Poetry and Music, One and the Same: Interview With Author/Songwriter Johnette Downing and Illustrator Jennifer Lindsley

Screen Shot 2015-03-28 at 8.35.05 PMAuthor/singer Johnette Downing and illustrator Jennifer Lindsley are both native Louisianans who grew up listening to the many legends of the bayou. Pulling from their local traditions and personal experiences, together they collaborated on a  most original, eerie folkloric tale. I found The Fifolet to be so mesmerizing and uniquely wonderful, I just had to learn how this author/illustrator team pulled it off.

© Copyright – Image of Jennifer Lindsley (l) and Johnette Downing (r) courtesy of Johnette Downing

Author Photo 2012 Rick OlivierJohnette Downing

Where did the inspiration come from to write a picture book about a fifolet, and while growing up in Louisiana, did you always know the meaning of the word?

Being from Louisiana, I heard stories my entire life about the fifolet or feu follet, which means fire sprite in French. Elders, like my French grandfather, would say, “Don’t go too far in the swamp or else the fifolet will get you.” Like the loup garou, the mischievous Cajun werewolf, the fifolet is a mythical spirit used by grown-ups as an effective device to keep children in line.

For nearly three decades, I have dedicated my career to sharing Louisiana roots music and books with children as a means of ensuring that our rich musical, folkloric and cultural heritage will continue to be handed down one generation after another. Until the publication of this book, the fifolet legend has mostly been an oral tradition shared among families; therefore, I wanted to write my own original version of the legend with my own plot and characters as a way of preserving this story in book form for generations to come.

Does being a songwriter make you a better poet or does your ability to write poetry make you a better songwriter?

This is a great question, and one that I have never been asked. For me, poetry and music are one and the same. After all, language itself is rhythmic; each syllable is a beat, beats are words, words are poems, poems are lyrics and lyrics are books.

Many people do not know this about me, but I am a haiku poet and the co-founder of the New Orleans Haiku Society. The beauty of haiku is that one has seventeen syllables or fewer to make meaning out of an experience that connects human nature with nature. This Japanese form of poetry has helped me get to the heart of the subject matter by targeting what I want to say and then saying it in as few words as possible.

Therefore, to answer your question, yes, being a songwriter helps one be a better poet and being a poet helps one be a better songwriter.

“After all, language itself is rhythmic; each syllable is a beat, beats are words, words are poems, poems are lyrics and lyrics are books.”

Poetry is difficult to write well, yet I found your poetic verse in The Fifolet to be the smoothest to read of all the rhyming picture books I’ve ever reviewed. Why is poetry so difficult to write well, and is there a trick to your ability to do it?

Image 4Thank you for your kind words about my poetic verse for this book. As a poet and musician, I do not find poetry hard to write, but I do understand why others may find it difficult. I believe the trick is that poetry needs to “sing,” not so much in a literal sense, but that it needs to flow off the tongue as if it were music.

Another trick I use is to read the poem, or any other form of writing, aloud. While reading aloud, one can hear the cadence of the language. If it does not sound like music, or if it does not flow smoothly, the meter may be off, and editing syllables or words may be required to help the poem sing. Tapping your foot to the beats of each line while reading aloud and making sure the lines equal the same number of beats can transform a poem.

© Copyright – Cover Image courtesy of Pelican Publishing

Do you have any plans to turn The Fifolet into a song?

Yes, I have written music for The Fifolet for the purpose of making the book into a song. I am also working on an orchestral piece of music that would be played while I read the story.

Listen to Johnette perform some of her music

I’d love to hear that! In what ways do you think teaching with music benefits children?

I was an early childhood music teacher for twenty-two years, and I have given workshops to teachers in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Central America, North America and the Caribbean on how to use music in the classroom to teach language and to promote literacy. Since language and the majority of other academic subjects are left-brain activities and music is a right-brain activity, combining the two helps students utilize more brain capacity in a more natural and balanced manner for learning. I enjoy writing books that are also songs because, in my opinion, not only does it help reluctant readers become motivated readers, it helps students use more brain capacity for higher learning, interaction, retention and enjoyment.

“I enjoy writing books that are also songs because, in my opinion, not only does it help reluctant readers become motivated readers, it helps students use more brain capacity for higher learning, interaction, retention and enjoyment.”

Jennifer Lindsley’s illustrations in The Fifolet are outstanding. Did you have a vision of how you thought your story should be illustrated and what were your impressions on how the illustrations turned out?

While writing the book, I visualized a dark, mysterious, and mythical swamp environment that few would dare to traverse. The publisher, Pelican Publishing, suggested Jennifer Lindsley as the illustrator. When I viewed her art samples, I agreed that she was the perfect illustrator for this book. A native of Thibodaux, LA, Jennifer has created a watery world any fifolet would love to inhabit. What I love is that she gave Jean-Paul Pierre a lantern to carry. This is significant because the legend of a fire sprite or of a person carrying a vessel of light exists around the world as the Will of Wisp or the Jack of Lantern. This small detail, which Jennifer said was accidental, causes the reader to ponder whether or not Jean-Paul had been a fifolet all along – double creepy!

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© Copyright – Inside spread image courtesy of Pelican Publishing

That is brilliant. I think you handled the folkloric subject matter in your story beautifully. Were you ever concerned that your plot, featuring a fisherman who disappears, might frighten readers?

Your kinds words touch my heart; thank you. Folklore has always been a passion of mine. After fourteen books, it was time for something a little eerie, especially since my previous book, Macarooned on a Dessert Island, was all about sweets. Actually, my young readers have been asking me for something spooky for some time. I am more of a scaredy-cat than most children; therefore, I didn’t want to have a scary book. I wanted to have something I would read myself repeatedly and not have nightmares. The Fifolet, with its promise of buried treasure, has one shovel dug into the attribution of mystical powers to natural phenomena, and one shovel dug into mystery; the perfect concoction for slightly spooky folklore.

The Fifolet, with its promise of buried treasure, has one shovel dug into the attribution of mystical powers to natural phenomena, and one shovel dug into mystery; the perfect concoction for slightly spooky folklore.”

Can you tell us a bit about your next book that’s in the works?

Louisiana The Jewell of the Deep SouthI have two upcoming books through Pelican Publishing. Louisiana, the Jewel of the Deep South, illustrated by Julia Marshall, is about State symbols and is slated for a fall 2015 release. Down in Mississippi, illustrated by Katherine Zecca, is the sequel to my Down in Louisiana book. It teaches Mississippi State symbols, and is slated for a spring 2016 release. Both books are also songs.

 

616rcjen-1ecd17096908960aJennifer Lindsley

What attracted you to illustrating the story of The Fifolet?

I had briefly been introduced to Johnette at Starbucks, as a friend of mine had recommended that I talk to her. I had just submitted art to Pelican on an open submission for artists. I had no clue that eventually I was going to be paired with her as “my” author! I was so excited as the story is close to my heart in that my paternal family is from Thibodaux (down the bayou), and I am very familiar with the eerie qualities of the swamp and loved the story. Johnette is also an amazing writer and the tale just flowed in an enchanting sing-song that stuck in my head even before I started illustrating!

“Johnette is also an amazing writer and the tale just flowed in an enchanting sing-song that stuck in my head even before I started illustrating!”

Your fluid, hazy watercolor method is mesmerizing and perfectly fitting for the story. I noticed on your website your other illustrations don’t seem to be painted in the same style. Were you given any specific direction for the artwork, and how did you come up with this brilliant depiction of the story?

Watercolor was the first medium I learned, and it is my absolute favorite. Next would be oils and then acrylics, which are used for many of my murals. Since the book took place in the swamp and was watery to begin with, I thought that watercolor would lend itself to the aesthetic. I wanted to have the drippy aspect representing the Spanish moss and eerie quality of the story. I wanted the colors to be moody and flowing. There is a quality to watercolors where the colors can blend seamlessly and once they dry some of the results are surprising. I was not given any direction with regards to medium, just minor suggestions when areas needed some “pop.” You can’t erase watercolor so it was a commitment to be able to adjust – luckily I had done the initial sketches and they were approved before I started adding color.

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© Copyright – Inside spread image courtesy of Pelican Publishing

Was it challenging for you to create images fitting for an eerie folktale without frightening young readers? 

I feel like the pictures just came to me with each of the lines of the story. I had drawn an initial sketch of Jean Paul Pierre and wanted him to be consistent throughout. He seems like such a selfish person and alone and pretty simple, so his clothes, shrimping boots, hat and little red patch on his knee helped me to keep him recognizable and simple. I also added some characters that are in the story consistently as witnesses of Jean Paul’s demise — the alligator that seems to follow him around, the ever present moon, his hat and his pirogue became as much a part of the tale as he was! I didn’t make the swamp black, I opted for purples and blues, so as not to create a harshness that could spook some younger readers…I was scared of the dark when I was little and the moon was always something that helped illuminate the scary away!

Do you paint all your illustrations traditionally or do you use digital methods as well?

I’m pretty much a Luddite when it comes to illustration. I have tried some digital work, but inevitably get frustrated and go back to my “old school” methods. I feel like I can convey emotions through art better “brush to canvas/paper” than dragging and dropping images and scanning. I would like to learn how to augment my work through digital though – I just have to find someone who will teach me and make me stick to it! Someday! In the meantime I love to paint traditionally and feel like I’m more efficient time wise.

There’s simply nothing that can replace an original painting, even though it’s more difficult to make changes than with digital work. What was the inspiration for the big-nosed beady-eyed fisherman? I love everything from his shack on the water to that image of him in bed with his toes sticking out from under the covers.

Image 2When I was little my dad used to take me to a little roadside store outside of Thibodaux, that also had a tiny bar and lots of Cajuns would come through and tell stories. Jean Paul is sort of a conglomeration of these colorful storytellers and one particular person I know that is extremely cheap and selfish. (Not mentioning names!)

© Copyright – Inside spread image courtesy of Pelican Publishing

It’s fantastic that your real-life experiences created this fictional fisherman! As an art teacher, what is difference between giving an adult student direction as compared to a child student? 

Adults are afraid of messing up! Children are pretty much fearless with the ability to take risks and try things. I always hear from adults, “Oh, I can’t draw a straight line, I’m a terrible artist.” And then when I work with them and have them try different mediums, they inevitably find a niche of making art that they enjoy and can build on. Not every artist can draw, however maybe they excel at three dimensional art, it’s a matter of introducing them and trying to eliminate a fear of failure.

Children will dive in and go for it as long as there is positive encouragement. I think sometimes adults were told as children that something didn’t “look” like what they were trying to represent and it stifles them, so it’s not surprising when they pick up years later, they are still drawing at a level of a children who decided they weren’t good enough. I get inspired at the fearlessness of kids in my classes – I have a tendency to be afraid I’m going to “mess something up” but then I have to remind myself that if I mess it up, I can always fix it.

“Adults are afraid of messing up! Children are pretty much fearless with the ability to take risks and try things.”

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© Copyright – Inside spread image courtesy of Pelican Publishing

Is there another picture book in the works for you?

I am illustrating a few different books at present. The main one is a story about St. Charles and the streetcar lines and the fabulous sites that this city has to offer when you’re rolling down the avenue. I also have a book that I’m working on about a dragonfly that has a unique perspective, and it is a bilingual book for kids that might be a little different. But above it all I have some sketches of a lab rat who wants to be a famous music composer, but I need an author. I have the pictures, but I’m not a writer!

Jennifer, I have a feeling you’ll have no trouble finding that author, now that the word’s out. Thank you both for taking the time to share your unique journey with this book. I’m looking forward to your next titles.

Readers:

Visit Johnette’s website here.

Visit Jennifer’s website here.

Visit Pelican Publishing here.

Read my review of the book here.

Buy The Fifolet here.

Lola and Tattletale Zeke Book and Plush Lola Giveaway

I can’t keep this adorableness all to myself, so I’m giving away one copy of Lola and Tattletale Zeke, along with a plush Lola toy. See entry rules below.

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Lola and Tattletale Zeke

•        Targeted Audience: Lower Elementary School (Ages 3-8)
•        Genre: Non-Fiction
•        Author/Photographer: Marcia Goldman
•        Publisher: Creston Books
•        Publication Date: June 9, 2015
•        Binding: Hard Cover
•        Dimensions: 8.5″ x 6.5″
•        Printing: Full Color
•        Length: 32 Pages
•        Retail: $16.95
•        ISBN: 978-1939547163

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Meet Lola, the Service Dog

Lola is a five-pound Yorkshire Terrier and a certified therapy dog. She and her owner, Marcia Goldman go to work together to help those in need, such as autistic children, struggling readers and the elderly in nursing homes. Lola is gentle and calm, loving and smart, and she touches the lives of all who are fortunate enough to meet her. Through her books, she teaches and inspires children everywhere.

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Lola’s in a Predicament with Her Tattling Little Brother, Zeke

In the first two books in the series, Lola goes to work helping others, but in Lola and Tattletale Zeke, Lola shares her personal real life challenges as a big sister to a younger – but physically larger – brother named, Zeke. The problem is that Zeke is a tattletale about everything. When Lola forgets to bring her toy bear in from outside, he tells on her. When Lola leaves muddy paw prints on the floor, he tattles. But when Zeke does something wrong, Lola doesn’t tattle because she knows it’s just an accident. When Isabel the black cat tells on Zeke for breaking his toy, Lola feels so bad for her distraught little brother she does all she can to make him feel better. Will Zeke repay the kindness the next time Lola has an accident?

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A Curriculum Guide with Activities

In the back of the book is a curriculum guide with vocabulary words and a list of questions to pose to readers, such as “What is the difference between telling about and telling on someone?” There are several suggested educational activities too, such as using puppets to playact different scenarios.

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Why You Should Buy This Book (and Plush Toy)

Lola is so cute, I can hardly stand it. And she’s loving and kind and always does the right thing when it comes helping others. Lola is a true leader and the youngest readers can so relate to her predicament with her brother.  Every child with a sibling has experienced the dreaded tattling problem or has been a tattler himself. Lola lets children know that it’s normal to experience sibling rivalry, and she teaches them that acting out of kindness is the best way to go. Getting along with others is a life lesson rarely taught in schools, but Lola is here to teach it to your children. With all three titles in this series, plus the new plush puppy, your child will get to know, love and respect Lola the adorable and irresistible therapy dog.

About the Author

JMGoldmanFound_012_v2_smMarcia Goldman has her Masters Degree in Special Education and has spent the last 25 years focusing on providing therapeutic-based programs for children with autism and their families. Marcia and Lola live in California.

Watch a video of Lola:

Buy the book here:

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Buy the second book in the series:

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Buy the first book in this series too:

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Buy the Lola Plush Puppy here:

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Enter for a Chance to Win The Newest Lola Book and Plush Lola Puppy!

  1. Enter the giveaway by Liking our Facebook Page (if you haven’t already).
  2. Leave a valid comment on this post on this website.
  3. Optional: Receive 10 extra entries by sharing this giveaway from our Facebook Page. Go to the Facebook page and from there, click share on the link to this giveaway. If you share it from your own Facebook status and not from the Smart Book Facebook Page, I will not know about it, so it will not count.
  4. There will be one winner for this Lola Giveaway selected at random, residing in the USA. No books will be mailed outside the USA.
  5. This giveaway starts on Friday, March 27, 2015 and ends on Friday, April 3, 2015 at 4 pm.
  6. The winner will be notified via email on April 3, 2015.
  7. Follow us on our Facebook Page to learn about more giveaways and read reviews and interviews.

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A New Title in the Popular Clementine Rose Series: Busy Day Book

ClementineRose

The Clementine Rose Busy Day Book

•        Targeted Audience: Lower Elementary School (Ages 4-6)
•        Genre: Fiction Activity Book
•        Author/Illustrator: Jacqueline Harvey
•        Publisher: Random House Australia
•        Publication Date: August 1, 2015
•        Binding: Paperback
•        Dimensions: 9″ x 7″
•        Printing: Full Color
•        Length: 96 Pages
•        Retail: $14.99
•        ISBN: 978-0857984111

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This title will be released this summer. You can pre-order it here.

clementine-blog“Clementine Rose was delivered not in the usual way, at a hospital, but in the back of a mini-van, in a basket of dinner rolls. So begins the story of a lovely little girl who lives in Penberthy Floss in a large ramshackle house with her mother, Lady Clarissa, Digby Pertwhistle the butler and a very sweet teacup pig called Lavender.”
© Copyright – Image of Clementine Rose courtesy of Random House Australia
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© Copyright – Image courtesy of Random House Australia

The Loveable Clementine Rose Keeps Fans Busy with a Super Cute Activity Book

In this popular series of books, there’s always something exciting going in Clementine Rose’s large, ramshackle mansion. Now in this latest title, The Clementine Rose Busy Day Book rather than a story, Clementine Rose shares some fun activities for readers. Throughout the activity book, readers learn all about Clementine Rose’s family (and her pig of course) as well as details about her eccentric life at home and at school.

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© Copyright – Image courtesy of Random House Australia

Each reader can personalize her own activity book and do a myriad of activities like:

  • Color pages
  • Place  Colorful Stickers (included) in the Book
  • Complete a crossword Puzzle
  • Do a Maze
  • Do a Word Search
  • Finish a Dot to Dot
  • Spot the Difference
  • Match Lists
  • Bake Some Cookies (with recipe)

In addition, there are personal lists to make, like what things do you love best about your family and what would be your ideal pet and why? The interactive nature of the book revolves around what readers know about Clementine Rose from reading previous titles in the series.

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© Copyright – Image courtesy of Random House Australia

Why You’ll Love This Book

Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 9.54.13 PMThe youngest readers love books that keep them busy. The Clementine Rose Busy Day Book is a clever way to keep children ages 4-6 engaged with a combination of activities and pages to read. They will love the character so much they’ll want to read the other titles in the series and get to know what Clementine Rose is all about (if they don’t already). What you’ll love about this book is that the message is very positive. There are tips for living a good life and information about many different subjects that will help make your little reader more worldly. Clementine Rose is likable and lives a fancy and fun life that little girls will enjoy reading about in all the titles of the Clementine Rose series.

© Copyright – Image courtesy of Random House Australia

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About the Author/Illustrator

Harvey, JacquelineJacqueline Harvey’s bestselling Alice-Miranda series began as an idea for a picture book but it soon became apparent that this perpetually positive seven-and-a-quarter-year-old had a lot more to say. The series has been sold to the United States, United Kingdom, Indonesia and Turkey and has been shortlisted for children’s book awards in Australia. Her first and only picture book, The Sound of the Sea was an Honour Book in the 2006 Children’s Book Council Awards. Jacqueline has spent most of her working life teaching in girls’ boarding schools and has been a Deputy Head and Director of Development. She is passionate about improving educational outcomes for Indigenous students. She lives in Sydney with her husband Ian and is currently working on more Alice-Miranda and Clementine Rose adventures.

Further Learning

    1. Check out the Clementine Rose Teacher’s Resources.
    2. Download a bunch of fun Clementine Rose stuff like computer wallpaper and coloring sheets!
    3. Read the Clementine Rose blog.
    4. Watch the Clementine Rose Trailer.

 

 

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The Great Legend of the Fifolet

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The Fifolet

•    Targeted Audience: Lower Elementary (Ages 5-8)
•    Genre: Fiction, Picture Book
•    Author: Johnette Downing
•    Illustrator: Jennifer Lindsley
•    Publisher: Pelican Publishing
•    Publication Date: January 20, 2015
•    Binding: Hard Cover
•    Dimensions: 8.5″ x 11″
•    Printing: Full Color
•    Length: 32 Pages
•    Retail: $17.99
•    ISBN: 978-1455620364

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From The Fifolet by Johnette Downing, illustrated by Jennifer Lindsley, © 2015 Johnette Downing, illustrations © 2015 Jennifer Lindsley, used by permission of the publisher, Pelican Publishing Company, Inc.

Steeped in Cajun Folklore

A fifolet is a folkloric term with a variety of meanings from different cultures around the world. But in Cajun-French it can be described as an “eerie ball of light that seems to dance and float above the water.” For centuries, the mystery of the fifolet has been thought to be a supernatural spirit, and in The Fifolet, author, singer, songwriter, Johnette Downing entertains readers with an incredibly original tale they shall never forget.

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From The Fifolet by Johnette Downing, illustrated by Jennifer Lindsley, © 2015 Johnette Downing, illustrations © 2015 Jennifer Lindsley, used by permission of the publisher, Pelican Publishing Company, Inc.

“Through cypress trees and beards of moss, there is a fire spirit that you never want to cross. It will tease you and coax you and draw you near, but all the Cajuns know that you better beware.”

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From The Fifolet by Johnette Downing, illustrated by Jennifer Lindsley, © 2015 Johnette Downing, illustrations © 2015 Jennifer Lindsley, used by permission of the publisher, Pelican Publishing Company, Inc.

A Tale of Greed

Inside a shack, deep in the Louisiana swamp, lives fisherman Jean-Paul Pierre. Night and day, day and night that fisherman fishes. He has no time for family and no time for friends; he fishes only for himself, and no matter how many fish he catches, he longs for more. One night in the distance, Jean-Paul sees the fifolt, dancing in the light. The light draws him in, putting him in an unbreakable trance. For he knows that wherever you see a fifolet a treasure exists. Day after day and night after night, he digs for treasure until one day he disappears from sight. Is he ever seen again?

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From The Fifolet by Johnette Downing, illustrated by Jennifer Lindsley, © 2015 Johnette Downing, illustrations © 2015 Jennifer Lindsley, used by permission of the publisher, Pelican Publishing Company, Inc.

 An Eerie Story with Illustrations Like None You’ve Ever Seen Before

The Fifolet is told in some of the finest rhyming verse I’ve ever read. There’s a hypnotic rhythm to this poetry that makes  it ideal for reading aloud. The story itself is an eerie one, as the beady-eyed fisherman disappears in misty moonlit waters of the swamp, incredibly depicted with hazy watercolor illustrations, gloriously deep with purple hues. The images of the somewhat creepy trees set the tone for the mysteries of this folkloric tale.

“His body began to tremble with fear he could not shake, but the fifolet was enticing; its spell he could not break.”

Why You Must Buy This Book

ImageI must commend the author, illustrator and publisher on their originality. This is such an ingenious book in many ways and yet I love that The Fifolet evokes a mood similar to a Grimm fairy tale, with a great mystery left unsolved and an even greater lesson learned. In this case, that lesson is one of the consequences of selfishness and greed. You’ll enjoy the fact that your child will learn some big new vocabulary words (also listed in the back of the book) as you read this perfectly rhythmic story aloud. If you’ve never heard of a fifolet before, you’ll be truly enlightened by this folk tale. I’m sure you’ll agree with me that these are among the most unique and mesmerizing illustrations ever seen in a children’s book, and they are so fitting for this story. So if you’re looking for a totally unique, modern folk tale that’s a bit eerie (but not terrifying, of course) this is the book for you.

From The Fifolet by Johnette Downing, illustrated by Jennifer Lindsley, © 2015 Johnette Downing, illustrations © 2015 Jennifer Lindsley, used by permission of the publisher, Pelican Publishing Company, Inc.

About the Author

JohnetteJohnette Downing is an award-winning and internationally recognized singer and songwriter. Her many accolades include eight Parents’ Choice Awards, four iParenting Media Awards, and four National Parenting Publication Awards. She wrote and/or illustrated There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Bugs, Why the Crawfish Lives in the Mud, How to Dress a Po’ Boy, Why the Oyster Has the Pearl, Why the Possum Has a Large Grin, Macarooned on a Dessert Island, and other Pelican titles. Downing lives in New Orleans, Louisiana.

About the Illustrator

616rcjen-1ecd17096908960aJennifer Lindsley is an artist, illustrator, and art instructor based in Louisiana. She earned her Associate of Arts degree in acting from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and her Bachelor of Arts degree in design technology from the University of Northern Colorado. She is the proprietor of ACME Studios, LLC, in New Orleans, Louisiana. She teaches children and adults the basics of art technique and instructs them to apply specific skills to a variety of media. She lives in New Orleans, Louisiana, “down the bayou,” just like Monsieur Pierre.

Further Learning

  1. Find Southern Louisiana on a map.
  2. Learn more about Cajun superstitions and spells.
  3. Cook up some traditional Cajun fare with your child.
  4. Lear more about swamps and marshes.

 

Pipsie Nature Detective: The Disappearing Caterpillar One Day Giveaway

Congratulations to the winner of this giveaway, Stephanie Jacobsen from Maine!

Spring has just arrived, and soon it will be time to discover butterflies in your garden just like Pipsie. Today I am giving away this new book by Two Lions Publishing to one lucky winner. Simply leave a comment on this post. If you share my Facebook post about this giveaway on your Facebook status, you’ll receive TEN extra entries. I will announce the winner at 5 pm today, March 24, 2015 on our Facebook Page. The winner must email his or her mailing address within 24 hours or a new winner will be selected. So check Facebook and/or your email at 5 pm!

Thank you to Two Lions – Amazon Publishing for making this giveaway possible!

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Cover image – Courtesy of Two Lions

Pipsie Nature Detective: The Disappearing Caterpillar

•    Targeted Audience: Lower Elementary (Ages 5-8)
•    Genre: Fiction, Picture Book
•    Author: Rick DeDenato
•    Illustrator: Tracy Bishop
•    Publisher: Two Lions
•    Publication Date: March 31, 2015
•    Binding: Hard Cover
•    Dimensions: 8.5″ x 11″
•    Printing: Full Color
•    Length: 38 Pages
•    Retail: $17.99
•    ISBN: 978-1477826300

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© Copyright – Inside Spread Courtesy of Two Lions

A Metamorphosis Mystery

Pipsie is a curious little girl who loves animals and solving mysteries. One day Pipsie notices that Alfred, her turtle has some mysterious yellow and black stripes on his head. With her magnifying glass, she discovers that it’s a small caterpillar! She names her Frannie, and she sure is a hungry little insect. She eats non-stop and grows 1000 times bigger in just ten days! But one day, Frannie is nowhere to be found. Pipsie and Alfred look everywhere for their caterpillar friend but just can’t find her. Looking for answers, they go to the zoo to ask the bug expert about caterpillars, and he shows them what a chrysalis looks like and explains what is happening to Frannie. But can Pipsie and Alfred find Frannie’s chrysalis in their backyard? Or is Frannie gone forever?

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© Copyright – Inside Spread Courtesy of Two Lions

What This Book Teaches

What I love about Pipsie is that she shows readers that it’s wonderful to be smart and curious about the world. By asking questions and seeking answers, there are so many wonderful facts about plants and animals just waiting to be discovered. In addition to the charming story, there are facts about the life cycle of the monarch in the back of the book.

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© Copyright – Inside Spread Courtesy of Two Lions

Why You Should Buy This Book

Kids love a mystery, and along with Pipsie  readers can try to figure out what happened to the caterpillar, and all the while learn about the life cycle of the butterfly. Children will love admiring the colorful, lovely watercolor illustrations too. Pipsie Nature Detective: The Disappearing Caterpillar offers the perfect combination of entertainment and education to keep budding scientists interested in the story. This book encourages kids to get outside to explore the natural world around them, and isn’t that the best kind of book of all?

About the Author

A1zT6yc04pL._UX250_Rick DeDonato started writing and drawing storybooks for his two kids, Alexis and Matt, when they were little. They’re grown now, but Rick is still creating stories! When he’s not dreaming up adventures for Pipsie, he’s an award-winning creative director in advertising. Born in New Jersey, he now lives in Wilmington, Delaware, with Nancy McAleer; their two dogs, Tugger and Nacho; and their turtle, Alfred E. Turtle!

About the Illustrator

a2e0e18bc0d27fd5-96-1Tracy Bishop won an art contest in kindergarten, and she’s been creating art ever since. A graduate of San Jose State University, she is also the illustrator of Not the Quitting Kind by Sarra J. Roth. She lives in San Jose, California, where she is inspired on a daily basis by her son, husband, and a hairy dog named Harry.

Further Learning

  1. Check out this amazing book about bugs called Bugs: A Stunning Pop-Up Look at Insects, Spiders, and Other Creepy Crawlers.
  2. Learn how to attract butterflies to your garden.
  3. Learn about the life cycle of the butterfly.