Linda Ashman

children's book author, mom, wife, writing instructor, animal lover, gardener, vegetarian . . .


Read reviews on some favorite children's lit blogs:

Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast

Bees Knees Reads

Ethan's Bookshelf

and Poetry for Children.

"Carpenter produces a perfect visual expression of the collision of a testy temperament with polite society. Ashman's poetic portraits are packed with lots of tasty assonance and alliteration . . . and their mock-serious mood serves as a fine foil to the visual ruckus." Starred Review, Publishers Weekly

"'WARNING: This book contains obnoxious children. Read at your own risk!' or so declares the cover of this alphabetical catalog of bad behaviors. But only truly prudish parents are advised to explore no further, for Ashman and Carpenter have collaborated to truly hilarious effect. . . Carpenter's scribbled marker and watercolor depictions set the perfect tone for these creatively overexuberant children. Reluctant readers, parents of reluctant readers, and anyone who enjoys a good laugh will be drawn to this book." School Library Journal

"It's easy for kids to live vicariously through the ill-bred imps who inhabit these giddily chaotic pages. They might even remind you how much less awful their own real-life transgressions are. M is for Mischief is part etiquette primer, part ABC lesson, but subversive humor is at its heart. The wildly kinetic illustrations take the naughtiness to the next level--there's more life and energy on one page than in a typical half-hour animated cartoon. Some of the hellions in the book get their comeuppances in deliciously ironic ways, but others suffer no obvious consequences, which can lead parents and kids to an intriguing game of What Happens Next?" Cookie Magazine

"From Angry Abby to Zany Zelda, each eight-line rhyme in this energetic title has fun with the sounds of words, as well as their slapstick meaning. . . Each one of the verses tells a little story, and the climax often brings the child’s comeuppance. Young listeners will discover themselves not only in the young rebels but also in those who fight back and beat the naughty kids at their games. Though the words are the wonderful winners here, Carpenter’s rambunctious double-page pictures, rendered in watercolor and occasional collage, provide excellent comedic support." Booklist

"Linda Ashman does it again! She's written another book that children and parents alike will adore, this one laugh-out-loud funny and eerily familiar and full of brilliant rhyme and perfect word choice. . . Each page of this book is a treat, both in terms of the text and the illustrations. Readers who already love poetry will adore this book and readers who, generally speaking, are not into poetry will find this book to be an exception--they'll love it, too! I can't recommend it highly enough." Ethan's Bookshelf

"The illustrator of Jenny Offill’s 17 Things I’m Not Allowed To Do Anymore builds on a clear knack for depicting deceptively fresh-faced children with this extended alliterative gallery of malfeasants. From Angry Abby to hyperactive Zany Zelda, young folk act out in a broad range of ways—and often come to bad ends in consequence . . .[T]hese character portraits aren’t likely to change anyone’s behavior set, but they’ll certainly elicit nods of recognition, even from younger children." Kirkus

"This is not your ordinary ABC book of childhood verse. No, this is a hilarious read-aloud written in rhyme with a ton of alliteration and word play. . . Linda Ashman's website includes a terrific page on teaching ideas for this book." Bees Knees Reads

M IS FOR MISCHIEF: An A to Z of Naughty Children

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Illustrations ©2008 by Nancy Carpenter; Dutton.

Ever scanned a poem to check the meter? Here's an example:

Angry Abby

Abby's apt to argue anytime and anyplace.

She'll argue over apricots, an acorn, or an ace.

She'll argue with an astronaut, an artist or a waiter.

A shame she had to argue with that awful alligator."

Author's Note

I wrote this book in 2000 when Jackson was two years old and loved reading nursery rhymes. If you haven't read any lately, nursery rhymes have a lot of naughty children in them--and the worse the behavior, the more Jackson liked the poem. Since I loved writing poetry, and knew a thing or two about naughty children, I figured I could write a few poems on the subject. When it occurred to me to organize it alphabetically, "a few poems" became 26 poems, and "Alphabrats" was born.

Stephanie Lurie at Dutton bought the book later that year. And as it arrives in bookstores in July 2008, the two-year-old who inspired it is now 10 years old and reading novels, not nursery rhymes (and I have a lot more gray in my hair!). But as my mother liked to say, "Good things come to those who wait." In the case of Nancy Carpenter's wonderfully creative and hilarious illustrations, Mom was right.

Teaching Themes: behavior and manners, humor, poetry, and alphabet books. For poetry teaching ideas during National Poetry Month in April--and throughout the year--visit, and download the teaching ideas below:

Find more activities to download in the October 2008 issue of Scholastic's STORYWORKS magazine.


Brand New
"A go-to source of calm and comfort." PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
In Print
"Altogether delightful." Starred review, KIRKUS
"Excellent advice in a sweet and easy-to-swallow package." KIRKUS
"A memorable first skate by an irresistible imp." Starred review, KIRKUS
"Ashman's concept is both sophisticated and delightful." KIRKUS
"Beautifully crafted and satisfying." Starred Review, BOOKLIST
"Kids will love the colorful paintings while parents will appreciate that it's chock full of facts about the Centennial State." VAIL DAILY
A "lovely reverie on the joys of being alive and being loved." Starred Review, PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
"As pithy and clever as Ogden Nash at his best." Starred Review, KIRKUS
"A splendid bedtime fantasy." KIRKUS
Other Titles
"Ashman's poetic portraits are packed with lots of tasty assonance and alliteration." Starred Review, PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
"Quirky, sarcastic, and rather educational, too." BOOKLIST
"A 10 on the "aw"-inspiring scale." PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
"A family outing gone hilariously awry." BOOKLIST
"A rip-roaring, exciting excursion." SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL
An "enchanting ride." PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
"The clever, rhyming text bounces along with perfect cadence." SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL
"A riotous adventure." HORN BOOK MAGAZINE
"Vibrant, playful text . . . excellent for storytimes." SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL
"A hilarious look at the world through the sharp eyes and nose of a dog." SCRIPPS HOWARD NEWS SERVICE
"This one's a keeper." SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL
"Youngsters will find nothing but comfort in these pages." KIRKUS
"Ashman captures the non-stop action in rollicking rhyme." KIRKUS
A "captivating collaboration." Starred Review, KIRKUS
"A lighthearted look at bad behavior." KIRKUS
Wagmore is "a charming, gentle hero." KIRKUS REVIEWS