Are you an avid reader looking for your next "fix"? Can't bear to be without some form of reading material in your spare time? Welcome to my world! Whether you are seeking a new book to "feed your need", or you are an author seeking an unbiased point of view on your own recent masterpiece, this is the place to be. With life as with books, you never know where the next step might take you...

Friday, January 20, 2023

GUEST POST + GIVEAWAY starring... Lulu the Beaver by Bethany Gano

Today, we're taking to the skies as Lulu shows us the bravery needed in everyday life, and just how much we all truly need it.  Ladies and gents, you're about to embark on a journey thanks to The Children's Book Review and author Bethany Gano, as we explore this colorful little tale on deck and get to know the author's thoughts on a special topic...

Written by Bethany Gano
Ages 5+ | 48 Pages
Publisher: Bunny Books | ISBN-13: 9781736147269

About the book...
In a colony full of busy beavers, one bashful beaver is hiding a gigantic secret.

Lulu tries to be a typical beaver, but her dream of being an artist is getting out! Despite her friends’ encouragement, Lulu’s struggle with fear and self-doubt has led her into a pattern of destroying her artwork — until an unexpected encounter changes Lulu, and the forest, for good.

With funny asides, sound effects, and elements of comic-book style, this eye-opening tale urges kids to confront gloomy thinking and gives them the courage to bravely share their gifts.

“The idea of feeling…boxed in by others’ expectations…is a complicated subject to tackle, but Gano handles it deftly. Gano’s evocative text, combined with her dynamic and multihued mixed media illustrations, make for an immersive and atmospheric reading experience.”

“[Lulu] loves the rhythms of the world and cherishes her forest neighbors — but she also dreams in color and yearns to chew stumps into shapes. Ebullience ferries this inspiring tale forward, and the revelation of Lulu’s beautiful differences is a triumphant moment for all.”


~~~   GUEST POST   ~~~
FOSTERING CREATIVITY with author Bethany Gano

Hello new friends — my name is Bethany Gano, and I am the author/illustrator of the children’s book, Lulu the Beaver. Gina, thank you so much for inviting me to be a guest on your blog today!

Early on as kids, most of the things we learn don’t exactly stoke our creative fires:
Learn how to pen your letters exactly like this. 
Repeat back the alphabet in this precise order. 
Memorize your addition and multiplication tables. 

Although these educational building blocks set a strong foundation for lifelong learning, they certainly don’t give a lot of creative wiggle room! However, today, I wanted to share a few ideas (centered around the theme of storytelling) to encourage creativity with the kiddos in our lives — so that they grow up learning to color inside (and outside) of the lines!

Credit for this game belongs to our youngest who created it, but he and I play this all the time. Whenever we are the only two people in the car, I immediately hear “Mom, let’s play!” coming from the backseat. Here’s how it works. One person chooses the setting (tundra, football game, rainforest, etc), and then chooses a character (robot, young girl, giraffe), and gives them skills (tech wiz, metalsmith, chef), as well as physical and personality attributes (blue hair, long tentacles, timid, ferocious, etc). Then, after describing the characters, the person leading states what the main problem is, and then you dive in. The story starts with figuring out how you are going to meet, and then you move along to how you’re going to solve whatever problem is at hand. We probably have the most fun with character building, but this is a quick and fun way to get kids looking out the window and filling their minds with wonder. Sometimes, we’ll pick up a good story where we last left off (with an octopus and a shark unusually looking for lost glasses in the middle of a desert oasis!), but other times we just start fresh on our next car ride. This is obviously fantastic for our son, but also, for any other authors or illustrators out there, it’s very helpful to nurture out-of-the-box thinking too!

I like to get a good-sized library haul every couple of weeks with a fresh pile of new-to-us picture books. Even though our older kids are past their intended age range, we ALL read them. The entire pile. They are quick and amazing! Anyway, from there, I will sometimes ask them to pick one of the books that they read and imagine adding a character to that story. Simply stating if they were going to write something different and adjacent to what they just read, who might be nice to meet in that world? Describe them (skills, personality, physical traits, quirks — just like in “The Game”) and then draw a picture of them in the illustrator’s style. What’s nice is that they don’t have to think about the world/setting or the main characters/problem — they can just focus on weaving in a memorable character.

This goes along with the previous step, but this is something fun I like to do with Lulu’s story when I share at schools. Without spoiling anything, there is a point where Lulu meets an unexpected visitor. I like to ask kids after I’ve read Lulu’s story to them to imagine what it would be like with a different ending. What if someone else crashed into Lulu’s forest? Who would it be? What would happen next? You can utilize this same method with the climax point of any story. Just change what the characters find, what they hear, where they go, etc. It’s a bit like the old “choose your own adventure” stories!

Also, to piggyback off item 2, this is another great creativity booster that you can do with a nice library haul. You and the children each choose one book from the pile that you liked the most. Share an exciting element from the plot, a favorite illustration, a detail about a character, a story’s theme that was meaningful, etc. Talking through the items you liked the most about other stories helps all of you think creatively about story problem-solving in the future.

While you can say that this might be slightly akin to the rote memorization I was bemoaning earlier, this is a great way to build a child’s eye to “see” and draw things. Have the children select a scene from a book they enjoy. Encourage them to recreate it as closely as possible (you may want to suggest a book with more clearly delineated line art like one by Mo Willems or Dr. Seuss to start with), but then have them add something to it. Perhaps pretend like the characters are at a party by adding party hats and a cake, or encourage them to change their outfits, etc.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. I hope you have a great time nurturing the creativity of the kids in your life — all while basking in the joy of reading and storytelling! 


About the author... 

Bethany Gano’s first large-scale work of art landed all over her parent’s kitchen floor — despite her witty, four-year-old attempt to give credit for the fine piece to her imaginary friends! She never stopped creating, though, and eventually learned the best places to display her artwork. Bethany has worked in the commercial arts for over twenty years and loves storytelling through art and design. She is extra fond of picture books — a place where art and words can’t survive without each other. Lulu the Beaver is her debut picture book.

Off the clock, you can find Bethany covered in paint, playing board games, swimming, daydreaming at the beach, and attempting to walk her dogs. She, her husband, three kids (and other furry and scaly family members) call Central Florida home.

For more information, visit:



Enter for a chance to win one of three signed copies of Lulu the Beaver or one of two very awesome Lulu the Beaver prize packs: The Illustration Pack or The Blast-Off Pack.

One (1) grand prize winner receives:

A signed, hardcover copy of Lulu the Beaver
A blank sketchbook
A set of four Blackwing Volumes pencils
A pack of metal pencil caps
One custom-painted illustration by Bethany of a name of your choosing (in Lulu’s forest lettering style shown, but the palette can be customized).

One (1) grand prize winner receives:


A signed, hardcover copy of Lulu the Beaver
A copy of Lulu’s Activity Book
One “Dream On” patch
One “Lulu Blast” sticker
One “Lulu Blast” bookmark

Three (3) winners receive:

A signed, hardcover copy of Lulu the Beaver


Special thanks to Bianca at The Children's Book Review for the chance to bring this tour to you and to the author for the guest post. (THANKS!) For more information on this title, the author, the publisher, this tour, or those on the horizon, feel free to click through the links provided above. Be sure to check out the rest of the stops on the tour for more bookish fun!


December 27

The Children's Book Review

Book Review

January 4

The Fairview Review

Book Review

January 5

The Momma Spot

Book Review

January 6

Me Two Books

Book Activity

January 9

Twirling Book Princess

Book Giveaway

January 10

icefairy's Treasure Chest

Book Review

January 11

Cover Lover Book Review


January 12

JRs Book Reviews

Book Review

January 13

Confessions of a Book Addict

Book Giveaway

January 16

My Reading Getaway

Guest Post

January 17

Life Is What It's Called


January 18

Barbara Ann Mojica's Blog

Book Review

January 19

Lisa's Reading

Book Review

January 20

Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

Guest Post

January 23

The Review Wire

Book Review


Until next time, remember...if it looks good, READ IT!

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