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.)

From my Archives

I just came across this old clipping about an author visit I did in Winchester, MA. It was a special day because I was reading my very first book, What Should a Hippo Wear?, to my adorable nephew’s kindergarten class. Matthew (top left) and I were pretty excited that I was coming to his school! Note the date…
I guess I’ve been doing this a long time!

My Favorite New Reader

When a grandma gets to read to her own grandson, it’s pretty special! Lately, Caleb (my 10 month old adorable, sweet grandson) has begun to interact with books and not just eat them! Some photograph proof below:

7 months old (not mentioning my own age)…hmm…this book looks interesting!


10 months…I can turn the pages and pat that bunny!

Reading is fun!


Chicks in School

Recently I was invited to do an author visit at Memorial Elementary School in Natick. This was a special treat because the first graders are raising chicks and studying not only chickens, but also other animals that lay eggs!
First I read my picture book What’s Up with This Chicken? and then talked about my inspiration for the book…

Slide of The Blank Page: Where do I get my ideas?                                                            Do YOU ever struggle with how to start?










Inspiration: My friend Fay and her chickens!















Then we talked about chickens and chicks. I was amazed! and impressed! with how well they had listened to the book. The plot deals with the concept of broody hens, who refuse to get off their eggs despite their being non-fertilized, due to a super-maternal instinct.
I asked each group, “Why won’t Broody Trudy get off her eggs?”
The answers were wonderful. One of my favorites was a little boy who explained calmly, “Because she thinks there’s an embryo inside.”

And Fay’s real story turned into this book!




















I asked the students to tell me things about chickens I might not know, and almost every hand shot up! I ended up learning a lot from these first graders, whose teachers are clearly doing a great job.
PS: And I got to visit a classroom and see their adorable little fluffball chicks!

Thank you, Memorial School!

Farm Fun

For some unknown reason I seem to be on an alliteration kick (see 2 posts down, about the Kindness event)…but the Story Time I did last Saturday was indeed farm fun. I had a great time sharing my 2 farm animal-themed books, playing a rhyming game, and…OK, I’ll show you the rest through photos…

Acting volunteers did a great job portraying protagonist Sylvia trying to scare Trudy the Broody Chicken off her eggs! (I assigned myself the part of Grandma, only fitting!)

Lexington Community Farm sells wonderful plants and in season vegetables. After the story hour I bought some gorgeous tomato, basil and pansy flats for my husband, the alliterative Al, to plant in our garden.

Look! The egg carton turned into 1 of Trudy’s chicks!