Sunday, April 28, 2013

"Luck is preparation meeting opportunity."- Lucius Annaeus Seneca

(This post was supposed to publish last week, but given how many people were participating in Screen Free Week, I thought I'd wait.) 

A few weeks ago on Twitter, Writer's House agent Steven Malk tweeted out something that had me very excited. He said, "In 15 minutes, I'll ask a children's lit trivia question.  1st correct answer gets these books: Sharpen your brain!" The books in question? These beauties: 

Steven Malk's twitpic
And oh, I was excited! I LOVE children's literature, and I love a chance to win books even more! So what did I do? I sat there and waited for the next tweet. I had a feeling I might know the answer to this question. Mr. Malk comes from a family of book lovers, and he has a love of the classic when it comes to children's literature. And sure enough:"Trivia question: "In The Tale of Peter Rabbit, what 3 things does Peter Rabbit eat (in order) right after sneaking into Mr. McGregor's garden?"

I thought, "Are you freaking kidding me?!" I had, not even an hour before, been reading Beatrix Potter's "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" to my sick-at-home almost three year old, and the answer was lighting up my brain like fireworks! I was so excited because I knew. Now I just had to be sure my tweet got out there before someone got on Google and had a chance to tweet the answer!

I was biting my nails and then: 

WOOHOO! I was dancin'! (Did you see the extra 'and?' I was typing so fast my brain almost went blank!) It was ridiculous how excited I was about this, but you guys understand. I mean, a pile of picture books? I was in heaven! And before too long, a special box came to me all the way from the Golden State.

Gorgeous, am I right? 

Needless to say, I was not the only one over the moon about these goodies. My kids saw them sitting on the newly installed shelf in my bookcase and immediately started pouring over them. A few titles (CHU'S DAY, RAIN!, IF I BUILT A HOUSE) are already in heavy bedtime rotation, but I'm sure they'll all get their chance. 

In the meantime, I wanted to do something to pass on the generosity that is constantly making itself known in  children's literature circles. You see, I already have a copy of EXTRA YARN. I bought it last year when Jon Klassen was a speaker at SCBWI's summer conference in Los Angeles. I have it signed and everything (and will get Mac Barnett to sign it this year in LA-yippee!). 

So although the copy that came in my prize package is lovely, and while it would probably find a home in one of my kids' rooms, like Annabelle- I think if I could pass on a little of the joy I experienced, it would make this whole experience that much sweeter. 

Here is what I am going to do. In the comments below, I want you to tell me a beloved picture book title from your childhood. It doesn't have to be a classic, literary, award-winning, or even recognizable to me. If you loved it, and can remember looking at the pages of that book and being happy, tell me about it. On May 10th, I'll close the comments at midnight. Monday morning, I'll announce the lucky recipient of this book. (Sorry, you must reside in the United States.) Sound good? Go!


  1. Anonymous11:55 AM

    My beloved book would have to be The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. I remember being fascinated by the story and illustrations. It even inspired me to write The True Story of Jack and the Beanstalk for my fifth grade class! Thank you so much for doing this!


  2. So many, but one I can still smell when I think of it is Caps for Sale, by Esphyr Slobodkina. I can feel the paper and remember trying to pronounce the picturebook maker's name. Maybe that is where my love for accents and dialects started! Thanks for taking me back for a few minutes today.

    Lovely summer header! And btw, a fav flavor from my youth - toasted almond bars!

  3. I just loved Where the Wild Things Are. I couldn't get enough of the illustrations. I would love a copy of Extra Yarn - such a gorgeous book!

  4. Can I play? Lol I want this book. Absolutely was and still am in love with The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes by Dubose Heyward and Marjorie Flack illustrating! LOVE LOVE LOVE it!

  5. I loved THE POKY LITTLE PUPPY because it has chocolate pudding in it.

  6. Way back in the '60s I remember going to the library, sitting at the Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater table and reading this book. I have a vivid memory of the drawing (no colors) of a child sitting in a tree throwing apples at people's heads as they walked past. I always thought the title was "To Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street". As an adult I tracked down this title and found out, to my dismay, that it was a different book. I continue my quest with that image in my head. So, I submit a book whose title I can't remember but whose illustration I'll never forget.

  7. Safiyyah6:51 PM

    Tikki Tikki Tembo! It's like an earworm that you can never forget :)
    Congrats on your book package, and thanks for doing one of your own!

  8. I loved Richard Scarry's I AM A BUNNY. I wanted to be Nicholas the bunny so badly, watching birds and chasing butterflies and sleeping through the winter inside a hollow tree! You're sweet to offer to share your bounty! (Happy to see my book in there, too.)

  9. My favorite was a big book of Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes by Richard Scarry. The nursery rhymes were ok but mainly I loved to look at the Illustrations! The book was probably made for 2-4 yr olds but I kept it well into middle school until it fell apart. I can still remember how the cover felt, the worn out spine and the sound it made when I opened it.. wish I still had it! Going to look it up now to see if I can find a copy :)

  10. My son performed in peter rabbit last year - great contest. I want to do one of those on Twitter. Ask a random kidlit question and the first response gets a book. Fun. I have never read Extra Yarn and would love a copy for my kids. : )

  11. Mine was "A Great Big Ugly Man Came Up and Tied His Horse to Me," a book of nonsense verse illustrated by Wallace Tripp. I studies the pages for hours- loved his animal characters so much- they were so lively and slyly funny, I loved to discover a new visual joke he slipped in.
    It's a pretty obscure book from the 1970s, so imagine my surprise to discover my husband grew up with it and was equally obsessed!

  12. Corduroy. I even copied the text for some strange reason. I just loved the story. :)

  13. I have an unusual one: 'Lad: A Dog' by Albert Payson Terhune. I read it several times when I was in sixth grade and it was pretty heavy (and old)! I'd cleanse my palette with Blubber (well, any Judy Blume) and Encyclopedia Brown (although I was never good at solving anything)! I wonder if it's still in print... ; )

    a : )

  14. My favorite pb was Fat Cat about a little cat who ate up all the townspeople until he was huge. I still have it. My mom would read it to us and always had trouble with the names "Skolincolnlot & Skohotintot". That made me & my sister howl with laughter. :)


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