Posted by: Kathy Temean | May 2, 2023

Book Giveaway: TRAVEL GUIDE FOR MONSTERS PART DEUX: A Canadian Adventure by Lori Degman and Jocelyn Watkinson

Lori Degman and Jocelyn Watkinson  have written a new picture book, TRAVEL GUIDE FOR MONSTERS PART DEUX: A Canadian Adventure, illustrated by Marcus Cutler, and being published on May 15th by Sleeping Bear Press. They have agreed to send a copy to the one lucky winner in the US.

Just leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Let me know other things you did 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 Lori, Jocelyn and Marcus.

If you have signed up to follow my blog and it is delivered to you everyday, please let me know when you leave a comment and I will give you an extra ticket. If you want to make sure you don’t miss seeing that you won, please click “Notify Me of Follow-Up Comments by Email” box. I will leave a comment in reply if you win the book. Thanks!


Wrangling your monster to a rodeo? Or sharing the stands with him at a hockey game? Buckle up for another cross country trip with your favorite monster–from British Columbia to Newfoundland and all the Canada in between! Wherever you and your monster are traveling, Travel Guide for Monsters Part Deux: Canada is full of essential tips to help you both enjoy the sights of Canada and avoid monster-related trouble–eh?


LD: Thanks so much for having us on your blog, Kathy! You’ve such a great supporter of children’s authors and illustrators – this is the third book you’ve helped me promote.

JW: I second that! Thank you, Kathy, for having us on your blog! We wouldn’t be able to talk about this book’s journey without first talking about the PBChat Mentorship Program. I met Lori when I applied to and was selected as a mentee in the 2020 class of the PBChat Mentorship Program. Lori has been a mentor in this program since its inception!


 LD: Justin Colon created the PBChat mentorship program and it has helped so many aspiring picture book authors! I’ve mentored six pre-published authors and so far four of them have gone on to publish picture books! I’m so glad you applied to me, Jocelyn, and that I chose you to be my mentee! I spotted The Three Canadian Pigs: A Hockey Story as a winner as soon as I read the first few stanzas! Honestly, you had me at “Not by the pads on our shinny shin shins”!

JW: Aw thanks Lori! Was I ever lucky to get you in my corner! You’re a magical rhymer and storyteller, which is why I was so nervous to propose this collaboration with you! I practiced my pitch in the mirror so many times!

During our mentorship, I had the idea about a sequel to Lori’s amazing manuscript TRAVEL GUIDE FOR MONSTERS which was published by Sleeping Bear Press and released in May 2020. I remember Lori promoting this book on social media before its’ release and being blown away by the colourful art and hilarious concept. Then once I received my copy and got to read it, I noticed that the last stop on the monster’s journey was to Niagara Falls, NY, and since Canada and the US share Niagara Falls and is also a land border, I thought, they should cross the border! Having the monsters tour Canada could be really fun!

So during our mentorship, I spent some time writing a draft to present to Lori at the end of our time together to see if she would be interested in collaborating. During our last call, I did just that!

I was so nervous. I was pre-published with no street cred. Sleeping Bear had just asked to see my full manuscript on Three Canadian Pigs, but I did not have a contract offer yet, so I was hoping that a lot of things fell into place when suggesting this project! I knew asking Lori to collaborate might be a “no” but I had to shoot my shot!


LD:  I loved the idea of a Canadian version of TRAVEL GUIDE FOR MONSTERS, but I was hesitant to read Jocelyn’s stanzas until I was sure there were enough locations for me to write about (that’s my ego at work). I finally read her stanzas and they were awesome (I wasn’t surprised) and she provided a list of additional places in Canada where our monsters could travel. I did some research and wrote enough stanzas, so it’d be an equal partnership. I added mine to a shared google doc and from there we worked together to revise all of our stanzas. It was a true joint effort, and it was way more fun than I thought it would be!

JW: It was the most fun writing weekend I’ve ever had! Both being logged into the Google Doc and watching us type back and forth, suggesting different options for rhyming couplets, scanning the meter together was such an awesome learning experience and just FUN! We researched some alternate locations and tried to make sure we had something for each province or territory. Writing the manuscript wasn’t too difficult since we had committed to keeping the same format that Lori had developed for the original TRAVEL GUIDE FOR MONSTERS book; rhyming couplets for each geographical location which highlights the location but also a “monstery” behaviour!

Thanks Lori for taking a chance on this project! I’m so grateful that you shared the world of your travelling monsters with me! I hope you will produce some more travelling monster stories!

From there, we queried the sequel to our editor at Sleeping Bear Press, Sarah Rockett. By this point, I had received the contract to publish THE THREE CANADIAN PIGS: A HOCKEY STORY. With Lori’s previously published projects with Sleeping Bear and the seemingly serendipitous partnership between Lori and I through the PBChat program, we thought we had a pretty good chance with this project!

LD: I’d love to do a series of traveling monster stories co-written with authors from other countries – now that I know how much fun co-writing is!

Subbing to Sarah was a no-brainer – not only because she’d edited the original TRAVEL GUIDE FOR MONSTERS, NORBERT’S BIG DREAM, and Jocelyn’s THREE CANADIAN PIGS: A HOCKEY STORY, but because she’s wonderful to work with! She and Sleeping Bear Press are so supportive to their authors!

When Dave Szalay wasn’t available, Sarah suggested Marcus Cutler illustrate the book. He did such a fantastic job illustrating THE THREE CANADIAN PIGS: A HOCKEY STORY so we were excited when he agreed!

JW: No-brainer for sure! We were so excited when we got the YES! We celebrated with a virtual “cheers” and beverages!

Marcus was the perfect illustrator for this project. Being Canadian, (just like me), he was able to add all sorts of fun nods to Canada in the art that are so so fun! And his monsters are adorable! Not the scary kind 🙂

We’ve asked Marcus if he could share his thoughts on the project too!

MC: It was a really fun experience illustrating Travel Guide Part Deux. Felicia Macheske, the art director at Sleeping Bear Press, was very helpful and a pleasure to work with. I did struggle early on because I wanted to make it consistent with the first book in the series, and honour Dave Szalay’s work, but still have my spin on it. Carrying over a lot of design elements like the decorated borders really helped with that. Obviously the best part of all was painting the monsters!

LD: Marcus did a wonderful job of staying true to Dave Szalay’s work while putting his own spin on it! Readers are going to love his adorable monsters!

JW: Yes I just love all the fun Canadian bits that Marcus was able to add to the illustrations, especially the beaver looking monster at the end! My favourite!

LD: Jocelyn and I will be scheduling bookstore events and school visits in Toronto and the surrounding area for early-mid June.  It will be so much fun to do them together! I’m especially excited because this will be my first time in Canada! I’m not sure how I never made it there before, since I’m in the Chicago area – just a short plane ride away! It will be great to see some of the places our monsters visit in the book! Jocelyn will be coming to Chicago in the fall so we can do joint events here.

JW: Yes I’m so excited to take Lori around Toronto and pose with some of the landmarks in the book! I may even get her to try poutine! 🙂


LD: If there’s no meat in the poutine, I’m in (I’m a pescatarian)! Thanks again, Kathy, for letting us share our book with your readers! You’re the best! 

JW: Just fries, gravy and cheese curds! Yes – thank you Kathy for helping us share our book’s journey, EH?!



Lori Degman writes in rhyme, most of the time – but not always! She is the author of the award-winning picture books 1 Zany Zoo, Cock-a-Doodle Oops!, Just Read, and other books for children. Lori was a teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and has a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education.

She is a frequent presenter at schools and conferences and lives near Chicago with her family. Visit her at


Jocelyn Watkinson grew up with a love of reading, so much so that she was the only hockey sister in the cold arena reading Babysitter Club books while rambunctious crowds cheered, and her little brother played goalie for the local rep hockey team. Perhaps if there were more opportunities for girls in sports at the time, she would have been on the ice, rather than sitting in the stands!

BUT, with a well developed love of literature and sports, Jocelyn loves to write sports-themed books for children and most importantly, writing in rhyme!

Jocelyn is an ex-pat Canadian living in California with her husband, son and golden retriever, Sinclair. When not fussing over stanzas and rhyming couplets, Jocelyn likes to play soccer, play board games, craft anything from cross stitch, to string art to refurbishing old furniture all while sipping on a hot cup of tea. Jocelyn hopes to one day finally get on the ice to learn how to play the sport of her homeland; hockey.


Marcus Cutler loves writing and drawing things! His favourite things to draw are funny and weird characters doing funny and weird things. When he is not making art he likes to watch movies, cook breakfast, and practice kung fu.


He lives in Tecumseh, Ontario with his wife and two daughters.

His Clients Include:

Cheneliere Education, chickaDEE Magazine, Click Magazine, Duck Duck Moose, The Edmonton Journal, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Humpty Dumpty Magazine, Inhabit Education, Jack and Jill Magazine, Kids Can Press, Learning A to Z, Macmillan Publishers Limited, OWL Magazine, Orca Book Publishers, Oxford University Press, Parks Canada, St. Michael’s Hospital, Sleeping Bear Press, The Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation, TBWA Helsinki, Turtle Magazine

Lori and Jocelyn, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. There is so much to love with this book. It is such a funny romp across Canada. What a great way to introduce kids to the geography and culture of Canada. Teachers are sure to find it useful in their classrooms to help their students learn about the county north of the United State border.

The quirky monsters and colorful illustrations Marcus created definitely will capture children and adults hearts. Besides Polar Bears, fishing, hockey, and maple syrup, I was happy to see the aurora borealis, the ice sculptures at the Winter Fair, and the rodeos in Alberts mentioned. I love the stickers on the luggage and the map at the end is great. Perfect to children.

Marcus’ illustrations are great addition to Lori and Jocelyn’s text. Everyone will enjoy taking this monster trip. Besides Polar Bears, fishing, hockey, and maple syrup, I was happy to see the aurora borealis, the ice sculptures at Winter Fair, and the rodeos in Alberts mentioned. I love the stickers on the luggage and the map at the end is great. Perfect to children.

Everyone will enjoy taking this monster trip. 

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Congratulations, Lori, Jocelyn and Marcus! I’ve never been to Canada. This Travel Guide is just what I need!


  2. Monsters just want to have fun! Congratulations on your collaboration!


  3. I’d love to win a copy of this quirky rhyming story for my niece. Thank you for sharing your incredible path to publishing. 😉


  4. I was first introduced to Lori Degman at an SCBWI conference. I was so impressed with her enthusiasm and methods as she made verse, meter and rhyme seem so “easy.” Haha… no so for so many of us!! The subject of this travel book is so universal and does not touch the political correctness of the time, thus making it timeless. The colorful monster illustrations are fun, not scary, so appropriate for our little ones!!


  5. This book looks hilarious, informative, and adorable. I can’t wait to read it!


  6. This story sounds amazing! Love these two authors’ books. I shared this on Twitter [daily subscriber to blog].


  7. What a fun travel guide! The colors are great. I think kids will love it.

    I subscribe to your newsletter. Thanks!


  8. Brava and Bravo to all!!!


  9. Looking forward to giving this to my favorite monster!


  10. Absolutely love this PB. Think it will be perfect to share with my grandson, who has an awesome laugh and sense of humor. So wonderful you two met as PBChat Mentor Program. Great giving back. That’s why I enjoy getting Kathy T. daily email with fun new books to read and share. I will also post on FB and Twitter. Best of Luck to everyone. Loved the illustrators Bio and I was a Special education teacher, too, with a MS in Special education. worked for five years with people in wheelchairs. Very rewarding careers.


  11. What an unusual path! Book sounds great.

    I’m a subscriber to the blog.


  12. What a fun collaboration! My family and I have traveled across Canada twice, starting with Ontario and then west to B.C. then north through the Yukon. Canada is so gorgeous and this book will be a fun way to learn more about this neighbor of ours. I’m an email subscriber and shared on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and tumblr.


  13. Wow, this looks so fun! Well done! Congrats to all of you!

    I follow by email. 🙂


  14. More travel fun with monsters! Yay!


  15. “Not by the pads on our shinny-shin-shins” grabbed me, too. I didn’t realize that The Three Canadian Pigs was the manuscript that helped Jocelyn win a PBChat mentorship with Lori. How wonderful that you’ve grown to be friends and collaborators. (Kathy, I subscribe to your blog.)


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