hotTEAS of Children’s Literature: Linda Ashman

Linda Ashman is the author of more than thirty children’s books, as well as The Nuts & Bolts Guide to Writing Picture Books. Her books have been included in the “best of the year” lists of The New York Times, Parenting and Child magazines, the New York Public Library and more. She lives with her husband, son and two dogs in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.


☕ CUPPA OF CHOICE: I have straight up black coffee first thing in the morning. Then, around 11:30, I have a soy latte with some sort of treat (for the record, a pecan scone today). My sister Liz gave me this mug as a reminder of growing up in New Jersey, and my very first job—waitressing at Dunkin’ Donuts.

☕ HOT OFF THE PRESSES: Rock-a-Bye Romp, illustrated by Simona Mulazzani (Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin Random House, January 2016); Henry Wants More!, illustrated by Brooke Boynton Hughes (Penguin Random House, January 2016); All We Know, illustrated by Jane Dyer (HarperCollins, March 2016). Forthcoming: Hey, Coach!, illustrated by Kim Smith (Sterling, August 2016).

☕ FAVE FOODIE CHILDREN’S BOOKS: We must have read Seven Silly Eaters a zillion times when my son was small. We also loved Susan Meddaugh’s hilarious Martha books (the magical power of alphabet soup!). Oh, and Cooking with Henry and Elliebelly is really funny too.

 Visit Linda Ashman’s Official Website. She also blogs monthly at Learn more about Henry Wants More! in Linda’s Chat with illustrator Brooke Boynton Hughes, and about Rock-a-Bye Romp in Linda’s Chat with illustrator Simona Mulazzani.

☕☕ JUST ONE MORE SIP: Check out this great Welcome to My Studio feature at All the Wonders — you can see the different places where Linda likes to work in her lovely home.

☕☕☕ CAN’T GET ENOUGH: If you’re an aspiring or even a seasoned picture book writer, Linda’s Nuts and Bolts Guide to Writing Picture Books is a must read:

The Nuts and Bolts Guide is designed to work like a 9-week class. Each chapter includes detailed instruction on essential topics—things like building a story, experimenting with voice, creating memorable characters, writing rollicking read-alouds and pitch-perfect verse, playing with humor, and submitting your work—plus a reading list, interviews, tips, resources, and exercises to stimulate new ideas and apply to works-in-progress.

Click here for a free preview and to order your copy (available as a PDF or eBook for Kindle).


Copyright © 2016 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

making mischief with linda ashman

#5 in the Poetry Potluck Series, celebrating National Poetry Month 2012

To behold her sweet, angelic countenance, it’s hard to imagine this author could be capable of such naughtiness. But I suppose it’s further testament of Linda Ashman’s brilliance that she was capable of creating the nastiest, most obnoxious brats in the history of alphabet books. Just one more reason to love love love the work of one of my favorite children’s authors working today.

You may wish to keep a safe distance from the “guest” Linda has brought along to the Potluck. Catastrophic Coco has stepped out of the pages of Linda’s cautionary collection of miscreants, M is for Mischief : An A to Z of Naughty Children (Dutton, 2008), which as some of you may remember, I was brave enough to review here.

Though I’m a little nervous at having Coco in my kitchen, I admit to finding her oddly irresistible, as I do the other 25 characters in the book, which is an unforgettable feast of alphabetical disorder. While Coco’s busy cooking up chaos, I’m going to fill up on Linda’s tempting dish.

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we have a winner!

Ruff ruff!

Not here to pick a bone with you — *grin* — but to announce the lucky winner of the No Dogs Allowed! giveaway.

Once again, to avoid any untoward infighting amongst the Alphabet Soup kitchen helpers, we consulted the ever responsible, always accurate, and this time, rather clippy Mr. Random Integer Generator.

Due to the cold weather, Mr. Generator was without his spiffy bowtie and instead opted to wear a burnt sienna mohair scarf. I dare say this was the perfect accessory to set off his camel hair dog suit, which set all tongues wagging within a five mile radius.

Despite his confident demeanor, Mr. Generator proved to be a rather sensitive soul. Though ecstatic to help select the winner, he did wipe away a few tears of disappointment for the other entrants.

Now, without further ado (will you, won’t you, scooby loop-de-doo), the winner of an autographed copy of No Dogs Allowed! by the always delicious Linda Ashman and Kristin Sorra is,

*drum roll, please*

CATHY MEALEY, who blogs over at Bildebok!!

CONGRATULATIONS, CATHY! Please email me with your snail mail address: readermail (at) jamakimrattigan (dot) com, so we can get your prize out to you right away.

Other Puppy Dogs, thank you for entering. We have some freshly baked treats for you. May you find a fire hydrant around every corner.

Over and out.

♥ Tsk, tsk. Did you by chance miss the review of the book and chat with author Linda Ashman? Click here.


Copyright © 2012 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

linda ashman’s no dogs allowed!: a little chat and a special giveaway

Why, hello. Let’s eat out!

*pat, pat, stroke, stroke*

How nice of you to arrive so well groomed! Pink-tongued, tail-wagging, perky-eared guests are especially welcome at our table. No need to sit up and beg!

But brace yourself. Believe it or not, there are a few misguided folks in this world who think “feast” does not mix with “fur”.

Take Alberto, for example, the nattily dressed owner of the City Lights Restaurant in Linda Ashman’s heartwarming new picture book. When he sees a boy approaching his café with a St. Bernard, he changes the “Welcome” on his chalkboard sign to “No Dogs Allowed.” Harumph!

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friday feast: 13th century vittles

 Medieval Feast set in the Great Hall, Warwick Castle (photo by mharrsch).

Welcome, Lords and Ladies! 

There’s nothing like a little boar’s head on a platter to make me yearn for England. I always think about our Elizabethan banquet wedding reception in London, where a feisty wench passed around the boar’s head paté.

You probably know how much I love all things British.

 Warwick Castle photo by Andrew®.

That’s why I was quite excited when I came across Linda Ashman’s Come to the Castle! (Roaring Brook, 2009), a hilarious account of a Medieval banquet held in a 13th century castle. It mentions boar, as well as lots of other tantalizing dishes which brought back delicious memories of my visit to Warwick Castle (a great Medieval castle built by William the Conquerer). Ah yes — who doesn’t love rhapsodizing about, “Peacocks, pike and pigeons, capon, venison and boar,/Mutton, eel and mackerel, sturgeon, porpoise, pig and more!”

 Recommended for grades 2-4 (40 pages).

The book has already been thoroughly reviewed by Sylvia Vardel of Poetry for Children and Abby (the) Librarian, among others, so I thought I’d just share two of my favorite poems from it today. In Come to the Castle, the Earl of Daftwood, who has every creature comfort known to man, gets bored one day and decides to host an elaborate banquet and jousting tournament. Easy for him to say, since everyone else has to do all the work. Through lively poems, we hear the distinctive voices of each of the castle inhabitants, gaining insight into their lives, attitudes, and concerns. From steward to squire, herald to gong farmer, lady to knight — the sights, smells, and flavors of 13th century England come to uproarious life.

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