Thursday, March 16, 2017

ReFoReMo Day 16: Kelly DiPucchio Finds Fresh Funky Voices


I love a smart mouth and by that, I mean a writer with a fresh, funny, fabulously funky voice. Here are a few authors I admire for their sweet and salty deliveries.
“If your mom says to get ready to play at the beach, she means with a boat, or a Frisbee, or a shovel. She is not talking about the piano.” Elise Parsley is a master of absurdity and humor. For anyone looking to study fresh voice, I highly recommend they check out her wonderfully engaging books.





Who else can call a unicorn dopey and get away with it? Bob Shea, that’s who! His uniquely sweet sarcasm adds the perfect amount of edginess to all of his books. It’s no surprise that both kids and adults think he’s pretty great.
Ryan T. Higgins is one of my favorite new author/illustrators. His picture book Mother Bruce is achingly perfect. The lines, “Bruce became the victim of mistaken identity” and “I liked you better when you were eggs” made me swoon. His second Bruce book (Hotel Bruce) is equally charming.
Kate Beaton, you had me at farting pony whose eyes look in different directions (but only sometimes). I have a writer crush on Kate and with good reason. She’s amazing.








Leave Me Alone! Vera Brosgol
While at a book signing this summer, the bookstore owner handed me a new picture book called Leave Me Alone by Vera Brosgol. “I have a feeling you’ll like this one,” she smirked.  She knows me so well!  These lines made me as green as Vera’s moon-men: “Leave me alone!” the old woman shouted. But the little green moon-men couldn’t hear her because they didn’t have any ears. So she picked up her sack and left through a wormhole.”  I’m still slightly brokenhearted I didn’t think to write a wormhole into a picture book first.














Kelly is donating a free signed copy of her book, ANTOINETTE! Thank you Kelly! To be eligible, please comment on this post and make efforts to read mentor text regularly.

Kelly DiPucchio is the New York Times bestselling author of over twenty picture books for kids including Grace For President, Gaston, and Dragon Was Terrible. You can find her at home in Michigan trying to remember how to say ReFoReMo and on the web at kellydipuccho.com.

158 comments:

  1. Kelly,

    Thanks for your contributions to our reading list and reflections on mentor texts! I have similar taste similar to yours. Wit will win me over in a heartbeat. My daughters ADORE The Princess and The Pony. I'm working on a new MS in prose, and hope to deliver something fresh, salty, and funny. I think I'll work on it tomorrow!

    (By the way, my girls love Antoinette and Gaston. We've read them the last 3 nights!)

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  2. These are witty books! Thank you for your reflection - and for your stories. We've enjoyed them at our home many times.

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  3. "I’m still slightly brokenhearted I didn’t think to write a wormhole into a picture book first." ... or, in my case, have any of these ideas that seem so clearly-there-for-the-picking in retrospect but are actually delightfully oddball and the product of a particular kind of foraging. A great list, thank you.

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  4. Can't stand it - so much fun! Thanks for a great list, it's off to the library for me again!

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  5. Oh I agree! I love a book with some sass and sarcasm as well. This is a great list!

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  6. Thank you so much for this collection of books. I love these kinds of books so much even though they are a huge departure from what I write. Lots to learn here. Lots of inspiration. Thank you for giving us a collection to make us think and laugh while doing so.

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  7. Always so great to study picture books that have a strong, fresh voice! Thanks for a great list!

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  8. Thank you for your great mentor text suggestions, Kelly! These are such fun stories - I have to keep in mind to always try to make my stories just a bit weirder. Also, thank you for your own great mentor texts!

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  9. I've read most but not all of these books. Thank you! And...I LOVE Gaston!

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  10. These are my kind of books! Funny with a little sass is a great combination so I'm looking forward to diving into these mentor texts. Thanks!

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  11. I love funky voices too! Kids are unfiltered and literal. These unique voices celebrate that. Thanks for your post.

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  12. I enjoyed observing a dry or deadpan wit coupled with hilarious illustrations. Thanks!

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  13. Great post! I love these books, too:>

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  14. What great mentor texts you have recommended and they are all new to me now I know what an editor is after when they say unique voice and laugh out loud books wanted.

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  15. These are fun books! I also love fun, funky voices. Love your books too! Thanks for the post.

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  16. I love to study the fresh, funny, and funky voices. Thanks for these smart and sassy recommendations!

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  17. How funny, Kelly...I JUST finished reading LEAVE ME ALONE to a group of students and they loved it! I especially like the illustrations when the grandmother enters the wormhole...;~)

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  18. These books were so fun - and funny - but I still have to read Leave Me Alone...

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  19. Love your choices of fresh, funky voices. Thank you.

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  20. This list here had some of my favorite books so far. LEAVE ME ALONE was great, I didn't think that it would go in the direction that it did toweards the end. <3

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  21. Thanks for sharing! I agree that Mother Bruce is "achingly perfect."

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  22. I think this post is pretty great. (No really.)

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  23. Love your insights about each book and I can't wait to try to write a story with a fresh funky take.

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  24. Wonderful funny choices! Can't wait to check them out and read them woth my Grandson! I love to laugh with him while sharing a new book!

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  25. BRUCE and PONY are on my list. I am writing a funny WIP right now. I love your voice, Kelly and all your books.

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  26. Nothin' better than fresh and funny VOICE. GAH. I love your picks, Kelly! (Your books, too. Duh.) Many, many thanks.

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  27. These are awesome suggestions, Kelly. The only ones I'd add to the list are yours! Everyone in my household loves Bacon and Cupcake in particular. I was sorry to miss you on your recent stop at Green Bean Books in Portland. Thanks for this!

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  28. Love the many layers to the humor in these stories. Great choices!


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  29. Such fabulous books! I know, worm holes, right?! Love your books, too, Kelly!

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  30. These are great selections! Perfect mentor texts to highlight the importance of voice- Thanks for this post!

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  31. Wow! These books are amazing. I love them all. Now I'm heading to the library to get Gaston. Thanks, Kelly.

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  32. All of these featured authors do have a fresh voice new to picture books which I agree with you, is refreshing. The same as your books Kelly.

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  33. thank you for the great fresh post.

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  34. Great mentor texts today for that funky voice! Mother Bruce is fabulous! One of my favorites!

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  35. Thank you for the list and the specific reasons these books grabbed you. It is always fun (and informing) to read and compare the reasons I like a book with the reason someone else fell for it.

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  36. Some great old faves & new-to-me finds here. Thank you!

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  37. I LOVE Mother Bruce! My grandchildren request it again and again. Books that make children and adults snicker, or, even better, laugh out loud are just the best. Thanks for a great post!

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  38. Yes lots of treasured to be found in this post. Thank you!

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  39. I love all the books you mentioned, Kelly, plus yours too! Thanks for sharing.

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  40. Hi Kelly, what a funny list of books! Can't wait to read Mother Bruce and Leave Me Alone. :)

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  41. Thanks for your list of mentor texts. Look forward to learning and laughing!

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  42. How I love sassy characters in PBs and in real life! Lots of giggles to be had with today's titles. Thank you, Kelly.

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  43. Just read several of your recommendations. Each voice is distinct, but all do have a similar sassiness. Thanks!

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  44. Yes! I loved these books and so did my kids. Thank you, Kelly!

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  45. Ah, Kelly DiPucchio, I knew we were kindred spirits. Your smart mouth - I mean, "fresh narrative voice" - is a favorite around my house. And Kate Beaton - well she can just take my money and listen to me snort-laugh. Thanks for sharing a great list of great voices with all of us.

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  46. I love each and every one of these books and aspire to have such a sharp voice. Thanks for sharing, Kelly!

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  47. My kids adore many of these books (and yours)! Thanks for your list of mentor texts!

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  48. A fantastic list of must-reads for everyone. I would add Emily Jenkins for a great voice author... love the nuanced, funny voice(s) in Toys Go Out.

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  49. This list was fun, my kids loved reading each of them. Thank you Kelly for this post!

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  50. Great post, Kelly! Thank you for the wonderful selection of funny, sassy picture books to use as mentor texts. I can’t wait to read Mother Bruce, The Princess and the Pony, and Leave Me Alone

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  51. I'm always looking for a smart-mouthed book! Thanks for the recommendations, Kelly. Also, glad to see Vera Brosgol's Leave Me Alone on your list. Love that story!

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  52. Thanks for the suggestions. The vision of warriors in cuddly sweaters is one I won't soon forget. Can't wait till the rest of this group of books arrive at the library for me.

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  53. Great list of books! I personally love this style of writing!

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  54. Kelly,

    I'm a huge fan and so thrilled to get your list of favorite books.

    Rita Orrell

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  55. Love your mentor text selections. Thanks, Kelly.

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  56. Thanks Kelly for your delightful comments regarding some really funny books. Loved your list.

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  57. These books are fantastic! Love PBs that have a smidgen of humorous snark. Thanks, Kelly

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  58. Such a great list as I not-so-secretly gravitate to the "sweet and salty" myself!

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  59. Thanks for sharing these fun and funky mentor texts.

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  60. Love this, Kelly! So many good books. Thank you!

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  61. Kelly, you've added some wonderfully funny books to my list of "love."

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  62. I love these types of picture books. Thanks for the excellent recommendations.

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  63. I love your reading choices! Bob Shea always cracks me up. Leave Me Alone was a happy surprise for me. I also loved Gaston and can't wait to read Antoinette!

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  64. I LOVE this post today! This honestly has inspired me to write funny. Mother Bruce, The Princess, And Unicorn- how clever are these stories! I have really been getting into this kind of writing for picture books, and these were great mentor texts for the genre.

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  65. Top-notch picks! Love all of these titles. Thanks for sharing your current favorites, Kelly!

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  66. Love your books, Kelly :) Thank you for sharing other titles as mentor texts. I've read some of them and look forward to checking out the others.

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  67. Thank you Kelly, for this sweet and salty sampler!

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  68. Thank you Kelly for this collection of GREAT books.

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  69. Kelly,
    I loved Gaston and will search out Antoinette as well. I love Elise Parsely and Rayan Higgins. Hilarious! I love to read them before going to sleep. it guarantees sweet dreams!

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  70. So, so fun!! These are laugh out loud books which makes them hard to forget! (Thanks for introducing me to Ryan T. Higgins.)

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  71. Great examples of great voices! I especially love Unicorn Thinks He's Pretty Great. Thank you for the post!

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  72. Thanks for sharing your fresh and refreshing voice with us! The mentor text suggestions are spot-on, and I cannot wait to read the few I have not yet read. Many thanks again!

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  73. This is a list of books to which I can totally relate. (had to go back and change that sentence for perfect grammar, even though it sounds stuffy) Thank you, Kelly, for pulling these together for us - I can't wait to read them all, along with "Antoinette"!

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  74. Thanks for putting a spotlight on this type of voice -- I think it's important as writers to be cognizant of the balance between freshness and sass so that characters can preserve their charm.

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  75. I haven't read the first one yet, but all the others are huge favorites of mine. Great list! Thanks, Kelly, for sharing your insights. (And thanks for writing - I LOVE your books!)

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  76. Great topic...I can't wait to read and study your recommended texts. Thanks for your post.

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  77. I have writer jealousy of YOU! Wish I had thought up Zombie looking for a Valentine first. Great post!

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  78. What a sweet and salty list of books. Thank you!

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  79. Kelly, I love your sense of humor and totally enjoyed your panel at the Tucson Festival of Books. Your reading of Antoinette and background information of who Gaston and Antoinette are as characters was very helpful to me in developing my characters. The message I get is "Have fun." Thank you, I will

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  80. Great list! And, I'm loving Antoinette too!

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  81. Awesome mentor text suggestions! And I am a HUGE fan of Gaston! My dog's (a Havanese named Lacey) boyfriend down the street is a French bulldog named Buster. I told her owner she had to get a copy of Gaston for her granddaughter.

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  82. Thanks for your great choices for mentor texts! - Alice Fulgione

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  83. Attitude! That's what I like: books with attitude!!

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  84. Love a sassy character! And writing one is hard! Great mentor texts! Thanks

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  86. Thank you for introducing me to these books! Mother Bruce has been on my to read list for a long time and it did not disappoint. And the worm hole! Love it! Thank you for your post.

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  87. This is a great mentor text list. I absolutely love the voices. Adults need to laugh along with their children. These books encourage that. Thank you, Kelly.

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  88. Love these sassy voice book recommendations -- Thanks, Kelly!

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  89. Loved Unicorn and goat. Voices are fun!

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  90. My entire family has loved this entire list of books - except the Elise Parsley one, so guess what I am getting next? Thanks for the post Kelly. We also love YOUR books!

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  91. I do love a funky voice! Thanks for sharing mentor texts with great voice for us to check out!

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  92. I LOVE Gaston & Antoinette because of their voice! These are some great mentor texts.

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  93. KELLY: THANK YOU for the WONDERFUL book list featuring fresh, unique, and fun storytelling voices! This is such an IMPORTANT aspect to study and hopefully bring into our own writing. I LOVE your Gaston books - in fact, I just read and studied Gaston as one of my ReFoReMo books (it should be on the list you gave us today!)! THANK YOU for sharing your WONDERFUL talent and stories with us!

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  94. Thanks for the "sweet and salty" list of books. ;-)

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  95. Thank you for the post and the book selections. Looking forward to reading them.

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  96. Thanks for the titles, Kelly! Now I have to finish reading and studying them and get my own "funk" on!!!

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  97. Kelly - thanks for presenting a fun-filled list...I love humorous voices in mentor texts! And I love your work as well!

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  98. Love this book list, and of course your incredible books. You're a star author at our house, Kelly 😊

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  99. Thank you for this fun list of books. I love how Leave Me Alone gets so extreme it goes beyond the galaxy.

    I also must gush a bit and say that I am a huge fan of Gaston. That has been a mentor text for me. I love that Antoinette has her own story now!

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  100. Thanks for sharing these books. They are fun to read--and funny too.

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  101. These PBs are all faves at our house. I was blown away by LEAVE ME ALONE! Thanks for sharing your insights with us and I LOVE your books, too!

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  102. I love those type of voices as well! Yee-haw! Thanks for sharing with us. I'm home late from a trip out of town, but my stack is ready to go in the morning!

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  103. All of these recommendations were wonderful, Kelly, thank you! My 4-year-old and I had so much fun reading these :-)

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  104. Thank you, Kelly. Wonderful examples of voice by someone whose books have a great voice themselves.

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  105. I like these kinds of voices, too. I look forward to reading these! I liked Mother Bruce!

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  106. Thanks for these great suggestions! I also enjoyed reading Leave Me Alone!

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  107. Love these--the kind of voices I love to read!

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  108. I admit these are not the kinds of books I pick up on my own to read, although I do like funny. I will search these out! Thanks, Kelly :)

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  109. Elise is awesome! I love how her voice is both fresh and classic. And Leave Me Alone was such a unique read. I loved the sci-fi twist. Thanks for sharing!

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  110. (!!!SPOILER ALERT!!!!) I loved all these books Kelly, but it was your book ANTOINETTE that made me laugh out loud. It was the first time I encountered a slow-motion replay in a book!

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  111. Thank you, Kelly, for these book selections! I loved Leave Me Alone! Sometimes I wish I had a wormhole I could escape through.

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  112. These books are a lot of fun and I love a sassy character too!

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  113. Excellent mentor texts for sassy, funny voices. Love all your books, Kelly. They always make me laugh out loud!

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  114. Thanks, Kelly, for sharing these titles. Just requested those I hadn't read from my library. And thanks, too, for being a #kidlit inspiration!

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  115. Fabulous mentor texts--thanks for sharing this list.

    Susan

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  116. The more you read, the more you realize that there are SO MANY great books out there!

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  117. Thank you for highlighting these books. I loved Mother Bruce and adore Hotel Bruce almost as much. Ryan Higgins is amazing.

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  118. I love quirky books. You've highlighted some good ones.

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  119. Some new titles for me to check out. Many thanks.

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  120. Fresh and funny voices make my favorite kind of picture books. I love all of your suggested mentor texts.

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  121. This looks like a list of great books. I especially like Mother Bruce.

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  122. Thank you for the list! I feel like it's a fine art to write a salty book that doesn't cross the line into sass. These are great!

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  123. I love these mentor texts. Thanks for the great post.

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  124. A fresh, funny, fabulously funky voice...that's my goal! Great post! Thank you!

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  125. Your books are amazing and I can't wait to check out a few titles in your list of mentor texts that I'm not familiar with. Thank you and congrats on your continued success!

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  126. Ha...I must love these over the top books also...I've read most...but not the Piano one...oh my gosh...need to get that ASAP! Thanks for being a champion of the fresh and funky...if it is for sale, I need a large order, please! Great post, Kelly..thank you so much!

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  127. Ahhhh... I love these (and yours too) so much! Funky voices can = fresh. Leave Me Alone for example. One of the things I adore about that book is that we expect the "old woman in the shoe" trope to stick by the kids no matter how hard it gets. It becomes comical when she up-and-leaves them! Thanks for sharing your time/post with us! Happy reading!

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  128. These are wonderful titles, Kelly! I look forward to reading them again now to study voice. It's fun to hear what books make you swoon, I LOVED the SANDWICH SWAP, ZOMBIE IN LOVE, DRAGON WAS TERRIBLE and GASTON! Congratulations on a hugely successful career!

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  129. These were all so fantastic, it's hard to pick a favorite! I love when a book makes me laugh out loud, and all of these did it! Liz Tipping

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  130. For over 10 years, I read 5 books per night to my children. These five were exactly the type of books they loved to read... over and over and over and over.
    And, I adored Leave Me Alone! (Was not what I was expecting.)

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  131. Thank you for the suggestions, looking forward to reading these.

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  132. Thanks Kelly! You summarized Mother Bruce perfectly. I can't wait to check out these mentor texts. Cindy

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  133. I too have a writer crush on Kate Beaton! Oh! Her humor is my humor...her funny my funny. Great list of voices. Thank you!

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  134. Thank you Kelly for the great suggestions. I was really inspired by If You Ever Want to Bring a Piano to the Beach, DON’T! by Elise Parsley. It reminded me of an old adage I heard when raising my kids, "Give them in fantasy what you cannot give them in reality." Look forward to reading your other suggestions.

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  135. Thank you for your strong-voice suggestions!

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  136. Absolutely loved Mother Bruce! Thanks for your other great suggestions too, Kelly. Much appreciated post.

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  137. Oui, oui, oui! Thank goodness there is plenty of room for fresh, funky voices, such as yours. I love all these mentor texts, and I am taking on the challenge to infuse more humor into my manuscript! Thank you! Merci!

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  138. Thanks for your list of funny, and smart, picture books! These are great voices to study.

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  139. Can't wait to get my hands on the Vera Brosgol....

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  140. These are all perfect examples of picture book humor. I loved them all!

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  141. Nothing like picture book humor. Thanks Kelly

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  142. So glad to hear there's another Bruce to read - Mother Bruce is great, as are your entire list here. I'd add Those Darn Squirrels to this vein of PBs.

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  143. We love Gaston in our house! And have read several of the laugh-out-louds on your list.

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  144. Thank you for this post, Kelly. Of the books you've mentioned I've read four so far, my favourite being Mother Bruce - it's so funny. I also enjoyed your Dragon Was Terrible and I'm looking forward to reading your other books.

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  145. Thank you Kelly. Your description of these books has really made me peek at them as soon as possible.

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  146. These were fantastic. I can't even pick a favorite! Farting ponies, grumpy bear mothers, and cloven justice?!?! Too much!

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  147. Love these books--Princess and the Pony always makes me laugh out loud. Thanks for the round-up!

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  148. Had already enjoyed three of these, and can't wait for the other two plus yours (Antoinette!). I have been in love with Gaston for quite a while (especially after meeting a live "Gaston" named Otis).

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  149. I love these recommendations and equally love your reference to them being "salty and sweet"... so true. Thanks for the great additions to my list!

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  150. "Sweet and salty deliveries" - you've nailed it, Kelly. I've read Elise Parsley's, If You Ever Wanted to Bring a Piano to the Beach - Don't, and Vera Brosgol's, Leave Me Alone! Now to track down the other titles.

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  151. I particularly liked Mother Bruce, my preschooler's favorite of these was Leave Me Alone! Thanks!

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  152. Thanks for this great post and fun recommendations.

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  153. Thanks for these voice examples.

    My grandmother's name was Antoinette. I'm looking forward to checking out your book.

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