Grammar Fun for Everyone and a Great Review from STORIES FOR CHILDREN MAGAZINE

Gayle Jacobson-Huset, Fiction & Poetry Editor for STORIES FOR CHILDREN MAGAZINE, said, “I give this book [HAMSTER HOLIDAYS] a high five for the excellent learning tools Author Cynthia Reeg has included to make learning so much fun, and for the colorful, kid-friendly illustrations by Kit Grady. This book is definitely a keeper!”

Hey, find out for yourself how fun grammar can be with these ONLINE GRAMMAR GAMES:

FUN BRAIN.COM–One of my favorites with the Grammar Gorilla. Don’t let the grammar or the gorilla scare you. Just like in my Pet Grammar Parade Series, it’s all fun!
GRAMMAR BLAST–These games are geared to grade levels. Select your grade and take the challenge.
NOUN DUNK–Dribble, shoot, and score with this fun interactive game with common and proper nouns.
PLANETSPASM.COM–This parts of speech game was created by kids for a classroom assignment. Help save the planet when you correctly select a noun, pronoun, adjective, adverb, verb, or conjunction.

Now you just can’t wait to see what grammar adventures the hamsters are up to, can you?
Visit or Guardian Angel Publishing to purchase your copy.

Best of Stories For Children Magazine

It’s been a rainy day here today–lots of clouds, lightning, thunder and RAIN! But it finally seems to be stopping and a bit of sun is peeking through. Hopefully, it will dry out  for the weekend. 

My poor dog Holly hates thunderstorms. They scare her something awful. So this seems to be a good time for a happy announcement.
I have been notified by publisher, Virginia Grenier, that my short story, “BF’s & Butterflies,” has been chosen from the 2008 STORIES FOR CHILDREN MAGAZINE to be included in their Best of Stories for Children Magazine Volume 2
Woo-hoo! News like that is sure to make the sun keep shining. I’ll keep you posted when I find out more about the projected publication date. In the meantime, visit their site for the latest in great stories, articles, crafts and more for children. And here’s the link for Volume 1.


Another 2 paws up review!
Wayne S. Walker, a reviewer at Stories for Children Magazine, gave DOGGIE DAY CAMP: VERB AND ADVERB ADVENTURES a wonderful evaluation:
Bubba the dog is attending his first day at doggie day camp, but he is shy. However, he slowly becomes interested and makes new friends as he engages in the various activities. In addition, he helps to teach readers (or listeners) about verbs and adverbs as well. This book is one of the pet grammar parade series. What a unique idea! As a book reviewer who has had to wade through some really bad grammar because many authors (and apparently some editors) do not know the ins and outs of the English language, I firmly believe that children need to be taught proper English grammar.

Studies show that beginning formal grammar studies for students under third or fourth grade can be counterproductive, but grammar concepts can still be gradually introduced to younger children if done gently. Story books such as this are a wonderful way to do so. There is an introduction that explains what verbs and adverbs are. At the end, there is a study guide that gives further information about verbs and adverbs and contains several fun activities for children that will help to reinforce what they have learned. I would hope that books like this will find a ready audience. They are sorely needed! I really like this idea.

Thank you, Mr. Walker! Bubba and I greatly appreciate your kind words in praise of DOGGIE DAY CAMP. To read more reviews, click here.

And remember, this Saturday morning (August 23) Bubba and I will be at the Leawood, Kansas Barnes and Noble store at 11:00 for storytime. I hope to see some of you there.

Artist & Illustrator, K.C. Snider

Today, artist and illustrator, K.C. Snider, shares her story in this interview by Mayra Calvani, author and book reviewer.
Do you consider yourself to be a born illustrator?
Yes! I’ve been drawing since I was 10 years old. I can’t remember wanting to do anything else but to be an artist. I greatly admired the work of Norman Rockwell, America’s most famous illustrator; his work had a great influence on me. As a young adult, I attended commercial art school and graduated with honors. I intended on becoming a commercial illustrator, but marriage and family came first. With encouragement from many people including my husband, I began to paint again and became more of a fine artist. Now through my association with Mary Jean Kelso and then Guardian Angel Publishing, I have been able to add illustration to my portfolio.Did you always want to be an illustrator?
I would say that I have always been an illustrator because even when I am painting a piece that is just for my own enjoyment, I am telling a story.

What do you do for inspiration and unleashing your creativity?
When I was illustrating Mayra’s picture book, “The Magic Violin,” I played classical music. It was a great inspiration to me. Usually, it is not hard for me to get inspiration. Because I love my work so much, sometimes my fingers just itch to pick up the brush or pencil.

Describe your working environment.
I have a studio with lots of windows in my home that is devoted to my work. Right now, we are doing a little remodeling and I’ll have a new wood floor and a cabinet with a glass door to display my ribbons and awards for my art. My studio is my sanctuary. My husband, Fred, has a separate studio for his framing which we built this past year. That has given me a lot more space in my own studio which I needed because I may have a number of pieces in progress at any given time.

Are you a disciplined illustrator?What is your working style?

Yes, I am very disciplined. As a trained commercial artist, I know that I have to complete my work in a timely manor. And I love my work; I love the sense of accomplishment when a piece is finished and I get kudos from my family and friends. Although I work at all times of the day, I do a lot of my work in the evening. At times I will get so engrossed in my work that it will be 2 am before I put down the brush or pencil. When I’m illustrating, I typically have a work of fine art in progress that I switch to from time to time just to give me a break. Right now my work in progress is a painting of some pioneer children, their teacher and a one-room school house in the late 1800’s.

Do you have a website/blog where readers may learn more about you and your works?

What are you working on now?

I’m illustrating the second in the series of ‘Andy and Spirit’ books written by Mary Jean Kelso, titled “Andy and Spirit Go to the Fair.” The first in the series, “Andy and the Albino Horse,” [was] published by Guardian Angel Publishing in April 2008. This has been a very challenging series for me because the subject is much more complicated. Andy is a young boy in a wheelchair, so I have a new dimension to think about. And Spirit is an albino mustang, a very unusual horse. This series promises to be a wonderful story line for children and parents as it teaches about tolerance and compassion.

Where are your books available?

Guardian Angel Publishing, B&N, Amazon or order in person at Barnes and Noble or Borders book store.What was your experience in working with a writer? The first book I illustrated was “The Christmas Angel” written by Mary Jean Kelso who happens to be a personal friend. During the process of illustrating that book, Mary had very little input. Then I was given the opportunity to illustrate “The Magic Violin” written by Mayra Calvani. Mayra wanted more input and I want to thank her for all of her assistance during the process. I learned so much about working with a writer as the emails flew back and forth from Oregon to Belgium. It was a great experience. Now that I am illustrating another book for Mary, we are communicating constantly about the illustrations and I feel that my work is better because of this collaboration.

Click here to read a review of THE CHRISTMAS ANGEL at STORIES FOR CHILDREN ezine.

Andy and Spirit now have a blog you can visit to learn more about the series, as well as its illustrator–K.C. Snider, and its author–Mary Jean Kelso.

For information on Mayra Calvani, here are additional links:

Today’s Guest–Cecil Paplinskie

Stopping by today is author & illustrator, Cecil Paplinskie, who illustrated my story “BF’s & Butterflies,” in the current edition of STORIES FOR CHILDREN MAGAZINE.

Welcome, Cecil. It sounds like you’ve moved around some in your lifetime. Could you give us a quick overview of your life and how your travels have impacted your art & writing?

I was born in the Philippines. When I was little all I wanted to do was draw. I got a scholarship and at age 19, graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Fine Arts majoring in Advertising. I was lucky; my first job was as an artist for an export company. I would design a theme, angel cows for example. I would then illustrate 20-30 poses of the angel cow doing different things. Then out of these drawings I would do the prototype by sculpting the design. It was fun. The company would join international gift shows, and they would send the artists to look at trends. I got to travel and work with people from all over.

Then I was offered work in China, decided to give it a try, and was there for two years. When I got back, I wanted to get into graphic designing. Computers were starting to be the thing, and I had a feeling that pretty soon things would be done through computers instead of the traditional hand-drawn art that I was used to. I got a contract to be a graphic designer in Taiwan. Although the job wasn’t quite suited for me, I stayed there for a year.

After that, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. However, I got lucky and was hired to do part-time illustrating for a children’s magazine owned by an American. I loved it, and I wanted to pursue a career in that field. So when the German Institute of Technology offered a workshop for children’s book writing and illustrating, I took it.

However, my new love for children’s book art had to be put on hold due to personal reasons. Eventually, I ended up in Canada where I met my husband and got married. I worked as a graphic designer in Toronto. When my first child was born, my husband and I thought it was best that we raise our kids in the country. I put my illustrating career on hold for the time being and instead funneled my creative talent into handmade crafts which I marketed. About year ago, I decided to return to my art. For an entire year I made sample artworks, compiled my best work and started writing. I created the illustrations and designed a website. Now I’m excited to be promoting myself and my work.

I love the ballet kitty in her tutu on your website. The kitty illustration has the single word “Dream” incorporated into the picture. What are your professional dreams? Are your dreams part of your motivation?

Very much so. I would love to have a published picture book which I wrote and illustrated someday.
What is the most fun part of the creative process?
When everything is done, and I see how good the finished product is. That to me is the most fun part.
What is your typical illustrator’s day like?
I’m a stay at home mom with a two year old and a seven-year-old. My working hours are during the baby’s naptime in the afternoon and from 10-3 during the day. Just like any other job, I work seven hours a day.
Describe your working environment.
Crazy and messy.
From your portfolio, I see that you use a variety of methods for creating your art from computer enhanced images to more formal paintings and also black and white drawings. Do you prefer one over the other? How do you determine what type of artwork you will use for a particular story?
It depends on what the author will ask for. Everyone, it seems, likes how I draw children.
What tips would you offer to others just beginning their career writing and illustrating children’s literature?
I myself am restarting my career. One thing that I am is persistent and hard working. It doesn’t hurt that I love what I’m doing.
What project are you working on now? Or what projects are pending?

I am working with self-published authors, Dionne Winters on her story, Frightful Things and Creepy Ones coming out soon and Zayre Ferrers’ Charlene’s Halloween Party.
I was selected to illustrate one of the stories for Gumboot Books in conjunction with Rotary International and their Literacy Foundation. These are collected stories from authors and illustrators around the world, celebrating different UN holidays.
That project seems a perfect fit for you, Cecil, with your own international background. Thanks so much for sharing your story. I’m sure we’ll see more of your delightful work in the years to come.

To view samples of Cecilia’s work go to her website and to STORIES FOR CHILDREN Magazine, “BF”s & Butterflies.”

BF’s & Butterflies

Exciting news today! My short story for mid-grade readers is now in the April issue of STORIES FOR CHILDREN MAGAZINE:
Here’s the scoop on “BF’s & Butterflies
Small town girl, Leya, wants to figure out a way to befriend Kari, the new girl, before Nasty Nona, self-crowned queen of fifth grade, claims her. Leya’s just lost her BF—Best Friend—Lucy, who’s moved all the way to Florida. Now as Leya struggles to find a new BF, as well as her place in her fifth grade class, she discovers that butterflies can lead to friendship.
And here’s the scoop on Stories for Children Magazine: a FREE Ezine for children ages 3 to 12 years old. This monthly online children’s magazine takes children on an adventure into the World of Ink. Each issue is loaded with fun stories, articles, puzzles, children’s book reviews, crafts, poems.
SFC was “voted one of the Top Ten Best E-zines in Fiction, Non Fiction, Poetry, Cover Art, and Bookstores on the web — Preditors and Editors Readers Poll 2007.”
Be sure to stop by and enjoy!


Donna Shepherd has created a fun and health conscious picture book highlighting the importance of good dental care with NO MORE GUNK!

And kids will love Kevin Collier’s bright illustrations.

When you visit the book’s blog site, you’ll find links for caring for your teeth and a wonderful review of the book by Gayle Jacobson-Huset, Assistant Editor of STORIES FOR CHILDREN MAGAZINE.

The author/illustrator duo have also teamed up on an earlier healthwise picture book, OUCH! SUNBURN, which is included in the Double Doozie. Two books for the price of one!

Be sure to copy and print the free coloring page from NO MORE GUNK!

Happy coloring and happy flossing!

Congratulations to STORIES FOR CHILDREN

Congratulations to Virginia S. Grenier and her staff at the amazing children’s eZine, STORIES FOR CHILDREN ( They just won a top 10 spot in PREDITORS & EDITORS 2007 Readers Poll!!!(

STORIES FOR CHILDREN ranked among the very best in 3 categories: Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry. “I can’t believe it,” said Ms. Grenier. “This is our first year out and we actually placed in the Top Ten in many different categories. A dream come true for all of here at SFC.”
Look for my short story, “BF’s & Butterflies,” to be appearing in STORIES FOR CHILDREN’s April 2008 issue. Here’s a synopsis of my upcoming story:
Small town girl, Leya, wants to figure out a way to befriend Kari, the new girl, before Nasty Nona–self-crowned queen of fifth grade–claims her. Leya’s just lost her BF—Best Friend—Lucy, who’s moved all the way to Florida. Now as Leya struggles to find a new BF, as well as her place in her fifth grade class, she discovers that butterflies can lead to friendship.

So if you haven’t visited STORIES FOR CHILDREN yet, be sure and give yourself a treat and stop by soon. And remember to check back at SFC for my April story–which is only about a month away. Don’t worry…I’ll be sure and remind you again when it’s published.