Happy Birthday (to Me) One Day Giveaway!

DSC_0032-500x332Today is my 54th birthday. How the heck did that happen?

Photo of me and Darwin on my birthday last year

A big congrats to JoAnne Vincent  for winning this giveaway with her touching birthday story about losing one dog and gaining another.

To celebrate I am in the mood for some fun, so I’m hosting a Picture Book Giveaway. One winner will receive four outstanding picture books I’ve recently reviewed – among the best I’ve read all year.

Rules: All you need to do to enter this giveaway is leave a comment on this post telling me a very short story about your most memorable birthday ever. I’ll pick my favorite answer at 5:00 p.m. today, email the winner and also post it on our Facebook Page by 6:00 pm today, October 24, 2014.

Make sure you enter our Activity Book Giveaway too!

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Read my Review

Published by Little Hare (Imprint of Hardie Grant Egmont)

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Read my Review

Published by Candlewick Press

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Read my Review

Published by Sterling Children’s Books

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Read my Review

Published by Candlewick Press

Banjo and Ruby Red: An Unlikely Friendship

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Enter for a chance to win this picture book and three others today only!

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Cover image courtesy of Hardie Grant Egmon

Banjo and Ruby Red

  • Targeted Audience: Preschool & Lower Elementary (Ages 3-5)
  • Genre:  Picture Book
  • Author: Libby Gleeson
  • Illustrator: Freya Blackwood
  • Publisher: Little Hare (Imprint of Hardie Grant Egmont)
  • Publication Date: November, 2014
  • Binding: Hard Cover
  • Dimensions: 11″x 9″
  • Printing: Full color
  • Length: 32 Pages
  • Retail: $16.99
  • ISBN:978-1921541087

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© Copyright –  image courtesy of Hardie Grant Egmon

indexRivalry Between a Dog and a Hen

Banjo is a farm dog with a job. Every day he chases chickens, running to and fro and barking at them incessantly to get them down from the trees and back into the farmyard. (In the book, chickens are referred to as “chooks,” which is what they are often called in Australia.) There’s one stubborn hen, Ruby Red. There she sits, unmoved by Banjo’s barking, atop her perch on a big pile of wood. There’s just no stopping this rivalry between this dog and hen. But one day when Banjo realizes Ruby Red is no longer on her perch he searches and searches yet cannot find her anywhere on the farm – that is until he looks under the shed. But Ruby Red isn’t responsive when he finds her. What’s a dog to do about that? And does he even care?

© Copyright –  image courtesy of Hardie Grant Egmon

Banjo page

© Copyright –  image courtesy of Hardie Grant Egmon

Sensational Illustrations

When the illustrations of a picture book are outstanding, I find myself stroking my hands slowly over the pages, as if that will somehow make them come to life. Banjo is a black and white dog and Ruby Red is , well, ruby red – a striking contrast. Illustrator Freya Blackwood uses beautifully saturated colors along with wispy black ink outlines, resulting in the most eye-catching images. I’m so impressed with Freya’s work, I am eager to read the many other picture books she has illustrated.

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© Copyright –  image courtesy of Hardie Grant Egmon

 Why You’ll Love This Book

The unlikely friendship of a dog and a chicken is fitting for this unique and touching storyline. Author Libby Gleeson selects her words carefully, and they flow like a river off the page. Combine that with the glorious illustrations, and you’ve got a winner of a picture book. Children will discover that compassion, kindness and friendship can even exist between complete opposites. This encourages them to seek more diverse friendships in their own lives. II highly recommend you read this book with your child so you too can get that heartwarming feeling that only unconditional love can bring.

Banjo and Ruby Red is short-listed on the CBCA Book of the Year Awards 2014 for Early Childhood.

Buy Banjo and Ruby Red here

imagesAbout the Author

Libby Gleeson is a well-known, award-winning author in Australia of books for children and teens. She attended the University of Sydney, then became a school teacher and later an adjunct professor. She wrote her first book while living in London, and has penned more than 30 books total. She also wrote episodes of the ABC television series, Bananas in Pyjamas and Magic Mountain.  About her work, Libby says, “The writer’s life is pretty good. It’s a job where you work for yourself, in your daggy track suit, at times that suit you. What more could you ask for?”  Libby lives in Australia.

About the Illustrator Freya Blackwood preferred photo 2013 png

The daughter of an artist and a painter, Freya Blackwood was encouraged to draw from an early age. She studied Visual Communications at the University of Technology in Sydney and worked on the Lord of the Rings Trilogy as an effects technician. Since then, she has been illustrating picture books and says, “I love creating characters, giving them emotions and their small world to live in. These as well as the challenges of design and the problem solving involving creating a picture book are what continue to inspire me.” Freya lives in Australia.

Further Learning

  1. Learn more about the many different purposes of working dogs.
  2. Learn more about chickens.
  3. Watch the Book trailer:

 

 

What to Do When You’re Sent to Your Room: Read This Book to Get Plenty of Ideas

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WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU’RE SENT TO YOUR ROOM. Text copyright © 2014 by Ann Stott. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Stephen Gilpin. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

What to Do When You’re Sent to Your Room

  • Targeted Audience: Preschool & Lower Elementary (Ages 4-8)
  • Genre:  Picture Book
  • Author: Ann Stott
  • Illustrator: Stephen Gilpin
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication Date: September 23, 2014
  • Binding: Hard Cover
  • Dimensions: 8″x 10″
  • Printing: Full color
  • Length: 32 Pages
  • Retail: $15.99
  • ISBN:978-0763660529

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Being Sent to Your Room Has Never Been So Much Fun (In a Smarty Pants Sort of Way)

The narrator of What to Do When You’re Sent to Your Room is a young boy named Ben, who offers a deadpan view of the quintessential punishment for a child. Though being sent to one’s room is generally a much- dreaded consequence, Ben finds a smart alec way of making the most of it. After all, he’s got a lot of experience.

After trying to feed his dog part of his dinner under the table, Ben gets sent to his room by his mom. Boy of boy, is it ever messy in there! The first thing this seasoned “punishee”does is write his mom an apology letter, as if that will help. Then Ben goes through his long list of stuff he does to entertain himself while being stuck in his room. He sharpens both ends of his pencils and wallpapers his room with magazine clippings and tape. At least he has his dog in there to keep from being totally isolated. But is Ben ever going to get out of there?

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 WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU’RE SENT TO YOUR ROOM. Text copyright © 2014 by Ann Stott. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Stephen Gilpin. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

Dry Sense of Humor Combined With Expressive Illustrations

The stone-faced delivery of Ben’s words, combined with Stephen Gilpin’s super animated illustrations make for a most humorous reading experience. Kids will love the facial expressions of Ben, his brother and even his dog, plus all the detail of the piles of stuff packed into Ben’s untidy room. Gilpin was named a featured artist for his illustrations for this book on the Society of Illustrators Original Art 2014 List. Ann Stott uses her wit and charm to poke fun of the ultimate punishment for a young child. It’s obvious that Ben has had so much experience being sent to his room, he’s got the whole thing figured out.

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WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU’RE SENT TO YOUR ROOM. Text copyright © 2014 by Ann Stott. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Stephen Gilpin. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

Why You Should Buy This Book3

Every kid who has ever been sent to his or her own room (and who hasn’t?) will totally relate to What to Do When You’re Sent to Your Room. There’s just something so wholesome about the boredom of this punishment we’ve all experienced. The book turns a negative into a positive and is truly imaginative as well as funny and charming. It makes for a perfect bedtime read. Parents may think twice about sending their kids to their rooms after reading this, because Ann Stott and Stephen Gilpin might just inspire readers into thinking this punishment is actually a whole lot of fun.

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU’RE SENT TO YOUR ROOM. Text copyright © 2014 by Ann Stott. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Stephen Gilpin. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

Buy a copy of What to Do When You’re Sent to Your Room here.

About the Author

7029.AStott.bst.med.1Ann Stott is the author of Always and I’ll Be There, both illustrated by Matt Phelan. About What to Do When You’re Sent to Your Room, she says, “My youngest son has spent a fair amount of time in his room. Some of the strategies in this book are based on his own.” Ann Stott lives in Massachusetts with her family.

About the IllustratorFAF_AuthorIllustrator_APR13_02

Stephen Gilpin studied illustration at the NYC School of Visual Arts. He has illustrated more than thirty books for children, including the Who Shrunk Daniel Funk? books, written by Lin Oliver. About this book he says, “I hope I made the room look messy enough. I haven’t seen a kid’s room that wasn’t pretty darn messy.” Stephen Gilpin lives in Kansas.

© Copyright – Image of the illustrator courtesy of Stephen Gilpin