Sunday, November 11, 2012

Review of Good News Nelson - Jodi Moore

With editors and agents making wish lists and identifying what they want in picture book manuscripts - quirky - humorous - few words - fast-paced, to name a few, it's nice to see author, Jodi Moore, following her muse and not the latest picture book trends. She's written a story that's quiet and nostalgic. Sometimes what makes a picture book a success is the message it brings to its young readers.

GOOD NEWS NELSON is just such a book. The characters are believable and appeal to both children and adults, and maybe even cats. :) And 30% of its proceeds will support The Humane Society of the United States.

As a picture book author, a former children's literature book reviewer and director of a Pre-K, where I purchased over 1,000 picture books in my career, I'm proud to include a formal review of this wonderful book.

Good News Nelson
Jodi Moore

Nelson greets his customers every morning as he delivers newspapers. Most ask, “What’s the good news?” But not Mrs. Snodberry. She’s too cranky. She’s convinced the news is always bad. Each day, she picks up her newspaper and walks back into her house without so much as a hello for Nelson. But one Monday morning, Mrs. Snodberry scans the headlines and can’t believe her eyes. One hundred cats were abandoned in an old house. Clutching her own cat, she mumbles that no one cares. Nelson is left to ponder what he can do to help the cats, to prove Mrs. Snodberry wrong. An idea pops into his head when the shelter tells him they need newspapers to line the cats’ cages. Every day after that, when Nelson delivers the morning papers, he takes the old ones back and carts them to the shelter. Mrs. Snodberry notices his effort and presents him with a rickety wagon to help transport the newspapers. Nelson makes her realize that someone does care. He does, but the shelter is overrun with cats, so Nelson gets another idea. He takes their pictures and makes flyers to deliver with his papers. By the end of the week the cats are adopted, thanks to Nelson. He stops at Mrs. Snodberry’s to tell her, but she isn’t home. She’s at his house with a surprise.

This inspirational story of acts of kindness demonstrates how one child can make a difference in the lives of others. Thirty percent of the proceeds for this book go to The Humane Society to help animals in need. The stylized illustrations of Brendan Flannelly-King promote the feeling of neighborhood, community and caring.

BIBLIO: 2012, Story Pie Press, Ages 4-9, $14.99
REVIEWER: Gayle C. Krause
FORMAT: Picture Book
ISBN-13: 978-0-9842178-3-0
ISBN-10: 978-09842178-4-7

You can read more about Jodi in her interview from last year, here at The Storyteller's Scroll.

GOOD NEWS NELSON will be released on December 4, 2012 from Story Pie Press.

Thursday, November 8, 2012


Hurricane Sandy has blown a hole in the Christmas Contest to help the Christmas Tree Santas and underprivileged children.

Now, even more, Santa Claus needs your help. So I have extended the submission date for this contest for a full month. You may submit until December 5th, so Santa has a chance to purchase items and trees for the children and I have time to critique your manuscripts as a Christmas present for you.

Thank you for your generosity.

‘Tis the giving season! And Rock Star Santa has checked his list twice. He knows many new authors out there are just wishing for a publishing contract for their first picture book, so he’s decided to give back double fold.

Rock Star Santa has teamed up with

1.     The Christmas Tree Santas of Newburyport, Massachusetts, to insure that underprivileged children get Christmas trees for their homes.

2.     And First Peek Critique, to insure that aspiring picture book authors can have a full critique of their manuscript as a Christmas present.

How can you participate in this generous gift-giving?


1.     Contribute at least $10.00 to Christmas Tree Santas at     

2.     Become a follower of The Storyteller’s Scroll (on your right of this blog post there is an email choice) and comment below with your name and the title of your picture book, then

3.     Submit your picture book manuscript of no more than 750 words to

krause house books (all one word) at by DECEMBER 5th.

The Christmas Tree Santas will inform Rock Star Santa who has contributed by way of Paypal and those manuscripts will receive a full critique from First PJJk Critiqueservices (valued at $70.00)

If you are writing a novel you may submit your first two pages for a line edit.

****All participants will be eligible for a signed copy of ROCK STAR SANTA. Winner will be selected by and announced on December 18th.

So start submitting tomorrow, November 1st until December 17th.

So are we ready to make everyone’s Christmas a rockin’ merry one?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Open Doors: Fractured Fairy Tales is an anthology of various well-known children’s stories, not quite the way you remember them. To understand what a fractured fairy tale is, you first need to know the difference between a fairy tale and a nursery rhyme.

Many children and young adults aren’t sure. Just last week, our newspaper ran a picture titled “Children Celebrate Nursery Rhymes.” Being a past Pre-K Director, it caught my eye. However, I wanted to call the newspaper to correct their error. The children were dressed as “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” clearly a fairy tale, not a nursery rhyme.

For years, I taught children’s literature to prospective teachers at a technical career center and community college. So let me put my teacher hat back on to clear up this misconception.

Fairy tales are simple stories that have been passed down orally from generation to generation. Originally, told by adults as entertainment or to teach a lesson as the family sat around the hearth, many of the stories were derived from real life situations. The addition of a fantastical creature such as a dragon, fairy, elf or witch disguised the poor soul who the story was about.

Each time the story was told it was embellished. When Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm gathered these oral traditions for their volume of fairy tales they were trying to collect the cultural wisdom of the Germanic tales. ***Key word - collect. They did not write them.

Twenty-three years later, when Hans Christian Anderson compiled his fairy tales, they were known as literary tales because they came from his imagination and he wrote them down as authors do today. ***Key word – wrote. He was the author.

So what then is a fractured fairy tale?

It’s a story that still uses magic and fantasy and has problems to be solved, but…

1.     Well-known fairy tale characters meet and mix their stories together to create a new story of their own.

2.     Settings, plot elements, and points of view alter the story to make a new, usually humorous, story (think Shrek).

3.     May be told from a different point of view than the original.

And a nursery rhyme?

Generally known as Mother Goose tales, nursery rhymes generate appeal from rhyme and rhythm and bright humor. By the very nature of the term ‘rhyme’ each Mother Goose tale has words that sound alike. Rhyme usually relates an interesting and simple story and the humor is varied from the ridiculous and exaggerated to total nonsense.

ie. Mary, Mary, quite contrary, or Humpty Dumpty.

Varied language patterns in the repeating rhymes offer children the chance to actively participate in the story with or without hand motions.

ie. Itsy, Bitsy Spider or Jack and Jill

A rhyme has the repetition of the same or similar sounds most often at the ends of two or more lines. Rhyming lines should have a similar number of syllables and a specific rhythm.

For my contribution to Open Door: Fractured Fairy Tales I took characters from well-known fairy tales and put them in a situation they would never be in, but I told the story in rhyme. So I created a new category – fractured fairy tale rhymes.

ie.        A hunter, who had saved a princess from an evil Queen
            came upon a pond with a most uncommon scene.
            Seven lovely maidens were bathing there one day,
            then they donned their feather cloaks and as swans, they flew away.

The hunter is from “Snow White.” The maidens are from “The Swan Maidens.” And the story goes on to incorporate “The Three Feathers.”

So, now, any questions? Check out Open Doors: Fractured Fairy Tales for more great examples of fractured fairy tales and rhymes, available December 1, 2012 from Wayman Publishing.

Energized to Write for the New Year

 So happy to be attending the SCBWI National Conference this week. My peer critiques went well two nights ago, and energized me to see the p...