Tag Archives: #picturebooks

Alice’s Magic Garden Book Review

Alice’s Magic Garden by Henry Herz introduces readers to Alice long before she ever went to Wonderland or Through the Looking Glass.  Alice is miserable living in a stuffy, grey boarding house.  The food is terrible and none of the girls like her.

One day, Alice finds a secret garden hidden on the grounds of the boarding house.  She delights in tending to the garden every day.  Little does she know that her small acts of kindness are about to change her life in big and colorful ways.

This book is a magically fun read, especially for those who are already in love with Lewis Carroll’s cast of creative characters.  I enjoyed getting to see Alice’s character blossom, much like her enchanted garden.  Once mild and meek, she emerges as a bold and confident young lady.

I also liked seeing the White Rabbit and Caterpillar take on a more serious and mindful role.  Instead of being absent minded and silly, they are totally present in the moment and even show signs of being thoughtful and caring instead of cantankerous.  To me, this gives the characters more depth as well as a more prominent purpose for being in the story.

Natalie Hoopes’ illustrations are stunning.  I love how the illustrations have a Wizard of Oz feel to them.  Before Alice finds the garden, her world is black, white, and grey.  After continuously tending the garden, only her world bursts into color.  This is a great visualization of how her world is to change even further once she finds the Rabbit’s hole.

I love Hoopes’ artistic style.  She puts so much detail into every page.  Her color palate is remarkable.  The cool blues coupled with the pink and purple pastels really pop against the lush greenery of the garden.

Readers of all ages will delight in this magical prequel.  Children will especially be captivated by the gorgeous illustrations and hilarious characters.  Parents will also enjoy hunting for literary Easter eggs from Carroll’s original classic hidden throughout the book.


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Wolf in the Snow Book Review

Wolf in the Snow by Matthew Cordell, follows one little girl on her journey home from school. A blizzard is suddenly upon her. She does her best to move in the direction of her house, but is blinded by the snow.

At the same time, a young wolf pup is having difficulty keeping up with his pack. They are much older than he is and are used to the harsh weather. The pup struggles to keep his feet moving as the snow continues to pile up around him.

Suddenly, the girl and pup meet. She can see that he is scared and lonely. Picking him up, the girl attempts to send him on his way, but the snow has become too deep. The pup simply sinks.

The girl is now faced with a difficult dilemma. Should she help reunite the pup with his pack or continue her treacherous trek home?

This is one of my all-time favorite children’s books! Being a nearly wordless picture book, this story relies heavily on illustrations. Cordell knocks it out of the park with stunning hand drawn images that will leave the reader speechless.

Each turn of the page conveys strong emotions. Empathy, fear, and courage are on display in Cordell’s story. Children will delight at the detailed illustrations and will fall in love with the characters.

This is a wonderful book for readers of all ages. I could definitely see this being used for humane education classes at local shelters and rescue groups.



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Picture Book Summit Review 2017

The date was circled on my calendar in bright red.  I eagerly began counting down the days in the middle of September.  My very first Picture Book Summit was only days away!

What is a picture book summit, you may ask?  It is a day-long writing conference for picture book authors and illustrators that is conducted webinar style.  I get to enjoy the summit from the comfort of my own home.  No long car rides or pricey hotel fees.  Just me, a cup of tea and my laptop.  Paradise!


Lauren PBSummit2

With tea in hand, I am ready for the #PBSummit!

October 7th arrived and I jumped out of bed.  I didn’t want to miss a single moment.  The summit began with a dance party.  I loved watching the summit founders bust a move!

My excitement level was at an all-time high when acclaimed author/illustrator Tomi DePaola took to the web cam.  He looked like a jolly elf that I just wanted to hug!  His presentation was truly inspiring.  I could not believe that he used to tap dance, like me!  He also spoke of his artistic process and shared a glimpse at some new projects he is working on.  I literally could have listened to him speak all day.

The second speaker was none other than summit founder Julie Hedlund.  Her presentation was about the layers of children’s picture books.  I loved her detailed description of each layer.  I never knew that there was so much substance within the pages of picture books.


Lauren and Penny Featured in the 2017 Picture Book Summit

I am so honored to have been featured in the PBSummit slideshow!

Renowned picture book author Carole Boston Weatherford shared insight on the importance of point of view in picture book writing.  She also gave summiteers a glimpse into her writing process that she likened to a spiritual experience.  Fellow founder, Laura Backes, followed up with a fabulous presentation about writing with a purpose without sounding “preachy.”  The takeaways she provided were not only helpful but inspiring.

Ending the day with Adam Rex was truly like the proverbial cherry on top of a sundae.  He was absolutely hilarious!  I learned how valuable humor can be in a picture book and that the days of “why did the chicken cross the road” jokes are long gone.

I greatly appreciate the literary agents who also took part in the summit.  They gave clear descriptions of the types of picture books they are currently in the market for.  I loved getting to learn tips and tricks for how to make my writing stand out and avoid the slush pile!  I will definitely be doing some serious re-writing this weekend.


Dash the Fox

I cannot wait to see Dash again next year!

I had an absolute blast at the Picture Book Summit!  I will definitely be attending next year (and every year after!).  The presentations were so inspiring that I also signed up for the Summit Founders’ Sessions.  The sessions will be held once a month from November 2017 to February 2018.  I know that I am going to learn even more about the fabulous world of picture book writing.  I cannot wait!

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