The test of a good story is in how much good stuff you can leave out.
On My Walk
Read more about this book at Wikipedia.
About the Illustrator
Born and raised in Germany, Christina Leist now lives in Vancouver. Before becoming a full-time illustrator, she worked in advertising as an art director and graphic designer. She illustrated Baad Animals (2005) and The Graveyard Hounds (2008) for Tradewind Books.
Interview with Book Bites for Kids on blogtalkradio.com, July 7 2010:
Teachers’ and Kids’ activities
Car-Free Vancouver Books on Car-Free Transportation (March 12, 2014)
Review by Shannon LaBelle
This post is the first in a new series of reviews of children’s books about car-free transportation. Whenever I browse children’s books on transportation, I’m usually disappointed to find that books about active transportation and taking public transit are missing in the transportation section. Train books are prominent, but so are many books about cars and trucks. In an effort to improve the visibility of great books about car-free transportation, I plan to write short reviews of some older and newer children’s books about walking, cycling, public transit, trains and other ways of getting around.
The first children’s book that I want to recommend is On My Walk by Kari-Lynn Winters with illustrations by Christina Leist.
This fun book with onomatopoeic words like clippity-clop, hippity-hop and drippity-drop, is set in Vancouver. The child in the book enjoys a pleasant summer walk with mom (presumably) and pet dog. Along the way, he observes many things, including horses, frogs, fish and freighters. And, of course, the Vancouver rain makes an appearance, turning the summer walk into a summer run. This simple and short book is a celebration of walking in our city.
On My Walk was a finalist for the Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Prize (BC Book Prizes) and the Chocolate Lily Award (BC Readers’ Choice) in 2010. Look for it at your local and independent bookstores and the library.
Canadian Children’s Book Center (February 7, 2012)
Review by Senta Ross
What could be finer than taking a leisurely walk through a neighbourhood park where there are so many interesting things to see and hear? Within a Vancouver setting, a mother, child, and pet dog experience the clippity-clop of a horse, the frippity-frop of a frog, the hippity-hop of a bug, the flippity-flop of a fish, and the slippityslop of an ice-cream cone. It is only when they hear the drippity-drop of the raindrops that their summer walk evolves into a summer run as they scurry home, quickly bypassing the sights and sounds encountered earlier on their journey.
Author Kari-Lynn Winters has written a simple 75-word story perfectly suited to very young children. This rhythmic text will encourage them to chant the words and create their own sound effects. Pronouncing the onomatopoeic script will be especially entertaining.
Christina Leist’s digital artwork depicts the landscape from a child’s point of view. Young readers will appreciate absorbing the illustrations depicting the natural surroundings of a pond, beach and cityscape. They will enjoy the antics of the comical pet dog who is especially excited by his explorations. As the story progresses, note how the bright sunny sky gradually transforms into a dark, brooding atmosphere.
On My Walk will gently remind caregivers and children about the beauty in the world around them, no matter where they live!
Bookmark (the journal for BC teacher Librarians) 51:1 (Summer 2011), p. 53
Review by K. Schweitzer
Kari-Lynn Winters has written a delightful book for the pre-kindergarten age group.
Have you got your “science eyes and ears” ready? That’s all that’s needed when you take a walk with Kari-Lynn Winters. There’s the wonderful sound of a frog-“frippity-frop” and the sight of a bug- “hippity-hop”. So many rhyming words for the ear of the young listener! And then as the story is ending, the retracing of the walk and the sounds heard, as mother and child quickly race home to try and beat an unexpected rain-storm. Including rich language, easy story line and a memory challenge, what comes next? Great fun!
Christina Leist’s illustrations will definitely catch the attention of the young audience listening to this story. There’s something unique to look for on each page, allowing the reader to ask, “Can you see…”?
Recommended for Pre-school
Download entire issue (5MB).
goodreads, May 30 2011
Review by Liam O’Donnell
****/5. This colourful rhyming book for toddlers follows one little girl on her summer walk where she sees horses, frogs bugs and more. With each page, On My Walk builds on a simple rhyming pattern that will have kids (and adults) tapping, stomping and flopping with each page. As a children’s literature and dram-in-education instructor, Winters has used her experience to create a fun book with much room for young children to move, jump and splash as they follow the girl on her journey. Christina Leist’s simple but colourful illustrations capture that west-coast feel, while keeping the images accessible to all readers. On My Walk is a perfect first book for toddlers and parents to enjoy before, after or even during their own walks around town.
CM Magazine XVI(25) March 5, 2010
Review by Linda Ludke. 3½/4
A young boy, his mother and their dog enjoy a leisurely summer stroll through a neighbourhood park. Along the way, they hear a horse “clippity-clop” and a frog “frippity-frop.” They stop to watch a cricket “hippity-hop” and a fish “flippity-flop” Their adventures are cut short when storm clouds appear and the “drippity-drop[s]” turn into a downpour. Running all the way home, they revisit the sights and sounds they passed earlier in the day.
The very simple text, with onomatopoeic words, is great for reading aloud. Toddlers won’t need much encouragement to join in the chorus of “slippity-slop[s]” and “clippity-clop[s].”
Christiana Leist’s fetching mixed media illustrations complement and extend the story. The spotted dog shares the child’s discoveries (and also surreptitiously shares an ice cream cone). The scenes are presented from the eye-level of the child so you often only see the mother’s hands in the background. Earthy brown and green hues and use of stencils give a lushness and freshness to the pages.
Share this book at storytimes, or pack it in your knapsack when you go on a neighborhood literacy walk. Highly Recommended!
Linda Ludke is a librarian in London, ON.
Quill & Quire January 2010
Review by Nathan Whitlock
A young, curly-haired kid in overalls heads out for a summer walk with his rambunctious dog and pregnant mom. (It’s not entirely clear whether the kid is a boy or a girl, but “boy” seems most likely.) They wander through what appears to be a suburban park, coming across a horse, a frog, a bug, and a fish, buy an ice cream cone, then get rained on and have to hoof it home, seeing everything they’d spotted earlier, but in reverse order.
This picture book collaboration between author and educator Kari-Lynn Winters and Vancouver illustrator Christina Leist (who previously illustrated Vi Hughes’s YA novel The Graveyard Hounds) couldn’t be simpler. Winters’ rhyming text has the kid hearing his world as a series of “-ippity -op” sounds: “I hear a horse, clippity-clop, clippity clop, and a frog, frippity-frop, frippity-frop.” While it doesn’t exactly scream originality, the patient and hypnotic rhythm is exactly the kind of thing that will worm its way into the memories and imaginations of toddlers, who will likely start ippity-oppiting themselves after a single reading. (Though the book could serve as a first reader, kids at the upper end of the suggested age-range may give the whole thing a shruggity-shrug.)
Leist’s layered illustrations work well with Winters’ words, turning path, pond, and beach into a lively riot of green leaves and grass against a background that is various shades of brown, with faint ships, mountains, and a city skyline on the horizon. The transition from sunny day to cloudy one is subtle, but by the time the rain really hits, the book’s pages seem wonderfully stormy and waterlogged.
The Bookbag March 2010
Review by Keith Dudhnath. 3½/5
A little girl is going for a walk with her mummy and her dog. They hear a horse saying clippity-clop and a frog saying frippity-frop. They enjoy all the sights and sounds of the beautiful summer’s day, until it starts to rain, drippity-drop, drippity-drop…
On My Walk is a lovely tale of a summery jaunt, and the run home in the rain. The simple rhymes bring to mind The Bear in the Cave by Michael Rosen and Adrian Reynolds. Young book fans will enjoy the pace of the story. Not every rhyme is as familiar as it could be (do frogs really say anything approaching frippity-frop?) but the format helps brush over this somewhat. The structure of out then back again makes it immediately familiar, and will have its young audience joining in with it.
Christina Leist’s illustrations have an interesting style of their own, mixing lino cuts with simple line drawings. I enjoyed the pictures, but the palette is rather muted – I could have done with a few more brighter colours in the mix. I know it’s supposed to be the outskirts of a city, just before a storm, but leaving aside the necessary grey clouds, it makes the fun part of the walk seem more mundane than it should. The lake should be bluer, her ice cream more inviting. The underlying quality is obvious, but it doesn’t grab you as much as you’d hope.
The criticisms are small, petty things. I love the general premise and most of the execution, but there are just a few little touches here and there that mean On My Walk doesn’t blow me away as much as it could. There are plenty of positives and they could well click with you. Do have a flick through and see what you think. Worth a look.
Word of Mouse Book Reviews, July 29 2010
Review by Stacey MacNevin
One of the first things people ask when I say my daughter is now 14 months is: “Is she walking yet?” (My fabulous and childless friend, Shirley, has been asking me this question since Emmerson was six months!)
“Almost” is how I often reply. She is so close I know it will happen any day! While I am excited for her I try not to push; I’ve learnt babies do things in their own time. The other thing I realized about having a baby is that others (and often parents themselves) are eager for them to hit those developmental milestones. I suppose it’s a reassurance of the natural order of things and I think a genuine desire to know the child is doing well. Often, I think we forget how hard it is to learn something like walking.
In The Book of Awesome (Amy Einhorn Books, 2010) author Neil Pasricha writes: Like learning anything tough and life-altering, learning to walk is a messy process that takes time and patience. So true, so true (Question: is it bad form to mention another book in a book review? I suppose I can get away with it as this isn’t a children’s book…)
I think because learning to walk is such a big step (think of what walking did in the evolution of our species-thank goodness for Homo erectus right?!) it is so honoured and revered as an important rite of passage from babyhood to childhood.
So perhaps because it is such a challenge and such a milestone that taking walks with children is so magical. Their young and inquisitive minds notice everything, from the smallest detail to the most mundane and soon even the same route taken daily becomes a new adventure each time (dogs are great at this too –even though you may cover the same route, each day its new: new scents, different creatures; dogs never get bored!)
I love that this magic is captured in the picture book On My Walk written by Kari-Lyn Winters and illustrated by Christina Leist (ISBN: 9781896580616, Tradewind Books, 2009). This book is delightful covering all the sensory joys of a child while out on a summers walk: sights, sounds, tastes and tactile. The simple text has lots of noises to say out loud which is very appealing to toddlers (my daughter loves sound effects!) and the illustrations add to the animated feel of the urban landscape (feels like Vancouver…)
I also love the little dog bounding around with his/her black patches and the pregnant Momma (you don’t see that very often and I think that’s great to have represented in kids literature especially for the targeted age group, toddlers, might likely find their own Mommies in a similar way).
A charming, rhyming tale sure to please the newborn to age 4 crowd and parents alike! (I love text that includes sounds effects too-so fun!)
Winters is an award-winning picture book author, playwright, and performer and has probably already moved to St. Catharines, Ontario by now where she recently accepted a position at Brock University as a professor of drama-in-education and literacy. According to her bio she completed graduate work at the University of British Columbia, which focused on combining the arts with reading and writing and only began writing picture books eight years ago.
You can tell there is a performance aspect to her writing, with the noises and rhyming you get the feeling that you can act out this book. Her website contains her entire bibliography from which you can see her books often have a fun rhyming theme.
Liest is originally from Germany where she studied Graphic Design at the University of Applied Sciences in Wiesbaden (and I have actually been there!) and now resides in Vancouver. She is the illustrator of a couple of picture books and has written and illustrated her own book Jack the Bear (Simply Read Books, 2009) and I am sure she loves to walk too given her beautiful depiction of a toddler’s family outing.
Emmerson will walk when she’s ready and as I say, she’s almost there. Part of me will miss the “baby” part of her but I am also looking forward to creating our own adventures. This book will help up celebrate that!
Interview with Rena J. Traxel, published April 17, 2012
From renajtraxelblog.com/2012/04/o-is-for-onomatopoeia.html. See also a discussion of my work in Rena’s piece “R Is for Rhyme,” at renajtraxelblog.com/2012/04/r-is-for-rhyme-tips-on-writing-stories.html.
O is for Onomatopoeia
Today, author Kari-Lynn Winters will be discussing her wonderful book On My Walk and sharing some tips on writing poetry and picture books.
But first, what is onomatopoeia? And why use it? Onomatopoeia is “the formation of a word by imitation of a sound made by or associated with its referent” (dictionary.com). For example, taken from Kari-Lynn’s book, “I hear a horse, clippity-clop, clippity-clop.” The clippity-clop is the sound. You will also notice that Kari-Lynn has used alliteration (seen in Mother Goose and Dr. Seuss rhymes) both techniques are a big hit with children. Enough about that let’s talk about Kari-Lynn.
I had the pleasure of seeing Kari-Lynn perform at last years SCBWI Canada West Conference. I say perform because she brought with her a tickle trunk full of props to teach us about writing rhyming picture books. She had a handful of the attendees get up and put on a silly hats to help her perform. I didn’t volunteer as I was terrified to get up in front of my peers. Since then I have made a point of putting myself out there. After all I write for children and sooner or later I’m going to have to perform in front of others, right? Now over to Kari-Lynn
Kari-Lynn, have you had any formal training in poetry?
Do you think picture book writers can benefit from studying poetry even if the writer doesn’t write in rhyme?
Now let’s talk about On My Walk. What inspired you to write this story?
In your story you used onomatopoeia. Why?
On My Walk took you two years to write and rewrite. How come?
Rhyming picture books can be harder to sell than non-rhyming picture books. Why do you write in rhyme?
Do you think about meter when writing a rhyming picture book?
When you create a story you also think about how it can be performed. What sort of actions did you create to go along with your story On My Walk?
You have a background in drama do you think this helps you to perform in front of kids? Are there any tips you can offer to writers who are shy?
On My Walk came out in 2009 since then you have had several books published. Some in rhyme and some not in rhyme. How do you decide which stories to write in rhyme?
Thank you Kari-Lynn for joining us today and sharing your knowledge with us. On Friday, I will be discussing rhyme. Kari-Lynn has provided me with a wonderful article on writing picture book poems. I will be sharing those tips with you on Friday. I hope you come back for that. If you liked this post please let others know.
Click for reader comments at end of interview: renajtraxelblog.com/2012/04/o-is-for-onomatopoeia.html
Interview with Lori Calabrese, published April 8, 2010
Orca Book Publishers recently published Kari-Lynn’s first picture book, Jeffrey and Sloth (2007), a tale about a boy who has writer’s block and the imaginary creature he creates to help him write his story. Other picture books include aRHYTHMetic and Runaway Alphabet. I had the fortunate opportunity to interview Kari-Lynn Winters about her latest book, On My Walk. (See also my two previous interviews with Kari, on Jeffrey and Sloth and World of Stories.)
How did you get the idea for “On My Walk”?
Two separate ideas guided me as I wrote the manuscript for On My Walk.
First, at the time, I had a young daughter who loved rhythmic and rhyming books. However, most of the books available were too long for her two-year old attention span (e.g., Madeline or Dr. Suess). For this reason, I wanted to write a book for her—one that she would enjoy and be able to finish.
Second, I adore the story Going on a Bear Hunt (Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury). I love how it guides you into the narrative and then out again. I wanted to try a similar approach.
How long did it take you to get from idea all the way to publication with this book?
At least two years. It is difficult to believe that a book with a mere 75 word count could take so long to develop, but it did.
Do you have any suggestions for sharing this book with young readers?
Absolutely! Personally I use props and hats. However, here are some other ideas:
a) Listen and Find
Christina Leist has carefully hidden the animals and items listed in the text inside the illustrations. Ask the child/children to listen to the story and to try and to point out these items.
b) Make your own rain storm
Try clapping, snapping, and stomping together to create your own rain storm.
c) Sing the story
This rhythmic story lends itself to singing. Try it out for yourself. Or even better make up your own rhymes based on what the story offers.
d) Point of View
Encourage pre-school and kindergarten children to figure out which character is telling the story. The clues come in the illustrations.
How did your experience as a pre-school teacher influence this book?
My background experience as a Montessori pre-school teacher influences me in so many ways. I remember how the children at the school responded to rhythms and books. This was in the foreground of my mind as I wrote On My Walk. It is such a joy to see children take ownership of a book—both through their bodies (e.g., clapping, jumping, dancing, pointing) and through language (e.g., singing along, repeating the phrases). As a writer, how can I resist such amazing learning opportunities and such FUN! I do hope that young children will take ownership of On My Walk in these delightful and engaged ways.
Tell us about your upcoming books.
Runaway Alphabet is an alphabet book that is coming out with Simply Read Books (An award-winning local company) this spring (2010). It is a book like no other. It is an alphabet book that focuses on the sounds of the letters. I can’t wait until this book hits the shelves. It is exactly the kind of book that I needed as a child.
When Chickens Fly is published by Gumboot Books. It is a story about a chicken that isn’t allowed to compete in the Snow Sports Competition because she is a chicken. In many ways this is a story about equity and fairness.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Yes. A few things.
I recently achieved my doctorate. I am so pleased. As a child, I struggled with literacy concepts. Sometimes I look in the mirror and think, “Who is this person?” Then I smile, knowing this person is a determined and hard-working author/professor who knows that dreams are possible!
Review by Mommy Ramblings blog, published April 19, 2011
Recently Tradewind Books sent me a book to review and one to use for a give-away. They sent me the children’s book, “On My Walk” by Kari-Lynn Winters and illustrated by Christina Leist. I shared it with my 2 year old Luke tonight, and he just loved it. It was such a fitting and relative book for us because we take a lot of walks, and live in the country. This book follows a small child as he walks with his mother and his dog in the country. Luke loved that the dog looked like one of our dogs, Delilah.
It was a great book because even though the words on each page were few, the content allowed us to talk about our own experiences. For instance the child sees a frog and we talked about how we see frogs on our walks. He was delighted seeing a little boy like him, seeing the same things he does, on his walk. It was a short, pleasant read and was just perfect for spurring conversation in a toddler or pre-schooler. The illustrations are charming and amusing, like when the dog is licking the boy’s ice cream cone.
We give this book 2 thumbs up, oh wait, 4 thumbs up!!!
Kari is available to visit schools, libraries, birthday parties, workshops … Please see more about author visits.