Tuesday, September 30, 2014

InkTober event by Mr. Jake Parker

If you've been around Bookish Ambition long, you know I adore a challenge. Judging by those of you whom I've connected with in the past, you do too. Tomorrow begins the sixth annual #InkTober event from Jake Parker.
Get your own logo here

The Challenge is simple. Create an ink drawing each day during the 31 days of October.
The Goal is to build drawing habits and improve our craft. Pick up those abandoned pens and brushes, or maybe dabble in ink for the first time.
The Community consists of Jake and his followers. You can post on your blog, Twitter, Instagram, whatever. There's no need to post daily, though most participants do.
Get the full Scoop.

You can view past Inktober portfolios on Jake's website, or find him @MrJakeParker #inktober.

You may have heard of

Missile Mouse graphic novels by Jake Parker
The Girl Who Wouldn't Brush Her Hair,
by Kate Bernheimer
School of Visual Storytelling

Mr. Parker is very talented and he sure gets around. So check out his work, and join the fun. 

Let me know if you'll be participating so I can include a list of links in one convenient weekly post. Thanks. 
I look forward to seeing your work!

Monday, September 29, 2014

First Impressions

"There is no chapter more important than your first chapter, no page more important than your first page and no line more important than your first line."
Marcia Wernick*


*Via Wernick & Pratt regarding first impressions

Friday, September 26, 2014

PPBF: Stand Straight, Ella Kate

Today's Perfect Picture Book Friday pick

Stand Straight, Ella Kate
Stand Straight, Ella Kate,The True Story of A Real Giant
Written by Kate Klise
Illustrated by M. Sarah Klise
Dial, 2010
  • Ages 4 - 9; level 4.6
word count 1040

Biography, Non-fiction, Differences

Most tall tales are made up.
But my tall tale is true.
I was a giant - a real, live giant.

The Klise girls have put together a fabulous non-fiction picture book about the life of the 8'4" Ella Kate Ewing. This narrative takes Ella Kate off the side-show stage and puts her instead on a list of remarkable American women. She is an unusual example of a strong woman who made the most of her circumstances, overcoming difficulties, and carving out the life she wanted despite what society might term as her handicap.

What I Love:
       I love a book about an unsung hero. Kate Klise weaves a story of a woman who defies exploitation, carving out the life she wanted. Sarah's illustrative style is a perfect match for the content. The endpapers are fun, too. They extend the story, squeezing in a few additional facts about Ella Kate including her shoe size and a drawing of her glove -- actual size!
       In addition, I think Ella Kate's story will resonate with kids. The book opens up the topics of bullying, diversity, handicaps. Kids may see themselves in the young Ella Kate, who doesn't seem to fit in.

Ella's custom made house in Missouri
From the Downing House Museum

1. Read about the real Ella Kate Ewing.
Thanks to Kelly for sharing her creative ideas!
2. Dig deeper into the lives of other real-life giants of the past.
3. Take a trip to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. See if you measure up to the footprints of basketball stars or the figure of a sumo wrestler.
4. Watch the National Geographic video on the science of gigantism.
5. View the world from a different height. Make stilts from a This Old House pattern, or a less traditional style found on Happy Whimsical Hearts.
6. Try using Pinterest to research clothing styles, houses, travel, advertising, and entertainment of the late 1800s. But you'd better plan an entire afternoon to do it!
7. Look for these books about daring women and other related Perfect Picture Books at your local library.

Reviewed by Clar
Reviewed by Danzel
From Sally's Bookshelf
Reviewed by Jarm

Reviewed by Wendy

Reviewed by Kristen

And one fictional heroine I couldn't resist:

From Busy Librarian

Check out all the recommended titles for Perfect Picture Book Friday
for September 26, 2014, available on Susanna Leonard Hill's blog.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Get the Words Down

"A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper."
-E. B. White

Pirate bookplate available on Zazzle

Friday, September 19, 2014

PPBF: Flora's Very Windy Day

Today's Perfect Picture Book Friday pick

Flora's Very Windy Day,
by Jeanne Birdsall and Matt Phelan
Flora's Very Windy Day
Written by Jeanne Birdsall
Illustrated by Matt Phelan
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010
Fiction, ages 4-8
Lexile 590, word count 1018

Siblings, Imagination

"Mommy! Crispin spilled my paints again!" shrieked Flora.
""I told you to keep your paints out of his reach," said her mother.
"I tried," said Flora, "but _"
"Oh, look at this mess. Outside, Flora. Right now!"
"I can't go outside," protested Flora. "The wind is very strong and will blow me away."

Flora's little brother Crispin is always spoiling her fun, crowding her, and making a mess of things. Flora's mother sends her outside to play, out into a windy autumn day. Flora knows she is safe because she has her extra-heavy, wind-proof red boots, but she also knows Crispin will blow away the moment he steps out the door. Just as Crispin is lifted off the ground, Flora has a change of heart. She leaves the safety of her red boots and embarks on an adventure through the skies. Flora is confronted with a series of trades in which she can be rid of her brother forever. It is up to big sister to decide Crispin's fate and devise a way to return home safely. But will she return with or without him?

What I Love:
Jeanne Birdsall turns out another charming tale about the trials of having a sibling. Which of us has not considered life without an annoying relative? I love Flora's sacrifice right in the beginning of the story. That she would slip out of her protective boots in the moment of crisis speaks volumes. The clever, imaginative dialogue adds to the breezy rhythm of the story.
Matt Phelan's weightless illustrations carry the reader along in a perfectly believable fantasy adventure. I can't get enough of his drawings, where every line communicates emotion.

Autumnal mason jars to set the mood.
1. Here's a lovely interview with Jeanne just months after Flora was published. My thanks to Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast.
2. And here's Julie's interview with Matt Phelan. (Jules's blog is so excellent, don't forget to come back here when you're finished!)
3. And here's the correct pronunciation of Matt's last name.
4. Thanks to Pam of GingerbreadSnowflakes for this enchanting leaf votive craft idea.
This swirly art project reminds me
of the whirling wind in Flora's yard!
5. Whip up some savory pumpkin dip from Mediterranean Snack Foods.
6. Take a nature walk and turn it into a scavenger hunt with these printable lists from Chalkboards To Strollers. 7.I love this artsy warm and cool art project from Runde's Room.

7. Here are some other Perfectly Piratical Picture Books for you to enjoy.

Reviewed by Catherine, here.
Thanks, Julie.

From Susanna Leonard Hill

Based on a real female pirate.
Reviewed on FromPenToPrint

Thanks, Erik

Check out all the recommended titles for Perfect Picture Book Friday
for September 19, 2014 available on Susanna Leonard Hill's blog.

Grammar Pirates


View the full comic at KindofSketchy.

Thank ye to cartoonist Scott Clark. We're obliged, matey.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Getting Simple

Happy Birthday, Tomie!

"Getting to simple is very hard to achieve."
-Tomie DePaola*

Bookplate by Tomie DePaola
Courtesy MyMaineVintage

*Reading Rockets interview

Monday, September 8, 2014

Write Everyday

" . . . there are many privileges in a freelance, self-employed life. Writing everyday is a small price to pay."
-John Updike

H A Mueller
Courtesy BooksAroundTheTable