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!
I’ve been interviewed a couple of times since my last post. Kathryn Erskine, whose powerful mid-grade book Mockingbird has made it to Oprah’s list (wowza wow wow!), sent me some fun questions that I had a great time answering. You can read that interview here. And then new friend Marshal Zeringue sent me some doggedly good questions about my dogs; you can read that interview here, at his blog Coffee with a Canine. (Marshal’s other blog is Campaign for the American Reader, which is “the official blog of the campaign for the American reader, an independent initiative to encourage more readers to read more books.” Can’t argue with that!
Thanks, Kathy and Marshal! And stay tuned for one more interview with Madelyn Rosenberg, who is celebrating the release of her new picture books The Schmutzy Family and Happy Birthday, Tree!
I went to college with this dude named Dave Lasky. Well, we called him Dave, but I think he goes by David now. Tom and I worked with him at the college newspaper. He was the graphics editor. We were on the graphics staff. Dave was the Kindest College Student in the History of the College of William and Mary. And he gave both of us a lot of guidance.
Well, here’s a picture of Tom holding Dave’s VERY BIG DEAL NEW BOOK at the Abrams office!
Look good? It is!
The book is called The Carter Family: Don’t Forget This Song, and it is a graphic novel about, you guessed it, the very musical Carter Family. Dave did all the artwork, and it was written by Frank M. Young. We got a sampler of it a while back, and it is amazing. It kind of has that Gasoline Alley look. But without the kid sucking the lollipop.
You can go to Dave’s and Frank’s blog to get a really good sneak peek at it yourselves in the video they’ve posted of Dave and Frank looking at their very first advance copy of the book. HUZZAH! (And how come Dave doesn’t have any gray hair, I ask you? He is TWO YEARS OLDER THAN I AM and I have gray hair! It must be that he still has that Zen-like peacefulness that I remember from college.)
And the neat thing is, is that Tom and Dave are kind of reunited under the Abrams umbrella, and I will be too, soon, as Abrams is publishing my own graphic novel that I’m working on as we speak. Let me tell you, though: I have a LOT to learn from Dave. He is the master.
It’s been a good couple of days for Sock Monkey.
First, he saw his name all lit up, show-biz style, at the Salem Fair:
Then, he received these gorgeous flat pennies from an admirer, the amazing Dark Hollow beauty, Mrs. B-C. She got these welcome additions to S.M.’s collection from Disneyworld(!).
Left to right, it’s Spongebob! Pongo and Purdy! And the one and only, Mickey Mouse!
Oh, S.M., you lucky duck, you.
Guess what Sock Monkey got in the mail yesterday?
That’s right! My new book, RABBIT & ROBOT! Sock Monkey said it was “pretty good, but not as good as three certain books featuring me, me, and me, and, boy, have you seen Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen’s EXTRA YARN? Swoon!” So I said, “Humph!”
Fortunately, Publishers Weekly liked it a lot better than S.M., and even gave it a STAR. Hooray! You can read the review here. Huzzah!
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!
Here’s what I got in the mail the other day:
The Korean Magic Pen Society bought the rights to Sock Monkey Boogie Woogie, so that it could be one of many books offered in its Smart English Project. The website I4U News explains how it works a lot better than I can:
The ‘magic pen’ has a camera based scanner built-in that reads codes hidden in the book. It matches the code with the data on the corresponding cartridge and reads the text or triggers sounds.
And it really works!
So, believe it or not, Sock Monkey is helping Korean kids learn how to read English! If only he would help me learn how to read Korean. Apparently, he does know how. He’s just not telling.
I’m going to the Big City to meet with some editors soon! And I do love a Big City, especially drawing one.
Here’s the Big City in Itty Bitty, which some of you may know:
Can you find Itty Bitty in this city?
And here’s another Big City, from a book I made for school that was never published:
Look at all them pigs!
My favorite Big City artist is Bernard Waber, hands down. Check out this cool Big City scene in his book, Rich Cat, Poor Cat:
And we’d all live in the Big City if we could live in the house on East 88th Street:
Greatest brownstone ever!
If you’re in the Big City, I’ll give you a wave when I’m there! But I’m still kinda glad that I live in the country.
Just in time for election season, I bring you these presidential buttons!
S.M. is totally non-partisan! Also, non-parmesan!
Hi everybody! Thanks for dropping by!
I am currently on sabbatical until 2018. The past few years have been wonderful and amazing and terrifically exciting, but they have also been exhausting. The well is dry and I need to refill it! So this year I am working and playing in my studio, experimenting with new materials and new ideas, and hopefully coming up with some good ideas to turn into new books.
I won’t be doing any school visits or Skype visits this year, and I’ll be doing very little travel. At this writing, I am planning to return to that wild and crazy lifestyle in March of 2018.
If you’re interested in setting up a Skype visit or a school visit, thank you. I won’t be responding to requests for school visits (and other events that involve travel) until September of 2017, so please wait until then to inquire about those. Thank you!
I appreciate every one of my readers! Thanks for making what I do so worthwhile.