Archive for the ‘ Picture Books ’ Category

Picture Book Alert: ‘Pinkalicious’ Author Victoria Kann Talks About Her Latest, ‘Emeraldalicious’

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

My kids–even my little boy–love Victoria Kann‘s Pinkalicious picture books. We were psyched to see the newest release in the series, Emeraldalicious, is out in bookstores now.

In Emeraldalicious, Pinkalicious and her brother Peter discover a garbage dump and a magic wand. The themes are about the environment, transformation and, of course, love. The author–also a mom–knows how to capture my children’s attention with her opinionated and spriteful characters, and her graphic collage of artwork delights them. Every page is filled with beautiful details that reach beyond the text and enhance her words. The predominance of green in her latest book is perfect for spring. And it’s definitely the best color to convey her message about taking care of the earth.

I had the chance to talk to Victoria so she could tell me about her work herself. Always clever and fun, Victoria invites kids to interact with her on Facebook and email. Read all about it below.

KK: Tell me about Emeraldalicious.
 Pinkalicious says in Emeraldalicious, “With a little love, we can make the entire world Emeraldalicious.” When you read the book with kids, ask them what they would like to create if they could transform a garbage dump into a garden and could make anything happen. Look at the illustrations and pick out objects that are now obsolete. Ask them what are some greenerrific things that they can do to make the world Emeraldalicious. Post your answers on my Pinkalicious Facebook page or email them to me, and I will share them. We can inspire each other to transform the world into an Emeraldalicious garden! THANKS!

KK: What inspired the sparkly new name?
VK: Emeralds are beautiful and sparkly and have great value, just like our earth. If we take care of our planet and protect nature, our earth will sparkle like an Emerald. It’s the same as going ‘green’ but a lot more fun! In the book, Emeraldalicious, Pinkalicious makes a wand using an unusual flower that she finds. The wand is magical and when Pinkalicious makes up a rhyme using the word ‘love’ she is able to turn the garbage dump into a beautiful, Emeraldalicious garden.

KK: What inspired you to write Emeraldalicious?
VK: KIDS! When I went on book signings many kids asked me to do a book about the environment and going green. Growing up as a kid in NYC there was a city garbage dump under the Brooklyn Bridge. It had old street signs, school desks and other various treasures. I always thought, wouldn’t it be great if it was a playground instead of a garbage dump? What if there was a merry-go-round here instead of all this trash? Someone else had the same thought because many years later the area is now called Dumbo (Down Under The Brooklyn Bridge), and there is a carousel! It really happened!!! In Emeraldalicious, I wanted to show how with a little imagination and a lot of love, something as smelly as a garbage dump could be transformed. Emeraldalicious is a story about using your imagination to create something new. If we can imagine it, we can create it. Perhaps not as quickly as Pinkalicious and Peter did in the book, but it can happen. All great things, from our national parks to the light bulb began as unique ideas.

KK: How is it the same and different as the Pinkalicious adventures in the other books?
VK: Each picture book I do is different from the others. Pinkalicious and Peter are always the main characters, but each book has a different adventure and highlights a different color, either conceptually or literally. They all have messages that children can relate to. After eating too many pink cupcakes and turning pink, Pinkalicious says, “I was me, and I was beautiful”. That is an important lesson for kids. Purplicious is about having courage and standing up for what you believe in. Goldilicious is about using your imagination. In Silverlicious, Pinkalicious loses her sweet tooth and learns that sweetness comes from the inside. And Emeraldalicious is about the power of transformation and taking care of the environment. And all my Early Readers are the continuing adventures of Pinkalicious based on the concepts from the picture books. Fun things happen to Pinkalicious in the Early Readers from building a fairy house to bringing Goldie to school.

Thanks, Victoria! You have earned your spot as a New York Times #1 bestselling author and artist. Emeraldalicious is sure to be a big hit.

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Two Brothers; Two Picture Books: My Kids Love ‘Ten Things I Love About You’ by Daniel Kirk and ‘Oh So Tiny Bunny’ by David Kirk

Friday, February 15th, 2013

Two beautiful picture books. Two talented brothers. A sweet family love story. I heart my job!

My kids and I have been mooning over two new releases: Ten Things I Love About You and Oh So Tiny BunnyI noticed the authors names, Daniel Kirk wrote and illustrated Ten Things, and David Kirk did the same for Oh So. They are brothers, and it turned out that Daniel Kirk lives just a few miles away from us. Both are celebrated, bestselling children’s authors, too. Daniel has produced 35 pictures books including the Library Mouse series. David has done 28, including the Miss Spider series that is now the TV show Miss Spider’s Sunny Patch Friends.

So you know their work is going to rock.

Ten Things I Love About You is a heartfelt story about the friendship of Pig and Rabbit. Rabbit is making a list–you can guess what the name of it is–about his friend Pig. Rabbit gets stuck and keeps coming back to Pig’s house to find more attributes to add. Sometimes Pig gets impatient, but Rabbit takes note that Pig is good at expressing his feelings. At the end, Rabbit is delighted to find that Pig has wrote Ten Things about Rabbit, too. Their exploration of friendship inspires my children. Read this to your little ones at night, and you will melt into a puddle of chocolate when your kids go to bed telling you all of the things they love about you.

Oh So Tiny Bunny tickles kids’ emotions, too. Oh So may be a very tiny bunny, but he has big dreams. He has visions of eating gigantic carrots and hopping over life-sized bridges. But when he entertains his visions, he never sees any other bunnies. Then the only thing that’s big is his loneliness. He wakes up to appreciate his size when another tiny bunny nibbles his year. My daughter Annabelle said, “I like it because he tries to find a friend. And all along, she was probably trying to find him, too.”

We cuddle and hug over these books–and that’s exactly what I need sometimes after watching three kids all day. Who can’t use an extra hug, a few compliments and a good snuggle? Ten Things I Love About You and Oh So Tiny Bunny can bring your family all three.

So how did two brothers go down the same path? I had to get their story. Turns out that their parents were puppeteers–Kirk’s Puppets–and the family traveled around Ohio doing shows. The boys were exposed to great story-telling. Daniel was bookish–always drawing and reading. David was more outdoorsy–always in the creek looking for frogs and turtles. They both studied art in college. Daniel started writing and illustrating books and David was a toy-maker who illustrated his own product boxes. Both of them had children, and independently, David started doing kids’ books, too. I begged them to work together on something soon. They’re toying with the idea of fictionally depicting their unique childhood. “With a family of elephants standing in for our own human family,” Daniel told me.

I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.

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Kid Books: ‘Amelia Bedelia’ Turns 50–and She’s as Fun as Ever

Monday, February 4th, 2013

Can you believe it? Amelia Bedelia turns 50 this year. But honestly, she looks exactly the same, as you can see at the left. HarperCollins just released a special edition of the original book by the late Peggy Parish complete with the simply adorable illustrations by the great Fritz Siebel.

I wondered if my kids, ages 5, 7 and 7 (twins), would like Amelia Bedelia, or even get her. So we read her antics last night. I had a blast reliving this childhood favorite that my mother, a first grade teacher, often read to me.

Just a refresher: Amelia Bedelia shows up at Mr. and Mrs. Rogers’ house in her maid uniform, eager to get started on her first day of work. The Rogers’ give her a list of tasks, and then they drive away in their green car. First thing, Amelia Bedelia makes a lemon meringue pie as a sweet surprise. Then she consults her list.

“Change the towels in the green bathroom,” she reads. So, of course, she gets out her scissors and starts cutting them up wondering why Mrs. Rogers would want to change them. My children giggled. “That’s not how you change towels!” my 5-year-old son said. (He added, “That’s not respectable,” but I’m not sure if he knows what that meant.)

We went on to find out that Amelia Bedelia dusted the furniture by putting something like baby powder all over it, and she “dressed” the chicken in nice green boy clothes. “You’re not supposed to do it like that!” my 7-year-old said. “It’s a good thing Amelia Bedelia baked that pie,” she added. Yes! I was elated that the kids understood Amelia Bedelia‘s literal-mindedness, and, even better, they found it just as funny as I did.

“I think Amelia Bedelia is a really good girl, and she’s very nice,” my daughter said. “She’s kind of silly, though!”

This special anniversary edition includes gems of Amelia Bedelia history in the back, including information about Peggy Parish’s inspiration: her third grade students. I liked the timeline on the last page that shows how Amelia Bedelia has been drawn from 1963 to 2013.

Good news: There are new Amelia Bedelias, too. The author’s nephew has been writing the books since Parish died in 1988. This month, Herman Parish released the first chapter books about Amelia Bedelia when she was a child. In Amelia Bedelia Means Business, her ever-patient parents tell her that a new bicycle will cost “an arm and a leg.” Amelia Bedelia decides she doesn’t want to give up her limbs for a new set of wheels, and more chaos ensues. Another similar title Amelia Bedelia Unleased was also released. These books are geared to ages 6 through 10.

If you haven’t checked Amelia Bedelia out in a while, she’s a real treat. Not a piece of candy! I mean she’s just as delightful and fun as ever.


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