Category Archives: Mostly About Reading

Book Review: Excellent Ed – by Stacy McAnulty






Book: Excellent Ed
Author: Stacy McAnulty
Illustrator: Julia Sarcone-Roach
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Date: 2016
Genre: Picture book; preschool - 3
Pages: 32
Price: $16.99
My rating: Enjoyable story showing everyone is excellent 
at something

Excellent Ed by Stacy McAnulty is an enjoyable and funny read. But more than that, it is encouraging and hopeful.

The Ellis family had many talents. Each child excelled in something, but Ed, their dog, didn’t seem to excel in anything positive.

What the five children did Ed didn’t do in quite the same way. He was not allowed to eat at the table with the rest of the family, or sit on the couch, or use the inside bathroom. And he had to stay home when everyone else left in the van. He just couldn’t understand why. Julia Sarcone-Roach‘s fun illustrations reveal to the reader the reason … one hint – Ed could be quite destructive.

Ed wanted to be excellent too so he would be allowed to do what they did, only he always seemed to make a big troublesome mess of things. Each time he thought of something that maybe would earn him that privilege, one of the children excelled in his or her more acceptable way. Poor Ed began to think he wasn’t good enough to be part of the family! Then one day he was praised for being excellent at something without even trying! It was so easy he didn’t even have to change himself.

The subtle message in Stacy McAnulty‘s Excellent Ed is that we’re all good at something and we are okay just the way we are. It’s a wonderful story with a funny ending, and with great illustrations by Julia Sarcone-Roach.

You can find Excellent Edwritten by Stacy McAnulty and illustrated by Julia Sarcone-Roach – on my BUY THE BOOK page. I also post my reviews on Goodreads, and when available on,, and Chapters.Indigo.

Your comments are greatly appreciated by featured authors and illustrators, and this blogger.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂


The Valentiny stories are ready for your vote

Hi, Everyone!

Sorry I haven’t posted in over a week. I’ve been swamped.

I’m writing now to let you know the Valentiny stories are ready for your vote – if you are interested in participating in that. It’s very easy.  Susanna Hill has posted the twelve she and her helpers feel are the best ones and she’s made it easy for voting. Just read the twelve little stories, and then select in the poll the one you like best. I’ve voted.  And, no, mine didn’t make the cut.

Thank you so very much for all the kind and encouraging comments about my story.





I’m still plodding along – reading many books, mostly picture books (as you can see on my books I read this year page), and hoping that I’m learning as I go. I’m behind in the writing class I’m taking (no surprise) but I find that interruptions – frequent interruptions – set me back a lot. It’s frustrating.

So, that’s all for this time.

Have you written anything fun lately? or read a book I might be interested in?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

and blessings on your day.

Book Review: I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More! – by Karen Beaumont






Book: I Ain't Gonna Paint No More!
Author: Karen Beaumont
Illustrator: David Catrow
Publisher:  HMH Books for Young Readers
Date: April 1, 2005
Genre: Picture book; age 4-7; Gr Preschool - 3
Pages: 32
Price: $17.99, hardcover
My rating: An excellent book in every way!

This is one of the select few picture books I would not want to have missed – ever.

First of all, look at the cover illustration! That child is creating a blissful experience, totally immersed in his art. 🙂

On the inside of the jacket it says “To the tune of “It Ain’t Gonna Rain No More” … so I sang it merrily – albeit rather badly – to my dad. And he enjoyed it. Dear man.  :)

This story is hilarious! Karen Beaumont‘s words fit perfectly with the rhythm of the song, and David Catrow‘s illustrations? Oh. My. Gosh. Stunning. Full of expression and colour and fun and hilarity.

The little boy loves painting. The problem is, everything is his canvas. Everything. By the time he has painted the floor and the walls his mother enters the room. “WHAT?” Immediately the paints are put up onto a high closet shelf. Undeterred, he climbs a pile of teetering props – with his little dog nervously watching – and rescues his beloved paints.

This is where the story really kicks in. To the tune of “It Ain’t Gonna Rain No More”, our little artist begins painting himself, his dog, and everything he missed before. The way Karen Beaumont has each page spread and page turn planned out is so funny with the illustrations. It gives the reader the opportunity to guess what’s coming next and the clue is in the rhyme. Yes, this is a beautiful rhyming book! Right to the very last page there is humour and rhythm. It’s delightful.

Karen Beaumont has other picture books out, and a new one coming this year. You can find I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More!written by Karen Beaumont and illustrated by David Catrow – on my BUY THE BOOK page. I also post my reviews on Goodreads, and when available on,, and Chapters.Indigo.

Your comments are greatly appreciated by featured authors and illustrators, and this blogger.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂



About books and writing them

It’s the first day of February and I am happy to say that I am now a student of Susanna Leonard Hill’s picture book class called Making Picture Book Magic! Susanna teaches small personalized classes that run for a month each. I chose to sign up for February to follow immediately after Storystorm which was the whole month of January. 

Storystorm, run by Tara Lazar, was very inspirational, as usual, and yet it seemed a little different this year but I can’t say just how. All I know is that the ideas I got this time around seem to be improved over previous years in that there were a greater number of possibilities among them. I had more clear ideas for stories whereas in past years they were more vague with many as simply titles and character names. My total this year, after the month of brainstorming, is 41 ideas for stories.

So, back to Making Picture Book Magic … Susanna gave us a list of books she suggests we read if we can, so, of course, I made my requests at the library. I have a few of those books now.








I also had already been going book crazy – about which my librarians are very happy – and I have “a few” others out now. You can see for yourself.



They’re three views of the same box of 90 books, most of which are picture books. Another 60+ are on hold for me and will arrive as they’re available.

So, yes, you can guess I’ve been doing a lot of reading; over 100 books in January as recorded on my Books I read in 2018 page. I’ve immersed myself in picture books with the occasional chapter book or novel tossed into the mix. Maybe that’s why my Storystorming was improved this year.  hmm

My only regret is that my book reviews here on my blog have been lessened, and the books that are in my queue to review are still … in queue. I apologize to those authors waiting to see theirs highlighted here. I have yet to figure out how to make progress in my own writing while keeping up everything else, too. Even on Goodreads I write mostly short blurbs after reading a book, but that’s something.

Now I have to get back to my notes for the writing class.

Will you share with me what you have found works for you when you want to learn something? Do you take classes? Do you immerse yourself in trial and error? Do you shadow someone who has the experience? What do you do?

Happy February everyone!

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂 

Plugging along, and quotes for readers and writers

I should have been twins. 

If I were twins I could divide between myself all the things I want less to do so that it takes half the time to do them. Then all I want to do and have the most interest and desire for can be enjoyed … giving me a better chance to feel accomplished in completing things – or getting better at them.

Or maybe not.

If I were twins I would most likely take on twice as much, get hopelessly overwhelmed with no recovery possible, and continue to not have enough of me to go around.

So, I am plugging along. Not getting nearly as much accomplished as I want to. Being way too tired too much of the time. And behind as usual. Almost hopelessly behind with little chance of catching up. That’s me, plugging along.

The good news is, I found some quotes to share with you today.

For the writers:

I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later i can build castles. – shannon hale

I like that quote. 🙂 

Now this one for readers:

ordinary people have big tvs. extraordinary people have big libraries. – Robin Sharma

I think I would have a fairly decent-sized library if I could shelve all of my books in one room. I’m aiming for a big library. One day I hope to be that organized. 🙂

And a final one for today:

Dinosaurs didn’t read. Now they’re extinct.

Keep reading, folks! 🙂

Anything you want to say about anything today?  What book(s) are you reading – or writing – now?  🙂

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Book Review: A Cooked-Up Fairy Tale – by Penny Parker Klostermann






Book: A Cooked-Up Fairy Tale
Author: Penny Parker Klostermann
Illustrator: Ben Mantle
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Date: September 5, 2017
Genre: children's picture book
Pages: 40
Price: $17.99 and up
My rating: A very funny story with amusing illustrations 

Penny Parker Klostermann took on the current challenge of mixing up fairy tales and coming out with a fabulous new story. With her new book – A Cooked-Up Fairy Tale – she has succeeded with an added a twist that is both funny and surprising for the reader.

William lived in the land of fairy tales where it was magical and amazing. Even so, William had a problem. He loved to cook, but no matter where he tried to work it just wasn’t a good fit. In one place the main ingredient in the wolf soup was too dangerous, in another his gingerbread men always ran away, and in yet another the customers (in particular, a bear family) were always way too fussy.

William decided to create his own home business. One day he found an order intended for Fairy Tale Headquarters, and he knew he could improve upon the bedtime snacks delivery. What resulted was a catastrophe when he presented his altered menu. For example, the poisoned apple for Snow White was instead a sumptuous Baked Apple with Caramel Drizzle. And what would become of Cinderella whose pumpkin coach was replaced by a delectable pumpkin pie! William has to do something to fix the problem he’d created for everyone.

It’s obvious there was a lot of time and work put into the whole process of creating A Cooked-Up Fairy Tale. Ben Mantle‘s amazing illustrations add wonderful details to Penny Parker Klostermann‘s funny and ingenious story. Cinderella’s expression and posture are particularly hilarious! 

Penny is the author of There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight, and this book is another wonderful demonstration of her love of humour through her words.

You can find A Cooked-Up Fairy Talewritten by Penny Parker Klostermann and illustrated by Ben Mantle – on my BUY THE BOOK page. I also post my reviews on Goodreads, and when available on,, and Chapters.Indigo.

Your comments are greatly appreciated by featured authors and illustrators, and this blogger.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂


100 children’s books to read in your lifetime

As you know, I love lists. I enjoy going through lists like this one and checking off the ones I’ve completed.

I found a reading challenge you’d perhaps like to take on.

Here are the top 100 Children’s Books to Read in your Lifetime as chosen by Goodreads readers and Amazon editors. These books are for age 12 or younger but are enjoyed by all ages and readers. Books listed in a series have been combined. 

Which of these have you read? In green are the ones I’ve read.

1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – J. K. Rowling

2. Charlotte’s Web – E. B. White

3. The Chronicles of Narnia – C. S. Lewis

4. Goodnight Moon – Margaret Wise Brown

5. A Wrinkle in Time – Madeleine L’Engle

6. Where the Wild Things Are – Maurice Sendak

7. The Giver – Lois Lowry

8. Little Women – Louisa May Alcott

9. The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Barrett

10. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl

11. The Cat in the Hat – Dr. Seuss

12. The House at Pooh Corner – A. A. Milne

13. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – L. Frank Baum

14. Where the Sidewalk Ends – Shel Silverstein

15. Madeline – Ludwig Bemelmens

16. Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll

17. The Hobbit – J. R. R. Tolkien

18. The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Eric Carle

19. The Story of Ferdinand – Munro Leaf

20. Little House on the Prairie – Laura Ingalls Wilder

21. Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel – Virginia Lee Burton

22. Green Eggs and Ham – Dr. Seuss

23. Black Beauty – Anna Sewell

24. Pippi Longstocking – Astrid Lindgren

25. Grimm’s Complete Fairy Tales – the Brothers Grimm

26. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler – E. L. Konigsburg

27. Nancy Drew: The Secret of the Old Clock – Carolyn Keene

28. Press Here – Hervé Tullet

29. The Phantom Tollbooth – Norton Juster

30. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer – Mark Twain

31. Island of the Blue Dolphins – Scott O’Dell

32. Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site – Sherri Duskey Rinker

33. The Wind in the Willows -Kenneth Grahame

34. The Westing Game – Ellen Raskin

35. Peter Pan – J. M. Barrie

36. Number the Stars – Lois Lowry

37. Holes – Louis Sachar

38. Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief – Rick Riordan

39. Wonder – R. J. Palacio

40. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

41. How the Grinch Stole Christmas! – Dr. Seuss

42. The Giving Tree – Shel Silverstein

43. Flora and the Flamingo – Molly Idle

44. Curious George – Margret & H. A. Rey

45. Amelia Bedelia – Peggy Parish

46. Bridge to Terabithia – Katherine Paterson

47. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain

48. Matilda – Roald Dahl

49. Heidi – Johanna Spyri

50. The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman

51. The Snowy Day – Ezra Jack Keats

52. Ivy and Bean – Annie Barrows

53. The Boxcar Children – Gertrude C. Warner

54. A Little Princess – Frances Hodgson Burnett

55. Peek-A Who? – Nina Laden

56. The Paper Bag Princess Robert Munsch

57. Tuck Everlasting – Natalie Babbitt

58. The Day the Crayons Quit – Drew Daywalt

59. Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card

60. Hatchet – Gary Paulsen

61. Bread and Jam for Francis – Russell Hoban

62. Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stevenson

63. The Velveteen Rabbit – Margery Williams

64. Because of Winn Dixie – Kate DiCamillo

65. The One and Only Ivan – Katherine Applegate

66. The Witch of Blackbird Pond – Elizabeth George Speare

67. The Tale of Peter Rabbit – Beatrix Potter

68. The BFG – Roald Dahl

69. The Call of the Wild – Jack London

70. A Bear Called Paddington – Michael Bond

71. Ramona Quimby, Age 8 – Beverly Cleary

72. The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963 – Christopher Paul Curtis

73. Oh, the Places You’ll Go – Dr. Seuss

74. Encyclopedia Brown: Boy Detective – Donald J. Sobol

75. Harold and the Purple Crayon – Crockett Johnson

76. Ella Enchanted – Gail Carson Levine

77. Fantastic Mr. Fox – Roald Dahl

78. Going Over – Beth Kephart

79. Achren (The Chronicles of Prydain) – Lloyd Alexander

80. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs – Judi Barrett

81. The Twits – Roald Dahl

82. Inkheart – Cornelia Funke

83. White Fang – Jack London

84. Rhyme Schemer – K. A. Holt

85. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase – Joan Aiken

86. Esperanza Rising – Pam Muñoz Ryan

87. The Dark Is Rising – Susan Cooper

88. The Invention of Hugo Cabret – Brian Selznick

89. Danny, the Champion of the World – Roald Dahl

90. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle – Avi

91. When You Reach Me – Rebecca Stead

92. A Girl of the Limberlost – Gene Stratton-Porter

93. Bud Not Buddy – Christopher Paul Curtis

94. Daddy Long Legs – Jean Webster

95. Bambi – Felix Salten  (I’ve only read the Disney version of this one)

96. Low Riders in Space – Cathy Camper

97. The Once and Future King – T. H. White

98. Flora and Ulysses – Kate DiCamillo

99. Pictures of Hollis Woods – Patricia Reilly Giff

100. Anne of Green Gables – L. M. Montgomery

Out of 100 books read, the average score is 33. I was doing pretty well, until two-thirds of the way through the list. My score is 40, and I have 5 more that I’ve not completed.

What is your score? Are there any on the list you want to read?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! 🙂