PiBoIdMo 2010 – Idea #30!!!!!!

This is my final idea for Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo). I can’t believe I actually came up with 30 picture book ideas. I certainly wouldn’t have if I hadn’t learned about PiBoIdMo and sat down to thinking about possible story ideas. It was great fun, and now I have some clue as to what 2011 will look like.

So, here you are…

Idea #30

Beatrice and the Polar Bear

I began with Beatrice and I will end with her. For those of you who might not remember, Beatrice is a curious and slightly mischievous five-year-old with a big imagination. She has a make-believe friend named Charlotte. Together, they go on some wild adventures.

While Beatrice and Charlotte are playing in the snow, they imagine that the snowblower has turned into a huge polar bear. He is eating the snow, but soon he is hungry for more than just snow. He wants to eat two little girls. How will they escape?

I would include some polar bear facts at the end to make this both fun and educational.

If you’re curious to learn more about PiBoIdMo visit http://taralazar.wordpress.com/. The event concludes today, but I’m ready to sign up for next year.



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PiBoIdMo 2010 – Idea #29

Only one more day to go after this and I already have my idea ready, so guess what? I’m going to make it! I’m so thankful to my friend, Jo Linsdell, for sharing about this event at her Writers and Authors page on Facebook. I was really bummed about not doing NaNoWriMo this year, but I knew I couldn’t tackle it with book promotion going on. This was the perfect way for me to stay in a positive frame of mind and get an idea of what I need to work on for 2011.

Idea #29

Be My Valentine

I guess I’m on a nonfiction kick right now. This book would share the history of Valentine’s Day with young readers, offer a few suggestions for simple gift ideas that don’t involve candy, and include a couple of easy craft ideas for kids.

Want to learn more about PiBoIdMo? Visit http://taralazar.wordpress.com/.



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PiBoIdMo 2010 – Idea #28

Idea #28

Paul: A Changed Man

The original idea I put together would have been a young boy meeting Saul on the road to Damascus, who ends up witnessing what happens to him when he falls off his horse and is spoken to by God, but I decided I didn’t really like it. I would much rather put together a nonfiction book about what happened on that day and how Paul went from being a persecutor of Christians to a hero of the faith.

Want to learn more about PiBoIdMo? Visit http://taralazar.wordpress.com/.



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Purchase Autographed Copies of Little Shepherd for Your Little Person

Autographed books make special presents. I hope you’ll consider purchasing a copy of Little Shepherd for your little person this holiday season.

Obed is in the hills outside Bethlehem when the angels appear to announce the Savior’s birth. Can he trust that the miracle of the first Christmas will keep his flock safe while he visits the newborn King?

Read an excerpt!

Off in the distance, a wolf howled. Obed moved closer to his flock, scanning the hills for any sign of a pack that might race in and steal his sheep. His family depended upon the sheep for food and their wool for clothing. No sheep would be lost under his watch.

He shivered inside his cloak. While the days were getting warmer, the nights still chilled him. He walked over to the large fire blazing inside the pit. He rubbed his hands together and held them up to the fire to warm them.

Above him, the sky twinkled with millions of stars. Obed couldn’t remember a night so clear.

Suddenly, a bright light filled the sky.

Obed trembled. “Father, what is happening?”

His father dropped to the ground, his right hand blocking his eyes from the intense light.

Obed pulled the edges of his cloak closer to his face as he squinted up at the mysterious form hovering overhead. He shivered, but this time it was not because of the cold.

Read what critics are saying about Little Shepherd!

“It’s a great book for families during the holidays looking to bring more depth and understanding to the standard nativity story.”

–Christy’s World of Books

Little Shepherd is a great Christmas story for children between the ages of 4-8 that inspires faith and trust in something that cannot be seen, but can be felt in the heart and in the soul. This book would make a great addition to any Christmas collection as well as in any religious setting.”

–The Crypto-Capers Review

“Your first reaction may be, oh goodness another story on the birth of Christ. Toss those thoughts away and immerse yourself and your children into the magical arrival of Christ the Lord. Children’s author, Cheryl C. Malandrinos has re-explored and created a beautiful re-enactment of Christ the Lord’s birth in a unique and awe inspiring rendition which surely will become classical reading in Christian religious school studies and home libraries.

The old time illustrations expertly created by illustrator, Eugene Ruble will leave you feeling that you journeyed through the countryside with Obed and his fellow shepherds.”

–Donna McDine, award-winning author of The Golden Pathway

Autographed copies can be ordered by contacting me at cg20pm00(at)gmail(dot)com. Please place “Little Shepherd” on the subject line. Autographed copies sell for $10 with a flat shipping rate of $3 to ship anywhere in the United States. Additional shipping charges will apply for orders outside of the US.

Can accept PayPal and bank checks or money orders (no personal checks).



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PiBoIdMo 2010 – Idea #27

This was not one of my original ideas that I came up with earlier in the week, but I got to thinking about it and really like it, so in the list it goes.

Idea #27

The Chosen Twelve or The Twelve He Chose

This would be a nonfiction picture book about the 12 disciples of Jesus. It would share how they were chosen and also highlight some of what they did. It would probably go through to the Resurrection, but wouldn’t discuss the appearances Jesus made to His followers after He rose from the dead.

Want to learn more about PiBoIdMo? Visit http://taralazar.wordpress.com/.



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PiBoIdMo 2010 – Idea #26

I’m a day late in posting this, as today I had my first book signing for Little Shepherd and I was busy last night and all of today.  The book signing was fun. I am going to try to get at least one more in before Christmas.

But now, onto Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo). It’s hard to believe it is almost over.

Idea #26

A Shoe’s Journey

I couldn’t come up with a good title, so this one will have to do. This is the story of shoe from its humble beginnings in the factory, to a store shelf, and then into a boy’s closet. Maybe the shoe has eyes and a mouth and speaks to the reader as he tells his story of everything he has been through.

Not the best idea, but I think it could work after some additional thought.

Want to learn more about PiBoIdMo? Visit http://taralazar.wordpress.com/.



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The Mr. Tinfish Series by Chris Wardle

We have now reviewed all five books in the Mr. Tinfish series by Chris Wardle.  It’s been awhile since we featured the first three, so I’m going to talk about this series as a whole. With Christmas coming soon, this series of books would be an excellent gift for the young person in your life ages 7 – 12, though I think readers older than this would still enjoy the humor and the relationships between many of the characters.

We are first introduced to Mr. Ginger, Mr. Choli, the Tinfish family, and some of the other characters that you’ll become familiar with during the series, in The lighthouse of Mr. TinfishIn this book, the rising sea levels caused by climate changes put the homes of the members of the colony in danger.

Mr. Vinegar, who the reader soon learns is known for stating the obvious, is the leader of this colony. He enlists the help of their resident detectives, Mr. Ginger and Mr. Choli to find a new location for everyone to live.

You can find my review of Book 1 in the Mr. Tinfish series here. At the time, I felt this would be the start of an amazing series. This definitely has been the case.

By the time we catch up with the residents of the colony again, they have moved into their new location and called it Daphne Wood. In Mr. Choli’s River Trip, Mrs. Cat-biscuit, the goat, has expressed concern that the vegetation in Daphne Wood is struggling to survive against the heat and wind.  While Mr. Ginger and Mr. Choli lead a new expedition to find plants that can thrive under these conditions, Mr. Denzel, the mole, is busy in Daphne Wood leading a project that will protect the current vegetation in the colony.

You can read my review of Book 2 here.

When we get to Book 3, Mr. Vinegar and the Frozen Sea, we have a good idea what is going to happen: the residents of Daphne Wood are going to face new challenges, members of the colony are going to be sent off on an expedition, and by pulling together they will do what they need to do to save the colony.

One might think that the repetition in format for each book would be boring, but that’s far from the case. Wardle does a superb job of adding in new characters and building upon the previous books in the series to continue to engage the reader. And while the challenges they face are all due to climate changes, the nature of those issues and their solutions vary.

In Mr. Vinegar and the Frozen Sea, winter comes to Daphne Wood, and the fish supply is dwindling as the ice shelf continues to shift and thicken, making fishing much harder than it used to be. Since the forest had been wiped out by previous wildfires, they’ve also had to travel farther out to find new crops that can withstand the hot, dry conditions of Daphne Wood.

You can read my review of Book 3 here. I have to admit that this book remains my favorite out of all five.

Mrs. Cat-biscuit’s search for the downward land is the fourth book in this series. We just reviewed this one, so I won’t go into too much detail, but again, I have to say that the addition of new characters and the issues that the residents of Daphne Wood must face, adds a great deal to this book. The characters we have seen throughout the series continue to develop and serve the colony. Wardle’s characters are definitely his strong point, but he also proves as the series continues, that he does a fine job of showing the growth in his characters, like William Tinfish’s ability to help solve problems and Mr. Ginger developing his culinary skills.

You can read this review here.

In the fifth and final book of the Mr. Tinfish series, Mr. Ginger and the disappearing fish, we find that once again, lack of food endangers the colony. This time, the  warming up of the water has caused the fish to move to a new location where the water is cooler. Tons of seabirds in search of fish are now roosting on Mr. Vinegar’s roof and the cacophony is unbearable. Mr. Ginger needs fish for his recipes, Mr. Choli can’t stand the noise, and Mr. Vinegar is afraid of what they are doing to his roof.

It occurred to me by the fourth book in the series that it is a bit funny the main characters are all animals, yet fish are merely a food source. It has to be that way, but it did cause me to chuckle.  Since it comes up again in Book 5, I got to laugh all over again.

As I mentioned in  my review on Wednesday, while I am disappointed I won’t have any more books in the Mr. Tinfish series to read, I was very satisfied with how the author left everything with the residents of Daphne Wood. There were no loose ends that left the reader hanging. He can go on imagining what the potential new crisis might be for the colony or he can imagine that they get a break for awhile and the colony thrives with all the improvements they’ve made.

You can read my review of Book 5 here.

My only nitpick is a problem I mentioned when I reviewed Mr. Vinegar and the Frozen Sea, which continued to plague the series in the final two books: typographical errors. Self-publishing often gets an undeserved bad reputation for quality, but the number of errors in the last two books were a bit distracting. There were missing words or wrong words used and sometimes the same word would be spelled differently throughout the book.

I don’t like to find these types of errors when I am reading any book, but especially when you’re writing for a young market where you’re trying to encourage reading over playing video games, chatting online, or watching television, the author needs to offer a story that keeps mistakes to a minimum.

That aside, I will be holding onto these books and sharing them with my girls. I think the Lil Princess will get a big kick out of the quirky characters in the Mr. Tinfish series, and will learn a lot about climate changes, cooperation, and problem solving in the process.

PiBoIdMo 2010 – Idea #25 (Happy Thanksgiving Too!)

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope you had a lovely day. It’s finally quiet around here. Soon the girls will be heading off to bed, but I wanted to post this first.

Idea #25

A New Home

Not the best title, but something better will come to me. This is the story of three abandoned kittens (names to be determined), that are looking for a new home. The first home they find has a scary dog in the backyard. The second home is in the city and they would have to worry about being run over by cars all the time. The third home is a farm in the country and it is just perfect for them.

A slight take on Goldilocks trying to find the perfect thing when she invades the bears’ home is what I thought of when I typed this up.

Only 5 more days to go. Can you believe it?

Want to learn more about PiBoIdMo? Visit http://taralazar.wordpress.com/.



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PiBoIdMo 2010 – Idea #24

I hope all my friends in the States are ready for tomorrow. I’m cooking in between trying to catch moments of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The Lil Princess came up with an idea and I tossed it around for a bit before changing it around to be this. Not sure if it would work, but I’ll think on it some more.

Idea #24

Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving

Macy’s family has been busy. All week long they have been cleaning, decorating, and baking for Thanksgiving Day. Right before dinner is served, the family dog yanks the roasted bird off the platter and scarfs it down, leaving a messy carcass on the floor.

Poor Mother is in tears. Their perfect family holiday they have worked so hard on is ruined and Fido gets tossed out into the cold.

What will they eat? They can’t cook a ham or roast beef. It would take too long.

That’s when Macy shares the unusual foods the Pilgrims ate on the first Thanksgiving Day and suggests they make macaroni and cheese to go along with the mashed potatoes, stuffing, and squash.

Macy and her family soon learn Thanksgiving isn’t about having the perfect holiday, but about spending time with people you love.

Want to learn more about PiBoIdMo? Visit http://taralazar.wordpress.com/.



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Mr. Ginger and the Disappearing Fish by Chris Wardle

 The fifth and final installment of the Mr Tinfish series will definitely remind you of why you love the series in the first place.

The tremendous amount of noise caused by the recent arrival of hundreds of seabirds has Mr. Choli up in arms. He’s determined to bring this issue before Mr. Vinegar and get a stop put to this immediately.

Mr. Ginger, on the other hand, is more concerned with the problem of disappearing fish. While this is the reason all the birds have come to rest near the river at Daphne Wood, the other problem is that he certainly can’t cook all his delightful and interesting meals without a fish supply.

Mr. Vinegar is more concerned about what the birds’ roosting is doing to his roof. Something must be done!

As everyone in Daphne Wood rises to another challenge, Mr. Ginger gets to try a new adventure, William Tinfish comes up with a new idea, and Mr. Vinegar is shocked over new developments.

They say all good things must come to an end, but I am certainly sad to know that I won’t have any more books in the Mr. Tinfish series to read. In this engaging final installment, the hundreds of seabirds looking for food have come to the river of Daphne Wood. Not only are they loud, there certainly isn’t going to be enough fish for everyone if they stick around.

But the larger problem is that the fish don’t seem to like the change in the ocean currents. The warmer waters, which Daphne the polar bear isn’t fond of, aren’t liked by the fish either. So, the fish moved to a new location, causing a shortage of a very necessary food supply for many of the residents of Daphne Wood.

In Mr. Ginger and the Disappearing Fish, readers find much of what they have enjoyed in the earlier books in the series:  the kooky characters whose quirks make for many funny moments; the cooperation amongst all the members of Daphne Wood to meet the challenges climate changes bring upon them; and the numerous expeditions that include some interesting communications between the expedition teams and Mr. Vinegar.

I found the addition of the seabirds in this book to make for some great conversations and situations. Wardle knows exactly what he needs to do to move this story along . There is never a moment when the reader isn’t eager to turn the pages. Despite the fact that this book is dealing with a very serious issue, Wardle continues to find a way to get young people thinking, while providing them with an enjoyable read.

If I remember correctly, Wardle is also the one who draws the illustrations for Mr. Ginger and the Disappearing Fish, and the other books in the Mr. Tinfish series. I would  love to have some of these drawings framed on the wall of my office. I could also see a nursery decorated with the animals of Daphne Wood.

While Mr. Ginger and the Disappearing Fish brings the story of Daphne Wood’s zany residents to an end, I like how Wardle left them. I could see some Daphne Wood short stories coming out of this. Perhaps if I beg, the author will give us another book to enjoy.

Rating:  :) :) :) :) :)



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