Posted by: Kathy Temean | December 10, 2018

Book GIVEAWAY: I’m Done by Gretchen Brandenburg McLellan

Author Gretchen Brandenburg McLellan has a new picture book titled, I’M DONE. It is available in bookstores now. Gretchen has agreed to share a book with one lucky winner. 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 do to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter, reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. Thanks for helping Gretchen!


A little beaver with a slapdash approach to dam-building comes to appreciate the satisfaction of a job well done in this sweet tale that’s perfect for storytime.

Nibble, nibble, snap. When Little Beaver sets a single twig across the stream, he figures that should be good enough for a dam. “I’m done!” he calls to Papa before tearing off to play with Fish. But Papa isn’t buying it, and it’s back to work for Little Beaver. Nibble, nibble, snap, scoop, scoop, pat. Little Beaver sets two more twigs across the stream, and adds some mud before scurrying off with Blue Heron. Mama isn’t amused. “You’re not done yet.” GRETCHEN MCLELLAN’S text explores the value of perseverance at a level perfect for very young readers, while CATHARINE LAZAR ODELLS darling illustrations capture the sweetness of Little Beaver’s attempts at perfecting his dam–and the triumph of his eventual success.


I’m Done! was inspired by my students. In my former life I was an elementary  reading specialist. I heard, “I’d Done!” over and over and over again, but the children making this very public announcement rarely understood what being done meant. I knew that I wanted to write a book with that title, and one day after work I decided to give it a try. I still only had a title, or so I thought. I said to myself, I’ll try this out as an animal story. (I usually write human characters.) Pick an animal, any animal. It was no stroke of genius that a beaver popped into my mind. But then my pen started moving and this story poured out of me like water breaking through a proverbial dam.

But the unconscious inspiration for this story is much deeper. “I’m Done” is a deceptively simple phrase. Said with joy, frustration, or despair it takes on many meanings, all that resonate with me in the process of writing and in the journey toward publication and beyond.

Kirkus says that I’m Done! is “a sweet tale of perseverance  and camaraderie.”  I am the poster child of perseverance. My journey to publication was as lengthy and arduous as an epic tale. At one point, I thought I was done. Finished. I was quitting writing, abandoning my dream. I knew I could not show up at another conference or retreat unpublished, ever again. I didn’t want to be an object of pity. But at the eleventh hour, I signed up for an SCBWI retreat for the last time, partially lured by the last-day-of-the-early-bird-discount email and the news that there was still a critique slot left with an agent, partly that I wanted to see my friends.

It turns out I wasn’t done yet

In that critique slot I met my wonderful agent. I have two published picture books with three more on the calendar.

I didn’t give up and either does Little Beaver.


Gretchen Brandenburg McLellan is the author of many upcoming picture books, a lover of teaching reading, playing word games, baking, hiking in the woods with her dog, Koby, cross-country skiing, and the culture of childhood. If she were in retail, she’d have a children’s book and toy store replete with espresso bar and bakery and places to write and draw. She seeks out places just like this to write in. Have any suggestions? She is also on a personal quest for the best hot fudge sundae on the planet. Gretchen loves to travel, especially returning to the Germany of her nomadic army-brat childhood. She once traveled overland from the Netherlands to Kabul, Afghanistan with a backpack full of, you guessed it, books. Now she hopes little backpacks will be carrying her books on adventures of their own.

Gretchen is a former elementary reading specialist who now devotes her time to writing and visiting bookstores and schools. She lives in Camas, WA. She is the author of Mrs. McBee Leaves Room 3 (Peachtree 2017), I’m Done! (Holiday House 9,25,18), Button & Bundle (Knopf, 2/29/29) and When Your Daddy’s a Soldier(Beach Lane, Spring 2020). Find out more at  Catherine is a Portland, Oregon artist and Saturday Market Vendor. Find her there and at Both are available for events.


Catherine Lazar Odell is a Portland, OR artist who sells her drawings and cards at the famous Portland Saturday Market every weekend. Our editor’s mother was visiting the market from back east and discovered Catherine’s work. She said she had a daughter in publishing and she was going to show her Catherine’s darling drawings. She did. When my manuscript landed on the editor’s desk from my agent, the editor chose Catherine to illustrate my book.  It was a perfect match. Catherine and I live on opposite sides of the Columbia River. After the book was finished, we met and are enjoying doing lots of events together. What a bonus.  You never know where this book business will take you!

Thank you Gretchen for sharing your book and journey with us. It looks like an awfully cute picture book. Good Luck!

Talk tomorrow,



  1. this looks darling –


  2. Oh my goodness, that little beaver is so cute.


  3. How intriguing that your own writing journey parallels that of Little Beaver! I especially love beavers, and have a dam on my stream…perhaps I can read your book to them:-)


  4. Nice to see you (and more of your books!) here, Gretchen. *waves*


  5. This book looks adorable! And a wonderful message too.


  6. awesome book!!


  7. What a great idea for a picture book! I wish I had thought of it! : )


  8. I love the theme of this book! And Little Beaver – he sounds like a real character. Can’t wait to read it.


  9. What a delightful concept for a book, Gretchen. It is a lesson we can all learn as writers…I often think “I’m done” on a project that needs more work to be ready. Congratulations. I am tweeting and sharing this on FB.


  10. Thank you for sharing your journey, Gretchen. This looks like a wonderful book!


  11. This looks like a great read-aloud book. “Nibble, nibble, snap. Scoop, scoop, pat” is fun to say!


  12. Thank you for sharing the journey of your book. So glad you didn’t say “I’m done.” Looking forward to reading all your books!


  13. I adore the little beaver and I love his attitude. I can see children loving the language and story.


  14. Lovely illlustrations! Great concept.


  15. This looks wonderful, and I love the concept!


  16. This sounds like the perfect book for my daughter, who says, “I’m done” well before she is usually done. 🙂


  17. This is an excellent premise. I can picture one of my kindergartners who needs to hear this book!


  18. This book looks so adorable that I’ve put in purchase request with our library in Australia. I think parents and kids will so relate to this story.


  19. Before I read any of the words, the illustrations got my attention. I love the concept. Looking forward to getting this one.


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