Henny

Henny9781442484368_p0_v11_s260x420Henny

Elizabeth Rose Stanton, Author and Illustrator

Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Book, Fiction Jan. 7, 2014

Suitable for Ages: 4-8

Themes: Chickens, Individuality, Self-acceptance, Humor

Opening: “Henny was not a typical chicken. Henny was born with arms. Henny’s mother was very surprised, but she loved Henny anyway.”

Synopsis: It’s not every day that a chicken is born with arms. Henny likes being different…and she doesn’t like being different.  She tries to strut around like the other chickens and fit in, but Henny has to be herself. As she grows, she worries about being right-handed or left-handed….wearing long sleeves or short sleeves…using buttons or zippers…and needing deodorant. She helps the farmer by milking a cow, feeding the chicks and the pigs. She discovers she can cross her arms, brush her teeth, comb her comb, carry a purse hail a taxi and ice skate. But, can she do the one thing she want to do most — fly?

Why I like this book: In her debut picture book, Elizabeth Rose Stanton has written a fresh and lovable character in Henny.  This is a charming story about differences, self-acceptance and self-discovery. But it is also about a journey,  wonder and dreams. Kids will relate to Henny and laugh at her antics and cheer her as she slowly discovers that with arms she can experience the world in a way the other chickens can’t. Being different can have it’s pluses and nothing is going to stop this curious chick. The language is very simple and a great book for young readers. Stanton’s pencil and watercolor illustrations are lively, expressive and tickle the imagination. She is an author/illustrator to watch.

Resources: Encourage your child to be imaginative and draw some animals that wouldn’t normally have arms, or legs.  A fish with legs…a frog with arms…a bear with a beak and so on.  Doodling can be fun.  Check out Tara Lazar’s interview with Stanton last November and Joanna Marple’s illustrator’s interview with Stanton last September.  Stanton gives some insight into her artistic process.  You can visit Stanton on her website.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book.  To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.

Gatsby’s Grand Adventures: Books 1 and 2

Gatsby's book1 9781616333508_p0_v1_s260x420Gatsby’s Grand Adventures:Winslow Homer’s Snap the Whip

Barbara Cairns, Author

Eugene Ruble, Illustrator

Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc., Fiction, 2012

Suitable for Ages: 7-12

Themes: Cat, Art gallery, Famous paintings, Mischief

Opening:”Gatsby the cat lived in Miss Annabelle’s art gallery.  At night, he had the most peculiar habit. He jumped into famous paintings.” 

Synopsis: In Book 1, Gatsby was an art gallery cat who loved exploring famous paintings at night. One night his long tail twitched, his nose itched and his haunches hitched as he leaped into Winslow Homer’s Snap the Whip picture. He darted between the boy’s tripping and knocking four of them down. The boys chased Gatsby and he jumped out of the painting as the sun rose. Miss Annabelle was shocked to find the boys struggling to stand.  Gatsby returned repeatedly to fix the painting, but each attempt ended in another cat-astrophe.  Will Gatsby restore Homer’s painting so Miss Annabelle doesn’t think she has lost her mind?

Gatsbys 2 Book9781616333874_p0_v1_s260x420.jpg.Book 2 published 2013

Gatsby’s Grand Adventures: Auguste Renoir’s The Apple Seller

Synopsis: Ever since Gatsby leaped into his first painting, he wanted to visit another painting.  When he discovered Renoir’s Apple Seller, his tail  twitched, his whiskers itched and his haunches hitched. He jumped into the painting after absent-minded Miss Annabelle had gone to bed. The girls seated with the apple seller in the painting are excited to see a cat and stroked Gatsby’s head. When Jasper the dog barked at Gatsby, he ran and climbed up a tree. The girls caught their dog and Gatsby leaped out of the painting after the sun had risen. Oops! He looked back and the painting was a mess.  There would be more trips to restore this picture. Poor Miss Annabelle.

Why I like these  books: Barbara Cairns books  introduce children to art in a fun way.  Both books combine art history and education with adventure and humor. Children who enjoy animals and art will learn about an artist’s work through the adventures of a mischievous cat named Gatsby. His name suits him well because he is one cat with personality. I am sure there will be many more Gatsby adventures in this series. Eugene Ruble’s lovely pastel paintings are lively and colorful. He captures the essence of both famous artists with his own style.

Resources: The author has provided information about Homer and Renoir in the back of the book, along with helpful websites for children.  For activities check out a site Cairns suggested: Art Smarts 4 Kids.  These books are a great way to introduce children to famous artwork before they visit an art gallery.

Barbara Cairns is a former K-6 school teacher, a special education teacher for the deaf, and a retired elementary school principal. You can find interesting facts about Gatsby and cats on her website.

 

While You Were Out

While You Were Out9780142406281_p0_v1_s260x420While You Were Out

J. Irvin Kuns, Author

Dutton Children’s Books, Fiction, 2006

Suitable for Ages: 8-12

Themes:  Loss of a friend, Grief, Family, Hope, Healing, School

Synopsis: Penelope is about to start fifth grade without her best friend, Tim, who died of cancer during the summer. Not only is she dealing with the grief of losing Tim, she is also dealing with the fact that her quirky father will be the new school janitor. And her irritating next door neighbor, Diane, thinks she can replace Tim as her best friend.  Memories of Tim are everywhere, including the empty desk right next to her and their favorite oak tree near the playground. Finding a way to cope with her loneliness, she begins to write notes to Tim on her pink While You Were Out notepad, folds them and puts them inside Tim’s empty desk — “I hugged our tree today. I think it hugged me back.”  After receiving a mysterious note with a poem about grief on her desk one day, she realizes someone else misses Tim as much as she does.  Perhaps she will be able to survive fifth grade without Tim.

Why I like this story: J. Irvin Kuns has written a very sensitive and realistic story about grief, loneliness, hope, healing and the power of words that help a child move forward again.  Written in first person, Penelope is authentic, smart and beautifully expresses her feelings, mixed with some sarcasm and humor. Her overactive father is imperfect and embarrassing when he jumps rope and plays marbles on the playground. He acts more like a student than the janitor. The book does show how Penelope finds a way of moving forward after losing her best friend and schoolmate.  This is a very moving story that would help children deal with loss.

I Want Your Moo

I Want Your Moo9781433805424_p0_v1_s260x420I Want Your Moo: A Story for Children About Self-Esteem

Marcella Bakur Weiner and Jill Neimark, authors

JoAnn Adinolfi, Illustrator

Magination Press, Fiction, 2010

Suitable for Ages: 4-8

Themes:  Animals, Self-esteem, Sounds, Turkeys

Opening:  “Toodles the Turkey did not like herself.  Her legs were like sticks.  Her head had no hair.  Her feathers were brown.  But most of all, Toodles hated her sound.  Gobble-gobble. Gobble-gobble.  What a horrible noise!”

Synopsis:  Toodles doesn’t like the sound of her own voice and goes searching for a new sound.  She want’s Cathy the Cow’s strong  “Mooo-oooo-oooo.”  She wants Paris the Pig’s “Oink” and Harry the Horse’s “Neigh,” and the cat’s “Mee-oow.”  They all refuse.  But, Ralph the Rooster invites Toodles to join him in a duet of “Cocka-cocka! Doodle -doo!’ But, that didn’t go over well and Toodles runs away.  Defeated, Toodles runs into the very wise Omar the Owl “Whoo-whoo” gives her advice.  She wanders back into the barnyard, just in time to save the day with her Gobble-gobble.  Will Toodles ever be happy with her sound?

Why I like about this book:  Kids will have fun making all the wonderful animal sounds.  Weiner and Neimark have written a lively and lyrical book that will captivate young children.  This is a great book to add to your collection to boost your child’s self-esteem.  Adinolfi’s bright and colorful illustrations explode off each page.  The expressions she captures of the animals are hilarious.  Jill is also the author of Toodles and Teeny, which I reviewed last spring.

Resources:  There is a forward and back pages for parents talking about building a child’s self-worth and offering practical advice for guiding children toward self-acceptance.  This book offers so many teaching moments.  Have children act out the animal characters and draw pictures of Toodles and the other animals.  It is also a great classroom book.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book.  To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.

Wumbers

Wumbers9781452110226_p0_v1_s260x420WUMBERS

Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Author

Tom Lichtenheld, Illustrator

Chronicle Books, 2012

Suitable for Ages: 5 – 8

Themes: Words, Numbers, Humor

From the Book Jacket:  What do you get when you combine a word and a number?  A wumber!  Playing tribute to William Steig’s C D B!, book crea8ors Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld have wri10 this s2pendous book that is perfect 4 readers in kindergar10 and up.

Why I like this book:  Rosenthal has written a very creative and clever concept book for children.  It’s words created with numbers.  There is no specific story, just lots of fun word puns with letters substituted with numbers.  Lichtenheld’s illustrations are colorful and give lively visual clues of what is being said.  The characters on each spread have conversations that kids will have fun decoding.  And some of the word/number plays are a bit challenging and will help kids learn a new language.  After all, many kids today are using coding messages as they text messages to their friends.  Good left/right brain entertainment!  For example:

“He pinched my belly but10!”   With Dad responding “I think you’ll sur5.”   (They just do this 4 a10tion.)

He lost his first 2th.  He is el8ed!

We have the 2na salad and the pl8s.  What have we 4gotten?  The 4ks!

Resources:  Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld  have created a teacher’s guide for WUMBERS.   They are the NYT best-selling authors of Duck! Rabbit!, as well as many other children’s books.

Car Goes Far

CarGoeFarCVRCar Goes Far

Michael Garland, Author and Illustrator

Holiday House, I Like to Read Series, Fiction, 2013

Suitable for Ages: 4-8

Themes: Shiny car gets dirty, Humor, Resilience

Opening:  “Car looks good.”

Synopsis:  As a shiny red car begins on a trip to a burger joint, a gas station, and a store, it drives into trouble. Car is stuck in a traffic jam next to a construction site, gets dirt slung on it, is choked by the smoke and exhaust from other cars, and receives a downpour of droppings from a flock of birds. Car is defeated.  What will Car do?

Why I like this book: Michael Garland has written and illustrated a delightful book with very simple text for young readers. For example, “Car gets wet. Splash, splash.” There is a lot of show and tell.  He uses a lot of fun verbs to describe the action. His digital artwork is very expressive and colorful. Car’s headlights look like eyes and its bumper shows a toothy smile when it’s happy and a frown when it’s sad. Kids of all ages will enjoy Car’s animated expressions. Afterall, this is Michael Garland and his artwork stands out as a feast for the eyes! Make sure you check out the front and end pages for a view of Car’s neighborhood.  This is an entertaining book for children learning to read on their own. It will be read again and again. Visit Michael Garland at his website.

Devin and the Greedy Ferret

Debut author Leo B. Kennedy is proving that young adults with autism can find success in the world, including the field of children’s literature.  His book is not about autism, nor does it contain characters who have autism.   I share this with you first because of the inspiration I hope it may bring to the many talented young people on the ASD spectrum.  An interview will follow the review with Leo’s mother.

Devin and Greedy9781449784294_p0_v1_s260x420Devin and the Greedy Ferret

Leo B. Kennedy, Author

Chris Fowler, Illustrator

WestBow Press, Fiction, Feb. 20, 2013

Suitable for Ages:  8-12

Themes:  Kidnapping school mascot, Racing high-performance cars, Friendship

Synopsis:  Devin and his friends think it will be cool to kidnap the school mascot dog during a football game.  But when they try to hide from the police, Devin and his friends only find themselves in more trouble when they end up crashing their truck onto Frederick Ferret’s property. Frederick wants to impose  an extreme punishment on Devin’s friends.  The only way Devin can save them is by striking a deal with Frederick.  Devin travels with Frederick to Germany to drive a high-performance race car on the world’s most dangerous racetrack.   Will Devin save his friends when he’s terrified of extreme speed and nearly tosses his cookies on the first round?

Why I like this book:  Leo has written a very entertaining and fast-paced book with quirky and fun characters.   Leo loves race cars and has turned his passion for cars into this witty book for middle graders.  “I wanted characters that were daring, courageous, and funny,” says Leo.  “I also required that none of them walk on four legs.”  And they don’t.  Chris Fowler’s cartoon-like characters add to the humor of the book.  You can visit Leo B. Kennedy at his website where you can view a video trailer of his book and a video interview with Leo — both are very interesting.

I’ve asked Leo’s mother, Nan Kennedy, to talk about her son’s early years and answer some questions about his writing and publishing experience.  Leo is now 21-years-old.

Leo Kennedy1-IMG_3043Leo was diagnosed with autism at the age of two.  He had a number of difficulties throughout his childhood, and academic work was always difficult for him.  Finding teachers along the way who really appreciated Leo for his talents and sense of humor made a significant difference for him.   Leo generally didn’t perform well on standardized tests, often performing far below grade level.  However, a middle school teacher noticed that if Leo was allowed to take as long as he wanted on a subtest    where he would construct sentences out of random words, he actually performed beyond the graduate school level!  That finding was just a curiosity to me at the time.  But, when as a young adult he started writing a book, I remembered that sliver of ability, and it took on new meaning.

Did Leo like reading as a child?

[N] Leo has never been much of a reader, so it was a startling notion that he might write a book.   I encouraged him as much as possible, because it was what he wanted to do.   And, when I started seeing the finished chapters, my excitement began to rise.  This could be a real book!  There were engaging, funny characters, and exciting adventure, a plot with suspense, a couple of crisis points and a satisfying ending.

Was Leo involved in the entire process of publishing?

[N] Finishing the book was only the beginning.  Getting it edited, illustrated, published, and then marketed are tasks in which Leo has been heavily involved, but in which he need extensive support.   All of these activities are stretching him in ways neither of us initially expected.  He is learning how to respond to questions in an interview and is preparing a speech for his book launch party.  But he is stretching in other profound ways, such as agreeing to have his picture taken and videos made of him (after years of an obsessive avoidance of any camera), because he knows that people want to see what an author looks like.  He just went shopping with me for new clothes, because he now understands that an author can’t wear sweatpants to a book signing.

Has writing and publishing a book done anything for Leo’s confidence?

[N] Leo says “positive things, for sure.  In fact, it’s given me the confidence to write more books, including a special one.”  Leo is still secretive about his future books, so I can’t get him to tell me what the special one is about.  He also agrees that his role as a published author has given him greater confidence in social relationships and in pursuing his goal of living independently.  It’s been a long road, and there are still many challenges to face.  But Leo now sees a path for himself as an adult that he never did before.  He also wants to act as a role model for other young people on the autism spectrum in pursuing their dreams.

Parents have written about the travails of raising a child with autism, adults have written memoirs about their personal experiences on the spectrum, and recent novels have been written from the supposed perspective of a person with autism.  But where are the children’s fiction books written by a person who actually has autism?  This book demonstrates to children, whether on the spectrum or not, that people with autism have real skills and talents, but is also a sign post of hope to parents concerned about their own child’s future.

Thank you Nan for sharing your thoughts about Leo’s journey.  Leo keep writing!  To your success,  Patricia

I Need My Monster

I Need my monster9780979974625_p0_v1_s260x420I Need My Monster

Amanda Noll, Author

Howard McWilliam, Illustrator

Flash Light Press, Fiction, April 2009

Suitable for Ages: 5-8

Themes: Monsters, Night frights, Imagination, Friendship, Humor

Opening“Tonight, when I looked under the bed for my monster, I found this note instead.  Gone fishing.  Back in a week – Gabe.  What was I going to do?  I needed a monster under by bed.  How was I supposed to get to sleep if my monster was gone?”  How will Ethan ever get to sleep without Gabe’s familiar noises, ragged breathing and his spooky green ooze?  Ethan decides that he’s just going to have to find a replacement monster.  He climbs out of bed and taps on the floor and hops back under the covers waiting in fear.  Monsters begin to appear, but Herbert doesn’t have claws…Ralph wears nail polish on his claws…Cynthia is a girl…and Mack has a long, sloppy tongue.  Ethan fires them all.  How is Ethan ever going to get to sleep without his monster Gabe?

Why I like this book:    Amanda Noll has written a humorous and original book for children about a boy missing the monster lurking beneath his bed at night.  I love the power of Ethan’s imagination!  What a great way to help kids turn their fears into laughter.  This book is an entertaining read for both children and adults — one that will elicit growls and slurps as each character is acted out.  It will certainly become a bedtime favorite begging to be read repeatedly.  Howard McWilliam’s illustrations are bold and eye-popping.  The illustrations are drawn by pencil on paper, and is painted with digital acrylic paint.  The book is very large and adds to the appeal for kids.  You may visit Amanda Noll on her website.  I Need My Monster has won countless awards.

As of Dec. 9, 2012, I Need My Monster has become available as an interactive  Children’s Book App.

Millie Fierce

Millie Fierce141268607Millie Fierce

Jane Manning, Author and Illustrator

Philomel Books, Fiction, August 2012

Suitable for:  Ages 3 and up

Themes:  Feeling left out, Behavior, Self-acceptance, Self-esteem

Opening/Synopsis“Millie was too short to be tall, too quiet to be loud, and to plain to be fancy.  When she spoke at show-and-tell, hardly anyone listened.  When she walked into a room hardly anyone looked up.”  One day Millie is drawing a flower with chalk on the sidewalk, when three girls from her school walk over her flower until nothing is left but a big smudge.   “I’m not a smudge,” she said.  Millie is tired of not being noticed and comes up with a plan.    She frizzes her hair, sharpens her nails, stomps, and growls.  Her behavior becomes obnoxious and wild so people will notice her.  She paints the dog’s face blue, scratches the blackboard with her nails, pulls the buds off her neighbor’s flowers, and dumps jelly beans all over the classroom floor.  The kids at school notice Millie now, but she doesn’t receive the reaction she hoped for.  Millie wishes she were invisible again.  Perhaps being fierce isn’t the best way to get noticed.

What I like about this book:  You can’t help but love Millie and feel her pain.  What child hasn’t felt invisible and left out.  No child wants to feel like a smudge.   Jane Manning has written a fun and important story about how far a little girl will go to get attention.  This is a great lesson that will stay with children for a long time.  Being mean doesn’t mean kids will like you.  Kids will definitely identify with Millie.   Although Millie’s behavior is extreme, it’s a very funny book because of her creative  and outrageous character.   It also teaches without preaching.  Manning’s illustrations are vibrant and colorful and capture Millie’s expressive behavior to a tee.  Manning says that “Millie Fierce must have been rattling around inside me for a long time.”  “I remember feeling like Millie on many different occasions when I was a kid – like I wasn’t being seen, or heard, or considered.”   She has illustrated dozens of books.

Resources:  Great discussion book for the classroom.  Ask kids if they ever feel like Millie and to share situations  when they have felt invisible and left out.  Do they feel sad, hurt or mad?   How did they handle the situation?  What advice would they give Millie?   Have kids write a letter to Millie, or draw an exaggerated self-portrait of themselves that shows their sad, angry or wild side.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book.  To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.

“E-mergency” by Tom Lichtenheld and Ezra Fields-Meyer

E-mergency is illustrated and written  by Tom Lichtenheld and Ezra Fields-Meyer.  It was inspired by Ezra, a 15-year-old student and an expert animator, who created a short animation video titled  Alphabet House.  Kids of all ages and adults will enjoy the wit and humor, and laugh out loud when they read E-mergency.  Lichtenheld used ink, pencils and pastels to create his very detailed, bold and colorful illustrations.  Brilliant and funny!

All the letters of the alphabet live together in a big house.   The letters  rush downstairs for breakfast one morning, when E tumbles down the stairs.  It’s an E-mergengy!  A takes action and asks J to call 911.  The EMT’s arrive and take E to the hospital.  But, who will take E‘s place?  The obvious choice is O, who is well-rounded.  All the letters jump into action.  An announcement is made on television shows and in newspapers to alert the public that E is out of service and O will stand in.  “Pormanont injury could occur if pooplo uso E.”  D and C “travol to Washington to alort the govornmont.”  For some reason, E, is not recovering and the other letters must find the culprit who has been “disoboying tho lottor law!”  E-mergency is a cleverly crafted and illustrated book.

Author Interview With Tom Lichtenheld

Tom has joined us today to discuss the intriguing story behind E-mergency and his collaboration with Ezra Fields-Meyer.   Released Oct. 19 by Chronicle Books,  E-mergency has been named one of the Best Picture Books for 2011.  It also received a starred review the Booklist.  He is the author of 15 books, three of which have been NYT bestsellers:  Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site, Shark Vs. Train and Duck! Rabbit!  

How did you first learn about Ezra and his “Alphabet House” video?

Tom Fields-Meyer, a freelance journalist, decided to write a memoir about raising his son Ezra, who has high-functioning autism. As part f his research, Tom read other memoirs, among them Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life.   Tom contacted Amy for advice and mentioned in passing that Ezra had an idea for a children’s book about animals.  Amy mentioned it to me and told me Ezra had done a video on YouTube called Alphabet House.

I viewed the video and was immediately intrigued by the idea of a letter being injured, wondering what would happen as a result.  Of course, everyone knows a person can’t work when they’re in the hospital, so I figured the same would be true of a letter; it would have to be taken out of commission while recovering and temporarily replaced by a substitute letter.  Chaos and hilarity would certainly ensue, especially if the injured letter was ‘E’, the most frequently used letter in the English language.

I contacted Tom and asked if Ezra would be interested in seeing what I could do to extend the story into a book, and he was very excited by the prospect.  From there, I wrote a first draft, sketched out the first half of the book, and put together a proposal for Victoria Rock, my editor at Chronicle Books.  Victoria loved the idea, so we were off and running.

Did you work closely with Ezra, and did he have specific ideas about what he wanted incorporated into the book?

Ezra’s big contribution was his video, which established the all-important, fundamental idea about of the story; one of the letters getting injured and being taken to the hospital.  From there, I had a pretty clear idea of what would happen as  a result of the mishap, so I wrote the manuscript then sent it to Ezra so he could see it taking shape.  One of the comments  I got from Ezra says a lot about him;  he asked that I give every letter a role in the story.  I took it to heart and, I think, delivered on it.  We’ve never met in person, but we had a wonderful Skype visit after the book was done, and I feel like I know him just from hearing stories from his dad and reading his dad’s book.

Were there any surprises for you?

After the book was done, Ezra went over it with his uniquely  analytical eye and, of course, found a couple of minor inconsistencies.  For instance, the front endpaper introduces the cast of the book, that being an alphabet, including  a question mark and an exclamation mark.  Ezra asked me why the period wasn’t included, since he appears once in the corner of a page.  I had to admit the oversight, but I wasn’t surprised so much as humbled by his exacting analysis.

I’m sure Ezra learned a lot from you, but what did you gain from the collaboration?

As much as I’m thrilled with the book we created together, meeting and learning about Ezra made the process of creating it a uniquely joyful and inspiring experience.  As I read Tom’s book, Following Ezra, I sent occasional notes to him about what I was learning.

  • I learned that The Social Contract, that unwritten agreement that allows societies to live in relative harmony, is a dauntingly complicated and contradictory arrangement when seen through the eyes of a literalist.
  • It occurred to me that people with autism are just doing in the extreme what the rest of us are doing every day; trying to find order in a disorderly world and seeking experiences that make us feel alive.
  • I remember thinking this after I read “The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Nighttime,” and learning about Ezra confirmed it;  we all exhibit traits of autism to varying degrees.  Who among us hasn’t been limited by some kind of social awkwardness, lack of self-awareness or irrational, ritualistic behavior?  Speaking for myself, there are times when I’ve felt like Ezra might be not only more well-adjusted than I am, but also more insightful!
  • I gained a new respect for Judaism, for its emphasis on memory, rituals, and healing a broken world.
  • Most of all, Following Ezra made me realize the healing power of patience, creativity, family, and community.

The Wall Street Journal  recently published an article written by Tom Fields-Meyer called “Embracing Ezra.”

Is Ezra still creating animations?  Is that his dream?

According to his father, Ezra created Alphabet House at age 12.   “Now he’s a tenth grader, and still very interested in animation.  He takes classes at a remarkable program in L.A. called Media Enrichment Academy, which trains special-needs children to use technology to express themselves in all sorts of creative ways.  He spent nearly two years on a detailed parody of the opening title sequence of “The Simpsons.”  He has a great sense of humor and a wonderful talent for drawing funny faces.   More recently he created a short movie based on a Shel Silverstein poem about two cardboard boxes who become friends.   He does dream about a career as an animator.  He also loves animals, and thinks about a career as a zookeeper.  Maybe he’ll end up animating animals.  Or zookeepers.”

What do you like best about your book?

I’d like to think it hits the sweet spot where silliness meets educational value.  I worked with a reading specialist to make sure it includes lots of language lessons within the jokes, so there’s some method to the madness.  If it’s embraced by children and teachers alike, I’ll know I’ve reached my goal.  As far as content goes, my favorite bit is where the letters are gathered around the Liberty Bell and they spell  out “THUD” while one of them says, “It just doosn’t havo tho samo ring to it, doos it?”  I giggled to myself as I drew that one.

Do you have any new books in the works that I can mention?

Yes, I have a book called Zero the Hero, written by Joan Holub, that will be released Feb. 28, 2012.  On my drawing board right now is a super-clever book written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal.

Thank you Tom for the interview!  Best wishes to you and Ezra for a successful book launch of E-mergency!  

Patricia

Copyright (c) 2011,  Patricia Howe Tilton, All Rights Reserved