#4 Frog-A-Day: Dining Frog

Frogs can enjoy fine dining, too.

From Frogs in the Bed ©Ann D. Koffsky

From Frogs in the Bed                       ©Ann D. Koffsky










Frogs in the Bed is now available at Behrman House and on Amazon.

(If amazon says it’s out of stock–you can also get it at barnesandnobles.com but also, IGNORE THEM! It’s IN STOCK on amazon–They have piles of books, we’re just having trouble getting them to adjust the listing.  You can order it from them and you’ll get it in about a week.)




#3 Frog-A-Day: Right-side-Up Frog

My third Frog-A-Day in support of Frogs in the Bed. (Now available!) I call this one right-side-up frog. Because as far as he’s concerned  WE are the ones that are upside-down. He’s right-side-up, thank you very much.

From Frogs in the Bed © Ann D. Koffsky

From Frogs in the Bed          © Ann D. Koffsky








Frogs in the Bed is available at Behrman House and on Amazon.

#2 Frog-A-Day: Little Frog

So what if  I’m the littlest frog on the page. So what? I’ve got a big heart and I know I’m going places!

From Frogs in the Bed © Ann D. Koffsy

From Frogs in the Bed            © Ann D. Koffsy

Frog App

This made me smile…I’m an app!


Frog Press

I will be adding to this post as they appear. Thanks to everyone who used their printing (and digital) presses to mention ‘Frogs!’


Prosen People–JBC 

Adventures in Mamaland

Jewish Action Magazine

Sandra Bornstein

Kosher on a Budget

Kids Fun Craft


 Arizona Jewish Post

Jewish Women’s Archive

#1 Frog-A-Day: Big Frog

In honor of my newest book, Frogs in the Bed: a Seder Companion, Behrman House is posting a free, downloadable  Frog- A-Day until Passover. (Or until I run out of frogs. Whichever happens first.)

Because, really, doesn’t everyone need a Frog-A-Day in their lives? I am pleased to step up, and provide this service.

Herewith, we shall begin with the first of many: I hath dubbed him”Big Frog”. Mainly, because he’s the biggest frog in the book. He takes up, like, half a page.

©Ann D. Koffsy

From Frogs in the Bed                                    ©Ann D. Koffsy

Passover Book–GIVEAWAY!

To celebrate my NEW Passover book, Frogs in the Bed, I will giving one away!

To enter, just leave a short comment below that either A) Describes your best Seder idea for kids or B) Includes the word, “Ribbit!”



PLUS: If you’d like additional tickets with your name on it put into  the raffle  hat,  you can:

-Share this post on Facebook, and let me know in the comments below

-Pin the cover of my book from this post on Pinterest, and let me know in the comments below


Raffle closes March 25. Good luck!


(PS: Books are available on amazon. Ignore the temporarily out of stock listing; they are in stock- if you order one you should get it within a week.)

Interview with Yael Zoldan

Yael, congratulations on your new book, Shimmy Shambone!


Thanks, Ann! I’m really excited to be talking to you about it!


Could you give us a quick summary of who Shimmy is, and what his story is about?


Shimmy Shambone is just the cutest little guy, really a great kid. He’s energetic, fun, sweet and friendly. Unfortunately, Shimmy really hates the idea of taking a bath! As you can imagine, this bothers the people who have to hang around with him, especially his mother, siblings and teacher. So, basically his story is about how a really messy kid learns that being clean is actually a good thing!

Shimmy Shambone

Where did you get the idea for Shimmy Shambone?


Should I be embarrassed to admit that I got the idea from my own three year old daughter, Laila? Well, I did. Laila went through a brief period last year where she gave us a really hard time about taking baths and showers. Fortunately, she got over it but it was a real power struggle for a while there!


Tell us a little about the illustrations. How did you find the illustrator?


I really can’t say enough about this illustrator, Robert Salanitro. I think his illustrations are adorable, engaging and funny. I found him by posting an ad for an illustrator on the Internet. Lots of artists sent me samples, but it was clear from the get go that Robert really had a feel for exactly who this character is and how to make that pop on the page.


I know sometimes the author and illustrator roles are very separate—when you saw the illustrations were you surprised? Did they take to story to a place you didn’t expect?


In this case I was very lucky. I really got to be intimately involved with every aspect of the process. Robert would send me crude sketches, stick figures really, to show me what he intended to do and I’d give him my suggestions. Afterward, we’d confer about the finished sketches before he started coloring them. And you know, even with seeing it every step of the way, I was still surprised by the finished product! He really brought Shimmy to life in the best possible way.


Tell us a little about yourself. Where do you live, etc.


I’m sorry to say, I’m a little boring! I’m a married mother of five, ranging from 16 to 4 years old and I live in Passaic, NJ. I do freelance writing for the adult Jewish market and my stories are featured in magazines, websites, and anthologies and obviously, some children’s books as well. Other than that though, it’s basically a lot of laundry and carpool!


Have you had a chance to read Shimmy Shambone to kids? If so, do you have a story of a funny/ interesting reaction that one of the kids had to the book?


I have read it aloud to kids and they pretty much unanimously find it hysterical. One kindergarten class actually cheered at the end!  I think children like the idea of another kid making such a bold stand. More interesting to me though, is that a number of the adults I’ve met have quoted some of the book to me. That ease with the text tells me that the rhyme really works, which is always a concern to an author. So, I’m happy and relieved about that!


Is this your first picture book? Are you working on anything new?


Actually, Shimmy Shambone is my third children’s book but my first with such a humorous, fictional plot. My first two books, “We Can Do Mitzvos from Aleph to Tav,”  and “When I Daven,” are also geared to the 2-5 age group, but are more educational.  And I’m very excited to announce that I’ve got a fourth book, “We Can Do Mitzvos All Through the Year” about Jewish holidays, coming out in September. You heard it first, Ann!


Is there anything that you wanted to add, that you think my readers would like to know?


I don’t think it’s news to anyone, but it can’t be stressed enough – children really love humor. Sometimes I’ve found that children’s books – maybe specifically Jewish children’s books- tend towards preachiness. No one likes being preached at, I know I don’t! But give a kid a character he can laugh with and a dilemma that he identifies with and they’ll follow you all the way to the end and learn exactly what you hoped they would. And frankly, as a parent who has read my share of bedtime stories, I like a little chuckle too!


Thanks again, Yael. I hope you and Shimmy have much success!


Top 5 Graggers

1) iphone grogger (so clever–it actually makes noise when you shake it!) http://www.behrmanhouse.com/iphone



2) Lego Gragger-A DIY version from bible belt balabusta:

bbb3)Yum. Chocolate gragger. You can get the mold on amazon.



4)Beautiful, interesting gragger from the Jewish Museum collection.




5) Great gragger craft that I made last year with the 7th grade girls at HANC. Altoid tins filled with popcorn kernels–very noisy!




(Liked that?  You also might enjoy my top 10 Purim links from last year)

Interview with Patricia Polacco

Patricia Polacco is an acclaimed  author/ illustrator and storyteller. Her beloved and classic books include Babushka’s Doll,  and The Trees of the Dancing Goats. Her new book, The Blessing Cup, is a companion to her earlier story, The Keeping Quilt. It has just received the prestigious Sydney Taylor Award from the Association of Jewish Libraries. I am very pleased to have had the opportunity to interview Ms. Polacco on the wonderful occasion of this honor. 
Congratulations on your Sydney Taylor Award for The Blessing Cup. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer a couple of questions about it.



-Like many of your other books, The Blessing Cup has strong Judaic themes. Was Judaism a part of your upbringing? In what ways is it a part of your life today?
 My mother’s family was part Jewish, they were not extremely observant , yet we respected and honored the sacrifices that were made by family members back home in Russia and Poland as these sacrifices are still being made today back there for civil rights and basic human rights.



-I noticed that your illustrations in The Blessing Cup seem to depict your great-grandfather as Hassidic, with long payot near his ears, and a black hat. Was your family originally Hasidic? What was their Jewish life like?  
They most probably were Hassidic according to legends and stories I heard growing up as a child..….they changed when came to state of Michigan. They found countryman here but they were not Jewish. Family felt compelled to honor the traditions but started to take on new ones as they married countrymen who were Christian.



-Of course this story has been a part of your family lore. But did you have to do any additional research when writing it to add details? If so—did you discover any information about your family that you didn’t know before, that surprised you?
I did research to some degree, What surprised me was that there were some regions in Poland and Russia where the Jews were more discriminated against than in other parts of that area.



-Your drawings of the Shtetl have beautiful details, and character.  Did you base the drawings on reality, or is it more of a symbolic, folk depiction of how a shtetl looked? How did you choose what details to include?  
The drawings of the shtetle were more governed by my heart than anything researched. My aim was to depict their lives that were being lived and that they had hopes and dreams even as meager and poor as they were , the horror of their lives being tragically interrupted by the programs. I am never ceased to be amazed at mankind’s inhumanity to mankind at times.



-I love how you chose to draw this story in black and white, and only highlight a few objects with color, such as the tea set, and Anna’s kerchief. Why did you choose to use that technique for this book—is it meant to be symbolic in any way?
The symbolism I guess is to draw the readers eye to her babushka scarf to the tea set to the orange violence of fire and to simply point out in the story the importance of these objects that were carried so many miles to preserve their heritage. And the sacrifices that the families made to bring them here and the connection that they still have with our family today.



-At the end of the book, you tell how the blessing cup broke into two, and that you hope to share it with your two children. Have you had the opportunity to pass your two pieces of the blessing cup onto your children? If so, on what occasion? If not—when do you hope to pass them on?
I still possess the two pieces and I would imagine as my life ends they will be passed on to each of my children.  I hope to put it in some sort of container so my children can display them without having to worry about them breaking again.



-What other traditions/ objects have you received from your parents, and given on to your own children?
 Keeping Quilt, Betty Doll, Pieces of silverware, Lace that came down through my father’s Irish family.
Talliet shawl and a yarmulke belonged to great grandfather. These will all be passed down to my kids and grandkids and/or on display in museum as the Keeping Quilt is today at the Mazza Institute in Findlay Ohio.



Thank you again for taking the time to answer my questions. It is a lovely book, and I hope many families  will have the opportunity to enjoy it.




(Like this interview? You might also like the one I did with Eric Kimmel as well.)