I am delighted to welcome my friend Alison Reynolds, author of numerous books including the wonderful: A new friend for Marmalade and of course the hugely popular Pickle and Bree series.
We are the last stop in the blog tour, but you can jump back to the other hosts, to find out more about Alison's books. Trust, me, there is some real gold to be read, so I hope you hop along.
Boomerang Books: Click to read
Pass it on: Click to read
Creative Kids Tales: Click to read
Buzz Words: Click to read
Aussie Reviews Click to read
Just Write For Kids: Click to read
Let’s start with a little about Alison and her books.
So Alison, tell us, how did you get the idea for Pickle and Bree? Did you pitch it to a publisher, or were you asked to write the series? This always puzzles me.
After brainstorming, how much does the original text change for a Pickle and Bree Story?
The gist of the original text stays the same, but the text does often change. I really enjoy this process of chipping away at the text. One of the amazing things for me when writing picture books is how important each word is. The editor will often point out something, then I think and think and come up with a new line. Unfailingly, this is always an improvement on the original text. The more Pickle and Bree books I write, the easier it is to dive back into their characters and the plot soon emerges.
Seeing the illustrations for the first time from Mikki Butterley, were you blown away? We certainly think they are exquisite!!!
My first reaction was a gasp of disbelief. How does she do it? Whatever situation I come up with I never need to think will Mikki be able to illustrate this? She always can brilliantly. I also love the details she adds to her illustrations and how she creates such a complete world. I feel so fortunate to work with her!
Now you have two new books coming out by Five Mile Press to be released February 2017.
I am dying to get my hands on this one below for my little G starting school this year. Can you tell us about them?
The editor suggested I write a book about bullying. My 7 year old niece was staying with us, and said some girls bullied her by saying she wore pink runners and she didn’t like feeling different. This resonated with me. Some children wouldn’t care if somebody commented on their shoes, but others would. So the THE PLAYGROUND MEANIES arose where Pickle and Bree are spending a day outdoors with their good friend, Jason. They’re excited to explore the playground, and are even more excited about making some new friends―until they meet two little bears who are not very friendly at all! Pickle is puzzled when the meanies try to tease him about his big feet, because he knows they are big and he likes them that way. However, his sensitive friend, Jason, is upset by the meanies’comments. Pickle and Bree have to deal with the playground bullies.
When Pickle and Bree and their friend Jason, meet two rambunctious koala bears in the playground, they don't quite know what to do. Howard and Gracie begin poking fun at Jason's panda bear feet.
Pickle being a bear, offers them a slightly rude suggestion, but Bree encourages him not to be mean.
They try ignoring Howard and Gracie, but they seem intent on making even bigger fun of Jason's big feet. Pickle takes the matter in hand, as only a bear can with the most ferocious roar, but that doesn't really have the desired effect. Howard and Gracie just high tail it out of there, returning later with a picnic of honey buns. Intent on continuing their meany ways, the koala bears find themselves in a spot of... well, what can I say, that would give it away. When Jason steps in, literally to save the day, Howard and Gracie realise that different isn't always bad. It's what makes us special.
I loved the resolution here, and the fact that all the way along, Bree encourages Pickle and Jason to find a solution, without retaliation.
The end pages sport a full page of Pickle and Bree's Guide to Good Deeds, which were just wonderful. Five practical ways that children can process what it means when people are being unkind, and strategies to help them see their way through it.
I must admit, I did shed a tear on the fifth, knowing that my little girl is at this very moment attending her third full day of prep school.
I cannot wait to share this beautiful book with her teacher, as I know it will go along way in setting the tone for the years to come.
Brilliant story Alison and Mikki.
I give it 5 stars!
Now onto the next one, take it away again Alison
THE BIG SNOW ADVENTURE explores why we should follow rules. Pickle and Bree are off for a holiday in the snow! Bree can’t wait to try skiing, and Pickle is excited about snowboarding — but Pickle and Bree are so enthusiastic that they forget they’re sharing the space with their friends. Pickle and Bree need to figure out how to have fun while making sure their friends have fun too.
Pickle and Bree are ready for a snow adventure, but it seems, neither of them have remembered their manners. Pushing in line, ignoring the teacher's instruction, racing down the mountain collecting anyone on the way, and doing their level best to win regardless of anyone else. When the two finally realise that their friends no longer want to play, they examine their actions, and try to make amends.
I really enjoyed this one equally, as we see the shoe on the other foot. Pickle and Bree being the ones to not follow the rules, and to suffer the consequences. I loved this opposite take on the traditional way of imparting the story, which usually has the main character doing every right, and pointing out what others are doing wrong. This really encourages children to examine their own behaviour, its impact on others and how to adjust according.
As per usual, we conclude with Pickle and Bree's Guide To Good Deeds, where we learn five reasons why rules are there to be followed, and the consequences when they are ignored.
Another fantastic book, Alison and Mikki,
I give it 5 stars also!
Now, a little bit more about Alison. The way we met was through her generosity of spirit, and her desire to create an event for aspiring writers to meet the super star publishers of Australia.
Will you tell us a little about KidlitVic?
I love Melbourne and firmly believe that as a UNESCO City of Literature we needed an event in Melbourne where writers and illustrators of children’s and YA literature could meet with publishers. KidLitVic Meet the Publishers was established giving new, emerging and established writers and illustrators the opportunity to meet and hear from industry professionals about publishing children's and YA books in the current Australian market.
This year we are extremely proud to have 20 publishing professionals attending. With discussion panels of industry experts, the opportunity for a fifteen minute one-on-one manuscript or illustrator portfolio assessment with one of Australia's leading publishers, writing and illustration workshops and the chance to network with other creators, KidLitVic 2017 will kick-start, build, reinvigorate and strengthen your creative career.
For information head on over to Kid Lit Vic This year is completely sold out now, but I highly encourage anyone interested in gaining a foot into the Australian publishing industry, to check it out for next year.
NOW FOR THE INCREDIBLE PRIZES!!!
Just leave a comment on any of the posts in the blog tour, comment on facebook or twitter or even email firstname.lastname@example.org to win a copy of The Playground Meanies or The Big Snow Adventure.
JUMP THE SLUSH PILE IS BACK!
Win an opportunity for a children’s editor at The Five Mile Press to look at your picture book submission (strictly 500 words or less). Just comment on any of the posts in the blog tour and add initials JSP.
Win a free picture book assessment by the author Alison Reynolds. Just comment on any of the posts in the blog tour and add the initials PB.
Remember the more you comment, the more chances you have to win.
TEDDY BEAR CONTEST FOR ALL AGES!
Win a print of Mikki Butterley’s fabulous artwork from one of these two books. Just send a photo or drawing of your favourite teddy to email@example.com or upload to https://www.facebook.com/alison.reynolds.524 or Twitter @AlisonReynoldsa
Competitions close March 24th and winners to be announced and contacted by March 31st.