Tuesday, April 30, 2013

words, words, words

Slogma: Having to sit through a passionate speech by a writer with a large list of should’s and shouldn’ts about the craft.

Down the Brainpipe: A phrase to describe the complete waste of time, brainpower, energy and self-confidence from doggedly pursuing a failed idea, despite suspecting from the start that it was probably crap.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

from the Fauxtionary

Poltergist: A potentially brilliant but evanescent main idea for a story that visits you at 3 in the morning and disappears at daybreak, although the whole perfect thing was all there in your head and kept you awake for more than 2 hours.

Netscaping: Incessant prowling the internet to check emails and Facebook rather than working on your book.

More to see at Books of Wonder

I will be sitting elbow to elbow with some picture book greats at the Picture Book Bonanza at Books of Wonder this Sunday, April 28th, noon to 2pm. Wendell Minor, David Ezra Stein, Floyd Cooper, Randall de Seve, Shawn Qualls and myself will be talking about and signing our new books and answering any questions.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Thursday, April 18, 2013


The artists I am looking at tonight for inspiration for my new book: Egon Schiele and Jose Guerrero.

They're driving me mad with excitement.

Peanut and Fifi

On sale today! Buy here. I would recommend buying them by the dozen or more and giving one to every child-like person you come across.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

more Fauxtionary

Blandishment: Glaringly unecstatic response from your spouse upon reading your new manuscript.

Returnal Void: No ideas today either.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Fauxtionary two

Here is another installment of corrupted words or phrases that I've invented to help describe the creative journey.

Dolcrumbs: Cookie and potato chip bits wedged in your keyboard from a particularly nasty period of time with no fresh ideas.

Stalking The Plank: Hovering the internet searching for the first reviews of your new book.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Booklist likes Peanut and Fifi

Another great review just in for Peanut and Fifi have A Ball, Randall de Seve and my new book out at the end of this month. Preorder it here.

Peanut and Fifi Have a Ball.   
In this story about imaginative play, Peanut has a new blue ball. It’s a great ball, and her older sister, Fifi, wants it. But no matter what Fifi suggests they do with it, Peanut refuses. Then Fifi brings an imaginary seal into the equation, along with clothes and pajamas, so that all four can travel the world. Peanut acquiesces, but Fifi doesn’t need the ball anymore to play. End of story? Well, not quite. Much of this book’s charm lies in the spare illustrations of the girls, rendered as broad black strokes in geometric shapes (Fifi is triangular; Peanut is more rounded), and accented by a blue, green, and peach color palette. The backgrounds are plain and the pages creamy, which allow the characters to pop—up until the lovely, fully saturated final spread. When Fifi introduces each imaginary object, it’s effectively rendered in muted colors and bordered with a dotted line. Share with kids who understand what it’s like to have a special toy, a sibling, and a powerful imagination. 
— Ann Kelley

Monday, April 1, 2013


I have wrestled with this subject before. Here, here and here. Words. There ain’t enough of them. Useful ones that is, for describing the agonies and excesses of the creative life. Particularly writing and illustrating children’s books.
In the past, I tried to resolve this insufficiency by cramming some Latin words together into something more serviceable. But I couldn’t remember them, so they really weren’t that serviceable.
This go around, I’ve decided to simply corrupt the Mother Tongue.
Forgoing further fuss, here are the first three words of my new Fauxtionary. My plan is to post a new one every Tuesday morning, but you know how uncooperative plans can be.

Fossil Fuel: Re-reading favorable reviews of your past books in an attempt to energise your confidence.

Hulapoop: Spinning round and around on a crappy idea you will never make work.

Karmakaze:  A reckless urge to follow up a commercial and/or critical success with an oblique, esoteric, self-indulgent binge of “pure art” that will show the whole world what you are really capable of.