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Celebrate Easter with Patirica Toht!



Happy Easter, parents, librarians, book fanatics, writers, and readers of all sorts! Today we're egg-cited to have the amazingly-talented Patricia Toht with us. Patricia is here sharing her newly released book, Pick a Perfect Egg, which follows eggs from being picked at the farm to being decorated and gifted for Easter. Want to know more about Patricia, her beautiful new book, PLUS want a chance to win a signed copy of it? Read on...



Q: Thanks so much for joining #SeasonsOfKidLit! We’re thrilled to have you, and to hear about your beautiful book, Pick a Perfect Egg - an egg-cellent read for Easter.  


Can you share a little bit about yourself and how you became a children’s writer? What was your path to getting your first “YES” like?


A: Thank you for inviting me to share, Heather and Lynne! 


If my writing path were a song, it could be titled “The Long and Winding Road.” My road to kidlit actually began when I opened a children’s bookstore in 1988. For seven years, I was immersed in children’s literature!  The store eventually succumbed to the Barnes & Noble/Borders onslaught. But my love of children’s books never left, and I eventually turned to writing for children.


I began by learning – reading books on the craft of writing for kids and taking classes in writing picture books and poetry. I wrote for several years before I felt my writing might be good enough for submission. Eventually, my poems and short fiction were sold to children’s magazines, and I took on a few books for hire. 


But the picture book was so elusive! It took a move to England and a dedication to keep improving my craft before I finally signed with an agent and sold my first picture book – at the age of 54!! A decade later, I have seven books in print and another five books in the pipeline, so I guess patience and persistence paid off. 



Q:  Pick a Perfect Egg is a wonderful read for today! With pleasant rhymes, it follows an egg from farm all the way to being dyed, decorated, and gifted for Easter. This seriously sounds so sweet! Did your publisher approach you for this fun sequel to Pick a Perfect Pumpkin and Pick a Pine Tree or did you approach them? What was the inspiration behind the story?


A:  I was lucky that Pick a Pine Tree and Pick a Pumpkin were sold together as “companion books” to Walker Children’s Books in the UK (a sister company to Candlewick Press in the US). They were published two years apart (2017 and 2019). Initially, there was no plan to have a third book. But an Easter story began writing itself in my brain, and I approached Walker about it and they were interested. 


All three books center on holidays and traditions, but they are also about transformation, so they would work together well as a trio. One possible stumbling block was contracting the illustrator, Jarvis, for a third book. He was very busy and very successful with his own author-illustrator books, but luckily he signed on!


So much of the text in the books is based on our family’s traditions. It was a joy to write and reminisce at the same time!


Readers, check out these amazing spreads and art by Jarvis!




Q:  Sequels are really challenging to write - but rhyming sequels are even more so as you must match the rhyming scheme. What tip do you have for readers looking to write something similar? Can you tell us more about writing in rhyme? 



A:  My tip is that, if you wish to write in rhyme, you need to READ rhyme, LEARN how meter and rhyming works, and PRACTICE. Meter is often the biggest challenge. I don’t start writing with a specific rhythm in mind, but as I work, the meter develops. When I pinpoint it, I write the pattern on a notecard and tape that to my computer as a reference while I continue writing.


The meter notecard helped me keep the rhythm consistent from book to book. I also had a bit of a roadmap to work with. Because the books are about processes, they have a pattern to the opening and closing, and the stories are told sequentially. This all adds up to give them a similar feel. Jarvis’ fantastic illustrations enhance and tie them together even more.


If you write in rhyme, it’s helpful to have critique partners who write in rhyme, too. For twenty years, I’ve been part of such a group, which includes authors Michelle Schaub and Eileen Meyer. A few years ago, we decided to join forces as the Rhyme Doctors and offer our critique services to others. After two decades together and two dozen rhyming books between us, we’ve learned a thing or two! 






Q: You have multiple holiday-themed picture books published. Congrats - we know those are harder sales!  What tips can you share for those who might be writing a holiday-themed story right now?  How can they make their stories shine and stand out in the market? 


A: I would say the starting point to writing a winning holiday book is to know what’s out there and what’s not! For Pick a Pine Tree, I read as many Christmas tree books as I could find in our library system. I discovered there were plenty of books about a tree being chosen (or not chosen), but there were no books that explored what happens after that  – that process that transforms a plain tree into a Christmas beauty.


Another thing to keep in mind is what YOU specifically bring to the telling of a story. Do you love facts? Are you funny? Whatever it is, pour it into your book. Rhyme is my thing, and I work hard at bringing my best to the books.





Q. What other fun titles of yours can we check out ASAP - and what can we be on the lookout for?


A: Taxi, Go! came out at the beginning of 2024. The story follows a cheerful taxi zipping through a busy day. I framed the story around the children’s game “Red Light, Green Light,” and also wove in a bedtime ending. It makes for a great read-aloud, and Maria Karipidou’s illustrations are a delight!


I have five more books under contract – two early chapter books (similar in length and style to Frog and Toad), two picture books, and a poetry collection. None of these titles have been announced yet, so I can’t divulge much more now…


Wow, a HUGE congrats! We can't wait to hear more!



Q: BONUS QUESTION:  What’s one of your favorite Easter candies and/or what’s your favorite way to celebrate easter? 


A: I love collecting decorated Easter eggs and also dying them! Last year, my granddaughter and I experimented with natural colors derived from fruits, vegetables, and spices. It was so interesting to see the results! This year, we’re using a method that uses Cool Whip and drops of food coloring.


In my basket this year, I’m hoping for a delicious, dark chocolate bunny!


YUM! Thanks again for sharing your books with us and stopping by Patricia!



Q: Would you like to leave a sweet treat for our readers?


A: YES! I'd love to offer a signed copy of Pick a Perfect Egg to one lucky reader.


What an amazing treat! Thanks so much.


Giveaway Instructions: Readers, to enter this giveaway please 1) like and share/RT this post on social media and 2) thank Patricia for stopping by! Please share your favorite Easter GIFs with her, too. ;)



Giveaway winners will be drawn and announced on or about 4/13.


Note: Books will be shipped in the US only. Winners must have a US address.


About Patricia Toht:


Patricia Toht is the author of several picture books, including her newest titles, Together With You (2023), Pick a Perfect Egg (2023), and Taxi, Go! (2024). She is also one of the Rhyme Doctors, a trio of poets who consult with authors on rhyming picture books and poetry collections. She currently lives in California with her husband and a big, goofy golden retriever.


For more about Patricia, check out the following links:


Instagram: Patricia Toht




For more about Walker Children’s Books, click here: https://www.walker.co.uk/


For more about the amazing illustrator Jarvis, click here: https://www.byjarvis.com/


To purchase Patricia's books, or to leave a review for them on Amazon, click here.



 


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12 Comments


Thanks for the pointers...How can they make their stories shine and stand out in the market? A: I would say the starting point to writing a winning holiday book is to know what’s out there and what’s not! Reposted on X. Happy Easter.

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Congratulations, Patricia on your newest book! Thanks for sharing the writing journey for your "Pick a" series. I RT this post on Twitter (X).



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Thank you for sharing a copy of your fun book with one of us. I can't wait to read it as mentor text.



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Thank you, Patricia for sharing. So awesome. Congratulations on your books.



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Thank you, Patricia! I love your work. Sharing to my socials :)

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