I Need My Own Country! – Perfect Picture Book Friday

18 Mar

Time for Susanna Leonard Hill’s PPBF!

But first, let’s form a new political party, one run by children’s picture book writers and illustrators. It will be the nicest, most generous political party ever. There will be sharing of snacks and toys and saying please and thank you. No hitting, biting, bullying, or other anti-social behavior. There will be copious amounts of laughter at brilliant puns, riotous rhymes, and lyrical bedtime stories sending us into the land of nod. 

I don’t know about you but I’m thinking about moving to Canada, a place where reasonable human beings live. Where people are thoughtful and nice to each other. But first, a civics lesson:

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 2.44.17 PM


“There comes a time in all kids’ lives when

they need to create their own country.

When this happens to you…

The first thing you will do is

decide on your country’s location.”

You desperately need your own space, away from your pesky little brother. So you establish your country on hallowed ground, your room, give it a name, and create a flag. The dog, cat, goldfish, and toys become citizens. 

You make rules and create punishments for breaking the rules. 


You choose a leader (oh my, we won’t go there). You select a cabinet, write a national anthem, print money, etc. 

Now here’s where things start to go off the rails. Civil unrest. Natural disasters. Invasions. Battles.

Just as you regain your equilibrium, you figure out that you must visit foreign countries, where you have to eat the food placed in front of you. And sometimes those visits don’t go as planned.

Which leads to preparations for yet another invasion…

“But be careful.”

This is where leaders should tread carefully.

You discover that those foreigners are really coming in peace!!!!

And surprise! You might want to change the rules to allow them in and make them citizens, because after all “It’s your country.”


And “Friends are more fun than enemies.”

That ends our civics lesson for today. If you feel this message is too political, it’s surely the product of your artist sensibilities. Children’s book writers and illustrators are highly imaginative.

Title: I Need My Own Country

Author: Rick Walton

Illlustrator: Wes Hargis

Publisher: Bloomsbury 2012

Ages: 5+



41 Responses to “I Need My Own Country! – Perfect Picture Book Friday”

  1. desertdweller29 March 18, 2016 at 8:20 am #


  2. Janine Kovac March 18, 2016 at 9:01 am #

    What a cute concept! Sounds like there’s a lesson for all of us in there. 🙂

    • Jilanne Hoffmann March 18, 2016 at 9:05 am #

      Aha! Up early this morning, reading and commenting, I see. I hope that I’m not being too didactic. Or maybe that is my hope. I’d hate to think I no longer have hope. Thanks for stopping by and giving this a Tweet!

  3. Lindsey McDivitt March 18, 2016 at 9:34 am #

    Fun and thought provoking picture book–so glad to learn of it. Don’t move away Jilanne! Agreed its easy to get discouraged lately, but let’s hold the line and keep improving this great country!

    • Jilanne Hoffmann March 18, 2016 at 9:36 am #

      I haven’t packed my bags yet, so I’m willing to give improvement a try—one picture book at a time! Thanks for reading!

  4. Christie Allred March 18, 2016 at 9:35 am #

    Rick Walton – an excellent children’s writer! Nice pick, especially considering the current news. 🙂

    • Jilanne Hoffmann March 18, 2016 at 9:38 am #

      Yes, common courtesy and respect has been on my mind quite a bit lately. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Beth Anderson March 18, 2016 at 11:34 am #

    Wow! This looks great! Will definitely check it out.
    Yesterday it was reported there’s a huge upsurge in people googling “move to Canada.”

    • Jilanne Hoffmann March 18, 2016 at 11:40 am #

      The Great Google Search Engine knows so much about us. Perhaps we should all start Googling “how to be kind,” and that will turn the tide in the other direction. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Patricia Tilton March 18, 2016 at 12:30 pm #

    A very timely book! Can’t wait to get my hands on this very creative book! A great book for the classroom and for role playing situations.

    • Jilanne Hoffmann March 18, 2016 at 12:35 pm #

      Yes! It’s a “soft sell,” don’t you think? One that’s more fun than preachy. Perfect to get kids (and maybe adults) to think.

  7. Joanna March 18, 2016 at 12:33 pm #

    This has so many layers and indeed what a perfect picture book for election season. Terrific choice.

    • Jilanne Hoffmann March 18, 2016 at 12:36 pm #

      Thanks, Joanna. It really spoke to me. I’ve read it several times, now, and can’t get it out of my mind. Thanks for stopping by!

  8. heylookawriterfellow March 18, 2016 at 1:56 pm #

    I’m gonna want my own country if this election goes the way I fear it will.

    • Jilanne Hoffmann March 18, 2016 at 3:54 pm #

      This book should help you out, then. Don’t say I never did anything for you—you and your squirrel citizens.

      • heylookawriterfellow March 20, 2016 at 11:58 am #

        Thank you. I am off to build a tall fence around my house to keep the Trumps out.

  9. FictionFan March 18, 2016 at 6:27 pm #

    Is there a companion book – “I Need to Build a Wall”? Or “I Need a New Hairdresser”?

  10. m lewis redford March 19, 2016 at 6:15 am #

    …ah, somebody’s already mentioned the T-word!

    • Jilanne Hoffmann March 19, 2016 at 10:02 am #

      Like Tyrant-o-saurus Hex?

      • m lewis redford March 19, 2016 at 10:09 am #

        … or, maybe, Toupee Truffle …?

        • Jilanne Hoffmann March 19, 2016 at 10:13 am #

          Ha! My 12-yr-old son came home the other day, saying “There will be hell toupee.” Then he spent the next five minutes laughing. Truffles, OTOH, are serious chocolate. Don’t mess with them!

        • m lewis redford March 19, 2016 at 10:24 am #

          uh, excuse me, but truffles are “a strong-smelling underground fungus that resembles an irregular, rough-skinned potato, growing chiefly in broadleaved woodland on calcareous soils. It is considered a culinary delicacy and found, especially in France, with the aid of trained dogs or pigs” before they are sweets, and I meant every ounce that that implies [I understand that they are especially liked by pigs too – which just gets better and better] … mind you, cred to your son’s giggler

        • Jilanne Hoffmann March 19, 2016 at 11:30 am #

          Ah, yes. Now there’s a horse of a different color! I don’t like them or their oil-infused truffle-ness. I will leave them to the trough. In the meantime, I shall defend the chocolate ones down to their theobromine goodness.

  11. Andrea Mack March 19, 2016 at 7:09 am #

    This book would generate a lot of discussion in my kindergarten class!

    • Jilanne Hoffmann March 19, 2016 at 9:59 am #

      Oh, I hope so! And wouldn’t it be fun for each kid to create their own country? with all of the things associated with that, including a flag, an anthem, a national bird, a cabinet, etc? A terrific exercise!

  12. julie rowan zoch March 19, 2016 at 7:23 am #

    Keep away from mass media and you’ll fare better! Every country has it’s advantages and things to improve, the trick is we all need to roll up our sleeves. Sounds like a good book!

    • Jilanne Hoffmann March 19, 2016 at 10:08 am #

      You, my dear, are a children’s book writer/illustrator, so you’ve clearly used your imagination and misunderstood this to be a political post. All resemblance to any person, event, etc. is entirely your creation. 😉

      But yes, you’re right. I should stay away from the media. I should only read kidlit. My mental state would be so much improved.

  13. Mrs. P March 20, 2016 at 5:49 am #

    Cute…mine would be an island which you can only visit by invitation. Too much dram and we move the island, just like in the series LOST. 😉

    • Jilanne Hoffmann March 20, 2016 at 10:52 am #

      Oooooohhhhh, I like that! A little smoke and mirrors and—poof!—your country has left the building along with Elvis.

      • Mrs. P March 20, 2016 at 6:07 pm #


  14. Keila Dawson March 20, 2016 at 10:02 pm #

    Oh my goodness, this sounds adorable. Great lessons for all!

    • Jilanne Hoffmann March 20, 2016 at 10:06 pm #

      Yes, it is! I really do think the world would be a better place if it were run by children’s book writers and illustrators. Could you imagine such a place? 😀

  15. Catherine Johnson March 21, 2016 at 9:35 am #

    What fun! My daughter will love this.

    • Jilanne Hoffmann March 21, 2016 at 9:40 am #

      Does she have a pesky little brother? or does she just want her own space, free of intruders? 😀

  16. Sue Heavenrich March 21, 2016 at 12:21 pm #

    Perfect book for this election season! Thanks for sharing – now leave me alone because I’m going to create my own country.

    • Jilanne Hoffmann March 21, 2016 at 12:25 pm #

      Make sure you have plenty of chocolate before you start. I hear it helps with all kinds of creating. Good luck!

Go ahead, drop a thought into the well and see what happens...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: