Monday, May 8, 2017

PPBF: Mabel and the Queen of Dreams by Henry, Joshua and Harrison Herz with Illustrations by Lisa Woods

TitleMabel and the Queen of Dreams 
Written By:  Henry, Joshua and Harrison Herz
Illustrated ByLisa Woods
Published By: Schiffer Publishing, 2016
Genre: Fiction 
Suitable For Ages: 2-6

Themes/Topics: Bedtime / Dreams / Fairy Tales
Mabel was an expert at not going to sleep. 
"I'm thirsty."
"I am not tired." 
"I have to pee."
"I'm too tangled to sleep."
"Will you tell me a story?" That always worked. 
Brief SynopsisFrom the publisher: Little Mabel is an expert at not going to sleep. She knows all the best bed-time avoiding excuses....Luckily, Mom's quiver of bedtime tales includes the story of the Fae Queen, who paints children's dreams and can visit only when their eyes are closed. The story is inspired by Mercutio's soliloquy in Romeo and Juliet, in which he details how the tiny fairy queen influences people's dreams as she passes by in her flying chariot. The soothing story evokes images of an ant worm in a gray coat and a hazelnut-shell chariot with a roof of grasshopper wings. told in lyrical language that adults will also appreciate, the story helps parents coax their kids to sleep.
Why I Like This Book: Many, many reasons, including everything mentioned above, especially the Romeo and Juliet reference! I truly liked that a timeless, universal problem has been portrayed in an new and interesting way and nodded toward classic literature. Notably, the thread was seamlessly woven into a modern bedtime story. I truly appreciated the effective set-up, structure and resolution of this lyrical picture book. The illustrations were well-matched and engaging. Well done! 
For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

Friday, April 21, 2017

PPBF: Bob and Joss Get Lost by Peter McCleery, Illustrated by Vin Vogel

Title: Bob and Joss Get Lost!
Written By:  Peter McCleery
Illustrated By: Vin Vogel
Published By: Harper/Harper Collins Publishers 2017
Genre: Fiction 
Suitable For Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: Boredom / Personal Views / Communication
Bob was bored. "I'm bored," he said. "let's do something."
"Let's take a boat trip," said Joss. 
"No way," said Bob. 
"Why not?" asked Joss. 
"We will get lost," said Bob. 
"We won't get lost," said Joss. 
Brief SynopsisFrom the publisher: They get lost. Or do they? Join Bob and Joss on a hilarious adventure as they get shipwrecked on a tropical island. 
Why I Like This Book: I enjoyed the opposing personalities (shown via art and text) of Bob and Joss with their different outlooks and that despite that, they are best friends. That in itself paves the path for an interesting situations -- which lead the reader along on a fun and funny adventure.  Vin Vogel's art perfectly captures the spirit of this duo. A fun adventure for anyone to go on, but especially appealing to little boys. So fun, I didn't even mind sheepy-looking stormclouds or getting shipwrecked!
I'd like to see where Bob and Joss take us in the future! 
For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

BACKSTAGE at The Family (and Frog) Haggadah with Karen Rostoker Gruber and Ron Isaacs

The Family and Frog! Haggadah

by Karen Rostoker-Gruber, as Frog! and Ron Isaacs.

Make your seder different than all other seders!
Start with a traditional Haggadah text, add artwork, your favorite songs and fun facts, then add a hopping frog to its pages and you’ll get. . . 

The Family and Frog! Haggadah

Since the release of this Haggadah, things have been a bit crazy.  We’ve been doing Passover shows with Frog (I’m also a ventriloquist), Barnes & Noble bought 900 copies for their stores nation-wide, there were promotional videos taken of Frog (I’ll put a link to them at the bottom of this article), our book was in the March edition of Hadassah Magazine, we were on the front page of The New Jersey Jewish News (March 23), and on one of those days, our book hit #1 on Amazon!

Background info on how it came about
The Family and Frog! Haggadah came about in a board room at Behrman House, a Jewish publishing company, based in Springfield, NJ.  Our book, “Farmer Kobi’s Hanukkah Match,” was just named a National Jewish Book Award Finalist, and the editorial staff at Behrman House wanted to know if Ron and I would like to work on a Haggadah together.  The stipulation was that the Haggadah was to be like no other:  It had to be traditional in content, but fun! for the whole family—ages 3-90.  That was a tall order.

Ron wrote the Haggadah, because he is a Rabbi, and I decided to add a character that would liven up the seder.  Dena, the Editorial Director, suggested a frog, which was brilliant!

That night I went home, read Ron’s whole Haggadah, and started letting my character, Frog, comment on everything—similar to things that someone might say at an actual Passover seder—under their breath or otherwise.   

Every time I thought that I was done, and spoke with Ann Koffsky, the editor on the project, or Dena Neusner, the Editorial Director, they pushed my creativity more and more.  I was allowed to do anything that I wanted to do with Frog, so I did.  I have Frog interacting with the Haggadah in ways that were never done before. 

Frog is 5 years old and gender neutral.  Frog spills things, makes a matzah mess, plays guitar, runs away from Pharaoh’s army, and even eats a locust during the seder.  The sky was the limit. 

I gave Ann and Dena three times the amount of material for Frog, so that they could take things away and still be left with a whole lot of fun! 

This Haggadah was one of the hardest, most challenging manuscripts I have ever worked on.  It changed daily as Ron was still editing while I was getting Frog to comment on things that he was working on at the time.  Plus. . . there was the deadline.  J

The printed Haggadah was more than I ever expected it to be.  It’s beautiful!  Ann designed it to look like a very traditional Haggadah, from the typefaces and colors that she chose, to the background that resembles a piece of papyrus.  She also selected gorgeous pieces of art and artifacts for each page--and then. . .popping out of corners, across the pages, and jumping to different sections, is a cartoon amphibian—Frog.  It’s unexpected and fun!  Not only is there a cartoon frog bursting through the binding, singing songs and breaking matzah, but there are also “Fun Facts,” “Did You Know” and “Try This,” parts of the Haggadah, which elevates this Haggadah even higher and encompasses so many different age groups that there is literally something for everyone.  

I am so proud of this project.  And the finished product came out beyond my wildest expectations.  Plus, Frog LOVES it!  And that was important to me.    
                     --Karen Rostoker-Gruber
! do LOVE it!
I do LOVE it!
It’s toadily awesome!

Here’s a link to the videos of Frog:
Author bios
My first book came out February 15, 2017, and I’m only 5 years old!
I write everything in green.  That’s me in the picture above. I’m with Karen.  She adopted me.  I came all the way from Texas to be with her. J

Karen Rostoker-Gruber is an award-winning children’s book author. Her first children’s book, “Food Fright,” was published in 2003 by Price Stern Sloan. Her second children’s book, “Rooster Can’t Cock-a-Doodle-Doo,” was published in 2004 by Dial Books for Young Readers.  It was nominated for the Missouri Show Me Award in 2005.  “Bandit,” “Bandit’s Surprise,” and “Ferret Fun” came out from Marshall Cavendish and all received starred reviews in School Library Journal!  “Tea Time,” her first board book, came out from Marshall Cavendish in 2010.   “Bandit” was nominated for the South Carolina Book Award and both “Bandit” and “Bandit’s Surprise” were featured on Celebrity Apprentice, and “Ferret Fun” was preliminarily nominated for the Missouri Show Me Award.  Both “Rooster Can’t Cock-a-Doodle-Doo” (in 2005) and “Bandit” (in 2009) were listed as International Reading Association—Children’s Book Council Children’s Choice Award recipients.  In the spring of 2017, “Maddie the Mitzvah Clown,” will be published by Apples and Honey Press, a division of Behrman House.   

Rabbi Ron Isaacs has served Temple Sholom in Bridgewater, New Jersey, as its spiritual leader since 1975. He has a doctorate in educational technology from Columbia University’s Teachers College. An adjunct lecturer at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, he is the author of more than 100 books, including “Ascending Jacob’s Ladder: Jewish Views of Angels, Demons, and Evil Spirits;” “Ask the Rabbi: The Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How of Being Jewish;” and “Kosher Living: It’s More than Just the Food.” He is the first rabbi in New Jersey to receive the United Synagogue’s Keter Torah award for outstanding lifetime achievement and rabbinical excellence. He is known as the “teaching rabbi.”

Their book, “Farmer Kobi’s Hanukkah Match,” was a National Jewish Book Award Finalist, and won the 2016 Outstanding Children’s Literature Award from the Church and Synagogue Library Association.

NOTE: Please check out yesterday's post for a chance to win this wonderful book and have frog's presence at your Passover Seder!

Friday, April 7, 2017

PPBF: The Family and Frog Haggadah by Rabbi Ron Isaacs & Karen Rostoker-Gruber Pictures by: Jackie Urbanovic

Title: The Family and Frog Haggadah 
Written By: Rabbi Ron Isaacs & Karen Rostoker-Gruber
Illustrated By: Jackie Urbanovic
Published By: Behrman House, 2017
Genre: Fiction 
Suitable For Ages: 4-8
Themes/Topics: Persistence, Determination. 
Searching for Chameitz. 
Before Passover starts, we clean our homes and get rid of all our bread, pasta and most types of grains -- also called chameitz. We do this to remember that when the Israelites fled Egypt, they left in such a hurry that the dough that they prepared for the journey did not have sufficient time to rise into bread. Instead, it became the flatbread we call matzah. 

Frog: Wait -- I found a piece of toadst! 
Brief SynopsisFrom the publisher: “Make your seder different than all the other seders! Start with a traditional Haggadah text, add vibrant artwork, your favorite songs and fun facts to it. Then add a hopping frog to its pages, and you'll get....The Family and Frog! Haggadah. Pass on your timeless heritage while creating new seer traditions that you and your family will look forward to repeating year after year. 
Why I Like This Book: I love that this book is read, paging from right to left and that it is an informative and inspiring educational guide to a seder celebration. Frog's illustrations are entertaining and will keep little ones engaged while they learn more about their holiday. Although this is a picture book for children, there is so much packed into this book by way historical and traditional information, as well as stories to share and fun activity suggestions, that there is definitely something for everyone! This book can be enjoyed year after year as your children learn and grow and focus on different aspects of the text and activities. 

In addition to my being a fan of Karen Rostoker-Gruber's picture books, I am also an admirer of Jackie Urbanovic's books as well. I found this to be a wonderful collaboration with Rabbi Ron Isaacs! Mazel Tov! 
Five Stars and a perfect picture book friday and Passover pick!
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

And now, for an exciting GIVEAWAY! I have one copy of The Family and Frog Haggadah to give to one lucky winner! This book (and Frog) will become an important part of your family Passover celebrations. Just leave a comment for Karen that shares an aspect of your own family celebration that is special to you. I will choose a winner on Monday! 

And click on this link to go backstage with Karen on the making of this book:

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

A Review of Where Are the Words by Jodi McKay, Pictures by Denise Holmes

TITLE: Where Are the Words?
AUTHOR: Jodi McKay
ILLUSTRATOR: Denise Holmes
PUBLISHER: Albert Whitman 

REVIEW BY: Lynne Marie

JACKET FLAP: Period wants to write a story. But he can't find the words. Can Question Mark help him look? Hold on! Exclamation Point found some words! Now that they have the words and gathered friends along the way, the big question is: Can they work together to create a story?

SNIPPET: I have some words: Once upon a time...

REVIEW: I thought this was a fun and clever way to teach children whether at home, school or homeschool to understand the different functions of punctuation and words, and how they all work together (sometimes better than others) to create a story and amuse readers. 

NOTE: The opinions reflected herein are my own.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

PPBF (Late): Norbert's Big Dream by Lori Degman, Illustrated by Marco Bucci

Title: Norbert's Big Dream 
Written By: Lori Degman
Illustrated By: Marco Bucci
Published By: Sleeping Bear Press, 2016
Genre: Fiction 
Suitable For Ages: 4-8
Themes/Topics: Persistence, Determination. 
Most pigs are satisfied just rolling in the mud, or slurping slop, or snoozing in the shade. 
But not Norbert. 
Norbert was a pig with a dream. 
Since he was a wee piglet, Norbert dreamed of swimming the English Channel. 
Brief SynopsisFrom the publisher: “Norbert has always dreamed of swimming in the English Channel, and though he trans every day, he realizes he does not know where it is, but his pig friends help him succeed in his swimming quest. 
Why I Like This Book: One word. Norbert. Who couldn't love a pig with a dream? And he is unique, quirky and adorably drawn in a cute Howard Fine-ish style. To be honest I am not sure whether I love the text or art more, and they are absolutely perfect together.  Even more brilliant is the subtle suggestion of being active over being lazy, as well as the inspiration to travel outside your comfort zone.  Dear Norman was not just a dreamer, but a doer! What a great example for little ones who dream, and perhaps even to those who don't that they should. 
Five Stars and a 2016 Cybils Picture Book Award Nomination from me! 
I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

See also Lori's informative post about book dummies here:
For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

Friday, March 3, 2017

PPBF: A Review of Mary Had a Little Glam by Tammi Sauer, Illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton

Title: Mary Had a Little Glam 
Written By: Tammi Sauer

Illustrated By: Vanessa Brantley-Newton
Publisher: Sterling Children's Books, 2016
Suitable For Ages: 3-8
Themes/Topics: Individuality, Fashion
Mary had a little glam, that grew into a lot. And everywhere that Mary went, she wasn't hard to spot. 
Brief Synopsis: In a delightful rhymed text, Mary accessorizes to the limit, brings style to school and inspires her classmates to make the most of their wardrobe when stepping out at recess. But when their destination is revealed, Mary thinks quick to keep everyone dressed for fun on the playground. 
Why I Like This Book: Jumping off from the familiar Nursery Rhyme, this story immediately impressed me with it's clever diversion and fun. Mary's fashion sense inspired lots of creativity and individuality. With a surprising twist at the end, this book is fashion fun for all! 
Rating: Four Hearts!
For the complete list of other perfect picture books, as well as my previous Perfect Picture Book Friday shares, please visit Susanna Hill's Perfect Picture Books.

Reviewed by: Lynne Marie 

PPBF: I'm a Girl by Yasmeen Ismail (Reviewed by Lynne Marie)

Title: I'm a Girl 
Written and Illustrated By: Yasmeen Ismail
Publisher: Bloomsbury, 2016
Suitable For Ages: 3-8
Themes/Topics: Individuality, Gender 
I'm supposed to be nice...  all sugar and spice but I'm sweet and sour, no a little flower!
Brief Synopsis: Despite stereotypes this adorable, quirky little character encounters in her life, she keeps being herself and having fun and ultimately finds the perfect person to share it with. 
Why I Like This Book: I absolutely loved the art. This colorful, active and engaging character jumped right off the page. I really loved her individuality and spunk and the way she just moved right through it and was true to herself the whole time. This book has a lot of emotional takeaway value, not only for girls, but for anyone who is different. 
Rating: Five Hearts!
For the complete list of other perfect picture books, as well as my previous Perfect Picture Book Friday shares, please visit Susanna Hill's Perfect Picture Books.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

CONTEST ENTRY: #50 Precious Words Writing Challenge

By Lynne Marie

Hungry Fly.
Fly spies pie.
My, oh my!
Key Lime Pie.
Fly flies by.
Frog spots fly.
My, oh, my!
Frog hops high.
One nice try.
Fly sails by.
That sly Fly!
One more try.
Frog jumps high.
Lands in pie.
Pie in eye.
Fly flies by.

Bye, Bye, Fly!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

TAKE A L@@K: Guest Post/Thinking in Sequels Over at the Rate Your Story Blog


A Review of SHOES ARE LIKE MEN by Kim Interdonato
TITLE: Shoes are like Men
PUBLISHER: MindStir Media
MARKET: Adult Fiction
DATE: November 16, 2016
ISBN-13: 978-0997978896
FORMAT: Print and eBook

I think one of the most important things in life is to find humor in it. If we can't laugh and learn from our past mistakes, what purpose did they serve? Truthfully, not very much. And, like Carrie Fisher said, "If my life wasn't funny, it would just be true, and that would be unacceptable."

Author Kim Interdonato puts this laugh and learn theory to work perfectly in her debut book, Shoes Are Like Men. I have only good things to say about this book -- it's honest, clever, believable, intimate, accessible and ultimately always funny. I really enjoy the way Kim looks at her past relationships and uses them to press forward toward a more positive future. Her use of different types of shoes as an analogy works perfectly and provides lots of food for thought for the reader. I found myself easily categorizing my own past relationships and the result was enlightening. I wish I had read this worthwhile book a long, long time ago! Honestly, the shoe fits!

If you are a woman (or even a man), who hasn't found a way to laugh and learn from your past mistakes, then pick up this book and laugh and learn through Kim's. Or just pick up a copy to just to laugh. After all, laughter is the best medicine!

L@@k for this book on Amazon

Monday, February 6, 2017

LUCY LOVES SHERMAN by Catherine Bailey -- Cover Reveal!

Catherine Bailey is a children’s author from sunny Florida. Her current books include MIND YOUR MONSTERS (Sterling Publishing, 2015), HYPNOSIS HARRY (Sky Pony Press, 2016), and LUCY LOVES SHERMAN (Sky Pony Press, 2017) – with more on the way! She has also written for popular children’s magazines such as Highlight’s Hello and Babybug. She is a frequent children’s speaker and has visited with hundreds (and hundreds, and hundreds!) of kids at schools, libraries, stores, and special events.

When Catherine is not writing, or editing, or swatting at mosquitoes, she looks after her husband and two children. All three of them are quite sticky, and none like bedtime, but she loves them anyway. Her prior job titles include Lawyer (interesting), Sailboat Deckhand (fun but occasionally sea-sicky), and Cartoon Network Intern (best job ever, besides writing). Her hobbies include reading, travel, and TJ MAXX. But mostly reading.

Learn more about Catherine and her work at
Meg's bio can be found on her website here:

And the infamous Tara Lazar is hosting a Giveaway!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

*NEW* OPPORTUNITY: Mechanic Mondays with Lynne Marie

Welcome to....

Wanted -- Sections (of up to 50 words) from your picture book work-in- progress. It can be any snippet from your manuscript that you need help on, whether beginning, middle or end. 

On Monday of each week, I will post the snippets with my comments. 

Here's how to get your snippet chosen:

1. Share this post on Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google +). 

2. In the comment section of this post, please note where you shared and the name of your account. 

3. Next, email, and include author name, e-mail address, title, total word count and section in the body of the e-mail. 

4. Finally, be sure to join our Facebook group for My Word Playground post notifications at: 
My Word Playground @

Further Details: One snippet per week will be chosen randomly. Snippets will be saved, so if yours is not chosen one week, please check back in the future. All opinions stated in critique comments are subjective. Deadline for snippets is 12:00 AM Sunday night to be considered for the following day. 

Thanks for participating! I look forward to helping you drive you manuscripts to success, one paragraph at a time. 

Friday, February 3, 2017

PPBF: A Review of Eddie the Bully by Henry Cole


TITLE: Eddie the Bully
PUBLISHER: Little Bee Books
DATE: 2016

SNIPPET: Eddie was a bully. A great big bully. He was mean any way he could be, any time he could be. "You're such a loser!" he clucked at Rose when she came in last.
"That was an easy one!" he said with a laugh when Tony had trouble with a math problem...

I have long been a fan of Henry Cole's bright, quirky and animated art, including but not limited to his pairings with Margie Palatini, Pamela Duncan Edwards and Jim Aylesworth to name a few. I'm also a fan of his solo projects, and am adding this book to my list of favorites.

From inside the cover with endpapers and continuing throughout, Henry's illustrations tell a loud and clear story with just a touch of humor! However, what stands about this well-written story is the incredibly timely message about the power of kindness. The story problem is universal. It's told in a way that is realistic, but not overdone. The resolution is appealing, satisfying, and most importantly, inspiring. It's nice to see a book with important take-away value. May it inspire kindness with each reading.

5 out of 5

Note: The views express within this interview are my own.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Cover Reveal and Under the Cover with Rebecca Colby, Author of Motor Goose Rhymes that Go!

I am excited to offer a *sneak peek* cover reveal of Rebecca Colby’s Motor Goose! Read on to find out more about this fun author and her new book!

Thank you for having me on My Word Playground today! I’m thrilled to be here and to reveal the cover of my forthcoming book with illustrator, Jef Kaminsky.

LYNNE MARIE: What was your occupation prior to becoming a picture book writer?

REBECCA COLBY: Ha! Which one? I’ve had a varied career life. I always wanted to be a published writer but I took a circuitous route to get here. Some of my past occupations included: panty hose inspector, international tour director, English teacher in Taiwan, and librarian. I even worked briefly for the Russian comedian, Yakov Smirnoff.

LM: When did you decide to pursue picture book writing, and why?

RC:  I’d never considered writing a picture book until my first child was born. I had plans to write the great American novel instead. But once I started reading picture books every night to my daughter, I thought, “These are a piece of cake. I’ll write a few of these and get published in no time.” I was badly mistaken but I was so hooked on picture books that I kept writing them until I eventually did sell my first book a full 7 years later. 

LM: How long was your journey from start to first book?

RC: Oops! I just answered that in the previous question. I started writing pictures books in 2006 but didn’t acquire an agent or sell any books until 2013.

LM: Who/what has been most influential on your journey?

RC:  My two daughters! If it wasn’t for them, it’s unlikely I’d ever have started writing picture books. But if it’s other writers you’re referring to, I’d have to say Dr. Seuss’, and a Dr. Seuss treasury is one of the first books I bought for my eldest. 

LM: Do you have a critique group? How long has it been together?

RC: Doesn’t everyone? My stories wouldn’t be any good without mine. Myself and two other picture book writers formed our on-line critique group, Picturebookies, in early 2011. Six years on and we’re still going strong. We now have seven members split across the US and UK.

LM: What inspired the title and story of your previous book, It’s Raining Bats and Frogs – such a fun concept!
RC:  Thanks, Lynne Marie!  The book was inspired by my favorite weather—rain. I knew I wanted to write a book about a witch and I went for a walk in the rain to mediate on my character and come up with an idea. The more I walked, the harder it rained. Soon it was pouring that heavy kind of rain when people say, “it’s raining cats and dog.”  In an instant, I had my title—a play on this phrase. As my idea began to form, I thought of another saying, “it’s raining on my parade.” That’s when I decided to write about a witch parade that was being rained on and making the witches miserable.

LM: Which came first, the concept or the title?

RC:  Title, then concept. I often come up with what I feel is a catchy title first and then develop an idea around it.

LM: How many times did you revise this manuscript before selling to Macmillan/Feiwel and Friends?

RC: This book had one revision before it sold. After showing it to my critique group, I changed the ending to make it stronger.

LM: Did you sell this book on your own or did you have an Agent at the time?

RC: My agent sold this book within a week of my signing with her. Nothing for years and then an agent and a book sale all in one week. It felt like I’d won the lottery!

LM: How did you come about getting your Agent, Kathleen Rushall, of Andrea Brown Literary Agency?

RC: One of my awesome critique partners saw a tweet Kathleen had posted soliciting picture books with witches. She knew I had two in my portfolio, so she encouraged me to submit them to Kathleen. Twenty-four hours and a couple of emails later, she offered me representation. Again, it felt really strange. I’d received more than 140 rejections over the years and then overnight I had an agent.  

LM: You were born in New Hampshire, USA and ended up in the UK. How did you get there from here?

RC:  Oh, gosh! How much time have we got? Traveling has always been one of my big loves so when I graduated from college, I applied for a BUNAC student work permit and moved to London where I fell into a job with a tour operator. After returning to the States, I continued working for tour operators in New England, eventually going out on the road as a tour director. While I traveled all over the world for my job, my main tour destination was the British Isles. Following a brief stint in Taiwan teaching English, I moved back to England and I’ve been here ever since.      

LM: Please share the story behind There Was a Wee Lassie Who Swallowed a Midgie, with Floris Books, a UK Publisher.

RC: I’ve always loved the traditional rhyme There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly and I’ve collected several retellings over the years. It was when I came across an Australian retelling, There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Mozzie by P. Crumble, that I decided to try my hand at writing a Scottish version and the Wee Lassie book was born.

LM: Please share a link to the You Tube Trailer for those who can’t get it here:

RC: Floris has created a fabulous trailer for the book, which is illustrated by Kate McLelland. Here’s the link:

LM: I would love to hear how you came up with the title and concept for Motor Goose. Such a fun, brilliant idea, with such boy appeal!

RC: Much like The Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly, I’d always wanted to write my own version of it. I came up with dozens of ideas, but ultimately chose Motor Goose as I knew the topic of transportation was taught in early years’ education and I liked the idea of a tie-in with the curriculum.  

LM: When will this book be available in 2017?

RC: Motor Goose comes out in mid-July of this year.

LM: How many times did your Agent submit Motor Goose before you were offered a contract?

RC:  Just once. We submitted it to my editor at Feiwel & Friends and she loved it, thank goodness!

LM: Did you read/enjoy Nursery Rhymes while growing up, or was this a new avenue of literary exploration?

RC: In first grade I won a “Most Improved” award and the prize was a book of poetry. It was one of the few books I owned so I read it over and over. It soon instilled in me a love of rhythm and rhyme.

LM: What is your favorite Nursery Rhyme, and why?

RC: Star Light, Star Bright is my all-time favorite. Instead of counting sheep at night, I would look out the window from the top of my bunk bed and count the stars. But before I started counting, I would wish on the first star I saw and recite this rhyme.

LM: What is your favorite form of transportation, and why?

RC:  It would have to be a snowmobile. There’s nothing like the thrill of racing through the woods on snowy trails, and it’s a vehicle that requires a fair amount of physical exertion to ride so I can get a good workout in the process. Having said that, we don’t get much snow in England so I haven’t had the opportunity to drive a snowmobile in years. Alas!

LM: What is your current picture book FAVORITE in USA? In Britain?

RC: I’ve been a huge fan of Tammi Sauer’s and Scott Magoon’s Mostly Monsterly since it came out in 2010. It’s my go-to book when teaching others how to write picture books.

Here in Britain, my favorite is Debi Gliori’s No Matter What. I don’t read it very often anymore as it inevitably tugs at my heartstrings and makes me teary-eyed, but it’s long been a British favorite.

LM: What are you working on now?

RC: Oh, no you don’t! It’s a secret. I can’t tell you except to say that I’m working on both picture books and screenplays at the moment.

LM: Any books slated to come out in the next three years?

RC:  There you go again asking questions I’m not at liberty to answer. I can’t say boo about them until they’re officially announced in the Publishers’ Marketplace. Sorry!

LM: If you were a literary character, which one would you be?

RC:  Probably the Good Little, Bad Little Girl. Because when I’m good, I’m very, very good, but when I’m bad, I’m horrid. But mostly, I try to be good.

LM: Do you have any plans to offer a picture book mentorship next year?

RC:  Yes, all being well, I’ll offer another free picture book mentorship later this year. Towards the end of 2016, I decided to give away a free six-month picture book mentorship as a way of giving back to the kidlit community who has given me so much. As we’re only two months into the mentorship, and I have another paid mentorship running alongside of it, it will probably be autumn before I offer the next free one. In the meantime, however, I’m offering lots of other freebies on my blog, like critiques, books and even a smart watch.

Thank you so very much for sharing your journey, Rebecca!

Thank you, Lynne Marie! I’ve enjoyed being on your blog today. I hope my experiences inspire others to persevere through the rejections and not give up.

Readers, Rebecca is kindly giving a picture book critique away to one lucky winner who comments. Please share this post on Facebook or Twitter, include your e-mail address AND tell us where you shared. A winner will be chosen within thirty (30) days of this post, so please share and get your comments in.

On the birthday week of this book, I will also share a book review, and Rebecca will offer a copy of the book to one lucky commenter, so be certain to check back in July!