Scares -- illustrated by David Rodriguez Lorenzo (Sterling, pending) and Let's Eat! Mealtimes Around the World -- illustrated by Parwinder Singh (Beaming Books, 2019). You can learn more about her at www.LiterallyLynneMarie.com. 

To order the Star in the Christmas Play, click the title.


Wednesday, October 31, 2018

MENTOR TEXTS: Yet Another Case Study by Lynne Marie

Image result for readI may possibly be boring some of you with my posts of mentor texts, but I am doing it for a few important reasons. If you didn't pick them up from the last posts, I will recap / explain them here.

1. Many people ask the secret to my success. I tell them reading. Sometimes they look at me funny as they want to become writers, not readers. Nonetheless, reading did and does inform my success and I suspect it always will. As you can see, this advice does not only come from me, but from the great Dr. Seuss himself! So if you want to KNOW / LEARN how to be a successful or MORE successful writer and GO PLACES with your success, then you know what to do. So, READ! By reading, you learn to write!

2. These lists I am making are not just for this blog. It's what I do. Read books, keep track of titles and themes, and take notes. It takes work to become a published author. DO THE WORK!

3. By reading Jacket Copy, you learn to write jacket copy, whether it manifest in the form of a pitch or a summary.

4. Most often, in order to get published by a particular publisher, you need to KNOW a particular publisher. There's no better way to learn what publishers publish and what's on their list/backlist.

Image result for sun dog by deborah kerbelSUN DOG by Deborah Kerbel
Illustrated by Suzanne Del Rizzo
Pajama Press, 2018 (Ontario, Canada)

JACKET COPY: Juno and her boy live in a red house at the top of the world. One day Juno will be big and strong enough to help pull a sled across the tundra, but for now she is just a small puppy with a big-dog heart. Small puppies have to go to bed when their boys do, but Juno can't sleep with the midnight sun shining out across the town. She slips outside to play. Returning to see a hungry polar bear sniffing around the open door, Juno has no time to be afraid. She must find her voice, summon the big dog inside her little body and save her beloved boy. 

MY NOTES: I can see this is well-suited for and would be appealing to, the publisher submitted, which is a Canadian publisher. Kids love dogs, so that is a draw, too!

Image result for purple mountain majesties book
PURPLE MOUNTAIN MAJESTIES: The Story of Katherine Lee Bates and America The Beautiful
By Barbara Younger
Illustrated by Stacey Schuett
Puffin Books, 1998

SUMMARY: In the summer of 1893, a young professor named Katherine Lee Bates took a train west from Massachusetts to Colorado. On her trip, she saw the beauty and the grandeur of our nation -- its mountains, fertile prairies, and shining seas - and was moved to compose a poem that would later be set to music and stir generations to come. Glowing paintings and lyrical text blend together to show the magnificence of the United States of America and how it inspired Katherine Lee Bates to pen the poem that would become our nations' unofficial national anthem.

MY NOTES: Katherine Lee Bates wrote the poem as an adult, but this treatment starts with her love for words, schooling and then travels. What's so grand about this book is that it is as much a portrait of America ans Katherine Lee Bates. It was fascinating to learn how the seeds for what ultimately became a song evolved.
Image result for wordy birdy
WORDY BIRDY by Tammi Sauer
Illustrated by Dave Mottram
Doubleday / Penguin Random House 2018

JACKET FLAP: Hi, I'm Wordy Birdie. I'm the Star of this book. Really! This book contains lots of things, like drama and heart and humor and my friends and the words "tuna salad" and..oh, I almost forgot! There's also a big scary bear....I give this book five gold stars, two wings up, and a standing ovation. Now it's time to STOP reading this book jacket stuff and dig into the real thing. What are you waiting for?

NOTES: This is definitely clever and fun, and the twist at the end is satisfying. It breaks a few rules, but effectively. Word Birdy will keep talking and you'll keep reading! I did also note this as a comp for one of my WIPs. Vaguely similar, but nicely different.

Image result for i can see just fineI CAN SEE JUST FINE
By Eric Barclay
Abrams / Appleseed, 2013.

JACKET FLAP: No copy.

NOTES: This is an EXCELLENT example of a story with great parallel structure, as well as one that circles back to the beginning in a clever way. It's fairly short and sweet so it is easy to see the balance. A good exercise is to use post-its and mark points that are referred to in the beginning and the end. A very balanced story with a satisfying resolution! Also, despite being about going to the eye doctor (which educates children on what will happen when they do), it's also fun.

Image result for but the bear came backBUT THE BEAR CAME BACK
By Tammi Sauer
Illustrated by Dan Taylor
Sterling Children's Books, 2018

JACKET FLAP: Knock, knock. Who's there? A Bear! A furry, friendly, PERSISTENT bear. And no matter how many times a solitary little boy informs him that he should go home, the bear keeps coming back, until one day, he doesn't. Before long, the boy realizes how much he cares about the bear...and misses him. Is there any way he can get the bear to come back?

MY NOTES: It is wonderful how the author developed a narrative arc and character change, often using few words. Like I CAN SEE JUST FINE, above, This is a great one to study to see structure, as well as leaving room for the illustrator and of course, narrative arc and character change). Also, this is one of those cases where I had a very similar idea in my head, but never pursued it. The take away value - don't let good ideas slip away!

AMERICAN THE BEAUTIFUL
Illustrated by Wendell Lee Minor
Poem by Katherine Lee Bates
G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2003

JACKET FLAP: Traversing the entire nation, from New York City to Pike's Peak, from Oregon Coast to the Florida Everglades, encompassing multiple ears, from Pilgrims to wagon trains, from the Wright Brothers to NASA -- this is a patriotic journey across land and time.

"America the Beautiful" has been stirring hearts for generations, and now acclaimed artist Wendell Minor pairs Katherine Lee Bate's classic poem with spectacular visual accompaniment. His stunning paintings American landscapes and historical moments that celebrate our nation -- from see to shining sea.

MY NOTES: This is an artistic treatment of the poem, with an introduction to Katherine Lee Bates and her inspiration, and then the poem, with coordinated, beautiful and relevant art.

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PLEASE follow this blog so you don't miss any tidbit of information and please feel free to leave any comment or question you may have. I will do my bes to answer all! 

Lynne Marie is the author of Hedgehog Goes to Kindergarten - illustrated by Anne Kennedy (Scholastic, 2011), Hedgehog's 100th Day of School – illustrated by Lorna Hussey (Scholastic, January 2017), The Star of the Christmas Play -- illustrated by Lorna Hussey (Beaming Books, 2018), Moldilocks and the 3 Scares -- illustrated by David Rodriguez Lorenzo (Sterling, pending) and Let's Eat! Mealtimes Around the World -- illustrated by Parwinder Singh (Beaming Books, 2019). You can learn more about her at www.LiterallyLynneMarie.com. 

To order the Star in the Christmas Play, click the title.







Tuesday, October 30, 2018

MENTOR TEXTS: Another Case Study by Lynne Marie

Image result for readThere's a surprising secret regarding writing (at least to some) that there's just as much reading involved, as writing.

You can literally discover something with EVERY book you read, good, bad or indifferent. What to do, what not to do, what's been done, what you can do better, etc.

With that in mind, I am again diving in my reading pile. For the most part, I do read a few picture books each and every day. I really do believe that this has informed my success in this market. 

Image result for a good day for a hatA GOOD DAY FOR A HAT by T. Nat Fuller
Illustrated by Rob Hodgson
Abrams Appleseed, 2017

JACKET COPY:  Mr. Brown has a hat for every occasion, and today he needs them all! Every time he opens his front door, the scene changes -- and Mr. Brown changes his hat to match. At last, he is on his way, and we see why it is truly a good day for a hat! 

MY NOTES: This was a great find for me. The editor who acquired one of my books while at Sterling is now with this house, which gives me a connection I would like to use someday. I do know Abrams Appleseed is geared toward ages 0-4, so this is a perfect example of a fun book that would appeal to little ones and has some educational take-away value (matching hats with situations).

Image result for what do animals do all dayWHAT DO ANIMALS DO ALL DAY by Wendy Hunt
Illustrated by Muti
Quarto/Wide Eyed Editions, 2018

JACKET COPY: What do animals do all day? Find out in this book, which features more than ONE HUNDRED ANIMALS. 

Explore 14 diverse habitats, including a jungle, a desert, and a coral reef, then turn the page to find out what each animal is called and what it gets up to in the wild. 

This is the perfect book to introduce little ones to animals big and small, and to explain how they work together in nature!

MY NOTES: I have quite a few manuscripts set in animal habitats, which feature a variety of animals, reptiles and fish. Rather than being a comp book, exactly, this book proved entirely useful as a resource book, both for facts AND inspiration!

Image result for tyrannosaurus rex v ednaTYRANNOSAURUS REX VS. EDNA - THE VERY FIRST CHICKEN
By Douglas Rees
Illustrated by Jed Henry
Macmillan/Henry Holt and Company, 2017

JACKET COPY: Tyrannosaurs wants breakfast. 

He stomps and roars and he gnashes his teeth -- and he scares all the other dinosaurs right out of the forest. 

Only Edna, the very first chicken, is unafraid. She won't let that bully T-Rex push her around! But will Edna's mighty beak and terrible flapping wings be a match for T. Rex's mighty claws and terrible jaws? This hilarious tale of bravery will have readers clucking in triumph! 

Image result for monster's new undies
MY NOTES: I have a dinosaur manuscript or two as well as a chicken manuscript or two, but never both together LOL, so this book helped inform/add to my knowledge of what books on these topics are out there.

MONSTER'S NEW UNDIES by Samantha Berger
Illustrated by Tad Carpenter
Scholastic/Orchard Books, 2017

JACKET FLAP: Beware! Monster needs new underwear.

MY NOTES: Of course, I have a monster manuscript or two. Who doesn't?  So this is a monster book mashed with an underwear problem, which proves to be a unique treatment of a monster book.

Image result for Knock knock by tammi sauerKNOCK, KNOCK by Tammi Sauer
Illustrated by Guy Francis
Scholastic/Scholastic Press, 2018

JACKET COPY: Bear is getting ready for his long winter nap, but his friends have other plans! KNOCK KNOCK!

MY NOTES: Short and sweet, and extremely fun and clever. Little ones will adore this book! This is a good example of child-appeal.



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PLEASE follow this blog so you don't miss any tidbit of information and please feel free to leave any comment or question you may have. I will do my bes to answer all! 

Lynne Marie is the author of Hedgehog Goes to Kindergarten - illustrated by Anne Kennedy (Scholastic, 2011), Hedgehog's 100th Day of School – illustrated by Lorna Hussey (Scholastic, January 2017), The Star of the Christmas Play -- illustrated by Lorna Hussey (Beaming Books, 2018), Moldilocks and the 3 Scares -- illustrated by David Rodriguez Lorenzo (Sterling, pending) and Let's Eat! Mealtimes Around the World -- illustrated by Parwinder Singh (Beaming Books, 2019). You can learn more about her at www.LiterallyLynneMarie.com. 

To order the Star in the Christmas Play, click the title.