Friday, May 29, 2009

Furball Friday

Night night Willy.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Spelling Bee finals tonight and free books!

The Scripps National Bee finals will be broadcast tonight at 8:00 PM, don't miss it!

And its not too late to win a free copy of Abigail Spells, visit these blogs for multiple chances to win:

A Patchwork of Books
(contest runs til May 31st)
Katie's Literature Lounge
(contest runs til June 5th)
Brimful Curiosities
(contest runs til June 15th)

And tomorrow...

Friday the 28th: Jama Rattigan's Alphabet Soup

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Scripps National Spelling Bee begins!

Today are the preliminaries, broadcast at 1:15 Eastern Standard Time on! Hurray spellers!

My Spelling Week Blog Tour continues today at Katie's Literature Lounge- visit to win a free book!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Spelling Week and a blog tour!

This week 293 spellers will go to the Scripps National Bee in Washington D.C.! If you've seen the movies Spellbound or Akeelah and the Bee, you know how fascinating a real live spelling bee is. I went to one in Brookline when I was researching Abigail Spells and was totally riveted.

The stage started out like this:

Slowly whittled down to a small group:

And then to these two:

Everyone was on the edge of their seat til the very end. I wanted them all to win!

To celebrate all the goodness that is a spelling bee and the book I wrote to celebrate spelling, I will be blog touring all week in the kidlitosphere. Visit me at the below blogs to learn more about the book and I how I made it. Some will feature reviews, some interviews, and all will have book giveaways. Comment on their posts and you can win a free copy of Abigail Spells!

Monday the 25th: MotherReader
Tuesday the 26th: A Patchwork of Books
Wednesday the 27th: Katie's Literature Lounge
Thursday the 28th: Brimful Curiosities
Friday the 28th: Jama Rattigan's Alphabet Soup

Friday, May 22, 2009

Furball Friday

Cat pile #3

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Red Balloon

I loved this book as a kid. That big red balloon against a grey/blue Paris imprinted itself on my memory.

Old Red Shoe school visit

I recently visited a school in Virginia to do a program about recycling and how I made Old Red Shoe. The school did an amazing job of preparing the students and following up with art and writing projects afterwards. Here is some of their work:

I drew this character from the book during our visit (this is Ben the bear who recycles his worn out T-shirt), surrounded by quotes from the students:

And finally a character that the kids made up for me to draw, a soccer playing bird named George!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Packing and drawing, packing and drawing

This spring has been the busiest I've had in a very long time; two books came out within a month of eachother, I'm planning my wedding in July, and moving from Boston to Northampton (children's book author Mecca) in a few short weeks- eek! Right now I am going back and forth between sketching for my new project Disappearing Desmond and packing all our belongings for the trip West. I am excited for all the change but also sad about leaving Boston, where I've made my home for the past 12 years. Boston has been good to me, sigh.

Anyhow, not much time for posting today, but I would like to invite everyone out to The Andover Bookstore on Saturday, where I will be reading, presenting about, and signing Abigail Spells. There will be fun activities for kids (a spelling scavenger hunt is in the works), snacks, and all sorts of great spelling fun. Come join me!

The Andover Bookstore
Saturday May 23rd at 11:00 am

Sunday, May 17, 2009

What can you do with a plastic bottle?

A friend recently forwarded me this picture of a window display at Anthropologie. Those flowers are crafted from painted plastic bottle tops. Amazing!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Furball Friday: A Visiting Furball

Wilbur: What is it?

It smells kind of funny.

I like its cushion.

Can I have it?

George: What is it?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What can you with bits of old crayon?

I was recently invited by author/illustrator extraordinaire Daniel J Mahoney to The Albany Academies first annual Children's Book Festival. It was a lovely day and a fun trip, made better by meeting Dan's adorable son Ryan. He is a natural when it comes to recycling and I was honored to sign a copy of What Can You Do with an Old Red Shoe? for the little guy.

Not long after I got these sweet pictures of Ryan and his dad doing one of the activities in the book; recycling used up bits of old crayons. Could he be any cuter?

First you peel the paper off the crayons and put them in a bowl:

Then you ask your dad to put the bowl in the oven to melt the wax so he can pour it into some ice cube trays:

Next look closely at the ice cube tray:

Put it in the fridge:

Then get drawing with your newly recycled crayons!

If you have pictures of your kids doing any of the activities in the book I'd love to see them!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A new project

Meet Desmond. He is shy and likes to hide. Find out what happens when a certain outgoing rabbit named Gloria finds him and he discovers the joys of being noticed! This is my newest picture book project, which will be out in the fall of 2010. I'm in the process of creating the book dummy and will be posting lots of sketches and art as it goes along!

Monday, May 11, 2009

What can you do with a broken teapot?

When I was recently interviewed about the making of What Can You Do with an Old Red Shoe?, I was asked what you can do to reuse broken dishes instead of throwing them away. I thought I'd share the answer with you- here is what I like to do!

A few weeks ago my sweet little teapot cracked. Not all on its own mind you, I sort of dropped it in the dishwasher. You can't really see it here, but there was a thin crack down the side that kept it from holding water.

Sad as I was to do it, I got out my hammer and broke it up into little bits. This is not really an activity for kids, but a good way for grown-ups to get out some tension.

I put the bits into a flower pot to help the soil drain,

and filled it with marigolds.

My poor teapot is no more, but at least these cheerful marigolds now have a home.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Furball Friday

Cat pile #2: Your chin makes a good footrest.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Good news for Priscilla!

Priscilla and the Hollyhocks (written by Anne Broyles, illustrated by me) has just been named one of Bank Street College's 2008 Best Children's Books of the Year! Hurray! You can read more about it here.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The making of Abigail and upcoming events

Last week Abigail made her debut in bookstores, hurray! I am so proud of this book, and so excited that kids will be able to read it at last. For those of you that have been following the Blue Rose Girls blog for a long time, you will remember this book going through many stages... from picking Abigail's handkerchief color, to choosing color schemes and patterns, to making the paintings. I posted about making a jacket sketch, painting the jacket (also here), and finishing the artwork.

Now that the book is finally in bookstores, the work to get the word out begins. As I mentioned last week, I have just launched a web site for Abigail: Check out the "games" page to find video games with an animated Abigail, and the "free" page for wallpaper, activity sheets, coloring sheets, and a curriculum guide, all for free download.

If you'd like to learn more about the creation of the book, I have a number of events coming up this month where I will be presenting, showing artwork, and signing books. You can see a full schedule of where I will be here, but here are some highlights (all are free and open to the public):

This Saturday May 9th, I will be speaking about and signing both Old Red Shoe and Abigail Spells at Olivia Browning in Charlestown.
10:30-12:00 Preschool program and art activity
1:00-2:30 Grade school program and art activity

I will be celebrating the release of Abigail Spells at The Andover Bookstore. Come join me to learn about how the book was created, play spelling games and activities for kids.
May 23rd at 10:30 am

I will be signing Abigail Spells at Newtonville Books. Learn about the making of the book and see the original artwork!
June 27th Program will begin at 10:30 am

Friday, May 01, 2009

Furball Friday

Meet Noodle, today's guest feline. Isn't she looking cozy? Who could resist such a sun-filled spot.