The generous, talented, and hostess extraordinaire, Debbie Dadey, writer of The Baily School Kids series and The Mermaid Tales, had invited me and three other ladies to her home for a writing retreat. We ate, we took pictures, we wrote, we shared, we critiqued, and had more fun than five squirrels in a sack full of acorns.
I already knew Stephanie Faris and Molly McCaffrey from the Southern Kentucky Book Festival, so it was great to hang out and catch up. But in addition, I had the pleasure of getting to know Rinda Beach, former teacher and pre-published picture book author. It was a melding of YA, Middle Grade, and Picture Book talk that weekend. It was a weekend of bliss.
I took my tripod, in the hopes of getting a group shot for my memory scrapbook, which I did. As I set up, Molly mentioned that she felt like we were posing for a family photo, and in a way she was right. We are a literary family, a tribe, a community, or whatever you want to call a group of people with something in common who chose to focus on similarities and support each other.
So this week when I snagged two books from my library book pile, it was fun to see that one was about friends full of imagination and the other was about a book monster. The first, Buddy and Earl Meet the Neighbors, was a fun and wordier than normal picture book. By wordier than normal I mean longer than the current 300 to 500 hundred word industry standard. And you know what? I love longer picture books with a meaty story line.
Buddy the dog and Earl the hedgehog are trying to decide what to do. Buddy is all set to nap, but Earl uses his imagination to take them on a super hero journey which leads them into the neighbors yard where they meet two new occupants, Mister the bulldog and Snowflake the cat. The four have an adventure of imaginary proportions, advert disaster, and in the end, Buddy finally gets that nap. This book would be a great classroom read aloud leaving room for fun discussions on super heroes, imagination, and friendship.
The second book, Nibbles the Book Monster, blew me away. Full of interactive flaps and cut-outs, this book took me on a journey that followed a book nibbling monster who escaped from his own book and ended up in many other stories where he wreaked havoc. Every page was as delightful as the last and would surely be right for boys and girls from five to eight.
Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week, same crazy time, same crazy channel. Also be sure to drop by Literacy Musings Mondays for more great blogs as well as my personal website Fun With Aileen where you will find more on reading, writing, and my very own chapter and picture books. And finally, you can find me on twitter if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days.