Tag Archives: Julie Hedlund

12×12 Update! February 2014

1 Mar


I am trying to do Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Challenge again this year. It is a challenge to write 12 picture book drafts in 12 months in 2014. You can click on the 12×12 banner on the right side bar or the one above to learn more about it.

February has been a pretty successful month for me. I wrote a new PB draft, and I revised an old one. Two super awesome members of the group let me be in their critique group this year. I can’t wait to get started with that (we are starting this month). I also have found the 12×12 Forum easier to use this year (WOO HOO – Ms. Hedlund!). I have used it a bunch already and submitted a pitch and the first 250 words of a PB MS I wrote. Life is good. 🙂

I am looking forward to learning a lot this year!

How about you? How’s your writing going? Are you doing 12×12?

12X12 Update!

1 Sep


I am trying to do Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Challenge again this year. It is a challenge to write 12 picture book drafts in 12 months in 2013. You can click on the 12×12 banner on the right side bar or the one above to learn more about it.

How did I do in August?

I got an ENTIRE draft done and edited it! WOO! I worked on a picture book idea I had during Tara Lazar’s PiBoIdMo last year. It is based on a true story called Don’t Hug a Cactus (let’s just say the “true” part involves my Dad and the Arizona desert 😉 ).

I took Susanna Leonard Hill’s Making Picture Book Magic course in August and I know that is what helped me write a whole book this month. I learned a lot in the class and I found out a lot of why it’s been really hard for me to keep my word count down when trying to write a PB.

The 12×12 challenge is a great challenge. It kind of makes me try to be a better writer. I just try to keep my goals to what I think I can do. Next month I hope to write another draft (maybe try to edit it). If you are doing 12×12 – good luck in September! If you are not, you should join next year! 😀

12×12 Update!

1 Aug


I am trying to do Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Challenge again this year. It is a challenge to write 12 picture book drafts in 12 months in 2013. You can click on the 12×12 banner on the right side bar or the one above to learn more about it.

In July I worked on my PB idea of a kid visiting different folk tales from around the world. I’ve changed the character from a boy to a boy and a girl and I changed the way they hop from tale to tale because I thought it was getting too confusing in the draft I was working on. I am happy with the story now and will hopefully finish the draft soon.

I also started working on another PB – this one is a funny one based on a real life experience (let’s just say my Dad could have made it onto America’s Funniest Home Videos (if we had a video 😉 )).

Have a nice August everyone! I won’t! I go back to school on the 20th! 😉

The-the-the- the- that’s all folks!

12×12 Update and Winners of Because I’m Your Dad by Ahmet Zappa!

1 Jun

I have to tell you this has been a really busy week for me. School is coming to an end, I had projects due, I had my class field trip, end of year karate party and I participated in the Asian Festival of Children’s Content (AFCC) in Singapore via Sykpe. I want to thank Dr. Myra Garces-Bacsal of Gathering Books for inviting me to be on the Children, Speak Up! panel at the festival. I had a wonderful experience. It was fun to answer the questions the kids on the panel had for me! They were a great bunch of fellow book lovers! I also want to thank Vivian Kirkfield for taking the time out of her busy schedule at the festival to be in the room during the panel. It was cool to say a cyber “Hi” to her. 😀


Because it was a busy week, I forgot to announce the winners of the “Because I’m Your Dad” books yesterday! The winners chosen randomly from a hat by my sister Josie are –

Drum-roll please!


Catherine Johnson and Miss Diann (who is excited to get the book for her school’s library)!

Congratulations! I will email you to get your addresses!

Next up is my 12×12 accountability –


I am trying to do Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Challenge again this year. It is a challenge to write 12 picture book drafts in 12 months in 2013. You can click on the 12×12 banner on the right side bar or the one above to learn more about it.

In April I told you I pulled out a book I wrote in second grade. It was a book with folk tales from around the world. I took the stories from that book and made a character that wanders into all the different folk tales. In May, I worked on trying to give a reason to why the boy was ending up in all the different folk tales and making the story have more sense. I didn’t get near as much as I wanted to get done, but I’ll keep trying. I like this PB idea. I think it’s kind of fun and I think it’s funny I am using something I wrote in second grade to help me. Now that I only have one week of school left, I hope to work on it more in June.

Have a great weekend!!!

May UBFP Newspaper Article AND 12×12 Update!

9 May

**UPDATE to my post! Check out an interview I did with Kid-Lit author Sue LaNeve on Quirk and Quill click HERE!

First I wanted to do my 12×12 update. I know I am VERY late with the update, but I had a surprise visit to Disney World in the first week of May and I am trying to catch up!


I am trying to do Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Challenge again this year. It is a challenge to write 12 picture book drafts in 12 months in 2013. You can click on the 12×12 banner on the right side bar or the one above to learn more about it. For the month of April I did pretty well. I got an idea to use a book I wrote back in second grade. In that book, I interviewed people from all over the world that my mom worked with. I asked them about their favorite folk-tales from when they were kids. I have folk tales from England, Ukraine, Norway, India and Cuba. In April I started to make a picture book about a boy who visits the different folk tale. I am going to keep working on this idea in May!

On to my next subject!

I wanted to share the article I wrote for the Upper Bucks Free Press (the newspaper I write for) for the April issue! The print version came out May 1st, but the online version was just published. To see the online version of the newspaper, click HERE (see page 17). I got the idea for the article when I went to a book signing for author Suzanne Bloom (the 2013 PA One Book author) and her book “The Bus For Us.”


Ms. Bloom’s “limo” for the event was MY local library – The Columbia County Traveling Library A.K.A. the coolest bookmobile EVER! With the coolest librarians EVER – Lydia Kegler and Kara Walsh!

What was extra cool is that at the book signing, Ms. Bloom read her book,

photo credit Kara Walsh Columbia County Traveling Library

photo credit Kara Walsh Columbia County Traveling Library

let us ask questions and took a request from an audience member to draw a picture. She drew  an AWESOME (and handsome) superhero called SUPER READER!

superread3Does he look familiar?

What was extra-extra-cool is that at the book signing, I met (in real life), Pam Brunskill, a kid-lit writer that I “met” before online through Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog. Ms. Brunskill just won the April pitch contest on Ms. Hill’s blog for her book “Flood Dogs” (you can read about it HERE)!


Finally – here is the article I wrote! I hope you enjoy it!

2013 PA One Book Author Suzanne Bloom

Have you ever heard of Pennsylvania’s One Book? I didn’t until I went to a book signing, where I met Suzanne Bloom, author of “The Bus for Us,” the PA One Book for this year. I learned that the PA One Book, Every Young Child program’s mission is to promote reading skills in younger children. The website describes the program like this:

“For the eighth consecutive year, Pennsylvania’s One Book, Every Young Child program will lead the way and highlight the importance of early literacy development in preschoolers ages 3 to 6.

The collaborating agencies involved with the program all believe strongly in supporting early literacy efforts. They are working together to develop a multifaceted program accessible to all areas and populations of the state. There are more than 595,000 children in the target age group, many of which are in the state’s childcare facilities, Head Start programs, licensed preschools, or kindergartens.”

The book for this year, 2013, “The Bus for Us,” is described in a press release from the PA One Book program:

“Pennsylvania’s One Book, Every Young Child 2013 selection is The Bus for Us, a delightful book written and illustrated by Suzanne Bloom for children ages 3 to 6. Published in 2001 by Boyds Mills Press, this story follows Tess on her first day of school as she waits with her friend Gus for the bus. She’s very excited and wonders what the bus will look like. As they wait, Tess sees many different vehicles drive by, including a taxi, a fire engine and a tow truck. And as each one passes she asks, “Is this the bus for us, Gus?”

PA One Book authors go on a book tour around Pennsylvania, visiting schools and libraries. I got to go to one of the stops. When I was at the book signing, Ms. Bloom was very kind and let me ask her a few questions.

Erik – What does it mean to you to have been chosen as the PA One Book author for 2013?

Ms. Bloom – I am tickled pink to be the PA 1 Book author/illustrator for a second time.  When I toured the state several years ago with Goose and Bear, I loved cruising over the roller coaster hills, seeing new towns and cities, watching out for wolves in The Wilds – just kidding.

I visited grand libraries and tiny libraries – all working hard as community hubs to creating programs for all ages and interests.

Erik – Your book tour does seem like a lot of fun! What is the best thing about being the PA One Book author?

Ms. Bloom – It’s always about the people I get to meet and the ideas we get to share.  From babies to bus drivers – everybody has a story.

Erik – I like meeting new people too! “The Bus For Us” is written for younger kids, but there is a lot of humor in the illustrations you drew that older kids and adults will love. Did you do that on purpose?

Ms. Bloom – Absolutely!  Details, nuance, attitude!  With a story of very few words, lots more information can be conveyed in the illustrations.

In fact, additional story lines can be suggested.  Conversations might arise based on character’s body language or facial expression.

Of course I want kids to say, “Read it again,” to their parents, but I also want to create a story that parents will gladly repeat.

Erik – I know I really liked reading your book! How does PA One Book and your book “The Bus For Us” help with early childhood literacy?

Ms. Bloom – Visual literacy begins before reading.  Even the tiniest tot is acquiring information by observing and listening.  Having a grown-up guide, who takes the time to read with a child, creates a safe and positive learning time.  A book is a gateway to a bigger world, for every reader!

Erik – You are so right! We are always learning by listening and seeing – and books are great for that!

To learn more about the PA One Book, visit their website at paonebook.org

To learn more about Suzanne Bloom, visit her website at suzannebloom.com

For more on reading and book reviews, visit my website thiskidreviewsbooks.com!


WOW! Where did 2012 go?

31 Dec

On the Eve of 2013…

2012 has been a good year, but it went to fast (at least I think so). I want to thank everyone who reads my blog and takes the time to offer me advice and help and comment here. I really like doing my blog and I like reading what everyone has to say about what I think about books. Well it’s New Year’s Eve. That means I get to talk about what I did last year, and what my resolutions are for 2013.

English: Father Time and Baby New Year from Fr...

English: Father Time and Baby New Year from Frolic & Fun, 1897 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First I want to thank the Bodhimoments blog for nominating me for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award! Please check out Bodhimoments !


Dr. Clune of On The Plum Tree nominated me for a 2012 Blog Of The Year award! Dr. Clune’s blog is an awesome place for poetry, stories, books and art. Please check it out if you haven’t (Click HERE).

Blog of the Year Award 1 star jpeg

To accept these awards I am supposed to link back to the blogs that gave them, tell some things about myself and nominate some more blogs for the awards.

I figured I am telling you in this post about my New Year’s goals from 2012 and for 2013, so that’s things about myself. I also can’t pick which AWESOME blog to pass the awards on to so just check out my side bar and see all the great places I like to visit and I, Sir Erik, pass these awards on to thee! 😀

Now on to the New Year!

What I did in 2012!

  1. I worked on my MS-in-progress.
  2. I wrote 4 manuscripts for 12×12. My goal for 12×12 was to write 1 PB and I wrote 4!12x12-large
  3. I enjoyed doing Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Fridays.PPBF
  4. I finished the unabridged version of  “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” by Jules Verne (FINALLY)
  5. I completed PiBoIdMo 2012 and got 30 AWESOME ideas.piboidmo12participant
  6. The world didn’t end on December 21st (I don’t think this was an accomplishment for just me, but it would have really stunk if it did).
  7. I flew on 4 planes.
  8. I met and got support from the nicest people all over the world through my blog! 😀 Thank you to everyone!

Next – What I think I will do (and what might happen).

  1. I will finish my MS.
  2. I will participate in PiBoIdMo 2013.
  3. I will try to finish the unabridged version of “The Three Musketeers” by Alexandre Dumas (maybe next year I will try to read it in the original French).
  4. Someone will say the world will end again. *sigh*
  5. After I got my black belt in TaeKwon-Do and we moved, I started to study Karate and Jujitsu. I hope that in 2013 I will go up in rank in Karate and Jujitsu (I am currently a yellow belt).
  6. I will try to convince my parents to get me a library ladder for my own personal private library. 😉
  7. Read 250 or more books of any kind.
  8. Be nice and kind to everyone I meet.
  9. Beat my school’s Advanced Reader reading record. The current record is 950 points (it ends in May). I had 612 points before we left for Christmas vacation. My goal is to shatter the record with a score of 1500+ points!
  10. Read more Nonfiction.
  11. Stick to my posting schedule when I can.
  12. Do my best at everything I try.

How about you? What is your most important goal in 2013? What was the best goal you reached in 2012?


Happy new year

Happy new year (Photo credit: Amodiovalerio Verde)

It’s A 12×12 in 2012 Blog Party!!

13 Dec

Last year at this time I signed up for Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Challenge. It was a challenge to write 12 picture book drafts in 12 months in 2012. You may have noticed the cool badge on my side bar all year long –

I started out with my ideas from doing Tara Lazar’s PiBoIdMo last year in November (I did it this year too – it’s VERY fun and if you haven’t done it, try it next year 🙂 ). My goal was to write one picture book manuscript. I never wrote a whole picture book before and didn’t really know where to start (other than having my ideas from PiBoIdMo) and I didn’t know how much I’d be able to do. I am happy to say I wrote 3 whole manuscripts and I have a bunch of ones that I have started that I’d like to get back to. I’ve learned a lot this year and I thought I would come up with my top ten things I learned. Here it goes –

10. Be organized. Having a work area and a notebook (only ONE notebook in my case because I tend to lose things) that holds your ideas helps.

9. Set deadlines for yourself. Even if you don’t make them, it gives you a goal.

8. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice.

7. Don’t be afraid to write down a draft that isn’t particularly good the first time. Get it down and then go back later and fix it (I have a lot of unfinished ideas like this).

6. The idea you think is the best isn’t always the one that you can write a whole book about.

5. Listen to people who want to help you. There are a lot of great people who have helped and encouraged me.

4. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t meet a goal. Keep trying!

3. Don’t get discouraged if you find out someone has already wrote the book you are thinking of! That just means you like that idea too!

2. Do try to have fun while writing. If it is making you frustrated, stop for a while.

and the number one thing I’ve learned from 12×12 in 2012 is…

WRITING PICTURE BOOKS IS HARD AND RHYMING IS EVEN HARDER!!! Those people out there who think it is so easy should give it a try (like that turtle-neck guy 😉 [Debbie Ohi’s PiBoIdMo Post])!

Thank you to everyone in 12×12 in 2012 and ESPECIALLY to Julie Hedlund for hosting it! If you haven’t seen Ms. Hedlund’s awesome dance party video, you HAVE to hop over to her blog and check it out. Her air guitar is AMAZING! Click HERE to go there!

November’s Upper Bucks Free Press News Paper Article and 12×12 Update!

1 Nov

I am trying to do Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Challenge. It is a challenge to write 12 picture book drafts in 12 months in 2012. You can click on the 12×12 banner on the right side bar or the one above to learn more about it. I have been working on a PB about a bird and a worm who are friends. I am HAPPY to say I got really far with it this month! I don’t have it done, but I got to work on it a lot and I am pretty happy with it!

Now on to other news –
I wanted to share the article I wrote for the Upper Bucks Free Press(the newspaper I write for) for the November issue! Enjoy 🙂

Meet Bucks County Author and Illustrator Lee Harper!

Lee Harper is a picture book author and illustrator from Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Mr. Harper most recently illustrated TURKEY CLAUS, by Wendi Silvano. In addition to creating picture books for children, Mr. Harper loves to visit schools. To learn more about Mr. Harper’s books and school visits, please visit LeeHarperart.com.

ErikThank you for agreeing to this interview Mr. Harper! You illustrated a book called “Turkey Trouble” that was written by Wendy Silvano. In that book it’s Thanksgiving time and the turkey is in BIG trouble. Fortunately, the turkey escapes! You just illustrated a second book with Ms. Silvano called “Turkey Claus” that was just released on November 1st! Can you tell us a little about that book?

Lee Harper -Turkey has made it through Thanksgiving without becoming a turkey dinner, but now it’s almost Christmas, and turkey is on the menu again. Turkey decides the only thing to do is to ask Santa for help. He sets off for the North Pole, but getting in to see Santa at Christmastime isn’t as easy as Turkey expected. It takes all his ideas—and clever disguises—to find a way into Santa’s house. After many hilarious attempts, Turkey comes up with the perfect disguise, and Santa has the perfect solution!

ErikI can’t wait to read how Turkey escapes! Do you like to draw/eat turkeys? What is your favorite animal to draw?

Lee Harper – My favorite sandwich consists of lettuce, tomato, pepperoncini, mayo, salt, pepper, soy sprouts, and yes…turkey. I feel terribly conflicted about this.

My favorite animals to draw are animal-people.

ErikThat sounds like a good sandwich (with or without the turkey)! I really like your book “The Emperor’s Cool Clothes” that you wrote and illustrated. Do you find it more enjoyable to illustrate your own story or do you like to work with other authors on their projects?

Lee Harper – I like both in different ways. It’s fun to have the creative freedom of writing and illustrating your own story, but it’s easy to go off in the wrong direction and get lost. Illustrating someone else’s story is like having a road map.

ErikI think it would be fun to illustrate stories (your own or others). If you weren’t a children’s book illustrator and author, what would you be?

Lee Harper – I’d probably be a tour-guide, ventriloquist dummy maker, arborist, or schoolteacher.

Erik – Or a tour guide in a ventriloquist dummy maker factory? 😉 When you get a story to illustrate, do you get a picture of what you want to draw right away when you read it or do you have to think about it a while?

Lee Harper – I usually start by writing down all the attributes of each character, and then start doodling. Gradually the characters emerge through the process of doodling. The Turkey character came to me right away. Most of the time it takes dozens of doodles. When I see a doodle I like I start refining it and turn it into a proper drawing. After I’ve figured out the characters I work on the world, and the reality rules.  Do the animals wear clothes? Do they stand on two legs or all four? Are the plants like real plants or imaginary plants? There are a lot of creative decisions to be made in regards to how the world looks and behaves. Once you set the rules you have to stick with them. It definitely takes a lot of thought.

ErikI like how you described bringing your illustrations to life and all the things you have to consider when drawing them! Thank you again Mr. Harper! To read more, please visit my blog at thiskidreviewsbooks.com.

12×12 Update and My Upper Bucks Free Press October Newspaper Column

1 Oct

I am trying to do Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Challenge. It is a challenge to write 12 picture book drafts in 12 months in 2012. You can click on the 12×12 banner on the right side bar or the one above to learn more about it. I have been working on a PB about a bird and a worm who are friends and I have been making it my goal to try to make it rhyme well. I wrote the story in August and have been working on the rhyming. I got farther than last time, but still didn’t get at least the revised draft done (the rhyming part is very hard and I keep re-writing it). This month, I will try my hardest to finish the draft. It will be a challenge for me because a) I am not the quickest writer and b) we are going to New Mexico this week (Saturday) and are going to be gone for a week (my first plane ride! YAY!), but I’ll tell you more about that this Friday 😀

Next news – I wanted to share with everyone the article I wrote for the Upper Bucks Free Press. I compared paper books and ebooks in the article. I hope you like it and tell me what you think!

I write for the UBFP!

Book Versus eBook – Pros and Cons

I love reading. I read anything and everything. I sometimes even get in trouble at school for reading when I shouldn’t be. That’s why I get a little upset when I read articles that say paper books will soon be a thing of the past because of ebooks. With a lot more people turning to ereaders, or thinking about getting an ereader, I thought it would be good to point out the good and bad points of both.  I have a regular Kindle (it doesn’t show in color), but I’ve used other ereaders like iPads, Nooks and Kindle Fires and I have been impressed by all of them. But, what about an ebook vs a “regular” paper book?

I think that even though the pages of an ebook look a lot like reading from paper, it just isn’t quite the same. Although many screens on ereaders are made to use in sunlight, I find that the bright sun makes it more difficult to read an ebook compared to a regular book. I like holding a paper book more. I like to feel the pages and smell the paper. I have a bookshelf in my room with all my favorite books on it and I love to look at the shelf and the books on it. I have a collection of signed books that are very special to me and I wouldn’t have that with ebooks. I love going to a bookstore or a library and just looking through the books, trying to find the one I want to bring home and read. Browsing in a virtual bookstores (like Amazon.com) is just not the same.

Ebooks are a lot less money than regular books (after you buy the ereader, which is expensive). There are a lot of classics you can even get for free or about a dollar. The book in the picture in this article, Rick Riordan’s “Throne of Fire” costs $23.99 in hard cover and $7.99 for the Kindle version on Amazon.com. I can get a new release as an ebook the minute it comes out because I can just download it. No more waiting to get to a bookstore or for the library to have it in when there’s a book I want to read right away!

Many ebooks have interactive features in them that can make it seem more like playing a video game rather than reading. I think that is a good feature for kids who may be reluctant readers. I also like that ereaders have built-in dictionaries so if there is a word I don’t know I can just click on it and the definition comes up. There are usually links imbedded in ebooks too so if your ereader is connected to the internet you can follow the links to get more information about the author or to access other features included in the ebook.

I have about 90 books on my Kindle right now and it weighs less than a pound. I can take my ereader in the car, on a plane, on a train, pretty much anywhere and I take ALL of my books with me. On the other hand, I don’t have to worry about dropping a paperback and having the screen crack or sand ruining it at the beach. Both types of books don’t do well in water.

Real books will always be my favorite, but ebooks are definitely a good alternative. I think more and more kids and adults will want to read ebooks because of the price and the extra features you get with them. I personally think ebooks have a lot to offer and can be a lot of fun, but then again, I never have to worry about the batteries running out on my paper copy of “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” by Mark Twain.

12×12 Update and a Summer Send-Off Contest created by Susanna Leonard Hill!

3 Sep

First, I will start off with the story for the Summer Send-Off Contest entry. Below is my entry and I think I may use the idea to write a book or a longer story.

The rules for the contest as stated on Ms. Hill’s blog are:

The contest is for a children’s story of 250 words or less based on the picture below and in which somebody somewhere in your story says, in dialogue, “Did/do you see that?” (you may substitute any of the other senses – “Did/do you hear/feel/taste/smell that?”) and somebody somewhere in your story says, “Goodbye!” (you are allowed to substitute “Farewell!”, “Au revoir!”, “Sayonara!”, “Ciao!”, or “So long!”). Click HERE to go to Ms. Hill’s blog and see all the entries!

Heather Newman made the awesome illustration for the contest. I really like all the action going on in it! To go to Ms. Newman’s website click HERE.

illustration copyright Heather Newman 2012 used by permission


By Erik

Once Upon A Time, in a land far away (depending on where you are), a princess named Violet was high in a tower. She wasn’t trapped there, mind you. You see, Violet wasn’t an ordinary princess.

One day, Violet heard a commotion outside her window.

“He lit the moat on fire again!” Shouted the stable-boy to Josi, the princesses’ faithful servant.   “I already asked The Pale Sorceress to cast an extinguishing spell!”

Josi yelled up to Violet’s window. “Did you hear that? Your parents will banish us all! What kind of princess has a pet dragon anyway?”

“But Cuddles is just a baby!” was the reply.

“A BABY? He’s about 15… Oh-no, here comes Timothy!” Josi groaned. Violet rolled her eyes at the approaching figure.

As Timothy got closer he boasted, “I shall smite thee, foul beast and save yonder fair maiden, Violet! Oh dear Violet, I hath come hither to rescue thee!”

Violet felt her face get red with anger as she screamed back. “First of all, don’t talk funny. Smite and hither, who talks like that? It’s weird. Second, Cuddles is my PET! I DON’T NEED RESCUING!”

Just then, Sorceress cast the spell to blow out the fire. As the gust came, it lifted Timothy and blew him back to his kingdom!

“Farewell!” Timothy called as he faded in the distance.

“Will he be alright? Josi asked.

“Don’t worry, he’ll be back. He always comes back.” Violet sighed.

And they all lived happily ever after…well, until next time.

Now, for my 12×12 update!

For those of you who don’t know, I am trying to do Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Challenge. It is a challenge to write 12 picture book drafts in 12 months in 2012. You can click on the 12×12 banner on the right side bar or the one above to learn more about it. I have been working on a PB about a bird and a worm who are friends and I have been trying to make it rhyme well. I wrote the story last month and have been working on the rhyming, but I didn’t get as much done as I wanted to. In September I am going to try to complete the draft! Wish me luck 😀

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