Posted by: Kathy Temean | August 24, 2016

Book Giveaway – Gabe and Goon

The Winner of GABE AND GOON by Iza Trapani is:
Lindsay Hanson Metcalf
Congratulations to Iza Trapani for her new book, GABE AND GOON. I won this book through a giveaway. I did not know Iza and I was pleasantly surprised that I absolutely love the book. It is everything you want from a picture book. See my Goodread review at bottom of this post.

All you have to do to get in the running is to leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you did to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you. Check back on August 30th to discover the winner.

blogGabe and Goon cover

Can a monster-loving kid and a kid-fearing monster ever become friends? Gabe is a boy who loves monsters, though he has yet to meet one. Goon is a monster whose biggest fear is facing a real, live kid—how spooky! Well, Goon is about to be discovered in Gabe’s closet…

Book journey: 

I am often asked how an idea for a story comes to me, and usually I don’t have a clear answer. My eyes and ears are always open, taking in the wondrous sights and sounds of nature and animals, of fun-sounding words, poetry or songs, or of something someone says or does… Ideas swarm through my head like flies, and some go on to become books, while others are swatted, But some just keep circling around and around and won’t leave me alone. Gabe and Goon was one of those.

The idea first buzzed into my head in 2012. I wanted to expand on a concept from my Halloween book, Haunted Party, in which some ghouls, mummies and other spooky sorts are frightened by children. I thought a kid-fearing monster and a monster-loving kid might be a fun pair. I decided to make the child a boy, and name him after my stepson, Gabe. As a lover of alliteration, I chose the name Goon for the monster. Okay, so now I had the characters and some conflict. What about the plot? This is when the fly swatter comes out. I contrived various scenarios, but didn’t have enough of a story arc. It was rhyming verse and, though the words flowed well, I thought that, perhaps, the limits of rhyme were holding me back. So, I wrote the story in prose form. The rhyming version was better. I kept revising and eventually arrived at a story my agent felt was worth submitting. We had a couple of rejections and one not so stellar offer. Based on the feedback, I decided to revise the story, but nothing was working. I put it aside.

In 2013, I was invited to a book singing at Books of Wonder in NYC with three other authors, one being Marc Brown, whom I’d always admired. He spoke about a book he was illustrating (The Little Shop of Monsters by R. L. Stine), and how he’d discovered that he “really liked drawing monsters.” Marc is a soft-spoken and unassuming man, and there was something in the way he said it that inspired me. On the bus ride back home, I started doodling monsters. It turned out that I really liked drawing them too!

Of course, I had done monster (and boy) sketches when I first started writing the story, but they also needed improvement. Marc Brown’s words motivated me to return to Gabe and Goon with fresh energy and I reworked the story, drew new pictures, and my agent sent them on to Charlesbridge, where my editor, Yolanda Scott, had a fly swatter of her own! Together, we brainstormed and revised and eventually, I arrived at a plot twist that made the story much stronger.

I was very pleased when Kirkus Reviews said the book has, “a familiar message, but a crucial and timely one, charmingly presented.” But, let it be known that I never write a book with a message in mind. A marketing director/friend had once told me. “Don’t ever write to teach. Write to enchant children. A message will come out on its own if it needs to.” Her words have always stayed with me. Isn’t it wonderful—the things people say?

blogIza 2016

Iza Trapani immigrated to America from Poland when she was seven years old. Upon arrival, her relatives gave her a Mother Goose collection. Little did she know, as she was learning English through the rhymes, that someday she would be retelling them in picture books. Iza is the author and illustrator of a best- selling series of nursery rhyme extensions, in which she starts with the traditional verse then adds additional stanzas to create a story. Among her titles are The Itsy Bitsy Spider (which was featured on PBS Storytime), Row Row Row Your Boat,The Bear Went Over the Mountain, Old King Cole and many more. Her books have received the IRA/CBC Children’s Choice Awards, Bank Street Best Books of the Year, ABA Pick of the Lists and the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Book Awards. Most importantly, her books are widely used in schools and libraries to help children learn to read. Now and then, Iza will write and illustrate a non-nursery rhyme story, such as the recently released, Gabe and Goon—her 25th book.


Blog: In and Out of My Studio

Facebook: Iza Trapani Author/Illustrator

Twitter: @IzaTrapani

Goodreads Review: Absolutely a beautiful, high quality, fun picture book with great illustrations. The concept of a turning the tables and having the monster be afraid of a little boy, is very funny and of course there’s a twist at the end. Kids and their parents will love to read this book. The rhyming text will keep parents from getting tired of reading it over and over. Definitely deserves the 5 star rating.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Adorable-congratulations!


  2. Congratulations, Iza!


  3. Oh, would love to read this book! It has some elements that I am working with right now in a story of mine. Would love to see what she has done.


  4. Some of my best memories with my oldest are reading Iza’s Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star book at bedtime. I’d love to snuggle up with Gabe and Goon. 🙂


    • Lindsay,

      You are the winner of Gabe and Goon. Please email me you address, so you can receive it.



  5. Thank you for the opportunity to read and review your new Picture Book – it looks really cute! I’ve also tweeted and shared this post on FB


  6. What a wonderful picture book. Congratulations!


  7. Congrats, dear Iza–loved Haunted Party and am looking forward to reading your latest!


  8. This book sounds like pure delight! I would love to be in the running for a copy. I am tweeting and sharing this post on FB. Congratulations Iza!


  9. Thank you, Kathy, for this post, and your great review. And thanks, all, for the warm comments!


  10. Iza has certainly taken her friend’s advice “Write to enchant children” to heart and mastered the genre! We adore her books, her words, her illustrations. Gabe and Goon will have a special space on our Iza Trapani shelf. 🙂


    • Oh Cathy, Have I told you lately that I love you? Thank you so much!

      Liked by 1 person

      • No, but I can always use more love in my life. Your wonderful book is sitting right next to my desk making me smile.


  11. Thank you, Kathy , for sharing this post. I love books that are enchanting but also may hide a message if you read it enough times. Which is what we all hope for. A picture book that is loved and read over and over.


  12. Good post!
    Sue Ford


  13. Love the concept. Sometimes we think the authors/illustrators just put pen to paper then POOF! A finished book. I’m glad Iza got back to finishing this book. EXCITED!
    I shared the good news via




  14. So cute — can’t wait to meet Gabe and Goon. Best to you, Ida!


  15. Congratulations, Iza! I have many of your nursery rhyme books which I’m using in my kindergarten class this year.


  16. Looks darling, and I loved her other books as well.


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