My Two Cents

How to Raise a Mom

Written by Jean Reagan

Illustrated by Lee Wildish

Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers

March 28, 2017

Age range: 4-8

32 pages

Another charming book in the HOW TO series. This one instructs the reader on how to raise a happy and healthy mom using creative role reversal techniques. Predictable but very sweet.

Amazon    Barnes & Noble

 

 

The Giant Jumperee

Written by Julia Donaldson

Illustrated by Helen Oxenbury

Published by Dial Books

April 18, 2017

Age range: 3-5

32 pages

A mysterious voice that’s coming from Rabbit’s burrow scares Rabbit and his friends with threatening words. Mama Frog solves the mystery in what seems a very brave way.  Repetitive phrases and some rhyme will keep young listeners’ attention as will the delightful illustrations.  A wonderful collaboration between this well known author and illustrator.

Amazon   Barnes & Noble

 

Olivia the Spy

Written and illustrated by Ian Falconer

Published by Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books

April 4, 2017

Age range: 4-8

40 pages

Olivia is back in all her porcine glory and with a bit of an attitude. She eavesdrops on her mom’s conversations and it leads her to fear the worst. She learns that partial truths and misinformation can lead to insecurity and suspicion. Ian Falconer’s illustrations masterfully set the tone for his text as Olivia once again steals the (ballet) show.

Amazon   Barnes & Noble

 

Be Quiet!

Written and illustrated by Ryan T. Higgins

Published by Disney-Hyperion

April 4, 2017

Age range: 2-5

40 pages

Rupert so longs to star in a wordless picture book but it becomes an impossible task with such chatty friends. I adore this author-illustrator’s humor and this one is just as clever as his last two picture books—MOTHER BRUCE and HOTEL BRUCE. Visually appealing and eagerly waiting to be read out loud.

Amazon   Barnes & Noble

 

 

Little Ree

Written by Ree Drummond

Illustrated by Jacqueline Rogers

Published by Harper Collins

March 28, 2017

Age range: 4-8

40 pages

Ree Drummond of “The Pioneer Woman” fame, uses her own experiences of moving to the country after living in the big city to draw from, in this new series. Both country dwellers and city slickers will find appeal in this down-home tale as the spunky Little Ree learns how to live on her grandparents’ farm.

Amazon   Barnes & Noble

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February is the Month to Celebrate International Book Giving Day and Picture Books Full of Heart

Give a BOOK on Valentine’s Day to celebrate INTERNATIONAL BOOK GIVING DAY, an initiative that aims to get books into the hands of as many children as possible.

Check out how you can get involved in this year’s event: HERE

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Let me introduce you to some super SWEET picture books that you may want to consider giving as gifts this month or any other month, for that matter.

 

I’ll Love You Always

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Written by Mark Sperring

Illustrated by Alison Brown

Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens

January 12, 2017

32 pages

Told in rhyme while using time comparisons to show just how much you love your child, this book conveys pure sweetness. The delightful illustrations and adorable characters will melt your heart.

 

How long will I love you?
A second is too short.
A second is no time
for a love of this sort.

A minute is no better,
for minutes fly by!
They’re gone in a moment
like a sweet butterfly.

Amazon   Barnes & Noble

 

I’ll Hug You More

Written by Laura Duksta

Illustrated by Melissa Iwai

Published by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

January 3, 2017

Age range: 4-8

32 pages

This book is like two books in one. After reading it half way thru you flip the book to read it in the opposite direction. The parent talks to the child and then the child talks to the parent. The animal characters sweeten the appeal for young readers and listeners.

Amazon  Barnes & Noble

 

Mommy Loves You!

Written by Helen Foster James

Illustrated by Petra Brown

Published by Sleeping Bear Press

March 15, 2017

Age range: 4-8

32 pages

Another charming, rhyming book from this author and illustrator team that has as much heart as their first book, GRANDMA LOVES YOU! This book celebrates that special love that mothers give with illustrations that are reminiscent of Beatrix Potter’s PETER RABBIT.

Amazon  Barnes & Noble

 

 

ABC Love

Written and Illustrated by Christiane Engel

Published by Walter Foster Jr

January 1, 2017

Age range: 3-6

36 pages

This alphabet book pairs the letter with different concepts rather than the run-of-the-mill animal portrayals. That alone makes this book unique. Bright, colorful images accompany the letters.

Amazon  Barnes & Noble

 

Heart to Heart

Written and illustrated by Lois Ehlert

Published by Beach Lane Books

January 3, 2017

Grade level: Preschool – 3

72 pages

Using fun word-play the author/illustrator creates a very vibrant book with simple images, text talk and puns. It’s doubtful that preschoolers will enjoy or grasp its punniness, especially given its length, but what fun it would be to give an adult as a greeting card.

Amazon  Barnes & Noble

 I’m giving away books to the special young peeps in my life to celebrate this month and I hope you will consider doing the same! ❤

‘Tis the Season to Give Away a $500 Amazon Gift Card!

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Do you know what happens when a Kid Lit Community comes together to thank their readers, fans and supporters? They give away a $500 USD Amazon gift card just to make one lucky winner’s holiday a little merrier. Ho-ho-holy moly…that’s a lot of dough! Come back EACH DAY to gain extra points by visiting the Rafflecopter and tweeting about the giveaway. Scroll down to enter.

The Kid Lit Joy Giveaway

Prize: One winner will receive a $500 USD Amazon eGift card

Giveaway begins: November 15, 12:01 a.m., 2016

Giveaway ends: December 15, 11:59 p.m., 2016

Open to: Worldwide

How to enter: Please enter the Rafflecopter HERE.

Terms and conditions: There is NO purchase necessary to enter or win. One winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget within 48 hours and notified by email once the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new winner will be chosen. Prize valued in US Dollar (USD). Winner must have a valid email address attached to their Amazon account in order to receive eGift card.

Good luck and may you have the happiest of holidays!

Participating Kid Lit Community Members

C.L. Murphy
Cat Michaels
Melinda Kinsman
Rhonda Paglia
K. Lamb
Stacie Theis
Jim Milson
Lisé Chase
Kimberly Sentek
Barbara Mojica
Tracy Bryan
Peggy McAloon
M.L. Barnes
Meg Dendler
Jill Cofsky
Kate Larkinson
Rosie Russell
Sondra Rymer
Erica Gore
Dynomike Books
Rebecca Lyndsey
Joyce Mitchell
Sarah Hill
Sharon Powers
Nelson Suit
Bonnie Dani
Subhash Kommuru
D.A.Hawes
Laura Lee Scott

Gotta Catch These Pokémon Party IDEAS for Kids!

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If you have a little fan of the Pokémon Craze, let me give you some ideas for a party. I don’t play Pokémon Go and know little about the different characters but managed to come up with ideas based on the characters’ habits, likes, and behaviors. I couldn’t have done this party without my sister’s help. A big mahalo to you, Sis! We make a great team (Rocket).

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Pokémon Hats

 Hand out hats that were purchased from Party City .

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Pikachu Bags

Make Pikachu bags made from yellow gift bags. Simply hot glue on ears, eyes, cheeks, and use a black marker for the details.

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Pokémon Activity Stops

Thirteen Pokémon stops were created based on the guest of honor’s favorite characters. Pokémon badges were awarded to all that participated at each stop. The badges were printed out on label paper and cut out individually. The activities for the entire thirteen stops took about 1 1/2 hours to complete and that was with a dozen kids participating. Ages ranged from 2 to 10 years. There was enough variety that the kids didn’t seem to get bored and enthusiastically cooperated.

The Pokémon characters were cut out from flattened, corrugated, large cardboard boxes.  They were drawn close to scale and painted using acrylic and latex paint.

A COST SAVING trick that I have used for years is to buy mis-tinted gallons of latex paint (mostly shades of white) from paint stores to mix with the darkest and truest primary colors in acrylic.

The backside of the cardboard cutouts were first painted dark gray. Using a paint roller makes this a quick task. It gave a finished look because the backsides were visible.

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Welcome guests… I mean trainers!

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First Stop: Rhyhorn

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The kids lined up behind an outstretched hose on the lawn. We gave them a cone shaped party hat and had them position it on their forehead to act as a horn. They got down on all fours and on the words ready, set, go they pushed a ball to the finish line using their horn. This entertained the adults and the kids thought it was fun, although some of the younger ones found it a bit frustrating.

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Second Stop: Gloom

gloomHand out small containers of green tinted corn syrup to each child. Have them open the lids and sip the chlorophyll and let it ooze out of their mouths. Their comments were hysterical. They were apprehensive about even tasting the green ooze but once they started the children had fun. A few had to be enticed by telling them to think of it as liquid candy. It worked and they loved it. We had wipes available for easy clean up after the activity.ooze

 

 

Third Stop: Meowth

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We hid plastic gold coins prior to the party starting for the kids to find using their Pikachu bags. All kids like hunting for treasure.

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Fourth Stop: Hypno

hypnoWe had the children start behind the outstretched hose and had them walk forward to the finish line after turning in circles 10 times. Effective and a quick stop.

 

 

Fifth Stop: Pikachu

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Pin the tail on Pikachu was played at this stop, a tried and true favorite.

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Sixth Stop: Jigglypuff

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We played Jigglypuff’s song on an iPhone while asking the children to fall under her trance by pretending to fall asleep while I drew on their faces, just as Jigglypuff is reported to do. We used a black face painting pencil. The kids loved this stop and were anxious to see what Jigglypuff had drawn on their faces. Have a sharpener at hand if the pencil dulls and a hand mirror for the kids to check out Jigglypuff’s handiwork.

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Seventh Stop: Electabuzz

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We gave the kids glow-in-the-dark bracelets to toss at a target.

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Eighth Stop: Ponyta

ponytaWe set up a simple obstacle course for the children to run and jump and prance thru.

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Ninth Stop: Charizard

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Red fire plastic balls were given to the children, in turn, and were asked to throw the balls into target baskets.

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Tenth Stop: Horsea

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We hung plastic bugs (tied to thin cords) around the perimeter of a portable canopy. We hung a large bug on a long cord in the center of the canopy. The object of the game was to swing the large bug to capture one of the smaller hanging bugs.  They were allowed to keep the bugs that they captured. This was another fun activity that went over well because it was different.

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If you are a party helper, why not get into the spirit by dressing up as Team Rocket? A red R hot glued onto a white t-shirt makes for a simple costume.

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Eleventh Stop: Arbok

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We had everyone lie down on the lawn (on their stomach) and stretch into the Yoga Cobra pose. It was an effective calming down activity.

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Twelfth Stop: Haunter

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Two Haunter caves were created by covering two pup tents with black plastic bags. The children were divided into two teams and asked to retrieve the balls  inside the cave, back to the finish line. Even after the activity portion of the party was over, the children enjoyed playing in the caves.

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Thirteenth Stop:  Chansey

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Chansey hid Pokéballs for the kids to hunt. We turned 144 ping pong balls into Pokéballs and hid them in a nearby school’s field. This was the last stop of the party and gave the kids one last opportunity to run around. This was another favorite activity.

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Pokéballs

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Pokéball directions: Tape blue painter’s tape around the center mark of each ping pong ball. The tape forms a stand to rest the ball on once the balls are spray painted. While I tried a few methods, the best result was achieved when I held up each ball (while wearing a latex glove) and spraying each ball individually. Spray painting was time consuming. Be sure you do this in a protected area because the least bit of wind can blow the balls in all directions. After allowing to dry overnight, I removed the tape and used a fine grade sandpaper to easily remove any overspray or glove prints on each ball and there were plenty of mishaps. Sanding didn’t take long and well worth the clean look. I cut black electrical tape length wise in half and wrapped the strip around the center. The finishing touch was the reinforcement labels that were added to the center.img_1867

 

 

The Food

Pokémon Pizzas

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Make things simple and order (or make) pizzas that are half cheese and half pepperoni with the black olive band. By also offering a salad bar and bread sticks, I think you’ll please nearly everyone.

We made simple cupcakes and printed out toppers that were hot glued to treat sticks, for an easy birthday cake.

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Goody Bags

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Each bag held a red plastic bowl filled with shredded red paper, Pokémon cards, Pokémon plastic characters, Pokémon bubbles, and Pokémon stickers. The bowls were wrapped with cellophane and tied off with ribbon and a Pokéball emblem. Feel free to print the Pokéball sheet below or this pdf

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Pokéball Piñata

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Can’t forget the piñata! Instead of using a balloon as a form, I used a beach ball. It was close to being perfectly round and I simply deflated the ball and removed it after the newspaper and flour mixture had throughly dried, without damaging the beach ball. I hot glued white, red and black crepe paper to finish.

I hope I’ve given you some ideas and inspired you to put on your own Pokémon Party. Don’t hesitate to ask any questions or offer suggestions.

 

Rice & Rocks *Blog Tour* & Giveaway

BeachBoundBooks is pleased to be coordinating a Blog Tour for the charming children’s book written by Sandra L. Richards and illustrated by Megan Kayleigh Sullivan, Rice & Rocks. The tour will run from August 23 – September 13, 2016. collages7_orig


About the Book

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Title: Rice & Rocksl | Author: Sandra L. Richards | Illustrator: Megan Kayleigh Sullivan Publisher: Wise Ink Creative Publishing | Publication Date: August 23, 2016 Genre: Children’s Picture Book | Number of Pages: 32 Book Description: Tradition takes flight in Rice & Rocks, a picture book celebrating culture and diversity. Giovanni’s friends are coming over for Sunday dinner, and his grandmother is serving rice and beans. Giovanni is embarrassed he does not like ‘rice and rocks’ and worries his friends will think the traditional Jamaican dish is weird. But his favorite Auntie comes to the rescue. She and Giovanni’s pet parrot, Jasper, take him on a magical journey across the globe, visiting places where people eat rice and rocks. This exciting story celebrates the varied traditions of every culture while also highlighting the delicious similarities that bring us all together.

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Take a look inside the book…

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My thoughts:

This book wonderfully illustrates the powerful message that as much as we are different, we are really all the same. It’s multi-generational, multi-cultural and a beautiful book that shares the importance of tradition and heritage. Magical and imaginative!

 

About the Author: Sandra L. Richards

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Sandra L. Richards is the debut picture book author of Rice & Rocks. With Rice & Rocks, Sandra brings a unique contribution to the world of children’s books. An American-born daughter of Jamaican immigrant parents, she hopes the book will serve as an educational resource for families seeking to teach their children the value of their heritage and the importance of cultural diversity.

Learn more about Sandra at www.sandralrichards.com.

Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Goodreads | LinkedIn Amazon | Books a Million | Seattle Book Company

About the Illustrator: Megan Kayleigh Sullivan

megan-sullivan Megan Kayleigh Sullivan graduated from Rhode Island School of Design in 2012 with a degree in Illustration. She is currently working as a freelance illustrator and storyboard artist, and aspires towards a career in the film and animation industry as a concept artist, character designer, or visual development artist (or d., all of the above). She enjoys traveling, writing, telling stories, and hula-hooping. Visit her at www.357meg.com.

LinkedIn | Instagram

Blog Tour Giveaway

Prize: One winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card or $25 PayPal cash prize, winner’s choice

Giveaway ends: September 13, 11:59 pm, 2016

Open to: Internationally

Please enter the rafflecopter: HERE.

Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, Sandra L. Richards and is hosted and managed by Stacie from BeachBoundBooks. If you have any additional questions feel free to send an email to stacie@BeachBoundBooks.com.

Hazardous Ways to Gain Attention Towards Your Newly Released Book & Last Stop

Whether you are a traditionally published author or not, there needs to be great thought in how you’ll promote your new book and a plan in place well before it is released into the wild. UnknownIt’s sink or swim in the sea of new books released daily, and you’ll need to get creative to merely stay afloat. May I suggest the following ways to possibly gain attention?

Warning: Some or all suggestions may be hazardous to your health.

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A) Send up smoke signals. Big puffy ones. Yes, I’m suggesting starting a fire in a safe location, like in your barbecue. Make sure you have a nearby hose and follow proper protocol. And if the fire department is mistakenly called because of all the smoke and comes a-calling, make sure you give each crew member a signed copy of your book and maybe homemade cookies. Secretly hope that the incident makes local news and gets picked up by the Associated Press, goes viral and then you’re asked to appear on The Ellen Show, even if it’s just for your cookie recipe.

 

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B) Sell your first born to finance the hiring of the Goodyear Blimp to appear at an outdoor national event with the cover of your book plastered to its side. Does it have a side? Or as a less costly, but more dangerous option, hire a sky writer. Have them write BUY MY BOOK in the sky while you’re sky diving down as you throw copies of your book to the onlooking crowd while yelling “incoming” and/or “fore” and hope you don’t get fined for littering and that you remember to pull your ripcord.

 

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C) Send a gazillion invitations out to peeps begging them for their participation in a blog tour that you decide to host yourself. Question yourself on this decision hourly. Convince yourself that all of the unanswered invitations ended up in the intendeds’ spam folder and were never seen. Make sure you offer a decent prize to entice readers’ interest, even if you have to sacrifice your monthly food budget to finance the giveaway. Be eternally grateful to all those that do accept your invitation and want to help you get the word out.

 

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So…the last stop on my tour is dedicated to the wonderful bloggers, book reviewers, fellow authors and great KidLit peeps that helped to make the blog tour a success in so many ways. How many, you ask?

Let me count the many wonderful ways, as I recap the month…

  1. Cat Michaels asked Lobo questions in his first ever super fun interview.
  2. K. Lamb interviewed C.L. Murphy and said “Ms. Murphy weaves an adorable “tale”of what happens when nature meets technology.”
  3. “Not only is this book cute and entertaining but C.L. Murphy has created a number of activities to go with her new book.”~ Adalinc to Life
  4. “What an adorable book!” ~Bound 4 Escape
  5. Mom Read it joined in the fun and posted on her wonderful blog.
  6. JT of Where Connor and JT go said “I liked it. The animals are silly.”
  7. “I think Selfies In The Wild will get your children “wild” about reading.” ~ Literate for Life
  8. “The drawings of the characters set in real life nature scenes brings more delight to the story.” ~ Books by Rose
  9. “Fun characters. Great illustrations. I loved reading this book.”~ Kay Lalone
  10. “Cute and giggle-worthy, Selfies in the Wild will have your little one laughing out loud and enjoying the yet another adventure from Lovable Lobo!” ~Sassy and Dangerous
  11. Carmela Dutra interviewed C.L. Murphy and said, “What an adorable book!”
  12. “My grandchildren and I are crazy about Lovable Lobo!” ~ Grammy Pags A.K.A. Rhonda Paglia
  13. “Lovable Lobo and his friends teach us a few things along the way…There’s a whole lot in this little book.” ~Books Direct
  14. “Selfies in the Wild is an adorable book that your kids are sure to love!”~Christy’s Cozy Corners
  15. “This book was so much fun to read!” ~Unleashing Readers
  16. “I love how all the animals interact with the camera and put their best foot forward when taking their selfie.” ~ David Chuka
  17. “This book is an absolutely adorable picture book.”~Reading Authors
  18. “Filled with humor and fun this book is certain to become a fast favorite among young readers and parents will enjoy it too!” ~Beach Bound Books
  19. “Lovable Lobo is one of my favorite animal critters.”~ Barbara Ann Mojica
  20. “Amanda and I had fun reading Selfies in the Wild together.” ~Amanda’s Books and More
  21. “Selfies in the Wild is an unexpected, perfectly wild adventure for kids of all ages.” ~Kid Lit Reviews
  22. “The author has an incredible imaginative way with words and art that captures the hearts of children and adults alike.”~One Girl Writes
  23. “…this book adorably speculates conversations among the forest critters.” ~Cymplified

Thank you one and all! I could not have done it without you!

WOW! The POWER of social media continues to amaze, as there were over 15,000 entries in the giveaway! The giveaway ends on August 31 at 11:59 p.m. There may still be time to enter HERE.

SELFIES IN THE WILD *Blog Tour & $200 GC/PP Giveaway*

 

 

Blog Tour Banner

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About the Book

Title: The Adventures of Lovable Lobo – Selfies in the Wild

Written and illustrated by C.L. Murphy

Date published:  August 1, 2016

Published by: Peanut Butter Prose

Recommended ages: 3 to 7

Number of pages: 28

Summary: Lobo and his sidekick raven find a trail camera in their neck of the woods, and it attracts the attention of forest friends. Images captured have never been sillier or more candid. Just as their wild dispositions are exposed, the photo shoot comes to an unexpected end and they’re all left wondering why. The reason may be obvious.

Book Trailer

 

Take a peek inside…

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About C.L. Murphy

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Cathy (C.L.) has been creating with and for kids for many years, and because of it she’s ever armed with crayons and not afraid to use or share them. She’s faster than a speeding turtle, more powerful than a newborn bunny, and nearly able to leap tall tales in a single bound. She’s in a position to use her unassuming powers in a never-ending battle for good and silliness while traveling to the deepest (sometimes dark) part of her imagination. She’s been a member of SCBWI since 2012. She lives in a wonder-filled forest, amongst the wildlife with her husband and other untamed animals. They have two wildly perfect sons and a scrumptious new granddaughter.

Website   Blog   Twitter   Facebook   Pinterest   Google+   Goodreads   Instagram

The Giveaway

Prize: One winner will receive a $200 Amazon gift card or $200 PayPal cash prize, winner’s choice

Giveaway ends: August 31, 11:59 p.m., 2016

Open to: Worldwide

How to enter: Please enter the Rafflecopter HERE.

Terms and conditions: There is NO purchase necessary to enter or win. One winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget within 48 hours and notified by email once the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new winner will be chosen.

Blog  Tour Schedule

August 1 – Cat Michaels Writer

August 2 – Author K. Lamb

August 3 – Adalinc to Life

August 4 – Bound 4 Escape

August 5 –  Mom Read It

August 8 –  Where Connor and JT Go

August 8 –  Literate for Life

August 9 –  Books by Rose

August 10 –  Kay Lalone

August 11 –  Sassy and Dangerous

August 12 –  Carmela Dutra’s A Blog for Your Thoughts

August 15 –  Rhonda Paglia, Children’s Author

August 16 –  Books Direct

August 17 –  Christy’s Cozy Corners

August 18 –  Unleashing Readers

August 19 –  David Chuka – Children’s Book Author

August 22 –  Reading Authors

August 23 – Beach Bound Books

August 24 – Barbara Ann Mojica’s Blog

August 25 –  Amanda’s Books and More

August 26 – Kid Lit Reviews

August 29 – One Girl Writes

August 30 – Cymplified

August 31 – Untamed Doodler

A big ol’ howl out to all the wonderful bloggers and KidLit peeps that participated in the blog tour and to those that stopped by to visit them.

Thank you!