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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I scream for… books!

Did you know July is National Ice Cream Month?  Today I drove over the second tallest bridge in Texas and stumbled on a Baskin Robbins.  Yes, they still have these.  After chilling with a Wild 'n Reckless Sherbet, my little book lover and I raided Barnes & Noble.  This evenings batch of books are now ice cream flavors. - Another idea!

Sally Jean, the Bicycle Queen, by Best Cari
- “A  banana cream split”

When Sophie Gets Angry- Really Really Angry by Molly Bang
- “swirly red with prickly nuts.”

Bridget Fidget and the Most Perfect Pet by Joe Berger
- “Heidi snow drop” (Heidi is our neurotic miniature schnauzer)
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Sunday, July 24, 2011

B Unique

To sum up the A romp, I found some good reads, but nothing extraordinary.   The answer of what makes an author was not found.  I know this sounds a little, well you know… but could have written some of these like titles, myself.   

The B romp though has already produced something big.  What makes a writer number one -

1. Uniqueness - collage art, poetic writing, and inspiration brilliantly woven together.  The Little Yellow Leaf, by Carin Berger

We know the same stories are told over and over, but it’s the unusual, unique, or sometimes even quirky that stand out.  Got it! 
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Saturday, July 23, 2011


The Little Yellow Leaf, by Carin Berger is a perfect story.  Yellow is just not ready to let go, until finding courage with a scarlet friend.  This is a definite must have for any child's library, with its collage of stunning art and poetic text.  - A definition of a writer has been found.

Thank you Carin Berger for your words… CR

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Friday, July 22, 2011


Yes that’s right, the A section is done.  A lot of older dated books, but these reads take the cake.  A chocolate confectionery aroma has taken over the house this afternoon, along with bundles of B authored books.  Lots more enticing reads ahead...    Mm-mm, Good!

The Runaway Dinner
By Ahlberg, Allan
 The Retired Kid
By Agge, Jon
I’ll Never Share With You, Blackboard Bear
By Alexander, Martha
I’m Not Cute!
Allen, Jonathan

By Asch, Frank
Caves, & Honeycombs
By Ashman, Linda

Up, Down, and Around
By Ayers, Katherine
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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Size Does Matter

What’s size and font have to do with it?  A lot actually.  A cover glance and a peek inside determines whether it’s a read, or not.  Well, that was pre-romp.  To be expected, the older books written in standard font, smaller text, and higher word counts… are not keeping attention spans around here. (But, still I read into the night.)

Something about large whirly text rolling through the pages just captivates…  Most of the time.

Here comes the but… there are some of new shorter word books that I just don’t get. Too Purpley!, by Jean Reidy is adorably illustrated with only two words on each page. 

And Chicken, Chicken, Duck by Nadia Krilanovich is also illustrated well, but that’s about it.   Agents, is this what you are looking for?  

So I’m off to eat artichokes with my finicky “fashionista” and watch the making of a marvelous manuscript.  That’s right, she’s making a book, so be expecting a knock your socks off query from a five year old book critic.  -CR
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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Word Count

I learned something new today.  Did you know Amazon has a function that gives a word count for each book?  I get excited over little things like this, and now can move things along a little faster.  

In case you were wondering - Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass has 57,345 words.   (one of my current reads)

How to find a book’s word count: Go to that book’s page and scroll down to “Inside This Book.” Under that heading, click “Text Stats.” (It’ll be a blue link.) A new window will pop up. Under “Number of,” you’ll see “words.” That’s your number!

One hour later…
In further exploration, the word counts are not available for some of my books.  I did though find another useful site. 

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Saturday, July 16, 2011

A Authors Afternoon

Song and Dance Man
By Ackerman, Karen

Song and Dance Man glances back into the good old days, and is filled with family fun and creativity.   Older references and being a tad too wordy lost my little critic, but talking about the pictures brought her back into the story.  Ever taped quarters to the bottom of a five year-olds shoes?  Guaranteed entertainment, especially at the post office! 

Year Published: 1992
Word Count: 871

All of Baby, Nose to Toes
By Adler, Victoria

All of Baby, Nose to Toes is a charming simple story for baby.  Generally I don’t read baby books, except for the classics. But in short, this book would be a great addition on baby's bookshelf.

Year Published: 2009

By Ahlberg, Allan


Previously cleverly intertwines fairytale characters with the word, previously.  This story has what I call, good word cadence.   The animated illustrations earned five stars with the little critic.

Year Published: 2007

Each Peach Plum
By Ahlberg, Janet

The Legend of the Whistle Pig, The Lizard Who Followed Me Home
Allen, Kate

Peeping Beauty
By Auch, Mary Jane
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Friday, July 15, 2011

A Book Review

The Lizard Who Followed Me Home, by Kate Allen is delightfully told from a child’s point of view. When a young girl visits her grandmother before moving across the country, she rescues a lizard from the dryer.  Follow along the wacky journey of this sneaky reptile, through beautifully illustrated details and connecting humorous text.  Now, I just have to convince the critic that lizards do not make good pets.
Author Note:  A bit old, but good.  
Year Published: 1995
Illustrator Note:  In exploring Jim Harris, I learned he illustrates many other picture book favorites. The Lizard Who Followed Me Home, The Three Little Javelinas, and The Legend of the Whistle Pig Wrangler.  “A true talent of bringing books to life.”  

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Monday, July 11, 2011

Agent Response on my Word Count

Got a rejection from an agent today with a little bit of constructive advice.  Too many words, 1,069 words to be exact. I tend to like a word count of 1000 or so, and that’s what I write. Some consider picture books of 1000 + words folktales and fairy tales.  

So what is the magic number editors are looking for?  It’s a word count between 350 to 750.  I often find these shorter rhyming books flat, relying too much on illustrations.  For example, Splish, Splash, Splat by Rob Scotton is disconnected, meaning the text doesn’t flow and the overall writing is weak.  Generally speaking, most books authored and illustrated by the same person do not work. This is not always the case, as my daughter adores Victoria Kann’s Pinkalicious. Interestingly though, Siverlicious did not elicit much excitement.  
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Saturday, July 9, 2011

First Book Review

Too Many Frogs, by Sandy Asher comes highly recommended by a five year old book critic. “The pictures pop and the story is just fun!”  When a “too much fuss rabbit” is routinely interrupted by uninvited frogs, he learns the benefits of having others around.   The storyline isn’t too complex and the author dead on portrays simply a message about friendship.

Author Note:  Sandy, you are a true picture book writer and I will put in a library request for your other frogalicious books!   Thanks for your words. 

Year Published: 2005
Word Count: 776
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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Too Many Books

Today I emptied half the A section at the library, leaving only a few behind.  In my reading quest I have chosen to exclude board books, chapter books, those with Disney or other movie characters, Hollywood authored, science, history, comic books, and also those dated long wordy fables.  I only want to look at true picture books, and these do not fit my definition.  

In the opinion of my youngest, I got a lot “boring books” today.  Too Many Frogs did grab her attention though, along with a few DVDs.   So for now all is calm aboard the S. S.  Mom’s got another hair brained idea, again… 
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Monday, July 4, 2011

Roman Noodles

 While attempting to figure out this blog thing, my little one has now requested Ponyo Roman noodles.  (Ramen)  Anything goes in this noonday snack - pickles, ham, & carrots.  Yum! 

You see how easily my plans are often deviated by that of one small child, one pre-teen, and two teenagers.  Did I mention the pudding afternoon didn’t go quite as planned?  It was filled with strawberry Jell-O and the movie Ponyo, but enjoyable nonetheless.
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Saturday, July 2, 2011

Pudding Afternoon

Proof is in the pudding. Did you know this was shortened from its original saying, “The proof of the pudding is in the eating?”  So by reading the children’s section at my library, will I be able to prove what makes a good writer, or not?

Enough of the pudding idiom.  I'm now hungry and must break from filling my library cart with A authors.  So I’m off to fix my hankering for pudding and maybe watch Don Quixote.   Inspiration perhaps…  

Did I mention I’m ADD, no not really, but I do tangent often.  Squirrel   
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