Friday, October 12, 2012

Perfect Picture Book Friday - A Warm Winter Tail

Welcome to Perfect Picture Book Friday! I hope this post will be a help to those who love picture books and want to share them with their own children or those they teach.

Today’s book is by fellow Michigan-SCBWI member and writing friend, Carrie A. Pearson. After my introduction, I have a Q/A with Carrie and will announce the winner of her blog tour giveaway.


Written by: Carrie A. Pearson
Illustrated by: Christina Wald

Sylvan Dell Publishing 2012
Non-fiction for ages 3 to 8

Themes: compare/contrast, migration/hibernation, animals

Opening and brief synopsis:
How do humans keep warm in the winter, Mama?
Do they wrap their tails tight
‘round their bodies just right
as heaters to chase out the chill?

From the jacket flap:  Do you ever wonder how animals stay warm in the winter? Well they wonder how humans do too! In a twist of perspective, wild creatures question if humans use the same winter adaptation strategies that they do. Do they cuddle together in a tree or fly south to Mexico? Take a look through an animal's eyes and discover the interesting ways that animals cope with the cold winter months throughout this rhythmic story.

Why I like this book:
I love the word choices Carrie uses in each refrain. The different animals come to life as they compare what they see as human characteristics to their own. The illustrations are so realistic and really add to the book.

This book is a resource all on its own. The back four pages contain an entire educational section with fun facts, activities and more.
The Sylvan Dell book site showcases the book trailer and even more resources.

Now some time with Carrie!
1. A Warm Winter Tail is your picture book debut. Congratulations! How long did the process from idea to publication take for you?
Thank you! The idea came to me in the long cold winter of 2008. I wrote, revised, wrote, revised and submitted to Sylvan Dell in April 2010. They bought the book in May 2011 and began working on it immediately. The fact that the book is on the shelves now is warp speed in the publishing world!

2. Did you always intend for the book to be non-fiction or did you consider a fictional story?
I've always considered this to be a fictional story because of the anthropomorphic qualities of the animals. But I wanted the adaptation strategies to be accurate and was careful with my research so this would be the case. The book has been fully vetted by people in the natural sciences through Sylvan Dell Publishing and I am happy to say there was only one minor change to make as a result of their review.

3. I read in the author bio in the book that your idea started with an encounter with a whitetail deer. How did you pick the other animals found in the book?
I chose each animal to represent a different adaptation strategy. For instance, gray squirrels' adaptation is to snuggle together in dreys (nests) and borrow the body heat of another to stay warm. I hoped that the images created by my words and Christina's amazing art would resonate with readers and live in their memories after the book had been read.

4. A follow-up. You live in the beautiful Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Are many of the animals found there?
Yes, all of the animals in the book live in the Upper Peninsula and most in the woods near my back door. I am incredibly lucky: I see one whitetail deer a week on average (usually more), hear coyotes howl (which freaks out my dogs!), see bear droppings on the trail (yikes), and even watched a mama and baby moose swim across a pond last spring. The woods are a busy place!

5. Do you have any future projects you're working on?
I'm working on a companion title about how animals stay cool in the summer (equally fascinating and even less written about this topic). I've written a MG historical novel that I am querying now and have several picture book manuscripts in various stages of development. I have more ideas than I can ever hope to finish! Blurbs about my manuscripts can be found on my website at

Thank you, Carrie, for sharing with us! Now I'm happy to announce the winner of a signed copy of A Warm Winter Tail and a stuffed animal featured in the book.  The winner is


Congratulations!  Please email Carrie at carrieapear (at) aol (dot) com for details on receiving your prize.

Last but not least, be sure to stop at Debra Diesen's blog on Monday, October 15th for the final interview of the blog tour.

Perfect Picture Book Friday is a wonderful idea started by Susanna Leonard Hill. For other “Just Right” books, visit her blog.