Tuesday, December 15, 2009

It's written on the rainbow

This holly jolly holiday season I gift you a lesser-known Burl Ives song from the 1940's. It's not a Christmas tune but it offers so many kinds of happy.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Why did the talking pinata cross the road with a boy carrying a baseball bat?

I have been collecting funny, vintage children's books for many years. And by funny, I don't mean ha-ha funny. I mean - Oh, my god, what were they thinking?! funny. Today I picked up these gems at a used book sale. Do you think that talking pinata should be a little bit worried that Todd is carrying a baseball bat while he thoughtfully explains the true meaning of sacrifice? What are the chances that road leads to a birthday party?
There is no way this picture book was not written with the help of hallucinogens. On page 2 it says..."The Creator of the World stopped by to see how things were going. She liked to wear disguises and had come as a porcupine, which caused a lot of trouble." But perhaps more troubling is the fact that the ants in the story speak in numbers and symbols. I'm not sure if they're swearing or if they're just from the colony of ants formally known as Prince.

The next little nugget I unearthed from the children's table at the book sale was a cute book called MISERY. Shall we play a game? It's called, WHICH ONE OF THESE PAGES DOESN'T BELONG?

Um...I don't know about you but I'm thinking the next page should read:

Misery is when you find out there's no such thing as Santa Claus BECAUSE YOU'RE READING THIS BOOK!

Wanna play again?


What the heck..? Is this some kind of sneaky anti-smoking campaign slipped into the pages of a kid's book!? Just how many young children were smoking cigarettes in the 1960's?

The book concludes with this touching page:

Aww...maybe we should ask the talking pinata to tell us just what real misery is...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Funny Bunnies

Remind me never to go to Sotheby's. I lost the second eBay auction. This time, the seller's 2 cents worth sold for 23 cents. However! My experiment was not a total waste of time because while I was preoccupied with searching for alternative ways of coming up with new story ideas, I came up with a new idea on my own! This does not surprise me at all because I usually get my best ideas when I'm not trying. The creative part of my brain often behaves like an obstinate toddler. If I distract it with something shiny or noisy, more often than not, a little nugget of inspiration will slip through the cracks.

So, in conclusion, boys and girls, buying ideas off eBay isn't really necessary. In the future, I'll stick to more traditional methods like eavesdropping, consulting my Magic Eight Ball, candy binges, and exploiting oddball relatives.

For now, all I can tell you about my new story idea is that it involves rabbits. While doing some wascally wabbit weesearch, I came across these funny bunnies.


A real life Furby!
I believe this is an anti-social cottonball.

Cute or creepy? You decide.

Be afraid, children. Be verrrry afraid.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Pimp my bookcart

Hurry! The 2009 contest ends October 31st! Go here for contest rules.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Gifted muse for hire?

Kids and adults ask me all the time where I get my story ideas. I’m pretty sure any writer will tell you that ideas come from all kinds of places. I believe that I have some kind of invisible antenna attached to my head and it’s always on high alert. It scans conversations, crowds, text, music, thoughts, and even smells for story seeds. Some seeds end up being rotten and never sprout. Others produce droopy, lackluster results. But once in a while the antenna will pick up on a story seed that quickly becomes a bean stalk. It takes on a life of its own –reaching, twisting, blooming.

In just ten measly minutes of surfing eBay this afternoon I found listings for a magical treasure chest, a Snoopy shaped potato, a bottle of air, and tater tot earrings. Any one of these items could become the seed for a story.

I can’t say why, but I found this listing’s simplicity and honesty rather refreshing:

Sheet of paper with a red “one” on it

(And in case you’re wondering, his other auctions featured numbers 2-5. I’m not sure if he takes custom orders so if you’re partial to numbers 6 or 7, you might be out of luck.)

If I’m still not feeling inspired by the plethora of oddly shaped corn flakes or haunted dolls for sale on eBay, I could always take my chances on the “gifted muse for hire” (item # 320434007570). For a mere $50 an hour, I can enlist the services of a muse and she will help me find new ideas.

But $50 is a little steep for my budget. Instead, I’ve decided to give a guy who's selling "his two cents" a shot at my next story idea. Bidding started at 2 cents. The auction states:

I will be happy to give you "My Two Cents Worth" here's what you do...
1) Buy auction
2) Send me an email with anything you would like me to comment on
3) I will send you "My Two Cents Worth"

If I win, I’m going to ask what my next book should be about. Right now, I have the winning bid (7 cents). If this guy works out, in the future when people ask me where I get my ideas I’ll be able to tell them I buy them on eBay.

I’ll keep you posted…


Criminy. I was outbid. It seems the going rate for someone's 2 cents is 17 cents. I'm going to give it one more shot. The seller has relisted and the auction ends in 4 days.

stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

October Book Signing Event

After a looong and laaazy summer, it's time for me to get back to work!
I will be signing books at an Educator Appreciation Event on Saturday, October 10th from 11:00 am to 1:00pm at the Barnes & Noble in Saginaw.

If you just so happen to be driving along Tittabawassee Road in Saginaw this Saturday, please stop in to say "hello!"

Friday, October 2, 2009

And the winner of the cross-marketing book contest is....

Boni Ashburn for her HUSH LITTLE DRAGON entries! Congratulations, Boni! The world's only instant pets will be on their way to delight and entertain you and your family very soon! When your Sea Monkeys hatch, please do let us know if they grow up looking like this: This amazing Queen of the Sea Monkeys was painted by the incredibly talented artist Travis Louie.

And now for my favorite Sea Monkey cautionary tale…a few years ago my 4 adorable nieces were raising their own frolicsome colony of Sea Monkeys, and just like the advertisement claimed, these “most adorable pets” were bringing smiles and laughter and fun into their home.

That is, until tragedy struck on Pancake Sunday.

For some inexplicable reason, the pancake making ritual is one that never grows old with young children. My bright-eyed, hungry nieces were gathered around the hot griddle watching the flesh-colored batter bubble and rise, when adorable niece #3 - pictured here in disguise to protect her identity-

knocked over the bowlful of happiness that was placed in an ill-fated location on the kitchen counter - just inches away from the electrified skillet.

If you think you know where this story is headed, you’re right.

The idyllic Pancake Sunday scene took a very ugly, horrifying turn as dozens of innocent Sea Monkeys popped and sizzled and steamed on the hot griddle. Amid the screams of my young nieces, several futile attempts were made to save the tiny victims with a sticky spatula, but of course, it was too late. They were cooked…or grilled, if you will.

The Bisquick and Brine Massacre story is legendary in our family – likely to be passed on for generations to come. So, it’s true. These playful pets really can, and do, bring smiles and laughter into your home.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the contest!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

More contest pics!

WHEN COWS COME HOME FOR CHRISTMAS....they become dinner!
Thanks, Lisa Wheeler!
Hey, kids! BUBBLE GUM, BUBBLE GUM won't rot your teeth.

Well.....not everyone.

And looky here at Lerner Publishing!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Friday, September 11, 2009

More Monkey Business

So far, I've had TWO people send me cross-marketing contest entries. TWO. I'm starting to feel like I'm at one of those awkward, unfabulous book signings and nobody is showing up.

In the hopes of inspiring others to be inspired, I have included two additional pictures of my own to the legitimate submissions posted below. Can I do that? I guess I can because it's my contest. bwah! No worries, though...I won't cheat and declare myself the winner of the Sea Monkeys. UNLESS, of course, they can be trained to fetch coffee. In that case, the gloves are off!

This first picture comes from the lovely and talented picture book author, Boni Ashburn. (HUSH, LITTLE DRAGON).
Let me guess. Flame-broiled?
This next weigh-funny pic comes from editor, Carol Hinz at Millbrook Press, and author Brian P. Cleary (ON THE SCALE, A WEIGHTY TALE).
Bok choy, bananas, and books! Oh, my! The world would be a much better place if books were included in the 5 A Day Campaign, no?
Me, plugging two favorites...(IN A BLUE ROOM by Jim Averbeck and A VISITOR FOR BEAR by Bonnie Becker)

Good news! With a little help from Benjamin Moore, you, too can have your own blue room!

Unwelcome pests?

groan! My bad, I know. But I bet you laughed.
Many thanks to Boni & Carol for their entries!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Haven't You Always Wanted A Monkey?

Here's your big chance! Win your own BOWLFULL OF HAPPINESS! A couple of weeks ago I was having lunch with friends, Lisa Wheeler and Hope Vestergaard. Hope suggested that my picture book HOW TO POTTY TRAIN YOUR MONSTER would probably generate more big, hairy sales in Target if it were strategically placed in the diaper aisle.

A little cross-marketing. Of course!

So, that got me thinkin' - in this tough economy, authors & illustrators need all the help they can get. Why not try a little cross-marketing?

Number of calories in a sprinkle donut? 300. Number of calories in ARNIE THE DOUGHNUT ?ZERO.

I'll have the #17, The Ultimate Porker, a #3, The Totally Tuna - and what the heck, throw in jumbo kosher dill pickle and a copy of FRANKENSTEIN MAKES A SANDWICH while you're at it.

Cross-marketing campaigns wouldn't just benefit the book industry. Think of how many more life jackets stores would sell if a copy of BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA were tucked neatly into the straps.

So, here's the deal. Send me your own cross-marketing book campaign pictures:


I will post them periodically throughout the month of September. One lucky winner will win their very own frolicsome colony of Sea Monkeys! Haven't you always wanted a monkey? "So eager to please, they can even be trained!"

Hmmm...I wonder if they can be trained to write a novel...???

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Cover Girls

The cover is up on amazon for THE SANDWICH SWAP, my new picture book with Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan - illustrated by the super talented Tricia Tusa . April 2010, Disney-Hyperion.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Babies in hats!

I love babies in hats.

I found these cuties on Etsy - my latest obsession.

Etsy seller: bitOwhimsy

One of my favorite baby books - EVERYWHERE BABIES By Susan Meyers, Illustrated by Marla Frazee

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Hello? Is this thing on?

If you have stumbled upon this blog, you're probably either lost or you're my mother.
In either case, WELCOME.


What do we do now?