Wednesday, June 1, 2022

IWSG and Review of Mina by Matthew Forsythe

Wow! It's June 1st and the 1st Wednesday of the month, which means...


Today, writers get together to express fears, concerns, and offer hope as well as encouragement or whatever else their hearts desire. This group was birthed by the amazing Alex J. Cavanaugh and has grown into a thriving, broad community with tons of possibilities. Check it out here!

Special thanks goes to this month's co-hosts:  SE White, Cathrina Constantine, Natalie Aguire, Joylene Nowell Butler, and Jacqui Murray!

I'm going to skip this month's question and simply say...

I'm writing again!!! 

After my debut middle grade novel, Music Boxes, released, all sorts of things happened, which cut down on my writing time, reducing it to zero. None of it was bad, just things with the family and around the farm and...well, life. 

But now, things have flipped around again. While I still don't have time to twiddle my thumbs and stare at the moon, I can shove my day around more, again. And all those tales which spun in my head are finally getting their first glimpse at true black and white words. Will they make the finish line and lead to an exciting wave of never-ending stories? Who knows, and it doesn't really matter. I'm just happy the first steps are made and will see how far they go.

What about you? Writing like a waterfall or waiting for words to come?



I just announced my planned schedule for June yesterday, and I'm already shoving things around. Yep, call me chaotic because that'd be a good fit. The planned read for today, Mysteries of the Rubber People, is being shoved down the row for a week or two, since I haven't had a chance to read it yet. Instead, I'm working in a book, which nods at the upcoming Father's Day. It centers around a mouse and his daughter, and takes a quirky spin. This one is already out on the shelves, so if it catches your eye, you don't even have to wait.

by Matthew Forsythe
Simon & Schuster
Picture Book
68 pages
ages 4 to 8

From the creator of the acclaimed and beloved Pokko and the Drum comes an emotionally resonant, “richly imagined” (The Horn Book, starred review)​ picture book about trust, worry, and loyalty between a father and daughter.

Mina and her father live in a hollowed-out tree stump on the edge of a pond on the edge of a forest. Nothing ever bothers Mina, until one day, her father brings home a suspicious surprise from the woods.

Should Mina trust her father—or listen to her own instincts?

GOODREADS  /    B&N    /     AMAZON    /    INDIE BOUND


Mina is a quiet little mouse, who loves to read, but her father is always out and about. He has a few strange hobbies, but the one that irritates her the most is his tendency to bring surprises home. Some of these surprises are fine, but when her father brings home a new 'friend', things get very interesting.

This is one of those tales, which flips a few things in a slightly new direction and will make listeners tilt their heads once or twice with a 'huh?'  Mina loves her father but finds him, sometimes, bothersome...something young listeners will connect with and relate to. In the tale, there are moments where she comes across as the responsible one, and yet, it still wanders back to a loving trust at the end.

The illustrations carry a geometric charm and create a calming colored, yet, vibrant world, while the text stays very age appropriate. The tale takes unexpected twists. Readers/listeners will wonder if everything will be okay for Mina and her father as an obvious danger mounts. The ending grabs attention in a very unexpected way and wraps off the entire adventure with a sense of love and care. With 68 pages it's a bit of a longer picture book read, but there's always something happening and a pinch of tension to make it grabbing from beginning to end.

It's an original read with a warming ending, and shows that even if parents come across a little strange, that's not necessarily a bad thing.

And here he is...

Matthew Forsythe is the author-illustrator of Pokko and the Drum, a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year, a recipient of the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award Honor, and a Charlotte Zolotow Honor Book. He is also an illustrator for animated films and television. His credits include Adventure TimeThe Midnight Gospel, and Robin Robin, a stop-motion animated musical from Aardman Animations and Netflix. Visit him at


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's awesome you are writing again! Keep after it.

Natalie Aguirre said...

That's awesome that you're writing again. I just finished my manuscript and am going to start the fun part--revisions.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

So happy to hear you are writing again. So am I.

Anonymous said...

Sorry--pushed send too fast! Congratulations on your book! I think being busy is excellent. I do my best writing when I don't have time!

Anonymous said...

Tonja, it is so great that you are writing again! I'm revising a first draft, so I'm not sure I'm in waterfall mode. More axing mode.🤣