I never thought I'd be smitten by a counting book. And I'm still not smitten by a counting book, because FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN is so much more than that. It's an ode to nature, a prayer, a salute, a love letter, a bedtime lullaby—all in the guise of a counting book. First the love letter … Continue reading Four Otters Toboggan – Perfect Picture Book Friday
What comes to mind when you read this title? If you're a child, well, it's obvious, right? Ew! But if you're a poet like Michael Odom, it's secret code, a play on words, for ekphrastic. Odom explains that ekphrastic is "a very big, very cool word that will impress a teacher and probably … Continue reading Ick! Fran’s Tick!
It appears that novels in verse are now the rage (at least for me), and it's a good rage (as opposed to the other rage I've been feeling lately.) I just finished the dazzling debut YA novel: by Elizabeth Acevedo, longlisted for the 2018 National Book Award for Young People's Literature. In another life, Ms. … Continue reading The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
Looking for a new read aloud? One that's absurd—sure to make kids laugh? Look no further. But what's truly special about this book is its design and illustrations. The cover gives the reader a hint. The giant's stomach is a die-cut hole, filled with goodies. And as we open the book and read the first … Continue reading There Was An Old Giant Who Swallowed A Clock – Perfect Picture Book Friday
Well, well, well. Somehow we've made it to the end of yet another year. And once again we have Susanna Hill's 7th Annual Holiday Contest. RULES: 250 words or fewer, written for children ages 12 and under, and must contain a holiday surprise of some kind. Mine is 248 words. Here goes..... Fleecetown’s Turnaround … Continue reading Fleecetown’s Turnaround – Holiday Contest Story
In honor of National Poetry Month and Perfect Picture Book Friday, I'm shining the spotlight on a brilliant Caldecott and Coretta Scott King Award Winner from 1997: "They took to the road in Waycross, Georgia Skipped over the tracks in East St. Louis Took the bus from Holly Springs Hitched a ride from Gee's Bend … Continue reading Harlem: A Poem by Walter Dean Myers
Summer slips away, leaving room for Fall. The first order of the day is to talk for a moment about a friend's book of poems, Selene by Michael Odom. I see this book as a reflection of an obsession. A woman. A sorceress. A corpse. An eternal ambivalence, love and hate. The cover uncovers, revealing the … Continue reading Return from the Abyss
Well, it seems I've been inspired by one of my favorite poets, Robert Okaji. Spring Night (after Wang Wei via Robert Okaji) Dogwood petals sigh in spirals, blessing my recline. Spring darkness rests on hollow muted hills while moonlight strikes the owls awake, their hoots slipstreaming through ravines. Unlike Robert, I named the … Continue reading Spring Night (After Wang Wei via Robert Okaji)
I am NOT having an affair with my postman. He loves to ring and run, never waiting to see if I'm home. When I find the package on the doorstep, there's not even a telltale trail of exhaust from his vehicle on the street. I'm not sure if he's afraid of me or is an extreme … Continue reading Surprise! Mother’s Day Gift!
A little over a year ago, we gathered family and friends on an island in Muscongus Bay in Maine to celebrate Peter Hoffmann's (my father-in-law) life and bury his ashes in the island cemetery. It was a glorious day—sunny and warm—for a picnic, wine, and shared memories. Sarah, my mother-in-law, asked the kids to craft … Continue reading Setting Fire to the Origami Crane – For Sarah Briggs Hoffmann