Poetry Friday: A CYBILS Awards nominated book review AND “Everybody Counts!” is now available! (umm, sort of)

With all the supply-chain issues we’ve been dealing with the past couple of years (like a certain >ahem< picture book being delayed seven times), it’s nice to be able to announce that a book is actually EARLY!

© 2022 The Little Fig, all rights reserved

My newest picture book, Everybody Counts! (The Little Fig, 2023) was scheduled for publication Jan. 1, 2023 – but somehow, bookstores are receiving it ahead of schedule, so the publisher is telling them all to feel free to sell it! After all, with the holidays here, what better gift for a child is there, than the gift of adventure, enlightenment, and wonder that comes with a new book?

Although Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other national booksellers are still holding fast to that Jan. 1 date, you can purchase a copy now at your local store, assuming they’re carrying it, or you can order directly from the publisher! Just let them know you want a copy and they’ll do their best to make that happen.

Everybody Counts! features 12 animals of varying ethnicities teaching the reader how to count to ten in each of their languages, along with an ethnic name and food item.

© 2022 The Little Fig, all rights reserved. Click to enlarge

Languages included in the book:

  • Swedish
  • German
  • Hindi
  • Mandarin Chinese
  • French
  • Swahili
  • Portugese
  • Arabic
  • Greek
  • Japanese
  • Spanish
  • Navajo

Readers who want to learn more will soon have the opportunity to go the The Little Fig website to find links to pronunciation videos and more. As I mentioned, you can order directly from the publisher, but you can also pre-order through Amazon, B&N, Indie Bound, and Target. (Or my local hometown indie bookstore, MainStreet BookEnds, which offers personally-signed copies!)

By the way, speaking of BOOKS…

This is going to be a busy week for me! Tomorrow morning I will be visiting Manchester NH’s ONLY indie bookstore, The Bookery, for a story time/signing – then heading north to Warner, NH for a book signing at MainStreet BookEnds as part of the town’s day-long Hometown Holiday event.

The next day, Sunday Dec. 4, I’ll be in Meredith, NH at Innisfree Bookshop from 1-3pm for their holiday Open House.

As if all this weren’t enough, I’ll then head to downtown Concord on Wed., Dec. 7 for a storytime event at Gibson’s Bookstore. Whew!

Just a few of the SIXTY nominated books we are reading!


I’m a first-round panelist for the CYBILS Awards Poetry Category this year, and I thought I’d share a book that caught my attention.

(This review in now way implies I’m recommending this book to move on to the 2nd-round nor that it is a favored book, but rather that I was impressed by its writing and illustration)

The book is Ice Cycle: Poems about the Life of Ice (Millbrook Press, 2022) by Maria Gianferrari and illustraor Jieting Chen.

Beautifully worded and brilliantly illustrated, this creative nonfiction work makes you smile in wonder at the incredible and amazing aspects of the ice cycle about which you might not know.

The poems are sparse but tight, and the illustrations are bold and engaging; even though it’s educational, it almost feels like a bedtime read! The whole package makes for an easy, enjoyable time for young readers:

© 2022 Millbrook Press, all rights reserved. Click to enlarge

For today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup and a poetic answer to an “unasked question, head over to Catherine Flynn’s little home on the web, Reading to the Core!

= = = = = = = = = =

Thrilled to be a First Round panelist for the Poetry Category!

I’m booking author visits for the 2022-23 school year!

Click the graphic for more details!

I love chatting with elementary and middle school classes about writing: why poetry is fun to read and write, the importance of revision, and how one’s imagination and creativity can lead to a fantastic career! My presentations are tailored to fit the needs of the classes and students’ ages. One day I might be sharing details of how a picture book like Flashlight Night (Astra Young Readers, 2017) was created; the next, I’ll be discussing dinosaurs, tree ferns, or origami sea turtles!

Student presentations include:

  • The Making of a Picture Book
  • How a Child Saved a Book
  • “Once Upon Another Time”
  • The Most Imporant Thing about Writing Poetry
  • “I Am Today”

Adult presentations include:

  • The Making of a Picture Book
  • Poetry: An Introduction to the Most Important Genre
  • The Most Important Thing about Writing Poetry
  • Free Yourself with Free Verse
  • Tight Language, Loose Narratives: Crafting a Non-Traditional Picture Book

Learn more at MattForrest.com!

If you or someone you know might be interested in having me visit your school, library, or other organization, please email me
at matt(at)mattforrest(dot)com!


(The Little Fig, LLC, 2022)

or order now, directly from the publisher!

Order a PERSONALLY-SIGNED copy of this or or ANY of my books
from my local independent bookstore!


Be sure to check out all the cool new picture books arriving this year from my PB22Peekaboo partners!


I’m very happy to be part of the BOOKROO family!

Create an account to add books to wishlists and be notified of special deals and dates…create custom collections…and discover and follow your favorite authors & illustrators!

Find out more about BOOKROO here!


I continue adding to my “Wit & Wordplay” videos ! These videos were created for parents and educators (along with their kids) to learn how to write poetry, appreciate it, and have fun with it. From alliteration and iambs to free verse and spine poetry, I’m pretty sure there’s something in these videos you’ll find surprising! You can view them all on my YouTube channel, and if you have young kids looking for something to keep busy with, I also have several downloadable activity sheets at my website.


Ordering personalized signed copies online? Oh, yes, you can!

You can purchase personally-signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Astra Young Readers, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018)and nearly EVERY book or anthology I’ve been part of!

Click here to view all my books and to order!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send a comment to the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH requesting my signature and to whom I should make it out. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it, and then they’ll ship it! (Plus, you’ll be supporting your local bookseller – and won’t that make you feel good?)


Thank you to everyone for your support!




Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!

To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post once or twice a week – usually Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day) . Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookInstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

14 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: A CYBILS Awards nominated book review AND “Everybody Counts!” is now available! (umm, sort of)

  1. lindabaie

    So funny about your new book, especially after the previous trials. . . It sounds like it will be lots of fun to read, Matt. I have Ice Cycle & still haven’t read it! Thanks for the nudge. You are a busy guy! Have a good time in all those visits!


  2. heidimordhorst

    Your multilingual counting book is a cool idea, and I’m entertained by the idea of “animals of varying ethnicities””! I’ve heard such good things about that ice collection you highlighted, Matt. I also recall a post I had to recall in 2016: “Oops! My series highlighting the 7 finalists for the 2015 Cybils Poetry Award is…not allowed! As a new judge, I didn’t realize that I shouldn’t post anything at all. So I’ve now removed the two offending posts, and we must all wait until the official winner announcement on February 14 to read reviews and critiques by me and the other judges.” I wonder if that goes for panelists, too…just a heads-up.


    1. Thanks for your kind words, Heidi! The official rules regarding reviews state that we cannot post reviews of shortlisted books – that is, the books we determine will move on to the 2nd round (which won’t happen until Jan. 1). Reviews of any 1st-round books that haven’t yet been shortlisted are fine!


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