October 9 – Super Rooster Saves the Day Book Tour Stop

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About the Holiday

I’m always excited to join in on the book tour for a just-released picture book. There’s nothing like the sparkle in a child’s eyes when they discover a new favorite at the bookstore or library. Today, I’m happy to be featuring a book that will definitely bring on the giggles and have kids kicking up their heels!

Thanks to Blue Slip Media and Two Lions for sending me Super Rooster Saves the Day for review consideration. All opinions are my own.

Super Rooster Saves the Day

Written by Maureen Wright | Illustrated by Rob McClurkan

 

Superheroes were Ralph the rooster’s…well…heroes, and he wanted to be just like them. He already had many of the prerequisites. He could make the sun rise (on nice days), he had a cape (one he shared with the farmer), he could fly (sort of), and “he could make himself invisible…if he pretended he was a weather vane.” But the other animals on the farm were skeptical. All except his best friend Rosie the pig.

There was one major problem. Life on the farm was pretty boring, and no superhero was ever needed. That is until one day when Ralph heard the chicken dance blasting from the radio. He immediately got to his feet with a “cheep-cheep-cheep! / flap-flap-flap! / wiggle-wiggle-wiggle, / and a clap-clap-clap!” Suddenly, he was surging with super powers that helped him leap off the barn roof and “‘fly faster than a speeding pullet.’”

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Image copyright Rob McClurkan, 2020, text copyright Maureen Wright, 2020. Courtesy of Two Lions.

He and Rosie were ready to be heroes. It didn’t take long for them to find a tree ablaze in yellow and orange. Ralph summoned his powers with a “cheep-cheep-cheep! / flap-flap-flap! / wiggle-wiggle-wiggle, / and a clap-clap-clap!” grabbed buckets of water and…helped that autumn tree grow? Next, they saw some confused geese flying south when they should have been flying north. It was going to be winter, after all. He leaped into the air and turned them around. It was only when he came back to earth that Ralph learned his mistake.

In search of another task, Ralph noticed large green balls falling from a tree. Once again he cheeped, flapped, wiggled, and clapped, and with a baseball bat sent those balls flying. But what would the squirrels do now that Ralph had sent their winter food far away? the animals asked. Ralph thought it was good that he’d “‘shared those walnuts with the hungry squirrels who live far away from here.’” All this saving-the-day stuff had left Ralph and Rosie hungry. They rushed over to the corn field only to find a flock of crows nibbling to their hearts’ content.

Ralph did his dance and “zoomed around the cornfield, but there were just too many crows to chase away.” The other animals realized that Ralph needed help. At Rosie’s urging, they all did the chicken dance. The crows were so “shocked to see the dancing animals” that Ralph had no trouble scaring them away. That night the animals celebrated Ralph’s awesome powers with a dance party in the barn while Ralph thanked his friends for their help—especially his sidekick, Rosie.

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Image copyright Rob McClurkan, 2020, text copyright Maureen Wright, 2020. Courtesy of Two Lions.

Maureen Wright’s super silly story is just the antidote for these indoor days. Full of puns and plays on superhero tropes, the story’s highlighted chicken dance—prefaced with a trippingly fun-to-say phrase—will have kids on their feet, cheeping, flapping, wiggling, and clapping during each rollicking read aloud. Ralph’s well-meaning rescues will have kids giggling as they, like Ralph’s farm-animal friends, will be in on the joke of each mistake from the beginning. The triumphant ending shows what true friendship is all about—and will spark a dance party with the whole family.

As Ralph the rooster finds his superpower muse in the chicken dance, kids will laugh out loud at Rob McClurkan’s depictions of Ralph wiggling his tail feathers in time with the music and instantly being zapped with “POW! WOW!” powers. As Ralph blithely goes about “saving the day,” the facial expressions and reactions of the other animals heightens the humor. Bold comic book-style panels accentuate each step of the chicken dance whenever Ralph calls upon his superpower, giving kids a bit more encouragement to join in.

A super fun book to share for boisterous, let-loose story times at home or during virtual or in-person read alouds, Super Rooster Saves the Day is a lighthearted story with lots of heart that would be a often-asked-for addition to home, school, and public library collections.

Ages 4 – 8

Two Lions, 2020 | ISBN 978-1542007788

Maureen Wright is the author of a number of popular picture books, including Sleep, Big Bear, Sleep!, Sneeze, Big Bear, Sneeze!, and Share, Big Bear, Share!, all illustrated by Will Hillenbrand; the Amazon bestseller Sneezy the Snowman, illustrated by Stephen Gilpin; and Anna and the Tooth Fairy, illustrated by Anna Chernyshova. She lives with her husband, Don, in Athens, Pennsylvania. Learn more about Maureen Wright on her website. 

Rob McClurkan is the author and illustrator of Aw, Nuts! and Playdates Rule! and has also illustrated a number of books, including Tough Tug by Margaret Read MacDonald and Sloth to the Rescue by Leanne Shirtliffe. He grew up in Tennessee, where his grandparents’ farm, Saturday morning cartoons, and the Sunday funnies fueled his imagination. Now he lives with family near Atlanta, Georgia.

You can connect with Rob on

His Website| Instagram | Twitter 

Super Rooster Saves the Day Book Tour Activity

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A Super Chicken

 

A long-handled wooden turner makes a super decoration for your room or kitchen—and a great partner for all of your chicken-dance fun!

Supplies

  • Printable Comb and Scarf Template
  • Long-handled wooded turner, available in kitchen supply stores
  • Red felt
  • Yellow bake-able clay
  • Fabric, 12 inches square
  • A small piece of white felt or fleece (optional)
  • White paint (or any color you would like)
  • Black marker
  • Fabric glue
  • Glue gun
  • Paint brush

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Directions

  1. Paint the wooden turner, let dry
  2. Cut the scarf from the piece of fabric
  3. Make a beak from the yellow clay and bake it according to package directions

To make the comb

  1. Cut out the comb from the red felt
  2. Fold the felt in half and glue the end together with the fabric glue
  3. Cut short strips from the folded top of the felt, about ½-inch to ¾ -inch in length
  4. Round the corners of the strips slightly

To make the scarf

  1. Fold the fabric in half
  2. With the long, straight edge of the scarf template along the fold, cut out the scarf
  3. With the fabric glue, glue the two sides of the scarf together so that you have two “right” sides
  4. Let dry

To assemble the chicken

  1. Pinch the bottom of the comb together so that the strips open and the felt pleats a little
  2. With the glue gun attach the comb to the back of the painted turner, keeping the bottom pinched together
  3. Attach the beak to the front of the turner
  4. Draw eyes on the chicken with the black marker
  5. Tie the scarf around the neck of the handle, hold in place with a drop of glue in the back if necessary
  6. To make tail feathers in a turner with a hole in the handle, pinch together a small folded piece of white felt or fleece and push it through the hole in the handle of the turner.
  7. Cut or arrange to look like feathers

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You can find Super Rooster Saves the Day at these booksellers

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million

To support your local independent bookstore, order from

Bookshop | IndieBound

Picture Book Review

March 2 – Read Across America Day

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About the Holiday

Today’s holiday, established by the National Education Association in 1997, encourages children all across the country to celebrate reading and all of its joys and benefits. To commemorate the day, authors, illustrators, politicians, athletes, librarians, and families hold special reading events in schools, libraries, bookstores, and community centers. A love of reading is one of life’s greatest pleasures and begun early can be a powerful force for future success. Celebrate today by reading with a child or on your own. There are fabulous worlds and stories waiting to be discovered.

Tough Tug

Written by Margaret Read MacDonald | Illustrated by Rob McClurkan

 

In a shipyard in Anacortes, Washington, a new tugboat is being built. He watches every weld and rivet and tells the workers to make him strong “so big waves can’t break me!” Tough Tug is happy to see that he’s being painted red—his favorite color. When he’s all finished, Tough Tug is launched into the sea, where the older tugs are waiting to welcome him. “‘Hooray! I’m floating! This is fun!’” Tough Tug says. He can’t wait to show what he can do.

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Image copyright Rob McClurkan, 2018, text copyright Margaret Read MacDonald, 2018. Courtesy of Two Lions.

But going forward is a little tricky, and there’s so much to look out for when reversing. Speeding is fun, but in a minute, the little tug is shouting “‘Oh, no! Oh, no!…can’t stop!’” The older tugs are watching all this with dismay. “‘Little tugs need to know how to STOP!’” Arctic Tug says. Tough Tug apologizes but can’t help showing off—just a little bit—his agility and the way he can “swirl and twirl” this way and that.

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Image copyright Rob McClurkan, 2018, text copyright Margaret Read MacDonald, 2018. Courtesy of Two Lions.

The other tugs are not impressed. They tell Tough Tug that his only job is to push and pull. He should practice THAT, they advise him. Soon Tough Tug is needed to take a Barge to Alaska. Even though the Barge is heavy, Tough Tug is up to the task. In fact, he’s so sure of his abilities that he wants to race Arctic Tug and his barge all the way to Sitka. It doesn’t matter that Arctic Tug has a head start or is bigger, Tough Tug knows he can catch up and win.

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Image copyright Rob McClurkan, 2018, text copyright Margaret Read MacDonald, 2018. Courtesy of Two Lions.

Arctic Tug smiles and pulls away in a spray of ocean foam. When Tough Tug pulls up to the pier in Sitka, where Arctic Tug is waiting, he acknowledges defeat, but challenges the older tug to continue the race across the open sea to Anchorage. Tough Tug is met by high, rough waves, cold wind, and darkness, but he’s “‘not worried. I’m Tough Tug,’” he tells himself.

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Image copyright Rob McClurkan, 2018, text copyright Margaret Read MacDonald, 2018. Courtesy of Two Lions.

Suddenly in the stormy gray clouds, Tough Tug sees Arctic Tug’s puffy steam clouds spelling out S-O-S. Tough Tug knows just what to do. He leaves Barge and heads for where Arctic Tug is stranded with no power. He throws out his tow rope and begins to pull. It’s hard work pulling Arctic Tug and Arctic Tug’s Barge while keeping his course in such heavy seas, but he knows he can do it.

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Image copyright Rob McClurkan, 2018, text copyright Margaret Read MacDonald, 2018. Courtesy of Two Lions.

They get to port “safe and sound,” and when Arctic Tug thanks him, Tough Tug just smiles and says, “‘No problem, Arctic Tug! A tugboat helps its friends!’” Still, Tough Tug isn’t finished for the day. He must go back and retrieve his own Barge still out at sea. With grit and determination, Tough Tug pulls his Barge through the high waves all the way to Anchorage. With the Barge safely in port, it’s time for Tough Tug, Arctic Tug, and the other tugs to “Rock and Rest. Rock and Rest” because tomorrow they’ll be needed again.

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Image copyright Rob McClurkan, 2018, text copyright Margaret Read MacDonald, 2018. Courtesy of Two Lions.

Kids fascinated by boats and the sea will find lots to love in Margaret Read MacDonald’s rollicking ocean adventure. From the time he’s welded and riveted in the shipyard, Tough Tug has a can-do attitude that little ones will appreciate. He loves his color, his name, and his special abilities. Although his skills need practice and are a bit haphazard at first, just like children, Tough Tug learns to do his job well and puts games aside when he’s needed most. As Tough Tug rescues Arctic Tug, readers will cheer his bravery and perseverance. MacDonald’s straightforward text and first-person dialog from Tough Tug emphasizes the little boat’s self-confidence, willingness to learn, and readiness to help, making him a positive role-model for kids. Three-word action phrases sprinkled throughout describe the motions and duties of tugboats.

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Rob McClurkan knows that kids love to see how things work and starts the story with a sneak peek into the process of building a tug. In the shipyard, workers—tiny in comparison to Tough Tug—rivet and weld metal plates over an iron framework. In the next spread, Tough Tug is painted, and with a flip of the page, he is launched from a ramp into the sea. McClurken’s cartoon tugs—the older ones sporting mustaches—have expressive faces that register their happiness, fear, annoyance, and acceptance in ways that children will understand and which offer opportunities for discussion. The dark storm that whips the sea into high waves provides just the right amount of suspenseful peril, and as Tough Tug is accepted into the group of older, more experienced tugs, the storm abates and the sun comes out to shine.

Tough Tug would be a welcome book for young readers navigating new places or experiences and for those excited by boats and vehicles at home and in classrooms.

Ages 3 – 7

Two Lions, 2018 | ISBN 978-1503950986

Two Lions sent me a copy of Tough Tug to check out. All opinions are my own.

Discover more about Margaret Read MacDonald and her many books on her website.

To learn more about Rob McClurkan, his books and his art, visit his website.

Run and Race to watch this Tough Tug book trailer!

Read Across America Day Activity

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Tugs to the Rescue! Matching Puzzle

 

The ships below need pulling to their destination. Can you match each tug to its ship in this printable Tugs to the Rescue! Matching Puzzle?

 

Picture Book Review