Wednesday, August 11, 2021

You Heard It Here First: Viviane Elbee's SECOND Picture Book, a Cover Reveal, and a Giveaway!

 I always consider it an honor when a friend asks me to host their cover reveal. In Viviane Elbee's case, this is a double pleasure because "back in the day" we were members of the same SCBWI-Carolinas critique group in Charlotte AND I got to post the cover of her first picture book, Teach Your Giraffe to Ski (which by the way had over 500 views!).

Her second book is I Want My Book Back! and is illustrated by Nicole Miles. It'll be coming out in March, 2022 by Little Bee Publishers. Today you'll get a sneak peek into this clever book, Viviane's path to publication, and some of Nicole's thoughts.  


Daryl loves to play with his favorite library book about dinosaurs. His imagination takes him to prehistoric places, and he pretends to be a triceratops, microraptor, and even a T. rex! But Daryl does not want to share his book, so when he has to return it to the library, Daryl goes wild. Using all of his roaring and stomping dinosaur skills, Daryl tries his best to get his book back. But when a clever librarian notices Daryl's passion, she encourages him to share his favorite book and make some new friends along the way. This playful, silly, funny, tale about reading, books, and sharing is sure to be a hit with any child.


One day, back in 2016, I was reading reviews about another library picture book, and one of the reviewers mentioned that she would like to see a picture book about the magic of libraries that did not have any magical or fantasy elements in it - because, as she pointed out, libraries are already wondrous places. Her comment got me brainstorming about library-themed book ideas that would show just how incredibly special libraries are, while remaining mostly realistic. On my brainstorming list about why libraries are special, I wrote "sharing books you love with others." 

Gradually, a story idea grew. I sent the pitch to my agent Natascha Morris, who said this was a winning idea and I should work on it. I revised the manuscript over and over. 

My critique group was very helpful with revisions. An earlier draft of the story was “quieter" and they helped me make it more active. I’m so grateful for my critique partners!

I took it to an SCBWI conference (pre-pandemic) and Tammi Sauer gave encouraging & useful feedback on how to improve it. Finally, Natascha felt it was ready to submit to publishing houses. Little Bee Books came back with a revise & resubmit, so I revised the manuscript some more and we sent it back to them. I was delighted when Little Bee Books made an offer!

I was really excited to see the illustrations and the cover. When I first saw black and white sketches of the book, I was impressed, and with color, it’s even better! I was also elated to discover that the book will have an undie--the illustrations under the jacket are different from the cover. I love it! Nicole is very talented and she did a great job. 

Although I didn’t talk to Nicole directly about the illustrations, LittleBee sent me black and white sketches and I was able to provide feedback. I could also see all the comments Little Bee had - their comments were very thorough and thoughtful. A book is truly a team effort! 


Thanks, Viviane. I enjoy hearing every author's path to publication. 

And now, a word from Nicole:


I loved that this story was a great opportunity for dino-themed fun and lively action. The illustrations flowed pretty easily after reading the manuscript. I quickly fell in love with Daryl and his mum while working on it! I tried to bring the energy and liveliness to the illustrations that attracted me to the story; I hope readers feel that energy when they read I Want My Book Back

Covers are such a tricky thing because they are the visual calling card for the book and when so much happens in a story, it can be hard to decide which emotional note or action-packed moment to put forward. I like to provide as many options as possible to the art director so I submitted seven possibilities at the sketch phase and ended up working up two color roughs. Options ranged from the loud to quiet; and from literal to abstract. In the end, the team liked the energy and expression in the sketch that ended up being the final cover. Since they preferred the colors of the second rough color sketch, I inserted the color palette of the second rough into the first option. I think it works really well to capture the sweet character's quest for dinosaurs! 


I hope you will connect with both Viviane and Nicole here: 
Twitter- @VivianeElbee and @NicoleMillu  



Please leave me a comment with your email address (if you are new to my blog) if you would like to win a copy of I Want My Book Back when it is available February, 2022. If you want an extra chance, share this post on social media. Let me know what you do and your name will be entered twice. The deadline to enter the giveaway is August 13 at 6 PM. I'll also be reviewing the book closer to the book's publication so you'll have another chance to win the book then. 


Danielle H. said...

This is such a creative idea for a picture book and definitely one I'd wished I'd thought of. My library is my favorite place to visit in my town and any time I can recommend books to others, I do so. I shared on tumblr and can't wait to read this book. Thank you for the interview!

Antoinette said...

This is destined to be my grandson favorite book. Can't wait!

Amber said...

It's so exciting to see the cover! I love this story and can't wait to hold the book in my hands. I might (ok, I will!) definitely share.
Amber Hendricks

Carol Baldwin said...

thanks Danielle, Antoinette, and Amber for your comments. I'll begin the giveaway list with your names. Danielle and Amber, you're in twice!

Carol Baldwin said...


I need your email address to enter your name!

Unknown said...

Congratulations, Viviane! I remember "back in the day" being part of the same critique group Carol mentions, and I am so proud to know such a successful picture book author. It sounds like a really fun read! Have fun with it!

Carol Baldwin said...

Who are you unknown?? Leave me your name and email address!

Terri DeGezelle Michels said...

I shared this post on my Facebook page. I look forward to the book coming out but always love hearing about and learning more about the back story and how it came to life. Thank you, Terri

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks for sharing, Terri. Your name goes on the list twice!

Rosi said...

What a cute idea for a picture book. Anything people can do to promote libraries is great. Thanks for telling me about it. I really look forward to reading it. I tweeted about the giveaway.

Grannyjo said...

My 3 yr old son loved a “truck book” that we would check out over and over again from an LA County Library. When we moved back to Illinois, ourlibrary did not have a copy, and worse…it was out of print! (Which explained the well worn , well loved look of the one in LA). Thanks to the internet and sites such as EBay, I located a copy nearly 25 years later and gave it to him for Christmas one year. We were able to read it to his son many times! I can really identify with the little boy in this book!

Carol Baldwin said...

And one of your grandkids would love this book, Jo Lynn!

Kelly Rice Schmitt said...

Congratulations Viviane!! My daughter has done this — nooo not that one!

Beautiful cover!

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Kelly. You;re in and I hope you come back to my blog again--I give away A LOT of picture books!

Barbara Younger said...

This librarian loves any books with libraries in it. I'd love to win a copy!

Janet Frenck Sheets said...

I think all picture book writers hope children will feel this way about their books! Sounds like a terrific story. (Also, I'm sharing this post on Twitter.)

Carol Baldwin said...

I agree, Janet. Thanks for sharing, you're in twice.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Barbara. Knew you'd like this book!

Gail Hurlburt said...

I know my youngest granddaughter would love I WANT MY BOOK BACK. Please enter my name in the drawing. I will also SHARE on social media.
Gail Hurlburt
August 12, 2021

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks for sharing, Gail. You;re in!

Esther M. Bandy said...

I love picture books and libraries. This sounds like a wonderful book and I look forward to reading it and sharing it with some children I know.

Carol Baldwin said...

Esther, glad to see you here. I hope you come back for other giveaways too.

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