Wednesday, October 31, 2012


I don't know if anyone noticed this but yesterday google honored Bob Ross, the cooky tree loving painter who would have been 70:

Monday, October 29, 2012


In the midst of the hurricane this afternoon I got an email announcing the merge of Random House and Penguin. What? I knew nothing about this. I've worked with Penguin in the past: my first two books were with them... and my editor from Harcourt moved over there. And, of course, half of my nonfiction books are with Random House. So I'm very curious and concerned. What does this mean about publishing and editors' jobs?

I read this on the blog Digital Book World:

Who Shall Live and Who Shall Die: What the Random/Penguin Merger 

Though it’s clear that merger discussions have been under way for some time, it’s still a long way from the exchange of stock or cash to the shutdown of an imprint or issuance of a pink slip to a sales rep. ...Negotiations must take place before departments are closed and people let go. Those decisions will be delegated to middle management executives who will be consulted but who themselves may be candidates for elimination...

When it does happen, in my experience the last people to get the ax are authors. That is not necessarily because the management of publishing companies is compassionate (though I believe it is). It’s because management is mindful (thank God) that the whole apparatus of the publishing industry is fed by authors, and there is great reluctance to slaughter the geese that lay the eggs...

In time, however, the grim reaper (old-timers referred to him as The Turk) will aim his scythe at editors, imprints and lists. Authors will then realize that where there were three or four markets there are now two or one. Aside from the human toll, injury to literature itself will be inflicted as the Darwinian struggle rewards the most commercial authors and makes it even harder for newcomers to gain a toehold. And that in turn will fuel the self-publication and alternate-publishing trend that is already well under way. The e-book and print on demand businesses, already prospering from that trend, will continue to thrive.

To read the whole article go here:


Friday, October 26, 2012


I forgot about Ugly Fish! 
(thanks to the person who wrote in...)

And for your enjoyment (or disgust) below is also what came up on my internet search of "ugly fish." It's called "Blobfish," appropriately titled.

As you can see, some people couldn't resist adding some features to him/her!


Here are some Diary of a Wimpy Kid pumpkins.

 Nice job! In honor of Halloween I'm going to try to highlight a children's character in pumpkin form. Stay tuned!

Thursday, October 25, 2012



by Jon Klassen, author of another book about a character who gets eaten: I WANT MY HAT BACK...

 I thought I'd list a few other books I know of where the main characters get eaten.


The big bad scary wolf comes along one day and tells Rolf that he's isn't living up to his wolf potential. He tells Rolf he needs to be BAD. None the less Granny and Rolf think they can convince the big bad wolf to be GOOD. The surprise ending is that just when you think granny and Rolf have taught the big bad wolf to be a good wolf, granny and Rolf get eaten.


This is a publisher description:
"Tadpole loves his rainbow friend, the caterpillar, and she tells him she loves everything about him. "Promise that you will never change," she says. But as the seasons pass and he matures, his legs grow, and then his arms—and what happens to his beautiful rainbow friend? As he sits on his lily pad, digesting a butterfly, Tadpole little realizes that now he will never know"

Then there's the classic book by Sendak, about PIERRE, the boy who didn't care... and even about getting eaten!

Know of any other books? Please let me know!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


This is what it looks like at the bookstore lately. Customers have been leaving big messes and we don't have the staff to keep up!

Thursday, October 18, 2012


I would want one of these chairs in it:

Milo Classic...

Kennedy Chair...

I love these chairs! Unfortunetely, the top one is 2,500 and the bottom one is 900.00. I can't even justify paying almost 1,000 for a chair. But it's so gorgeous. I love the 50s style/design. And the top chair is at Crate and Barrel and I tried it out. It's very comfortable!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


While staying on my graphic novel kick, I have read Xoc (pronounced "Shock"). It has minimal text, which I can't complain about since I don't like to read all that much anyway (shock and horror!). The artwork is simply amazing. The perspectives are great. The coloring is great. Great, great, great. You follow a shark and a turtle on their journey to birth their children. It's a little environmentally preachy but I didn't mind that so much. The sea creatures talk, but it's minimal. This isn't a warm and fuzzy book but you do end up caring about the characters and that's what makes the book work. It's definitely sad so I"d put this in the teen category... or 5th and 6th grade if they can handle the depressing. I was a kid who didn't mind that sort of thing so I could probably read this in the 4th grade. It all depends on the kid. You can learn a lot and there are a lot of jumping off points in this book - learning more about sharks, turtles, pollution, illegal fishing, etc. 

(it has bloody scenes so it's not for the squeamish)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


I have a school visit in Maryland tomorrow in the morning. My plan WAS to leave around 3. Ha! That didn't happen. I got home from work late last night (10 or so) watched some TV and ate dinner and then fell asleep on the couch (it was an exhausting day at work because Pete Townshend was talking and there was a craze at the store). Then I awoke to an interesting movie on PBS so I decided to watch it. Then I went to bed. I started to doze off but suddenly awoke to a horrific pain in my head. It was SOOOO BAD. Then I got nauseous and started vomiting. I watched the clock go from 4 am to 5 am to 6 am... I tried going back to bed. Clearly my plans for getting up early, changing the oil in the car and then doing my laundry were OVER.

So now it's 3 pm and I've done nothing but sip some coffee and hope that my lingering headache will disappear. I've also gotten an email from my editor with another draft of my 2013 picture book. They need my response ASAP. My editor had called while I was trying to sleep off my headache around 10 am.

So I don't really have clean laundry. My car will probably run out of oil. And my editor hasn't gotten a response yet. My point in all of this is that as an author/illustrator you have to learn to roll with the punches. You can't get stressed about things when the plan doesn't go exactly the way you wanted it to.         Sometimes the projector won't work... sometimes a kid will say something unexpected and strange... you have to just go with it. If you're the type who gets really upset when things don't go exactly right then you might not make it doing this type of thing! At least I think so.

Monday, October 8, 2012


Since I'm a children's bookseller I see all the new books that come in. There is DEFINITELY a trend and it's digital. Digital art is fast and furious. In fact, I'm having a hard time finding new books that are done in a traditional medium anymore. Some books are done using both: partially drawn or painted and then scanned in and manipulated or colored digitally, etc.

This is what bothers me and I've written about it before: Reviewers don't seem to recognize digital vs. non. A very well known illustrator released a new book this past week and his book seems to be a mix of digital and traditional. I could detect photography, digital coloring, etc. It seems that in a few pages photographs were manipulated and colored over via the computer. I'm not saying that there is anything wrong with this! In the past, all of his books have been done purely in a traditional medium and he painted in a very realistic style. So... I looked up the reviews and several very big reviewers said that they liked his, "luscious paintings," etc. If the medium is digital and uses photography then they are not paintings! Also, using digital painting tools isn't painting either. "Painting" is using paint.

I just want reviewers to correctly get the mediums used in children's books. If they don't know what is used then they should call the publisher and check.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


I think I may have posted the Alice in Wonderland one of these. I find them mesmerizing. Anyway, they give me some ideas on how to make a nice little trailer for my new book. I may be getting a jazz sax player friend of mine to help out. Grace Lin, who always uses original music, has inspired me! My publisher hasn't wanted to post any of my little films because I've used music that isn't my own. Well... no more my friends!

Monday, October 1, 2012


It's all the rage lately. First was Coraline...

and The Lightening Thief...

And now two new novels turned graphic novels present themselves:

I'll report back and let you know how they are. Having a graphic novel option is standard now days in publishing contracts. I always take that clause out because I want control over that issue even though it's HIGHLY ulikely that a picture book would ever be turned into a graphic novel! If I were an author of a novel, however, I would want to write the graphic novel version myself... and illustrate it myself! Of course, if I chose to write a novel then I think that's how I'd want it. Otherwise I would have created it as a graphic novel.