Saturday, October 22, 2016

A WHAT ABOUT MOOSE? Jack-o-lantern!

I'm not such a big fan of Halloween. Though I did take my kids trick-or-treating in homemade costumes every year when they were younger, I've never really decorated my house or yard for the holiday. No skeletons hanging from the front porch. No cemetery or witches or fake corpses in the front yard.

But pumpkin carving is a fun and creative tradition this time of year, even for me. This year, I decided to create a Moose jack-o-lantern. A Moose-o-lantern!

In order to do that, I had to create a template. So, using the illustrations in WHAT ABOUT MOOSE? as a reference, I drew a simple Moose face. Then I did a google search to get an idea of how to make the drawing work as a template. I scanned the image, did some editing on, and--tada!--my Moose-o-lantern template was complete!

My husband convinced me to use one of those craft pumpkins so that I could keep my Moose-o-lantern forever. So, I reluctantly tried it, and ended up being happy with the result (though, sadly, craft pumpkins don't have any seeds to toast). I'm sure this template would work really well with a real pumpkin too, and might actually be easier to carve.

I think it turned out pretty darn cute, don't you?

If you would like to carve a Moose-o-lantern of your own, you can find the printable template by clicking the image below. Remember to carve out all the black sections. Happy carving!

Click to download template

Monday, October 03, 2016

An Acrostic for October

Because I love October so much, I thought I would dig back through the blog a few years and share this poem with you again. Happy October!

Overhead, the
Canopy of green
Turns to gold, breaks free
On autumn
Escaping before the cold winter

(c) Rebecca J. Gomez 2010

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Cuteness Overload! Two brothers read WHAT ABOUT MOOSE?

Several months ago my sister-in-law told me how much my two-year-old nephew Jude loved WHAT ABOUT MOOSE? He requested it all the time. In fact, it was one of three books that he insisted be included in his bedtime story rotation.

Indeed, he loved it so much and had heard it so many times, that he soon had it memorized. If you said one line from the book, he would say the next.

One day, my sister-in-law sent me a video of Jude and one of his older brothers reading WHAT ABOUT MOOSE? It was one of the cutest, sweetest things I had ever seen. And I'm not just saying that because they were my nephews and they were reading my book. From a completely objective standpoint, it was precious!

So I asked my sister-in-law if she would mind if I used bits of that video in a new trailer for the book.  Happily, she agreed.

If you follow me on social media, you may have seen this already. If not, sit back and prepare yourself for cuteness overload!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


ONE DAY IN THE EUCALYPTUS, EUCALYPTUS TREE, written by Daniel Bernstrom and illustrated by Brendan Wenzel, is the most brilliant, beautifully written (and illustrated!) book I have read in a long time. Once I began reading, I fell instantly in love with the fun, colorful, lyrical language. It feels like a poem or a song that happily bounces off the tongue!

Not only does this book sound and feel wonderful to read, but it is clever too. An original folk tale with a classic feel, it tells the story of a little boy, with a whirly twirly toy, who outwits a snake who has gobbled him up!

Wenzel's charming, detailed illustrations are the perfect complement to Bernstrom's delightful text. A perfectly beautiful book.

Friday, September 09, 2016


Does your child like ninjas? Does your child like active, snappy rhyme and bold, colorful illustrations? Then you and your child will have lots of fun with NINJA, NINJA, NEVER STOP!, written by Todd Tuell and illustrated by Tad Carpenter.

I first heard of this book at the public library when I went to read HENSEL AND GRETEL: NINJA CHICKS for a Ninja Story Time. The children's librarian started the fun with this short and snappy book, and I loved it so much that I had to check it out and bring it home so I could enjoy it again on my own.

The little ninja in this book enjoys sneaking around the house, avoiding detection and popping out when least expected. But when his little brother out-ninjas him...well, you'll just have to read it for yourself to see how it all works out.

A great book for active little ninjas!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016


It's fitting that my 41st birthday falls on a Tuesday.

I was thinking about my birthday earlier today, wondering what is so fun about 41. It doesn't have the excitement of 40. This decade is still young, but not really new any more. It's like a Tuesday. There isn't much to be excited about on a Tuesday. It doesn't have the newness of Monday or the excitement of Friday. It's just another day of the week.

And 41 is just another step closer to 50.

But it is a step that I happily take, because every birthday is a reason to celebrate. I may not get any black "over the hill" balloons, but I will get cake!

Also, it just so happens that today is the release day for Sharon Creech's new book, MOO. So there's that.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Tips for Writing Rhyme that Shines

One of the biggest challenges of writing in rhyme is finding rhymes that are not predictable and overused. But that is also what makes the best rhyming stories and poems!

Some examples of predictable rhymes:

Sun, fun, run
Sight, night, fright
Can, man, plan
Up, cup, pup
Hear, fear, near
See, me, tree, 
No, go, blow, so
Blue, true, new, do, you
Day, play
Out, about
High, sky

Avoiding the Predictable Rhyme Trap is essential for writers who want their rhyme to stand out. Anyone can think to rhyme sun with fun, or high with sky. No reader, upon seeing the word high paired with sky, would exclaim, "What originality!"

Your goal should be to impress your readers by choosing rhymes that will surprise them. Give them something unexpected!

One way to do that is by changing up the way you describe ordinary things. If you are writing about the sun, why not use a metaphor or other descriptor in place of "sun" in your writing? Or consider rearranging the words so that "sun" doesn't fall at the end of a line. 

Another option is to use the common word, like sun, but find a less predictable word with which to make your rhyme. Like in the example below:

I sizzled in the summer sun
'till hot and crispy--overdone!
My balding unprotected head
was now a perfect pepper-red.

A few other tips for writing rhyme that shines:

- Make up words! An example of a rhyming book with fun made up words that really work is Aaron Zenz's HICCUPOTAMUS. And Dr. Suess, of course, was a genius at making up words.

- Use multi-syllabic words. These rhymes are often more challenging to write, but they are more fun to read. Corey and I used a lot of multi-syllabic rhyming words in WHAT ABOUT MOOSE? 

- Don't force it. Even the most interesting, unique, perfectly rhyming words will harm rather than help your story if they don't truly fit the context. 

Of course, it isn't possible to avoid using predictable rhymes entirely. There are many times when the predictable rhyme is simply the best choice. This is why writing great rhyme is about more than the rhymes. Using clever, creative wording and literary devices such as alliteration and onomatopoeia throughout a rhyming piece will help it to stand out even on those occasions when the rhymes themselves may be ordinary. 

But ordinary, predictable rhymes should not be the norm. Strive for the unexpected!