Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Cultivate Your Artistic Pursuits

"Courage...[is]...making choices that move you toward your goal despite the fear. As an artist, I have to cultivate practices that create fear that fear doesn't paralyze me."

Technically not a bookplate, but a great motif to make your own.
Ancient Tree from

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Big Plans, Small Steps

"Dream big and make plans to move toward them, but appreciate the journey along the way."

—Jennifer Chambliss Bertman*

Girl looking out to sea bookplate
Can anyone identify this artist's signature?

Friday, June 8, 2018

PPBF: Carousel Cat

Today's Perfect Picture Book Friday pick

Carousel Cat, by Robert J. Blake
Carousel Cat

Written  and illustrated by Robert J. Blake

Philomel, 2005
Ages 4-8, 40 pp

Cats, Summer, The Jersey Shore!

I want to tell you a story about a cat.
Just an ordinary cat, until the day it did an extraordinary thing.

The Carousel Cat centers around a stray orange cat and a carousel operator for a shabby merry-go-round on a forgotten stretch of boardwalk. The operator, named Dan, and his friends, the strong man and the fortune teller, meet every day to have lunch and ride the carousel until the boardwalk attractions are forced to close. When the cat disappears and a fire breaks out, Dan and his friends rush to the rescue, but it may be the cat who is the hero of the day.

What I Love:
I was initially attracted to this book because it was immediately clear the illustrations were based on Asbury Park, New Jersey, less than a half mile walk down the boardwalk from my cousin's place. But the detailed illustration style drew me in and the fun adventure story kept me coming back. You don't have to be familiar with the surroundings to enjoy the summer vibe and the colorful charaters in this story.

Blake's normally realistic painterly style is replaced with a different approach: highly detailed illustrations paired with black and white drawings which appear ripped right from the artist's sketchbook. The mix of detail and energy draws readers into the story to pore over every page.

Perfect to kickstart your summer reading.

Download and color a Jersey postcard from USA Printables

1. Imagine yourself in the story: visit the revitalized boardwalk at Asbury Park or stroll through the quaint Victorian streets of neighboring Ocean Grove, New Jersey.

2. If you aren't on the east coast to ride ten of the oldest merry-go-rounds in the US, you can check the interactive map of registered rides on for a carousel near you.

3. Instructions for a preschool-level paper carousel craft can be found on Pinterested Parent or try the more complicated spinning merry-go-round centerpiece on Oh Happy Day!

4. Shindigz offers suggestions for boardwalk themed games, food, and decorations to host a spectacular summer party, or for a simpler carnival theme, view the party pics on Hostess With the Mostess.

5. Check out these and other Perfect Picture Books at your local library.

Reviewed by Laura

Reviewed by Wendy
Reviewed by Jarm
Reviewed by Maria

Reviewed by Julie
Reviewed by Joanne

Hilarious emergency preparedness
with Scaredy Squirrel

More boardwalk adventures in
Mira Forecasts the Future

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 Friday, June 8, 2018 available on Susanna Leonard Hill's blog.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Cure For Artists' Block

"Make a mark on the page. And then make another one. And another one. And another one. That's the way you start."
Chris Riddell*

Violin ex-music bookplate by C. Gladys Muñoz

*Via Your Creative Push