Monday, June 26, 2023

BRAINSTORM! A Word Play Picture Book + A Giveaway

 Every once in awhile in my "career" as a picture book reviewer, I come across a book and I ask myself, "Why didn't I think of this?" BRAINSTORM! written by Rebecca Gardyn Levington and illustrated by Kate Kronreif is one of those books. From the title, to the puns, poetry, and figurative language on every page--there is A LOT of wordplay going on.  


In the first spread, we find our character feeling stuck.

Like raindrops, words and pictures start dropping into the girl's mind as a storm lets loose.

  An easy breeze... becomes a blast of funny phrases flying past.

Suddenly, there's a word whirlwind!

After stomping around in the mud of ideas and words, (and what writer can't identify with that metaphor!)

 I pounce and play, embrace the storm, as sentences begin to form.


It stops. It's over. Done. The clouds float off and out comes...sun.

That's the climax, but there's a wonderful denouement that brings this story full circle.


This is a text that kindergarten to second-grade teachers will be able to use in the classroom to encourage young writers. If I were in a classroom, I would first read it out loud and let the class enjoy the rhythm and images. The second time, I would ask students to pick out the figurative language: similes, alliteration, onomatopoeia; as well as great adverbs and adjectives.  It would be fun to discover how many ways the author, illustrator, and the little girl all play with words. 

A fun extension activity would be to ask the students to draw words playing in the same manner in which Kate Kronreif dances them on the page!


For a behind-the-scenes look at the book’s backstory, how Rebecca worked with the illustrator and her publishing journey, please see this interview: 


The July issue of Talking Story is on wordplay and I will be giving away this book then. Leave me a comment now and I'll add your name to the giveaway list. Leave a comment through the newsletter (not a subscriber? Click here to subscribe) and I'll enter your name twice. If you’re a teacher or librarian, I’ll enter your name twice. Trust me. This is a book that every writer, caregiver, and teacher should have on her shelf to share with the young readers in her life! U.S. addresses only. I have to approve comments, so be patient if your comment doesn’t appear immediately! 


Patricia Franz said...

Love the idea of little writers being inspired through this story 💕

Carol Baldwin said...

Me too, Patricia! Thanks for commenting. Your name starts the list.

Danielle H. said...

I know what you mean about wishing I'd had the idea first--I enjoy these picture books the most. I enjoy word play and this book is so clever!

Carol Baldwin said...

I agree Danielle!

Cathy Stefanec Ogren said...

A very clever book!

Carol Baldwin said...

Yes, it is Cathy! Thanks for your comment. Your name is in the hat!

Jennifer M Barnes said...

What a fun story! I love the variety of concepts teachers could totally jump on. My grandson would love the bouncing text; but, then I have the perfect kindergarten teacher friend to pass it along to. She could impact many children over the years to come with such a book!

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Jennifer. You’re a teacher so your name goes in twice!

Kathy and Greg said...

What a great idea! Like you said, I wish I'd thought of it. I love books that encourage young writers. Thanks for drawing our attention to this book!

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Kathy. All writers can have book envy over this one!

Beth said...

My knitting teacher is leaving the shop to become a third grade teacher. I'd love to gift her with this book ( after I read it gently to jog my brain and cavort around with words).

Lois said...

What a happy, cheerful book. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

Lois Bartholomew

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Beth and Lois. Your names go into the hat!

Kari said...

I adore this book! So happy you're featuring it!

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks for your comment, Kari! What is your email address in case you win?

Building Picture Books

  Did I hook you with that title? Did you think this blog post was going to be about how to create a picture book? Homonyms can be clever--a...