Posted by: Kathy Temean | June 13, 2021

Book Giveaway: BEACH TOYS VS. SCHOOL SUPPLIES by Mike Ciccotello

Mike Ciccotello has written and illustrated a new picture book BEACH TOYS VS. SCHOOL SUPPLIES, published by FSG/Macmillan Books. It will hit bookstores on June 15th, but is available now for pre-ordered. Mike has agreed to give away one signed copy of the book as well as one pen-and-ink original illustration of some of the characters to one lucky winner in the US.

All you have to do to get in the running is 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 other things you do to share the good news, so I can put the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter or reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. So, thanks for helping Mike.

If you my blog is delivered to you everyday, please let me know in the comments and I will give you an extra ticket. Thanks!


A fun-filled tale of summertime, teamwork, and the balance between having fun and buckling down, from Twins creator Mike Ciccotello!

Summer is winding down and school is just around the corner when two old rivals meet at the beach. Shovel thinks Ruler is a number-obsessed know-it-all. Ruler thinks Shovel is all play and no work. So when their two gangs challenge one another to a beachfront competition, the contest between beach toys and school supplies gets heated. Who will win? Who will have more fun? And will they be able to step up to help each other when unexpected disaster sweeps in?

This fresh take on the end-of-summer blues is bright, dynamic, and laugh-out-loud funny!


Whilebrainstorming for a back-to-school promotionalillustration, I found myself wanting to create something unexpected. Images of school busses and classroom suppliesseem logical, but I craved going beyond those typical images. Even though this project is where the inspiration for BEACH TOYS vs.SCHOOL SUPPLIES originated, the “aha!” moment came fromsomething else. Something… unexpected. On an afternoon spent with my boys playing in the sandbox, I noticed something resting upon the sand: a toy shovel. This unlikely item would spark my first character idea As soon as I could, I began sketching.

I refined my drawing until I created a character I liked. Finally satisfied, I designed the characters even further.

Once developing both color versions and postcard image for the back-school illustration promotion, I was ready to move forward with the story.

All the characters have personalities, and with these personalities comes tension. What woul the beach toye and school supplies battle over? I was stuck between two storylines. They could clash in a hole digging contest, or challenge each other to a shandcastle building competition. I’m sure you’re thinking, “duh, sandcastle building competition!” But as writers know, these things are not so obvious while you are in the weeds. Or, in my case, buried in the sand.

They always say don’t get attached to your ideas,but it’s hard not to when they’re both soentertaining.After some further debate, I chose the sandcastle competition.Itfeltthestrongestof the two.

With the characters developedanda storylinecrafted,BEACH TOYSvs.SCHOOL SUPPLIESfinally came to life. I’m grateful for my agent, Rachel Orr. She was right there by my side duringthis whole process. We sold the book on an exclusive submission to FSG/Macmillan. It was great to work with the FSG team again so soon after my first author-illustrated book, TWINS.My editor, Wes Adams, is the same editor I worked with on TWINS.

It was great to work with the FSG team again so soon after my first author-illustrated book, TWINS.My editor, Wes Adams, is the same editor I worked with on TWINS.Beach Toys vs. School Supplies is ready to go out into the world. It is a tale of balance betweenwork and play, something we can all relate to. I’m having a virtual launch party on FacebookLive on June 15th at 4 pm. We will draw together, learn some sandcastle building techniques,get a behind-the-scenes peek at making the book, and have a special guest—Bobby Beetcut.

Bobby will perform the BEACH TOYS vs. SCHOOL SUPPLIES song live. I hope you’ll join us. Follow this link for the event: if you would like to pre-order a signed copy of the book, order from mylocalIndependentBook Store, RiverRoad Books, here: You’ll also receive a signed print of all the characters while supplies last.


MIKE CICCOTELLO is the author-illustrator of the picture book TWINS and BEACH TOYS VS. SCHOOL SUPPLIES (both from FSG/Macmillan). He is also the illustrator of Bridget Heos’s TREEMENDOUS and her forthcoming picture-book series SCIENCE BUDDIES (all from Crown/Penguin Random House), as well as CHEESE AND QUACKERS, an early graphic chapter-book series written by Prospect client Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen (forthcoming from Aladdin/S&S). Mike is an active member of SCBWI and CBIG.

Mike is represented by Rachel Orr of Prospect Agency.

Here is the link for the virtual book launch:

Here is the link for preordering the book:




Mike, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. It was very interesting to hear your thoughts and see how to visually worked on the book. This is a very cute book and I love how your twins are inspiring your books. Keep them coming. Good luck with Beach Toys vs School Supplies!

Don’t miss Mike’s launch party on Wednesday: 

Talk tomorrow,



  1. i love the inspiration and how the toys became characters


  2. Congratulations, Mike on the fun twist on a back to school story! I love how the inspiration was found literally staring up at you in the sandbox. It’s fun reading about the book journey daily in my inbox! Thank you!


  3. I’ve been looking forward to this book for awhile! Congratulations Mike, this looks amazing!


  4. Love the inspiration behind Mike’s latest. Can’t wait to read it!


  5. This looks so fun! I love the beach, AND I love school supplies.
    Congrats on this fun book!

    I posted this to Twitter as well.


  6. So cute and such a fun summer book idea. Thanks for sharing. Kathy, I am a newsletter subscriber.


  7. Congrats, Mike! I love this concept. (I’m signed up for the emails, too.)


  8. This book looks really appealing! Thanks for the interview and thoughts on how it came to be.


  9. I’ve been following Mike’s reveal on IG…what fun to learn more about the process here! Huge congrats to him on this super delightful book!


  10. Yay! Congrats Mike! I can’t wait to read this one. =)


  11. So cute. I love the battle between these two as summer ends and school-time looms. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.
    I’ve tweeted:, and shared:
    I also follow daily by email: crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com
    Thanks again, have a great day!!


  12. This is such a clever idea and I love the art. I’ve been wanting to read this book since I first found out about it. I’m an email subscriber and shared on social:


  13. I’ve been looking forward to this one! I am tweeting, sharing on FB, and reblogging! Congratulations Mike!


  14. Reblogged this on Darlene Beck-Jacobson.


  15. What a fun concept, Mike, and the illustrations are magnificent! Can’t wait to read BEACH TOYS vs. SCHOOL SUPPLIES!


  16. This sounds like a clever idea where there will be some puns. Congratulations! I can’t wait to read it. Shared on Twitter and I received your blog through email.


  17. Looks cute! I think my kindergartners would love this.


  18. This looks like such a fun book!


  19. This looks AWESOME!! Well done, Mike 🙂
    Love your work!


  20. This is awesome Mike! CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!


  21. Great interview! Congrats on the book, Mike. Kathy: I get your blog.


  22. I love this concept and am looking forward to sharing this with kids and see what they vote for. Thanks for the fun interview.


  23. Cannot wait for this! Shared on twitter and I’m a subscriber.


  24. Wow! Super cute! Love the battle of summer! Congratulations!

    I follow by email and I tweeted this.


  25. I remember this from Mike’s Storystorm essay! I’m kind of rooting for beach toys…but I bet more kids than usual are looking forward to school supplies now. (Kathy, I subscribe to this blog.)


  26. LOVin’ this, Mike! You are just SO brilliant 😀 ❤


  27. sounds like a fun read!


  28. Like

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