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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Holiday, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 409
1. Are we there yet?

Who doesn't remember packing a picnic hamper into the boot of the family car only to have the car break down?   It happened all the time when I was a little girl. Dad would attack the engine with a spanner and a greasy rag, and sometimes that would be enough to get us on our way.  If not, it was a call to the AA (Automobile Association) and a wait for the patrol man to turn up on his motorbike, just as he does in one of these sweet little books. 

Birn Books

Birn Bros

Published by Birn Brothers

Birn brothers

Thank you for accompanying me on my travels!  If you would like to know more about any of the books, please click on the links above each one. 

When I started this post, I assumed the four books above made up a complete set but by a strange coincidence, I was offered another set of five books. There can’t be very many of these around so it seems like the best kind of luck to have two sets plus an extra! Now two lucky customers can own a little piece of travel history.

A journey is best measured in friends, not in miles... Tim Cahill

Thanks for being my friend and for breaking your journey here... Read the rest of this post

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2. Winter postcard

10534597_10203176422424025_3483332701413905403_ncandy cane peek2 candy cane peek

It seems that those who hire love the speed of digital rendering, but want the look of traditional work.  So, in an ever continuing effort to make my digital look more traditional, I’ve been working on some new techniques. I’ve been leaving in the pencil lines, and in fact, adding a lot more of it…..more detail and hatching before coloring them in Photoshop. I also use Kyle T Webster brushes. They’re fantastic! I highly recommend them!

I like the look. You can see the person behind it. This will be my winter promotional postcard.

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3. Limbering up!

I can't believe it's almost two months since I last posted on the Burly & Grum blog. Go on, ask me what I've been doing for the last few weeks! I'll give you a clue - I'm shaking builder's dust from my hair as I type. Yes, I moved from the house I'd lived in for 24 years to somewhere new.  Well, when I say new, it was built in the 1930s but somehow managed to get stuck in a 1970's time warp. Not that I'm against the 70s at all, it's just that after 40 years the wallpaper is looking a bit tired! I've been up and down ladders, knocked down walls, drilled holes, painted everything that doesn't move, and poor old Burly and Grum have taken a back seat. 
     Not that they've minded at all, they've been relaxing on the beach and have been sending me postcards to prove it.This one is from Grum...

     And this one is from Burly (he's been a bit nicer and you will note he's bringing me back a present)...

  Although there is still a lot to do to my new home (having a kitchen that doesn't resemble a war zone would be good...), I'm going to start concentrating once more on Burly and Grum especially as we were doing so well, for example, being finalist for the People's Book Prize. There are a lot of great opportunities out there and I will be putting my ear to the ground to see what developments have taken place while I've been 'away'. So the holiday for Burly and Grum is now officially over and they are limbering up to start work again - this is going to be fun!

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4. chichester mini break

So I have this big looming picture book deadline and a couple weeks ago Stuart kindly said, 'Do you want to cancel our little trip to Chichester?' And I said, 'NO!' because, you know, PRIORITIES. And it was great! Stuart often comes along to book festivals with me, but I'm running around doing events, so it's not really the same as going away on holiday.

I thought it was going to be more of a relaxing trip, but we ended up cycling 63 miles over three days; Stuart clocked it on his little bike mile counter thingie. Chichester is a great area for cycling, lots of little paths through the wheat fields and by the sea.

We even cycled a little bit through the sea when we reached Bosham at high tide (pronounced BOZZ'um, we finally worked out).

One of the only things I knew about Chichester is that amazing illustrator Warwick Johnson Cadwell runs boat tours there (Chichester Harbour Water Tours), so we met up with him down at Itchenor Harbour and went along for a ride. I knew about this because almost every day he posts his 'Passenger of the Day' sketch on his Instagram. Actually, we missed the boat on the first day because it took longer than we thought to cycle from Chichester, so we saw him two days.

Warwick's kids used to read my comics when I was drawing Vern and Lettuce, so they knew about me a little, and it was fun getting to sit in The Ship Inn by the harbour and draw with them. And look, I got to be Passenger of the Day!! :D

Hester and I drew each other and I LOVE her drawing. It's stylised in a very cool way.

Willy and I drew all sorts of things: dragons, Slender Man, etc, but here are doodles of Warwick and him:

Stuart was rather excited because Keith Richards was sitting at a nearby table, wahey.

And a snapshot of a rough sketch I made of Warwick ('Skipper of the Day') and Hester on the boat.

Hester was making a comic (cover shown here) and was already making good progress on it by the time we docked. Thanks so much for meeting up, Warwick! You can follow him on Twitter as @WarwickJC. (He drew Young Tank Girl for the new Moose Kid Comics.)

On another day, Stuart and I cycled over to the Witterings (isn't that a great name?) and visited the famous beach at West Wittering. Oh MY, was that car park packed! It took us something like ten minutes to cycle from one end to the other; there must have been 10,000 people at the beach that day. The car park was so dreadful that we almost left, but then when we locked up our bikes and walked over the dune, suddenly the beach opened up, and it was so big that it didn't feel crowded anymore, and we could see why people love going there. I didn't take a photo of the whole beach, but here's a view of some of those little sandworm piles that used to freak me out when I was a kid. They look like little poos, or brains or something. And we spotted some Sarcastic Seaweed, just like you find in Oliver and the Seawigs.

A few more snapshots. I'm not a very good landscape photographer and these didn't come out half as good as they look in real life. But then I put a spooky filter on them and suddenly they looked kind of dramatic, like a horror film, so there you go. (It didn't really look like a horror film.)

While we were in the Witterings, we stopped by to see my fabulous publicist Philippa Perry, who lives in East Wittering. She has a cat named Frodo who looks SO much like the cat I had growing up. The cat and I jumped on the trampoline together and I was quite smitten.

So a good holiday, and Stuart loved getting so many chances to ride his bike; I got a terribly sore bum from that, but the countryside around there is so beautiful that it was worth it, ow OW.

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5. Missing my mother…..

This day is always a special one for mothers and their children…just an easy opportunity to THANK a love one in any small kind way.  This is my first without my mother, and it is a mixed bunch of emotions I have to admit!  But mostly all very good and immensely grateful.  So I wanted to pass on this image of ANA OCHOA’S which does show the complexity of nature and expectations and dreams….something mothers live with and nurture.  Enjoy the day ALL!

mother's day-OCHOA

1 Comments on Missing my mother….., last added: 5/11/2014
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6. Happy Mother’s Day!

To all the mothers out there of every species, have a wonderful day!

Mother and baby ducks by Jessica Lanan

The post Happy Mother’s Day! appeared first on .

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7. first quarter news good….

Well, things are looking better for books…at least kids books which seem to lead the markets often these days. A bit ago the first quarter stats were discussed in PW, and I wanted to share only a bit of all that.  Stay positive.  Trade sales are reported UP across the board in kids… 1200 publishers were feeling ‘solid’ in Jan 14.  Divergent trilogy (which I loved!) was a big driver…congrats Veronica Roth and Katherine Tegen Books!  and thanks!

They said the “surging children’s/YA sales’ were up 44 million in Jan where adult was up 10 million.  GO KIDS!  but UP is UP and all good.  E book sales up 12% also…and is the largest selling format in adult books.  I just bought a nook myself recently…. it’s light and easy to hold (becoming important even though I love a big fat hard cover too! Try GOLDFINCH on…yummy)  and I like the back light.  Nice as an option.

So lets jump happily into the spring books and next quarter.  FINALLY it’s warm more than not everywhere.  And BEA is next week!  Christy and I can’t wait to attend…. hope there are some freebies left Friday!

And we wish you all a very memorable Memorial Day this weekend (actually the 30th, but hey….)  Michelle Hazelwood has a fun piece to share with you….

BetsyRossHazelwood (3)

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8. Happy Memorial Day


Thought this illustration done by Michelle Henninger was the perfect illustration to help us celebrate Memorial Day. Michelle uses watercolor and ink and is represented by Christina Tugeau. Here is the link to her feature on Illustrator Saturday: http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/01/04/illustrator-saturday-michelle-henninger/.

May no soldier go unloved

May no soldier walk alone

May no soldier be forgotten

May no soldier by left behind

when they return home!

Remember our soldiers, while enjoying the day!


Registration closes for the NJSCBWI Conference at 9 p.m. on May 28, 2014.

To register for the conference, click here.

Besides giving the State of the Market Report to kick off Sunday. I still have a few critique spots available. Hope to see you there.

Talk tomorrow,


Filed under: authors and illustrators, Conferences and Workshops, Holiday Tagged: 2014 NJSCBWI Conference, Christina Tugeau, Happy Memorial Day, kathy temean, Michelle Henninger, State of the Market Report

1 Comments on Happy Memorial Day, last added: 5/26/2014
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9. Doll spot illustration from a storybook I’m working on!

Doll spot illustration from a storybook I’m working on!

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10. Summer stress ………..

Sunglasses Day (4).jpgBURRISby Priscilla Burris for June 27…


1 Comments on Summer stress ……….., last added: 6/23/2014
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11. Free Coloring Page Friday: Patriotic

Manelle Oliphant Illustration - Children's book illustrator and writer

I have a coloring page double feature today. Next week is a patriotic week for North America. Canada day and Independence day (Have I mentioned this is my FAVORITE holiday?) are both next week. So I made a page for both. Have fun at parades and watching fireworks! (I love parades and fireworks) And don’t look for another coloring page until the Friday after the 4th.


Canada Flag (0)


USA Flag (0)

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

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12. Independence Day

Where liberty dwells, there is my country. ~Benjamin Franklin
Happy 4th of July!

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13. Valentine’s Day Writing + a Book Giveaway

Valentine's Day is on Friday! Consider doing a read aloud to inspire your students to write poems, comic books, or short stories they can give to a special friend or close family member in lieu of a box of chocolates. Here are five books that will inspire primary, upper elementary, and middle school writers to craft writing that expresses heartfelt emotions.

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14. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day 2014

May your blessings outnumber
The shamrocks that grow,
And may trouble avoid you
Wherever you go.
~Irish Blessing (http://www.quotegarden.com/st-patricks-day.html)

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15. ~HaPpY St. PaTrIcK's DaY~

...or as i like to say "happy leprechauns day!" love me some red-heads! :)

*PRINTS of this piece entitled Thea's Wishing Tree (painted early last year) can be found here~

here's wishing you all the luck of the irish today....even if there's not a lick of irish in you. ;)

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16. Billy and the Monsters Who Ate All the Easter Eggs Giveaway

Today, I’d like to share with you the chance to win a signed copy of the Amazon Best-seller ‘Billy and the Monster who Ate All the Easter Eggs’ by British Author David Chuka who is a friend of mine.Billy and the Monster who Ate All the Easter Eggs

With Easter around the corner, this book will be a welcome addition to your loved ones library.

This is the third book in the Billy and Monster series and it has gotten about 48 glowing reviews on the Amazon website.

Before I reveal how you can enter to win a signed copy, let’s find out what happens with Billy and Monster in this Easter edition.

Billy and Monster love all the holidays as they get to spend quality time together. However, their best holiday is Easter as they get to eat their favorite food…CHOCOLATE!

This year, they’re spending Easter with Grandma Chocalicious who loves Chocolate even more than Billy. She’s an expert at making chocolate cake, chocolate waffles and even chocolate pasta.

This year Grandma Chocalicious has made a pyramid of Easter eggs for her party on Easter Sunday. Billy and Monster want one of the Easter eggs but Grandma says they have to wait till Easter Sunday.

What happens when Billy and Monster tip toe downstairs and the pyramid of Easter eggs comes falling down?

For a chance to find out what happens simply click the link below and you could very well have your signed copy just in time for Easter.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Billy and the Monster Who Ate All the Easter Eggs by David Chuka

Billy and the Monster Who Ate All the Easter Eggs

by David Chuka

Giveaway ends April 15, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

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Wanting to wish EVERYONE a very happy Spring/Easter week and weekend! Do believe it Spring is finally here…. in most places anyway.  (sorry Cleveland!)  Even The Cat has his ears on for the occasion!

easter blast

1 Comments on AND SPRING IS….., last added: 4/16/2014
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18. ~HaPpY EaSteR~

©the enchanted easel 2014

just a quick sketch of a cute bunny...with his little pinwheel flower. :)

hope everyone has/had a happy and blessed Easter!

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19. EARTH DAY ! …can’t be ignored…

from CAT artist: Michelle Henninger….earth day_email (3).jpgHenninger

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20. oh europcar, how you fail

So our trip with my parents to Derbyshire hits a glitch as soon as we arrive.

We'd booked a car from Europcar in Derby and show up, confirmation number in hand. But uh, oh...

So we spend a wad of cash on a cab to a remote village where we'd booked our lodgings. The lovely cottage has wi-fi but no phone signal. Here we are the next morning, standing in the rain at the top of the hill, trying to make my phone work.

The French-accented Europcar guy sounds astonished. 'But we're not open on the bank holiday Monday!' (It MUST be the customer's fault.) 'Then why did you let us book it, and give us a confirmation number?' say I. The man's voice falters. 'Oh, did you book it over... the Internet??!... Oh.'

Surely no one would ever want to book a car during a holiday, or do it using this new-fangled system. The rep says he'll get his manager to call us back. After fifteen minutes of getting soaked and my phone dying, we give up. We don't want to give Europcar our money anyway.

Hmm, new action plan. How are we going to manage this trip with no car?

We try to call a local car hire firm from the single phone box in town. The coins roll in, the coins roll out. A man walks past, looking bemusedly at us. Ah, this is a decorative phone box. But there is a dial tone. Stuart tries three times to ring, using his credit card. The bank then blocks his card, because the collect call number looks dodgy to them. So no phone, no bank card.

Okay, we'll take a bus into the larger town of Matlock, to somewhere that might have a car. We carefully check bus times on the Internet, but whoops! The actual bus times have just been changed, so we miss the bus by ten minutes. Argh! The kind lady in the shop rings a taxi for us, but none are available.

We wait a long time for the next bus, which drops us off at the top of a road somewhere. Dad, Stuart and I walk and walk and walk to the car hire place. It's still raining. One of us had a little pee in the bushes by an industrial estate. The glamour. Along the way, we consider hot-wiring this bus, stealing it and using it for our holiday. That would be rather jolly.

And at last, we arrive at Matlock Practical Van & Car Hire, which don't really hire out cars, they're more into industrial vehicles, but they let us have a car anyway. Yipee!

The car is quite small - knees up! - but WE HAVE A CAR.

And we do not even have to live off the sandwiches we packed for the train, because lovely Winster village shop is open on bank holiday Monday. We love you, Winster shop.

After we use up a day and a half of holiday faffing about with car stuff, the holiday improves greatly - more photos soon. And to make us feel welcome after our ordeal, the whole population of Winster turns out to greet us.

(No, not really, that's a photo from the village museum. But it's a nice thought, anyway.)

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21. Top Christian Book Award…art by our Kornacki!

Our very own Christine Kornacki has WON the Children’s AWARD


cover Sparkle box KORNACKI

Announcing the 2014 Christian Book Award® Program Winners

The Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA) has announced the winners for the 2014 Christian Book Award® program. Presented annually to the finest in Christian publishing since 1978, the Christian Book Award® program honors titles in seven categories: Bibles, Bible Reference, Non-Fiction, Fiction, Children, Inspiration and New Author.

Five finalists are selected in each category following a stringent judging process by judging panels specially selected for each category. The top scoring book in each category is named the Christian Book Award® winner. The Christian Book of the Year™ is chosen among the finalists to represent Christian publishing’s highest quality and greatest impact for 2014.

The Christian Book Award® program winners and Christian Book of the Year™ were announced at the ECPA Awards Banquet on April 28, 2014 at the Focus on the Family Headquarters in Colorado Springs, CO.
2014 Finalists
Program Information



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22. chatsworth countess

While I was in Derbyshire with Stuart and my parents, we went around Chatsworth, which is one of the biggest, grandest English country houses you can imagine. (You might also know it as Pemberley, in the BBC's Pride & Prejudice.) I managed to get a little bit ahead of the rest of the group at one point and draw this Van Dyck painting. (I added the fly; she looked a bit bored.)

Ah, here's the original, in the dining room.

Illustrator Cathy Brett is doing daily doodles of old masterpieces and spending a lot more time on them. (Her painting of Fragonard's The Swing took her about three hours.) Go over to her blog and have a peek, I think she's going to be posting a few more soon. (She's posted them on Twitter as @gingerdoodles.) Here's the original painting, for comparison.

And here are Stuart and me, pretending we are gentry and surveying our vast lands.
- Do you want to move in, dear?
-Imagine running this place. It would be, like, a zillion full-time jobs.

Ah, and here are the parents.

I think this was my favourite curiosity in the house, the devil's pram. It's serpent themed (which is the theme of the family crest) and about as macabre a childhood object as one could ever hope for. I bet it freaked out the nannies.

Okay, this library is a bit more enviable. I could spend some happy hours in there.

And here's a smaller study with cool tiles on the floor. But check out that white pointy thing by the fireplace. That's a narhwal tusk! It goes all the way to the floor. I had NO IDEA narwhal tusks were so long. There were two of them. Unicorns of the sea. I drew a confused-looking narwhal into Oliver and the Seawigs by mistake, and Philip Reeve changed the text so we wouldn't have to get rid of the narwhal.

We had a big walk around the grounds, then ended our visit as all English holiday visits end. Stay tuned for a couple more Derbyshire blog posts...

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23. tissington sweet shop

When I was thinking about taking my parents to Derbyshire, I got a list of interesting things to do from local resident, writer and illustrator Caryl Hart. One of the things was the sweet shop in Tissington. Of course, who can resist a sweet shop? This one sat by itself in a little cottage, just so:

And inside, it was a real Aladdin's cave. If you're ever in the area, don't miss Edward and Vintage of Tissington. Here's my drawing of Dave, the owner:

A bunch of people asked me what we bought there. WELL.

Let's see, between the four of us, we bought: ginger chocolates, chocolate marzipan, sherbet lemons, pink champagnes, clove balls, aniseed balls and assorted bon bons. I might have forgotten one or two.

Moving on... we also visited Buxton. It's an old spa town with some properly grand buildings, I had no idea.

Oo, look, Dad's bought a sports car. In his mind, anyway.

Stuart was just gutted that the miniature railway was locked up. Boo.

Hooray, Dad. Always messing up my panorama shots! It's almost Cubist. Or something.

As we drove on toward Castleton, we got enveloped by a Huge Mist. Poor Stuart was driving and it was white-knuckle stuff. When we got to Peveril Castle, the man at the visitor centre at the bottom of the hill told us not to bother, that the fog wouldn't let us see anything. But we thought we'd try anyway. (Is THAT the castle, Stuart?)

And a lovely castle it was, too. It looked all the more atmospheric for being wreathed in swirling mist.

Of course, we had to take lots of photos which didn't come out well of us looking like prisoners.

And for all you know, we might still be lost in the fog. One more Derbyshire blog post coming up... Read the rest of this post

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24. bakewell tarts

Last Derbyshire blog post: I drew this picture of my parents flaking out on the cottage sofa after a full day of hiking. My three-mile mama managed nine miles!

There used to be a beautiful railway line running from Manchester, but in the 1960's, a loathed man named Mr Beeching shut down loads of them, including this one. But instead of being built on, or allowed to go wild, this 8.5-mile stretch was turned into a hiking path, called the Monsal Trail. It's fun, you chug along just like a train and pull into stations. And very even and flat, perfect for mamas with sore knees who like lemonade and coffees along the way. Hassop station's been turned into a lovely cafe:

I made a sketch of Mama at the second cafe, where we had lunch.

The view from the cafe was pretty awesome, we had to hike up a little path, up to Monsal Dale, but it was totally worth it.

Stuart and me, we're such intrepid explorers...

Another station; this one looked so quintessentially English, with all the white-legged picnickers sitting along the platform with their flasks of tea.

This tin house looked like something out of an old Western film. Actually, with all the jagged cliffs and interesting earth formations, I did feel like I'd gone onto a set for When Titus Took the Train.

And tunnels. Tunnels!

We walked through loads of them, and a couple of them looked a bit scary. Some of them had a wonderful hokey music soundtrack blasting out of a little wooden box on a pole, that we could wind up and let play as we walked through.

We didn't die.

Actually, better than that, we got back to Bakewell and I tried my first BAKEWELL PUDDING. Which loads of people had told me would be better than the more ubiquitous Bakewell Tart. The pud was delish!

Big thanks to Peak Cottages for a lovely stay. I really want to go back to Derbyshire, there's still so much to see.

I'm off tomorrow for a week of touring international schools in Spain, and I'm hoping I'll get time to make some more drawings. I'm sure the kids will! Stay posted... Read the rest of this post

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25. Happy Mother’s Day – Spinelli Poem

2014mother's Day

Children’s illustrator, Vesper Stamper sent in this whimsical mother and daughter illustration to help us celebrate Mother’s Day. Vesper was featured on Illustrator Saturday http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2011/08/06/illustrator-saturday-vesper-stamper/.

Happy Mother’s Day! Eileen Spinelli has shared a poem to help us celebrate Mother’s Day. It reminds us how a mother feels about their child and that our Mom will always be with you. Today is the day to remember her.




I will be your mother.


Long into the spill of time
and when time no longer
has anything to do with
dawn or dark.


I will be your mother…


the local newspapers
and the rattling cat-bird songs.
You can grow up
wild and bright.
You can be wind
or fire,
willow or oak.


You can breathe green.
You can wear poppies
in your hair.
You can stand astonished
in the moonlight
or peek from a safe,
moonless space–


I will be your mother.

I may turn into sky
or red clay
or simply bones.
I may become delicate
as milkweed
or hammered hard
as canyon cleft–

but I will be
your mother.






by Eileen Spinelli


Thank you Eileen for sharing your poem with us. Did you see Eileen’s latest book, ANOTHER DAY WITH EMILY?

another day as Emily
Spinelli’s free verse presents a summer of self-acceptance for one girl. Suzy is almost 12 when her 4-year-old brother sees their elderly neighbor collapse. He dials 911 and becomes a “little hero” in their town. Suddenly everything revolves around him, and no one seems to care about Suzy’s needs. Worse, she doesn’t get a part in the community play, but her best friend, Alison, does. Suzy is feeling decidedly unloved and decides that her best bet is to emulate a poet she has recently learned about—Emily Dickinson. Suzy insists on being called Emily and makes a list of Emily-appropriate activities (write poems, dust, read, listen to crickets). But Suzy soon finds that being a recluse is a lonely occupation. Lots of white space on the page, short chapters and appealing illustrations make this an unintimidating read for even the most reluctant readers. And besides, it’s a rollicking good story. Spinelli mixes dollops of wit with her dabs of pathos to keep things lively and realistic in a fresh way that nevertheless feels comfortably old-fashioned. The interspersed bits of history (the origin of baseball, some famous people of the 1800s) and wholesome activities (bicycle riding, helping neighbors, going to the library) make this a story to be enjoyed and appreciated by readers weary of the mall-shopping, cellphone-centric, mean-girl genre. A witty and endearing story with a timeless message. (Verse fiction. 9-12) – Kirkus Reviews

Talk tomorrow,


Filed under: authors and illustrators, Holiday, illustrating, Illustrator's Saturday, poetry Tagged: Another Day with Emily, Eileen Spinelli Poem, Happy Mother's Day, Vesper Stamper

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