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Super Tiny Lil’ Bit at the National Book Festival!

25 Sep

Some of you might know about my compulsion to chew my fingers and fingernails to death on long car rides. This has nothing to do with Tom Angleberger’s driving, as he is quite good at it. It’s just something that happens, because I tend to get anxious about Things That Matter as well as about Things That Don’t Matter. To prevent this, I come prepared with stuff so that I can make something during our trip.

This time, we were headed to the National Book Festival in Washington, DC, to which Tom had been invited to do a presentation. I decided this time to make something for the Amazing Dav Pilkey (totally worth clicking on his link, by the way). What did I make? It’s Super Tiny Lil’ Bit, and here he is!

Introducing Super Tiny Lil’ Bit, looking pretty spiffy!

and here’s his cape!

But first, why Dav Pilkey? How could I possibly know the inspirational genius behind such masterpieces as the Captain Underpants series, the Ook and Gluk series, the Big Dog and Little Dog series, etc., etc.? I actually don’t really know him all that well. Just 5 minutes worth of knowing him, is all. But here’s what happened in those 5 minutes. During the Decatur Book Festival, we gave Dave this Dav this origami Captain Underpants that Tom had made:

Tom’s Origami C.U.!

And Dav loved it!

A thumbs-up from Dav Pilkey!

He liked it so much that he and his wife sent us the Most Amazing Care Package Ever Sent to Anyone on This Planet Earth. Seriously. And so I felt like the only way to thank him would be to make something else to send to him. Thus, Super Tiny Lil’ Bit.

STLB was done by the time we got to DC. So I decided to have a little bit of fun with him. He got to do a little sightseeing… and a little hobnobbing, too. He was a great ice-breaker and helped me talk to some of my favorite writers and illustrators, and also enjoyed spending some time with my pals from Northern VA. Check it out:

STLB for President! If he won, he’d live in this beautiful house.

Michael Buckley of N.E.R.D.S. and Sisters Grimm fame! He wore an Evel Knievel suit to promote his new book, Kel Gilligan’s Daredevil Stunt Show. Hilarious.

Matt Luckhurst, writer and illustrator of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox: The Great Pancake Adventure (be sure to check out his amazing videos on his website. OMG, as the kids like to say.)

Peter Brown, author and illustrator of Children Make Terrible Pets, plus plenty, plenty more!

Superfriend Madelyn Rosenberg, author of The Schmutzy Family and Happy Birthday, Tree!

Superfriend Butch Lazorchak, Library of Congress Mastermind/Digital Archivist!

New Superfriend Laura Mihalick, Trip-Planning and Scheduling Mastermind at Abrams/Amulet!

Wunderkind Adam Rex, of whom I am extremely jealous. That dude can outdraw anybody! Check out his book with Mac Barnett, Chloe and the Lion. Actually, check out ANY book with his name on it as author and/or illustrator. Amazing!

Mac Barnett! Heavens, those of you following this blog will know of my obsession with his book, Extra Yarn (illustrated by Jon Klassen). I was so happy to finally meet him.

And of course, STLB spent a lot of time with this fella:

I saw a bunch more folks, like graphic novelist and all-around lovely Raina Telgemeier of Smile and Drama fame, Wimpy Kid mastermind Jeff Kinney, author/illustrator Bob Shea of Dinosaur vs. The Potty fame (so fun to talk to!), hard-working Amulet publicist Jason Wells, and Super Library Guy Rocco Staino… and somehow did not manage to get their pictures with STLB like I should have. But it was so cool seeing all of them, too.

And then, we stopped in England to show STLB this:

Oh, wait! It’s really Foamhenge in Natural Bridge, VA, a creation of the supremely talented Mark Cline!

Anyway, a great trip. I’m sending Super Tiny Lil’ Bit in the mail to Dav this week. I’ll miss him, but based on the care package we got from Dav, it’s safe to say STLB will be VERY well fed, indeed. And Sock Monkey? He won’t miss STLB at all. He’s still not talking to us about this trip and all the people and places he didn’t get to see. Uh-oh.

Dave Lasky is my hero! Here’s how!

8 Aug

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.

The Big City Awaits!

10 Apr

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.

Today’s Shout-Out!

14 Mar

Today’s Shout-Out goes to the incredible Madelyn Rosenberg, who has TWO BOOKS coming out this fall: Happy Birthday, Tree, a Tu B’Shevat Story and The Schmutzy Family. And there’s gonna be so much more a-comin’, too, so keep your eyes peeled. I, for one, am very excited about what’s a-comin’. She has been toiling and waiting, and waiting, and waiting for so long. Seeing her books on the shelves for the first time will be like a national holiday in our house.

Who is Madelyn Rosenberg? I first met her when she worked with Tom at our local paper, the Roanoke Times; she was an ace reporter and features writer (and sometimes an editor, too) who could make you laugh and cry with just one story. And soon I found out that she had a zillion ideas, all of them good. A lot of them were hilarious get-rich-quick schemes. But what was and is great about Madelyn, is that she gets really, really excited about your ideas, maybe even more excited than she does about her own, and then she lights a fire under your be-hind so that you are helpless to do anything in her presence but to pursue that idea. She has been a huge support to both of us over the years, and I am particularly thrilled that Madelyn herself is soon gonna be OUT THERE.

I once did these little paintings for another friend (who will be getting her own shout-out soon). The paintings showed human organs anthropomorphized (if that makes any sense at all). Madelyn went wild about the idea of goofy organs. I mean, wild. I made her a little painting of a variety of organ friends, and she went wild again. So then, I made her newborn baby a quilt (which was probably intended more for Madelyn), and it had 26 organs on it, for each letter of the alphabet. Here are a couple of the quilt “squares”:

K is for Kidneys!

F is for Femur!

Madelyn, you are so #1!

A Star is ….

12 Feb

Bathed Awarded to Joe and Sparky!

Close personal friend of Sock Monkey, Jamie Michalak,  just got a big juicy Kirkus star for her new book: Joe and Sparky Get New Wheels!!!!

Joe and Sparky Get New Wheels

Sock Monkey meets the Boogie Woogie Man!

22 Jan

I recently gave a small workshop in Shawsville, VA,  for people interested in writing/illustrating a kids book and getting it published.

Attendees included poetess Mary Hill (one of Tom’s co-collaborators), a kidlit collector (with an incredible collection) and …. Pro Wrestling Superstar Jimmy “The Boogie Woogie” Man Valiant!


“Handsome Jimmy” Valiant is the handsome bearded man with the headband right next to me.

Now, Jimmy has already published his own memoir:

Mercy, indeed!


And his wife, Angel Valiant, has a kid’s picture book out called “Piggy in a Blanket.

But I suppose they thought they’d see what Cece had to say. Hopefully, we’re going to meet up with them again soon and swap a copy of “Sock Monkey Boogie Woogie” for “Piggy in a Blanket.”