Tag Archives: picture book

Cupid’s Heart Finds a Home

11 Feb

Thought I’d come back to life for a moment and enter Susanna Leonard Hill’s Valentiny story competition. Rules: 1) story must contain a character who is confused, 2) be no more than 214 words, and 3) be written for kids to enjoy. Well, maybe I’m entertaining and distracting myself, too, in these troubling times. So here’s my 214-word story….

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Cupid’s Heart Finds a Home

 

By Jilanne Hoffmann

 

Dear Stupid Cupid,

Last year, you gave me a green candy cane. I barfed. Please don’t do that again.

Disgustedly Yours,

Gertie

*****************

Dear Hurty Gertie,

You hurt my feelings. It’s not nice to call someone stupid.

Sorry you’ve been sick. I know nothing about candy canes or the color green. I only know about chocolate, the color red, and hearts. Maybe you have me confused with someone else?

Cluelessly,

Cupid

******************

Dear Clueless and Confused Cupid,

Sorry to hurt your feelings, but I’m sure it was you. Speaking of red, you wear a red suit, don’t you?

Sincerely,

Gertie

******************

Dear Gertie,

No, I wear my birthday suit.

Warmly,

Bare-bunned Cupid

******************

Dear Birthday Suit Cupid,

Now I’m confused. My birthday’s in June, but I got the candy cane in December, along with a bunch of toys. Does your mom really let you go outside naked?

Flabbergasted,

Gertie

*******************

Dear Gertie,

I have no family, no home. I’m just a lonely cherub, spreading love and chocolate around the world, not toys.

Sadly,

Cupid

*******************

Dear Sad and Homeless Cupid,

Please come live with me! You can sleep in my room, and I’ll give you clothes to wear. We’ll hide the chocolates under my bed.

Your friend,

Gertie

********************

Dearest Gertie,

On my way! Happy Valentine’s Day!

All my love,

Cupid

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Now, if I were a lit major, I’d read between the lines and realize that this story is really about becoming a little less selfish and welcoming those who need a little extra love and support into our homes. 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

Dragon Was Terrible – Perfect Picture Book Friday

23 Sep

It’s Fall!! It’s time for Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday!

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We all know those little dragons who just can’t behave. They’re busy coloring on the walls. Playing pranks. Throwing sand.

This story is about an incorrigible dragon, just like the ones you may have at home—only worse. The dragon terrorizes villagers, spitting on cupcakes, stomping on flowers, stealing candy from baby unicorns. Then the KING makes a proclamation that sounds quite authoritarian, rewarding any knight who can tame the dragon. Everyone has high hopes. But the knights fail miserably.

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That pesky, tagging dragon…..Another proclamation, this time offering a reward to the villagers if they can tame the dragon.

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That pesky, tagging dragon. But the villagers fail, too.

Enter a boy with a feathered cap who takes a different, mysterious approach to taming that terrible dragon. An approach that focuses on telling a story. Yes, folks. This book shows us how the power of story can tame the most terrible of dragons, our children. And it’s done without moralizing, pointing fingers, or otherwise hitting the reader on the head with anything resembling a plank. Well done!

 

TITLE: Dragon Was Terrible

Ages: preschool – first grade

Author: Kelly DiPucchio 

Illustrator: Greg Pizzoli

Publisher and pub date: FSG 2016

ISBN: 978-0-374-30049-4

 

Cry, Heart, But Never Break – Perfect Picture Book Friday

1 Apr

I was so moved by another writer’s beautiful post about grief, including a picture book recommendation, that I wanted to share it for Susanna Leonard Hill’s PPBF. Here’s the book:

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And here’s the post. Enjoy!!

http://joycorcoran.com/2016/03/30/convergence-grief-books-life/

Title: Cry, Heart, But Never Break

Author: Glenn Ringtved

Illustrator: Charlotte Pardi

Publisher: Enchanted Lion, 2016

Mother Bruce – Perfect Picture Book Friday

4 Mar

Time again for Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday nomination:

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I haven’t laughed so hard while reading a picture book in a lonnnng time. Yes, I’ve smiled, giggled, or uttered the occasional guffaw. But here I found myself laughing through page after page of the most hilarious sight gags that only an author-illustrator can conjure. And my twelve-year-old son who’s too cool for school? He laughed out loud over and over again—and then read it again.

Story: Bruce, the grumpy bear, doesn’t like sunny or rainy days or cute little animals. But he DOES love eggs and makes extravagant gourmet dishes with them. He believes in supporting local businesses (a beehive) and asks Mrs. Goose if her eggs are free-range.

FOODIE ALERT!!!

That’s when this San Francisco dweller started laughing. Bruce’s epicurian lifestyle proves uneventful until one fateful day when he tries to hard boil eggs on the stove and the fire goes out, leaving the eggs in a cuddly warm bath. He runs out to find more wood, only to return home to:

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Yes, Bruce is stuck with a gaggle of goslings who thwart his attempts to abandon them. So ol’ Bruce makes the best of parenting (as we all do) until it’s time for the grown goslings to migrate. But Bruce still can’t get them to leave. His solution to this problem is downright ingenious and even more hilarious than what has come before. 

And the final twist that follows Bruce’s “dreams of new recipes—that don’t hatch” is a perfect last page. Parents won’t be filing this one away in desperation, saying that “it must be lost.” It’s a book they’ll want to read again and again and again and again to their little goslings.

TITLE: Mother Goose Bruce

AUTHOR/ILLUSTRATOR: Ryan T. Higgins

PUBLISHER: Disney/Hyperion 2015

AGES: 3+

 

 

 

 

Dental Hygiene Halloween – Halloweensie Story Contest

26 Oct

I stopped packing boxes long enough to write this teensy-weensy story for Susanna Leonard Hills’ Halloweensie story contest. Here are the rules:

Write a 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children (title not included in the 100 words), using the words costumedark, and haunt.   Your story can be scary, funny or anything in between, poetry or prose, but it will only count for the contest if it includes those 3 words and is 100 words (you can go under, but not over!) Also, you may use the words in any form – e.g. haunt, haunts, haunted, darkness, darkening, costumed, whathaveyou 🙂  No illustration notes please!

Soooooooo here’s my entry:

 

Dental Hygiene Halloween

by Jilanne Hoffmann

 

Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, and Tooth Fairy trick or treated in their usual costumes.

At one dark house, Santa’s knock went unanswered, so he dropped a present down the chimney.

 

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“That’s not how it works,” Easter Bunny scoffed.

At the next house, Easter Bunny rang the doorbell and hopped away, leaving an egg on the doorstep.

 

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“That’s not how it works,” Tooth Fairy fussed.

At the next house, Tooth Fairy rang the bell—and waited.

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The door opened.

“I’m a dentist in disguise!” Tooth Fairy exclaimed. She scooped up the candy, replaced it with coins, and skedaddled.

Haunting, isn’t it?

_______________________________________________________________

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!

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Now back to packing…..

Smelly Bill – Perfect Picture Book Friday

25 Sep

As part of Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday, I’d like to present:

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I’m attracted to messy, silly, rhyming picture books for several reasons:

  1. They give kids a sense of the rhythm of language and help them predict the word at the end of a line.
  2. They entertain.
  3. They appeal to one’s sense of the absurd, especially the illustrations.
  4. Kids will want to read the book again and again and again….

“Bill the dog loved smelly things,

Like muddy ponds and rubbish bins.

Disgusting stuff he’d stick his snout in,

Sniff and snort and roll about in.”

Don’t you just love ol’ Bill, already?

And, if you are as astute as my son, you noticed that the author used the term “rubbish bin,” instead of “garbage can.” Yes, the author is British.

But back to ol’ Bill. He’ s one stinky character, until Great Aunt Bleach comes to visit (and clean the house).

“When every knife and fork was polished,

Every dirty mark abolished,

Great Aunt Bleach said, “What’s that smell?”

And that is when she spotted Bill.

Bleach twittered, “Come on, doggie-woo,

It’s bathie-wathie time for you!”

Now, for those of you who write in rhyme, I’m sure you noticed that the author plays a little fast and loose with “things” and “bins” as well as “smell” and “Bill,” but it didn’t trip me up as I was reading. And, for the most part, the meter is spot on.

So, for all the dog lovers (and rhyming picture book lovers) in the world who’ve ever tried to wrangle their pups into a bath,

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Get me outta here!

this book’s for you. If you want to know what happens to Great Aunt Bleach, well, Smelly Bill exacts his own particular style of revenge. 

There’s also a sequel titled “Smelly Bill Stinks Again.” I’m sure he ran off right after the first book and rolled in some sweet skunk roadkill.

Better get the soaking tub ready….

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Title: Smelly Bill

Author/Illustrator: Daniel Postgate

Ages: 3-6

Publisher/Pub date: Albert Whitman  2005

ISBN: 978-0-8075-7462-1

 

Shoe Dog – Perfect Picture Book Friday

6 Feb

Time once again to add to Susanna Leonard Hill’s growing list of recommended picture books. 

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As I passed the “new” shelf in our library, the cover illustration of Shoe Dog caught my eye. Katherine Tillotson, magically transforms a handful of brown scribbles into a sniffing, chewing, boisterous puppy. And when I opened it up for a quick read, Megan McDonald’s playful text kept me laughing and turning the pages to see what mischief Shoe Dog was going to cause next. 

In the first spread, the shadow of a woman enters an animal shelter. Shoe Dog bounces frantically inside. 

“Ooh, look at the puppy!

Who’s a good boy?

You’re so cute. Yes, you are!”

He perked up an ear at the kitchee-coo words.

In the next spread, we see “Shoe Dog” snuggled in the woman’s arms, but he does not yet have his name.

Dog wanted a home.

A real home.

A place full of

hundreds of nose kisses,

dozens of tummy rubs.

A place warm as soup

and cozy as pie.

 

But we soon find out that Shoe Dog is in for trouble. He doesn’t chew boring old dog toys. He chews…SHOES! (Oh, you are so smart to figure this out.)

As shoe after shoe turns into Shoe Dog fodder, he finds himself banished from “The Land of Upstairs,” and sleeping on the downstairs cold, cold floor. In the darkness, he ponders his uncertain future:

 

Shoe Dog did not want to go back

to the Land of Sad Puppies

and Scratched-Up Cats

and One-Eared Bunnies.

No!

For the next long while,

Shoe Dog was a Good Dog.

He did not chew so much

as a fleabite.

But when his human, “She, Herself,” comes home with another round of packages, the “friendly rustle-bustle of Noisy Paper” is sooooo tantalizing!

What will Shoe Dog do? The ending is surprising, but inevitable. Best to see for yourself.

 

TItle: Shoe Dog

Author: Megan McDonald

Illustrator: Katherine Tillotson

Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Pub date: 2014

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