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We celebrated another b-day this past weekend and Ocee turned 2. He went around all day saying “Happy Day!” Robots were the theme so I used the robot classroom decor I illustrated for Creative Teaching Press as the party decorations. I even use some of it for the cake.
All the food was robot themed too and we also used out metal robot collection for the table too. I knew those little guys would come in handy one day!
IT's Finished! I started tonight, along with some cold medicine and tea... (truth be told I had forgotten completely about this over the holidays - like many things I will realize tomorrow) and just felt like doing a viking. I hope it works in the app, and I can't wait to see what everyone else has put in!! Happy New Year.
I think it fitting that I follow up the last Video Sunday bit of teacher enthusiasm with this subsequent sneaky teacher taping. “We’re just smelling books, Mr. Lewis.” That would be Mike Lewis and though they acknowledge him at the start, it’s pretty clear they don’t know he’s taping until much later on. This should give heart to anyone worried about the fate of the paper book. Big big thanks to Mike Lewis for this video.
So happy Sunday to you, one and all. It’s not Banned Books Week, or Banned Books Month, or even the Year of the Banned Book, but even still this video was so nicely put together that I figured it deserved to be shown at a time of year that wasn’t designated “banned”. And naturally I liked that so many of the books read here were children’s as well as adult.
Well written too, come to think of it. It was created by Bookmans, a kind of used bookstore/everything else in Tucson, Mesa, Phoenix, and Flagstaff. Thanks to Ben Collinsworth for the link.
Now for fun personal stuff. As you may know I’m writing a book with Jules from Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. Certainly finding videos of me on the web is easy enough but finding videos of Jules can be a bit tricky. Fortunately as part of their We Believe in Picture Books campaign, Candlewick has been soliciting and posting videos from folks of all stripes. I’m sure you’ve been following the various videos they’ve posted. Here we find my co-writer in the flesh talking about all things picture bookish:
Then the book trailers cometh. And this next one for Chronicle Books just sort of cements them as my favorite book trailer publisher. It’s for this year’s Project Jackalope from the Senior Producer of Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, Emily Ecton.
Not that Candlewick does a bad job. This one showed during SLJ’s Day of Dialog with slightly different music. It’s Jon Klassen sequel to I Want My Hat Back called (appropriately enough) This is Not My Hat. Gorgeous trailer.
And heck, Penguin too. I mean, tell me this trailer doesn’t make you want to go out and rip the book from the arms of young people so that you can read it yourself.
Not sure if this one counts as a book trailer. Is it a trailer if they read the whole thing? Basically, I figure that if you read anything in that magnificent accent you are allowed to read as much of it as you like. This book’s a pip but I can’t imagine it would be half as interesting to hear from an American mouth. We just don’t pronounce the word “kennel” correctly, do we?
Thanks to Lisa Abid for the link!
And finally, when the tough can’t find any off-topic videos, the tough go to BB-Blog and plunder what they find there. It’s a Caketrope (a zoetrope cake) in a Burton style. Yum!
Here’s the newly released trailer for A Liar’s Autobiography: The Untrue Story of Monty Python’s Graham Chapman, a film that we expect to hear a lot more about as Oscar season approaches. The 82-minute production, directed by Ben Timlett, Bill Jones, and Jeff Simpson, used 14 different studios to create its mixed-media animation sequences: A for Animation, ArthurCox, Beakus, Cake, Made Visual Studio, Mr & Mrs, Not To Scale, Peepshow, Sherbet, Steven Lall, Superfad, Treat Studios, Trunk and Tundra.
Reading the film synopsis, it sounds like the kind of original, totally left field production that is rare in contemporary feature animation:
Comedian, actor, physician, mountaineer, rugby enthusiast, pipe smoker, alcoholic and consummate Englishman — the late Graham Chapman was a man for all seasons. But this member of Monty Python was not one to let his already colourful life prevent him from making up an even wilder one. Published in 1980, Chapman’s outrageously false memoir A Liar’s Autobiography (Volume VI) — credited to Chapman and four others, including Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy author Douglas Adams — was a work of blithe, unashamed and inspired fiction. And it has now inspired this insanely entertaining animated biopic-in 3-D, no less.
Despite being dead for twenty-three years, Chapman himself is the star of the show, thanks to forty-five minutes of newly discovered audio recordings of readings from Liar’s done in Harry Nilsson’s studio. Fifteen different groups of animators bring Chapman’s dubious remembrances to life in a dizzying array of styles. Four-fifths of Chapman’s former Python comrades — John Cleese, Michael Palin, Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam — crop up throughout, playing themselves and various other equally dubious characters Chapman encounters on his journeys. Whisking through Chapman’s sadly foreshortened life — he died of cancer in 1989, aged forty-eight — A Liar’s Autobiography recounts his years in medical school, his first meeting with longtime writing partner Cleese at Cambridge, the high days of Pythonage, his coming-out as a gay man (or seventy percent gay, according to a survey he conducted on himself), and, of course, his abduction and transport to the heavens by space aliens at the end of the eighties. Even cancer, it seems, cannot vanquish the truly inveterate liar.
The film will debut this weekend at the Toronto International Film Festival. It will air later this year on EPIX, as well as have a limited 3-D theatrical release in the US through Brainstorm Media. UK and Canada will also have theatrical releases.
Thanks so much to Natasha Worswick on her Bookish Bites blog for the great photos and recipes inspired by my Princess Spaghetti books with Gillian Rogerson!
Both books, You Can't Eat a Princess! (featuring chocolate-loving aliens) and You Can't Scare a Princess! (with skating pirates) have a lot of yummy food in them. Natasha's son, Milo, got right in and made some cupcakes and tarts.
Here's the lovely party food when they'd finished! Apparently Milo sneezed a couple times into the tart mix, so they're not really for sharing.
And they finished with this great craft activity, making Princess Spaghetti's hair out of real pasta!
“I just finished a poem where St. Francis and St. Clare double-date with Thoreau and Evita and it just makes me very happy.” My mother was the winner of the 2011 Prairie Schooner Book Prize because she is as good as it gets. No brag. Just fact. Prairie Schooner recently interviewed her as well and I recommend looking at it, partly because this my mother we’re talking about and she makes me very proud and partly because it raises the old interview bar, so to speak. Clearly I need to put more work into my own.
Once in a great while my husband’s occupation and my own will intersect. He is a screenwriter and will alert me to interesting news items on the cinematic side of things. This week he pointed me to a ScriptShadow piece. If you are unfamiliar with the site it’s where a fellow going by the name of “Carson Reeves” reads and reviews the scripts that have recently sold in Hollywood and critiques them long before they are turned into films. Each Friday Carson has something he calls Amateur Friday where folks submit their own screenplays for his review. Last Friday someone handed in a script called Fifi, A Monkey’s Tale. Those of you familiar with the story behind Curious George will recognize this as the original title of that manuscript. The script essentially tells the tale of the Reys’ escape from the Nazis in WWII. Only to punch it up a bit the screenwriter (and I kinda love this) rewrote history so that Goebbels himself wants Mr. Rey destroyed. Something you have to see for yourself, I think.
Do you like awards? Do you like children’s books that come from countries other than America? Well then, folks, have I got great news from you. After her recent trip to Italy to judge the awards, Jules at 7-Imp let me know that the winners have been announced:
The 2012 Bologna Ragazzi Awards have just been announced! Here are links for interested folks:
I long for the day Save NYC Libraries can be shut down, but until that happy day occurs it’s a hugely useful and well-organized site for fighting mayoral cuts. Recently the mayor rolled out his old budget again and yep. You guessed it. We’re
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Here is another picture, this time from my Kindle children's picture book Jake Bakes Cakes for you to download and color in. Go to the download page and right-click or ctrl-click (Mac) to save to your computer. Then you can either color it in with crayons or markers, or open it in a paint program on your computer and color it in digitally!
When Tish Everett forces open the ruby locket she finds at an estate sale, she has no idea that a deliciously rakish Bludman has cast a spell just for her. She wakes up in a surreal world, where Criminy Stain, the dashing proprietor of a magical traveling circus, curiously awaits. At Criminy’s electric touch, Tish glimpses a tantalizing future, but she also foresees her ultimate doom. Before she can decide whether to risk her fate with the charming daredevil, the locket disappears, and with it, her only chance to return home. Tish and Criminy battle roaring sea monsters and thundering bludmares, vengeful ghosts and crooked Copers in a treacherous race to recover the necklace from the evil Blud-hating Magistrate. But if they succeed, will Tish forsake her fanged suitor and return to her normal life, or will she take a chance on an unpredictable but dangerous destiny with the Bludman she’s coming to love?
Okay guys, I’m such a picky reader. Nine times out of ten, I pick up a book and toss it aside within the first fifty pages. No high concept premise, no hunky stranger keeps me reading if the writing somehow isn’t there. I’m also a bit idiosyncratic–an author has to push particular emotional buttons to keep me turning pages.
And boy, oh boy, WICKED AS THEY COME pushed all those buttons and never let up. To say WICKED AS THEY COME resonated with me is an understatement. I read the book in one sitting, grinning all the way. The moment Tish met Criminy Stain, I was hooked. I didn’t care what happened, as long those kept circling one another.
Tish is everything I want a heroine to be, a gal who inherited a winsome mix of ‘manners and moxie’ from her high-spirited grandmother. No wonder the locket pulled her to Criminy’s world. He cast a spell to summon his soulmate and equal, and she certainly fits the bill.
And ohhhhh, Criminy. Bludman. Gypsy King. Magician. Seductive, Sinful Smart-Aleck Savant. He’s irresistible, yet never forces his suit. For me, that makes Crim the perfect alpha male–the charmer who doesn’t make demands, but lets his best qualities command the moment. Yes, pulls out all the stops to allure Tish, but he leaves the choice to her. As he watches her and waits for her to discover her heart’s true match, the tension builds and builds. I loved every minute of it.
And I love sharing this recipe with you–BLACK MAGIC CAKE is every bit as sweet and sinful.
There are EIGHT MILKY WAY BARS in the batter of this cake. What else do you need to know?????!!!!
They had the most AMAZING jam selection. All these interesting combinations - 16 varieties - such as raspberry jam with violet, wild bilberry, rhubarb with mint and something else, some white-wine-based affair... I can't remember, but it was great fun picking out four. Here's the Jam Master (is that what you call this guy?):
I gave my new hat its first outing:
Okay, a few more photos just 'cos it all looked so nice.
And the only drawback to wearing an asymmetrical, front-fitting hat is that when I take it off in the evening, I have a big dent in my forehead. It's pretty awesome, I could insert a chocolate Pocky stick into it to save for later.
Hey, did you see that Garen Ewing just did his take on Grant Wood's American Gothic painting? (See my last post about it.) It's called Evelyn Gothic and celebrates his new American Rainbow Orchid book deal. Congratulations, Garen!
I feel like the White Rabbit here. No time, no time! We’ll have to do this round-up of Fusenews in a quick quick fashion then. Forgive the brevity! It may be the soul of wit but it is really not my preferred strength. In brief, then!
The Scop is back! This is good news. It means that not only can author Jonathan Auxier show off a glimpse of his upcoming middle grade novel Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes but he also created a piece of true art: HoloShark with Easter Bunny.
If you know your Crockett Johnson (or your comics) you’ll know that long before Harold and that purple crayon of his the author/illustrator had a regular comic strip called Barnaby. What you may not have known? That it was turned into a stage play.
J.K. Rowling wants to create a Hagrid hut in her backyard? She should get some tips from Laurie Halse Anderson.
Thanks to the good people of Lerner, I got to hang out a bit with Klaus Flugge at a dinner in Bologna recently. Not long after he showed The Guardian some of his favorite illustrated envelopes. Hmm. Wouldn’t be bad fodder for a post of my own someday. Not that I have anything to compare to this: