Ho Ho Ho!

I hope everyone has a very special Christmas!

O Solo Mio!

What’s not to love about a singing rat?


It is possible for naked mole rats to be cute.

You Go, Jo!

In case you did not know this, I am a member of SCBWI, otherwise known as The Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators. Foolishly I have never been very involved in SCBWI the way I am with CANSCAIP (Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators & Performers), because I’ve always been rather intimidated by this stellar organisation. But that is going to change, because I’m attending my first US Conference next year in New York! And yes, I’m terrified. But I’ve done things that have scared me before (flying to Nunavut, performing in front of people), so somehow I’ll manage (I hope).

Something else that I’ve done to get more involved in SCBWI is to enter their annual Tomie dePaola Art Award! I have chosen to illustrate a scene from Little Women (confession: I’ve yet to read the book. Have seen the movie with Katharine Hepburn, though). Here’s the text that I chose to illustrate:

Every few weeks she would shut herself up in her room, put on her scribbling suit, and “fall into a vortex,” as she expressed it, writing away at her novel with all her heart and soul, for till that was finished she could find no peace. Her “scribbling suit” consisted of a black pinafore on which she could wipe her pen at will, and a cap of the same material, adorned with a cheerful red bow, into which she bundled her hair when the decks were cleared for action. This cap was a beacon to the inquiring eyes of her family, who, during these periods, kept their distance, merely popping in their heads semi-occasionally, to ask, “Does genius burn, Jo?” They did not always venture even to ask this question, but took an observation of the cap, and judged accordingly. If this expressive article of dress was drawn low upon the forehead, it was a sign that hard work was going on; in exciting moments it was pushed rakishly askew, and when despair seized the author it was plucked wholly off, and cast upon the floor.

You can see some of the other entries here, at the Unofficial Gallery.

Pirates & Penguins in the Land of OZ!

I just found out that The Pirate and the Penguin is now selling in Australia, thanks to Macmillan Australia! Woot! What’s not to love about pirates & penguins in the land of Oz? Seems like a perfect fit to me! So c’mon you lovely Aussies – Christmas is just around the corner, mate!

Winter is Fun! Really!

Woot! The December issue of Chirp is all about Winter Fun! Now I’ve said this before, and yes, I’m gonna say it again – I don’t care for winter sports. I don’t play hockey, can’t ski or skate, and I’m not a fan of tobogganing. Can’t do the luge, either, I’m afraid. But in spite of my sporty limitations, I love winter! So bring on the snow, baby! I’m ready to sit inside a warm cosy house & drink coffee and gaze out the window! Ain’t that sporty?

One more, but no monster in sight…

Cute, contrite children. Why are they contrite? Could it have something to do with a cute monster? Who is Lucy? Bwa ha ha ha ha…


Here’s a little bit of some new stuff I’ve been working on lately. And no, you don’t get to see the monster. Not yet, anyway. But I can assure you, she is uber cute. Don’t trust this crazy guy.

Life Story

“And, now it is your life story and it is you who play the leading role. The stage is set. The time is now. In the place, wherever you are. Each passing second, a new link in the endless chain of time. The drama of life is a continuous story. Ever new, ever changing and ever wondrous to behold.”

– from Life Story, written and illustrated by Virginia Lee Burton.

The Important Thing About November is…that’s it’s Picture Book Month!

It’s still November, and it’s still Picture Book Month. And that’s important! You know what else is important? The Important Book, written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Leonard Weisgard. I never read this book as a kid, and I confess that when I discovered it a couple years ago, the book kinda freaked me out.

I found Leonard Weisgard’s art to be strange and a wee bit scary, and though I loved the gentle simplicity of MWB’s writing, my first thoughts were, “Well, duh – of course the important thing about rain is that it is wet! And really – there are lots of important things about rain, not just that it is wet!” But the more I read it, the more it grew on me. The Important Book is a unique and fascinating way to introduce a child to the many delightful sights and senses of the world.

It’s easy to forget as an adult that kids are new to the planet, and need a little help along the way. That’s pretty important.

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