Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year

Looking ahead to a bright New Year - full of possibilities

Monday, December 29, 2014

Nonfiction Monday - Stripes of All Types

Darned if I know where the rest of the Nonfiction Monday's links are, but here's my Nonfiction Monday book:  Stripes of All Types, written and illustrated by Susan Stockdale (that's her in the picture), in English and Spanish. Peachtree Publishers, 2014. Available now.

Click here for a great article by her at the Peachtree Publisher's blog talking about how she got the idea to create this book.

And below you can see two illustrations from the book.
Look -- some jelly fish have stripes!  I already knew that garter snakes, sometimes called green grass snakes, have stripes because my brother collected them when we lived in northern Illinois.  (Mom made him stop collecting snakes when we moved to the Ohio Valley of West Virginia because some of the local snakes there were poisonous.)

Everyone knows that skunks and zebras and tigers have stripes. But this book includes lots of unexpected stripes in the animal world.

As you can see in the pictures, this is set up so that young readers can figure out the words, with a  phrase in both English and Spanish on each page. (hmm. this picture only shows the English) By the time they have read the whole sentence - on several pages - it becomes apparent that this is also a poetry book. (at least in English; not so sure about the Spanish part.)
There's a fun quiz to identify the animals near the end of the book. (answers upside down). And finally a section with paragraphs containing more information about each animal (again in English and Spanish).

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Green Christmas

"I'm dreaming of a green Christmas…."

No White Christmases here in Southern California.
But it certainly is nice to see green, again.

On the east coast (which gets 40 inches of rain a year, by the way, and So Cal gets less than 4 or 5) the hillsides are green from late spring until early fall. Then the leaves turn and fall off and the hillsides are brown, brown, brown.

However, here the hillsides are brown from late spring until December.
Yes, I said - December.
That's when it finally rains.
And within a few days, those brown hillsides turn GREEN.
It's an amazing thing and quite shocking to a new resident.

And it's not the off-green/ sage green of some summertime plants here.
It's GREEN.  Christmas green. (and just in time for Christmas)

And, by the way, my Camellias are blooming, again.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Happy Solstice!

It was still a shock when darkness fell today.
Dinner time already?
But I just ate lunch!

That's what happens on the shortest day of the year --
the longest night.

Monday, December 15, 2014

SANTA CAT Book Trailer

Remember the book called, Here comes the Easter Cat?

Well, Deborah Underwood has another cat adventure and here's the trailer:

Sunday, December 14, 2014

So you're writing a picture book

If you are,
Here are the 10 Commandments of Picture Book Writing.
Or not.

Yes, you have to click the link to understand this cryptic sentence.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread

Someone just now wondered = what was so wonderful about sliced bread that created this saying:
"The best thing since sliced bread."

It occurred to me that almost everyone living today has ONLY known sliced bread.  And that they think that unsliced, whole loaves of bread are something special.


Bread used to be sold as a chunk of bread and you had to slice it. It was kept in a bread box to keep insects and animals away, but it soon dried out and became very hard. (which is why bread pudding was invented -- to use up that rock-hard bread.)  

When Pre-sliced bread was invented, (plus wax-coated wrappers to keep it fresh), it was wonderful.

Have you ever tried slicing bread for a large group -- trying to make every slice even and the same as the others? 

Before I was married, I was handed a bread slicing knife (these had special edges to cut through tough crusts) and I had to prove I could slice bread properly in order to prove that I knew housewifely skills. 

I managed to pass that test only because our family loved Italian bread with our spaghetti and I had learned how to slice it evenly. (my brother and sisters would complain if one of them got a slice thicker than the other.) 

Pre-sliced bread was a Wonderful improvement. So, if something is the best thing since sliced bread -- It's got to be pretty wonderful.