I LOVE YOU, STINKY FACE

May is a month for mothers.
What children’s book makes you think of your mom?

Welcome to KidLit Gems!

Join us in a coffee-style chat about favorite children’s books and the elements that make them shine.

This month’s theme: KidLit Gems for Mom

NameplateLousGemII LOVE YOU, STINKY FACE
Text © 1997, Lisa McCourt
Illustrations © 1997, Cyd Moore

I LOVE YOU STINKY FACEILOVEYOUSTINKYFACE1Picture Book, Fiction

Age Range: 3-7 years

Grade Level:
Preschool-
2nd Grade

SCHOLASTIC,
CARTWHEEL BOOKS
A division of Scholastic Inc.

1998 National Parenting Publications Awards Honor Book

“But Mama, but Mama, what if I were a Cyclops, and I had just one big, gigantic eye in the middle of my head?” ~ I Love You, Stinkyface

Here’s one of my own family’s favorites! Imagine all the sweetness of the classic picture book Mama, Do You Love Me? but with dinosaur claws, slimy seaweed, and bug sandwiches tossed in. In I Love You, StinkyFace, author Lisa McCourt creates a bedtime exchange between a mother and son with just enough silliness to keep the ‘mush factor’ in check. The mother’s funny, reassuring responses validate each reader’s uniqueness. No wonder Scholastic snapped this up!

~ Lou
___________________________________________________________________

“Then I would look right into your one eye and say, “I love you,” and I would sing to you until your one droopy eyelid finally closed and you fell fast asleep.” ~ I Love You, Stinkyface

How do you write a picture book that allows mothers to express their unconditional love for their children in a non-gooey, non-sappy, non-gushy way (even when we are gooey, sappy, and gushy)?  Author Lisa McCourt knows. You insert the magic word:  “stinky.” Add “dinosaurs,” “monsters,” and “aliens,” and gooey, sappy, gushy mothers can get away with saying the “l” word eleven times in a row–thirteen if you read the front and back covers. Love, love, love!

Cyd Moore’s thoughtful and playful illustrations, particularly the child’s embrace of the mother’s face and the one-eyed monster in pajamas, lift the story to a whole new level of wonderful. Children will love looking for the monkey, bunny, toucan, and tin man.

~ Anna
____________________________________________________________________

“But, Mama, but Mama, what if I were a Green Alien from Mars, and I ate bugs instead of peanut butter? ~ I Love You, Stinky Face

I can’t think of a better board book tribute for mother’s day. Lisa McCourt’s I Love You Stinky Face is the epitome of a mother’s unconditional love. “Mama” is certain she can manage any creature her child morphs into and nothing can change that, not even a: skunk, slimy swamp monster or alien. Cyd Moore chose muted tones and playful, yet ominous creatures for the illustrations that strike the perfect balance of scary, yet quiet for a bedtime story. And, like life, there are scary creatures out there that just need a little maternal love to tame them. If only all the world had “Mama’s” wisdom.

~ Kristi


ILOVEYOUSTINKYFACE2Note:

These photos are from the abridged board book.

ILOVEYOUSTINKYFACE3ILOVEYOUSTINKYFACE4KEM Diamond

Watch for my pick next!

We want to hear from you!
What children’s book makes you think of your mom?
Extra question for moms: What children’s book makes you feel motherly?

2014 MN SCBWI Conference Highlights II

KellyLightNPeepy

Kelly Light and Peepy

LisaPeepyMe600

Peepy with Lisa Yee and me.

StephenShaskanNPeepy

Stephen Shaskan and Peepy

Trisha Speed Shaskan and Peepy

Trisha Speed Shaskan and Peepy

The 2014 MN SCBWI Conference brimmed with colorful characters. In her keynote “Schlemiel, Schlimazel, Give Us Any Chance, We’ll Take It,” KellyLight, creator of the Louise Loves Art series and illustrator of Elvis and the Underdogs and The Quirks, invited participants on her Laverne and Shirley-inspired  journey toward children’s book superstardom, encouraging us to take chances and push forward.
“I hope my story shows other SCBWI members that believing in yourself, along with a little goofy use of absolutely anything that helps to keep you going . . . can get you down that road to publication . . . maybe a bit bumped around and nauseous . . . But well on your way to realizing your dream.”  

See more at kellylight.com.

CandiceGrace

Candice Keimig and Grace Hansen, ABDO Publishing

After an  ABDO Publishing  workshop by Candice Keimig, Art Director, and Grace Hansen, Editorial Marketing Coordinator, Lisa Yee, author of the Millicent Min and Bobby middle grade series presented her keynote, “From Slush Pile to Best-Seller: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.”

The realism in Lisa Yee’s work stems from her inspirations, real live people. Yee’s son Benny inspired Bobby vs. Girls (Accidentally) and Bobby the Brave (Sometimes). Marley Sandelski first drew notice as a supporting character in Stanford Wong Flunks Big-Time. But, when he became an inadvertent stop-bullying ambassador for real kids, Marley earned his own book as the protagonist in Warp Speed. The Kidney Hypothetical–How to Ruin Your Life in Seven Days came about when Yee’s daughter took a dangerous dare. Learn more about Lisa Yee, the 2014 Sid Fleischman Humor Award-winning author, at lisayee.com

2014 MN SCBWI Conference Intensives

ShannonBerg600

SCBWI Friend Shannon Berg

CharactersBruceNQ

Bruce Hale and Quinette Cook, SCBWI Regional Advisor

Sunday intensives by Bruce Hale, Carter Hasegawa, Lisa Yee, and Kelly Light proved to be a bittersweet opportunity–like being told you can only have one Lays Potato Chip.

I’d registered for Bruce Hale’s intensive, “Funny Business: The 7 1/2 Secrets of Writing Humor.”

Then I waffled, thinking, “Really, isn’t a sense of humor a natural gift either you have or you don’t? Maybe I made a mistake.”

Turns out I could have used another hour/week/year of Hale’s instruction. Funny can be dissected and analyzed.

Three Funny Business Don’ts:

  • Don’t use topical humor
  • Don’t try to get too cutesy.
  • Don’t telegraph your jokes

Three Funny Business Do’s:HumorComesFromCharacter600

  • Do respect your audience.
  • Do give them the humor they like.
  • Do let them finish the punchline.
  • Do work in threes. (Oops.)

For more writing tips, see BruceHaleWritingTips.com.IfWeAreNotFunny

Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand.
~ Mark Twain

My conference highlight was being selected for the 2014-2015 Writer Mentorship. Mentor  Trisha Speed Shaskan, I won't take this blessing lightly. (No pun intended, Kelly Light.) Congratulations, Illustrator Mentorship winner Joanna Ward! You'll love working with Illustrator Mentor Nina Crittenden.

My conference highlight was being selected for the 2014-2015 Writer Mentorship.  Mentor Trisha Speed Shaskan, I won’t take this blessing lightly. (No pun intended, Kelly Light.) Congratulations, Illustrator Mentorship winner Joanna Hunt! You’ll love working with Illustrator Mentor Nina Crittenden.

 

 

 

EVERY SOUL A STAR

Did you know that some people call the total solar eclipse Nature’s Greatest Coincidence? During this phenomena, the moon and the sun look the same size from the earth. But the moon is 400 time smaller. Coincidentally, (or not), the sun circles the earth 400 times as far away as the moon. That’s why they seem the same size to us. If the moon were even a few miles smaller in circumference, it wouldn’t hide the face of the sun.

EVERY SOUL A STARMiddle Grade Fiction
Age Range: 8-12 years
Grade Level: 3-7
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, Hachette Book Group
Text copyright © 2008 Wendy Mass
Cover photo copyright © 2008 Pat La Croix/The Image Bank/Getty Images

 AWARDS

California Young Reader Medal
First Annual Homeschool Book Award


WHY EVERY SOUL A STAR IS A KEM GEM

KKRISTI’S TAKE
EVERY SOUL A STAR took me on a stellar journey where I learned about individuality, friendship and astronomy. Wendy Mass weaves together three points-of-views to show us how it feels to be an outsider. Ally, the alpha girl, Bree, the beauty and Jack, who wants to hide in a box, learn that their uniqueness is what makes them radiate from the shadows of ordinary life. Wendy has channeled the mesmerizing energy of a solar eclipse into a fairy-tale ball, only there’s no magic or evil, just truth and hope that connects us universally. This is one of those books that I didn’t want to end because I had met three very dear friends, and without them, there was a void.

Favorite line
“And as streams of light fan out behind the darkened sun like the wings of a butterfly, I realize that I never saw real beauty until now.”

KEM Sapphire
EELISE’S TAKE
The collision of celestial paths in a solar eclipse is a perfect backdrop for the meeting of three very different lives. In EVERY SOUL A STAR, Mass masterfully alternates between Ally, Bree, and Jack’s first-person perspectives and elicits a sympathetic response from her readers towards each. By the end of the story, I was invested in all three kids, their flaws, their insecurities, and their personal growth.

Mass’ description of the solar eclipse was also a highlight. My only opportunity to see a solar eclipse for myself was during second grade. We were forbidden to look outside (under threat of certain blindness!), so I was thrilled to “see” the big moment through this novel.

Tip: For extra glory, read Ally’s chapter 7 while listening to MPR showcase a very dramatic Buffalo Philharmonic.

KEM Diamond
MGrayMARRAS’ TAKE
In EVERY SOUL A STAR, Wendy Mass treads where few writers dare to go–into the galaxies of three fictional adolescent minds, in first person, and in present tense. What a brave soul. She shines as a psychological  genius–a prerequisite for anyone who loves teenagers.

Mass camouflages astrophysics amidst entertaining character dialog and reflections. The subliminal lessons work so well, I’ve reserved August 21, 2017, the next mainland total eclipse, to camp in the middle of nowhere with a red flashlight and a telescope. If EVERY SOUL A STAR can ignite a late-in-life star-gazing passion in me, imagine the astronomically bright potential for a 13-year-old reader.

Favorite line
“I sure as heck won’t tell them that it used to belong to my dad when he was a baby and that he left it in my crib when he took off. And I definitely won’t tell them that I say good night to it every night before I go to sleep.

It’s just too pathetic.”GEMrub

Every Soul a Star Book trailers by Maria M.


Every Soul a Star Book trailer by Sarah Simmons

EVERY SOUL A STAR Resources

Please share your Every Soul A Star comments, too!

Cutting Words

Editing is an excruciating process, especially when it involves the extraction of beloved words. For writers, words are our progeny. It’s painful to part with them. Yet, we remove favored words all of the time, as an act of sacrificial love for our manuscripts and mercy for readers everywhere.

Fortunately, I just thought of a way to save my words AND make incomplete manuscripts happy. I opened a home for orphaned words, lines, and scenes today. I’m making excess words available for adoption!

This is my first foundling, cut from my children’s chapter book manuscript:

While Gramma helped Papa catch the tumbling toys, I chased a crazy ping pong ball–ping, ping, ping–until it plopped into the kitty litter–plip. I decided to leave it. Maybe Papa and Gramma would think the cat laid an egg.

Disclaimer: I didn’t say all word orphans were appealing. But I’m holding onto the hope that there’s a manuscript out there that’ll think this is the cutest word baby ever.