Friday, March 30, 2012

Maddie's Monster Dad by Scott Gibala-Broxholm

Happy Friday dear readers,
The Queen here with a creepy book of monstrous proportions. Maddie's Monster Dad is about Maddie's solution to her ghoulish problem of a too busy dad. You'll laugh and cringe at how her evil genius plan ends up being more than she bargained for.

Happy Reading,
The Queen

Book Title: Maddie's Monster Dad
Author and Illustrator: Scott Gibala-Broxholm                                                                                                               

Book Information:
Publisher and date: Marshall Cavendish Childrens Books (July 10, 2011)
Reading level: Ages 4 and up
Book Info: Hardcover: 40 pages
Genre: fiction picture book
ISBN: 978-0761458463

Book Theme: First line
"Maddie loved monsters very scary much. Her favorite color was Godzilla Green."

Book Summary from
Maddie loves monsters. She loves watching monster movies, eating monster cereal, and drawing monster pictures. She also loves doing things with her dad. But lately her dad has been very busy with work, so Maddie decides to use her Build-a-Beast kit to create a Monster Dad that is never too busy to play. It turns out there are some things that monsters can't do, and maybe a Monster Dad isn't as special as the real thing. The illustrations in gouache and pencil contain clever, fun details that children (and adults) will love.

Activity Adventures:

If you could have a monster friend, what would they look like? Draw a picture of them.

Where would they live? Draw a picture of their house and write something about it.

What would your monster friend like to do? Draw a picture of it and write a sentence describing their favorite activity.

What kind of food does your monster friend like to eat? Yep, draw a picture of their favorite dish and make a list of monster foods.

Now, put all your drawings together and make your own monster book. 

Crafty Ideas:
Make a paper bag monster puppet. Use scraps of paper, foil and odd items found around your house to make the monster face. And tape. Lots of tape.

Watch the book trailer video for the fun of it. 

Authors Arena

Scott Gibala-Broxholm is a published author and an illustrator of children's books. Some of the published credits of Scott Gibala-Broxholm include City Witch, Country Switch and Scary Fright, Are You All Right?. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wizardry Writing Wednesdays - Dirkus on Preschool Writing Fun

Hello again writer friends!
Dirkus here, standing in for Wiz Lexiconi, who has decided to take his frog choir on a spring croaking tour around the kingdom. 

Between you and me, I'm glad to see them go. I got so tired of hearing them sing "Down by the River" I kept begging them to please go sing down by the river and leave the rest of us in peace. 

Gee wilikers!

But all is quiet again, and I'm continuing my scribe lessons. (That means writing for those who can't speak castle talk). This week, all us young scribes got to go on a field trip around the kingdom, visiting all our favorite restaurants and parks and other adventure places. At each place, we either collected something that had the establishment's logo on it, or took a picture of the name.  (I have a great picture with me chasing the knights around the knight's training arena.)

Then, when we came back to the castle, we made our "Favorite Places Word Book."

Really, it was totally awesome wasome!

On each page, we glued in the logo, and drew or pasted a picture that we'd taken. Some of us, those who are mastering writing more, actually wrote a few things we enjoy doing, or eating at our favorite places. Once the book was done, we can "read" all about our favorite places.

On mine, I just wrote the letter of each of my favorite places and put them in alphabetical order. (Since I'm still learning my letters and their sounds) And don't you know I added the Queen's throne room to my letter Q and her library under the letter L. I did, I really did.

So what about you? Where are some of your favorite places? When you go next time, collect a few pictures and their logo and make your own Favorite Places Book all for your very own.

Happy Writing. And Reading!!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Perfect by Ellen Hopkins

Good Monday dear Reader Friends,
The Queen here with a Young Adult book this week, titled Perfect by Ellen Hopkins.

The book is beautifully written in poetic form, broken into four major character's point of view. Each teenage character struggles with finding themselves in a world that expects perfection, in a home where parental demands can drive some over the brink, and where the need to succeed can push one to take desperate risk that could cost them everything.

Be sure to read Hopkins' authors note at the end. Her letter to her readers touched me deeply and wrapped up this story in a most moving way.

I think this book is a must read for both parents, teachers and teens. Read it as a group and discuss the issues the characters face and what similarities you might find in your own life or at your own school. Most of all, enjoy this thought provoking tale.

Happy Reading,
The Queen

Book Title: Perfect
Author: Ellen Hopkins                                                                                                               

Book Information:
Publisher and date: Margaret K. McElderry Books (September 13, 2011)
Reading level: Ages 14 and up
Book Info: Hardcover: 640 pages
Genre: YA Fiction
ISBN: 978-1416983248

Book Theme:
Body Image, self perception, steroids, LGBT, modeling

Topics covered in this book:
Teens dealing with body image, parental expectations, sexual orientation, sex, and career goals, the use and effects of steroids and issues in modeling life. 

Book Summary From
Everyone has something, someone, somewhere else that they’d rather be. For four high-school seniors, their goals of perfection are just as different as the paths they take to get there.

Cara’s parents’ unrealistic expectations have already sent her twin brother Conner spiraling toward suicide. For her, perfect means rejecting their ideals to take a chance on a new kind of love. Kendra covets the perfect face and body—no matter what surgeries and drugs she needs to get there. To score his perfect home run—on the field and off—Sean will sacrifice more than he can ever win back. And Andre realizes that to follow his heart and achieve his perfect performance, he’ll be living a life his ancestors would never have understood.

Everyone wants to be perfect, but when perfection loses its meaning, how far will you go? What would yougive up to be perfect?

A riveting and startling companion to the bestselling Impulse, Ellen Hopkins's Perfect exposes the harsh truths about what it takes to grow up and grow into our own skins, our own selves.

Authors Arena

Author: Ellen Hopkins
Ellen Hopkins is a poet, freelance writer, and the award-winning author of twenty nonfiction titles and five NY Times Bestselling novels-in-verse. She has published hundreds of articles on subjects ranging from aviation to child abuse to winegrowing. Ellen mentors other writers through her position as a regional adviser for the Nevada chapter of the Society of ChildrenÕs Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). She is a regular speaker at schools, book festivals and writers conferences across the US, and now throughout the world.

Find out more about her books and helps for students, teachers and writers at her site.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Bless This Mouse by Lois Lowry

Good Friday dear friends,
The Queen here with a chapter book for younger readers. Lois Lowry's Bless This Mouse was a delightful read about a community of church mice. The characters are endearing. The story line is not full of fast adventures, but makes for a nice read with lots of take-away value.

Since this is a chapter book, I have not included activities this time. I encourage you, young reader, to simply enjoy this delightful story.
Happy Reading,
The Queen

Book Title: Bless This Mouse
Author: Lois Lowry                                                                                                                
Illustrator: Eric Rohmann

Book Information:
Publisher and date: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children (March 21, 2011)
Reading level: Ages 9 and up
Book Info:Hardcover: 160 pages
Genre: Fantasy chapter book
ISBN: 978-0547390093

Book Theme:
leadership, hard choices, friendship and working together.

Opening Line:
"Hildegarde sighed, a loud, squeaking, outraged sort of sigh, when she was informed that a new litter of mouselets had been born in the sexton's closet.

Book Summary
A church mouse is no ordinary mouse, and Hildegarde—the Mouse Mistress of Saint Bartholemew’s—is no ordinary mouse leader. It falls to her to keep all the church mice safe and out of sight.

But when a few parishioners report mouse sightings, Hildegarde and the rest of the church mice must face a most dreadful consequence: the Great X. To complicate things, a ceremony called the Blessing of the Animals is fast approaching. Saint Bartholemew’s will soon be filled with pets . . . including cats!

Oh, dear. Within the stately stone walls of the church, life is not as serene or safe as one might think. It will take the courage and patience of a—well, of a saint—to keep this scampering, squeaking tribe of Hildegarde’s intact.

Authors Arena

Author: Lois Lowry
Lois Lowry is known for her versatility and invention as a writer. She was born in Hawaii and grew up in New York, Pennsylvania, and Japan. After several years at Brown University, she turned to her family and to writing. She is the author of more than thirty books for young adults, including the popular Anastasia Krupnik series. She has received countless honors, among them the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award, the California Young Reader.s Medal, and the Mark Twain Award. She received Newbery Medals for two of her novels, NUMBER THE STARS and THE GIVER. Her first novel, A SUMMER TO DIE, was awarded the International Reading Association.s Children.s Book Award. Ms. Lowry now divides her time between Cambridge and an 1840s farmhouse in Maine. To learn more about Lois Lowry, see her website at

Illustrator: Eric Rohmann
Eric Rohmann was born in Riverside, Illinois in 1957. He grew up in Downers Grove, a suburb of Chicago. As a boy, Eric played Little League baseball, read comic books, collected rocks and minerals, insects, leaves, and animal skulls.

Eric has his BS in Art and an MS in Studio Art from Illinois State University, and an MFA in Printmaking/Fine Bookmaking from Arizona State University. He also studied Anthropology and Biology. Eric taught printmaking, painting, and fine bookmaking at Belvoir Terrace in Massachusettes and introductory drawing, fine bookmaking, and printmaking at St. Olaf College in Minnesota.

Eric has created book jackets for a number of novels, including His Dark Materials, by Philip Pullman. He won a Caldecott Honor Book award for Time Flies, and a Caldecott Medal award for My Friend Rabbit. Eric has written four children's books: My Friend Rabbit, The Cinder-Eyed Cats, Pumpkinhead, and A Kitten's Tale. He recently illustrated Lois Lowry's Bless This Mouse and an old Scottish poem, Last Song. Look for Bone Dog out in the latter part of 2011.
Eric currently resides in a suburb of Chicago.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Whoo-hoo, I'm back! Dirkus here, again for Wizard Lexiconi. He says I'm doing awesome-wasome talking aobut preschool writing. And he's been busy working on an all frog choir for our spring festival coming soon. 

That leaves me to talk to you about... yeppers, WRITING!

Have you been practicing? I have. I found a new place I can write my name and most of the time, it wipes off.

The knight's armor!!

But I'm thinking we should probably keep this from the Queen, too. She has a thing about just writing on paper. BOOOORRRRING!! 

I mean, writing on paper is fine and I like making books and stuff, but sometimes a dragon needs to branch out in his creative endweavors. You know? 

Yeah, so, I've two new ideas for you.

Here's the firstest: 
Did you know there are markers that can write on windows? It's totally awesome-wasome. 

Crayola has them. I love them. I can draw, draw, draw all over the windows and nobody cares. Nobody yells at me. Nobody says, "Don't write there, Dirkus!"

Okay, so, there's that and now here's my secondest idea:
Get out your playdough and make letters. You can even let it dry and make a cool plaque for your cave. Or room. Wherever. 

While I was Googling with Wizard Lex about this subject, we found this nifty site with even more ideas on letter activities. Check out Bees With Honey

Have lots of fun making letters. Later gators!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Zoola Palooza: A Book of Homographs by Gene Barretta


Author: Gene Barretta                                                                                                               

Book Information:
Publisher and date: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); First Edition edition (June 21, 2011)
Reading level: Ages 5 and up
Book Info: Hardcover: 40 pages
Genre: fiction picture book
ISBN: 978-0805091076

Book Theme: 
homographs, humor, animals, fun with words.

Book Summary from
The all-animal touring concert group Zoola Palooza has come to town. With a motley crew of animals playing a variety of instruments, homographs abound (homographs are words that are spelled the same but sound different and have different meanings). Billy the striped BASS opens the show wearing a big BOW tie. He gives a gracious BOW from the top of his BASS fiddle.

This terrific companion to Dear Deer: A Book of Homophones brings homographs to the spotlight for a show-stopping good time.

Activity Adventures:

Young Readers:
EZ School has a fun homographs game. Match the word to all its possible meanings. 
First Years School has a couple of activities to do with homographs

Older Readers:
Create your own list of Homographs and draw a picture to go along with them, such as a BASS playing a BASS.

There are several free homograph worksheets to print over at English Is For Everyone

Check out Barretta's fun page for some coloring and activity sheets.

Authors Arena
Gene Barretta is the author and illustrator of Now & Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin and Neo Leo: The Ageless Ideas of Leonardo da Vinci. He is also author and illustrator of Dear Deer, which was a Notable Children’s Book in the Language Arts and listed on the Parenting Magazine Mom-Tested Books of the Year List.  His awards include The 2007 Carolyn W. Field Award from the Pennsylvania Library Association. 

He holds a B.F.A. in Film Studies from New York University, and has worked for many years in film and television production. Before he entered the publishing world, Gene completed several animated films for Sesame Street and illustrated for the show Between The Lions.
He has also designed characters for The Jim Henson Company.

He lives in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, with his wife and son. (bio from

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wizardry Writing Wednesdays -Dirkus' Preschool Writing Tips

Hello again. Dirkus here for Wizard Lexiconi. He told me to come back this week and talk more about preschool writing. 

I'm happy to tell you that the Queen still hasn't noticed my auto-giraffe, I mean, autograph, on the back of her throne. So far so good. Let's keep it that way, 'kay? shhhh.

I will say that I did try to wash it off but did you know black permanent marker doesn't wash off? 

Oh wait, Wizard Lex just told me that's what permanent meant. Who knew?

So last week, I told you about firstest I learnt to draw straight and squiggly lines. (And I admitted how it sometimes got me into TURRR- UBBLE!

Yeah, no writing your straight lines on the castle walls. Got it. 
So, Wizard Lex and I went Google-ing. (I don't know what that means either, but it worked.) We found some awesome-wasome writing worksheets for preschoolers like me. I had him print up a bunches and they were fun. Just... well if you is a dragon, don't sneeze around paper. It's bad. 

Oh, here's where you can go get some of those worksheets, too. They're free over at Kidzone

Okay, so I have another great, brilliant idea about learning to write. Do you know I learned how to write by drawing pictures first? Yeppers! 

Mamma made books for me to draw all of my great, brilliant ideas in. I'd take them to the Queen and she even put a couple in her library. AWESOME-WASOME!! 

She said she liked when I wrote in books much better than when I wrote on her castle walls. And I'm never allowed to ever, never, ever write in someone else's book. She said -hat it would hurt my feelings if someone did that to me. So there. 

Sometimes, Wizard Lex would dic... uh, duck... no.... Oh, I know, DICTATE what my pictures were about. He wanted me to see words so I would learn how all the letters fit together. He even left space for me to copy his words, or he wrote in yellow-like-the-sun ink that I could trace over. 

I. Love. Doing. That. 
I have bunches of my very own books. That makes me an author, right? 

Wizard Lex says it does. And the Queen, she says it does. And of course, Mamma says it does.

So I guess it does. 

See you next week. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Grin and Bear It by Leo Landry

Good day readers,
The Queen here with a cute beginner-reader chapter book about facing your fears.Grin and Bear it, by Leo Landry will provide an opportunity to discuss having dreams for the future and how to tweak them to suit your capabilities. I loved this story. It didn't provide a neat "How to overcome fear" plan, but rather how to embrace a problem and make it work for you.

I hope you enjoy it as well.
Happy Reading,
The Queen


Book Title: Grin and Bear It
Author: Leo Landry                                                                                                               

Book Information:
Publisher and date: Charlesbridge Publishing 2011
Reading level: Ages 4 and up
Book Info: Hardcover: 48 pages
Genre: Early reader chapter book: fiction
ISBN: 978-1570917455

"What do you get when a bear walks through your vegetable garden?
                                                                                            ... Squash!"

Book Theme:
Facing your fears, dreams, stage fright, humor

Book Summary from
Bear dreams of becoming a comedian. His jokes are unbearably funny, and he wants nothing more than to make his friends laugh. But Bear has a problem. He has stage fright. When Emmy, the comic hummingbird, discovers Bear's jokes, Bear learns that there's more than one way to achieve your dream. Told in seven short chapters.

Activity Adventures:

Talk about what you wanted to be when you grew up with your kids. What made you change your mind? Was there something you wanted to do, but was stopped because of some reason?

Ask kids what they want to be when they grow up. What challenges might face them that they will need to overcome to be that?

Writing Prompts:
Do you have a funny bone? Write a few jokes and try them out on your family and friends. 

Drama: Dress up and practice getting on stage to read a poem, or tell jokes. Children sometimes have a hard time getting up and speaking in front of other people. This would be a great book in helping them deal with those fears and get past them. 

Authors Arena

Leo Landry Author and Illustrator
From Landry's website:

"I grew up in Waltham, Massachusetts with a love for the Red Sox, making up stories, and drawing. While studying architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design, I rediscovered the world of children's books and knew that this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life!

I started working at The Children's Book Shop in Brookline, Massachusetts in 1986 and learned lots about writing and illustrating from reading many of the thousands of books that came into the shop each year. In 2006, after 20 years, I left my job at the book shop to write and illustrate books full time."

Check out Landry's site for the complete list of his many books. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

In Like a Lion Out Like a Lamb by Marion Dan Bauer

Happy Friday dear readers.
For the month of March, I came across this beautifully illustrated and poetic story about how this month blows in like the lion and goes out like a gentle lamb. What a great opportunity to discuss how seasons change. Check out the Reading Adventure section for other ideas on how to make this book a teachable source.

Happy Reading,
The Queen.

Book Title: In Like a Lion Out Like a Lamb
Author: Marion Dan Bauer                                                                                                                
Illustrator: Emily Arnold McCully

Book Information:
Publisher and date:Holiday House (March 15, 2011
Reading level:Ages 4 and up
Book Info: Hardcover: 32 pages
Genre:Fiction Picture Book

Book Theme:
seasonal changes, idioms, rhyming text, seasons

Book Summary from
March comes in with a roar.
He rattles your windows
and scratches at your door.

In this exuberant, rhythmic story, March, personified as a lion, enters a boy's cozy home and leaves a trail of snow flurries and muddy footprints. The boy calmly observes the pouncing, howling, growling lion until in comes the lamb on the crest of a huge sneeze. 
Escorted by grass, flowers, sunshine, showers, and animal babies large and small, the lamb brings forth spring.

Activity Adventures:

Learn about the different seasons. Enchanted Learning has several worksheets and ideas for teaching about seasons.

Here's a video that provides a simple explanation. Click over to find more videos about seasons and how they change. 

Crafty Ideas:
Create a seasons chart by dividing a large sized poster board into four squares. Find old family photos that are extras and not important so you can cut and glue them on the poster.
Ask: When were the pictures were taken, what season you were in? Glue the photos into the correct seasonal box. Write activities you enjoy doing during each season. 

Writing Prompts:
Pick a season and write about something you enjoy doing during that season.

Write up a seasonal Bucket List of things you would like to do during the Spring, Summer, ect.

Pick out the rhyming words in the story. What sound is common? Can you separate the words into the correct sound family?

Where does the term "March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb" come from? The Farmer's Almanac has an article about this. 

Authors Arena

Marion Dane Bauer is the author of more than eighty books for young people, ranging from novelty and picture books through early readers, both fiction and nonfiction, books on writing, and middle-grade and young-adult novels. She has won numerous awards, including several Minnesota Book Awards, a Jane Addams Peace Association Award for RAIN OF FIRE, an American Library Association Newbery Honor Award for ON MY HONOR, a number of state children's choice awards and the Kerlan Award from the University of Minnesota for the body of her work.

She is also the editor of and a contributor to the ground-breaking collection of gay and lesbian short stories, Am I Blue? Coming Out from the Silence.

Marion was one of the founding faculty and the first Faculty Chair for the Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults program at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her writing guide, the American Library Association Notable WHAT'S YOUR STORY? A YOUNG PERSON'S GUIDE TO WRITING FICTION, is used by writers of all ages. Her books have been translated into more than a dozen different languages.

She has six grandchildren and lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, with her partner and a cavalier King Charles spaniel, Dawn.

Illustrator: Emily Arnold McCully
Emily Arnold McCully was born left handed in Illinois and was transplanted to Long Island, where she grew up. A tree climber, bike rider, fort builder and ball player, she also devoted hours every day to reading and drawing. She majored in art history at college and acted and wrote for the theater. She lived in Europe for a year researching her Master's thesis, also in art history. Back in New York, she took to the streets with a portfolio of sample illustrations. Early assignments were for book jackets, magazine stories and pharmaceutical ads. A poster displayed in subway cars caught the attention of a children's book editor and a new career was launched. After illustrating other peoples' texts for several years and publishing two adult novels (A Craving and life Drawing) McCully began writing her own picture books.
She has been awarded the Caldecott Medal, Christopher Award, Jane Addams Award, O'Henry Award and many others.
She has two sons and lives in New York and Columbia County, N.Y., where she maintains a large garden.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Wizardy Writing Wednesdays - Dirkus' Advice for Pre-Writers

Good Wednesday, dear writer friends.
Wizard Lexiconi here to introduce one of my young writing apprentices, Dirkus the dragon. He is here to speak to our younger, emergent writers:  preschoolers. He wishes to present beginner writing adventures sure to get your future scribe ready to write! 

Happy Writing, friends.
Let your imagination weave some wacky tales.
Wiz. Lexiconi, Sr. Mage 1st class: Fabulist extraordinaire.


Hello writers. I'm Dirkus and Wizard Lex is letting me tell you about how I learned to write! I'm so proud of myself. I can write my name, but not on the castle walls. The Queen gets really, really and I mean really, mad about marker on her stone walls. I thought I'd done good with making my big D's. But she wasn't impressed. 

Anyway, it took me awhile to learn how to write my first D. Firstest, I had to learn how to make straight lines. And Mamma brought me papers with dotted lines that I traced. Once I could keep my pencil on the dotted line, she told me to start drawing lined from one object to another. And I did!

I drew a line from a picture of me to Mamma. I used sticks to draw lines in the dirt from one rock to another. From bugs to plants, from Wizard Lex to the frog pond, and I was making a straight crayon line from my house up to the Queens throne room and that's when she got mad. But enough about that.

After I learned straight lines, then I got to learn squiggly and round lines. I traced plates, and cups and my brother's long, wavy tail. And he only complained a little about marker on his spikes. Oh, please, it washed off.

Once I was a master drawer of straight and bended lines, then Wizard Lex decided it was time for me to learn to write my name!! 

Firstest he had me glue beans and seeds and tiny rocks to my name. I made some really cool artwork with my name too. I traced the letters D-I-R-K-U-S with colored markers and with crayons and paints and I even had all of Wizard Lex's frogs line up so they spelled my name. That was so AWESOME!!

I was making my name every, every, every where. On my lesson binders, on my papers, on back of the Queen's throne (but shhhhh, don't tell her. kay?) 

And now that I can write my name, and I know all the letters in the alphabet that spell my name, I now want to learn how to write everyone's name. And once I can write everyone's name, then I should know almost all of my alphabet. 

Later gators... uh, writer people. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Tom's Tweet by Jill Esbaum

Welcome to March, dear readers.
Here is a cute story about helping others even when you don't like them very much. I can't help but think about a saying that goes along the lines of: Love your enemy as you love yourself, or something like that. Well, that's what this book is about. Helping someone, even when it's an inconvenience.
Happy Reading,
The Queen.


Book Title: Tom's Tweet
Author: Jill Esbaum                                                                                                               
Illustrator: Dan Santat

Book Information:
Publisher and date: Knopf Books for Young Readers (November 8, 2011)
Reading level:Ages 5 and up
Book Info:Hardcover: 32 pages
Genre: Picture book

Book Theme:
Helping others, dedication, facing opposition

Book Summary
Tom is on the hunt for a tasty morning treat when he spies a flip-flapping, fluttery bird just there for the taking. Hello, breakfast! But little Tweet with his big black button eyes is too skinny to eat. Tom is determined to not get involved, but he can't just leave Tweet there . . . frightened, unhappy, alone. Consarn it! It's just Tom's luck to get stuck with a Tweet!

Activity Adventures:

Discussion Questions:
Talk about a time when you helped someone and it turned out to be a lot of trouble. What did you do? How did it all turn out? Share your personal stories with your kids and ask about times they've helped other people. Talk about what happened. If the time didn't turn out well, what ways could you have done something differently? Even if it was a lot of trouble, were you glad you helped anyway? Why?

Why did the mom keep attacking Tom, even when he was trying to be helpful?

What do you think about Tom's solution?

What are ways you can help people? 

Either talk or write about your observations. 

Authors Arena

JILL ESBAUM is the award-winning author of several books for young readers, including Stanza, To the Big Top, Estelle Takes a Bath, and Ste-e-e-e-eamboat A-Comin'!. She lives on a farm near Dixon, Iowa, with her husband and family. She loves visiting schools, as well as teaching adults how to write for children in numerous classes and workshops.

DAN SANTAT is the illustrator of The Secret Life of Walter Kitty by Barbara Jean Hicks, Always Lots of Heinies at the Zoo by Ayun Halliday,Chicken Dance by Tammi Sauer, the Otto Undercover books by Rhea Perlman, and Oh No (Or How My Science Project Destroyed the World) by Mac Burnett. He is also the creator of Disney's animated hit The Replacements, and lives in Southern California with his wife, two kids, a rabbit, a bird, and one cat.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Stuck by Oliver Jeffers

Happy Friday, friend readers,
The Queen here with a humorous book by author and artist Oliver Jeffers. Stuck is about how to fix your problems by throwing things at it. There's laugh out loud moments and children will enjoy Floyd's attempts to get his kite back from the sticky tree. I've included an video at the end of Jeffers reading from his story.

Happy Reading,
The Queen


Book Title: Stuck
Author: Oliver Jeffers                                                                                                              

Book Information:
Publisher and date:Philomel (November 10, 2011)
Reading level:Ages 3 and up
Book Info:Hardcover: 32 pages
Genre: Humorous stories

Book Theme:
A tale of trying to solve a problem by throwing things at it.

Opening Sentence:
"IT ALL BEGAN when Floyd's kite became stuck in a tree. He tried pulling and swinging, but it wouldn't come unstuck..."

Book Summary
Delightful chaos ensues when a young boy gets his kite stuck up a tree in this laugh-out-loud new picture book from award-winning, internationally best-selling author-illustrator Oliver Jeffers! Floyd gets his kite stuck up a tree. He throws up his shoe to shift it, but that gets stuck too. So he throws up his other shoe and that gets stuck, along with! a ladder, a pot of paint, the kitchen sink, an orang-utan and a whale, amongst other things! Will Floyd ever get his kite back? A hilarious book with a wonderful surprise ending.

Activity Adventures:

Story Telling Suggestions:
Make a felt or magnet tree. Then draw or print the items that get stuck in the tree. (Glue Velcro, felt or magnets to the back of each small picture). As you tell the story, add the visual items. Let the kids have a turn as they re-tell the story themselves while putting the whale, fire truck, ect up in the sticky tree. 

Crafty Ideas:
Construct a paper tree. Cut out pictures from a magazine. See if you can find some of the stuff Floyd threw at his tree.
Squeeze glue onto the tree top. paste the items into the tree.
For added fun, see if you can find some green cottonballs. Use these for the top of the tree instead of coloring it. 

Writing Prompts:
What happened next? Write your prediction from the view point of an item Floyd left up in the tree. Did someone finally come get them down? On the final page, the fireman says, "Hold on a minute, Lads, I've got a great idea." Write out what you think that idea is.

Talk about what items you think Floyd can use to get his kite free.

Authors Arena

Oliver Jeffers is an artist, designer, illustrator and writer from Northern Ireland. He graduated from the University of Ulster with a degree in Visual Communication.

From figurative painting and installation, to illustration and picture-book making, his work has been exhibited in New York, Dublin, London, Sydney, Washington DC, and Belfast.

He is widely known for his picture books for children, published by HarperCollins UK and Penguin USA. How to Catch a Star debuted in 2004 to critical acclaim, and Lost and Found (2005), won the Nestles Smarties Book Prize Gold Medal 2006, the Blue Peter Book Award 2006 and was shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal the same year. The Incredible Book Eating Boy (2007) won the Irish Book Awards Children's Book of the Year, and his fourth Book The Way Back Home was released in September 2007 and The Great Paper Caper was published September 2008.

Jeffers' style of illustration uses mixed medium and is recognised for its subtle narrative and use of space in composition. As a freelance illustrator he has worked for clients such as Orange UK, Lavazza, Sony PSP, RCA Records, Starbucks, candycollective, Blanka, Graphic, the Vacuum and the Irish Times.

Jeffers' artwork consists of figurative painting executed on either canvas or three dimensional objects, both found and made. His most recent solo show (Additional Information, Belfast December 2006) studied the balance between form and content by drawing parallels between the arts and sciences, in which figurative oil paintings were over laid with mathematical equations.

In 2007, Jeffers was the official World Book Day Illustrator.

Enjoy this video of Jeffers reading from his book, Stuck