Musings on Ice Cream and Picture Books

Musings on Ice Cream and Picture Books
by Beth Ferry                     beth Ferry

I’ve been thinking a lot about ice cream lately.
Maybe because summer is finally more than a distant memory or enticing dream.
Maybe because dream rhymes with cream.
Or maybe because Tom Lichtenheld sketched this adorable scene of Stick and Stone.

s&s ice cream


(For more of Tom’s brilliance, check out: or his website:

But whatever the reason, there it is – ice cream.
At the forefront of my brain.
I am a little amazed by the sheer variety of ice cream flavors that exist.
Over 1,800 according to The Committee for the Analysis and Debate of the Various Aspects of Ice Cream.

Some are tart; some are sweet.
Some are creamy; some are crunchy.
Some are rich; some are light.
My favorite is mint-chocolate chip.
It is sweet, yet refreshing.
Creamy, yet crunchy.
But I also like soft chocolate with chocolate sprinkles.
And vanilla with almonds and peanut butter.
And root beer floats.
It all depends on my mood and the weather and if pumpkins are growing in my garden.
Sometimes their names appeal to me almost as much as their taste.

Blondies are a Swirl’s Best Friend
Monkey Wrench
Pumpkin Praline Pecan
Twixx Fixx
Winter White Chocolate
Witches Brew

There’s alliteration
and word play
and rhyme.
So, of course, my mind wanders to picture books.
The sheer volume and variety.
The intriguing titles that make me want to dive right in.
And of course, their deliciousness.

Picture books are pretty delicious.
Bite-sized books that satisfy and refresh.
Different books for every palate.
Books that make us laugh.
Books that touch our hearts.
Books that teach us something.
Books we can’t forget.
We each have our favorites.
You know what you like, don’t you?

I like the bite of a surprise ending.
And the crunch of some good word play.
I like the creamy smoothness of alliteration.
And a sprinkling of internal rhyme.
A drizzle of Ooohh.
A splash of Ahhhh.
All topped off with the swirl of brilliant illustrations and my perfect picture book sundae is made!
There’s only one word needed: YUM!

Now writing this ice cream dream of a picture book is a whole Nutter Butter Batter.
I mean – A Whole Other Matter.

I might just have some ice cream while I try!

Beth Ferry is the author of Stick and Stone, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, available April 7, 2015.      2014-01-30 07.32.40She is also the author of Land Shark, coming August 4, 2015 and Pirate’s Perfect Pet setting sail in the Fall of 2016. Her latest picture book, Swashby and the Sea, will be released in 2017. Beth writes and lives by the beach in New Jersey with her family and two lazy land sharks. You can learn more at

My Path to Publishing by Beth Ferry + PB Give-away!

I am especially excited today to bring a post by my friend and fellow children’s book author BETH FERRY.  Her debut PB, STICK & STONE ( is being released this month to starred reviews.  “Stick” around, because one lucky reader will have a chance to win a signed copy of this endearing story of friendship.  Here’s Beth with how it all came about:

I’ve always loved reading.
I read while brushing my teeth.
I read while eating breakfast.
I read while walking to the bus stop with my older sister steering me clear of rocks and trees and fast moving vehicles.
I read anything and everything – cereal boxes, shampoo bottles, recipes, and of course, books, books, books!
I became an English major in college because I loved to read.
But I never actually thought of becoming a writer.
I scribbled stories now and again.
I once wrote a story about a “rich, extra body” appearing to a girl who was washing her hair.
That’s what you get when you read shampoo bottles.
But it wasn’t until my kids were well on their way to becoming teens that I decided to commit my time to writing.
I joined SCBWI in 2008 and began writing long, rhyming stories about pirates and pumpkins.
Who knows why?
Then I began learning.
Attending conferences.
Receiving rejections.
Writing and re-writing.
It was a long road.
Full of queries and questions.
Disappointments and disasters.
Until finally I wrote Stick and Stone.
I had challenged myself to write a story under 200 words.
What would it be about?
Something universal and timeless.
At first I decided not to write it in rhyme.
But that was painful.
And no fun.
So I did it anyway.
I wrote Stick and Stone in April 2011.    2014-01-30 07.32.40
135 words.
I brought it to the June NJSCBWI conference.
Got positive feedback.
Thank you, Steve Meltzer!
Sent it to Pippin Properties in August.
Received an offer of representation in September.
Thank you, Elena!
And sold the story to HMH in December.
Thank you, Kate!
Stick and Stone will be released on April 7, 2015.
It is illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld.
Thank you, Tom!
It has been a long journey.                                   beth Ferry
An interesting one.
An exciting one.
A beautifully illustrated one.
And one paved by Stick and Stone.

Beth Ferry is the author of Stick and Stone, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, available April 7, 2015. She is also the author of Land Shark, coming August 4, 2015 and Pirate’s Perfect Pet setting sail in the Fall of 2016. Her latest picture book, Swashby and the Sea, will be released in 2017. Beth writes and lives by the beach in New Jersey with her family and two lazy land sharks. You can learn more about Beth and order her books at:

If you’d like a chance to win a FREE copy of STICK & STONE (HMH Books April 2015), please post a comment below. If you’d like to increase your chances of winning, tweet about this post on Twitter, share it on Facebook, and reblog it. For each additional “shout out,” another entry will be added with your name on it. Just let me know what you did so I can add the correct number of names. Deadline for this great give-away is April 13, 2015.