Monday, June 29, 2015

Bedtime Reading

"Yes, I never went to bed without a story, and I think it’s more and more essential for parents to start that at home now. There are so many easier things to do now, so many electronic things. But to be able to read a book is such a big plus, something that is with you forever."

Bear bookplate commission by
Elizabeth Andrews Studio

*Via The NY Times

Friday, June 26, 2015

2nd Annual Pretty Much World Famous Illustration Contest

I'm headed to see Jurassic World.

Here's my entry for Susanna Leonard Hill's amazing contest.

Be sure to check out all the other fabulous entries on Susanna's blog!

IF: Small

Here's my interpretation of "small" for Illustration Friday.

Joanne Roberts, Pencil on paper, approx. 6" x  8"

Monday, June 22, 2015

Successful Writing

"Success can make you go one of two ways. It can make you a prima dona, or it can smooth the edges, take away the insecurities, let the nice things come out."
-Barbara Walters*

Bookplate via DarkRoastedBlend

*via Nerdy Chicks 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Draw This! Adventure

The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators 
monthly Draw This! challenge. 

The July prompt is ADVENTURE.

Peter Pan's adventure, by Joanne Roberts

Members may participate by submitting one illustration inspired by the monthly prompt. Aside from the opportunity to see fellow illustrators' work at #scbwidrawthis, one can view the gamut of adventurous characters via the SCBWI site's online gallery.

Thanks especially to Sarah Baker for her diligence in bringing this challenge to fruition!

Learn More at

Thursday, June 18, 2015

IF: Vacation

Just a glimpse of a work-in-progress based on the Illustration Friday theme, VACATION.

Detail from pen and ink WIP

Monday, June 15, 2015

Friday, June 12, 2015

PPBF: Who Wants Broccoli?

Today's Perfect Picture Book Friday pick

Who Wants Broccoli?, first in a series by Val Jones
Who Wants Broccoli?
Written and Illustrated by Val Jones
 HarperCollins, 2015
Grade K-3

Animals, Fitting In

"A hodgepodge of pets lived at Beezley's Animal Shelter. There were hamsters and guinea pigs and parrots and bunnies and kittens and turtles and...Broccoli."

Broccoli is a big, crazy dog with a big, loud bark. He needs a home, but which is right for him? Broccoli thinks he knows. But when his antics become too much for the owner of  Beezley's Animal Shelter, Mrs. Beezley has to remove him from view. It will take all of Broccoli's unique talents to match him with the right owner before it's too late. Kid-pleasing humor and hidden details make this a book to pore over again and again.

What I Love:
Whoopeee! I have been eagerly awaiting the release of Val Jones's first picture book, Who Wants Broccoli? so I could share it with you! Isn't that a great title? Not only is Val's story fun and clever, but it has a dual purpose. She wants everyone to consider rescuing a dog or other pet from a shelter, especially pets like Broccoli whose age or quirks make them a challenge for some families. They might not be the right fit for everyone, but they are the perfect fit for ONE SPECIAL family. Get to know a prospective pet's personality. Take him on a play-date. Rescue pets usually have a unique aura of gratitude about them which makes them irreplaceable.

Meet the author / illustrator, Val Jones!
1. Join us at the launch party at Towne Book Center & Cafe, Collegeville, NJ, on June 20 at 3pm. Bring pet food for the local shelter and receive 10% off the price of the book!
2. Check out Val's artwork for SCBWI-EPA on my Fresh Talent feature. Remember when?
3. Volunteer at a shelter near you or organize a supply drive.
4. Donate to Hope For Paws, Blue Chip Farm, Lucky Dog Animal Rescue or the SPCA.
5. Happy and Simple features a great recipe for home-made doggie treats.
6. Treat the kids, too with a recipe for puppy chow.
7. My kids adore this easy roasted broccoli recipe from The Amateur Gourmet.
8. Check out these and more Perfect Picture Books at your local library.

Reviewed by Rhythm
Reviewed by Cathy

Reviewed by Julie
Reviewed by Joanna

Reviewed by Joanne
Reviewed by Sue
Have you reviewed a Perfect Picture Book along this theme? Please leave the link in the comments below. Thanks!

Check out all the recommended titles for Perfect Picture Book Friday
for June 12, 2015 available on Susanna Leonard Hill's blog.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

IF: Airborne

Here's my idea for the Illustration Friday theme "Airborne."

I think I'd prefer a jet pack!

Pentel brush pen on Aquabee Paper, approx 4"x5".

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Rejection vs Dejection

I received a very encouraging rejection in my mailbox yesterday afternoon.

A busy editor took the time to write this
at the bottom of my rejection letter. God bless her!

And just in case your rejection letter was a bit less personal, consider these words from Cathy C. Hall.*

"Don’t let a rejection (or even a stack of rejections) undermine all your hard work. Keep submitting."
Thanks, Cathy.

*From The Muffin

Monday, June 8, 2015

All The Books I Want To Read

"I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see."
-John Burroughs*

Bookplate by Benvenuto Disertori via ArtiflexLibris

*Via BrainyQuotes

Friday, June 5, 2015

PPBF: Voyage

Today's Perfect Picture Book Friday pick

Voyage, by Billy Collins and Karen Romagna
Written by Billy Collins
Illustrated by Karen Romagna
Bunker Hill Publishing, 2014
Ages 5-7, 100 words

Poetry, Imagination

"A boy climbs into a boat /
And pushes off to the open sea"

An ordinary boy goes on an extraordinary adventure. As the boy reads, his reality begins to shift. He is affected by the story, sucked into the story, and ultimately becomes the story. The book circles around to the boy reading the book in the end.
You can watch the trailer below.

What I Love:
Okay, I admit Karen is a friend of mine, so I was excited for the release of this book. But when I read Voyage, I knew I had to share it with the Perfect Picture Book Friday readers. Karen's paintings brings a personal layer to the lyrical story. Billy's text is simple yet deep. This book has an undefinable magical quality which makes reading it an adventure in itself.

Sparkly Cork Sailboats
1. Hear Billy read two of his dog poems on TED Talks. (Note: Please preview the second poem to ensure the mild adult humor is appropriate for your young listener.)
2. Introduce kids to more of Billy's poetry on Poem Hunter.
3. Kathy Temean interview's Karen on her blog.
4. Make deviled eggs boats for snack time courtesy of Heidi Powell.
5. Create floating toy boats with Mama. Papa. Bubba
6. Sales of the book benefit the Library of Congress. Visit their website.
7. Read Voyage at the library or on the new EPIC! app, a digital library for kids.
8. Check out these and more Perfect Picture Books at your local library.

Reviewed by Susanna
Reviewed by Joanne
Reviewed by Miranda
Reviewed by Amy

Reviewed by Joanne

Reviewed by Clar
Reviewed by Laura
Reviewed by Vivian

Reviewed by Joanne
Reviewed by Catherine

Have you reviewed a Perfect Picture Book along this theme? Please leave the link in the comments below. Thanks!

Check out all the recommended titles for Perfect Picture Book Friday
for June 5, 2015 available on Susanna Leonard Hill's blog.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

IF: Monster

Here's my Illustration Friday sketch for the prompt "Monster."

Leash your monster before he raids the refrigerator.
Pentel brush pen and Prismacolor markers on Aquabee paper, approximately 8x10

Monday, June 1, 2015

Make Time For Reading

"No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance."

From The Art of the Bookplate by James Keenan
via Bookplate Junkie