Wednesday, August 21st, 2019

Words, words, words.

Polonius: What do you read, my lord? Hamlet: Words, words, words. – William Shakespeare, “Hamlet,” Act 2, Scene 2 And so we come to #5 in Jane Yolen’s wonderful list of “10 Words Every Picture Book Author Must Know,” which she shared at the SCBWI Winter Conference a few weeks ago: Words. Here are the […]

The Circle of Focus

When Jane Yolen speaks of ‘focus’ with respect to writing picture books, she specifies that it should be sharp and small. There’s an acting term originally coined by the great acting teacher Stanislavski called “Circle of Focus.”  During his career as a young actor, Stanislavski often experienced tension on stage. He discovered that he could better […]


The third word in Jane Yolen’s list of “Ten Words Every Picture Book Author Should Know” is Child-Centeredness. I’ve written about this in previous blog posts, but it bears repeating: the heroes, or protagonists, of children’s books must be characters that young readers can identify with and relate to.  Jane takes this notion one step […]

Why You MUST Write That Children’s Book

I was recently interviewed for the esteemed blog “Cynsations,” run by the very talented YA author Cynthia Leitich Smith.  It was a real honor – Cynthia’s site is among the most respected, and followed, in the Kid Lit blogosphere – but it also gave me an opportunity to reflect on a core value of mine, […]

Dumpy At School

Dumpy at School (Hardcover) by Julie Andrews Edwards (Author), Emma Walton Hamilton (Author), Tony Watson (Illustrator) Reading level: Ages 4-8 Charlie, who is nervous about his first day of school, and Dumpy the Dumptruck, who is nervous about his first construction job, gradually adjust to their new settings after making new friends.

Dumpy Saves Christmas

Dumpy Saves Christmas (Hardcover) by Julie Andrews Edwards (Author), Emma Walton Hamilton (Author) Reading level: Ages 4-8 It’s Christmas Eve on Merryhill Farm, and Charlie can’t fall asleep. There’s a loud crash on the roof – and who should appear but Santa and a broken-down sleigh. Now how will all of the children in the […]

Dumpy’s Extra Busy Day

Dumpy’s Extra-busy Day (Library Binding) by Julie Edwards (Author), Tony Walton (Illustrator), Katie Boyd (Illustrator) Reading level: Ages 4-8 It’s a very busy morning on the farm. Farmer Barnes is away, so Charlie and Pop-Up have lots more chores to do than usual before the school bus arrives. With a little help from Dumpy and […]

Dumpy to the Rescue

Dumpy to the Rescue (I Can Read Pre Level 1) (Library Binding) by Julie Edwards (Author) Many things are missing at Merryhill Farm — the cat’s milk, the baby roses, Pop-Up’s hat, and nuts and apples. Even Baby Goat is missing until Dumpy finds him. Readers will enjoy finding out how Dumpy solves the mystery […]

Dumpy’s Valentine

Dumpy’s Valentine (My First I Can Read) (Paperback) by Julie Andrews Edwards (Author), Emma Walton Hamilton (Author), Tony Walton (Illustrator), Ruby Randig (Illustrator) Reading level: Ages 4-8 It’s Valentine’s Day, and poor Trusty the Mail Truck has broken down. Dumpy offers to lend a hand, and with Charlie and Pop-Up’s help he delivers surprises all […]

Dumpy’s Apple Shop

Dumpy’s Apple Shop (My First I Can Read) (Hardcover) by Julie Andrews Edwards (Author), Emma Walton Hamilton (Author), Tony Walton (Illustrator), Cassandra Boyd (Illustrator) Reading level: Baby-Preschool It’s Apple Day and time for the Barnes family to set up their annual apple shop. Everyone pitches in, and Dumpy the Dump Truck wishes he could help […]

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