Posted by: Kathy Temean | June 21, 2017

Book Giveaway: A Band of Babies

Author Carole Gerber has agreed to give away a copy of her new picture book, A BAND OF BABIES. Publishers Weekly and Kirkus gave it excellent reviews. Amazon selected it as a June Best Book of the Month for children. 

If you would like to win a copy, please leave a comment, reblog, tweet, or talk about A BAND OF BABIES 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 the right amount of tickets in my basket for you. Check back to discover the winner


New York Times bestselling illustrator Jane Dyer teams up with award-winning author Carole Gerber to lead a band of marching babies all through town.

It was just an ordinary day at play group until Benny arrived. With flute in hand and drums in tow, Benny’s love of music inspires the babies to get up and put on a show. Toot! Toot! Whee! Benny and his band of babies are a sight to see!

With rhythmic text from veteran author Carole Gerber and lively illustrations from bestselling artist Jane Dyer, this musical journey will have readers of all ages snapping their fingers and tapping their toes!


This “new” book’s journey began so long ago that I had to refresh my memory by re-reading the ancient emails from Maria Modugno, who was then at HarperCollins. Despite the fact that it took nearly seven years to be published, the submission/acceptance/contract dance went very quickly.

After much “noodling” and rewriting, I submitted a manuscript told in verse about babies with musical instruments who ran amok and went on a “shopping spree” in a grocery store. The idea sprang from using the word “band” to designate a group (i.e., “a band of brothers”) and “band” to describe a group playing instruments. I began the story with this: “Thumpa-thump. Toot! Toot! Whee!/Babies on a shopping spree.”

Kelly Sonnack, who was my agent at that time, submitted the manuscript on August 20, 2010. Maria Modugno read it immediately but rejected it and had her editorial assistant, Annie Stone, send an email five days later. Gasp! Such speed is almost unheard of in publishing. Here was her response:

Thank you for forwarding Carole Gerber’s Band of Babies. Maria and I both read the manuscript, and it was a pleasure to read—the playful language and clever use of alliteration and rhyme works very well in this text. Unfortunately, we find that picture books don’t tend to do well in today’s difficult market unless they have a true narrative arc to them. We’d love to see this again if Gerber develops the story further; in the meantime, we wish you the best of luck in finding the right home for this book.   When my agent forwarded on the rejection, I could have taken it as a “nice and speedy no.” Instead, I followed up on the suggestion that it needed “a true narrative arc.” To me, this meant an introduction that put the babies’ actions into context. In other words, what motivated them to do what they did? (Duh! Why didn’t I think of this on my own?!)

I read Annie Stone’s kindly-composed rejection about an hour before my husband and I were scheduled to leave for dinner with friends. Then I reread my manuscript and –  in a flash – knew exactly what was missing. In the hour before we left, I “invented” baby Benny and made him the instigator of the action that unfolded and also wove him into the ending. Here are the first two spreads I wrote that evening:

The next morning, I sent the revision to my agent. Kelly loved the revision and immediately sent it back to HarperCollins with this message:
Carole’s taken your suggestions to heart and put together a revision of BAND OF BABIES that has a much stronger narrative arc (and a new leader of the band – Baby Benny!). I’m submitting this revision to you and Maria exclusively in the hopes that it’s a match.

A few days later, Maria Modugno responded directly to my agent.

Kelly, We’re really happy with this revision.  (It’s always a relief to get a revised text that is actually better instead of worse thanks to editorial comments.)  I’d like to bring this to an Editorial meeting with an eye towards Acquisitions.  OK with you?  Maria

No further revisions were requested, which is minor miracle!  Acquisitions approved the manuscript and we received a “deal memo” dated October 13, 2010.  I received and signed a contract from HarperCollins on November 30, 2010 and the deal was announced in Publishers Marketplace on December 14, 2010.  Jane Dyer was named as illustrator. The process went so quickly and smoothly – including the full payment of an excellent advance –  that we expected the book to be published in 2012. (Picture books usually take two years for illustration and production.)

However, in 2012, Maria Modugno left her job as VP and editorial director at HarperCollins to join Random House as editorial director of picture books and Golden Books for Young Readers Group.  The schedule for Jane Dyer, an amazing and popular illustrator, was booked up by Random House and other publishers.

My book at HarperCollins became what is known as “an orphan.” Meantime, my agent and I had an amicable parting of the ways. The manuscript languished until the fall of 2013, when my now-former agent contacted Alexandra Cooper, a new editor at HarperCollins who had inherited my manuscript. She estimated that, because of Jane Dyer’s full schedule, A BAND OF BABIES, would be out in 2016 – or possibly in spring 2017. The actual pub date was June 6, 2017.

Despite the long wait, I could not be happier with Benny and his little band, or more grateful to all who had a hand in bringing A Band of Babies into the world. My thanks to Kelly Sonnack for selling it, to Maria Mondugno for buying it, to Jane Dyer for illustrating it beautifully, and to HarperCollins editors Alexandra Cooper and Alyssa Miele for shepherding it through publication.


Carole Gerber is a poet and children’s author living in Powell, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus. She has written 16 picture books, two chapter books, and more than 100 elementary reading and science books for a variety of publishers. Most of her picture books are told in verse. A former teacher and journalist, she holds a B.S. in English Education and an M.A. in journalism from Ohio State.

Winter Trees (Charlesbridge, 2008) received a John Burroughs Nature Writing Award and was selected in 2009 as an Outstanding Trade Book by the CBC and NSTA. Leaf Jumpers (Charlesbridge, 2006) was commended by the NSTA and was selected for Just Read! the Florida Summer Reading List in 2009. Other awards include the Great Lakes Booksellers Pick of the List for Arctic Dreams (Charlesbridge) and a Parent Council Award of Excellence for Hush! A Gaelic Lullaby.

Carole Gerber enjoys visiting schools through the Greater Columbus Arts Council Artists-in-Schools program. To learn more about her books – she has several new ones in the works – please visit her web site:

Thank you Carole for sharing your book and journey with us. It looks like a gorgeous book.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Congratulations Carole!


    • Thank you, Diane. Can’t imagine how you ran across this. 🙂 Nice to hear from you!


  2. Thanks, Carole & Kathy for sharing this manuscript’s story. I love a happy ending. 🙂


  3. WOW! I totally want a chance at winning this adorable book! I love hearing about this journey, and the patient “waiting game,” oh, my. Can’t wait to see it! 😀

    …and I always share, Kathy 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  4. How does an author submit a book to you for a giveaway?


    • Natasha,

      Do you mean in reference to someone who wants their book featured? If so, they need to email me with the title, description, and book cover. Then I will look over everything and get back to them.



  5. Have the perfect baby to give this to!


  6. Loved reading about your book journey—and, BONUS, as I read about your aha revision moment, I suddenly realized what I needed to do with a manuscript that I’ve been struggling with. Thank you!


  7. Reblogged this on Anita Nolan's blog and commented:
    What an inspirational story!


  8. There’s so much disappointment in the book business, that it’s nice to hear about a story that ended well! Congratulations!


  9. OH MY GOODNESS, WHAT A JOURNEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thankful for such a great ending. It looks adorable!!!


  10. Thank you for the opportunity to win this delightful children’s book. I’ve also tweeted about the giveaway.


  11. Tweeted it! Loved hearing the backstory.


  12. What a long journey this book has taken but it certainly is worth it! Thanks for sharing, Carol. Congratulations!


  13. Lots to learn from the backstory – loved the frankness of the editor 🙂 The book sounds and looks beautiful.


  14. I love this story about the birth of such a wonderful book. Thanks for sharing the details!


    • Thank you, Jane! What a surprise to see your name here.


  15. This looks adorable! I hope I win a copy for my school library!


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