Author Archives: Penny Parker Klostermann

About Penny Parker Klostermann

I write picture books and poetry for children. My debut book, THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT, was released from Random House Children’s Books, August 2015. I am very happy to be represented by Tricia Lawrence of the Erin Murphy Literary Agency. I have been known to hug my favorite picture books and seriously hope that someday my books will gain huggable status too.

After Awhile, Crocodile! A Thankful Emu Bidding Farewell

I’m leaving! Wah! I can’t believe it! Heck, I still can’t believe I got the chance to be here. But even though I’m saying good-bye as as Emu blogger, it’s not like I won’t be around. I was reading this blog long before I got here and I will be reading it long after I’m gone. This blog has had an impact on my writing journey and I’m thankful for that. I know I can’t mention all the reasons I’m thankful because it would go on forever, but I’ll mention a few.

I’m thankful to Emus Debuts for leading me to EMLA and to my agent, Tricia Lawrence. How did that happen? Well, let me tell you. When I started reading this blog I didn’t even realize the bloggers were connected by EMLA. I thought they were just a bunch of writers that got together to blog. I know. All I had to do was click on the “About” tab, but it took me a while to do that. When I finally did realize all the bloggers were with EMLA I thought that was super cool. I thought it was awesome that they were choosing to go through the debut experience together. This put EMLA on my radar. Then one day the Emu’s  Debuts blew it out of the water. They were celebrating the release of NERVE by Jeanne Ryan with Truth or Dare videos. All of the videos were fun but when I saw Tara Dairman’s I cracked up.

I found this so funny that I’ve come back to watch it several times. It was the so-called “icing on the cake” (sorry about the lame pun!). I loved the way they supported each other and I loved their sense of humor. I moved EMLA to the top of my list and when I was ready and had the chance, I queried. A few months later I signed with Tricia.

I’m thankful to Emu’s Debuts for letting me be a part of their celebrations. It has been so much fun to geek out with my fellow Emus when their wonderful books hit the shelves.

I thankful to Emu’s Debuts for the wisdom they shared in their blog posts and in private group communication. Emu wisdom was there for big things and the small things, like suggestions for the perfect pen to use when signing books and suggestions for designers and printers for bookmarks, postcards, etc.

I’m thankful to Emu’s Debuts for allowing me read their ARCs. Confession: When they first talked about an ARC, I didn’t know what it was! See how much I’ve learned by being an Emu! I’m thankful for that! And no one made fun of me when I asked dumb questions! I’m thankful for that!

I’m thankful to Emu’s Debuts for celebrating with me. They celebrated about The Call and The Cover Reveal. And my release party was an amazing week. The Emus supported, spread the word, and partied down! They shouted about my old dragon near and far!

I could go on but this is already getting long. I think you get the idea . . . it’s been wonderful, but it’s time to go. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Emu’s Debuts 😀


PPK_0615_RGB_HR_02Penny Parker Klostermann’s is the author of  THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT (Random House Children’s Books) and A COOKED-UP FAIRY TALE (coming from Random House Children’s Books Spring 2017). You can follow Penny on on her blog, on Twitter, on Facebook, and on Pinterest. She is represented by Tricia Lawrence.

 

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A Collection of Collections

Mothman's Curse Final CoverToday is THE day! Mothman’s Curse by Christine Hayes is hitting the shelves!

Happy Book Birthday, Christine!

In Christine’s story, Josie and her brothers have grown up helping out at their family’s auction house. They see firsthand the things that people have collected over a lifetime. It seems everyone collects something and it’s interesting to see what people collect. So today, as we continue to celebrate with Christine, we decided to share our EMU collections.

Janet Fox: Clocks. We have half a dozen old working clocks, all ticking and chiming away, not always in sync. Overnight guests have a hard time if we don’t stop them! I don’t even hear them any more.

Tamara Smith: Penguins. My husband used to collect penguins: stuffed animals, posters, clocks, a shower curtain. My daughter, Zory, collects narwhals: wall hangings, stuffed animals, tshirts, model toys. Here’s a fun picture of my 12 year old daughter Zory at a museum in Ottawa “holding up” a narwhal!  It isn’t one of the ones in her collection, of course, but she’d like it to be!

Tam-narwhal

Zory with a narwhal she wishes was in her collection 🙂

Jennifer Chambliss Bertman: Besides collecting books, I have a wind-up toy collection. For a long time I was in the habit of buying one as a souvenir from every trip I went on. And I have a collection of Muppets items and also artwork by children’s book illustrators. Oh, and there’s my dust collection too. That counts, right?

Susan Vaught: I collect turtles (not real ones). I have them everywhere in my office.

Laurie Thompson-First Response: There is but one thing I collect: books! I can never have enough bookshelves. There are bookcases and stacks and piles in practically every room of my house. I can’t let go of the ones written by friends. I can’t let go of the ones that were my kids’ favorites when they were little. I can’t let go of the ones I haven’t read yet. I can’t let go of the ones I have read and loved. I can’t even let go of some of the ones I hated, because I like to keep them around to remind me what not to do! It’s an addiction. Send help.

lauries old photo

Laurie’s favorite old photo of people she doesn’t know.

Laurie Thompson-Second Response: Okay, if you want me to reveal all of my secret oddities (beyond being a book nerd)… I have a small but growing collection of vintage Little Golden Books. I love quotes but can’t memorize them, so I keep files. I have a nice collection of blue antique Currier and Ives dishes. I can’t resist old photos, even ones of random strangers. And I’m obsessed with crows.
This is my favorite old photo of people I don’t know. I found it in an antique store and had to buy it. It makes me happy every time I look at it.

Megan Morrison: I have a small collection of French Market coffee mugs, and a lot of fridge magnets. I used to buy the French Market mugs whenever I saw them (either in the actual French Quarter, or in Disneyland’s reproduction). My husband and I also used to buy a fridge magnet whenever we took a trip anywhere. I’m not sure why we don’t do that anymore – it was a fun tradition. I think we just got busy and forgot!

Megan's coffee cup collection

Megan’s French Market coffee mugs

Mylisa Larsen: Unless we want to count my inadvertent collection of ratty t-shirts then not really. Well, books, yeah but that’s kind of a given with this group, isn’t it?

Rebecca Van Slyke: I’m in the book (collectors’) club, too. I especially like antique reading books. And I am amassing a small army of penguins.

Courtney Pippin-Mathur: Books, flying pigs (glass, stuffed and homemade paper and scotch tape sculpture by my daughter) and earrings (the bigger and slightly funky the better).

Carole Gerber: Rejections! (Let’s hear the hysterical but sympathetic laughter.)

Maria Gianferrari: We collect quirky and unusual clocks. We bought the sardine clock at a flea market in Berlin. This is a glass cat from Venezia. A curlicue clock from Cambridge, UK. A city skyscape made from an old record (a gift from a German friend).

Slide1

Tick-tock: sardine, glass cat, curlicue, old record

Adam Shaughnessy: I collected comic books through my teen years and they’re still a prized possession. Recently, though, squirrels have been the hot items. Not actual squirrels. That would be weird. But my wife and I discovered shortly after meeting that squirrels both featured prominently in the books we were working on. So now whenever we see squirrel related merchandise, we pick it up! A highlight of our honeymoon was seeing two red squirrels frolicking together in Germany. They did not want to be collected.

Luke Reynolds: I collect pens! Maybe not that unusual for us writers…hhhmmm…I also collect little rocks from camping and hiking trips:)

Penny Parker Klostermann: We collect Santas. They come out every Christmas. We, also, inherited my aunt’s collection. The family lovingly refers to it as “The Jackass Collection” because that’s what it is 🙂

santa's

A few of our Santas

Slide1

Jackass collection

Do you have a collection? We’d love to hear about it in comments.

Remember! Comment on any post this week and you will be entered to win a signed copy of Mothman’s Curse!  Or pick up a copy for yourself or a friend at the following retailers: Amazon, IndieboundBarnes and Noble, Books-A-Million, and Powell’s

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Megan Morrison’s Grounded Launch Party-Flow it, show it, long as I can grow it, my hair!

If you give an EMU a Rapunzel book,
they’re going to want a tower.
If you give an EMU a tower,
they’re going to want some hair.
If you give them some hair,
they’re going to want to show it off.

You know the drill 🙂

So what’s a blogger to do but give them what they want? After all, we’re here to party.
Because today . . .
YES . . .
this very day—
Megan Morrison’s debut novel,

grounded_cover (1)

hits the shelves!!!

So the EMUs are here to show off their newly styled hair as we celebrate with Megan. That’s how excited we are about this book!

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Yes, it took a lot of dye and a lot of hair stylists, but this book deserves all of that! And now you have a chance to win a signed copy of Grounded: The Adventures of Rapunzel, plus a handmade chain mail bookmark! Just comment on this post or any other post this week to be entered in the drawing.

You can also buy a copy of Grounded today at the following locations:

Third Place Books

The Secret Garden Bookshop

Powell’s

Indiebound

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

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The Perils of Letting Children – and Books – Out Into the World

Pat Zietlow Miller was an EMU’s Debuts member when her picture book, SOPHIE’S SQUASH, was released in 2013. Now, she’s happy to be back to talk about her second picture book, WHEREVER YOU GO, which just released Tuesday.

Wherever you go

When my oldest daughter was starting to crawl, a dad with grown children gave me this warning:

“Parenting gets harder when your children get mobile,” he said. “When they walk. When they drive. When they leave for college. You lose some control and have to help them while letting them go.”

As my daughter grew, I saw the truth in his words. So while she was still in school, I started thinking about what I wanted her to know before she ventured out our door. You know, mushy stuff. Like:

Your choices control your destiny, so you should choose wisely.

You should celebrate your successes but forgive your inevitable failures.

Worthy goals are hard to achieve, but you’ll always be glad you tried.

There’s value in seeing what’s around the bend in the road, but it’s good to remember your home.

And life goes more easily with the right group of friends.

Those thoughts, and my love, became the inspiration for my second picture book, WHEREVER YOU GO. And the timing of its release – two days ago – is perfect, as my daughter graduates from high school in less than a month.

But I couldn’t just write book that blatantly said, “Hey, you’re leaving, so listen up.” That would surely have elicited eye rolls. Plus, my daughter isn’t stupid. She’s a very smart, very kind, very capable person. But … but … she’s so young. So inexperienced.

Fortunately, I realized that a manuscript I was writing about roads and all the places they could take you would benefit from a little subtext. A little heart. So my advice got woven into a story that you could take at face value or get misty about. And my daughter’s eyes haven’t rolled once.

This story also taught me something important about publishing. Its subjectivity. I knew this in theory, but submitting this manuscript taught me it in practice.

I liked the story. So did my agent. So she sent it out to some editors. One responded promptly and said something like: “I can totally see the illustrations, but I think the writing is clunky.”

Not what I’d hoped to hear.

Barely a day later, another editor responded saying, “I LOVE the writing. But I’m having a real problem picturing the illustrations.”

Now I was just confused.

Fortunately, two other editors liked the text and could visualize illustrations. They both made offers, and the book sold at auction. Interestingly enough, when I talked with each editor before making a decision, they had distinct views of how the book could be edited and illustrated.

I’m very happy with the results, but this scenario does show how a manuscript that’s just right for one editor might not work for another at all. And it shows how much an editor’s vision contributes to the book’s final look.

In fact, a lot of the advice I want my daughter to remember is stuff all writers should keep in mind as they pursue publication. As I said:

Roads … remember.
Every life landmark, the big and the small.
The moments you tripped,
the times you stood tall.
Where you are going, and where you began.
What you expected. What you didn’t plan.

So as my daughter and my book head out into the world, I hope they’ll both find their footing and make their mark – wherever they go.

And for your enjoyment, the amazing book trailer.


Pat photoPat Zietlow Miller got 126 rejections before selling her first picture book, SOPHIE’S SQUASH. Since then, she’s sold eight additional picture books. Two of them are coming out in 2015 — WHEREVER YOU GO from Little, Brown in April and SHARING THE BREAD: AN OLD-FASHIONED THANKSGIVING STORY from Schwartz & Wade in August. Pat has also won the Golden Kite Award for picture book text and the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Honor.
Learn more about Pat on her Website.

 

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“I’ve Always Wanted to Write a Picture Book”-Getting Started

I have a lot of people ask me how I got a book published. Because . . .

They’ve always wanted to write. Or they have an idea for a picture book. Or their daughter has an idea. Or their mother always wanted them to write about the goose that lived in the shed across the street. Or they wrote a story years ago and they have a second cousin who could illustrate it.

I know other writers get asked the same thing. Many times I’ve found that the person asking is just making conversation. Because the minute I say “writing journey” they don’t seem quite so interested. I think they thought the “journey” was really just a “jaunt”. And then when I mention SCBWI (of course I say the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators), their eyes glaze over. TMI! I know it’s time to stop.

There have been a few, though, that want more information. I email them links and information I think they would find helpful. Usually I don’t hear back. But, recently, I shared information with someone who has written professionally for years. Now she wants to write picture books. And she’s a member of SCBWI! She’s attended conferences. She’s serious, folks! And I had a ton of fun sharing resources and talking picture books. It reminded me that of all those who say they want to write, a few REALLY do!

It seems that most of the people who read our blog are already on their writing journey. But I imagine we have a few that visited this site who are just getting started. I know I visited this site regularly when I was new on my journey. So I thought I might address the “How did you get a book published?” question for those who are truly interested and would just like a starting point and places to gather information.

Note: There is no way to list every resource and website. These are only a few of the ones that were particularly helpful on my journey as they include challenges, etc. that inspired me to write. On top of these, I read many blogs. When you check out KidLit411 below, I will provide their link to a list of wonderful blogs.

SCBWI: Click HERE to browse their website. It is chock full of all things KidLit. I strongly advise becoming a member. My membership is invaluable. There is a forum available. To read all of the boards in forum, you have to be a member of SCBWI. You can get a taste of the valuable information on the forum without being a member.

Tara Lazar’s PiBoIdMo: PiBoIdMo stands for Picture Book Idea Month.This takes place in November. Each day you will be inspired by amazing posts by authors, illustrators, and other KidLit lovers. This challenge is free and if you participate you’re likely to end the month with a list of new ideas for picture books. You’ll also get a glimpse into the wonderful, sharing KidLit community. You don’t have to wait until November if you want to be inspired. Follow her blog and check out the archives for wonderful posts. You can find out more information HERE.

Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog: Susanna always has something going on over at her blog. I met her early in my writing journey and her blog has been a huge plus for me. Her Perfect Picture Book Friday series will clue you in to excellent picture books. The series features reviews by a variety of picture book lovers. Her Would You Read It Wednesday series focuses on picture book pitches which are extremely important for writers when they have manuscripts ready to pitch to agents and editors. Susanna also hosts amazing contests with amazing prizes. Click HERE to browse Susanna’s blog.

Julie Hedlund’s 12 x 12: This is a challenge to write 12 picture book drafts in 12 months. If you’re wanting accountability, community, and resources it is well worth the fee. Registration for next year will be in January. In the meantime, follow Julie’s blog and you will benefit. Find more information HERE.

Then there is the site of all sites-KidLit411: Elaine Kiely Kearns and Sylvia Liu have gathered KidLit resources from all around the Internet on their website. It is AMAZING. It includes all the sites I’ve mentioned and many, many more. Many more! HERE is the link to their list of Blogs to Follow. Click HERE for their home page and prepare to spend hours immersed in all things KidLit!

And, of course, follow us here at Emus Debuts where we were all once beginners. Join us as we talk about how, with hard work, our dreams became reality.

I’m far from the first person to blog about these resources. But I hope they’ll help someone on their writing journey.


penny edited

Penny Parker Klostermann’s debut picture book, THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHTis coming from Random House Books For Young Readers August 4, 2015. Also, coming from Random House Books For Young Readers is A COOKED-UP FAIRY TALE, Spring, 2017. You can follow Penny on on her blog, on Twitter, on Facebook, and on Pinterest. She is represented by Tricia Lawrence.

 

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BUNNIES!!! And We Have Winners!!!

BUNNIES coverYou know there’s one thing that’s almost as exciting as Kevan Atteberry’s new book BUNNIES!!!

…and that is WINNERS!!!

Random.org chose two lucky winners who commented on one of the posts this week. Both will receive a signed copy of BUNNIES!!!

Before the WINNERS!!! are revealed, we want to thank all of you that came by the blog and helped us celebrate with Kevan. You made the week extra special.

Just in case you don’t win, order your copy of BUNNIES!!! from any of the following links!

And

the 

WINNERS!!!

are

. . .

Meg Miller

and

Lyndi Jones

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BUNNIES!!! and the Bunny Buzz in the Bunny Bulletin

BUNNIES coverIt’s been all over the news! BUNNIES!!! by Kevan Atteberry is now out in the world. And BUNNIES!!! has created quite the bunny buzz. Just check out the latest Bunny Bulletin below!

 

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You can also add it on Goodreads!

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Emmanuel’s Dream Launch Party Continues With Agent Ammi-Joan Paquette

We are having a wonderful week as we celebrate the release of Laurie Ann Thompson’s new book, Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah. Laurie has done an amazing job of telling Emmanuel’s inspiring story.cover

Remember to comment on any post this week and you’ll be entered to win a copy of Emmanuel’s Dream.

Ammi-Joan PaquetteToday we are happy to have Laurie’s agent, Ammi-Joan Paquette, on the blog to answer a few questions about working with Laurie.

How did you come to represent Laurie?
AMMI-JOAN PAQUETTE: I first started corresponding with Laurie in 2010, when Erin sent her my way as someone she felt might be an excellent fit for my list and interests. She couldn’t have been  more right! Laurie and I corresponded for a good year, during which time she did some terrific revisions and sent me a number of her projects to consider. The more time that passed, and the more I read, the more I knew that I had to work with her. The combination of passion for her subjects, a strong desire to make a difference, and of course incredible writing talent had me hooked!

What was it about Emanuel’s Dream that caught your attention?
AMMI-JOAN PAQUETTE: EMMANUEL’S DREAM (then under a different title) was actually the first project that Laurie queried me with! At the time I was looking for a non-fiction author to work with, and both this character and his story really compelled me. I was also impressed that when I sent Laurie revision notes, she dug in with zest and really transformed the project.–Not only that, but during this time of revision she actually met with Emmanuel Yeboah in person (and came out of the meeting with 18 pages of notes, which she then used to inform her next draft). EMMANUEL’S DREAM has changed hugely over the course of its polishing, submission, and later still further after acquisition. But the core story is still the same as it first was, and it has only gotten more glorious in the retelling.

Laurie’s book, Be a Changemaker: How to Start Something That Matters, debuted in September. Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah is a changemaker and did start something that matters. Does Laurie have other books on the horizon that highlight people who have changed the world?
AMMI-JOAN PAQUETTE: I guess you’re seeing a trend here, aren’t you? I can’t get into specifics here, but Laurie definitely has other ideas in mind spotlighting people who have changed the world. I love this side of Laurie’s passion and I’m eager to see how these next projects may come together!

We’re eager to see them too, Joan. Thanks for joining us for launch week and sharing about your work with Laurie.

*     *     *
 Remember to comment on any post this week and you’ll be entered to win a copy of Emmanuel’s Dream. Pick up a signed copy at  Secret Garden Bookshop (if you add your personalization request in the comments section, Laurie will sign it for you!) or check out IndieBound for a local bookstore near you. Of course, you can also find it on Amazon.com or BN.com.

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Writing in Reverse

In one of my earlier posts, I talked about the fact that my car was totaled in a June hailstorm. That unfortunate event necessitated a new car. My old car had a backup camera, but this car has a BACKUP CAMERA! It’s amazing. It has this beeping-warning system that lets me know if someone is passing behind me or if I’m getting close to backing into something. The other day I was backing out of my garage, looking at the view in the backup camera, when the phrase Writing in Reverse just popped into my head. You may have noticed from my posts here that I love analogies. So when I thought about Writing in Reverse, I knew I had to use this for a post.

Before Writing in Reverse, I have to get my my story down. So I just drive/write a first draft. Yes, I do need to have a destination in mind­—a character, the semblance of a plot or structure, events to drive my story forward, etc. I need to keep the Rules of the Road/Genre in mind as I write. I need to be aware of traffic/the audience I’m writing for, and I need to watch my speed limit/word count. OK, sometimes I do go a few MPH/WPM (word per manuscript) over knowing I can probably get by with it, but I don’t want my speed/word count to get completely out of control. So, pretty much, I just drive/write on. The first draft is a hugely important part of writing. If I never do this part, I’ll never get anywhere. My ideas will be stuck at home and never see the light of day. Never get out into the world. And once the first draft is finished, I do feel like I’ve been somewhere. But I know this same journey will become very familiar . . .

. . . because now comes Writing in Reverse/revision.

Screenshot 2014-12-20 19.58.47

It’s time to take the same drive using my backup camera. It will be much slower. I will cut my speed limit to a crawl. Each twist and turn will require my complete attention. I will be more cautious and more aware of any obstacles that will hinder my story. I will listen to my internal beeps. I will listen to my critique group who will make me aware of my blind spots. This journey will take much longer than my first draft, but it has to be taken to get to that “sweet spot” for submission. I know this. It’s tough. But it must be done. And it’s worth it.

Recently my second deal was announced. A COOKED UP FAIRY TALE sold to Maria Modugno at Random House Children’s who also bought THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT. It will be illustrated by Ben Mantle who also illustrated my dragon story. Talk about Writing in Reverse! I had 102 “Saved As” files of A COOKED UP FAIRY TALE. Not all were complete rewrites, but all had tweaks. Some major, some minor. That’s a lotta Writing in Reverse. But it served me well. When I emailed Tricia (love my agent) that 102nd file, she deemed it “ready to go”. In two days, we heard back from Maria. She wanted my story 🙂

So make sure you use a BACKUP CAMERA! A really good one. Take that slow, Writing-in-Reverse journey where you pay attention to every detail and find that “sweet spot” before submitting. It will be worth it!

writing in reverse final

 


penny editedPenny Parker Klostermann’s debut picture book, THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHTis coming from Random House Children’s Publishing August 4, 2015. Also, coming from Random House Children’s is A COOKED-UP FAIRY TALE, Spring, 2016. You can follow Penny on on her blog, on Twitter, on Facebook, and on Pinterest. She is represented by Tricia Lawrence.

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Cover Reveal: THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT

The Cover Story

Actually, my cover story is very straight forward. I have a brilliant editor who chose a brilliant illustrator! When Maria Modugno at Random House Children’s Books read my text, she thought Ben Mantle would be the perfect illustrator. I knew from working on revisions with Maria that she “got” my text and knew what was best for the book.

And boy oh boy! Did she know what was best! Ben’s vision is wonderfully perfect and I can’t wait another minute to share it with you.

Well…maybe long enough for a short intro 🙂

There once was an author who let out a squeal

when the day came around for her cover reveal.

She loves it! Adores it! And can’t wait for you

to love and adore it and squeal along, too!

Are you eyes open wide?

Are you ready to squeal?

What a wonderful day. . .

. . . the cover reveal!

DRAGON cover

A knight,
a steed,
a squire,
a cook,
a lady,
a castle,
a moat,
plus one very hungry old
dragon add up to an hilarious
and rollicking tale about a
dragon who just can’t keep his
mouth closed . . . at least not
until he eats almost everything
in the Kingdom!
It’s not polite!

Available August 2015!!!


 

penny3

Penny Parker Klostermann’s debut picture book, There Was An Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight, is coming from Random House Children’s Books, August 2015. You can follow her on Twitter @pklostermann and visit her website HERE. Penny is represented by Tricia Lawrence.

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