Month: October 2016

Halloweensie Story Time!

With Halloween a few days away, it’s time for Susanna Hill’s 6th Annual, Halloweensie Contest. The story entries are short—to be specific, Halloweensie stories are teensy. The rules are simple: Write a 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children (title not included in the 100 words), using the words spiderghost, and moon.

After days of brewing my ideas and allowing them to haunt my thoughts, I’ve spun my Halloweensie story. But first, good luck to all who enter! I’m anxious to read your stories.


The Spider’s Treat


Leslie Leibhardt Goodman


Samuel scanned the starry night.

He spied the silver moon,

lighting bright the ghostly night.

Halloween comes soon!

With all his spider heart he wished

to stop the trick-or-treaters

from tramping up his quiet street.

Those noisy candy eaters!

On Halloween, one giddy witch

swung wild her candy bucket.

Sweet treats flew straight for Samuel’s web.

Three pieces neatly struck it!

While tidying up his tangled web,

one foot touched chocolate candy.

With one sweet lick, the spider said,

“This holiday tastes dandy!”

Wishing you a Happy Halloween and a colorful autumn.


Telephone – a fun game and picture book for Perfect Picture Book Friday.

It’s Perfect Picture Book Friday once again! And today, we’re stepping back on memory lane to the game of Telephone!

I was one of twenty-three fidgety kids lined up between the overflowing supplies cabinet and the  smelly, gerbil cage in Mrs. Larson’s third-grade class, waiting for instructions on how to play the game, Telephone.

“Think up a message,” Mrs. Larson told the first student in line, “and whisper it to the person standing next to you. Keep the message going down the line to the last person. She’ll say what she heard, and we’ll see how close it comes to the original message.”

Of course, knowing the end message was expected to be a far cry from the original, most kids tweaked more than a few words while whispering their ear-tickling messages behind cupped hands.

This fun game of Telephone is the basis for today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday (PPBF) review.

Title – Telephone

Written by – Mac Barnett

Illustrated by – Jen Corace

Published by – Chronicle Books – 2014

Suitable for ages – 3-7

Topics/Theme –  listening skills

Opening –  Tell Peter: Fly home for dinner.     Tell Peter: Hit pop flies and homers.

Amazon Review –  View it HERE.  It’s time to fly home for dinner! In this witty picture book from award-winning and bestselling author Mac Barnett, a mother bird gives the bird next to her a message for little Peter. But passing messages on a telephone line isn’t as simple as it sounds. Each subsequent bird understands Mama’s message according to its own very particular hobbies. Will Peter ever get home for dinner? This uproarious interpretation of a favorite children’s game will get everyone giggling and is sure to lead to countless rereads.

Why do I like this book?  What’s not to love about a book that takes the adult reader back to a fond childhood memory while introducing children to a marvelously funny game? Jen Corace’s, crisp, colorful illustrations are expressive and humorous – the perfect pairing for an ever-changing, off-the-charts, funny picture book by Mac Barnett.
Watch the book trailer HERE.

Learn about Mac Barnett HERE.

Lear about Jen Corace HERE.

Find more “Perfect Picture Book Friday” reviews at Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog HERE.

What childhood games are you fondly recalling? I’d love for you to share them in the comments.

Perfect Picture Book Friday Review and Remembrance.

The end of last month came and went. When my critique partner in my online writing group, Liz, didn’t post a story or chime in on our critiques or discussions, I thought she was too busy. Some months are like that… I didn’t want to bother her, I figured she had too much on her plate and would post a story soon. Yesterday I tried to send her a message, but she was no longer on Facebook. I couldn’t imagine why she would leave us without saying anything. I googled her name. What came up in my search wasn’t her blog or website but the obituary for Liz Galler LeSavoy. I moved about in a daze yesterday, napping often, praying each time I woke up, Liz would still be with us.

I think about the many hours Liz dedicated to writing her stories and the hours she gave to me and the other ladies in our writing group, helping us to improve our stories. I hope one day, Liz’s stories will find their way into print.

Today, I have chosen to review the picture book, Baloney (Henry P.) because it reminds me of one of Liz’s funniest stories in which a boy comes up with fantastic excuses why he doesn’t have his homework.

In honor of Liz, a lady who always poured the happiness of life into her writing, I dedicate this picture book review to you. Dearest Liz, I hope Heaven has laptops and publishers because, with your gift, you should never stop writing.

Title – Baloney (Henry P.)

Written by – Jon Scieszka

Illustrated by – Lane Smith

Published by – Viking – Penguin Group – 2001

Suitable for ages – 3-7

Topics/Theme –  exaggeration

Opening – Last Tuesday morning, at 8:37 a.m., Henry P. Baloney was finally late for class once too often.

“That’s it,” said Miss Bugscuffle. “Permanent Lifelong Detention…unless you have one very good and very believable excuse.”

“Well I would have been exactly on time,” said Henry. “But…

Amazon Review – Find it on Amazon HERE.

The twisted team that gave the world Squids Will Be Squids and The Stinky Cheese Man now delivers a whole lot of Baloney. Henry P. Baloney. Henry is an alien school kid who needs to come up with one very good excuse to explain why he is late for szkola (school), again. Otherwise, his teacher Miss Bugscuffle promises, it’s Permanent Lifelong Detention.

Henry’s tall tale of his lost zimulis (pencil)-received from deep space by Jon Scieszka-is told in at least twenty different Earth languages and graphically recreated in Lane Smith’s out-of-this-world illustrations.

The unbelievable trip into Henry’s wild universe may be the most original excuse ever for being late for szkola. Or it might just be Baloney. Henry P. Baloney.

Learn about Jon Scieszka HERE.

Lear about Lane Smith HERE.

Find more “Perfect Picture Book Friday” reviews at Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog HERE.

The Stone Giant – A Picture Book Review for PPBF

Today, I’m reviewing the non-fiction picture book, Stone Giant – Michelangelo’s David And How He Came To Be. 

Back in my college days (I meant years) I sat in a dimly lit auditorium with my classmates, learning art history. Slide after slide flashed up on the screen as I jotted down everything the instructor said.

“And now class, let’s take a look at the great sculpture of David by Michelangelo.”

I glanced up from my notes and gasped. Rising strong and tall from a marble platform stood an incredibly handsome man with (pardon the pun) perfectly chiseled features. Sigh… The instructor went on to tell us the location of the statue, the background of Michelangelo, and the material he carved the statue from. What the instructor didn’t tell us was the remarkable story of how Michelangelo was chosen for this task — a critical piece of historic significance covered in today’s brilliantly illustrated picture book.

Title – Stone Giant – Michelangelo’s David and how he came to be

Written by – Jane Sutcliffe

Illustrated by – John Shelley

Published by – Charlesbridge  2014

Suitable for ages – 4-8

Topics/Theme –  Art history, Michelangelo’s David

Opening – There was a giant in the city of Florence. It had been there for nearly forty years. And no one knew what to do about it. The giant was an enormous block of stone–marble, to be exact. It stood three times as tall as any man in the city. It was the color of cream. And it was a troublemaker.

Amazon Review – view it HERE. No one wanted the “giant.” The hulking block of marble lay in the work yard, rained on, hacked at, and abandoned—until a young Michelangelo saw his David in it. This is the story of how a neglected, discarded stone became a masterpiece for all time. It is also a story about art—about an artist’s vision and process, and about the ways in which we humans see ourselves reflected in art.

Why do I like this book? What I like is that this book doesn’t begin on the day Michelangelo was asked to carve the statue of David. The book begins with the history of the giant block of marble, resting in the city of Florence. I was surprised to learn that other artists came before Michelangelo. I was more surprised to learn that Leonardo da Vinci was asked to sculpt David and turned down the request. The illustrations are thoughtful, brimming with details, expressive, and perfectly fitting to this story.
Watch the book trailer here.

Learn about Jane Sutcliffe HERE.

Lear about John Shelley HERE.

Find more “Perfect Picture Book Friday” reviews at Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog HERE.

What would you carve if you were given a great block of marble? Please let me know in the comments.