What happened to ABC Game Fridays?

If you have been missing ABC Game Fridays, no worries. My website is under going reconstruction right now, when I have time to work on it that is, so my ABC Game feature will post once during each month. There is no set Friday for these posts, but rather when I have contestants to play.

In addition to updating my website, I am also updating my ABC Game logo which will premiere with the next ABC Game play.  (PHOTO CREDIT: Traci Bold. I used this photo of a female ruby-throated hummingbird just for fun since I took it recently while on vacation.)

If you would like to play the ABC Game with Family and Friends while you patiently wait for the next ABC Game play, for each of these three categories:




make a list from A-Z. How specific you want to be is up to you and whoever you play the game with.

Have a fantastic weekend everyone!




With Children’s Author, Susan Lubner

 The ABC song is one of the first fun songs we teach our children to sing. Why? Because the alphabet is the backbone for learning to read and write. For some people, reading and writing is not fun at all. 

My new series, ABC’S OFF THE TOP OF YOUR HEAD offers a new way to have fun with the alphabet. Every week, a children’s author, illustrator, literary agent or editor will share their ‘top of the head’ answers to the ABC category list they were given, A to Z. Following their answers, I ask a few questions to gain a little insight into their world.shapeimage_16

Feel free to play along, maybe your answer off the top of your head will match theirs. Enjoy! 

Our contestant today writes both middle grade and picture books. Welcome to the ABC Game, Susan Lubner! Her newest middle grade book, LIZZY AND THE GOOD LUCK GIRL is coming out in Fall 2018. Here is a sneak peek at the cover:


And you can pre-order it here on Amazon:

Or pre-order it from you indie bookstore.

Below is a list of Susan’s categories from A – Z and her answers off the top of her head.

AWARD:  chatty

BIRD:  owl

CLIMATE:  warm


EVERY CHILD:  needs to be loved

FLY, THINGS THAT:  pigs!                               

GAME:  Family Feud

HERB:  lavender



KEEPSAKE:  photos

LOST BUT NOW FOUND:  my glasses everyday

MOOD:  happy

NEWSPAPER:  sneeze


PARADISE:  morning coffee anywhere

QUOTE:  “You can’t control the wind but you can adjust your sails”

RESTAURANT:  small plates


TASK:  drafting

UNUSUAL ANIMAL:  elephants       



‘X’ word with x in it:  exit

YOUNG ADULT BOOK:  Eleanor & Park

ZEBRAS…:  snazzy

 ME:   ELEANOR & PARK has been on my must read list for two years. Have you read it and if so, what did you like about it?

SL:  I read it so long ago but I remember the sweetness of the main characters, how kind they were to each other and how endearing it was that what the rest of their “peer world” saw as odd and uncool they saw as the best in each other. Rainbow Rowell’s writing is quirky and wonderful. 

ME:   I snaughed (a snort-laugh when caught off guard) when I read your newspaper answer…sneeze. Love it! Completely out of the box. Since I ask all contestants to answer off the top of their heads, this didn’t surprise me but made me wonder how you connect the two. Will you elaborate?

SL: Strange but true I am allergic to the ink. Newspapers make me sneeze. Thank heavens for online options, right?

ME:  Wow, that is the first time I have heard of that allergy. Please tell us you are writing a story about this unique allergy! Family Feud is known for unique answers as well. Do you play Family Feud with your family or watch the Game Show of it? I often wonder if they survey the same 100 people. If you could choose a question or two to survey for that show, what would they be? [photo credit:] Family-feud-logo

SL; I love watching Family Feud. My husband is not a fan of the show at all. But he does find it very amusing that I find the show LOL amusing! So it’s a win-win for both of us J  My question for the show: Name something readers use to mark their place in a book other than a bookmark (MY survey answer would be a greeting card, but I think people might also say, a piece of paper, a paperclip, a recipe card, a grocery receipt…all of which I have used to mark my place one time or another)

ME:  Fantastic question, you should e-mail that in to them. They need fresh questions. The ‘chatty’ award is new to me. Or do you mean that if you were to receive an award it would be for being chatty? If so, I may give you a run for the award. 😊

SL: Yes I did mean if I were to win an award I would be a top contender for the Chatty. Actually if I were a family feud question, and they surveyed my friends and family…name something to describe Susan Lubner… Chatty no doubt would be one of the top answers.

ME:  To me, chatty = never boring, so well done! Is there something specific you wonder about when you think of planets?

SL: Spinning. It freaks me out a bit because what if they just stopped? Or just one of them did? I read up on why and how planets spin on their axis (and rotate around the sun) and if I really think about what’s happening up there it is hard to wrap my mind around how it’s all possible even with the scientific explanation. How the planets and stars and the sun just stay up there like that all the time! Most of us probably don’t stop and think on a regular basis how amazing it all really is. But whenever there’s a big gorgeous moon or an especially starry sky to see that’s where my mind goes. 

ME:  I admit, I have never given it much though until I read your answer. I’ve been looking at the sky with a whole new admiration since. That said, my imagination is running wild with what would happen should they stop spinning.

Disney oozes imagination,  like Toy Story! Let’s say Disney put you in charge of coming up with a new movie idea for them; what idea would you give them?

SL: Gosh, is there an idea Disney hasn’t thought of? Let me see…One of my favorite books as a child was Robert McCloskey’s Blueberries for Sal. That would make a great movie…we could get the back story on the mother bear and Little Bear…how they ended up on Blueberry Hill in the first place; did the baby have any siblings, maybe Little Sal’s mother and Little Bear’s mother form a bond? And Maine is such a great setting (my two middle grade novels are set in Maine). There’d be a subplot of course, a mean trapper that’s after the bears (this sounds dark but so (is) Disney, right?). And Sal of course would save them. J Blueberries for Sal the sequel could start out when the bears wake from hibernation…a whole new adventure with Sal. This one would have land developers that want to level the forest… the bears’ home and all the blueberry bushes, too. Little Sal would once again save the day.

ME:  Hopefully someone at @Disney will read this post. My mind is reeling in the stories you have set up right now. And to continue your idea making prowess, using some of your category answers and off the top of your head, please give us a synopsis of a children’s story. It can be zany, doesn’t have to make sense, can be sad, happy, etc. Then if allowed, can you tell us about any of your upcoming projects?

SL: In a warm African Jungle, Owl and Elephant are happily chatting while enjoying their morning coffee, small plates of scones with jam and watching a beautiful violet sunrise. Their peaceful morning is suddenly shattered by the squealing and snorting of flying pigs. Not believing what he thinks he’s seeing, Owl searches for his glasses which are never where he thinks he put them. Elephant is outraged by the disturbance. He quickly calls for his zebra friends, Eleanor and Park to come have a look at what’s going on. The Zebra’s snazzy stripes have a dizzying effect on the flying pigs and they begin to fly into the trees, breaking branches and dropping odd numbers of fruit to the ground. What makes matters worse is Park’s lavender aftershave, which is overwhelming and causing the pigs to sneeze violently at each other. This seems to upset the pigs and soon there is an out of control family feud. They accuse each other of reckless flying, and spraying grossly on each other with each sneeze. Eleanor has an idea and runs to retrieve her violin. When she returns she begins to play, first Stevie Nick’s Planets of the Universe, and when that has no effect, the theme from Toy Story, You Got a Friend in Me. Which works like a charm. When the pigs finally calm down, they are able to explain that they had ended up in the Jungle by accident. They had simply taken a wrong exit on their way to the farm. And they are sorry for the disturbance. That apology gets Owl and Elephant thinking about things differently. Perhaps they shouldn’t be so bothered by the pigs. After all, they can’t control the wind but they can adjust their sails. So they offer the pigs some coffee and scones. And pigs being pigs, they finish everything off. Owl and Elephant realize, the pigs just need to be loved. All the animals take a bunch of photos to post on Junglebook (Not that Jungle Book. The Jungle’s version of Facebook) Owl being so smart, begins drafting a story about flying pigs. Later on when the pigs and Eleanor and Park are gone, Elephant reads Owl’s first draft. “I Love it.” He says. And all is well.

So that was really fun to write! And maybe it’s what I should be working on for my next book J 

28661423_10156247503439837_7056806880299746684_nI am excited, too, for my middle grade novel Lizzy and the Good Luck Girl (Running Press Kids/Hachette Books) which is due out in November 2018. Right now I am currently drafting a new middle grade novel. I don’t like to talk too much about what I’m writing mainly because it’s very likely to change. Most often what I start out writing ends up being quite different. I will say though that like my other two novels, this book is set in Maine. And the main character is 11 year old Bree who lives with her single parent dad. And there’s chocolate J

ME:  I’m in for reading all of your books. 😊 As for your synopsis, love it!! May you choose to pursue it as a book 😉 And thank you for playing the ABC Game with us today.

Look for these other books by Susan Lubner:



You can follow Susan Here:

Facebook:  Susan Lubner Children’s Author

Twitter: @SusanLubner


Readers, thank you for stopping by today! Have a terrific weekend everyone. 😊











With Children’s Author & Illustrator, Tim Warnes

 The ABC song is one of the first fun songs we teach our children to sing. Why? Because the alphabet is the backbone for learning to read and write. For some people, reading and writing is not fun at all. 

Screen Shot 2017-07-14 at 13.41.43My new series, ABC’S OFF THE TOP OF YOUR HEAD offers a new way to have fun with the alphabet. Every week, a children’s author, illustrator, literary agent or editor will share their ‘top of the head’ answers to the ABC category list they were given, A to Z. Following their answers, I ask a few questions to gain a little insight into their world.

Feel free to play along, maybe your answer off the top of your head will match theirs. Enjoy!

Today, Tim Warnes, children’s author & illustrator, and husband of author & illustrator, Jane Chapman, joins us. His picture book illustrations are known to many children in the Tracey Corderoy- Archie the rhino, and Carrie Weston – Boris the bear book series:  


 A few of his own books…

More of his own books and others he has illustrated can be seen throughout this game.

Below is Tim’s list of categories from A – Z and his answers off the top of his head.


BAND: Not a band, but a solo artist – Bjork

COLOR: blue

DOG BREED: Dachsund


FRAGRANCE: lavender                                            jesus loves me


HAPPINESS IS: birdsong

INVENTION: mobile phone

JELLYBEANS…: no thanks

KINDNESS…: is essential

LAUGH (WHAT MAKES YOU): my friends.


NON-FICTION BOOK: Peanuts – A Golden Celebration

OPPOSITES: day and night

PIZZA: always

QUIET PLACE: woodland stream



TREE: silver birch

UNUSUAL COMBINATION: chocolate covered salted pretzels      

VEGETABLE: pumpkin

WISH…: my cat was friendlier



ZODIAC SIGN: don’t believe in it

ME:  Great answers! For an unusual combination, chocolate and salted pretzels are awesome together. The theory is that chocolate is awesome pared with anything; I beg to differ. What is your opinion on this theory?

TW: Well, I’ve never tried chocolate enrobed chicken, so I wouldn’t like to say! But chocolate covered salted pretzels are supreme. Next question please – my mouth is watering…

ME:  Chocolate enrobed chicken, hmmmm. Yuk! [Readers, feel free to eat chocolate covered salted pretzels while enjoying this interview].

About your wish, do you mean for your cat to be friendlier to you specifically, or friendlier in general? And what behavior has you believing your cat is not friendly?

TW: Where do I begin? Nero, our cat, is a one year old Maine Coon. He is black and fluffy and absolutely adorable, which may well be his downfall. Perhaps he just doesn’t want to be fawned over all day? As soon as he settles down one of us is trying to pet him. One visiting teenager remarked, “How can a living creature be so soft?” We choose this breed because they are renowned for being affectionate and dog-like in their outlook to life. He has his moments (rubbing his tummy whilst he’s lying stretched out on his back) but on the whole I’m sad to say he’s a bit bity scratchy. 

ME:  My guess is that he doesn’t like the stereotype of his breed or he doesn’t like dogs?

Tell us about the non-fiction book you named, ‘PEANUTS:  A Golden Celebration’. I have not googled it, but my first thought is that it is about the comic strip, PEANUTS.

TW: It certainly is. I’m a bit of a comic book afficionado, and for me Peanuts is in the top three (alongside Calvin and Hobbes and Cul de Sac). They are funny and poignant and pithy and heartbreaking. I think Schulz was a genius. I can pour over his the strip indefinitely. If you’ve never super enlarged a Snoopy drawing on a copier, then you should! His line work is amazing. I confess to cheating a bit in my answer – I realize Peanuts is fiction, but this book is full of interviews with Schulz, anecdotes and ephemera, so it fits your category, too! I read these as a kid, and they inspired my own online strip that ran for a year or two, ‘Chalk and Cheese Comics’. 

C&C header016timwarneschalk&cheesecomics164sasquatch

ME:  Charles Schulz And Bill Watterson are brilliant in their artistry and finesse. Definitely two of my favorite all time comic strips. ( I also love Garfield – Jim Davis). Now I will have to check out Chalk & Cheese. 😊

TW:  Ah yes, I read a lot of Garfield in the 80’s! Now that I have a cat, I expect they’d have even more resonance.

ME:  I see you choose bears often in your illustrations. Will we see a bear playing banjo anytime soon and do you play the banjo and if so, how long? If not, is it on your bucket list to learn to play it?

TW: I try and play the banjo and I love it! I’ve been teaching myself using material Screen Shot 2017-07-14 at 13.09.36made available by Patrick Costello for about 4 years now. I play using the clawhammer method, as opposed to finger-rolling blue grass style. Playing the banjo – in fact, hearing a banjo – makes me happy. Jane and I were lucky enough to see the actor/comedian/banjo player playing live in London some years back. What a night! That kind of cinched the deal for me. And yes, I do have an idea on the back boiler for a banjo playing bear – but don’t hold your breath!

ME:  Very cool! So playing banjos makes you happy and so does hearing birdsong.  My favorite birdsong is that of the robins. When I hear them, I know spring is almost here.  Whooo sings your favorite birdsongs? (Owl speak here)

TW: Any and all! The cronk of passing ravens lifts my spirits and makes me feel like I’m in the wild; a skylark singing overhead reminds me of summer; the simple chirping of house sparrows reminds me of my childhood… and my mobile phone’s ringtone is a nightingale’s song! I’ve been lucky enough to hear them locally a few times. Just beautiful! 

ME:  Bjork is a female Solo Artist in Britain, correct? What is her music about?

TW: Bjork is a solo artist from Iceland. She is so creative and theatrical, with a background in classical music. She uses lots of samples in her music – trying to describe it won’t do her justice. I’ve seen her live a few times – she has such a raw energy about her. Her voice can sound wild and fierce or naive and fragile. Her earlier albums I suppose are more accessible – if I had to pick one album it would probably be ‘Homogenic’.

ME:  A new vocal artist to check out for sure! 

Thank you Tim for sharing your work with us today and playing the ABC Game. And I am so happy that your beautiful wife, Jane Champan, played last week!

These are books that Tim and Jane have collaborated on:

hands off my honey spread

Here are more of Tims’ books that you may be interested in. Check your local indie bookstore to find them or order them.

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   Guess which book this is from:


Readers, thank you for stopping by. You can learn more about Tim and the rest of his books and art on his website:

And you can see his online gallery, along with his wife, Jane Chapmans’ at:  Chapman & Warnes Online Gallery .

And you can follow them both on:


Facebook: ChapmanandWarnes

TGIF EVERYONE! May you all have an awesome weekend. 😊 














NOT JUST A PRETTY PICTURE: Women Illustrators & Why I Love Their Work #kidlitwomen

Part 2 – Animals vs. Humans 

Animals show up in more picture books than humans and for good reason: children relate well to them, and sometimes those really hard concepts are easier for children to connect with animals than humans. So which is better, animal or human illustrations, for the story?

They are equal.  Why? Because it’s up to the illustrator to illustrate the best story for the manuscript they are given or have written themselves.  There is no ‘vs.’ because the best story will come out through the illustrator’s artistry which is the best for the reader. And the end result will be phenomenal; an illustrated story within the story. And sometimes, it’s illustrations only, no text. Magic!

Due to the numerous women illustrators to choose from, I make it easier on myself to showcase the illustrators, by whose work I find at the library or book store. As this series progresses, I will add more illustrators and their work to categories I have already showcased, and add new categories as I see fit.

To see more of each illustrator’s artwork, click on their names.

QUIRKY CHARACTERS: These characters may be just the main character or the entire ensemble. I love them because they are shown in their natural and/or unnatural element and their personalities shine through in the illustrations.

Eda Kaban

 Eda Kaban - quirky character humans


Jess Pauwels

Jess Pauwels - animals humor


Kari Rust

 Kari Rust - quirky characters human and animal


Lita Judge

 Lita Judge Monkey

Emily Gravett

 Emily Gravett - quirky charaCTERS ANIMALS


Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick

 Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick Quirky characters animals, flip it over

 Now flip the book over

Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick, quirky characters, flip it over 2

Mary Sullivan

Mary Sullivan - quirky characters animals  

Adorablism – my own ‘ism’ defining the cuteness of animals portrayed in books that matched the story within. 

Katy Hudson

 Katy Hudson - adorablism animals

 Lori Nichols

 Lori Nichols - adorablism human characters

 Margie Moore

 Margie Moore - adorablism


Culture, Community & Inclusion– Experiencing another culture or being a part of a community is not easy to do but these illustrators invite us into it.

Jana Christy

 Jana Christy - community, inclusion

 Jess Hong

 Jess Hong - diversity, community, early concept

 Marla Frazee

 Marla Frazee, community, inclusion, diversity

 Sue Cornelison

 Sue Cornelison - culture, realism, diversity


Emoting – I can feel these characters emotions throughout the story, pulling me into it further.

Hazel Mitchell

 Hazel Mitchell, Imani

Helen Oxenbury

 Helen Oxenbury animal emotion

Isabel Roxas

 Isabel Roxas - quirky humans, emoting

 Katy Hudson




Mae Besom

 Mae Besom - human emotion, thematic


I hope you have enjoyed Part 2 of this series. Part 3 coming up sometime in April  2018.

Keep your local public libraries and independent bookstores alive by checking out books for you and your family and buying from these indie stores if possible.  

May you all have a terrific week! 




With Children’s Author & Illustrator, Jane Chapman

The ABC song is one of the first fun songs we teach our children to sing. Why? Because the alphabet is the backbone for learning to read and write. For some people, readingScreen Shot 2017-07-14 at 23.35.23 and writing is not fun at all. 

My new series, ABC’S OFF THE TOP OF YOUR HEAD offers a new way to have fun with the alphabet. Every week, a children’s author, illustrator, literary agent or editor will share their ‘top of the head’ answers to the ABC category list they were given, A to Z. Following their answers, I ask a few questions to gain a little insight into their world.

Feel free to play along, maybe your answer off the top of your head will match theirs. Enjoy!

Jane Chapman, children’s author and illustrator, and wife of author and illustrator, Tim Warnes, is our contestant today! A beloved author and illustrator of many animal picture books, here are some of her books:


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Below is a list of Jane’s categories from A – Z, and her answers off the top of her head.  


ANIMAL:   Coati Mundi

BERRY:  Black Currant


DINOSAUR:  Triceratops

EVERY CHILD:  is an individual




ICE CREAM FLAVOR:  Home-made rum and chocolate gelato

JAMMING SONG:  Hey Joe (Jimi Hendrix)

KITCHEN ITEM:  Kitchenaid Mixer

LAUGH (WHAT MAKES YOU):   mispronunciation, mamapropisms, making up voices for animals, or back stories for strangers walking past with big bags (‘he keeps his performing hamsters in there’)

MONSTER:  Cookie, Elmo, Grover

NUMBER OF BOOKS READ THIS YEAR:  5   big-bear-small-mouse-CVR

OPPOSITES:  Big Bear, Small Mouse           

PICKLES (YES OR NO):  Always yes!

QUICK (THINGS THAT ARE):  biscuits disappearing

ROUND:  oranges, the moon, pom-poms


TOY:  the new Lego Millennium Falcon (except that it’s not really a toy)

UNIQUE COLOR:  somewhere between brown and lime  


WORDS OF WISDOM:  Make the best decision you can with the facts available, and don’t blame yourself in the future with the benefit of hindsight.

 X (word that begins with): Xi ( I have Scrabble Dictionary)

YOUNG ADULT BOOK:  ? Not for me.

ZANIEST THING YOU’VE DONE:  I’m not very zany, sorry! But I suppose I looked quite zany after one of our regular face-painting sessions when my oldest son was little. I was always happy to offer myself as a model, because I’d get to sit still, with my eyes shut, while Noah concentrated quietly for over an hour. He patiently covered all the skin he could see including under my chin, my neck, my ears, up to my nose…he was very thorough. I have some great photos of the results. 

ME:  I totally get the serenity of just being, when you have young ones who are engrossed in a quiet activity. With that in mind, you can do something zany right now…sharing your photos of your son’s face-painting artwork on you! Was the face painting session a beginning to a love of art in your son, Noah?

JC:  I don’t know that I can find the photos so easily! I looked black mostly, with dark green patches. He wasn’t keen on the brighter colours – he liked a bit of drama. But yes, Noah is very interested in art. Now he is a great printmaker. My younger son prefers using a spray can. 

ME:  You gave a good visual, no need for photos. 😊 Creativity abounds in your children too; love it! Family time together is wonderful. And how fantastic that you and your husband work together too!

How about playing games together? You mention you have a Scrabble dictionary, is that a family favorite game by chance? 

JC:  It’s a family favourite from my childhood home, but Tim and the boys don’t like it much, so I hardly ever get to play. 

ME:  Same here.

Coati mundi are fantastic little animals! Does one appear in any of your books and is there a reason the coati mundi was on the top in your mind?

JC:  No, there are none in any of my books; apparently Joe Public only wants to buy books with more regular animals in (them). I just think Coati Mundi are charming. I have seen them at the zoo, and find their elegant long noses beautiful (I like who_are_weanteaters for the same reason).

ME:  Joe Public needs some diversity of animals, I think. Such as books with snow leopards, quokkas, impalas, bonobos and coati mundi. Even Snoopy likes diversity. If Snoopy ran into a triceratops, what do you think the scene would play out like?

JC:  This is one of those questions that I can’t answer easily; my brain goes into overdrive. I am strictly a ‘60s Snoopy cartoon strip fan, so he’d probably hide in the bushes pretending to be a T-Rex stalking its prey (like when he pretends to be a vulture on a rock, all furrowed brow).

 ME:  The scenarios are fantastic fun to consider though, aren’t they 😉. What is your favorite tulip color and do you grow them?

JC:  Tim plants pots of tulips most years, but they usually get eaten by mice if they are planted in the ground. I like the really dark plums and blacks, but my absolute favourites are flaming parrots in yellow and red stripes. 

ME:  Stunning choice! I am equally intrigued with your ice cream flavor answer.  How did you come across it?

JC:   Just made it up! I have a fancy ice-cream maker, so we chuck everything in a big bowl until the flavour is just slightly too sweet to be perfect, then it goes into the machine.    

ME:  My mouth is watering. Sounds like your culinary creativity could be sold to an ice cream company. And your creativity continues.  Like you, my family and I enjoy creating back stories for strangers, but strangers in general. You make them up specifically for strangers with big bags. Has this past time ever found its’ way into your books?  And, what upcoming projects of yours can share with us?

JC:  Oh no, no one is immune! It’s just that strangers with big bags (specifically elderly ladies and gentlemen) are the easiest to imagine with hoards of man-eating squirrels that can’t be trusted to be left at home.

This pastime has never gone into a book, but I think that stretching your imagination muscle is always healthy. The problem for me is that I find it hard to stop believing the scenario once the game is over.

I have very, very recently completed the art for another Bear book by Karma Wilson. I am super pleased with my painting – the quilts alone took me weeks, but I so love these characters. Mole wears a neckerchief like a cape when he is singing one scene. I think he looks like an operatic star.

I also have a book about sea otters coming out in a few months. Sea otters are adorable. Not only do they tie themselves up in kelp, but they also hold paws while they float about so that they don’t get separated.

Thanks for the interview!

ME:  Very happy to have you participate Jane! I picture what your illustrations of man-eating squirrels would look like and then delve into fits of giggles because I picture these illustrations of yours from some of my favorite books, you’ve written.

very special friendsworldwide friends

The bear books are delightful too!

All of your illustrated characters are adorable, charming and wonderful! I am drawn into their story more because of them.


Now that I know you are working on a sea otter book ( I LOVE otters) I’ll be anxiously awaiting it’s release date.


With Your Paw in Mine is published by Little Tiger Press, June 2018

Bear Can’t Sleep is published by Simon & Schuster, Fall 2018

Thank you Jane for playing the ABC Game and letting into your world of creativity!

Here are more of her illustrated books to check out…


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Readers, thank you for stopping by. You can learn more about Jane and the rest of her books and art on her website:

And you can see her online gallery, along with her husband, Tim Warnes’, at Chapman & Warnes Online Gallery .

And you can follow them both on:

Instagram: @chapmanandwarnes 

Facebook: ChapmanandWarnes

Have a fantastic weekend everyone!


P.S. Someone near and dear to Jane will be our contestant next week!










With Children’s Author, Dori Chaconas

The ABC song is one of the first fun songs we teach our children to sing. Why? Because the alphabet is the backbone for learning to read and write. For some people, reading and writing is not fun at all. 

My new series, ABC’S OFF THE TOP OF YOUR HEAD offers a new way to have fun with Authors 010 - Croppedthe alphabet. Every week, a children’s author, illustrator, literary agent or editor will share their ‘top of the head’ answers to the ABC category list they were given, A to Z. Following their answers, I ask a few questions to gain a little insight into their world.

Feel free to play along, maybe your answer off the top of your head will match theirs. Enjoy! 

Today’s contestant is none other than the author of the beloved CORK & FUZZ EZ-to-Read Book series, and many picture books.

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Below is a list of Dori’s categories from A – Z and her answers off the top of her head.

ANTONYM FOR AWFUL:  delicious         

BOAT:  row boat         

CAMPING (things used for):  firewood         

DANCE STYLE:  tap         

EVERY CHILD…:  beautiful

FLOWER:  Peony

GROW IN A GARDEN:  tomatoes

HOBBY:  needlework

ICE CREAM FLAVOR:  butter pecan

JUNK DRAWER ITEM tape measure

KINDNESS IS:  needed

LANDSCAPE:  woodland

MUSIC GROUP:  Clancy Brothers

NUT:  cashew

OPPOSITES:  attract



RAIN FOREST ANIMAL:  tiger      Cover_Art_-_Final_300_size


TOY:  baby doll

UNDERWATER:   magical

VIRTUE:  tolerance

WOOD:  maple

XCITING (something):  book contract

YARD SALE (things you find at):  kitchen utensils

ZEBRAS…:  “horse in striped pajamas”


ME:  Oh my goodness, what is “horse in striped pajamas” from? For the life of me, I cannot place it other than the song by Captain Kangaroo.

DC: You’ve got it! Captain Kangaroo. And maybe Peter, Paul and Mary.

ME:  I loved that song. Zebras are magical to me, the same as the underwater world. My Cork and Fuzz the Swimming lesson cover art 300 size002main reason is the exotic fish and the amazing dolphins. What about underwater do you find magical?

DC: The silent, sparkling, beautiful world you’re in when swimming under water.

ME:  That’s fair. I don’t swim underwater so I take your word for it.

You named tiger as the rain forest animal. They, as well as many other animals and plants, are endangered and fast becoming extinct due to palm tree oil excavation. Can you share some fun facts about tigers in general?

DC: Just that they’re the most beautiful animal I can think of.  

The-Clancy-Brothers-007ME:  Agreed! The sound of their roar is music to me. Please tell us about the music of the Clancy Brothers! Is this your favorite genre of music?

DC: We love the Clancy Brothers music, as well as most Irish music, even though there’s not a drop of Irish blood in us. Be it about love, war, drink, etc. each song tells a story, rich in feeling and history. 

ME:  Songs are musical short stories (ok, some, not that short) and are meant to be savored. There are genres for every person, like ice cream flavors for every person’s like. Butter Pecan is a delicious ice cream flavor! Name some flavors that should never be in ice cream.

DC:  garlic, onion, tomato and cheese. Ha! I think I just described spaghetti sauce! 

ME:  I agree, spaghetti sauce should never be an ice cream flavor. Yuk!

Have you been camping? If so, what is your favorite camping food cooked over the fire?

DC: We used to camp many years ago and most of what we cooked over the campfire was almost inedible. (Except bacon. You can’t ruin bacon.)  But when you’re hungry, you’ll eat anything. 

ME:  True, you cannot ruin bacon. Even ‘ junk food’ like s’mores is hard to ruin over a fire. Speaking of ‘junk’, junk drawers fascinate me. They can hide so many things unless Finders_Keepers_Cover_300_sizethey are organized. Yours sounds organized since you know you have a tape measure in it. Will you let us in on ‘the know’ of new projects we readers can be looking forward to?

DC:  I have several picture book stories in the works, in different stages. And just so you know, my junk drawer is a jumble of disorder, and the only reason I answered your question with ‘tape measure’ is because I know it’s in there somewhere, if I could find it.

ME:  Haha, your junk drawer sounds just like mine, except I don’t know what’s in mine most of the time; 😊 but, YAY to new books from you!!!! When you have book covers to your upcoming projects, please let me know and I can share them on this website or update your game play with them.

Readers are other picture book titles to look for from Dori:


 Thank you Dori for playing the ABC Game with us today!

DC:  Readers, you can connect with me here: 

Thanks, Traci, for the chance to play!

And thank you readers for stopping by. Have an amazing weekend!







NOT JUST A PRETTY PICTURE: Women Illustrators and Why I Love Their Work

Part 1- Animals

I admit, I judge a book by its cover. Especially in children’s literature. When the art grabs my attention on the cover, I know goodies await my eyes on the inside; think eye candy!

However, my first impression is never “Such a pretty picture…” when I see the covers. Instead my brain deciphers right away, what exactly about the cover entices me to open the book. There are numerous qualities on my checklist and these carry over into the illustrations of the book itself. Some books will have just one checkmark, others, two or more.

These qualities will be explored in my new series, ‘NOT JUST A PRETTY PICTURE: Women Illustrators and the Why I Love Their Work’ kicking off right now as part of the #kidlitwomen movement. Women have been rockin’ the kidlit world for decades and continue to do so. 

To start us off, my theme for Part 1 is Animals. Why? Simple, because I love animal stories, especially dog stories. And these women illustrators used their magic to reel me in. The following illustrators were chosen for the animal category but may show up in later posts for other categories. (For post length, I chose some favorites off the top of my head). Checklist category, explanation,  illustrator name, and illustrator sample follow. All photos are my own taken from books I own or from my local library.

Adorablism-  my word defining the cuteness of animals portrayed in books that matched the written story within. 

Sydney Hanson 


Sydney Hanson

Lillian Hoban  

Lillian Hoban

Lita Judge

Lita Judge Owl

Renata Liwska

Renata Liwska

Judy Schachner

Judy Schachner


Emoting – I can feel these animals emotions throughout the story, making me a part of it. 

Sophie Blackall

Sophie Blackall

Jane Chapman

Jane Chapman

Laurie Allen Klein

Laurie Allen Klein emotion

Hazel Mitchell

Hazel Mitchell

Vanessa Brantley Newton

Vanessa Brantley Newton emotion

Pauline Ts’o

Pauline Ts'o

Andrea Zuill

Andrea Zuill


Realism – Animals drawn to look realistic. I love these books for research and for reference. Illustrations capture the animals true essence and pull me into their world.

Shennen Bersani

Shennen Bersani

Higgins Bond

Higgins Bond

Laurie Allen Klein

Laurie Allen Klein

Eliza Wheeler

Eliza Wheeler


All of these #kidlitwomen illustrators are exceptional in their field, in my opinion. I hope you enjoyed them as much as I did while I reread their stories as I chose my favorite artwork of theirs for this post. And may these women inspire you.




Congratulations Elaine! You have won a copy of Susanna Leonard Hill’s 


Thank you everyone who entered! The correct answer to this question,

Susanna’s answers on her game play were decided by one of her category answers, what color are her answers?

is purple! 

In every contestants’ category sheet, there is a color category of some sort. Whatever color the contestant names, is the color of their answers throughout the game.  

My bonus entry question was to name my favorite color which was told in a contestants’ game play. Deborah Underwood named indigo in her color category. In the interview portion, I stated indigo is my favorite color. 

In addition to the color similarity in every contestants’ category sheet, I came up with another constant that showcases alternatives to two overused words in writing…GREAT and AWESOME. I revel in synonyms for them.  One of two categories for every contestant category sheet showcases their alternative to either of those words and I use their word in the interview when applicable.


The ABC GAME resumes next Friday, March 9, 2018. 

Have a fantastic weekend everyone!




Today, March 1, 2018, is your last chance to enter this ABC Game Recap Contest. 


For a chance to win the prize shown below, go to this link ABC’s OFF THE TOP OF YOUR HEAD  and comment your answer (before 11:59 p.m. CST tonight-March 1, 2018) on this post or that link, to this question:

 Susanna’s answers on her game play were decided by one of her category answers, what color are her answers?


I will collect the names of all correct answer givers from this post and the others, early tomorrow morning and announce the winner tomorrow, March 2, 2018 on this website. To be eligible, you must be at least 18 years old and live in the continental USA. Winner will be notified via e-mail, March 2, 2018. 



With Picture Book Author & Mentor, Susanna Leonard Hill                               Susanna Hill

By Traci Bold

The ABC song is one of the first fun songs we teach our children since the alphabet is the backbone for learning to read and write. For some people, though, reading and writing is not much fun. Which is how I came up with the ABC game. My new series, ABC’S OFF THE TOP OF YOUR HEAD offers a new way to have fun with the alphabet. Every week, a children’s author, illustrator, literary agent or editor will play the ABC game by answering each ABC category off the top of their head from A to Z. Following the answers, I asked a few questions to gain a little insight into some of those answers.

Feel free to play along, maybe your answer…

View original post 1,373 more words

Fun with words, creatively. For all ages.

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