Have you ever seen a cow dance? I have. I have seen a bunch of cows dance at a fair. In this book, Lily the cow likes to dance. She goes all around the world to find a place to dance. (Bridget note: Lily sounds like she and Peddles should be friends) She finds a place on an island and dances to her heart’s delight. A lot of people might know this dance.
I like this book because it is a funny to see a cow dance. This book is good for kids who like to dance but stand out in their class. Annoying little brother likes to dance but he doesn’t like being the only boy in his class.
Goose Goes to School is a funny book. Can you imagine a goose in your classroom? I think that would be disruptive. He would go HONK, HONK, HONK! But in this book, Goose does go to school. It starts with him being told he can’t go. He doesn’t listen and still goes to school. (Bridget note: Goose should be a better listener) The kids find it funny and they play with him. I think he goes the next day but stays outside.
At my school, I saw geese playing on the playground. I also see rabbits in the mornings in the parking lot.
I think kids should read this, especially ones with pet geese.
Tell me a little about yourself:
I’m the author of three picture books (Storm Song, City Street Beat, and Look What I Can Do!) and two middle novels (Just One Thing! and Samantha Hansen Has Rocks in Her Head) Four grown kiddos call me Mom. I like to say they’ve done a terrific job of raising me. Two toddlers call me Grandma Nan, and they’re realizing that although I’m way older than they are, I’m still a kid at heart. (Look at Nancy in First Grade – so cute)
When you were my age, did you like to read?
YES! Believe or not we didn’t have picture books or early chapter books in my house, at least the kind you know of today. We had Little Golden Books, and I had quite a collection. The first time I actually read an entire book all by myself was in first grade. I still remember how amazed I was when I figured out that letters made up words, then how words got strung in a line to make sentences, and finally, how sentences connected to form whole stories. Magical!
What was your favorite story?
I had a very big book called The Real Mother Goose, and begged for rhyming story after story to be read to me. It was impossible to pick a favorite. There were 200 rhymes! When I was older, I absolutely loved the Bobbsey Twins books (about twins, Bert and Nan) and the Nancy Drew mysteries (secretly wanted to be that Nancy). (Bridget note: Me too!) Both of these series had characters with my name!
How do you get your ideas?
Many ideas come to me when I’m hiking or biking, or traveling to new towns and countries. Sometimes, my ideas end up on notepaper, grocery lists, planners, or (in the past) the back of my kids’ homework. Oops! Other times, I go right to my computer and start a story.
My idea for Just One Thing! happened over several years, as I noticed kids trying out different activities, hoping to find that one thing they could be known for as they move through school. Is it playing an instrument? Being a dancer? A soccer player? It’s not easy to find out what suits you best.
Is it hard to write a book?
It’s harder than most people imagine. Take picture books, for example: The writing has to fit on 32 pages. Count the pages of the picture books in your house. Most have 32 pages, but guess what? Only some of those pages are used to tell the story! Look and see what ends up on the other pages.
Do you have a favorite among the books you have written?
Hmmm, tough question. My favorite is usually the one I’m working on that has not been published. Since it’s new, the possibilities are endless. I can change it anyway I see fit.
What author do you really like right now?
I love the work of author-illustrator Peter Brown, his older titles and newer ones. My Teacher Is a Monster! (No, I Am Not.) is one I enjoy reading out loud. What advice to you have for a kid who wants to be an author?
Read a bunch! Read all the time! If you like fiction, that’s awesome, but try nonfiction, as well. And don’t forget, other kinds of reading material count, too—magazines, cereal boxes, video game instructions, newspaper comics, poetry, blogs, jokes—anything! Also, write! Get your thoughts down on paper any way possible. If it’s hard to write them down, tell a story and let an adult type them on the computer while you speak.
This book is about a little girl going to see a friend. They spend the whole day exploring and listening music and going around the city. But when the day is done, they go home which is not in the city. The city has a lot of sounds to it.
I live near a big city too. This weekend, I went exploring the city with my Mom. We heard the sound of the city – street musician, cars, the vendors of the farmer market, the sizzle of the grill, the people chattering around and kids laughing. I even heard and petted some dogs. I think my experience was very much like this book.
I recommend this book. Cities are great to explore. All the cities I have been to have been very different and the sounds change.
Tomorrow, I have an interview with Nancy Viau. Please come back for that!
Tell me a little about yourself: Before I started writing and illustrating books, I had a long, fun career doing all kinds of cool stuff. I’ve been a toy designer and sculptor, I’ve worked in animation on shows like Pee-Wee’s Playhouse and Doug and I even got to work for one of my heroes, Jim Henson! Now I get to visit schools where I read my books, draw pictures with, and talk about all that cool stuff to students all over the country.
How did you become a book author/illustrator? I’ve been thinking about creating children’s books for a long time. I’ve been illustrating things for a long time, since I was in college as an illustration major. I had ideas for books but I didn’t think I could write them. I had a writing assignment for a job, writing limericks for a line of toys. It made me realize I might be a writer so I started writing my stories.
When you were my age, did you read a lot? What was your favorite book? I did read a lot as a kid. I loved picture books, chapter books and science fiction. My favorite picture book was The Ice-Cream Cone Coot by Arnold Lobel.
How do you come up with your story ideas? They seem to pop out of my heads at strange moments. Sometimes a memory from my childhood will appear, other times I’ll just be in the middle of doing something and suddenly a story starts developing in my head. As an illustrator, sometimes I see a picture and expand a story around it. I have even written books while on long drives. Luckily I have a good memory and can write them down when I get home.
Do you have a favorite book you have written/illustrated? It’s hard for an author to pick a favorite books, its like they’re my children and I could never choose between them. I do have to say that I Hate Picture Books! has gotten the most attention.
Do you illustrate by hand or by computer? Both! I start out with pencil drawings and then I scan those into my computer and do all of the painting and rendering, usually in Photoshop.
Who are some of your favorite authors/illustrators? Of the classics I love Dr Seuss, Arnold Lobel and PD Eastman but there are some great authors and illustrators putting out books every month. I feel like we’re in a new Golden Age of picture books. I think Dan Santat’s Beekle is one of the most wonderful books of all time. (Bridget note: I agree. I really like Beekle too. His book “Are we there yet” is funny and has QR codes in it.)
(Bridget note 2:The newest book Timothy illustrated comes out tomorrow. It is called “Just One Thing” and my interview with the author Nancy Viau is on Wednesday I hope you come back to learn about her. )
Strictly No Elephants is about a boy and his pet elephant. They were going to a pet club together. They were very excited. When they arrived, there was a sign that said “Strictly No Elephants.” They were sad. They found another kid and pet who also couldn’t join the club. So they became friends and made their own club for everyone and their pets.
I liked it because the boy made a special club for everyone. I sometimes feel left out at school and I know it hurts. I would love to join a club for everyone. I would love to have a pet penguin or puffin or elephant or pink hippo, but Mom and Dad say no.
I think everyone should read this. If you are wanting to make a club, you should read this.
What kind of librarian are you? I am a Youth Services Librarian. I do everything from reference and collection development, to storytimes and programs for ages 3-18.
How long have you been a librarian? 5 years
What lead you to wanting to be a librarian? I feel like this job picked me, rather than the other way around. Many people told me I would make a great librarian, and I eventually looked into it. Turns out, it’s the best job ever! I feel really lucky.
How do you pick books for your library? We have what is called “a collection development policy” that we follow. It lays out the criteria we use to select books. I also read professional reviews, advanced copies of books, and speak with my community to help me pick books for all.
Do you have a favorite author? I have a lot of favorites, but if I could only save one series, it would be Harry Potter, by JK Rowling.
How do you decide what book to recommend to a specific kid? I think it’s is really important to ask them what they are interested and work together to find books that they specifically want to read. I also ask them to comeback and tell me how they liked what welcomed together, good or bad. This way I can help them even more next time.