''Charlotte the Scientist is Squished" book review


 Happy happy book birthday to Charlotte the Scientist is Squished, written by Camille Andros and illustrated by Brianne Farley.  I have been waiting for this book to come out since last year when I got a sneak peek at the manuscript and a few sketches.  I met the author, Camille, at a conference and as soon as she told me about her book, I was intrigued.   I begged to see the manuscript and she showed me a little sketched out dummy with the beautiful initial sketches  Brianne had done.  I fell in love with the book immediately and connected with it on a very personal level.

The book is about a "serious scientist"  bunny named Charlotte who has a problem and uses the
scientific method to solve it.  Her problem?  Not enough space. As you can imagine, a bunny hovel would get quite crowded  as they are known to have large families.  Charlotte's bunny family is no different.  She has 13 brothers and sisters and two parents who share everything from the dinner table to the bathtub to the bathroom.  So to prevent further breakage of her beakers, and spelling of her specimens, Charlotte uses the steps of the scientific method to get more space. Step one: ask a question. Step two: form a hypothesis.  Step three: test the hypothesis.  Step four: Make and record observations.  And finally, step five: form a conclusion. Adorable, relatable Charlotte doesn't solve her problem right away, but eventually figures out a great solution and comes to the perfect  conclusion.

My own little chalkboard doodle

Growing up in a large family myself, with six brothers and two sisters and two parents,  I often felt like Charlotte. But I know even amongst my own four children,  finding themselves and their own personal space in a busy family can be a challenge.  The use of the scientific method to solve Charlotte's problem in this book does not seem the least bit forced or remotely like an added hook to sell a book.  It fits perfectly and  necessarily into the plotline, which makes it even more  magical while still being 100% fun and educational along the way.
Much like the dinner table when I was growing up.


 The illustrations are imaginative, well designed, and full of fun things to look at.  Brianne never forgot to include all 13 siblings in the family scenes (Believe me, we illustrators sometimes accidentally leave a detailed out here or there  in the course of illustrating 32 pages).  The color palette is bright and engaging without being distracting. Her designs on the end papers are utter genius  and the mark of a truly great illustrator.  The fun she must of had illustrating this book clearly shows through in every spread.
end papers (each one is different)


I wish I had had this book to teach me about the scientific method before I ever started all the science fairs growing up or before I helped all of my own children through years of science projects.  I would've appreciated the method 10 million times more  and I think we would have all gotten much more out of our experience.

 So whether you're looking for a fun Easter book, and educational add on, or an adorable story for your collection, this is the book for you. Buy your copy HERE today or at your local bookseller.
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New Valentine Printables 2017

I finally created the valentines for you all for this year. I made one for those of you who are more in favor of the day, and one card for those of you who could do without but acquiesce for the sake of someone who DOES care. I hope you enjoy!

If these aren't to your liking or don't suit your needs, I have valentines from past years available under the printables tab above. OR CLICK HERE

Click on the image below and print on 8.5x11 cardstock, cut in half on dotted line and then fold and fill out the interior. Enjoy!!!

(for personal or classroom use only. not for resale or repurpose.)



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Writing for Charity

The Writing for Charity conference is like non-other. At this conference, all of the proceeds go directly to a charitable cause or organization. Each year, we try to choose a cause that helps promote literacy in some way. Literacy is the gateway to knowledge and to a better life and so many in this world do not have the means or resources to get through that gate.

All of the authors and presenters have donated their time and resources to present at this conference at a great inconvenience to themselves because they believe in the good the proceeds from this conference can do. It's a win win for you and for those in need. So read on and at least make a donation, even if you do not wish to register. Let's make the world a better place together.

Here's an official description of the conference...
WRITING FOR CHARITY is a day-long conference and workshop for writers of picture book, middle grade, or young adult manuscripts. Founded by New York Times best-selling author and Newbery Honor recipient Shannon Hale, the conference is coordinated by professional authors in Utah who want to give back to their community and their world.
The conference includes a day's worth of writing and publishing industry instruction, live manuscript critiques by published authors,a silent auction of everything from signed books to lunches with your favorite writers from Utah; and the knowledge that your dollars are going to get books into the hands of needy kids

ELEVENTH ANNUAL WRITING FOR CHARITY CONFERENCE

March 11, 2017

9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

815 College Dr. Orem, UT 84058
www.writingforcharity.org

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Conferences and Workshops

My biggest piece of advice to anyone wishing to further their work in the children's book industry, writing or illustrating, is to attend conferences and workshops on their craft. There are a few upcoming conferences and workshops in the Utah/Idaho area that I think are very beneficial to anyone from any area.  Here is the information...

“Book Covers Catch the Art Directors Eye”2017 SCBWI Utah Southern Idaho Illustrator’s Conference 

Saturday February 18th, 2017 

at the Sons of the Utah Pioneers Building in Salt Lake City


Registration: https://utahsouthidaho.scbwi.org/events/book-covers-catch-the-art-directors-eye-2017-scbwi-utah-southern-idaho-illustrators-conference/


ELEVENTH ANNUAL WRITING FOR CHARITY CONFERENCE

March 11, 2017

9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

815 College Dr. Orem, UT 84058

REGISTER HERE!

WRITING FOR CHARITY is a day-long conference and workshop for writers of picture book, middle grade, or young adult manuscripts. Founded by New York Times best-selling author and Newbery Honor recipient Shannon Hale, the conference is coordinated by professional authors in Utah who want to give back to their community and their world.

The conference includes a day's worth of writing and publishing industry instruction, live manuscript critiques by published authors,a silent auction of everything from signed books to lunches with your favorite writers from Utah; and the knowledge that your dollars are going to get books into the hands of needy kids.

9th Annual Idaho Conference on Youth and Children’s Literature and Writing Friday and Saturday April 21 and 22, 2017 at the Boise State University, Student Union in Boise, Idaho


And speaker information, schedule, and critique sign-up details are here: http://www.idcclw.com



AND FINALLY MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE ONE...

WRITING AND ILLUSTRATING FOR YOUNG READERS

June 12-16, 2017

I can't even describe how wonderful this intensive, instructive, impressive conference is. Go to www.wifyr.com to find out more about it. It's essentially 5 days of the best instruction for the best price by the best people you'll ever get. In addition, it's access to editors, agents and resources you'll have a hard time finding elsewhere. All the editors in NYC ask, "What's in the water in Utah?" Well I'll tell you what...THIS CONFERENCE!!!
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The Princess Twins Collection

Today, I was surprised to receive an advance author/illustrator copy of "The Princess Twins Collection" in the mail. I hadn't even realized, the publishers were combining the 4 books into 1 volume. But I think it is a fabulous idea and I was amazed that the price for the volume is only $12.99 for a hardcover, fully illustrated, full color 128 page book. Pretty good deal if you ask me. But more than that, I was pleasantly surprised to find all that artwork for all those books in one place. It made me feel oddly proud and accomplished to see it all together and realize what a load of work it was.

some of the artwork piled on my desk two years ago

Two years ago today, I finished and submitted the last of the final artwork to the publisher for the books. So it seems fitting that I receive from THEM the newest edition of that artwork in print on this very day.

the newest edition includes all 4 books in one volume.
Each book had 32 pages of illustrations, which are all included in this new volume. That's a lot of artwork. It was a long process and I admit I was done drawing and painting princesses by the end. But it certainly was fun to see my old friends again.

If you are interested in getting a copy for yourself, your local bookstore would be happy to get it in for you if you but ask. It is also available online at Amazon.com.


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Radio and Podcast Interviews

The past week, a few interviews I gave previously finally aired online and on the radio. I was so honored to be a part of these great programs.

INTERVIEW #1: On Connecting with kids through books

The first program is called "Worlds Awaiting," a wonderful show about Children's Literature put on by KBYU radio. I love listening to all their programs. Here's how their website describes the show...

"A weekly program for grownups who care about children, with topics that will help the rising generation discover literature and experience the world around them. Hosted by children's literature expert, Rachel Wadham, Education and Juvenile Literature Librarian at the BYU Library. Guests include authors, experts, teachers and parents. New episodes Saturdays at 1:30 pm Eastern."

The portion of my interview starts at 13:15. But listen to Kate DiCamillo's book recommendations at the beginning. They are wonderful. CLICK HERE for my interview on connecting with kids through my books.

INTERVIEW #2 : On Agents

The second interview I did a while ago, aired on the Stories Unbound podcast produced my my talented author/illustrator friend Shawna Tenney. She interviews so many people involved in the children's book industry and the podcast provides great information. This episode focuses on building your career, specifically regarding agents. I am honored to be featured on this podcast along with fellow illustrator Russ Cox and Penguin Random House, Executive Art Director Giuseppe Castellano. Shawna wraps it all up very well and everyone is able to provide some great insight into agents in the kid lit industry. Get a pen and paper handy. You'll want to take notes. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN.
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I'm a freelance illustrator working in the children's book industry. I love kids and raising my own 4 children. They are the inspiration and the passion behind all I do in art and in life. See my website at JulieOlsonbooks.com

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