Saturday, September 30, 2017

Inktober with a Twist

October is almost here! It is my most favorite time of the year. And to celebrate, I'm taking on a new crazy Frankenstein-type project.

 A few years ago, my husband started participating in Inktober. The challenge is to complete one ink drawing a day, every day in October and then post it online. Sounds pretty fun, right?

Well, I am no artist. Below is a sample of my drawing abilities.

*not drawn in ink

So, you're probably wondering why on earth would I want to take on such a project? Because I'm going to mash it up with writing! I'm combining Inktober with A-Poem-A-Day to create a new monster project. Bwahaha! It's alive!! I thought it would be interesting to see how art could get the creative juices flowing for some poetry. And besides, do we really need an excuse to do art, even if we do it badly?

Many people like to do a theme for their Inktober, so I decided to put one together. I'm going to be doing mostly short-form poetry like limericks, tanka, and haikus. By the end of the month, I will have a collection of spooky poetry. And some bad drawings. What do I have to lose?

Friday, September 29, 2017

Poetry Friday - Crazy Kids

It’s Friday! And you know what that means: Poetry! Want to know more about Poetry Friday? Click this link right here. And be sure to Laura's page, Writing the World for Kids, to see this week’s round up of wonderful poetry related posts, blogs and goodness. 

It is a good thing that October is in sight because I feel like a zombie. it's 8:45pm and I'm falling asleep writing this post! So it's going to be a short one this week.

I have been prepping for my newest challenge: Inktober. I am no artist, but I like to doodle. So, I've decided to write a short poem each day in October and then draw something to go along with it. I'll be posting a bit more in detail tomorrow, but I am excited to have some fun with it.

Speaking of zombies, I stumbled across an interesting poetry book: Zombie Haiku by Ryan Mecum. The whole book is written in haiku snippets and takes the reader on the journey of a guy who has been bitten and is turning into a zombie. I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but it seems like it’s right up my alley. Here is one of haiku’s from the book:

Biting into heads 
is much harder than it looks. 
The skull is feisty.

© Ryan Mecum, 2008

I decided to write my own haiku of what has turned me into a zombie this week. 

Sweet angelic babe
Banshee-wails throughout the night
Parents never sleep

© Rebecca Herzog, 2017

My daughter read it over my shoulder as I was writing and insisted that I also write one about her and her love for video games (she wants to be a game designer and voice actor when she grows up). So I obliged.

There once was a girl who liked games
Who quickly won all the acclaim
With daring and poise
She beat all the boys
And now she has fortune and fame 

© Rebecca Herzog, 2017

I hope that everyone's week has gone well and that you have a spectacular beginning of October. It's my favorite.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

October Writing Goals + Exciting News!

So, before I get into my goals recap, I have a bit of news. I have been selected to be a judge for the Cybils Awards! I will be helping judge in the Fiction Picture Book and Board Book category.

For those who don't know, the Cybils Awards are given each year by bloggers for the year's best children's and young adult titles. You can learn a bit more at I am so incredibly honored and excited to participate.

September was a bit discombobulated with Irma passing through and all that entailed. John and Sammy both were out of school for over a week, which threw my groove off a bit. Don't get me wrong--I loved having them home, but it also meant a little less writing time. Overall, I am pleased with my writing progress.

September Goals

  • Read 4 books
  • Continue weekly book reviews
  • Continue weekly poetry reviews
  • Submit to poetry anthology
  • Submit freaking Madam Fang already (it's edited and so close! I have until the 15th of October)
  • Finish Zine 
  • Hold Book Giveaway
  • Pick and start outlining my NaNoWriMo book

October Goals

  • Write 5 poems for anthology
  • Outline 5 chapter books
  • Finish RIP reading challenge
  • Inktober Poetry (post forthcoming)
  • Continue doing Poetry Friday
  • Submit Madam Fang

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Cinderella and the Furry Slippers - Picture Book Review

Buy Here
 Cinderella and the Furry Slippers
written by Davide Cali
illustrated by Raphaelle Barbanegre
Tundra Books, October 10, 2017

I received a free ARC of this book to review

At a Glance


Fairy tale picture book

Age Range: 

4-7 years old


Cinderella hires a Fairy Godmother from a magazine ad to help her win the heart of the prince, but neither ends up quite like those in the magazines.


  • I love the illustrations
  • I like the fresh take on an old story
  • good talking points to start discussions, especially about what we see in ads vs. real life
  • I like that the slippers are fur, not glass


  • I felt the ending could have been slightly tweaked (but I also LOVED the ending--read below)

Would I recommend this title:


Full Review

I really enjoyed this book. For me, the illustrations hit it out of the park and are very funny. I am also a sucker for fresh twists on old fairy tales. But it is also nice that they kept the slippers fur, since that is the way they are in the original. I guess I'm a stickler for the little details.

I feel like there are a few princess stories out there where the princess decides to take a different path other than just marrying the prince. The things that sets this one apart is that it deals with the unrealistic expectations set up in the media and in advertising. Cinderella and her sisters see all these hunks in the magazines, and the real prince doesn't match up. I think it could be a great starter for talking about these types of things in the real world.

**Some mild spoilers beyond this point**

I absolutely love the last spread of this book with all the varied female characters.  I really enjoyed seeing the references to other fairy tale characters and their chosen vocations. For example, Red Riding Hood works as a wolf catcher. 

While I love the ending, I also have a small beef with it. Cinderella sees a sign advertising for a girl's only job fair and it says "Tired of Lame Princes? Sick of Pink Dresses?" This bothered me for two reasons. One, my daughter's favorite color is pink and she loves dresses. And she is also a strong, spunky girl. I like messages where girls can love pink and be successful. Two, the message of the book seems to be that what we see in magazines is unrealistic. But instead of being disgusted with the unrealistic prince ads, it hits home how lame real life princes are. 

I know that I am nitpicking here. And it certainly didn't derail the entire book. I do still think it has a positive message and is worth the read.

Monday, September 25, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? - 9/25/17

The weekly post where I recap all the KidLit books I’ve been reading. Occasionally, I’ll also review some adult fiction books as well.

Be sure to check out Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers to see what other kidlit readers are reading. Because, you know, we can never have too many books in our TBR pile.

I'm participating in the R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril (RIP) challenge! Click here to see the books I'll be reading.

Board Books

The Bunny Rabbit Show!
by Sandra Boynton

 We have been on a Sandra Boynton kick the last few times we've visited the library. I love her style and this board book is really fun. I love the fact that it can be read, or you can make up a silly theme song to sing the words instead. My daughter and I took turns reading and singing this to baby brother.

My Lucky Little Dragon
Joyce Wan

This is my first book by Joyce Wan that I have read and it was really fun. I love how cute and bright the illustrations are. My little boy got a kick out of the mirror at the end of the book. The cover has some great texture to it as well. We'll definitely be checking out some of Wan's other board books.

Picture Books

by Jason Chin

I picked this one up because my daughter has been acting how gravity works and this was a great introduction. The simplicity of the text, coupled with the beautiful images were wonderful. The back matter explains gravity in more detail, but in a very accessible manner. 

Professional Crocodile
written by Giovanna Zoboli
illustrated by Mariachiara Di Giorgio

Oh my gosh, I laughed so hard at the end of this book. The payoff is so great. There is no text in the book, but the beautiful illustrations stand on their own while moving the story along. There is so much detail that you'll want to reread it and just study all the little things in each panel.  It is such a fantastic book.

Sometimes You Barf
Nancy Carlson

This book is exactly what you would expect. It goes into how everyone--including all sorts of animals barf. It could be used to teach young children that, while it is no fun to throw up, that it can be a normal thing when you get the stomach bug and it will pass. For me, the best part of this book was the illustrations on the end pages with all sorts of animals poised to barf.

Noisy Night
written by Mac Barnett
illustrated by Brian Biggs

For whatever reason, when i picked this up I thought it was going to be about all the sounds outside in the city at night. It is not. It is about all the sounds within an apartment building (duh me--it's right on the cover). The illustrations are vibrant and I enjoyed the repetition and rhythm of the text.

The Darkest Dark
by Chris Hadfield
illustrated by The Fan Brothers

Another one where I thought it was going to be about one thing and it ended up being about another. This is the true story of astronaut Chris Hadfield when he was a boy and what helped him get over his fear of the dark. The illustrations are rich and beautiful and the story is one that any kid can relate to. This would make a good book for biography book reports as it does have more info on Chris's life in the back matter. 

Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn
by Kenard Pak

Another great book with great illustrations. The text is simple in a good way and is a back and forth conversation between a boy and nature as it gets ready for the season change. The watercolor is so well done and I especially like the way the trees look in the background. I will definitely be checking out Goodbye Autumn, Hello Winter when winter is a bit closer.

Cap'n Rex & His Clever Crew
written by Henry Herz 
illustrated by Benjamin Schipper

Is there much better than dinosaurs and pirates? This seems to be a theme lately as I reviewed Dinosaur Pirates by Penny Dale last well. The illustrations in Cap't Rex are what make the book for me. They're cute and comical at the same time. I also like how the abilities of each dinosaur helps it contribute to the crew in a unique way. It is a fun book.

No Room For Baby!
by Émile Jadoul
Publication Oct. 3, 2017, Kids Can Press

I received an ARC of this book to review

This is cute book for new big brothers/sisters. I really liked the illustrations. The crayon gave the pictures a nice texture. One of the things that I especially liked about this book is that it isn’t your typical “I’m the jealous older sibling” story line. The baby shouldn’t go on Daddy’s shoulders because it is simply too high—not because it is a place only reserved for Leon. Leon’s solution to where to put the baby is heartwarming and shows that he genuinely cares about his new little brother. 

Middle Grade

by Carl Hiaasen
read by Chad Lowe

I listened to the audiobook of Hoot and enjoyed it. I knew next to nothing about the book, and was pleasantly surprised. Chad Lowe does a good job of reading the book and is not distracting. Being from Southwest Florida, I felt like the descriptions of the area were vivid and accurate. Overall, the story seemed plausible and realistic. 

Friday, September 22, 2017

Poetry Friday - Autumn

It’s Friday! And you know what that means: Poetry! Want to know more about Poetry Friday? Click this link right here. And be sure to check out Amy's blog, The Poem Farm, to see this week’s round up of wonderful poetry related posts, blogs and goodness. 

It's officially the most wonderful time of the year! Fall is hands down my favorite season. While we don't get much of a season change here in Florida, I can still imagine the crispness of the air, the colorful leaves, and the creepiness of Halloween. 

I am also excited because this will be the first time that I am participating in the R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril (RIP) reading challenge. You can read a bit more about it here.  Basically to participate you read at least one spooky (defined broadly) book in September/October. I've chosen 6 books because I like to read, I'm an over achiever and/or I'm a glutton for punishment. Here are the books I have picked.

To celebrate the changing of the season guard, I decided to write a little poem about Fall. I hope you enjoy. Thanks for stopping by. And Happy Autumn Equinox!


The sun, tired of the green summer,
Peeks through his kaleidoscope
And twists the world into vivid color.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril XII (RIPXII)

Two years ago in November (2015), I discovered the R.I.P community reading challenge. Anyone who has been around me for even a little bit knows that I am head over heels in love with Autumn, Halloween and anything creepy. And I also love to read. It's like the R.I.P. challenge was created just for me!

Of course it was too late to officially participate the year I discover it, but I was so excited to give it a go the following year (2016). Fast forward 10 months, and I was 8 months pregnant and moving across country. Needless to say, I stalled again.

So, it is because of this that I am so incredibly excited to announce my participation THIS year! Hooray! Happy dance all around. Here are the 6 books I hope to read over the next few weeks.

What spooky books are you reading this Fall? Do you have any creepy book recommendations? Leave me a comment below!

Monday, September 18, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 9/18/17

The weekly post where I recap all the KidLit books I’ve been reading. Occasionally, I’ll also review some adult fiction books as well.

Be sure to check out Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers to see what other kidlit readers are reading. Because, you know, we can never have too many books in our TBR pile.

Board Books

 Dinosaur Dance
by Sandra Boynton

I enjoy Sandra Boynton's books. The illustrations in this one are cute and my 7yo daughter loved reading this one to her baby brother. 

 Diggers Go
by Steve Light

I love the layout of this book. Long and narrow, the illustrations are really fun and it gives you a bit of scope on how big the machines are. It make for a fun, interactive read.

Picture Books

 I Am Bat
by Morag Hood 

I really enjoyed this cute book. Readers of Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus will like I Am Bat. The character is really comical and fun. The book invites plenty of reader interaction. The illustrations are funny too and I especially like the bat’s cute round tummy. 

 The Bad Seed
written by Jory John
illustrated by Pete Oswald

Oh my gosh, this book was so much fun. Everyone in the house now wants me to buy it. My husband read it to the kids multiple times before it had to go back to the library. The story is clever and original and the illustrations are great too.

 Bonaparte Falls Apart
written by Margery Cuyler
illustrated by Will Terry

This is a book that I couldn't wait for it to come out. I love Will Terry's illustration style. The story is also great. It could easily be used as a text on therapy/service dogs and why some people need them. All around great read.

 The Tooth That's on the Loose
by Chris Robertson
I received an ARC of this book for review.

The premise for this book is great, I just wish it would have taken it a bit further. The cowboy narrator talks about how T.B. Wiggly can be found in your mouth hiding out--so quite literally. I wish that it would have been a straight western and the child reading the book could make the parallels between the story and real life. The illustrations are fun and overall I would recommend the book.

 Use Your Imagination (But Be Careful What You Wish For)
by Nicola O'Byrne 

Overall, I enjoyed this book. The illustrations are fun, and I liked the twist ending. I thought it was a good take on the big bad wolf idea. And I liked the nod to Red Riding Hood without that character actually being in the story.

by Antoinette Portis

I have been trying to get a hold of a copy of this book for awhile, and it did not disappoint. I love the simplicity of it. The illustrations are beautiful and the story is beautiful. After reading, my daughter and I talked about enjoying the small quiet moments and how they are important. It also led us to talk about being grateful for everything--not just the large things in life.

 Dinosaur Pirates!
by Penny Dale

Pirates and dinosaurs. What's not to like. The illustrations were detailed, especially on the ships. I loved the repetition in the verses. I also liked that it was 100% dinosaurs--no humans or other creatures. Sometimes it seems that it's always dinos vs. something else, so that was a nice change.