I did a couple of Skype visits with the kids at the Shekou International School, which is billed as “Shenzhen’s Leading School for Expatriates.” They are also billed by Sock Monkey and friends as the “Leading School in Generous Donations of Plush Toys,” because—remember?—they sent me these:
And their teacher, Kimberly Shannon, really and truly looks like this when she walks through the Halls of Academia at the school (I’m hoping on a daily basis):
The same tailor Ms. Shannon hired to make the toys also made this costume!
Anyway, after the Skype visit, they wrote to me. I wrote to them. And then they wrote back. And here’s a bold sample of what I got:
This would be the coolest fabric for a pillow, ever.
And I also received a 100% accurate drawing of me sneezing, and I’ll leave you with that.
The eyes spell my name!
Today I read the Kirkus review of Rabbit and Robot. No star, like from Publishers Weekly. And—gasp—a wee bit critical. But pretty good nonetheless. Here it is:
Make way for another endearing, odd-couple pair of friends in beginning-reader land.
Rabbit takes a cue from forebear Toad and makes a list to plan his time with, not Frog, but Robot. According to his list, their sleepover includes plans to make pizza, watch television, play Go Fish and go to bed. Unlike Lobel’s heroes in Frog and Toad Together, these friends do not lose their list, but tension ensues when Robot tries to add additional items (games of Old Maid and Crazy Eights) to the list. Even when they follow through on making pizza, Robot wishes for unorthodox toppings (nuts, bolts and screws) and ends up finding them by dismantling Rabbit’s furniture. Rabbit is then reasonably worried about where they will eat their meal, but Robot has the good idea to spread a blanket on the floor and have a picnic. Similar scenarios ensue in subsequent chapters, with ample humor to augment the storytelling. The vocabulary, however, includes a few too many reaches for brand-new readers, and while the digital typeface used in parts of the text may evoke Robot’s voice, it may prove distracting to not-yet-fluent readers.
A good choice for those ready to launch into more advanced texts. (Early reader. 6-8)
Oh, no! Is Kirkus right? Will this book be too difficult for some readers? Will this book—double gasp—let them down? But before I could even get around to worryin’ and cryin’, this came in the mail:
Awesome fan art by Awesome Fan Ryan!
Yeah! At least Awesome Fan Ryan digs Itty Bitty! And hopefully, some kids will dig Rabbit and Robot, too. Thanks for making me feel good, Ryan, and for reminding me of the best part about making books for kids.
Some of you may know that Sock Monkey collects flat pennies. Recently, an unnamed member of my family decided to clean S.M.’s collection by creating a vinegar/salt/baking soda soak for the pennies. The pennies are, shall we say, no longer with us. That’s right. They just about disintegrated. And there were a lot of pennies.
The pennies that were...
But, fortunately, S.M. has received some new flat pennies from some lovely people. And today, in the mail, he got this, from longtime pal and Resident Web Genius Kendrick Goss, a lovely man equally at home in the Past and in the Future:
The penny that is!
As S.M. said when he opened the envelope, “Squeeeeeeee!”
Amazing! Thank you, Mr Goss!
I had a great visit to Mountain View Elementary School’s Reading Night in Roanoke, VA about a month ago. And just the other day I got this little note as a thank-you from one of the students. Sweetness! Thanks, Alexa.
Sock Monkey with a tiny monkey
Sock Monkey visited the third graders at Christiansburg Elementary School on Tuesday, April 6th. Each student in each third grade class (of eight) takes home a small sock monkey and a journal, and then writes about what he/she and the monkey did together. A hugely successful project, as the pictures show.
Below is a personal favorite. I might have to make t-shirts of this!
And this one very talented (and prolific) kid has created a whole graphic novel about a superheroic sock monkey. It was thick. Real thick. And stapled together. I tried to buy it, but my “exact change” wasn’t exact enough. He did let me take some pics, though!
Here’s a page from the novel:
And another page:
And the back cover. I hope this kid goes into art…or advertising!
The review doesn’t seem to be online yet, but Itty Bitty should be getting a starred review from ALA Booklist in the next issue. It’s a swell review, with a really sweet interpretation of the book.
Itty Bitty is on this Scholastic.com summer reading list.
And you can click here to see some AWESOME Jerry Bee drawings by kindergartners along with a real nice review.
Bee-Wigged gets a good review on this British site. (I’m not sure if they wrote the review or not. But a good review is a good review…)
I received some wonderful fan art following a recent school visit. Lots of great drawings of Sock Monkey and even a couple of me! Here’s a great Jerry Bee from Jaymari!
Sock Monkey gets the best fan art! Here’s one that came in recently that can only be described as “COOL!”