Monday, March 25, 2013

Escape The Weather with LOOK WHAT I CAN DO! by Nancy Viau

When life is not ideal, it can be nice to lose yourself in a book.  And with Winter Storm Virgil flurrying all over NYC, I need to do just that. 

Where is Spring? 

I long for luscious green grass so deep you can get lost in.  And flecks of brilliant flowers in aromatic gardens.  Guess I have to wait...and lose myself in a book.

My recommendation to escape the "Spring that won't come" Blues is to delve into Anna Vojtech's glorious illustrations of LOOK WHAT I CAN DO! written by Nancy Viau.  Set among blue streams, grassy fields and colorful leaves (remember those? they grow on trees), this book is the perfect antidote for those of us who need to remember how wonderful Mother Nature can be.

I had the great honor of writing a Teacher's Guide for this gem of a book.  It's an affirming story about baby animals who take great lengths to accomplish goals of reaching, hunting or flying.  It reminds our little ones of the determination needed to try new things and succeed!

Written in rhyme, Viau's story of encouragement offers a text whose very pattern is predictable, yet a great stepping stone for young readers to read on their own.  With a couplet per spread, the words and illustrations build a simply beautiful world which is inviting for all.

Peppered throughout is a lyrical refrain: --"Friends of forest, / field, and stream, / Keep trying on your own. / Be proud today. / Have fun and play. / In time you will be grown".  What a beautiful message.

So what do you think, Spring?  Can you do it?  I believe you can.  Strive!  And soon you will be saying LOOK WHAT I CAN DO! too.

One of the best aspects of writing Teacher's Guides is that I get to know and have personal relationships with some really cool authors, like Nancy Viau.

I recently asked Nancy a series of fun questions a la "Inside the Actor's Studio".  Here are her answers.  Thanks for playing along, Nancy!

What is your favorite word? Effervescent, because it's fun to say and I never get to use it in a children's book.
What is your least favorite word? Unfortunately, because nothing good ever follows that word in a sentence.

What makes you happy? It's a toss-up between the smell of the Atlantic Ocean in the springtime and the fluffiness of fresh snow at the very top of a Colorado mountain.

What makes you sad?
Selfish people.

What sound do you love? Uproarious laughter from my kids.

What sound do you hate? The crack of thunder when the storm is immediately overhead.

What is your favorite time of day? 10:00 PM

What profession other than yours would you like to attempt? CEO of a major corporation.

What profession would you not like to do? Accountant.

If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
"Fortunately, your mom, dad, and brother knew you'd get here eventually, so they saved you a spot."

Nancy Viau grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but now lives near a forest, field, and stream in New Jersey.  She loves to hike and bike on quiet trails, and often stops to watch the animals work and play.  Viau is the author of two other nature-inspired books:  Storm Song and Samantha Hansen Has Rocks in Her Head.  Find out more at


  1. Lucky you to have written the teacher's guide for such a great book. Perfect springtime message.

  2. Very nice interview Ladies; I'm fortunate to have read it. :0)

  3. I want to live closer to a forest, a field and a stream. I do, just would be nice to be even closer! Love the colors on the cover too!

  4. Gorgeous message, great rhyme and I think I would love this story! I want to play with the owlets. Thanks for the fun interview. Wow, CEO!!

  5. I always love your book suggestions - I can share them with my niece and nephew. COME SPRING, COME!

  6. Before I read the rest of Nancy's sentence which started with "unfortunately," I already felt doom and despair! She is right about that word...