Tag Archives: Susanna Leonard Hill

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!  🙂 

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Book Review: When Your Elephant Has the Sniffles – by Susanna Leonard Hill; fun activity, & announcements!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book: When Your ELEPHANT Has the SNIFFLES
Author: Susanna Leonard Hill
Illustrator: Daniel Wiseman
Publisher: Little Simon
Date: July 11, 2017
Genre: children’s – age 2-4; Preschool & up
Pages: 26; board book
Price: $7.99 US; $10.99 CDN
My rating: An enjoyable story for picture book lovers of all ages

This is my fourth post (I’ll have 12) as my part in the back-to-back blog tours for Susanna Leonard Hill‘s three books coming out this month.

When Your ELEPHANT Has the SNIFFLES, written by Susanna Leonard Hill and illustrated by Daniel Wiseman is the second delightful story just right for little ‘uns in the new series of When Your … books.

The very exciting thing is that – as of TODAY – both books are available for purchase!

As with When Your LION Needs a Bath, the first thing you’ll notice about this board book is the adorable illustrations. On the front cover is a miserable-looking elephant with flushed cheeks and lots of tissues. He obviously is not well. Oh dear.

From the beginning of the story you know this little elephant needs some loving care. He is sniffling and has a fever, and the reader is informed that “you don’t want your elephant to start sneezing!”

The little girl in the story sets out to care for her elephant. She removes anything that will make him sneeze. The illustrator, Daniel Wiseman, came up with a funny idea for this visual included below; see it? She tucks her elephant into bed and makes sure he has all he needs. The clever touch you will notice as you read this book is his favourite stuffed toy is … the lion from the first book!

 

 

 

 

Text copyright © 2017 by Susanna Leonard Hill
Illustration copyright © 2017 by Daniel Wiseman
Used by permission of Little Simon

The real challenge begins when Elephant becomes bored as a patient but who is not yet well enough to get out of bed. The little girl is reminded to not make him sneeze as she tries to entertain him with props she chooses. But what if it happens anyway? You find out on the very last page. It’s a cute ending – an awwww moment – that will make you smile with Elephant.

This story, as with the first one, is not written in little words, or only three or four per page. It is written to be read to little ones. The uncomplicated, muted – with occasional splashes of bold colour – illustrations are well-suited to calm the child who is sick with the sniffles. When Your Elephant Has the Sniffles has definite child appeal so the child can fully appreciate what is being told. It will be fun for beginning readers to figure out the bigger words through remembering the story while feeling accomplished with the easier words. This story is for everyone’s reading pleasure.

When Your Elephant Has the Sniffles is the second book in the When Your … series, and there are already two more being released later with more planned.

BONUS: To add to the fun, Susanna has provided us with an elephant game! 

*** Elephants On A Tightrope Game

This is a fun activity for a group of preschoolers – at home, at the playground, or at school.  (Plus they’ll think it’s a game, but they’ll actually be practicing their balance and coordination 😊 ) It can be played indoors or outdoors.

Make a “tightrope” line with chalk or tape.

Start with one child balancing on the line while everyone sings: (to the tune of 5 Little Ducks)

“One elephant went out to play

On a tightrope string one day.

He had such enormous fun

He called for another elephant to come!”

The child calls out the name of another child who comes and joins him/her on the “tightrope”

Then the song starts again with:

“Two elephants went out to play

on a tightrope string one day…” etc.

The cycle repeats until all the children are balancing together on the “tightrope” and the last singing verse ends with:

They had such enormous fun

The tightrope broke and they all fell down!”

And all the children can collapse on the floor 😊

If you want to make the game a little harder, or appropriate for kindergartners or slightly older kids, use the raised edge of a sidewalk or patio or wooden border at the park or around landscaping or a floor-level preschool balance beam if you have one as the “tightrope”. ***

Wait! Before you go I have two other important things to tell you.

Come back on Thursday, July 13, for my first interview with an illustrator! Daniel Wiseman, illustrator of Susanna’s Lion and  Elephant books, shares some fascinating info. And we’re having a giveaway! (Be sure to follow the fun and easy rules to get into the draw.)

Exciting things are happening all month! Read about it HERE

We look forward to your supportive comments.

You can find When Your ELEPHANT Has the SNIFFLES by Susanna Leonard Hill on my BUY THE BOOK page. I also post my reviews on Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Goodreads, and on Chapters.Indigo if available there. 

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Lion Snacks from Susanna Leonard Hill for when you and your lion have the munchies

Today I have a special tasty treat for you from Susanna Leonard Hill in honour of her new book – When Your Lion Needs a Bathbeing released on July 11. Read my review HERE.

Here is a fun snack you and your kiddies (and lion cubs) can enjoy putting together … together, and it`s simple enough for them to make for themselves.

Graham Cracker Lion

Spread a graham cracker square with peanut butter (or any other nut butter if you prefer or have peanut allergy!)

Place stick pretzels fanned out around the cracker for the mane.

Cover with another graham cracker square spread with peanut butter (peanut butter side down to hold pretzels in place.)

Place two raisin eyes and a raisin nose on top using a tiny dab of peanut butter.

Center a mini-pretzel mouth upside down over the nose with a little peanut butter to hold it in place. 😊

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks, Susanna! These look so fun to make, and tasty, too!

If your little one does have peanut allergy (like one of my nieces has) there are peanut butter alternatives that would work just as well for these lion snacks. Below I listed four I found that you might want to try if you know from your doctor or allergist they`d be safe for your family.

Peanut Butter Alternatives

Sunflower Butter – is a great alternative for those who might have tree-nut allergies.

Other Nut Butters – If you don’t suffer from a severe peanut allergy and also don’t suffer from tree-nut allergies, many other widely available nut butters (such as almond, cashew, macadamia) might serve as an acceptable alternative. I read that Barney Butter is an almond butter that is processed in a dedicated Almond Only facility, which means that with this particular brand, there is no risk of cross-contamination with peanuts. Maybe you know of other brands that offer this.

Nutella – is not processed with peanuts, so it`s safe for even severe peanut allergy. Although it`s a different taste, you can substitute Nutella in recipes calling for peanut butter as it has a similar consistency.

Enjoy! 

If you have other tasty substitutes for peanut butter, please share with us! 🙂 And if you try this lion snack, please let us know your experience with it.

Remember to enter the draw for your chance to win a copy of When Your Lion Needs a Bath.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Book Review: When Your LION Needs a BATH – by Susanna Leonard Hill; fun activity, & announcements!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book: When Your LION Needs a BATH
Author: Susanna Leonard Hill
Illustrator: Daniel Wiseman
Publisher: Little Simon
Date: July 11, 2017
Genre: children’s – age 2-4; Preschool & up
Pages: 26
Price: $7.99 US; $12.99 CDN
My rating: An enjoyable story for picture book lovers of all ages

 

This is my first post (I’ll have 12) as my part in the back-to-back blog tours for Susanna Leonard Hill‘s three books coming out this month.

When Your LION Needs a Bath, written by Susanna Leonard Hill and illustrated by Daniel Wiseman is a delightful story for little ‘uns.

The first thing you’ll notice, besides When Your Lion Needs a Bath being a board book, is the vivid comical illustrations in this little book. On the front cover is a lion dripping beside a bubble-filled bathtub. He is looking a little disgruntled. Now you know bath time was a challenge. 

Inside it starts out with the lion looking very happy, very dirty but very happy about it. The instructions begin with the warning that to give your lion a bath you must be a little sneaky. There are several failed attempts at tricking the lion into a prepared bubble bath; however, the little boy who is intent on getting him in there does not give up. He’s prepared for almost anything.

 

 

 

 

Text copyright © 2017 by Susanna Leonard Hill
Illustration copyright © 2017 by Daniel Wiseman
Used by permission of Little Simon

Children will giggle over the illustrations that show the lion dizzy from chasing a toy mouse ’round and ’round, getting tangled in a ball of yarn, and always managing to escape the bath somehow.

Here is where author Susanna Leonard Hill‘s love of desserts, especially with chocolate in them, comes into play …  try tempting your lion with a tasty treat such as … a brownie banana butterscotch berry marshmallow strawberry-smothered caramel-covered peanutty-buttered double-dip chocolate-chip triple-whipped jelly-bean sundae supreme. Oh My! Daniel Wiseman‘s illustration for this one makes the reader want to start off to the ice-cream store! 

When the right idea is hit upon, bathtime is quickly accomplished, until …   😉  I’ll just say it’s a funny ending.

This story is not written in little words, or only three or four per page. It is written to be read to little ones. The bold-coloured, uncomplicated illustrations have definite child appeal so the child can thoroughly appreciate what is being told. Later, when learning to read, it will be fun for children to figure out the bigger words through remembering the story while feeling accomplished with the easier words. In short, this story is for everyone.

When Your LION Needs a BATH is one of the first two books of a series called WHEN YOUR … books. (Watch for the other one coming here July 11.)

BONUS: To add to the fun, here is an extra created by Susanna for kiddies:

*** After you’ve read WHEN YOUR LION NEEDS A BATH, you might want to play a lion game – I know I would! 😊  This game requires at least 4 or 5 children – the more the merrier! – and works well at the playground, at preschool, at a birthday party, or just at home in the living room or the back yard.

Catch The Lion’s Tail

Catch The Lion’s Tail is a twist on Duck, Duck, Goose!  Make a lion’s tail using yellow felt, string, or yarn with a knot tied in the bottom.  (And if you don’t have anything like that on hand, a regular old belt will do 😊 )  Give the tail to one player and have her tuck it into the waistband of her pants at the back so it hangs down.  All the other players sit in a circle.

The lion walks around the circle tapping the sitting players on the head saying Lion each time.  When she says Hyena, that player must chase the lion around the circle and try to catch her tail before the lion gets back and sits in the hyena’s spot.  If the hyena catches the tail, the lion must be lion again.  If the lion makes it to the hyena’s seat and sits down, she gives that player the tail and the hyena becomes the new lion. ***

Wait! Before you go I have two other important things to tell you.

Come back on Thursday, July 6, for my interesting interview with the author, Susanna! And … we’re having a giveaway!

Exciting things are happening all month! Read about it HERE

We look forward to your supportive comments.

You can find When Your LION Needs a BATH by Susanna Leonard Hill on my BUY THE BOOK page. I also post my reviews on Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Goodreads, and on Chapters.Indigo if available there. (After its release date I will post my review on the above sites.) 

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

My 2014 blogging in review

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

In looking back over 2014 there are many things I was reminded of that occurred both here and in my personal life — some of the latter I shared here. Here’s a condensed review followed by my annual report compiled by WordPress.com.

1. I posted the final weeks of “Read More Books Challenge” run on my blog through October 3, 2013 to January 9, 2014. My challenge got a few people reading more classics and reminded us of the many great books we have yet to enjoy.  I’m still trying to read from that great list of 623 books. Are you?

2. We were privileged to have Sue Harrison continue to post teachings from her “Writing the Third Dimension” each month. (Thanks, Sue!) Has this been helpful for you?

3. I interviewed 6 authors during the year and reviewed 46 books on my blog. I also posted those reviews on Amazon.ca, Amazon.com, chapters.indigo, LibraryThing, BookLook Bloggers, Shelfari, Goodreads.

4. In June I shared my 10 tips for authors from the perspective of a book reviewer.

5. In July I was interviewed on Leanne Dyck’s blog. She is discontinuing interviewing so I was blessed to have been included before she made that decision. You can read that interview again HERE.

6. In July I added another page to my blog, “Buy The Book!”, to help my readers find the books they read about here and other places I reviewed them. Has this made it easier for you?

7. In August I added a page, Suicide Crisis Lines, mainly because of the shocking death of Robin Williams. My heart still sorrows over that tragedy.

8. In October I reported about a fantastic program – Kindle Kids Mastery – for writers of children’s books. It’s really for anyone who wants to try publishing an e-book. Please check on my Writer’s Helps page for the link to that information. It’s a fabulous opportunity. Have you used this program yet?

9. In November I participated again in Tara Lazar’s Picture Book Idea Month, aka PiBoIdMo, and succeeded in meeting and surpassing the goal of 30 ideas. Did you try it in 2014?

10. In December I participated in Susanna Leonard Hill’s story writing competition and posted my story here on my blog as required. Although my story didn’t make the cut it was great practice for me, and a good learning experience.

11. On my “Books I Read This Year” page I reported that I managed to read 45 books, far less than I had hoped to read but more than I read last year. How many books did you read in 2014?

All in all, I feel 2014 was a good blogging year for me, even though I didn’t accomplish everything I wanted to. Being a caregiver for a victim of Alzheimer’s has its challenges, and my own personal stuff added in made it harder to do all I was hoping to do. Even so, I am happy and encouraged that my blog following increased this year!

THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH FOR FOLLOWING MY BLOG. I greatly appreciate you all and I hope to keep you interested enough in coming back. I also hope more of you will leave comments in 2015 because those comments help keep the conversation going. 🙂

What would you like me to know about your experience and visits here?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Now for the fun report from WordPress.com.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 11,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

There were 230 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 70 MB. That’s about 4 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was September 15th with 99 views. The most popular post that day was Book Review: I Only Cry at Night – by P. Allen Jones.

In 2014, there were 140 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 452 posts.

Longest Streak: 5 days 1 July – 5 July;  Best Day: Tuesday with 46 posts total

These are the posts that got the most views in 2014:

Some of your most popular posts were written before 2014. Your writing has staying power!

Visitors came from 104 countries in all! Most came from The United States. Canada & U.K. were not far behind.

Your most commented on post in 2014 was My story entry in Susanna Hill’s 4th Annual Holiday Contest

PS:  Once again, thank YOU, my friends, for following my blog. Blessings in 2015! I look forward to an exciting new year with you. 🙂

 

 

The cut’s been made, please vote for your favourite story

It wasn’t until a friend sent me an email this evening saying she was sorry I didn’t make the finalists that I learned … my story, Blizzard Blessings, didn’t make the cut!  😦

Of course, I was quite disappointed, but I’ve had half an hour to let it settle in. It’s okay, mostly. Yes, I would have loved for mine to be one of the twelve stories chosen of the one hundred entries, but I knew it was going to be a hard decision to make. I didn’t envy Susanna and her helpers at all. I think I would have been more shocked than I am disappointed had I been in the twelve finalists.

I will be voting but I have it down to two stories and can’t decide between them yet. I’ll let it wait and read them again tomorrow before voting.

PLEASE GO HERE AND VOTE FOR THE STORY YOU LIKE THE BEST.   Thank you!

I haven’t given up on my little story, though.  There may be something good in store for it yet.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Book Review: Can’t Sleep Without Sheep – by Susanna Leonard Hill

Book Review: Can’t Sleep Without Sheep
Author: Susanna Leonard Hill
Illustrator: Mike Wohnoutka
Genre: Children’s picture book
Pages: 32 pages
Publisher: Walker & Company
Released: September 2010
Price: $16.99 US
My Rating: Gorgeous in words and illustrations, funny, wonderful for
children of all ages

 

Some back-story to this review: All during January I was participating in Month Of Poetry (M.O.P.), and one of the poems I wrote (during and after a night of very little sleep) was about counting sheep. The first of its thirteen verses goes like this:
I want to sleep, I cannot sleep
My brain won’t understand
I count some sheep, then count more sheep
Enough to fill the land.

I tell you that to tell you this: Almost four weeks later I read a post on This Kid Reviews Books, where Erik reviewed a book by Susanna Leonard Hill, and at the end he mentioned a couple other of her books. This one, Can’t Sleep Without Sheep, grabbed my attention for the above-mentioned reasons. Then when I watched the trailer for it I absolutely had to have this book! It is funny, adorable, exquisitely illustrated, and so fun to read.

Ava has a hard time going to sleep, her mind is just too busy, so she counts sheep. The problem is that it still takes Ava so long to get to sleep that the sheep complain they are getting too tired jumping the fence so she can count them. They quit! Not wanting to leave little Ava without something to count on, they try to find other animals to replace them, and what happens next is hilarious. Pigs, horses, penguins, and the list goes on. So very enjoyable.

The day my husband brought Can’t Sleep Without Sheep in from our mailbox, I couldn’t wait to read it. When I read this book through for the first time I also read it to my husband because I wanted to share it with him, and I laughed out loud at the antics, the surprises and the amazing and hilarious illustrations. It’s even better than the trailer reveals. I have to say, the author and illustrator are a great team for this story.

This is a completely gorgeous book. An added bonus is that if you go to Susanna’s website: http://www.susannahill.com/books.html you will find activities that go with the story and that you can print off for children to do.

When I ordered Can’t Sleep Without Sheep I had in mind that I would keep it for my grandson to read when he is visiting us, but as much as I hate to part with it (and may yet buy a second one for myself) I will be giving this copy to my little guy for Valentine’s Day. In my opinion, he just has to have this book! I hope he loves it as much as Grandma does. 🙂

You can find Can’t Sleep Without Sheep listed on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂