And the Winner Is…


Timmy’s Show and Tell! It was close in the voting. Thanks to everyone who participated! Rose has already started on the storyboard for this book, and it is coming along great. For those of you who voted for Forest Friends in the Fall and Once My Daddy Bounced a Ball, you may be interested in knowing that as a consolation prize for those manuscripts I submitted them to Chronicle Books.

Chronicle Books is a traditional publishing company that still takes unsolicited manuscripts, the catch being that they read thousands of manuscripts a day. It can take up to six months to hear back, and you only hear back if they select your manuscript. I understand they are busy. I understand that I am probably one of a million authors submitting manuscripts to them. But they also say if you don’t try, you won’t succeed. So here’s to throwing my hat in the ring.

Rose and I have begun to collaborate again with the story Timmy’s Show and Tell (if you haven’t read the excerpt you can read it here). My plan is to blog about our stages as we go along for anyone interested in the process behind the creation.

The first stage has been finished, which is writing the initial draft of the manuscript. This manuscript I wrote a while ago, but have recently come back to it and edited some of the sentences. The editing process of the manuscript for a picture book can be layered over the process of illustrating because as the stages of illustration begin, the manuscript will be revisited over and over again to make sure the words and the illustrations complement each other in the best possible way.

The second stage has also been completed, which is designing the page layout in the book. This involves deciding what kind of spreads the words will go with in the book. Spreads typically come in three major formats: full spreads where the illustration covers two pages of the book; half spreads where the illustration covers one page; and multiple illustration spreads where 2 or more small “snapshot” illustrations cover one or two pages.

The third stage is creating the storyboard, which is where we are currently. I will follow up with a blog about that process upon completion of the stage.


A Lesson from Frog and Toad


The other day I was riding in the van with my son Liam. We were going to his doubleheader soccer game on a Saturday which he had been talking about since we signed up for soccer this fall. I turned on the audiobook of Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel for him to listen to on the way to the field. Frog and Toad is one of his favorites. He will go on and on retelling different adventures they share in the books.

When the story about Frog and Toad going sledding came on, he reminded me again of how I told him that story when I was teaching him to ride his bike earlier this year. In the story, for those of you who haven’t had the privilege of reading it yet, Frog convinces Toad to go on a sled ride. Toad is hesitant and unsure feeling that it may not be safe. Frog suggests they do it together, and then it will be safer. Toad reluctantly agrees. Part way down the hill, they hit a bump, and Frog flies off the sled leaving Toad alone to navigate the hill by himself. Toad continues down the hill having fun, not realizing Frog is no longer on the sled. He tells Frog, who is no longer behind him, how great it is that they are doing this together until a bird comes by and tells him he is on the sled alone. Toad panics, looks behind him to confirm what the bird has said, and crashes the sled. Toad then decides that bed is a better option than sledding.

I used this story to help my son ride his bike alone. I told him not to worry about whether I was holding onto the seat or not while running beside him. I reminded him that Toad was doing great sledding down the hill by himself. It wasn’t until he got nervous that Frog wasn’t with him and looked back that he crashed the sled. It took about another fifteen minutes and he was riding like a professional 3 year old. Liam smiled and laughed, and apparently he has never forgotten the time I used this story the teach him how to ride a bike because there are many times in the van, at the dinner table, on walks, during bedtime, etc. that he says, “Remember when you told me about Toad when you were teaching me to ride my bike…”

Once My Daddy Bounced a Ball


The last option is Once My Daddy Bounced a Ball. This is a book that travels through the imagination of a child after the daddy bounces his rubber ball and loses it. It is geared toward 2-4 yr olds, but with the illustrations could be more 6 months to 4 years old. This book could be a board book as well as a picture book. The excerpt is the beginning and the end of the story. Enjoy!


Once My Daddy Bounced a Ball…

Once my daddy bounced a ball…

Which bounced off a giant flower shade in a garden…  

And then it bounced off a speeding car driving down the road too fast…

And then it bounced off a school bus taking children to school…

And then it bounced off a train taking people to work…

And then it bounced off a helicopter taking off from a hospital…

And then it bounced into a baseball stadium…

And then it bounced off a baseball bat swung by a player…

Which made me sad because I liked my bouncy ball…

But the next morning, I found it in my backyard.


Just a reminder if you haven’t already to read the other posts and vote by liking or sharing whichever one/ones you feel are the best. Thank you for helping me decide which book I should pursue next!

Forest Friends in the Fall


The next option is Forest Friends in the Fall. This book is a combination of 3 short stories about Red the cardinal, Squeaky the Squirrel, and Monk the Chipmunk. These stories would be geared toward 3-8 yr olds and could be used as readers in a school setting. The following excerpt is the first of the three stories. Enjoy!


Forest Friends in the Fall

Squeaky and Red Play Hide and Seek

“Good morning,” said Squeaky as she came out of her leaf nest high up in a tree.

“Good morning,” said Red coming out of his nest and hopping onto a branch. “It looks like it is going to be a beautiful day. It’s a little cold, but sunny.”

“What do you want to do today?” Squeaky asked.

“Let’s play hide and seek,” replied Red.

“Ok, but you know the rules, no flying,” said Squeaky.

“And no climbing trees,” answered Red.

“Right,” said Squeaky, “I’ll hide first.” Squeaky scrambled down the tree to the forest floor. Red glided down from his branch.

“I’ll count over there. You go hide,” said Red.

“Ok,” said Squeaky and she scurried off.

“1, 2, 3,” Red started to count. Squeaky saw a hole in the bottom of a tree. “I could hide over there,” she thought. “No. Red will look there first.” She ran farther down the path.

“4, 5, 6,” she heard Red counting. She saw a bush and thought, “There is a good hiding place.” Then she thought, “No. Red will look there next.” She ran still farther down the path.

Then she saw it; a hole in the ground, and she quickly scurried into it backwards to hide her tail.

“7, 8, 9, 10! Ready or not here I come,” yelled Red.

“He’ll never find me in here,” whispered Squeaky to herself.

“Who won’t find you?” A voice in the hole said.

“Ahhhh!” yelled Squeaky jumping from the hole.

“Found you!” Red yelled seeing Squeaky jump from the hole.

“That’s not fair,” said Squeaky.

“What’s not fair?” said the voice in the hole.

“You scared me,” answered Squeaky. “So you found me.” She said to Red.

“Who scared you?” Red asked.

“The voice in the hole,” answered Squeaky.

“My name in Monk,” said the voice in the hole. “Why did you come into my house?”

“Sorry,” said Squeaky. “Red and I are playing a game.”

Monk poked his head out of the hole. “What game are you playing?” He asked.

“Hide and seek,” replied Red.

“Can I play?” Monk asked.

“Of course,” said Squeaky, “but first you have to come out of your hole.” Monk came out.

“It’s your turn to count, Squeaky,” said Red. “I found you even if you were scared.”

“Ok, fine,” said Squeaky walking over to the nearest tree and covering her eyes.

“Remember the rules, Red, no flying or climbing trees.”

“Ok,” he replied. “Come on Monk let’s go hide.”

“1, 2, 3,” Squeaky started to count while Red and Monk hid.

The new friends spent the rest of the day playing hide and seek together.