BIG THANKS to Stephanie Johnson at the Guilford Free Library in Guildford, CT for organizing a great event last night. We had about 80 – 100 people come out – which was an AMAZING turn-out – and they listened to me jabber on for a solid hour about children’s books, writing, critique groups, agents, conferences, and submitting their work.
GOOD LUCK to all the future writers out there!
If you missed me in Guildford, I’ll be doing the same program at the Oliver Wolcott Library in Litchfield, CT on Wednesday, Oct 2 from 7 – 8pm.
The Simples Love a Picnic, April 2014, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
I’m very excited to introduce my new picture book, THE SIMPLES LOVE A PICNIC, due out April 2014.
It’s the fun, silly story of the Simple family who want to have a nice, simple picnic. But every thing that can go wrong, simply does!
It’s very bright, energetic, and most of all, silly. It will appeal to kids who love humor in their books.
This is also my first book with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, so I want to give a BIG THANKS to Margaret Raymo, the editor on this project, and Rebecca Bond, the art director. They both did such a fabulous job guiding this project and it was a pleasure to work with them both!
Today I had the great pleasure of sharing MONKEY ONO with the K – 3 grades at Whiting Lane School. I talked about story structure and read Monkey Ono, but the best part (as it often is) is when the kids took control of the story.
After showing the kids how to draw Monkey Ono, I provided them with a worksheet so they could plan their own Monkey Ono caper. Their instructions were to create a three-step plan in one panel, show the plan in action in a second panel, and then show the pay off in the third panel. The kids got to decide whether their monkey’s plans were successful or not.
(Above) This Monkey is bouncing to the beach via trampoline. (Below) This Monkey Ono takes a rocket to outer space! (From his expression, I think he wanted to go to the beach.)
(Below) This Monkey Ono takes a ride on Telly.
I had a ton-o-fun and LUCKY ME I get to go back on Wednesday and do it all again with the fourth and fifth grades!
BIG THANKS to Lee Gluck the media specialist who was able to squeeze me in among all the end-of-year happens and to all the kids who gave their attention and enthusiasm!
I had a wonderful author visit at the O’Brien Elementary School. This was my first full Monkey Ono visit, with a large group power point presentation and art projects. It went really well.
The presentation was about picture book story structure. Monkey Ono is a good read for younger kids, so I wanted to make sure the presentation had something of value for the older kids as well. I talk about character, goals, and obstacles in stories. And I also ask lots of questions like What’s Cinderella’s goal? What are the obstacles in The Lorax? I try keep the kids engaged. Then when I finally get to Monkey Ono, they can either sit back and listen, or they can be analyze the story structure as I read. (I even use one of Magoo’s stories, No Gas, to show how a first grader can write using story structure.)
I took the kids through the Monkey Ono collage project and they did a fabulous job. I decided to have the kids draw Monkey Ono’s hair instead of cut it out of paper – and that turned out to be super fun. Look at all the hair-do’s!
I also had a Kindergarten group that didn’t see the big presentation, so I read to them first, then I taught them how to draw Monkey Ono. So cute!
Big Thanks to the fabulous art teacher, Brandyn Barstis, who wrote a grant to have me and other artists into her school. And thanks to the wonderful students at O’Brien Elementary for sharing your art and enthusiasm with me!
Yesterday I had a lovely visit with the first graders of Central School in Simsbury. And it was a special visit for me, because it was the very first time I did Monkey Ono collages with kids.
I can’t even tell you how many ninja projects I have done over the last four years – hundreds – I have got that down. But Monkey Ono is a little trickier than Wink because Monkey Ono has more components. And more placement. Some pieces have to be glued on top. Some pieces have to be glued on bottom. I had no doubt a fifth grader could handle it – but first graders? Well, I was a little nervous.
Welcome to my brand spanking new site! The old webpage was pretty good, but it was difficult to update. I’ve switched over to a new format which will allow me to post news, events, illustrations, videos, and little extra bits like fun pages and printables as I create them.
My third picture book, MONKEY ONO, is now out into the world. It’s about a stuffed monkey who is left behind when his human family go to the beach, and his subsequent attempts to get to the beach to have his own beach day. He’s a plucky little guy, and he gets lots of help from the family dog and cat.
You can check it out on the BOOKS page.
I also have a couple new MONKEY ONO videos on the VIDEO page. The collage style of illustration lends itself nicely to stop-motion animation.