Children's & Fantasy/Sci-Fi Books

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CAP’N REX & HIS CLEVER CREW original art giveaway!


Enter for a free chance to win an original signed painting by Benjamin Schipper, illustrator of the picture book, CAP’N REX & HIS CLEVER CREW, by Sterling Publishing. The painting of Kyle the Ankylosaurus pirate is roughly 8.5″ square, and was created with Holbien Acryla gouache and Prismacolor pencils on Arches Cold-pressed illustration board. It’s suitable for framing and mounting in any dinosaur pirate-loving kid’s room.


The winner will be chosen at random from all qualifying entries received by August 31, 2017. To submit an entry:

1. Take a photo of your child holding a copy of CAP’N REX & HIS CLEVER CREW. The cuter, the better!

2a. Tweet the photo with the caption: @HenryLHerz My kid loves CAP’N REX & HIS CLEVER CREW!


2b. Post the photo on Facebook with the caption: @Henry.Herz My kid loves CAP’N REX & HIS CLEVER CREW!

Your entry grants Henry Herz the right to republish the photo on Twitter, Facebook, and this website. The winner will be announced on this web page and social media within one week of the deadline. The winner will asked for a postal address to which the painting will be mailed. ONLY U.S. ADDRESSES, PLEASE. Henry Herz is not responsible for damage that occurs during postal delivery.


Captain Rex and his dinosaur pirates sail the seven seas in search of buried treasure. But whenever they hit an obstacle—like a giant shark or pea-soup fog—the crew members are quick to say they can’t overcome. To this, Captain Rex always glares with teeth bared and says, “CAN’T YE?” And, somehow, the crew always comes up with a clever solution. This delightful story highlights the value of one’s creativity and determination in tough situations. It will encourage kids everywhere to think and say, “I can!”

  • “Is there room for one more piratical dinosaur tale on the seven seas? There be! As Capt. Rex and his dinosaur pirates three search for buried treasure, they are beset by toothy megalodons, thick fog, and volcanoes. However, each time his crew declares they cannot do something, the captain glares with teeth bared and murmurs, “Can’t ye?” That kind of motivation can’t be denied, and the dinos go out of their way to think of clever solutions to their seemingly insurmountable obstacles. At last the treasure is uncovered, but when the captain fails to share, it takes a carefully placed “CAN’T YE?” from his crew to convince him of what’s right. With his emphasis on invention over brute force, Herz eloquently models positive attitudes for young readers. Less chompy than the text, Schipper’s art repeatedly softens the storyline. For example, rather than glare with teeth bared as the text suggests, the illustrations portray Rex smiling knowledgeably as his crew puzzles through their problems. The dinosaurs may be extinct but let’s hope dinosaur pirates keep on sailing for arr-ternity.”
    Kirkus Reviews
  • “Arrr, if ye be lookin’ for a rollicking read about pirate treasure and persistence, REX marks the spot.”
    Molly Idle, Caldecott Honoree author/illustrator of TEA REX
  • “A darling book about problem solving and utilizing arrr! gifts. And the gorgeous illustrations are a treasure. Pure gold!”
    Sherri Duskey Rinker, NY Times bestselling author of MIGHTY, MIGHTY CONSTRUCTION SITE
  • “This story will certainly thrill the pirate in your house. Through humor and ingenuity we learn that anything is possible!”
    Barney Saltzberg, NY Times bestselling author/illustrator of BEAUTIFUL OOPS!
  • Gorgeous illustrations paired with a satisfying story. CAP’N REX is tons and tons of dino fun!
    Fred Koehler, author/illustrator of SUPER JUMBO
  • “Pirates, dinosaurs, a voyage to a volcano? Well, shiver me timbers! There be surprise and rollicking adventure within these gorgeous pages. CAP’N REX gives readers a taste of pirate etiquette in this see-worthy treasure.”
    Pat Cummings, Coretta Scott King Award winning author/illustrator of MY MAMA NEEDS ME
  • “Cap’n Rex and his jaunty crew take us on a jolly journey, fraught with perilous adventures. Sticking together and using their wits to overcome obstacles at every treacherous turn, these dino heroes are destined to rake in their fabulous bounty. Gorgeous textures and sumptuous-shaped illustrations help make this book a delight for any young pirate.”
    Joe Cepeda, Pura Belpre Honoree author/illustrator of I, FREDDY
  • “A clever yarn about overcoming obstacles that will have little buccaneers chanting “Can’t ye!” even after the last page has been turned.”
    Corey Rosen Schwartz, author of NINJA RED RIDING HOOD

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Straw Dinosaurs and Giant Animals

From the mad geniuses at Bored Panda.

“Niigata Prefecture, Japan, has thought of a novel way to use the straw left over from their rice harvest. A “wara” or rice-straw festival is held every August 31st, where local artists build elaborate straw sculptures over wooden frames. The frames allow the statues to be larger and let spectators interact with them.

Amy Goda, an aspiring local artist, has gained fame for her spectacular rice-straw dinosaur sculptures. Her massive creatures have made the Wara Art Festival famous online. Visitors hoping to catch a glimpse of these unique sculptures can go to Uwasekigata Park in Niigata City’s Nishikan Ward, where they will remain until the beginning of November.”

Niigata Prefecture holds its Wara Art Festival every August 31st

“Wara” means rice-straw in Japanese

Rice-straw is a by-product of the yearly rice harvest

The straw is attached to wooden frames to provide stability and allow for greater size

The results are surprising

Amy Goda studies art in Niigata Prefecture

Her incredible dinosaurs have attracted international attention

Various techniques are used to create the behemoths

The method used to build thatched cottages is similar to that used for the sculptures

This makes for stable structures that visitors can interact with



Interview with picture book author Deb Lund

Deb Lund is the author of Harcourt’s best-selling picture dinobooks and MONSTERS ON MACHINES. She’s a writing teacher, creativity coach, and creator of FICTION MAGIC: Card Tricks & Tips for Writers, a boxed-set of 54 cards and a guidebook to be released in October. The card “tricks” help intensify the tension in your stories as the creativity-coaching “tips” help reduce the tension in your writing life. It’s like having two decks in one!

Lutheran - Deb Lund

For what age audience do you write?

My published books are all picture books, and I’ve just completed an upper middle-grade historical fantasy that takes place in Portugal in 1762. I’m also working on a YA series and an adult novel.

Henry: Wow, you are working across a wide spectrum of audiences.

Tell us about your latest book.

DINOSOARING joined DINOSAILORS and ALL ABOARD THE DINOTRAIN. This has been a popular series about gargantuan dino goofballs who take off on adventures. So far they’ve traveled by boat, train, and airplane.

Henry: Well, after getting seasick in DINOSAILORS, I can see why they’d explore alternative means of transportation.

What do you hope readers will get from reading that book?

Besides enjoying the rollicking rhythms and rhymes, I hope it helps them find their own sense of adventure. A public librarian once told me that my books were never the “behind the couch” books at her house. When I asked what that meant, she said they never minded reading my books over and over. When they got bored with a book, they would stretch their arm over the back of the couch and drop the book behind it. It would take weeks for their kids to figure out what happened to it.

Henry: Ah, I used a similar technique as a child, hiding unwanted parts of my dinner under the plate or napkin.

What aspect of writing do you find most challenging?

For me, the most challenging aspect of being a writer is carving out time. While I’ve learned to create fairly well in the middle of chaos, I need to deal better with distractions. I love new thoughts and ideas, and I enjoy revision, but my mind is always whirring away and picking up cues from this and that. It’s amazing how much I get done at times with all the competition going on in my brain!

Henry: Yes, operating from within the eye of a swirling vortex of kid chaos – the bane of all work-from-home parents.

What is a powerful lesson you’ve learned from being a writer?

Just one? How about a few? Hard work pays off. Being stubborn is an asset. I am not alone. Anxiety and blocks are part of the creative process. I have gifts to share with others.

Henry: Thank you for sharing them!

What has been a memorable experience that you never would have had if you had not been a writer?

Seeing that first giant-sized hardcover book arrive with a big dinosaur face on the front, and under that face, a name exactly like mine.

Henry: Yes, that thrill of seeing your name up in lights like a movie star!

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Oh, the usual. Join a critique group, expect rejection, know this will take years, not months. Ask questions. Write, write, write.

Henry: Yes, yes, yes. It is a subjective business, so what someone rejects, someone else may love. Critique groups are very helpful, as is joining the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) 

Do you have any favorite quotes?

One of my own quotes (that I often use on myself) is “Energy Follow Action.” I even wrote about it for an online magazine. http://www.whidbeylifemagazine.org/creativity-cafe-energy-follows-action/

Henry: “Perfect is the enemy of good enough.”

Do you have any strange rituals that you observe when you write?

It depends on what I’m writing, what mood I’m in, or what time of day I’m writing. I might light a candle, sit quietly for a minute before beginning, or even stretch before I get in the chair, but usually, I just sit down and turn on my computer. Nothing too strange here—well, that I’m willing to share!

Henry: No pentagrams or bagpipes here.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

To be able to access instant energy at any time. I’d love to be up at night, writing away, playing by day, feeling vibrant and alive no matter what else is going on in my life. Oh, how funny. I just realized the connection between this and the quote I mentioned above. See now why I need to use “Energy Follows Action” on myself?

Henry: You’re welcome. 🙂

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I like walking on our island beaches and trails, meeting with my friends, singing with my amazingly talented husband, goofing off with our three kids, teaching writers of all ages, talking with teachers, and supporting other creative people who are ready to pursue their dreams.

Where can readers find your work?

My books can be obtained from any normal book outlet. I love supporting indie stores, and hope your readers feel the same way. Teaching materials, advice for writers and artists, continuing education classes, and other resources can be found at www.deblund.com

Thank you so much, Henry. It was a pleasure to chat with you, and I wish you and everyone reading these words lots of success with your projects.

Henry: It was a pleasure interviewing you, Deb.

This interview is also posted at the San Diego Children’s Books Examiner.

Click to Tweet: Interview with picture book author Deb Lund at http://wp.me/p31Xf4-IG  via @Nimpentoad

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15 Funky Hybrid Animals That Deserve a Chance at Life

from http://mashable.com/2013/04/15/hybrid-animals/

1. The Shug

2. The Slortoise

3. The Rhinohopperous

4. The Igllama

5. The Chino

6. The Turtlegator

7. The Barn Cowl

8. The Liosp

9. The Canda

10. The Alicon

11. The Tyranapillar

12. The Elephuck

13. The Crenguin

14. The Texas Longhorn French Bulldog

15. And the Homo Snakian