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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Marilyns Monster, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. Perfect Picture Book Friday - Marilyn's Monster

Woo hoo!  It's Friday!!!

And you know what that means, boys and girls...

It's time for Perfect Picture Books!

What with Halloween coming up and all, I thought a book about monsters would be very appropriate, even if it isn't specifically Halloweenie. :)  I loved this book from the opening sentence.  I hope you will too!

Title: Marilyn's Monster
Written By: Michelle Knudsen
Illustrated By: Matt Phelan
Candlewick, March 2015, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: patience/waiting, monsters, doing what you know is right

Opening: "Some of the kids in Marilyn's class had monsters.  It was the latest thing.  Marilyn didn't have a monster.  Not yet.  You couldn't just go out and get one.  Your monster had to find you.  That's just the way it worked."

Brief Synopsis:  Marilyn longs for her monster to find her.  She tries to be patient and be the kind of girl no monster can resist.  But the longer she waits, the harder it gets, until finally Marilyn takes matters into her own hands.  And it's a good thing she does!

Links To Resources: Marilyn's Monster Story Time Kit; Q&A with Michelle Knudsen and Matt Phelan

Why I Like This Book: Oh, gosh!  Where to begin?  The story is wonderfully original and entertaining, and relates to a theme all kids can understand - having to wait for things!  Marilyn is so believably child-like in her behaviors and emotions.  The art is delightful, full of wacky monsters that are tons of fun to look at, and Marilyn's face and body language are so expressive.  Marilyn goes against expectation without being disobedient or breaking any rules, so it's a nice way to model doing what you know is right, or being true to yourself.  And the resolution is surprisingly sweet.  Across the board, this one is a winner!

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

PPBF bloggers please be sure to leave your post-specific link in the list below so we can all come visit you!  I can't wait to see what shows up on this week's list!

I will be at the New York State Sheep & Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, NY this weekend, along with Iza Trapani and Nancy Shaw.  Please stop by and see us if you're in the neighborhood!!!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! :)

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Today's the publication date for MARILYN'S MONSTER, my new picture book written by the amazing MICHELLE KNUDSEN!

I met Michelle many years ago at an independent booksellers' conference. I was a big fan of LIBRARY LION so I let her know that I'd (obviously) very much like to work with her someday. Okay, I may have pestered her a little. Well, the pestering eventually paid off because here is the book! And here's what people are saying:

"Rich with feeling, it’s a warm, gently funny reminder to chase down one’s dreams, rather than waiting for them to appear on the doorstep." Publishers Weekly (STAR)

"Tender and witty..." Wall Street Journal

"A surprising spin on monsters with nicely effective artwork—and heart." Kirkus Reviews

The official Book Release Party is SATURDAY, MARCH 14th at CHILDREN'S BOOK WORLD in Haverford, PA! Michelle and I will both be there so here's your chance to get the rare and oh-so-nifty double signed copy!

To celebrate today's release, here are some sketches...

cover sketch

Unused title page
Early development sketch
dummy sketch

Monster character design sketch

And here's a final painting from the book:

Look for more process posts soon. To keep up on all of my book stuff (including upcoming events), check out my Facebook Author Page!

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3. Michelle Knudsen - Part II Writing, The Evil Librarian and Marilyn's Monsters

 I am happy to continue my interview  and raffle a copy of Michelle Knudsen's latest title Evil Librarian.  Just leave a comment at the end of the post. 

Q - Illustrations are a big part of picture books.  However your middle grade series and new YA title Evil Librarian are based on writing.  Since you do not do the illustrations is the writing of the picture book easier or harder?  

A-  Picture books and novels are both challenging in their own ways.  For picture books, it can be really hard to find the true core of the story -- there always seems to be a central piece that ether works or doesn't and without that, no amount of revising ever seems to make it right.  And then even once you find it, there are still the challenges of telling the story in as few words as possible and making sure you leave room fin the story for the illustrator.  The illustrators I've worked with have all done  a wonderful job of contributing to and enlarging the story through the artwork. 

For novels, there's obviously a lot more writing involved, and the plots are more complicated , wth more characters and events,  I think that in some ways, though, all that material to work with makes it easier to work out the story ..there's a lot more room to figure things out in the first draft than with a picture book.  But it's also a lot harder to hold the whole story in your mnd at one time, and a lot more to keep track of.  I think that's why I'm almost always working on at least one picture book and novel at the same time--they're hard(and fun) n different ways, and it's nice to be able to go back and forth, and take a break from one by working on the other.

Q- What gave you the idea for Evil Librarian?  How did you create Mr. Gabriel?

The Evil Librarian
A- I started Evil Librarian while taking a break from a somewhat heaver novel -- I was feeling a bit weighed down and wanted to work on something a little fun.  I didn't actually know what the story was going to be about when I first started it.  Really all I had was the voice of the main character, Cyn, and I just started writing to see what she had to say,  I don't think I even knew there would be a librarian until I got to the part where Annie first mentions him.  But then I somehow knew right away he would be evil.:) It took a while to figure out exactly what Mr. Gabrriel wanted and why he was there, but his overall character and personality came very quickly.  I liked him a lot from the start, even knowing he was going to be a very bad guy.

Q- Why a protractor and biology textbook (knife and shield) as the items used for protection?  Did you consider any other items?

A- I liked the idea of the magic items taking the form of very mundane school objects.  Both because things not being what they appeared was a constant theme running through the book, and because it just struck me as funny,  I wanted Cyn to be completely unimpressed by the protractor and the book to not be entirely sure she could put her faith in them at first.

Q- There are so many different genres mixed in - Horroe, Mystery, Romance.  Do you have a favorite genre to read and or write?

A-  I am definitely a science fiction and fantasy girl more than anything else, probably because those where the first novels I came to love as a young reader.  But I especially love cross-genre books. My favorite SFF stories are character driven and often have a dash of romance or mystery or horror mixed in.  I try to read  a variety of things, but I'm rarely drawn to contemporary fiction on my own-- I often really enjoy it, but it usually takes a trusted source making a recommendation before I'll pick something like that up.  As for writing, I definitely prefer to write things with a fantasy or supernatural aspect, Even my picture books tend to involve unexplained strange things happening ( a lion coming to the library, bunnies that just show up one day for no discernable reason, etc).

Q- The deal included multiple trips to the demon world.  Does ths mean ths might be part of a three part series?

A- I hadn't necessarily planned on a series at first-- I just liked the idea of leaving the story a little open-ended, so readers would know Cyn wasn't truly out of the woods quite yet.  But I'm happy to say that there is an Evil Librarian sequel in the works, and I'm planning on a third one as well.

Q- I saw the title of your new picture book Marilyn's Monster (release date March 2015).  Were you writing this at the same time as Evil Librarian? I just read a brief description that Marilyn might look for her monster.  Can you reveal anything about this new title?

A- Yes, I was working on Marilyn's Monster during the time I was writing Evil Librarian. It's another story that involves unexplained events--monsters begin showing up as companions to children.  Day by day all of Marilyn's friends and classmates acqure monsters, but the way it works is that you can't just go out and get one -- you have to wait for a monster to find you. Marilyn waits, and keeps waiting..but her monster still doesn't come. So finally she decides to take maters into her own hands, even if that's not supposed to work.


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And to conclude Monster Week '14, here's some preliminary art from my upcoming picture book, MARILYN'S MONSTER by the great Michelle Knudsen and published by the extraordinary Candlewick Press. Coming to a bookstore near you in MARCH 2015!


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5. Monster of the Week: Thursday!

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6. Monster Week Wednesday!

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7. Monster Week Tues!

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8. Monster Week!

Two years ago, I kept a sketchbook devoted entirely to monsters. It was a fun preliminary step to illustrating the picture book Marilyn's Monster by my good friend Michelle Knudsen (Candlewick Press, March 2015). 

It seems to fitting to post a beastie a day this week. Check back!

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