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2576. Katie Davis' DANCING WITH THE DEVIL - Guest Post and Giveaway

You know I love supporting my talented friends. It's especially cool when one branches out into new genres like Katie Davis has. You probably know her picture books (like LITTLE CHICKEN'S BIG DAY) and mid-grade novel (THE CURSE OF ADDY McMAHON), you may even be familiar with her book on marketing: HOW TO PROMOTE YOUR CHILDREN'S BOOK. Well, she's broken through another barrier into YA with DANCING WITH THE DEVIL. Katie dropped by to tell us about it...

Katie, this story is such a departure from the other fiction you’ve written. Can you talk about what got this idea rolling for you?
      I was at Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith’s house, listening to authors Laura Ruby and Franny Billingsley talking about writing. The whole thing came to me in such a memorable moment I feel like I have a physical photo of it.
      I don’t think this book is that big of a departure for me, but maybe it just feels that way because I’ve been working on it for so long. It took me nine years to write, edit, rewrite, edit, rewrite, and rewrite, and so on. Plus, I do think that every person has so many different facets that it shouldn’t be a surprise when someone shows a different side. I’m not just someone who writes funny picture books, I’m also someone who’s written so-called “dramedy” middle grade novels and marketing guides for adults, so why not YA?

This book was so scary. Were you scared while you were writing it?
      Definitely. I didn’t even know that was possible. I was scared for a lot of reasons. Scared for my characters, and scared for the real kids who don’t have someone like Barb in their lives. In fact, I was so scared, I didn’t even know Lily was in danger. I was stuck, and the book just wasn’t moving, and Mac wasn’t a sympathetic enough character. She keeps the world at arm’s length because she can’t risk getting hurt. But I was also keeping the reader at arm’s length because of that.
      So one day I was talking with another writer about this problem. She asked me about Lily’s abuse. I looked at her in shock. “What do you mean, Lily’s abuse? No, not Lily!” I love little Lily. Lily is in the present. Mac was in the past. I now had to deal with this in the present. That is when the book really started rolling. I’d been working on it four years by that point.

You use a lot of imagery, but your writing is deceptively straightforward. What was that like in the writing process for you?
      Similies are a bear for me! You know that scene with the washer/dryer, where Mac is retrieving her dress? I wrote and rewrote that a million times, it seems. I have a terror of being trite. But similies and metaphors don’t come easily to me (and I get them confused, so whatever you do, please don’t quiz me).
      In terms of its being straightforward, I felt this book called for spare writing because Mackenzie is spare. She has cut out everything she can in order to survive. Her feelings, her memories, her emotions. She’s trying to control her world; she’s turned herself into a survival machine. So I thought: the fewer words, the better.

Why did this book take you nine years to write? Also, can you talk a bit about the tension in the story and how you ramped it up, or was that there from the get-go?
      When the story first hit me over the head, Mac didn’t like Lily. The relationship they have now didn’t exist in the early stage of the book. I ended up researching and learning that kids who are being abused often protect younger siblings. That changed the entire story and gave it much more depth and heart.
      I think the tension is created in a few ways. First of all, her abuse is made clear instantly, so the reader wonders right from the start what could top something that dramatic? Then, when she has to give up the one thing she’s been saving up for all those years, the one thing she’s wanted more than anything, to go back into the belly of the beast, you’re afraid for her. But as she’s on that journey, you’re also afraid for her not to go, and you want her to hurry. So all those conflicting feelings add up and create tension. You want her to hurry up and go back to the place you don’t want her to go at all.
      I love Mackenzie. I hope you love her, too.

Thanks for stopping by, Katie!

Katie is generously giving away one free, signed and dedicated copy of DANCING WITH THE DEVIL to one of my lucky commenters. Must live in the US/Canada to win. Enter below.

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2577. Illustrator Saturday – Favorites

Hi everyone!

The illustrator I had scheduled for today did not get the interview questions into me, so since I usually pick my favorites for the first half of the year in June, I decided to post those illustrations a few weeks early. I have provided the link to each illustrator’s featured post, so you can link over if you missed visiting on their Saturday and to make it easy for you to see if you would have chosen a different picture. Believe me it’s not easy to pick just one illustration when so many are exceptional. I listed them in chronological order.










bobSing Clap Praise






karenleeHFC What Is It_ final









































Let me know if you would have picked other illustrations. Hope you have a great long weekend, kicking off summer.

Talk tomorrow,


Filed under: Art Exhibit, Asking opinion, authors and illustrators, illustrating, Illustrator's Saturday Tagged: Carol Heyer, Christopher Denise, Elisabeth Alba, Link to illustrator processes, Michael Dooling, My favorites

5 Comments on Illustrator Saturday – Favorites, last added: 5/25/2014
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2578. Free Coloring Page Friday: Thomas Edison

Manelle Oliphant Illustration - Children's book illustrator and writer

We’ve had a lot of fun this week with the Just in Time book 3 launch. To see some of the fun photos check out the Just In Time facebook page. And don’t forget to get your copy of The Wizard of Menlo Park New Jersey!


Click the link below to download.

Thomas Edison (0)

The post Free Coloring Page Friday: Thomas Edison appeared first on Manelle Oliphant Illustration.

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2579. A Wry Little Sage

This little interaction between these two characters makes me happy.

via Studio Bowes Art Blog at http://ift.tt/SunIoz

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2580. Book Expo America!

Next week is Book Expo America at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City, and I'm super excited to be making the trip up for it. I get to visit with all my New York buddies, plus share my two new books The Troublemaker and Nana in the City at the conference. It's going to be a fun few days!

·Wednesday, May 28th: BEA kicks off with the 20th Annual Children's Book Art Silent Auction 

This is one of my very favorite events of the year! If you're attending BEA (even if you're not, but happen to live nearby) come to the Javits and bid on some great original art to raise money for the ABFFE (click on the link for all the deets). This little guy below (from Nana in the City) is looking to go home with a new friend.

·Thursday, May 29th: day away from the Javits

I'm going to skip the conference to hang out with my friend and former editor, Frances Foster, along with my good friend (and editor extraordinaire) Noa Wheeler. One of the things I miss most about living in NYC is being able to easily take the subway to the UWS to visit Frances and her husband Tony. I haven't seen them since I moved away from the city in January. It's going to be really nice to spend the afternoon with the Fosters :)  

·Friday, May 30th: full day at the Javits

12-12:30 pm -- I will be in the Autographing Area, signing and giving away a buncha Troublemaker's. Info is HERE. Please come snag a copy and say hello!

3:30 pm -- I'll be at the ABC/CBC Author and Illustrators Tea, chatting about The Troublemaker and Nana in the City with a group of awesome booksellers. I wish there was a way to clone myself so that I could also sit at the tables of the other authors— what a lineup (It's crazy to think I'm even going to be in the same room with all these guys)! Info is HERE. Right after the Tea I'll be hopping on a bus back to Baltimore. A short but full trip! I hope that if you are also heading to BEA next week, I will get to run in to you some point . . .

Wishing you all a lovely Memorial Day weekend. Hooray, summer is almost here!!!

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2581. People and Plants

A sketchbook page from this week.

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2582. ‘Birds’ by Zeitguised

A lighthearted essay on contextualized characters. Reconstruction follows deconstruction.

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2583. Have We Reached ‘Peak Art-Of Book’?

It was bound to happen: Chronicle Books appears to have reached 'peak art-of book' with the upcoming publication of "The Art of Planes." It's no longer possible for anyone to collect every 'art of' book published, and frankly, with titles like this, why would any discerning artist want to?

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2584. Artist of the Day: INSA

A look at the work of INSA, Cartoon Brew’s Artist of the Day.

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2585. Comic: Punctuation For Sale

Which would YOU buy?

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2586. The Defenestration of Prague

May 23rd, 2014, marks the day, 396 years ago, that The Defenestration of Prague took place. Having learned a few years ago that defenestration is "the act of throwing a person or thing out a window," our curiosity here at Bugs and Bunnies about this Little Known Holiday was piqued.

For one thing, this particular defenestration involved not things flung from windows, but people(Eek!) For another, this wasn't the only such event to occur in Bohemia's history - nor was it even the first.

And so, into the rabbit hole of research we willingly dove. Dive with us, won't you?

* * *

The First Defenestration of Prague happened on July 30, 1419. It was a bloody and lethal affair, with a judge, a burgomaster, and about thirteen town council members heaved out of the windows of Prague's New Town Hall by an angry mob. None survived, and The Hussite Wars broke out soon after.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia
The Second Defenestration of Prague is the one people generally mean when discussing *The* Defenestration of Prague. This incident was decidedly less fatal: Two Catholic regents and their secretary were thrown from the third floor window of the Bohemian Chancellory by an angry crowd of Protestants, yet all three survived the 50 foot (some sources say 70 foot) fall. Two years later, The Thirty Year's War began.

* * *

These defenestrations are not the only ones known to have happened in Bohemian history, but they are the most well-known ones. And so, despite the knowledge that there is more to find down our little rabbit hole of research, we propose climbing out here.


First, because we scouted ahead, and this particular rabbit hole gets pretty dark, and we don't do a lot of dark here on Bugs and Bunnies. (You're free to continue researching on your own, though, if you like.)

And second, because amidst all the seriousness and gruesomeness of Prague's defenestrations, there was just a little bit of some giggle-worthy stuff, and we do so like to delve into giggle-worthy stuff. Ready? Here we go:

Catholics of the time claimed the trio from The Second Defenestration of Prague in 1618 survived that three-story fall due to the intervention of angels. Protestants of the time, however, countered with a far less heavenly explanation: that the trio survived due to the dung heap they landed in. Translation? Saved by poop!

One last thing: Philip Fabricius, the secretary from that surviving trio, fled to Vienna to tell the Emperor what had happened. The Emperor later granted this secretary the title Baron von Hohenfall. Translation? Baron of Highfall.

* * *


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2587. This Week in Animation History: Disney’s Day of the Dead Problem, Wayne Allwine and ‘Shrek 2′

A look at animation history via Cartoon Brew's archives.

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2588. Joanna Davidovich Premieres ‘Monkey Rag’ Online

Joanna Davidovich is a freelance animator based in Atlanta, Georgia. A graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design, she has been working as an animator, designer, and storyboard artist on commercials, on-air content, and TV shows since 2005. Her animated short film "Monkey Rag", which debuts online this afternoon, has been making the festival rounds since it was completed last July.

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2589. ‘Ping Pong’ Recap: ‘Yes, My Coach’ (Ep. 7)

Kaio finally tries to poach Smile, Peco gets into the National Training Center with a little help from the old lady, and we learn about coach Koizumi's storied past. This episode was largely devoted to character development, and finally brought into focus just what a complicated web of character interrelations Yuasa has woven out of the original source material, much as he did in Mind Game. There was no single major driving plot element, but rather various themes and plotlines gradually converging. By this point it feels like what we are seeing is more Yuasa than Matsumoto.

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2590. Film Themed Selfies in my journal

In my previous posts, I've talked about my ongoing self portrait project, and how I stumbled into an extra challenge of doing Film Themed Selfies.
So far, I've been pretty devoted doing these. I am doing a self portrait each day, and if I feel like it, I'll give it a whirl and draw myself as a film character.
Below, you'll hopefully recognize Sandy from Grease, and a scene from Spiderman too...

Some days are better than others. Didn't really like the muddy result of the 'Pride and Prejudice' Selfie, and the whole sketchbook spread is kind of bland. But on Facebook, I posted that quick selfie on the bottom left, and someone said: is that Nurse Ratched? Which gave me an idea for the next journal entry!

So there she is. And on Facebook, someone else suggested I could do a 'Rocky' selfie. So I did. I made that one after a super intensive thai boxing training, so yeah, I could really bring that feeling of triumph onto the paper.

Just so you know: I am teaching a 4-week online workshop on art journaling, starting 26 May. If you'd like to join for only $69, click here

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2591. Illustrator Saturday – Favorites

Hi everyone!

The illustrator I had scheduled for today did not get the interview questions into me, so since I usually pick my favorites for the first half of the year in June, I decided to post those illustrations a few weeks early. I have provided the link to each illustrator’s featured post, so you can link over if you missed visiting on their Saturday and to make it easy for you to see if you would have chosen a different picture. Believe me it’s not easy to pick just one illustration when so many are exceptional. I listed them in chronological order.










bobSing Clap Praise






karenleeHFC What Is It_ final









































Let me know if you would have picked other illustrations. Hope you have a great long weekend, kicking off summer.

Talk tomorrow,


Filed under: Art Exhibit, Asking opinion, authors and illustrators, illustrating, Illustrator's Saturday Tagged: Carol Heyer, Christopher Denise, Elisabeth Alba, Link to illustrator processes, Michael Dooling, My favorites

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2592. Quilt Cuteness on Etsy

Found this quilt cuteness on Etsy using Creatures and Critters 2

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2593. 2014 SCBWI Southern Breeze Children's Book Illustrators' Show

Our annual SCBWI Southern Breeze Gallery Show will open this Friday, May 23rd, at 7:00pm at the Decatur Library (215 Sycamore St., Decatur, GA, 30030) as part of the Decatur ArtWalk - opening night for the Decatur Arts Festival, which lasts through the weekend. Galleries throughout Decatur stay open late to kick off the festivities and attendance is vigorous

Our show will be in the main lobby of the library for two weeks (through June 7th), which is a big hit with patrons. This year’s show will feature works by Yours Truly, Mark Braught, Jill Dubin, R. Gregory Christie, Prescott Hill, Susan Nees, Amy Schimler, Laura Freeman, Bill Mayer, Mike Lowery, Sarah Frances Hardy, and Lori Nichols. Each framed piece of art is accompanied by its currently available for purchase picture book - a great introduction to art for kids! Many illustrators will be on hand to sign your books if you bring them with you on opening night. (It’s a party!) All are welcome and I hope you can join us!

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2594. Photo Cards, Announcements, Invitations

Great news! We now offer customizable Photo Cards, Birth Announcements, Birthday Party Invitations, Baby Shower Invitations, Engagement Announcements and Holiday Cards over at DontTouchBaby.com!

Below are just a few of our exciting designs! These are customized for the buyer and delivered electronically to your email address within 1-3 business days of purchase! Just make your purchase, email your high-resolution photo(s) to us (if applicable) at the email address in the listing, and we'll do the rest!

These cards are very affordable, considering you may make as many copies as you need for personal use! You can print them in the comfort of your home, or send them to your favorite printer or photo lab! It's up to you!

You may also view our Daily Deal and access our Photo Cards section on our other websites:  PremieSigns.com,  CarSeatSigns.comWashYourHandsSigns.com  and on CHDSigns.com

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2595. May- Lost In The Woods, Kids, Books and Dogs

Lost in the woods... 

Tuusula april 2014 027We have all been lost in the woods at some time in our life either literally, metaphorically or both.

It is the same for children. 


Being lost in the dark forest is a recurrent theme in children's literature, fairy tales, folklore and mythology. 

Being lost in the woods, where there is no clear path to follow, and the light is fading, is a serious and frightening matter.

Wild beasts, dangerous people, and invading armies cannot be seen in the dark forests. But they are there, in the mind of the author, the teller of tales, the animator...and in the mind of the child, until the story or myth brings light, escape and salvation...


Lost In the Woods with the Moomins


 The Moomin Forest Comes to the Museum...dangerous but safe. The Ateneum Art Museum, the national Finnish art museum in Helsinki, is celebrating the fantasy world of the Moomins as part of the100th year anniversary exhibit of artist Tove Jansson. Jansson wrote and drew the wonderful Moomins stories.

"The stories often contrast the warmth of home with the threats of nature, or familiar safety with the scary unknown. At the end of dangerous adventures the characters always find their way back home, and the stories always have a happy ending."  I found this Moomin3description from the exhibit guide about Jansson's writing to be a most accurate description of the stories. However, I found nothing that fully described Jansson's extraordinary imagination and I was swept away by her delightful drawings, watercolors and gouache renderings of the fantasy world of the Moomins. 

The nine books and comic strips have been translated into nearly 50 languages and reinvented for stage productions, theme parks, radio plays and TV films. Personally, I prefer the stories to the comic strips, as her writing is so imaginative.

 In Japan,  life -size Moomins in Tokyo's Moomin Cafe keep people company if they are eating alone.

Nature in the form of dark forests, mountains, water, and storms all play a major role in the Moomin adventures. Snow and cold weather take on a life of their own

Philip Pullman said: "Jansson is a genius of a very subtle kind. These simple stories resonate with profound and complex emotions that are like nothing else in literature for children or adults: intensely Nordic, and completely universal."



                          Danger in the Woods...


The classic tale of Little Red Riding Hood's dangerous journey in the woods has been traced back at least 10 centuries. Here is an excerpt from an interview by Rachael Hartigan Shea in the National Geographic Daily News with Jamie Tehrani, an anthropologist at Durham University, UK, who has been studying the orgins and evolution of Red Riding Hood. Appropriately, the interview is entitled, What Wide Orgins You Have, Little Red Riding Hood.

What are some of the theories about the origins of "Little Red Riding Hood"?

"It's been suggested that the tale was an invention of Charles Perrault, who wrote it down in the 17th century. Other people have insisted that "Little Red Riding Hood" RedRidingHoodWolfWoodshas ancient origins. There's an 11th-century poem from Belgium which was recorded by a priest, who says, oh, there's this tale told by the local peasants about a girl wearing a red baptism tunic who wanders off and encounters this wolf.

My results demonstrate that, although most versions that we're familiar with today descended from Perrault's tale, he didn't invent it. My analysis confirmed that the 11th-century poem is indeed an early ancestor of the modern fairy tale."

Here is an excerpt and link to the 17th century version of Little Red Riding Hood written by Charles Perrault

...Little Red Riding Hood set out immediately to go to her grandmother, who lived in another village.

As she was going through the wood, she met with a wolf, who had a very great mind to eat her up, but he dared not, because of some woodcutters working nearby in the forest. He asked her where she was going. The poor child, who did not know that it was dangerous to stay and talk to a wolf, said to him, "I am going to see my grandmother and carry her a cake and a little pot of butter from my mother."

DoreRedRidinghood"Does she live far off?" said the wolf

"Oh I say," answered Little Red Riding Hood; "it is beyond that mill you see there, at the first house in the village."

"Well," said the wolf, "and I'll go and see her too. I'll go this way and go you that, and we shall see who will be there first."

The wolf ran as fast as he could, taking the shortest path, and the little girl took a roundabout way, entertaining herself by gathering nuts, running after butterflies, and gathering bouquets of little flowers. It was not long before the wolf arrived at the old woman's house. He knocked at the door: tap, tap...



"We don’t really know when fairy tales originated", said author and scholar

ZipesIrresistableFairyTaleJack Zipes
in a Smithsonian interterview by K. Annabelle Smith..."
I’ve tried to show in my most recent book, the Irresistible Fairytale, that in order to talk about any genre, particularly what we call simple genre—a myth, a legend, an anecdote, a tall tale, and so on—we really have to understand something about the origin of stories all together. What the Greeks and Romans considered myths, we consider fairy tales. We can see how very clearly the myths, which emanated from all cultures, had a huge influence on the development of the modern fairy tale."

Here's the link to read all the interview, including Zipes reaction to Snow White and the Huntsman:  Smithsonian



2 Doghead 1.457 by 1.573 inches


If only Hansel and Gretel, Snow White and Red Riding Hood had a dog with them in the woods, their stories would have been totally different. Imagine having a fearless protector, who can "see" in the night, offers unconditional love, and if you ever get lost, knows the way home.




China...The stories are the same , but the illustrations are new for the Planet OF The Dogs Series in China.









PoDcoverThis blog is dedicated to the power of story and the worlds of wonder and imagination that are the world of children's literature. And to therapy dogs, that help reluctant children banish fear of reading.

Therapy dogs help change children's lives and open the doors to possibilities through reading. In the Planet Of The Dogs books the dogs teach people about courage, loyalty and love.



  LitWorld Takes Children Out Of The Forest of Illiteracy


LitWorld's Mission Statement: LitWorld empowers all children to author lives of independence, hope, and joy...LitWorld engages students and families around the globe by providing opportunities for them to explore and learn from their own narratives and voices, and builds sustainable communities for literacy where knowledge and empowerment break the cycle of illiteracy and give all people a chance to pursue every dream.

Here's a link to Pam Allyn,  the founder of LitWorld , being interviewed on AlJazeera, about reading problems and illiteracy in the USA and around the globe.



If you have kids in the family, or have a soft spot for dogs, check out the lovely annimated song, On Dog, by Nat Johnson. Here is the link:
Educating Alice, the website of author, school teacher and book lover Monica Edinger.

Ms Edinger also posted a review of Rush Limbaugh's book for kids about the Pigrims:..."So I was curious when one of my students brought in Rush Limbaugh's Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims for me to see. After all, I had heard that the author was a finalist Children's Book Week Author of the Year Award due to its high status on the best seller list (and this week was dubbed the winner).  And so I was curious --- what was the book like? 

Sadly, I have to concur with both the Kirkus review and editor Vicky Smith's closer look at it (and its sequel);  the book is not good. The history offered in a fictional form is the standard take on the Pilgrims and so very familiar to me. The writing is incredibly poor, cringe-inducing in spots as are the digital illustrations. There are a few older looking images scattered throughout with citations at the end; unfortunately, these are muddled without proper identification. It would not be something I'd want to add to my curriculum, that is for sure..." Here's the link: Monica Edinger 


Life With a Dog: You Meet People

Jane Brody, the highly respected health news writer for the New York Times, after four years as a widow, has "adopted a 5-month-old puppy, a hypoallergenic Havanese small enough for me to pick up and carry, even into my ninth decade, when I travel to visit family and friends." Here are excerpts from her informative and personal article on her new life with Max, as well as the health benefits of owning a dog...

"More American Households have dogs as pets than any other type of nonhuman companion. Studies of the health ramifications have strongly suggested that pets, particularly dogs, can foster cardiovascular health, resistance to stress, social connectivity and enhanced longevity...

JaneBrody'sMaxYes, he’s a lot of work, at least at this age. But like a small child, Max makes me laugh many times a day. That’s not unusual, apparently: In a study of 95 people who kept “laughter logs,” those who owned dogs laughed more often than cat owners and people who owned neither.

When I speak to Max, he looks at me lovingly and seems to understand what I’m saying. When I open his crate each morning, he greets me with unbounded enthusiasm.Likewise when I return from a walk or swim, a day at the office, or an evening at the theater.

But perhaps the most interesting (and unpremeditated) benefit has been the scores of people I’ve met on the street, both with and without dogs, who stop to admire him and talk to me...Read it all by following this Link: JaneBrody  The photo of the Havanese is courtesy of Jenny Kutner at the Dodo.com 




“The Barking Planet series of illustrated kids' books full of mythic fairy tale dog heroes is unabashedly humane, uplifting, and morally improving, which may not be everybody's cup of tea (or bowl of kibble), but it does make for interesting relief in a kid lit world increasingly obsessed with violence, family dysfunction and personal trauma.”-Barbara Julian, Animal Literature Blog



The Power and Profit of a Retold Fairy Tale

Frozen has become a major financial triumph for Disney  reports Brooks Barnes in the New York Times (excerpted below). Perhaps stockholders, Disney executives and children who have seen the movie should all thank Hans Christian Anderson for creating the original Snow Queen fairy tale -- the inspiration for the film.

"According to Robert A. Iger, Disney's chief executive, 'No single business or entertainment offering was responsible for Disney’s overall spike in profit, although the runaway success of “Frozen' may have been the largest contributor. An animated princess musical, 'Frozen' has Frozen6taken in $1.18 billion dollars worldwide since opening in November...

The Frozen soundtrack, released by Disney and distributed by Universal Music, has become the biggest hit of the season, selling nearly 2.5 million copies in the United States alone and ranking No. 1 on Billboard’s album chart 12 times.

Mr. Iger, speaking during a conference call with analysts, said “Frozen” now ranked as one of the top five franchises in terms of revenue, putting it up there with the likes of “Toy Story” and Winnie the Pooh in terms of importance.

“Passion for these characters and for the film is so extraordinary,” Mr. Iger said, noting that “Frozen” was coming to Broadway and that Disney was working to increase the presence of the film’s Nordic characters in its theme parks.


Frozen was inspired by an 1845 Fairy Tale...

The Snow Queen... Snow-queenReindeer-06b

Here is an excerpt from the 1872 English Translation by H.P. Pauli. The Snow Queen is one of 168 fairy tales by Hans Christian Anderson. The original tale is in seven parts and included a great deal of darkness, danger and evil characters. Nevertheless, it had a very happy ending as the pure heart of Gerda overcame the powers of the Snow Queen, the develish troll and the broken mirror. The original illustration of this edition are by Vilhelm Pedersen.

The original story concerns Gerda's quest to rescue Kay, a neighbor boy and dear friend, who has been lured to the Snow Queen's palace. Here is an excerpt... 

The walls of the palace were formed of drifted snow, and the windows and doors of the cutting winds. There were more than a hundred rooms in it, all as if they had been formed with snow blown together. The largest of them extended for several miles; they were all lighted up by the vivid light of the aurora, and they were so large and empty, so icy cold and glittering! There were no amusements here, not even a little bear’s ball, when the storm might have been the music, and the bears could have danced on their hind legs, and shown their good manners. There were no pleasant ... AndersonBookCover

...Just at this moment it happened that little Gerda came through the great door of the castle. Cutting winds were raging around her, but she offered up a prayer and the winds sank down as if they were going to sleep; and she went on till she came to the large empty hall, and caught sight of Kay; she knew him directly; she flew to him and threw her arms round his neck, and held him fast, while she exclaimed, “Kay, dear little Kay, I have found you at last.”

But he sat quite still, stiff and cold.

Then little Gerda wept hot tears, which fell on his breast, and penetrated into his heart, and thawed the lump of ice, and washed away the little piece of glass which had stuck there. Then he looked at her, and she sang..."

Gerda's good heart and courage ultimately prevail over turmoil, evil and danger,

and , once again, all is happy in the end.


 The Early Days of Fairy Tales... RedRidingHoodRackham

"The fairy tale grew, as a literary genre, out of out of the folk stories of the European past. We like to believe that they have no real authors, that they have been orally transmitted, and that they remain flexible in their details and their telling. Like Aesop's Fables, fairy tales come in famous groups with well-known characters: Beauty and the Beast, Hansel and Gretel, the Snow Queen, Rumplestiltskin, the Little Mermaid and the like. But fairy tales, as we know them now, are really the creation of literate collectors, editors, and authors working from the late seventeenth until the nineteenth century...Charles Perrault emerged in the last decades of the seventeenth century as the best and most widely read of these story tellers..." from the chapter, Straw Into Gold, in Seth Lerer's book, Children's Literature, A Reader's History from Aesop To Harry Potter.


Frog kingMaria Tatar has written several brief, pithy, descriptions of classic fairy tales. Here is one of them from her blog, Breezes from Wonderland.


Frog Prince: Sweet guy who is always ready to lend a helping hand. Tends to overshare and can become clingy at times. Willing to change for the right woman. Big supporter of sustainability movements and eco-friendly solutions.

Illustration by Warwick Goble


 Dog Lovers...if you care about cruelty and animal abuse, but don't have time to spare, or you find the internet difficult to use...read this excerpt from John Woestendiak's  insightful review of CA Wulff's How to Change the World in Thirty Seconds as seen on
Arielchange world3edhis outstanding website ohmidog!  

..."Just how much one person can do is laid out in Cayr Ariel Wulff’s new book, “How to Change the World in 30 Seconds: A Web Warriors Guide to Animal Advocacy Online.”

Wulff, who speaks from experience, shows how something as big and untenable as the Internet can, with relative ease, be used to make life better for individual dogs, and the species as a whole.
How to navigate the Internet, with an eye towards helping dogs, is clearly and concisely explained in Wulff’s handbook, which should be required reading for animal shelters, rescue organizations and anyone else interested in doing something more about the problems than complain."  Here is the link to read more of the review:  ChangeTheWorld


Lost On The Yellow Brick Road
-- When RLegendsOzScarecrowMachineeimagining a Classic Fairy Tale Fails...

Based on the reviews, The Legend Of Oz: Dorothy's Return which opened in many theaters on May 9th in North America, will soon be forgotten. Here is an excerpt from Peter Hurtlaub's review in the San Francisco Chronicle:

"Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return" returns the heroine who inspired a billion Halloween costumes back to the yellow brick road - this time in search of a plot.

The long journey is filled with action and familiar characters, but ultimately falls short of success. All the brains, heart and courage in the world can't save a movie that doesn't have a third act...Mostly, the film reaffirms how hard it is to make a movie as unforgettable and enduring as "The Wizard of Oz." Good chance you'll forget this one on the way home from the theater."


FunnyDogVideoDinnerA funny dog video from France... Dinner at the Country Club





POD-the three dogs-blog size

The Planet Of The Dogs series of books are available through your favorite independent bookstore or via Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Powell's... 

Librarians, teachers, bookstores...Order Planet Of The Dogs, Castle In The Mist, and Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale, through Ingram with a full professional discount. 

Therapy reading dog owners, librarians, teachers and organizations with therapy 
reading dog programs -- you can write us at planetofthedogs@gmail.com and we will send you free reader copies from the Planet of the Dogs Series...

 Dark woods and forests are not threatening in the Planet Of The Dogs book series because of the dogs...Read Sample chapteers here. 


Author Claire Legrand sent us this information on the Kids Author's Carnival 

KidsAuthorCarnivalThe goal of the KAC is to provide an opportunity for young readers to interact with authors up close and personal in a fun, party-like atmosphere...All ages are welcome and encouraged to attend. But please note that the kids will take center stage at this particular event! 


WHEN: Saturday, May 31 from 6pm to 8:30pm. Doors open at 5:30pm.
WHERE: Jefferson Market Library |425 Avenue of the Americas (at 10th Street), New York, NY 10011
COST: Free!
WHO: 37 fantastic middle grade authors...
AGES: 7 and up
ONLINE: twitter | tumblr
Brigadoon Service Dogs
The folks at Brigadoon Service Dogs care about helping and healing people who have
Brigadoonlogoserious life problems. The dog lovers at Brigadoon know through experience that these difficult and often painful problems respond to the canine connection. In their own words...
"We train dogs to provide assistance to Veterans, children and adults with physical, developmental disabilities, anxiety, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury...
 We have opened our doors to several youth groups such as a camp for autistic children, the Parks and Recreation Youth Camp, Girl Scouts and home-schooled kids. We also participate in helping high school seniors with their culminating projects. We’ve trained dogs for children with seizures, young adults with hearing impairments, visual impairment, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, autistic children, etc." 
 Provacative and Clear Analysis of :Teens Today! They Don't Read!
Elizabeth Burns is a librarian, author and blogger, who is passionate about reading and the world LibraryseattleGreggMcof books. I rarely post about teen readers, but was very taken by her article which analyzed the flaws in recent writings on NPR, Time, and, especially, Common Sense Media's research on Children, Teens and Reading.
Here is an excerpt that leads into her many questions regarding quetionable research and heavy handed conclusions..."Disclaimer the first: long time readers of this blog now I'm suspicious of Common Sends Media, dating back to the early biased reviews. I'm skeptical of a set that says, if you don't agree with their ratings, or research, you don't have'common sense'..." 
Here is a link to read it all: Liz Burn's Tea CozPhoto of Seattle library by Gregg McCarty

 If you need help to choose a guard dog WCDogsLogo

Way Cool Dogs, always filled with good articles and insights for dog lovers, posted this helpful information regarding Guard Dogs. Here is an excerpt... 

"The guard dog is a security or protection dog. His or her job saves thousands of dollars
CITM-Billy-blog sizeof property damage and saves many lives every day. In a way, they are considered a hero dog.

If you need help to choose a guard dog, here are a few top-notch breeds to choose from. Each has its own behavior and personality. Remember. A dog whose purpose is guarding helps protect your property and your family from danger. A bad one will not.

Choosing the perfect security dog for you, your business, and your family requires two things...Here's the link to read more: Guard Dogs   The illustration by Stella McCarty is from Castle In The Mist


Dog Owners interested in Pet Products and Giveaways...

Check out Ann Staub at Pawsitively Pets. Ann is knowledgeable and caring and has ongoing pet product reviews and giveaways ...Ann is a "stay at home SmilerReadsPODmom of 2 girls and former vet tech (she graduated from college as a veterinary technician in 2007). Afterwards, she worked as a vet tech for 5 years... working with all kinds of animals including cats, dogs, birds, small mammals, and reptiles."...Ann is also the owner of a pit bull, Shiner, seen on the left reading Planet Of The Dogs...Her website "is not meant to diagnose pet health problems, treat conditions, or replace veterinary care. All opinions shared here are our own and may differ from yours"...She has over 2,500 followers.


What should you do, what can you do, if you see an injured dog or one in distress?

Sunbearsquad-logoFor answers, examples, true stories and more, visit Sunbear Squad...Let the experience of compassionate dog lovers guide you...free Wallet Cards & Pocket  Posters,  Informative and practical guidance...Visit SunBear Squad - 




Every dog should have a man of his own. There is nothing like a well-behaved person around the house to spread the dog's blanket for him, or bring him his supper when he comes home man-tired a night." Corey Ford (1902-1969)  











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2596. 2014 SCBWI Southern Breeze Children's Book Illustrators' Show!

Our annual SCBWI Southern Breeze Gallery Show will open this Friday, May 23rd, at 7:00pm at the Decatur Library (215 Sycamore St., Decatur, GA, 30030) as part of the Decatur ArtWalk - opening night for the Decatur Arts Festival, which lasts through the weekend. Galleries throughout Decatur stay open late to kick off the festivities and attendance is vigorous

Our show will be in the main lobby of the library for two weeks (through June 7th), which is a big hit with patrons. This year’s show will feature works by Yours Truly, Mark Braught, Jill Dubin, R. Gregory Christie, Prescott Hill, Susan Nees, Amy Schimler, Laura Freeman, Bill Mayer, Mike Lowery, Sarah Frances Hardy, and Lori Nichols. Each framed piece of art is accompanied by its currently available for purchase picture book - a great introduction to art for kids! Many illustrators will be on hand to sign your books if you bring them with you on opening night. (It’s a party!) All are welcome and I hope you can join us!

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2597. The Big Book of Slumber

HARDCOVER; Published: 4/18/2014
ISBN: 978-0-8028-5439-1
26 Pages
Ages 3-7
Trim Size, in inches: 9X12.375

Giovanna Zoboli and illustrator Simona Mulazzani team up to create a peaceable kingdom, with handsome animals and large, richly saturated pages. In THE BIG BOOK OF SLUMBER, the animal world beds down—camels on bunk beds, a snake on an elongated twin bed, a monkey snug in the treetops next to his banana. 

What I appreciate most about the book is how easily worlds flow together—human and animal, fantasy and reality—just like dreams themselves. 

THE BIG BOOK OF SLUMBER, with its graceful rhythm, is just what a lullaby book should be—lyrical, cozy, and reassuring.

Thank you to Eerdmans Books for Young Readers.

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2598. 81 Audio Interviews with Illustrators, Art Directors, and Art Reps


During the years 2009-2012, Illustrator Thomas James recorded 81 in-depth interviews with Illustrators, Art Directors, and Art Reps about the business of illustration. The Escape from Illustration Island series proved to be immensely popular due to its broad-ranging look at the industry and its long list of well-known guests such as Dave McKean, Drew Struzan, Christoph Niemann, Josh Cochran, and Marshall Arisman, just to name a few.

Even though the series released its final episode in September 2012, it is still a valuable source of knowledge and insight about the business of freelance illustration, and you can still enjoy all 81 episodes while working in your studio.

For your convenience, you can find a comprehensive archive of all 81 episodes here.

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2599. Steps for "Strategy Session"

Here's a small spot illustration called "Strategy Session" that I did for the back cover of a science fiction paperback in the late 1980s, showing a group of interplanetary military types planning their next move.

Here's the first concept sketch from imagination, drawn with a pen and markers. I did four or five of these sketches, and the art director and I chose this one with a red dot.

The next step was to work out each of the creatures. I did this charcoal study of "Hammerhead" while wearing an old costume and looking in the mirror. Yeah, that's me posing. That's pretty much how I look when I try to pull an all-nighter.

Here's another study on tone paper. I put on the costume, took the pose, and used two mirrors so that I could see myself in side view. The little planar study helped me focus on the big simple forms of the head.

I like doing studies instead of taking photo reference not because I want to be low-tech and classical, but because this method is more practical. It's faster than taking a photo—or at least it was faster when you had to get photos processed overnight. But more importantly, it gets me thinking about artistic choices right away, and I'm not swayed by incidental details.

Once I had all the studies, I worked them into a line drawing, which I transferred down to the panel in preparation for the oil painting, which is about 6 x 12 inches.
The painting appeared on the back cover of The Fleet #4: Sworn Allies by David Drake

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2600. FREE Andrew Loomis Art Instruction Downloads

The great Andrew Loomis created several amazing and useful books on Illustration, Drawing, and Painting. Illustration Friday is honored to be able to offer the following free downloads in pdf format. Please help keep these great resources alive by sharing this post with your fellow artists.

Creative Illustration

(Click to view, Right-Click to Download)

Drawing The Head & Hands

(Click to view, Right-Click to Download)

Eye Of The Painter

(Click to view, Right-Click to Download)

Figure Drawing For All It’s Worth

(Click to view, Right-Click to Download)

Fun With A Pencil

(Click to view, Right-Click to Download)

Successful Drawing

(Click to view, Right-Click to Download)

Also be sure to check out our very own 15 Steps to Freelance Illustration for a step-by-step guide on starting your own freelance Illustration business!


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