Let the Madness Begin!

Next week, right after or even during Thanksgiving Day marks the official start of Holiday Madness. I will try to maintain my own sanity, partly by participating in a festive event in my hometown – Lexington Local First’s “A Day of Fun for Kids and Their Parents.”
Part of Small Business Saturday, it will feature arts and crafts activities for kids and readings by 4 local children’s book authors (you can guess who one of them is).

Here’s the flyer:


Tara No LLF

A Day of Fun for Kids and Their Parents

Saturday, November 25

10:00 am – 3:00 pm

13 Depot Square, Lexington

 Lexington area book authors will be reading stories throughout the day

Arts & crafts throughout the day, courtesy of Munroe Center for the Arts & Artspan

Moderated children’s card games, sponsored by Signature Stationers

Music provided by the LHS Musical Collarboration Outreach Club

Plus: Exclusive holiday season offers from select Lexington businesses

Anna Staniszewski

11:00 – 12:00

Anna will be reading her newest book, Dogosaurus Rex, with a singalong and craft and coloring pages.

Lisa Anne Novelline

12:00 – 1:00

Lisa Anne will be reading Piccadilly and the Waltzing Wind, with coloring, paper crown decorating, and paper kite decorating (while supplies last).

Jane Sutton

1:00 – 2:00

Jane will be reading What’s Up With this Chicken? and Esther’s Hannukah Disaster, with interactive games based on the stories.

April Prince

2:00 – 3:00

April will be reading her new book, Goldenlocks and the Three Pirates.

As you can see, my reading slot is 1-2 PM.  I’ll also have books to sell and sign.
Should be lots of fun, and Depot Square is an interesting historic venue, right in Lexington Center.

Update on my Favorite New Reader

It’s been a while since I posted a photo of my lovely little grandson reading Pat the Bunny, so I’m patting my own back in recognition of my restraint.
Update: he is upright…and on the move…but as you can see in this 1 year old portrait with his parents, he still takes the time to slow down and enjoy a book.

My son, Charlie, Caleb, and my daughter-in-law, Amberly



I am excited and delighted to reveal the cover of my newest picture book, PAULIE’S PASSOVER PREDICAMENT, due out from Kar-Ben Publishing in early 2018. The illustrator, Barbara Vagnozzi, has created adorable pictures of my characters.

See for yourself!

Two More Wonderful Picture Books

Two more picture books I read recently and LOVED!

The first is Bone by Bone: Comparing Animal Skeletons, by Sara Levine and illustrated by T.S. Spookytooth.
This non-fiction book is written so cleverly and illustrated so entertainingly that readers (including moi) will hardly realize they’re learning a whole lot about animal skeletons. No small feat! (I don’t mean no small feet – there are a few of those.)

Millbrook Press
ISBN: 9780761384649



One Cool Friend is deservedly a Caldecott Honor Book, as well as a NY Times bestseller.
It’s a hilarious and brilliant fiction picture book by the prolific Toni Buzzeo and illustrated by David Small. On a visit to the aquarium with his preoccupied dad, the “proper” Elliot brings home a penguin, with wild results, culminating in one of the most surprising and satisfying twist endings in the world of picture books.

Dial Books
ISBN: 978-0803734135                       

Fun New Picture Book!

Last week I attended the book launch of a fun, original picture book by the prolific       Josh Funk. It’s called IT’S NOT JACK AND THE BEANSTALKBecause, well, it’s not.

Written by Josh Funk, illustrated by Edwardian Taylor

The narrator tries to tell the traditional story, but Jack objects to and changes each plot development. Clever and funny dialogue will make children and adults giggle. (Trust me…I was in the audience.) My favorite touch was the gentleness of the giant. He has no intention of eating his surprise beanstalk-climbing visitor; he’s a vegan!

2 Recommended Picture Books

Instead of talking about moi for a change, I’ll mention a couple of picture books I read recently and liked so much that I reviewed them on Goodreads. The first is a wonderfully interesting biography–Swimming With Sharks: The Daring Discoveries of Eugenie Clark by Heather Lang– and here’s my review:

Compelling true story of a childhood fascination with sharks that evolved into a groundbreaking career. Dr. Clark’s research led to deeper understanding of these often misunderstood animals. Heather Lang does a wonderful job conveying information about sharks–their surprising diversity and habits, importance to the food chain–and dispels myths about them. The reader learns about sharks and Dr. Clark’s passion to their study–all conveyed in an entertaining, accessible style.

The second title–You Know What?, by Carol Gordon Ekster– is a charming fiction book for younger readers, about Oliver, who would rather ask his mother endless questions than go to sleep. Here’s my review:


This book made me smile throughout. The child’s questions and the mother’s reactions are very believable, and the cumulative effect is funny. Charming text and illustrations make a great bedtime read.


Favorite Kid Comment of Summer (so far!)

I was reading What’s Up with This Chicken? to a group of attentive children. The book has lots of egg puns: egg-stremely annoying, egg-cited, egg-cellent, for some egg-samples. When I got to the line, “‘This is getting eggs-asperatiing,'” thought Sylvia,” one little boy piped up, to my delight, “And egg-sausting!”

I hadn’t thought of that one!

Farm Report/Surprising Visitor

As predicted in the previous post, I visited Newton Community Farm twice during the last 2 weeks, reading my picture books with animal characters and running games and crafts with groups of campers. The first week was great fun…

Reading What’s Up with This Chicken? to campers on a chilly supposed-to-be July day


When we acted out the story, no one had more fun than I did!




















On week 2, the weather was warmer, but that wasn’t the only thing that was different…

We had a surprise visitor join our group!

One of the chickens had escaped from her pen to listen to the chicken story!






At times she acted coy, but I could tell she was interested in the plot.











































I asked the campers if they named the farm chickens. “Yes,” they said.
“What’s this one’s name?” I asked.
“That’s Alfred,” one of the campers informed me.
The camp director whispered to me, “They’re all females.”

It was a super fun visit, plus I went home with fresh farm-grown lettuce and tomatoes and an idea for a new story!






Farm Visits for Me and My Picture Book Characters

I’m pleased to be invited back to Newton Community Farm to share two books featuring farm animals. The next two Tuesday afternoons I’ll be reading, chatting, and doing activities with campers going into first through fifth grade. Just look at how pretty this farm is, and you’ll see why I’m looking forward to going back…
(Plus, there are animals! Stay tuned for the next post.)