Tiger Tales is an independent publisher of imaginative picture and novelty books for children seven and younger. Whether the story is funny, whimsical, sweet, or sensitive, Tiger Tales books are designed to entertain and educate.
We are pleased to announce that one of our E-Reviewers, Kristi from Kristi’s Book Nook, has put together two guides for Hands off My Honey! by Jane Chapman, illustrated by Tim Warnes—a Common Core State Standards Discussion and Activity Guide, and a Reading and Activity Guide, to add to our list of Teaching Guides. Kristi is among a group of folks who preview Tiger Tales titles each season and post their reviews. Thank you, Kristi, for sharing your work with us!
Post a comment on this blog or on the Tiger Tales Facebook page-www.facebook.com/tigertales-and you’ll be entered to win two copies of Hands off My Honey!-one copy to keep, and one to give to a teacher! We’ll draw the name on September 30, 2013.
Tiger Tales Books Teach by Guest Blogger Kristi from Kristi’s Book Nook
Tiger Tales Books share some of the most creative and fun stories any child would love. Tiger Tales books offer lively and colorful illustrations that teach children to recognize colors, shapes, letters, numbers, and even animals and objects. Some stories have snappy rhymes that allow the words to roll off the tongue, thereby creating a unique and fun reading experience. But that isn’t all these wonderful books can do. Parents and teachers will be impressed with how these books build knowledge and comprehension through application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.
What does this all mean? Stories all have a common thread. They put readers into situations where they have to recognize a character’s problem and see how it is solved. Readers will learn to identify motives and causes by compiling information and possibly coming up with their own alternative solutions. At the end of the story, readers can make judgments about what they’ve read and validate the idea of the ending and present their own opinion about the story. If you think this might be a bit much for your young reader, all you have to do is try it.
I put this theory to the test with one of my favorite Tiger Tales books by Jane Chapman, Hands off My Honey! If you look at the front and back covers, you can see the characters that will be found inside the pages. The images imply what the story could be about. Once inside the pages, readers will soon discover that the characters found on the back cover are plotting and planning to get the honey from the bear, and one is afraid. What the reader will have to figure out is whether or not the bear is scary or friendly. The front cover may give it away.
You may not realize it, but when you sit down to read one of these wonderful books from Tiger Tales, you are already asking your reader about the cover, the title, and what they think the story is about. As your child flips through the pages, he or she will have discovered the what, when, where, how, and why of the story. This can happen by just looking at the pictures. Soon, he or she will recognize and learn the words, too. The most important thing to remember is to just have fun and enjoy the story together.
Kelly Ramsdell Fineman, author of At the Boardwalk, joins tiger tales to discuss her experiences in writing the wonderful book.
I wrote the first draft of At the Boardwalk after a day spent in Ocean City, New Jersey. I've been going to Ocean City since I was a kid, both for family vacations and day trips. The poem I wrote was six stanzas long, and it arrived in full stanzas, like a gift. Much later, it grew into the text it is now, which was brought to life almost magically by Mónica Armiño, who captured in vivid detail what an American boardwalk looks and feels like. I've had readers tell me it reminds them of their favorite boardwalk, whether that means Coney Island, NY; Asbury Park, Ocean City, or Cape May, NJ; Rehoboth, Delaware; Ocean City, Maryland; or someplace far-off in California or Texas.
On September 29th of last year, I read At the Boardwalk to a near-capacity crowd at the Belmar Public Library, in Belmar, NJ. The audience was filled with kids who were used to going to their town's boardwalk, with its shops for ice cream, lemonade, and pizza. The Belmar boardwalk was only five blocks from the library.
Exactly 30 days later, on October 29th, Hurricane Sandy crashed into the New Jersey coast. At my house in New Jersey, which is at least an hour away from the ocean, we got a lot of wind and rain, though some neighbors had trees fall or lost power. But the coastline communities got hammered, with homes and businesses completely destroyed – including the boardwalks. In Ocean City, the storm only pulled up a few boards, but in Atlantic City the storm did significant damage to the boardwalk, and the boardwalks in northern New Jersey, including Seaside Heights (with its roller coaster dumped into the sea), Asbury Park, and Belmar were completely decimated.
The rebuilding and reopening of those boardwalks has been an inspiration and a joy to observe. On May 22nd of this year, I felt happy and particularly lucky to be invited to come back to Belmar, NJ, to read At the Boardwalk again—this time to the entire kindergarten class of Belmar Elementary School, who were sitting on the beach, just after New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, and Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty cut the big blue ribbon reopening the Belmar boardwalk. I'm so glad to know that so many kids will be able to spend this summer at the boardwalk.
tiger tales is celebrating the boardwalk with our kick-off Summer contest! Share your favorite boardwalk memory in a blog comment or on Facebook for your chance to win one of three copies of At the Boardwalk!
Rules & Regulations:
Must be a United States resident to enter.
Contest ends 6/20.
This blog post comes to us from Tilda Balsley, the author of the tiger tales Spring 2013 title, Soo's Boo-Boos!
Soo’s Boo-Boos was a story inspired by experience. The lotion, the sling, the magic kiss… Every mother, every father, every grandparent, has a bag of tricks “to make it feel better.” Thus my dedication to the two little girls who enjoy all those treats that take care of boo-boos (even the imagined ones). And of course, the little boys I love enjoy the bag of tricks as well, only their fancy strips are not hot pink.
The other experience that shaped this story came from my teaching days. Beads and pennies and bottle caps and base ten…counting up, counting back. It’s addition, it’s subtraction and it’s grasping basic number sense. So, I wondered, could a child have ten boo-boos at one time? Why not? It may get a little silly, but children love silliness. Any alarm over so many boo-boos? It won’t last long. I rarely envision a plot so completely before the writing of it. Soo comes up with her ten boo-boos . Mom takes them away one by one.
This one seemed to call for rhyme. For a young audience, it’s a learning advantage, a pre-reading skill. But once again, it’s the fun of it that makes the case for rhyme—for me as a writer, as well as for children. Writing a rhyming story is like solving a puzzle.
The parts that have to fit together: the rhyming pair, the consistent rhythm, the natural speech pattern, the right meaning. When I solved the puzzle for one “boo-boo,” it was time to move to the next. But by the time I got back to 0, I was not ready to submit the story. The tweaking continued for quite a while. Writing is like that.
The other decisions had to do with the name of the child and the term for each of those little “hurts.” I couldn’t resist “boo-boo,” a great phonetic pairing with Soo. I graduated from high school in Korea—her name was a fun association for me.
Enter Shelagh McNicholas! Since I am not an illustrator, I got the thrill of seeing spunky Soo come alive. With her high-tops, fairy wings, and tutu over blue jean shorts, she was everything I had hoped for—the final piece of the puzzle - a contest!
Tell us - What special cures do you have for your children's boo-boos? Let us know in the blog comments or on Facebook and you'll be entered to win a copy of Soo's Boo-Boos!
Contest ends May 1 and the winner will be announced on May 2! Good luck!
One entry per person.
Must be a United States Resident.
Ask and you shall receive! At the request of tiger tales fans, we’re sitting down with authors and illustrators to give you a behind the scenes look at creating the perfect children’s book, tips and tricks and just a little splash of love. Tammi Salzano, author of the One Rainy Day series dished the details on being a children’s book author.
1. Why did you decide to become a children's book writer?
I have always loved reading and writing. In college, I took a course called Writing for Children, and I was hooked! By the end of the class, I didn't have much more than a folder full of book ideas, story starters, and half-finished manuscripts, but I realized how much I looked forward to the class and, yes, even the homework. But even more, I realized how excited I was at the thought of one of my stories becoming an actual book in the hands of a young reader.
2. What is so special about children's books?
One thing I love most about children's books is that they can be enjoyed by everyone--not just children. I know that when I'm reading with my own children, I'm enjoying the wordplay and illustrations just as much as they are! It's also so special for me to hear my kids read books to me--especially my daughter, who's just learning to read.
3. What's your method for writing a book?
Before I actually sit down to write a story, I loosely plan it out in my head. For me, there's nothing more intimidating than sitting down at the computer, knowing I have a writing assignment to complete, but having absolutely no idea where to begin. Sometimes I'll write out notes and the first draft on paper; other times, I'll hit the computer right away and type it out. Once I have a first draft (okay, usually as I'm writing the first draft), I revise. And revise. And revise! There are times when I need to put my work away for a day or two (or seven) and then come back to it because I just can't make it sound the way I want. Most of the time, I have a general idea of how I want the story to end, too, so I find myself working from the end as well as the beginning.
4. What tips and tricks do you have for aspiring children's book authors?
Read children's books to get an idea of the many ways to tell a story. Play with different types of writing--prose, poetry, and such. Take a writing class (or several!). Write about topics that interest and excite you. Write as often as you can, even if it's just a few notes every day. Know your audience--be sure the language and concepts are age-appropriate. Stay positive! It's so easy for me to get discouraged when I can't get a publisher to accept a manuscript. Most importantly, HAVE FUN with your writing!
Children’s books aren’t just about words on a page. They are about inspiring creativity. We are always excited when we see arts and crafts inspired by tiger tales books because no two are the same. Each family, child or teacher that invents a craft project always comes up with something new.
We asked the tiger tales fans to send in their favorite tiger tales-inspired crafts. In what we hope will be an ongoing series on our site, we will feature the very best of these crafts for everyone to see and try out themselves!
The first activity or craft comes from Shannon at http://lettersnumbersandbooksohmy.blogspot.com. Inspired by Five Little Pumpkins, Shannon and her family invented Pumpkin Bowling! It’s simple and her daughters love to play it! See how here.
If you’re ready to get a little messy, Charlene from Adventures in Mommy-Land dived into a paint and paper-filled art project inspired by The Roly-Poly Egg. Click here to see how Charlene and her family made some roly-poly eggs and birds of their own!
We’ll feature more tiger tales-inspired crafts for you and your family to try. Do you have some of your own? Post your ideas on our Facebook page--www.facebook.com/tigertales.
We’ve had many requests to write about the authors and illustrators that work with tiger tales. First, we interviewed Stephanie Shaw, a new tiger tales author, and now we’d like to introduce you to the familiar, Hannah Wood, illustrator of tiger tales’ “One Day” series, who was kind enough to take some time to answer our questions all the way from England!
Q: Hannah, what do you think makes your illustrations so special?
A: I always endeavor to make my images bright, soft and sweet or endearing. My aim is to make a child smile when he or she sees it—it’s the best reaction an illustrator can hope for. Characters are instantly recognizable, to the extent that if they could leap from the page a child would instantly want to cuddle with them.
Q: How do you create your illustrations?
A: I use pastels, then work on the illustrations digitally. This means you have the softness of the pastels but can enhance and build on the colors on the computer. Acrylic is my favorite medium, with that you can lay down intense color and add texture, and the colors are bright—my recurring theme!
Q: Do you have any advice you’d offer to young illustrators?
A: My advice would be to practice and draw subjects that you enjoy and that “speak” to you. If you can’t draw flowers, don’t spend years trying to perfect them—it will only serve to make you frustrated! And if things don’t work the first time put them aside and come back later with fresh eyes. But most of all enjoy the task because that will show in your work and make it more appealing to others.
In the publishing industry, there are many who consider it infinitely more difficult to write a children’s book than to write a book for adults. With word restrictions and age specifications, there is a lot that must be compressed. With the right combination of uniqueness, wording and imagery, magic can happen.
Finding what we call a “magic manuscript” is like finding gold. We read through every manuscript, from start to finish, and there’s no more exciting feeling than finding that special something. Frequently we have to go through hundreds of manuscripts to find just the right one. Metaphorically, the stars and the planets align and poof! there it is.
Many of our fans send in manuscripts and we enjoy reviewing all of them. Following a rejection, many wonder—what didn’t my story have? Why didn’t it fit? In most cases, the manuscripts we read are wonderful and while we’d love to publish every story of merit, the tiger tales list simply can’t support them all. Like most publishers, tiger tales has its own unique character and personality, much like the children and families it serves.
Don’t be discouraged if your manuscript was rejected. We firmly stand behind the mantra, “If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.” There is inspiration in every day experiences, especially the ones you don’t expect. So be inspired, and write about it!
When we read Stephanie Shaw’s manuscript for the first time, we knew we had found something special. The children’s book author’s use of rhyme and imagery warmed our hearts and made us smile. Her book, Bedtime in the Meadow, is her first to be published. (And we consider ourselves lucky to have snagged her!) We wanted to get some insight from Stephanie about what it’s like to have moved from “aspiring author” to a soon-to-be “published author.”
Bedtime in the Meadow is a sweet story, a “lullaby type book” as Stephanie calls it. It’s about all the animals in the meadows snuggling into bed and trying to fall asleep. Stephanie wrote it because she felt it was absolutely “perfect for the nursery.”
We asked Stephanie what it feels like to have a manuscript accepted for publication for the first time. “I hope this doesn’t sound melodramatic,” she said, “but really it feels something akin to being told you are finally pregnant…and it’s news that I want to yell to the world (or at least everyone in my local coffee shop and bookstore).” And we here at tiger tales fully support shouting about books. We do it on a fairly regular basis.
We also asked Stephanie, having moved from “aspiring” to soon-to-be “published,” what advice she would give to the former category. Her biggest piece of advice is that you understand what you want to write. Stephanie suggests you “read as many children’s books in the genre you want to write” as you can. “My poor husband has to drag me out of the children’s book section of every library and store,” said Stephanie. She genuinely loves children’s books and makes it clear that she doesn’t care about fame and fortune.
We also asked Stephanie a question that we ask ourselves on a daily basis – What makes a children’s book really special? Stephanie shared this insight with us:
"I think the very special children’s book fulfills a need for the reader. Maybe it brings comfort or humor. Or maybe it satisfies a sense of curiosity and wonder. Maybe it solves a problem or describes perfectly the relationship between friends or family members. But, whatever need it fills, the book will stand reading over and over and over. I can’t imagine a better compliment for a book than to have a child say this single word at the end, 'Again!'"
We agree completely, Stephanie – welcome to tiger tales!
United Kingdom-based Paula Bowles finished up her second book for tiger tales, What Goes Up, in 2011. Fans may recognize her as the artist behind Scary Mary, the story of a chicken with temper tantrums. We spoke to Paula about her latest projects, being an artist, and what she loves about being an illustrator.
Paula studied Illustration at Falmouth College of Arts but says, “I’ve always enjoyed drawing ever since I could hold a pencil, I can’t think of a time when I didn’t like drawing!” So, why children’s books? Paula was inspired by the books that she read growing up, the classics that we all recognize – Maurice Sendak, Dr. Suess, the Little Bear books. But it wasn’t just the books she loved, she and her older brother would make up stories and create comics on their own, and she would illustrate the stories her parents told her at bedtime.
Paula shared a little bit about What Goes Up, which features a dragon named Martin who has a bit of trouble flying. “The village children teach [Martin] to practice, imagine, and believe!” It’s not only an important lesson for dragons, but for children everywhere. Paula played around with the story for a few years, starting with what she calls “some doodles of dragons.” What took it to the next level? “A friend suggested putting [Martin] in an unusual situation, so I tried him out on a small tricycle whizzing down a hill! It made me laugh, and I felt drawn to make a story about him,” explains Paula.
Bringing creatures to life is Paula’s favorite part of illustrating—from squawking chickens to clumsy dragons. Paula says, “It’s wonderful to see children enjoying looking at my pictures and ‘getting’ the little jokes I’ve put into the illustrations!”
Look for many more wonderful books from this talented illustrator in the coming years!
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