My No, No, No Day!

We’ve been reading My No, No, No Day! to B every night for weeks. Weeks. It’s hard to mind it though, because with every storytime, B discovers something she missed before– which means we get a chance to talk about it.

“Why is she taking her shoes off on the sidewalk?”

“Hey, that’s just like us at the grocery store… but why does everyone look so mad?”

My No, No, No Day! begins when big sister Bella wakes up to find her cute baby brother Bob in her room and all over her jewelry.

She shouted at him to get out. Breakfast was a flop– she just couldn’t eat it.

She threw a fit at the grocery store becacuse she wanted out of the cart (been there, Bella’s mom,) and everyone around them stared (or glared.)

Play date? Awful.

Ballet class? Too itchy.

Bella just couldn’t be calm or happy about anything. Not even peas! Can you believe that? Who wouldn’t be cheerful about peas?

*slowly raises hand*

Mom never once lost her cool like Bella (go, Mom!) and after storytime, Bella realized how crummy the day was and apologized. Mom replied,

“We all have those days sometimes, but perhaps you will be more cheerful tomorrow!” What a good note to end a bad day on, huh?

I’m thankful for this book giving us all a few valuable lessons

  • Emotions happen
  • Tomorrow is a fresh start
  • Don’t embarrass your mother (Ha!)

You all just thought of a time when you embarrassed your mom (or she embarrassed you,) didn’t you?

A note to my own Mom– you’re thinking about me hanging upside down over the railing in my fancy lace dress, aren’t you? No, wait. You’re probably thinking about me and my pals being really annoying at softball games, right?

Those were good times!

Mom?

Weren’t they, Mom?

Bueller?

My No, No, No Day! (2012)
Rebecca Patterson
Viking

Teeny Tiny Toady (+ interview with the author!)

B is almost 3 years old. *Pinch* WHAT?!

Now, she examines books. She looks deeply at the illustrations and turns the page when she’s ready. She sits still for long periods of time. That’s a story time game changer in this house!

Last night she was desperate to read a superhero book– so a superhero book we picked.

teeny

In Teeny Tiny Toady, you’ll be led through rhyme to the time when Teeny became a hero. Teeny, a little teeny toad (and sister of seven brawny dudes,) witnessed a toad-napping. Her own Mother, captured and put inside a bucket. *GASP* Imagine…

“Hopping faster than she ever
in her tiny life had hopped,
hurry-scurry, wild with worry,
Teeny flopped
and plopped
and slopped,
dodging spiderwebs and mushrooms,
leaping bugs and sluggy mothers,
till she skidded through the door– at last!– to gasp…
I need you, brothers!”

Don’t you feel like you’re there?! Poor Teeny.

She wishes she could be strong like her brothers so she could help save their Mama. After several attempts to free her, the brothers accidentally ploop into the bucket (whoops!) and Teeny is forced to find her strength (hint: she’s a smart little chick) to save the day.

You won’t regret getting this one for your bookshelf. Esbaum’s story + Yamaguchi’s illlustrations = fireworks!

Read on to the very first interview on the blog with my very own Mom, Jill Esbaum. 🙂


What (or who) was the inspiration for Teeny?

Jill: Hmmm. I guess it would have to be the toads and frogs I used to capture while on family camping trips. I’ve always liked the tiniest ones. Thinking about those camping trips must have jogged something loose…maybe regret at the thought that I might possibly have forgotten to release them a time or two? How, I wondered, did the poor toads feel about being stuck in a bucket? 😦

I know there is often a lot of writing (and then re-writing!) that happens before a story is “complete.” How long did it take for Teeny and her family to come to life?

I started the story in early 2011, and Teeny and her dopey brothers sprang to life pretty quickly. By June, it was finished, so I sent it to my agent. A few rejections followed, one that took nearly A YEAR. I kept tweaking, smoothing lines, honing details, adding humor. The lines that never changed at all were the opening ones. I felt like those sort of dropped from the sky, honestly. In February of 2014, the story sold to Sterling. I did a few small revisions and, two years later, it was a book.

Did your visions for the story match up with the world the illustrator created?

Illustrator Keika Yamaguchi created a toady world that was better than anything I could have imagined! I was bowled over by her work. You feel like you’re right there in a lush toady paradise with Teeny and her brothers as they try to get their Mama out of the bucket. Who knew toads could be so roly-poly and adorable?

Which do you prefer? Toads or frogs?

Toads. They aren’t quite so quick to hop away, so they’re easier to catch. Plus, they’re dry, so they aren’t as slippery.

Blech. Next: what is your workspace like?

Neat and tidy, for a change. But that’s because I just went through every. single. paper. that’s been piling up all winter/spring, waiting to be filed or dealt with. Yay! I can see the top of my desk again!

You have several (how many?) published books. Which one was the easiest to write? The hardest?

I recently sold number 40, counting both picture books and the nonfiction books I do for National Geographic. The easiest book to write was I HATCHED! That’s because I dreamed it — in a little birdie voice that rhymed. When I woke up, I ran to my office and started jotting the lines I could remember. There were only TWO, but I remembered the gist of the whole thing, so that was a really fun (and quick) one to piece back together. The hardest … ? Probably I AM COW, HEAR ME MOO because it took me 10 years to find the right story for the main character, Nadine the cow. I wrote two totally different stories starring Nadine during that time, but they just didn’t feel right. So I’d put her story away for a few months or a couple of years before feeling myself pulled back in to try again.

Describe your perfect productive writing day.

A perfect writing day is rare. Like, sometimes-not-for-months rare. It happens when a) there’s nothing on my calendar, b) nobody waiting for anything from me, business-wise, c) my house is clean, and d) I have a manuscript I’m itching to work on. And if it’s raining, that’s even better, because there’s nothing I “should” be doing outdoors. 🙂 Most writing days are filled with other obligations, which is one reason I love writing picture books. I can think about them anytime, jotting notes into a little notebook no matter where I am, then working on them at home for half an hour here, two hours there.

Last one! How does it feel writing picture books that your grandchildren want to read?

Strange, like worlds colliding. But delightful, too. For so many years, my kids were no longer interested in picture books, and I didn’t have grandkiddos. So now, when one wanted to read HOW TO GROW A DINOSAUR every bedtime for weeks and the other wanted FRANKENBUNNY or TEENY TINY TOADY? Pretty cool. And surreal. Makes me want to write more books for them, while they’re still little.


Thanks, Mom, for everything.

Be sure to say hello in the comments! You can find more from Jill here:

http://jillesbaum.com/ or http://picturebookbuilders.com/

Teeny Tiny Toady (2016)
Jill Esbaum (Illus. Keika Yamaguchi)
Sterling Children’s Books

a greyhound A GROUNDHOG

Say this out loud:

Blee-ba-la-ba-blee-ba-blu-bla-blay.

Feel that? That feeling like your tongue is discombobulated? That’s how your whole mouth will feel after you read this book aloud to your kid.

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What. a. fun. read! The animals are introduced to the reader, quite calmly, you’ll notice, and when the greyhound delightfully discovers his new little friend…

“Around, brown hog.
Around, grey dog!
Around and around and around and around.
The ground and a hog and some grey and a dog.”

Then… madness.

“A round hound,
a grey dog,
a round little hound dog.
A greyhog,
a ground dog,
a hog little hound dog.”

The illustrations perfectly match the words in this story. These two animals are fast friends and they have a great time romping around (and around) together. They’re having a wild time when suddenly they…stop. Because…

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Can’t you just hear a starry-eyed crowd (or these two little pals) saying, “Oooooh…ahhhhh…”?

You’ll find yourself reading this one slowly, quickly, and magically (I’m calling the “ooh” “ahh” astonished voice magical. It is!)

Trust me, your little one will want this one again and again (and around and around.)

a greyhound A GROUNDHOG
Emily Jenkins (Illus. Chris Appelhans)
Schwartz & Wade Books (2017)

Duck Skates

I’m feeling inspired, awake and determined.

I’m swaying in the kitchen holding L and typing with one hand.

He just spit up on my shirt.

Still determined.

The whole month before Christmas, B was OBSESSED with a Mickey Mouse Christmas movie (the one where Daisy and Minnie aggressively compete on the ice trying to one-up each other until Minnie falls, Daisy feels bad, they make up and they’re best friends again. You know that one, too?)

It was “Ice Skate Minnie” every. single. day. (With newborn L, I wasn’t going to argue…much.) She took to sliding around the house in socks, kicking one foot up in the air for some added flair to her “routine”. Duck Skates was soooo perfect for the month of December in our house.duck skatesIn this rhyming picture book, five ducks awake to a snowy wonderland and can’t help but race outside. They have a ball slipping, sliding and gliding around on their skates at the nearby pond. The mischievous bunch ignores a warning and gleefully crashes into a giant snowbank– which leads to them having a rowdy snowball fight. How fun!

(When was the last time you were involved in a snowball fight? Adding this to my list of things to do this winter. Beware, Husband!)

After calling a duck truce, the lovable group “tramps, stamps and trudges” home (hello, perfect words!) Isn’t that how we all feel (or felt, as children) after a day playing in the snow (or after a day at work, depending on how you feel about that…) 🙂

Perfect for practicing counting, kiddos will love these 5 spunky ducks and their wintry adventure.

Duck Skates (2005)
Lynne Berry/Illus. Hiroe Nakata
Henry Holt

Duck & Goose Find a Pumpkin

“This one.”

“THIS one.”

“THIS ONE!”

We recently explored the pumpkin patch and if B had her way, we’d have 17 pumpkins on the front porch. We brought home one perfect pumpkin and she painted it. Ain’t it a beaut? 😉briaspumpkinWe’ve also been reading books that fit the season, like Seed, Sprout, Pumpkin, Pie by Jill Esbaum (Happy early birthday, Mom!) and a favorite since last year at this time, Duck & Goose Find a Pumpkin.duckandgoosepumpkinWhen sweet, silly Duck & Goose see their friend, Thistle, lugging his own beautiful pumpkin, they realize they need one, too. They search and search– looking in all sorts of places for their perfect pumpkin.

“Is our pumpkin in the log, Goose?”

“No.”

“Is our pumpkin in the leaf pile, Duck?”

“No.”

Around they go, looking everywhere except the one place that they’re sure to find a good pumpkin. Eventually, they find it– thanks to their friend Thistle.

Last year, 1.5 YO B picked up on the repetition of this book and it was so much fun to read the book with her, and she still loves the call and response aspect of this book.

Duck & Goose Find a Pumpkin
Tad Hills
Schwartz & Wade Books

Jammy Dance

Jammy Dance is turning out to be the book of the month in our house. If you saw a bit of yourself and your best dog inside a book, you’d love it, too.

sunny3

jammygirl

Reading a lively book like Jammy Dance to B is an experience– and it’s so fun to see her study the pages and figure out all of the ways she can relate to the children as we read.

“Bubbles! Lotsa bubbles. Big towel. Brush your hair. Brush your teeth!” All through the book, she finds similarities to her life. The kids dancing, jumping on the bed, on the couch, but definitely not the part where “Sunny Dog drink toilet… EW.”

With the rhythm of the words, you can’t help but want to do the Jammy Dance with the family in this book. You’ll be wiggling with your little one as you read.

“Snappin’ fingers, stompin’ feet.

Tappin’ toes to keep the beat.

Tossin’ Teddy in the air;

Try to catch him if you dare.”

As the story goes on, you’ll notice the words magically guiding you to s-l-o-o-o-w down as you read…

“Touching hands in sweet ballet,

Holding all the hopes we pray,

Snuggled close inside our beds,

Quiet hearts and sleepy heads.”

As you read that part, I suggest faking a yawn– it might get your little one to realize it might be time for bed, too… unless, of course, they want to do the Jammy Dance one more time. 🙂

Jammy Dance
Rebecca Janni/Illus. Tracy Dockray
Farrar Straus Giroux