Giveaway Winner and Book Review

Hello all! I hope wherever you are, you are having a beautiful, warm spring day! While cold days are perfect for staying inside and reading a good book, I am looking forward to lots of warm days when I can sit outside and read a good book 🙂

I have a fun new review for you today, but before we get to that, I have a winner to announce….

Congratulations Rhonda Groveman! You have won a copy of Deborah Diesen’s peppy puppy book. I hope you love it as much as I did. Please email me with your mailing address to claim your book!


Who Will Bell the Cat? (2018, Holiday House, Picture Book)

bell the cat

From the publisher:

A cat enters a barn and terrorizes a community of mice. Smart Mouse and Friend Mouse think they have solved the problem when they make a collar with a bell for the cat. But who will put the collar on the cat? Wee Mouse, Tiny Mouse, and Teeny Mouse nearly meet their demise in the first attempt. The Rat Pack offers to do it for a fee, but quickly surrenders. Then Smart Mouse and Friend Mouse figure out a way to get a human to help them.

Review:

Who Will Bell the Cat, written by Patricia C. McKissack and illustrated by Christopher Cyr, is a new take on an old tale. Based on one of Aesop’s fables, the story comes to life through the beautiful illustrations. With a big bad cat and lots of cute mice, this one is sure to get little ones excited. It might be because it’s written in the style of old fables, but it does have the feel of older picture books which have more text and dialogue than newer picture books. The additional text will likely please adults reading this aloud as they won’t be forced to make up any stories to fill in sparse text.

The illustrations are what really shine in this lovely picture book, though the story itself is engaging and fun with a surprise ending. There are some scenes of the cat that might be scary to some readers and mention of the cat having a successful hunt which might make some children sad, but overall a fantastic read for introducing emotions and even discussing real world predator and prey relationships.

Recommended for children ages 4 to 8.


Who Will Bell the Cat? is available now from Amazon and other book sellers


Thank you to the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Peppy Puppy Author Interview + Giveaway!

Welcome to another edition of Three Show Saturday where I am bringing you another exciting book for children! I also have an interview with author Deborah Diesen and a review of her newest book. Plus…A GIVEAWAY!

I loved this book and I think you will too! It has everything you hope for in a children’s book, humor, surprise, excitement, and PUPPIES! I seriously want to read this book to every child I know. It’s just so much FUN!

And now, on with the show!


Pippa and Percival, Pancake and Poppy: Four Peppy Puppies (2018, Sleeping Bear Press, Picture Book)

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From the publisher:

A puppy named Poppy hears a rustling behind her fence and does what any curious puppy would–digs a hole under! There she finds another puppy! The puppies find two more floppy puppy friends and go on a galloping, gamboling adventure…until they catch a fright and go racing back to their loving homes. Told in bouncing, rolling rhyme, this sweet story is sure to capture the hearts of little dog lovers everywhere.

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Review:

This book is so much fun! In this fantastic new book from author Deborah Diesen and illustrator Grace Zong, four peppy puppies go on a parading, pouncing adventure that is sure to be a hit with children and adults. With alliteration and fantastic rhythm, this is an awesome book to read aloud. Mystery and surprise on the page turns are sure to get giggles and squeals from young readers.

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This would be a great read for daycare groups, classrooms, or other groups of children. Highly recommended for children ages 3 to 7 especially as a read aloud.

5 stars for four peppy puppies!


Interview with author Deborah Diesen

I LOVED this book! It is so fun to read aloud, and I was immediately drawn in by the cover with the puppies’ names. How did you come up with the names for the puppies and what inspired you to write this peppy puppy tale?
Thank you for your kind words!  The idea for this story began when I went out for a walk one day and met a little girl with a puppy named Pancake.  Seeing the two of them playing together was the initial inspiration for the story.  Later, as I began to develop the story draft, I added more puppies.  I hoped their names would be as fun as Pancake’s, so when they introduced themselves to me as Pippa, Poppy, and Percival, I was well-pleased!
Readers are always curious about the author and illustrator relationship. Did you know your illustrator prior to this book, and did you have a vision of what your puppies might look like before seeing the illustrations by Grace Zong? 
Many people are surprised to learn that authors don’t give directions to illustrators.  But this actually makes for better books, because what an artist creates is always more wonderful than anything the writer might have envisioned.  And that was definitely the case for this book.  I love Grace’s art, and I’m delighted by the lively and playful puppies she created.  I hope I get to meet her some day so I can tell her that in person!
Aspiring authors often wonder what the process is like from story idea to published manuscript. Can you tell me about the path this book took as you brainstormed the first draft and revised to reach the final product? 
For this book, the time from idea to publication date was just over three years, which is actually a fairly rapid timetable for a children’s book.  When I first had the idea for this story, I jotted down a few notes and then put them in a drawer.  My writing process benefits from back brain time, when I allow my mind to think about a story without directly thinking about it.  After several months of percolation, I pulled my notes out again and got down to work, and developed a complete first draft within a day.  After several weeks of periodic fine-tuning of the story draft, I took the manuscript to my monthly critique group for input.  Based on their feedback, I made some additional revisions, and then began submitting to publishers.  I was happy to find a home for the story with Sleeping Bear Press, and then Sleeping Bear found Grace Zong to illustrate it.  The publication process got rolling, and now the puppies are officially out in the world on their adventure! 
Did you always aspire to be a children’s book author? 
I’ve always loved writing, but I never thought about writing children’s books until after my kids were born.  When they were young, I was immersed in the world of children’s literature with them, reading story after story, over and over.  Eventually I was inspired to try writing some stories of my own.  That was almost twenty years ago, and I’ve been at it ever since!
Who has most inspired you as an author, and what was the best writing advice you ever received? 
My parents get the credit for inspiring me, as an author and in all things.  When I was young, they instilled a love of books and reading in me, and as I grew they encouraged my interest in writing.  My Mom gave me what I consider to be the best writing advice I’ve ever received.  When I wrote my very first poem, she told me I should put a date on it, because writers always date their work.  I was thrilled to learn from her suggestion that I was a writer, and I’ve kept the habit of dating all my work ever since.
What hobbies do you enjoy away from work? 
I love to read, and I also enjoy crossword puzzles and KenKen puzzles.  I dabble in photography, taking lots of pictures of the birds that visit my backyard.  I enjoy a good walk, especially in the woods, and I’ve recently taken up tap dancing.  I’m pretty much the world’s worst tap dancer, but I’m having fun with it!  It’s good to keep trying new things.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about yourself, your books or your career? 
Being a published children’s book author is a dream come true, and I’m so grateful to all the families, schools, and libraries that have taken a look at some of my books.  Books may be created by an author and an illustrator, but they don’t truly come alive until they have someone to enjoy them.  I appreciate the community of book lovers who bring books to life every day!

Thank you so much Deborah for taking time to visit with me!


Giveaway!

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You could win a copy Pippa and Percival, Pancake and Poppy! Sleeping Bear Press is giving away a copy of these four peppy puppies to one lucky reader of my blog. For a chance to win, just comment on this post.

Do you have a good recommendation for a book about facing fears? Or comment on anything you like! I will select one winner randomly from the comments.

Don’t forget to follow my blog via email so you never miss out on a giveaway or review.

Giveaway rules:

-Giveaway ends at 11:59pm CDT on Friday, April 13.

– You must be 18 or older to enter.

-Giveaway is open to US & Canada residents only.

-Only one entry per household.

-Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner will be chosen.

-Winner agrees to provide their preferred mailing address, to be forwarded to Sleeping Bear Press for shipment of prize.


Get these four peppy puppies from Amazon today!


Thank you to Sleeping Bear Press for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. And a special thanks to Deborah Diesen for the fantastic interview and to Sleeping Bear Press for providing a copy for a giveaway.

Book Review: Dinosaurium

Happy Friday and welcome to another review! Also, don’t forget to comment on the I’m a Duck blog post by tomorrow for your chance to win a copy of that adorable book!

And now I bring you a book I would have loved as a child! Who doesn’t love dinosaurs? I know you all will love this book as much as I did.

Welcome to the Dinosaurium!


Dinosaurium (2018, Big Picture Press, Picture Book)

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From the publisher:

Welcome to the museum that is always open to explore… Step inside the pages of this beautiful book to discover galleries of dinosaurs, expertly curated to bring you the experience of a fascinating exhibition from the comfort of your own home. Dinosaurium features a wide range of dinosaurs from the most-loved Triceratops and Tyrannosaurus Rex to lesser-known species such as Coelophysis and Tsintaosaurus. With stunning artwork from Chris Wormell (known for the cover of H is for Hawk and his picture books including George and the Dragon) and informative text with input from experts in palaeontology, Dinosaurium is the perfect gift for anyone with an interest in this fascinating field. Welcome to the Museum is a series of beautifully illustrated, stunningly curated, informative books for all ages. From Animalium and Botanicum to Historium and Dinosaurium there is a book for everyone to discover and explore.

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Review:

Dinosaurium, curated by Chris Wormell and Lily Murray, is a spectacular exploration of all things dinosaur! This over-sized book is beautifully illustrated and designed. Children and adults are sure to be impressed with the detail and depth of information covered as the reader is taken on a “tour” of a dinosaur museum. While young readers will be intrigued by the ferocious illustrations, the print is small and complex, making it a difficult read for emerging or beginning readers. Older, or strong independent readers will be entertained for hours, as this book is packed full of information.

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Dinosaurs remain popular with children of all ages and this fantastic book is sure to be read again and again. Highly recommended for children ages 6 and up.

5 big stars for this big adventure!


Thank you to the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Review and Giveaway Winner!

Happy Monday! I hope you all had a weekend full of great adventures. As we return to the workweek, I thought I would brighten your Monday with a review and a winner.

Congratulations to Vicki! You have won a copy of Black Bird Yellow Sun courtesy of Candlewick Press.

To all the kid lit fan out there, stay tuned later this week (March 23) for an interview with illustrator Will Hillenbrand and a chance to win his new book, I’m a Duck.

And now a book on perspectives…


Look Up! (2018, Holiday House, Picture Book)

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From the publisher:

A girl in a wheelchair looks down from her balcony and calls to passersby below: “Look up!”

Dog walkers, a bike rider, a kite flier, and dozens of commuters walk by without taking any notice. Then a boy stops and looks up. He lies on the sidewalk so the girl can see him better. A woman joins him. Soon nine people and one dog are lying down and looking up. The girl looks up at the reader and smiles.

Review:

Look Up, written and illustrated by Jung Jin-Ho, was originally published in Korea and now has been published in the United States. At first glance, the story is shockingly simple, with black and white illustrations and sparse text, but readers will find the book offers a new and surprising perspective both in the illustrations and the message it conveys. A thoughtful read that is sure to inspire young artists to attempt drawing from new angles and consider the world a little differently.

Overall, a story of hope and seeing the world from another’s perspective. Highly recommended for readers ages 4 and up.

4 stars to look up and see in the sky


Thank you to Holiday House for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Black Bird Yellow Sun: Author Interview + Giveaway!

Welcome to another exclusive author interview and giveaway here at Three Show Saturday!

Nothing makes me happier than sharing new books with you all, and this week I bring you a fantastically fun new board book from Candlewick Press.

I hope you find this book as charming as I did, and enjoy the exclusive insights offered by author/illustrator Steve Light. Don’t forget to comment on this post for your chance to win a copy of Black Bird Yellow Sun courtesy of Candlewick Press.

And now, on with the show!


Black Bird Yellow Sun (2018, Candlewick Press, Board Book)

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From the publisher:

From the creator of Have You Seen My Dragon? comes an exploration of color that truly soars.

As a solitary black bird wings its way through the day, little ones are treated to a magnificent flight from one vibrant color to another. Inimitable illustrator Steve Light showcases a new style in this board book for the youngest readers. Children can journey with the graceful black bird and its tiny worm friend past orange leaves, through green grass, onto gray rocks, under pink flowers, and more before coming to rest beneath a brilliant blue moon.

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Review:

Black Bird Yellow Sun, written and illustrated by Steve Light, will take the youngest of readers on a bold adventure. At first glance, this book is seemingly quite simple, a black bird is contrasted against a background of varying colors as he goes about his day, always accompanied by a small worm, but as the reader really looks at the illustrations and contemplates the simple text, the story becomes much more complex. The sharp contrast of the black bird against the brilliant light of the morning sun evokes a sense of anticipation for something to come. The black bird encounters a red snake in a scene that is sure to excite young readers, and my personal favorite is the black bird green grass scene where the textures seem to leap off the page.

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Board books are fascinating in their simplicity as they teach children their first words, first shapes, first colors, and some, like Black Bird Yellow Sun, can even help children understand first emotions, from the happy light of a yellow sun to the contemplative starkness of grey rock.

Highly recommended for children ages 1 to 3 years old.

Five stars for Black Bird on a Black Night.


Interview with Steve Light

Steve Light is the author-illustrator of many picture books, including Have You Seen My Dragon?, Have You Seen My Monster?, Lucky Lazlo, Swap!, and Have You Seen My Lunch Box? He lives with his family in New York City.

I enjoyed Black Bird Yellow Sun so much! Where did your inspiration come from for this charming book? 

I wanted to make a very impactful book visually but explore a very simple concept. I was inspired by the artist Ellsworth Kelly and his bold paintings featuring flat exciting colored shapes, so that led me to a color concept book. The Blackbird as the main character came from listening to the Beatles and the idea of this black dense shape against bold colors appealed to me artistically.

I love the different colors and textures in Black Bird Yellow Sun. My favorite scene is Black Bird Green Grass. Which illustration did you enjoy creating the most and were there any scenes that didn’t make it into the final draft of the book?

I enjoyed creating the Grey Rocks page because at first I was very worried that grey would be very boring. Then I discovered how to print the rocks with a splotchy texture and mixed some beautiful purple and pink greys. I also love that spread cause it conveys an emotion of the bird being lonely and scared after his confrontation with the snake.

Which of your books did you enjoy writing or illustrating the most?

Oh that is like asking to pick your favorite child. I loved working on Have You Seen My Dragon? Because it was the first book where I was drawing to illustrate just like I draw in my sketchbook. Swap! was fun because it was pirates! Lucky Lazlo was fun because it had the theatre, Alice in wonderland characters and a new kind of line work. And Black Bird Yellow Sun was a lot of fun because it was a different process of printing the artwork.

Did you always aspire to be a children’s book author, and what was your path to publication like? 

I always knew I wanted to do something with my art. I was doing corporate illustration for a while and hated it. I was a storyteller for a while (still am) and remembered all the stories I loved growing up and said let me try children’s books. After being rejected by every publisher in NYC I finally got published. To create these works of art that children read is a joy. I really feel I have found my calling.

What are some hobbies you enjoy outside of writing?

I collect old fountain pens and fix them up. I also modify the nibs of fountain pens so they make different kinds of lines to draw with. I also love visiting the museums in NYC and just being a tourist here, even though I have lived here many years.

Who has had the greatest influence on your writing and your career?

My teacher David Passalacqua has an incredible influence on my life and art. I was blessed to know him and have him as a mentor. He taught me how to draw, think and live. My wife is also a huge supporter of mine. She encourages me and takes care of me. I would have given up a long time ago if not for her love and guidance. Also teaching, being around children ages 3-5 everyday seeing which books and stories they respond to is a great gift to my writing.

Is there anything else you would like to share about your books or yourself?

Well, we did not talk about how the artwork in Black Bird Yellow Sun was created. It was all done by printing pieces of cardboard (chipboard actually like on the back of a legal pad). I simply cut out the shape of the sun etc. and inked it with printing ink and then stamped it onto the paper. The bird and worm were cut pieces of colored paper that I then collaged onto the printed artwork.

Thank you so much Steve for taking the time to visit with me and share about your life as an author/illustrator!


Giveaway

Candlewick Press is giving away one copy of Black Bird Yellow Sun to one lucky reader of my blog!

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To enter, simply comment below. What book do you first remember reading or having read to you as a child? Or comment on something else 🙂

And don’t forget to subscribe via email so you won’t miss out on future reviews, interviews or giveaways!

-Giveaway ends at 11:59pm CDT on Saturday, March 10.

– You must be 18 or older to enter.

-Giveaway is open to US & Canada residents only.

-Only one entry per household.

-Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner will be chosen.

-Winner agrees to provide their preferred mailing address, to be forwarded to Candlewick Press for shipment of prize.


Black Bird Yellow Sun hits shelves today, March 6, 2018! Get your copy at Amazon or other book outlets. Click on the cover below to buy at Amazon.

Stay tuned next week for another exclusive interview, this time with illustrator Will Hillenbrand and a giveaway of his new book, I’m a Duck.


Thank you to Candlewick Press for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review: May I Come In?

Happy Saturday! It’s a rainy, rainy day here and the perfect day to curl up with a book! Let me know what your rainy day read is in the comments. If you’re looking for a new book for the little ones, check out this perfect picture book for the coldest, wettest days of the year.

May I Come In? (2018, Sleeping Bear Press, Picture Book)

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From the publisher:

When thunder roars and lightning flashes, Raccoon is afraid to be alone in his home. So he hurries out to see if any of his neighbors in Thistle Hollow have room to spare for a friend in need. When Raccoon knocks on the doors of Possum, Quail, and Woodchuck, he is turned away. But then Raccoon spies a bright light in the storm. Will this next neighbor open up her house and heart to Raccoon? A tender story that reminds readers of all ages that a kind heart will always make room for one more.

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Review:

May I Come In, written by Marsha Diane Arnold and illustrated by Jennie Poh, is the perfect rainy day read! For little ones scared of storms, or others looking for a lesson on friendship, this story relates to children on multiple levels. The illustrations capture the darkness of a wild storm, while also showing the warmth of friendship and a dry place to stay. With some repetitive verse and onomatopoeia, this one is sure to be a hit as a read aloud.

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Lots of emotion, big thunder and sweet friends add up to a fantastic story sure to be enjoyed by readers young and old. Highly recommended for readers ages 3 to 7.

5 stars for rainy days and real friends.

Get your copy from Amazon or your local bookstore today!


Thank you to the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review: My Red Velvet Cape

I hope you all had a fantastic Valentine’s Day filled with too much candy and all your favorite people!

I have some great books to share in the coming months plus giveaways and author interviews. Here’s a couple things to look forward to:

March 6 – Black Bird Yellow Sun – Author interview + Book giveaway

March 13 – I’m a Duck – Blog tour + Illustrator interview

Plus many more books!

Here is my belated Valentine’s to you all as we start another week 🙂


My Red Velvet Cape (2018, Sleeping Bear Press, Picture Book)

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From the publisher:

Mateo is so excited. It’s his birthday and he can’t wait! Not only will there be a party later with friends but his grandmother is bringing him a very special gift: a red velvet cape. It’s a cape for superheroes! Mateo imagines all the wonderful things that will happen when he wears the cape, from not needing to hold his big sister’s hand on the way to the bus to being more popular at school. But is the gift really what he thinks it is? Or did Mateo misunderstand what his grandmother said?

Review:

While My Red Velvet Cape, written and illustrated by Dana Sullivan, isn’t a Valentine’s book, it fits with the themes of the holiday. Just as kids look forward to a Valentine’s Day party, Mateo is looking forward to his birthday and his red velvet cape. He imagines all sorts of scenarios in which his cape will come in handy at school and playing with his friends. The illustration style gives the scenes a sense of movement and the reader will feel the excitement as Mateo rushes through his day, and the reader rushes through the book, both eager to see the red velvet cape. With a fun twist, the reader will experience a surprising roller coaster of emotions before reaching the happy ending.

This book is a lot of fun and adults will get a kick out of it too! Highly recommended for readers ages 3 and up. A great read for Valentine’s Day or any day!

4 stars for Mateo and friends


Thank you to the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.