Sneak Peek at Riley’s Tooth

By heather at 9:26 pm on Wednesday, April 1, 2009

diane cantrell riley's tooth dogs toothfairy lost teeth children's book

I have the pleasure of working for a second time with Diane Cantrell, author of Mom’s Choice Award winning picture book, Good-bye Baby Max. The title of our latest picture book is yet to be set, but I can tell you the story is about three pups who don’t quite grasp the concept of the Tooth Fairy and try in earnest to find their owner’s first lost tooth. I’ve just finished up the sketches… here are a handful to have a sneak peek at! The finals will be in watercolour & pencil on Arches paper. I transferred the sketches with an Artograph a couple nights ago, so once I’ve taped the paper down to masonite boards I will start painting, yippee!
diane cantrell riley's tooth dogs toothfairy lost teeth children's book

diane cantrell riley's tooth dogs toothfairy lost teeth children's book

diane cantrell riley's tooth dogs toothfairy lost teeth children's book

diane cantrell riley's tooth dogs toothfairy lost teeth children's book

diane cantrell riley's tooth dogs toothfairy lost teeth children's book

diane cantrell riley's tooth dogs toothfairy lost teeth children's book

diane cantrell riley's tooth dogs toothfairy lost teeth children's book

Filed under: work in progress, sketches, childrens books, Good-bye Baby Max, Riley's Lost Tooth5 Comments »

Good-Bye, Baby Max | Mom’s Choice Award Recipient

By heather at 4:53 pm on Friday, February 20, 2009

good-bye, baby max childrens book illustration mom's choice award

Wow, this is such an honor… Diane Cantrell’s and my story, Good-bye, Baby Max, won a gold Mom’s Choice Award in the category of Values & Life Lessons. To win this award, Good-bye, Baby Max was evaluated on its “production quality, design, educational value, entertainment value, originality, appeal and cost.” And I must say… it was fun sticking the gold seals on my copies of the book!

“The Mom’s Choice Awards® (MCA) is an annual awards program that recognizes authors, inventors, companies, parents and others for their efforts in creating quality family-friendly media, products and services.

An esteemed panel of judges includes education, media and other experts as well as parents, children, librarians, performing artists, producers, medical and business professionals, authors, scientists and others. A sampling of our panel members includes: Dr. Twila C. Liggett, ten-time Emmy-winner, professor and founder of PBS’s Reading Rainbow; Julie Aigner-Clark, Creator of Baby Einstein and The Safe Side Project; Jodee Blanco, New York Times best-selling author; Priscilla Dunstan, creator of the Dunstan Baby Language; Patricia Rossi, host of NBC’s Manners Minute; Dr. Letitia S. Wright, D.C., host of the Wright PlaceTM TV Show; Catherine Witcher, M.Ed., special needs expert and founder of Precision Education, Inc.; and Tara Paterson, Certified Parent Coach, founder of the Mom’s Choice Awards.” – Mom’s Choice Awards®

Stay tuned for Diane’s and my next children’s book, which we are working on right now!”

Filed under: illustrations, childrens books, business of illustration, Good-bye Baby Max3 Comments »

Good-bye, Baby Max | Talking to Kids About Death

By heather at 4:39 am on Saturday, June 28, 2008

I just read an interesting article by Angie Wagner over at AOL Australia Lifestyle on Talking to Kids About Death. Wagner has interviewed Diane Cantrell, author of our book “Good-bye, Baby Max,” which is about a kindergarten classroom who deals with the loss of their classroom pet. Diane provides a lovely honest perspective on talking about death with little kids, offering the advice to not be afraid of discussing it with your children.

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Goodbye, Baby Max | Book Review

By heather at 2:28 pm on Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I just read a kind review of my book, “Good-bye, Baby Max,” by Lillian Brummet over at Chrsty’s Book Reviews :

“Good-bye Baby Max is a wonderful children’s book for those who are coping with the end of life. A former kindergarten teacher who currently works as a professional counselor and life coach in Texas wrote the hardcover book. The author, Diane Cantrell, states that the book was written to stimulate discussion on a topic that is often difficult to broach.

The illustrations are filled with gold, red, green and blue in the art are filled with activity, creations on the walls by the class and teacher’s lessons displayed here and there. The nature scenes are lovely and occasionally spotted with cute ladybugs - which might be fun to inspire your children find them….

Children will enjoy the opening and closing pages that are filled with tiny yellow chicks…. Rating 4 out of 5 stars.”

Filed under: childrens books, reviews, Good-bye Baby Max1 Comment »

Good-Bye, Baby Max | Book Review

By heather at 5:06 pm on Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Review by Lillian Brummet
Rating 4 out of 5 stars

Good-bye Baby Max is a wonderful children’s book for those who are coping with the end of life. A former kindergarten teacher who currently works as a professional counselor and life coach in Texas wrote the hardcover book. The author, Diane Cantrell, states that the book was written to stimulate discussion on a topic that is often difficult to broach.

The illustrations are filled with gold, red, green and blue in the art are filled with activity, creations on the walls by the class and teacher’s lessons displayed here and there. The nature scenes are lovely and occasionally spotted with cute ladybugs – which might be fun to inspire your children find them. Heather Castles has been enjoying a career in children’s book illustrations for some time and has a passion for nature.

A class of about 14 children is learning about spring and growing seeds; their teacher brings them three wriggling chicken eggs that are just about ready to hatch baby chicks. The teacher wants them to learn about caring for the delicate birds and to experience the cycle of life as a biology lesson. Unfortunately, one of the eggs was not allowing the little chick to come out of the shell. The children return to class the next morning and learn that the little chick, Max, has died. Tears flow and the teacher helps the children deal with the grieving process. Love for their unborn friend inspired a comforting funeral underneath a large oak tree. Each child is given projects to aide with the healing process and soon they begin to find joy in the two chirping, squirming delicate yellow chicks.

Children will enjoy the opening and closing pages that are filled with tiny yellow chicks. The hardcover is illustrated and protected with a slipcover with identical illustration as the cover.

Published by Bridgeway books (US), however environmentalists might be concerned that it was printed and bound in China, due to the shipping involved. Unfortunately I could find no information in the book or on the publisher’s site regarding environmentally sound printing options that were chosen, such as using chlorine or acid free paper. Because the environment is a strong passion of mine, I feel I have to dock the book by a star. Otherwise, I truly enjoyed this book.

Lillian Brummet: co-author of the books Trash Talk and Purple Snowflake Marketing, author of Towards Understanding; host of the Conscious Discussions radio show (http://www.sunshinecable.com/~drumit)
http://www.curledupkids.com/babymax.htm

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Goodbye, Baby Max | Book Review

By heather at 4:03 pm on Monday, March 3, 2008

I stumbled across another review of my book, “Good-bye, Baby Max” over at TheCelebrityCafe.com by Janet Pope :

Mrs. B’s kindergarten class anxiously awaited the arrival of three baby chicks, which they have already named. But Max, the last one to hatch, doesn’t make it into the world. The next morning, Mrs. B has to break the sad news to the class. The rest of the story, told in rhyming text, shows how the children and the teacher handle their grief. “Silence falls over the room. Liz and Rob begin to cry. ‘Don’t worry,’ says Mrs. B. ‘We’ll find a way to say good-bye.’”

This simple and tender story takes a look at an occurrence that most every child, unfortunately experiences at least once during their childhood - the death of a class pet or a pet of their own. The colorful illustrations by Heather Castles are soft and muted, adding to the seriousness of the subject. The expressions on the faces of the multi-cultural children are precious and touching.

This a a great book for any young child experiencing a loss, especially appropriate for ages 4 through 8. This is a difficult subject to approach with a young child and this book would ease that conversation.”

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Good-Bye, Baby Max | Book Review by Carole McDonnell

By heather at 5:16 pm on Sunday, March 2, 2008

Book review of Good-Bye, Baby Max by Carole McDonnell (www.preschoolentertainment.com)

“Diane Cantrell, a former kindergarten teacher and a grief facilitator with degrees in education and counseling, has put much of her knowledge about grief into a sweetly illustrated book on dealing with grief.

The story begins in a season all kindergarteners are aware of. Spring. Children in Mrs B’s class are learning about growth and beginnings by planting seeds and hatching eggs. But then the unexpected happens and an emergency occurs. Baby Max, one of the hatchlings the children have been waiting to hatch, seems to be having trouble being born. Although his brother and sister, Dora and Spiderman, are as healthy as can be…his attempts to break through his shell are feeble. There is a rush to the veterinary hospital but unfortunately Mrs B returns the next day with the bad news: Baby Max did not survive. (Okay, some astute child might ask why Mrs B didn’t help Max out of the shell, but that is not likely to happen.)

Understandably, the children are upset. Their hearts were set on Max and although they hadn’t really seen him, they are grieving at the unexpected loss. Mrs B then arranges a grief ceremony which the children themselves create. Max is memorialized, buried, and with the help of Dora and Spiderman the children learn that life is still beautiful and life goes on.

First thing I’ll say is that this book is very multicultural. Children of all races appear in these wonderfully-illustrated pages. The second thing is that fortunately the trauma surrounding Max’s death comes fairly quickly. There isn’t a lingering buildup or a lingering drawn-out dying scene. The memorial also comes and goes fairly quickly. In fact, the book seems quite short –about twelve or so pages.

The rhyme is unobtrusive, unremarkable, and unnoticeable for adult standards. But kids will love it. And this is a book for kids. The words are common ones kids hear everyday….so kindergarteners will not struggle with terms and some first and second graders might be able to read it.

The drawings seem to be pastel crayons. I checked the information sheet to see what kind of media was used but am not quite sure. The emotion in the faces engages the reader and any child will easily understand it. Even the ladybugs weep for little Max.

The story is transferable to real life without being overly pushy and terrifying to children. Teachers could definitely use this book to discuss the arc of life and death should any of their students suffer a sudden emotional loss. I highly recommended this book for 3 to 7 year olds and for children in special education classes.”

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Good-Bye, Baby Max | Book Review

By heather at 5:24 pm on Friday, February 29, 2008

Hilary Williamson (BookLoons.com)reviews Good-Bye, Baby Max

“It’s springtime in a busy kindergarten classroom, when Mrs. B., brings in a box - ‘The children are thrilled, / for soon they will greet / Three baby chicks, / so soft and so sweet.’ In advance of their hatching, the children name the small fluffballs Dora, Spiderman and Max.

One morning, the chicks start to hatch - Dora and Spiderman quickly emerge, but Max ‘pecks and pecks, / trying to crack open his shell’. The kids worry and Chris asks, ‘Is Max gonna die?’ The next morning, they sadly learn that Max didn’t make it (the blue tinge to the illustration emphasizes how the children feel about the news).

At Mrs. B,’s urging, they decide to ‘find a way to say good-bye.’ This wise teacher organizes an outdoor funeral for the little chick - the children sing and each takes their turn for a ‘last good-bye’. They craft memorial projects and watch Dora and Spiderman cheep and play, ‘Knowing that soon / they’ll have happier days.’

Diane Cantrell, who was a kindergarten teacher and is now a Licensed Professional Counselor, does a nice job of handling this delicate subject, while Heather Castles draws settings and children’s (happy and sad) faces beautifully. I recommend Good-bye, Baby Max as an excellent vehicle to communicate what the loss of a loved one means to little ones.”

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Good-Bye, Baby Max | Detroit Free Press Book Review

By heather at 5:12 pm on Friday, February 29, 2008

MICHELE SIUDA JACQUES (Copy Editor, Detroit Free Press)

Good-Bye, Baby Max by Diane Cantrell with illustrations by Heather Castles (Bridgeway Books, $16.95) is a tender story about death, a tough topic for young children. Kindergarteners eagerly await spring and the hatching of the class’ three chick eggs. But one chick, Max, dies. What ensues is a gentle exploration of grief and its many expressions — from tears to songs to artwork. At the end, the surviving chicks’ peeps encourage the children to embrace the living without forgetting the dead.”

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Good-bye, Baby Max | Review

By heather at 8:37 pm on Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I came across a kind review by S.V. Swamy in India, reviewing our book, Good-bye, Baby Max : “Good-bye, Baby Max is a beautifully written and equally (or more importantly) beautifully illustrated book for children in the suggested age group of 4 to 8 years. For the children in the younger part of this age group, the parents or elder children and other care givers can help in reading and also deal with the emotions that may arise…. The illustrations are beautiful and help to invoke the right feelings. The book tells children some important things about life: Life is a struggle and everyone doesn’t make it. It is OK to cry and mourn those who fail and fall down. But life is about accepting the loss and moving on and seeing the emergence of new life. The children can be encouraged to read, explore and analyze the emotions that well up….”

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