Thursday, 16 February 2017

Blog Tour: Pickle and Bree by Alison Reynolds + a Critique Giveaway and a Slush Pile pass!!!!



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.

 

 

 


 I was fortunate to be commissioned to write this series. The publisher sent me an illustration of Pickle and Bree and asked, “Would you like to work with these characters?” I said “YES”. Previously, they had mentioned the possibility of me doing a series on manners for 4 – 8 years. I’ve already written quite a few series on manners. This is not something that I ever would have thought would become a bit of a speciality, but I actually do think manners help create a gentler, nicer world.
 

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.


My Review:

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. Great for ages 4-8.
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.

 MY REVIEW:

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!!!

 

BOOK GIVEWAYS!


Just leave a comment on any of the posts in the blog tour, comment on facebook or twitter or even email alrey@msn.com.au 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.
OR
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 alrey@msn.com.au 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.

   Thank you so much for joining us Alison and I am looking forward so much for the release of your new books.

Be sure to stop by her website.

 Alison Reynolds

 

71 comments:

  1. Love the title of the Playground Meanies and congrats again Alison :) JSP

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It took a great deal of deliberation before we settled on this. So glad it works for you,Heather.

      Delete
  2. Jsp - Interesting to hear about how the stories about Pickle and Bree take shape!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Beatiful artwork and interesting stories! I would live to read Playground Meanies to see how Pickle and Bree deal with the bullies! JSP

      Delete
    2. Tjej, so happy you enjoyed the background. It's fascinating for me to work out where the ideas did come from.

      Delete
    3. The artwork is gorgeous. Life is so easy when you have a talented illustrator like Mikki Butterley.

      Delete
  3. Thanks for sharing! I always love hearing the "story behind the story." JSP

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks for sharing these stories about Pickle and Bree and how they came about. Inspiration comes in all shapes and sizes! JSP

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It does Book Munchkin. I adore your name.

      Delete
  5. Thanks for sharing and thank you Allison for generously wanting to help out aspiring authors. KidLitVic sounds wonderful - I wish I lived in Melbourne!! JSP

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Miscelleni. Maybe you'll be down Melbourne way one day. We would love see you KidLitVic.

      Delete
  6. I agree that manners make a kinder world - and in this rapid-fire age, they seem to get lost in the rush - what a great idea to have a series about this (JSP)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The publisher thought there was room for a series on this. And I agree. Manners do make world nicer place Think it is all about respecting others.

      Delete
  7. My series started with artwork before words as well! I'm in love with this style of illustration and want to win it all! JSP PB

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh snap, Sarah. It is fascinating what emerges when you have an illo. Of the main characters. What is your series about?

      Delete
  8. Congratulation on such wonderful little picture books! They look like the perfect additions for any household with school age kiddos. Thanks for sharing! JSP

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Amber. I'm really excited by how they turned out. It was a total team effort with the editor, the illustrator and me!

      Delete
  9. Oh how delightful these books sound! I wish you much successs on your writing endeavors! JSP

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for your good wishes Kelly!

      Delete
  10. Thanks for showing us how to inspire kids in a non-didactic way. JSP

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Freda. I worked really hard to try and achieve this.

      Delete
  11. These look great! Thanks for sharing :) JSP

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hope you enjoyed reading about Pickle and Bree Rosie!

      Delete
  12. Love the "Guide to Good Deeds." Important for children and adults!!!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Love the Guide to Good Deeds! Important for children and adults! (JSP)

    ReplyDelete
  14. These look amazing! I love books on manners because they're always relevant to all ages. (JSP)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are so right Jennifer. Manners matter at all ages!

      Delete
  15. JSP - What a great interview to finish the tour. I love all the bits and pieces of fabulous info that I read in every day's posts. Congratulations Alison! And you are an awesome reviewer, Julie! Can't wait to read the next Pickle and Bree books.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Kaye. Julie asks the best questions!

      Delete
  16. How fun! Thanks for sharing and congratulations! JSP

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Angie it is so much fun writing about Pickle and Bree.

      Delete
  17. Alison, I agree that the importance of each word plays a crucial role in picture book making. Each word has to be carefully chosen so that it is both effective, yet understandable to a small child. PB

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't it fascinating, Lynette how changing one word can change whole feeling of a pb.

      Delete
  18. Thank you for highlighting manners! I think it's so important to reinforce simple 'please' and 'thank yous' these days. And to write thank you cards!!! Can't wait to read these two books.

    And thanks for sharing your KidLitVic story. I had no idea how it came about. I hope to meet you both in May...I'll be there:) JSP

    ReplyDelete
    Replies


    1. Oh I am such a fan of thank you cards. At least you know the present arrived. And see you at KidLitVic. I can't wait!!!!

      Delete
  19. Some fantastic looking titles! JSP

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I adore the covers. Mikki Butterley is so talented.

      Delete
  20. Books written on these subjects are so important right now. JSP

    ReplyDelete
  21. Books on these subjects are so important. JSP

    ReplyDelete
  22. What an inspiring story! Thank you. JSP

    ReplyDelete
  23. Thanks Darlene. I feel privileged that my job is my passion.

    ReplyDelete
  24. What fun! Congratulations 😊 JSP

    ReplyDelete
  25. I love that you are tackling bullying in a kid friendly way. This representation is so important and as a parent of a daughter that was severely bullied, I appreciate it.
    JSP

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Zaraphel. I tried to make children think what bullying actually is and that nobody should feel as if they aren't good enough just how they are.

      Delete
  26. Picture books are such a fabulous medium to address bullying, manners, compassion and any sensitive issues with children. They sound fabulous, well done Alison! Thanks for sharing Julie xo And looking forward to KidLitVic (only 3 months, 2 aeroplanes, and 2 taxi rides away!) JSP

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kris! Thanks for kind words. You may be the most well travelled person to arrive at KidLitVic. Can't you fit a train, tram and bus into your itinerary as well?

      Delete
  27. I know I missed the giveaway- but these books look fantastic. I love the covers and the reviews made me want to read them! Such important topics. Thanks for sharing!
    ~Jess

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jess, I love it when you stop by. Thanks so much and you haven't missed the giveaway!!!! I hope you stop back and let us know what you want to enter, Slush Pile Pass, Critique, Book or Artwork giveaway.

      Delete
    2. Jess, like Jules said, still time for the giveaway. I adore Mikki Butterley's wonderful covers. I'm so lucky to be paired with such a talented illustrator.

      Delete
  28. Hi Alison. I love your Pickle and Bree series and I can't wait to get my hands on these two. See you at KidLitVic in May. JSP

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Megan. I love writing about Pickle and Bree. See you in May!

      Delete
  29. JSP - I almost can't breathe at the thought of such an amazing and one off opportunity x

    ReplyDelete
  30. Great series Alison; have just been exploring with Jen Storer the issue of the older writer(like me) and whether publishers will think we have a series left in us before we shuffle off. I am just working on one book at a time but it must be great to see the concept of a series realised. Well done.JSP

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Never too old Paula! Isn't Jen Storer wonderful! It is fun working on a series, especially when you're fond of the main characters. I can't wait to write the next ones and see what they get up to next!

      Delete
  31. Thank you Julie, for this wonderful blog post about Alison Reynolds. I am a big fan of "A New Friend for Marmalade" and have shared it many times with the students at my primary school. I am very keen to read and share the "Pickle and Bree" series, as well as "The Playground Meanies" with my classes. Assisting our students in their social emotional learning is a major focus at our school at the moment and I can see that these books would be a wonderful asset to our lessons. My sister's name is Bree so I already have a soft spot for the P & B series! I will speak to our English leader about these fantastic books and aim to order them in for our school in the near future. Thank you again, Kym.
    JSP.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh so nice to learn there that hopefully we're on the right track trying to focus on social emotional learning. And glad you liked Marmalade. I love that particular cat. Thank you for being so supportive Kym!

      Delete
  32. I had an epiphany the other day (like the time last year when I learnt that if you add two odd numbers you always end up with an even number - I missed a lot of school growing up). Any way I was helping my daughter tidy away her books - of which there are many - and we of course ended up reading two of her favourites which just happen to be 'A new friend for Marmalade' and 'A year with Marmalade'. They were part of her Christmas present. And it suddenly occurred to me, midway through Marmalade being stuck up a tree, that the same fabulous Alison Reynolds who I saw briefly with a glitzy crown on her head at last year's KidLitVic is the same amazing Alison Reynolds that wrote about Marmalade!!!!! So if you read this Alison Thank you from my daughter and thank you from me. We love your books and I love that you do so much work behind the scenes to help others achieve their dreams.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Laughing about the number ephiphany. I'm still experiencing number ones too. I'm sure we could have been taught maths in a more interesting way!
      And so nice to meet Marmalade fans. I adore Heath McKenzie's illustrations. I have the lucky illustrator magnet for the books I write. They always end up being such a collaboration with a fabulous illustrator. YOu are SO lucky being about to illustrate. It is such a gift!

      Delete
  33. Wow, I am even more excited to benfoing to KidLitVic after reading this. I also jave a lottle sensistive fella starting school next year so will be keen to add these to our library. Thanks for sharing! (JSP).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Zoe! Sensitive little fellas need to be nurtured. I'm all for fostering gentle souls in this world. See you in May!

      Delete
  34. These look like gorgeous books, I have two sons who will certainly relate to the lessons in them. We are often talking about bullying and manners. The illustrations are just gorgeous. Also, thank you Alison for the hard work you've put into Meet the Publishers, I'm booked in and really looking forward to it.
    JSP

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your lovely words, Pamela! Mikki Butterley is an amazing illustrator. I adore them.
      I'm a huge fan of books about bullying and manners myself. Makes the world turn a little easier.

      Delete