Category Archives: Reblogged

J.L. Meyer: Durian King

From: Illustrations and Comic art
October 20, 2012 at 04:53PM

I am happy to share the card I did for Duel Masters.

It is based on the Durian Tree.

The set is released in Japan!


Caroline Gray: Video Tutorials: How to Make a Magnetic Puppet Theater

From: Caroline Gray Illustration
October 19, 2012 at 02:46PM

I have completed two new video tutorials this week!

The first, How to Make a Magnetic Puppet Theater, is craft project designed for children (approx. age 8 and up) or adults to complete using basic household items.

The second is a needle felting instructional video for creating magnetic puppets to go with the aforementioned puppet theater. Coming soon: how to create more basic magnetic puppets from corks and spools.–fLfrruw&feature=plcp

Linda Zajac:

From: Linda Zajac
October 19, 2012 at 11:36AM

I’ve been watching the presidential and vice presidential debates with interest.  Granted, I’m not an expert on many of the topics they discussed, but I do know quite a bit about science and climate change.  The focus seems to be on the cost of energy when, by far, the more important issue is what are we going to do about carbon dioxide levels that impact atmospheric temperature and the health of our oceans.  This has yet to be discussed.

Here is a link to a description of a couple of kid’s classes I’ll be running in early November.  There will be plenty of interacting and I have lots of fun activities planned.  I hope to see you there!

Speaking of classes, I took one myself.  It was fascinating stuff that I stumbled upon while doing research for one project I’m working on.  The professor and grad students used shrinky dinks (how fun!) to explain how they are doing their work.  We poured goop called PVMS (I think that stands for polyvinylmethylsiloxane) on our designs.  After shrinking, the design was raised slightly because the ink gets denser when it shrinks.   When the plastic hardened, they cut out plastic cubes.  (top photo: butterfly shrinky dink covered in hardened plastic with a square cut out of it) After drilling holes they injected dye into the tiny channels of these reverse images.  (bottom photo: reverse image glued to glass slide with dye injected into holes)   It was a really interesting way to understand the work they are doing.     

Gail Gauthier: The Kennedys As Historical Details

From: Original Content
October 19, 2012 at 12:47PM

Just yesterday I was writing about The FitzOsbornes in Exhile‘s similarity to various series on Masterpiece and its use of Kathleen and Joseph Kennedy, Jr. as historical details. Well, I just saw last Sunday’s episode of Upstairs Downstairs and who should appear at 165 Eaton Place but Ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr., the missus, and one of the boys. I missed which one it was–he was skinny like Joe, Jr., but it could have been Jack. He didn’t have much of an impact on the story because it does look as if he was just there because, well, the Kennedys were in London in the 1930s.

Jeannine Atkins: The Poetry Friday Anthology

From: Jeannine Atkins
October 19, 2012 at 12:10PM

The Poetry Friday Anthology was the dream child of Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong, who have compiled other great collections. In their introduction, they advocate reading poetry first and foremost for pleasure, but also point out ways that reading poetry fulfills the Common Core standards for kindergarten through grade 5. Each poem is accompanied by five discussion questions, which relate to language arts skills, personal experiences, or comparisons to other poems. I love how easy this makes it for teachers to add poetry the day, providing enough poems for five minutes on each Friday of the school year. These poems are written by dozens of well-known poets, and many are full of humor and enchanting twists, providing ways for students to bond over the language, the topics, and some original silliness. You can see samples on the Poetry Friday Blog.
CC green cover exact

I’m happy to have two poems included. Here’s one followed by a picture of an inspiration (which Peter took when we were walking a few days ago).

Good Dog! Bad Dog!

Good dog never wakes us up.

Yip! Bad dog jumps on the bed.

Good dog shakes for a biscuit.

Bad dog snitches jam and bread.

Good dog chews dog toys.

Bad dog chews the chair.

Good dog comes when called.

Bad dog doesn’t care.

Good dog snuggles by my feet.

Bad dog steals my heart.

No, that’s our good dog!

Some days we can’t tell them apart.

Copyright © 2012 Jeannine Atkins. All rights reserved.


For Poetry Friday links, please visit Irene Latham at Live Your Poem, where she’s featuring a collaborative zoo poem (I wrote a goat couplet) to celebrate her new novel. which has a zoo setting: Don’t Feed the Boy.

Michelle Cusolito: Go Mushroom Hunting With Your Kids

From: Polliwog on Safari
October 19, 2012 at 08:33AM

Photo taken in Bartlett, NH 6 Oct 2012

Many people associate autumn with aging and the approach of death. Indeed many poems have been written about being in the “autumn” of one’s life. Sure, annual plants die during the first frost. Deciduous trees lose their leaves and  look dead to some. But around here, mushroom/fungi seem to come to life out of nowhere during September and October.

Have you noticed how many are around? Last year, I took a walk and focused on locating and photographing the variety of mushrooms I saw. Yesterday, I left my camera at home but saw just as many when I was out in our woods.

So here’s a nature adventure for you and your kids this weekend- go out mushroom hunting! Maybe hand your kids a point and shoot camera and see how many they can photograph. (Use the “macro” setting to get good shots. The symbol looks like a flower on most cameras). Later, you can try to identify them using a field guide, if you choose.

CAUTION: Just remember that many mushrooms are poisonous. Only trained experts should pick and eat mushrooms. In fact, I generally encourage my kids not to touch mushrooms because I can’t identify the poisonous ones. If we do touch them, we immediately wash our hands thoroughly.

How many different kinds of mushrooms do you think you can find? Have your kids make a prediction before you go out. Then, I hope you’ll report back to us!

If you don’t live in the northeast or an area with lots of mushrooms right now, what organism can you search out this weekend? I’d love to hear what you find.

Related Posts:
Mushroom Hunting

Stress Therapy: Get Back To Nature

Sarah Albee: Liquid Asset

From: Sarah Albee
October 19, 2012 at 05:30AM

Typewriter correction fluid, known commercially as Liquid Paper, was invented by a divorced mother in 1951 who was trying to earn extra income. In 1979 she sold the product for over $47 million dollars. Her son, Michael Nesmith, was a member of The Monkees.

Sarah Albee: N is for Nylghau

From: Sarah Albee
October 19, 2012 at 04:23AM

I’ve written a lot of alphabet books over the course of my career. (The book pictured above is one example of my alphabet oeuvre, which seemed timely.) Writing alphabet books is kind of an essential skill to acquire if you write for preschoolers, and especially so if you want to work, as I did, at Sesame Street. I was there for nine years.

One thing I learned from bitter experience: alphabet books are hard to write. Because you don’t want to get it wrong. You think, hah, I got this: D is for Dog. And the people down in Research shake their heads and tell you, no, the kid will say “Barkley.” How about D is for Daffodil, then? (Nope. The kid will say flower.) M is for Monster? (They massage their temples with barely-restrained patience and tell you no, the kid won’t say “M is for Monster.” The kid will say ”M is for Elmo.”) You think, hmmm. Here’s a foolproof one: C is for Coat. And Research says “Uh-uh. Jacket.” And you can’t say K is for knife for several obvious reasons, or C is for Chocolate for several other obvious reasons— or G is for Gnu or N is for Nylghau. (I’m becoming facetious, which also tends to happen when you’re writing an alphabet book and you arrive at the letter Q and realize you basically have queen or quilt as your pictureable objects. But you get my point I hope.)

And then there’s the Dreaded X. What do you picture on the X page? If you are writing a Sesame Street book, you put Cookie Monster on the page, standing behind an X-ray machine, showing his tummy with a lot of half-eaten cookies in it.

I turned to historical ABC books as a sort of snapshot of the kinds of pictureable objects that would have been familiar to kids in times past. You have to hope that the author/illustrators were trying their best to picture things familiar to kids of their era, but after you look at some of these, it does make you wonder. Have a look.

Here’s a picture alphabet from the UK national archives collection, 1885.

G is for Geranium. Hear that, Sesame Street Research? O is for Opera Glasses. And for X? X is for X-mas, silly.

We turn now to Dame Wonder’s Picture Alphabet, of anonymous authorship and unknown year of publication, but it’s certainly nineteenth century. I won’t take the time to show every letter–you can click on the link to see the whole thing–but a few entries are worth noting, like I is for Italian:J for Jane? Do you see that, Research?

Here’s U for Uncle (puhleeze). And how do they handle X in this one?X is for the number ten, or “No X” as the artist renders that numeral.

Here’s an entry from an 1850 Alphabet book.


Why, sure. M is for Monkey, drinking a glass of champagne, and N is for Nylghau.

How does this author handle the letter X? He totally wusses out.And finally, we have Little Pets Linen ABC, from the year 1886.

I’d love to show you the whole thing, but here’s G through L.

Note that G is for Gnu, Gun, and Groom. And please also note that the juggler is juggling KNIVES. My former colleagues down in Research have probably fainted dead away by this point, if they’re reading this.

And M through R.

Note that N is once again for Nylghau, and also (cringe) Negro.

And here is S through Z, which is a low quality scan but I had to show you how they dealt with X:

I know it’s hard for you to see it, but X is for Xerxes.

Here’s the cover of this book, by the way. From what I can tell, “Little Pets” was a series brand. And those kids on the cover, trying to tear apart the book? At least one is a boy. (For more about that, click here.)

Halloween ABC by Sarah Albee, illustrated by Julia Woolf, Random House, 2009

Peter Davis: Ad Stalking

From: The Tech Curmudgeon
October 19, 2012 at 01:00AM

Gail Gauthier: Like Reading A “Masterpiece” Series–And There’s Nothing Wrong With That

From: Original Content
October 18, 2012 at 08:13PM

I am enjoying the Montmaray Journals by Michelle Cooper, which began with A Brief History of Montmaray. In The FitzOsbornes in Exile, the royal family of Montmaray is living the 1930’s London upper class life some of us have come to know and love from various novels and Masterpiece series. Unlike the first Montmaray novel, which I found difficult to categorize, this one is probably a formulaic England-under-the-cloud-of-coming-war story.

I felt A Brief History of Montmaray had an odd plot because the event that changes the world for the characters and sets everything in motion didn’t start until halfway through the book. The Montmaray Journals brings serial novels to historical fiction, something that we usually see with fantasy, and the event that changes the world for these characters this time occurred at the end of book one–the Nazis force the royal family out of their island kingdom. In The FitzOsbornes in Exile they don’t really start dealing with that until, once again, halfway through the book. Initially, they are fish out of water, not fitting in with the shallow London debutantes because they’ve had a much rougher life, despite being royal. Then the rest of the book deals with them trying to get the world to recognize what has become of their country. Like the first book, this one even has a climax filled with physical danger, though I found it more improbable than what happened in book one.

The FitzOsbornes in Exile probably suffers a bit from being the middle book in a trilogy. It’s the book that pretty much acts as filler between the hook that caught readers’ attention in the first place and the big finale, which in this case is going to involve World War II. I, for one, am expecting a big, big finale.

As charming as the FitxOsbornes are, I can imagine them wearing on some readers a bit because they are so beautiful, intelligent, and noble. But I love the period details in these books. I am familiar with the Mitford sisters, who are mentioned a few times here, and Sir Oswald Mosley, who gets even more space. (He’s almost a semi-regular on Masterpiece, turning up in both Upstairs Downstairs and, I believe, Foyle’s War.) I certainly recognize the names Kathleen Kennedy and Joseph Kennedy, Jr., though I’m not sure how their presence adds to the story, unless their fates come into the third book.

At one point, the main character is asked if she’s been reading Machiavelli. “No,” she says, “I’m reading Regency Buck, by Georgette Heyer….and it’s got Beau Brummell in it.” Regency Buck was published in 1935, making it a likely choice of reading material for a young society woman living in the late 1930s. And note that Sophia points out that the book includes Beau Brummell, who might be described as more of a historical celebrity than historical figure. She’s mentioning a book that uses a real person from the past as a character, just as the book she, herself, appears in does. Kind of cool.

As I said, I love the period detail. I wonder if you have to know the period to recognize the details, though, to play the history game. And if  you can’t play the game, does that lessen your enjoyment of the book?

Since I can play the game, I will be reading the third book in the series, The FitzOsbornes at War.

Loree Griffin Burns: Cool Buzz!

From: A Life in Books
October 18, 2012 at 11:22AM

© Catherine Griffin Burns

“Put on your veil, grab your hive tool, and light up your smoker … we’re going into a beehive.”

When I wrote those words to open THE HIVE DETECTIVES, I never, ever, ever thought I would say them out loud in my own backyard. But on Tuesday, with my daughter and her camera nearby, I did just that. And guess who was there to hear them?

Mary Duane!

Mary is the beekeeper who helped me introduce honey bees and hives and honey-making to readers in THE HIVE DETECTIVES. How fitting that she be the one to help me through my first hive inspection, patiently reminding me how to keep my smoker lit, how to use my hive tool properly, and how to stay calm when a honey bee landed on my veil. (I honestly couldn’t tell if it was on the outside or the inside.)

Oh, the places a book will bring you!

Jennifer Thermes: Sled Ride ~ Giveaway!

From: Art, Words, Life
October 18, 2012 at 10:01AM

The Sled Ride book releases on November 9th! I’m giving away three copies on Goodreads to celebrate. Head on over and enter!

    .goodreadsGiveawayWidget { color: #555; font-family: georgia, serif; font-weight: normal; text-align: left; font-size: 14px;
      font-style: normal; background: white; }
    .goodreadsGiveawayWidget img { padding: 0 !important; margin: 0 !important; }
    .goodreadsGiveawayWidget a { padding: 0 !important; margin: 0; color: #660; text-decoration: none; }
    .goodreadsGiveawayWidget a:visted { color: #660; text-decoration: none; }
    .goodreadsGiveawayWidget a:hover { color: #660; text-decoration: underline !important; }
    .goodreadsGiveawayWidget p { margin: 0 0 .5em !important; padding: 0; }
    .goodreadsGiveawayWidgetEnterLink { display: block; width: 150px; margin: 10px auto 0 !important; padding: 0px 5px !important;
      text-align: center; line-height: 1.8em; color: #222; font-size: 14px; font-weight: bold;
      border: 1px solid #6A6454; -moz-border-radius: 5px; -webkit-border-radius: 5px; font-family:arial,verdana,helvetica,sans-serif;
      background-image:url(; background-repeat: repeat-x; background-color:#BBB596;
      outline: 0; white-space: nowrap;
    .goodreadsGiveawayWidgetEnterLink:hover { background-image:url(;
      color: black; text-decoration: none; cursor: pointer;

    Goodreads Book Giveaway


        The Iciest, Diciest, Scariest Sled Ride Ever! by Rebecca Rule



          The Iciest, Diciest, Scariest Sled Ride Ever!


          by Rebecca Rule


            Giveaway ends November 17, 2012.

            See the giveaway details
            at Goodreads.




      Enter to win

SCBWI: Registration for #NY13SCBWI Opens Friday Oct 19, 2012!

From: The Official SCBWI Blog
October 18, 2012 at 11:19AM

It’s the biggest event of the winter, in New York City!  (Feb 1-3, 2013)

Check out the faculty and schedule announced so far and more details are rolling out…

There will be a private portfolio showcase for illustrators, a Gala Party on Saturday evening, and a new Elements of the Novel intensive on Friday (as well as the Writers Roundtable where you get to read your work to an acquiring agent or editor and the Illustrators Intensive – Lessons Learned: A Candid Conversation about Arriving, Surviving, and Thriving as a Picture Book Illustrator.)

The roster of faculty and keynote presenters is beyond impressive:  Mo Willems! Shaun Tan! Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton! Margaret Peterson Haddix! Meg Rosoff! Matthew Kirby! Lewin! Krista Marino! Floyd Cooper! Barbara McClintock! David Ezra Stein! Jane Yolen! Linda Sue Park!

Registration opens tomorrow (Friday, October 19, 2012) at 10am pacific standard time at
(There’s even a discount rate on a block of hotel rooms.)

This Winter Conference will be full of amazing opportunities, craft, business, inspiration and community… and we hope to see you there!

Illustrate and Write On,

The Write Sisters: Poetry Friday: Falling

October 18, 2012 at 11:02AM

A 29-year-old stewardess fell … to her
death tonight when she was swept
through an emergency door that sud-
denly sprang open … The body …
was found … three hours after the
                              —New York Times
The states when they black out and lie there rolling    when they turn
To something transcontinental    move by    drawing moonlight out of the great
One-sided stone hung off the starboard wingtip    some sleeper next to
An engine is groaning for coffee    and there is faintly coming in
Somewhere the vast beast-whistle of space. In the galley with its racks
Of trays    she rummages for a blanket    and moves in her slim tailored
Uniform to pin it over the cry at the top of the door. As though she blew

The door down with a silent blast from her lungs    frozen    she is black
Out finding herself    with the plane nowhere and her body taking by the throat
The undying cry of the void    falling    living    beginning to be something
That no one has ever been and lived through    screaming without enough air
Still neat    lipsticked    stockinged    girdled by regulation    her hat
Still on    her arms and legs in no world    and yet spaced also strangely
With utter placid rightness on thin air    taking her time    she holds it
In many places    and now, still thousands of feet from her death she seems
To slow    she develops interest    she turns in her maneuverable body 

To watch it. She is hung high up in the overwhelming middle of things in her

Self    in low body-whistling wrapped intensely    in all her dark dance-weight
Coming down from a marvellous leap    with the delaying, dumfounding ease
Of a dream of being drawn    like endless moonlight to the harvest soil
Of a central state of one’s country    with a great gradual warmth coming
Over her    floating    finding more and more breath in what she has been using
For breath    as the levels become more human    seeing clouds placed honestly
Below her left and right    riding slowly toward them    she clasps it all
To her and can hang her hands and feet in it in peculiar ways    and
Her eyes opened wide by wind, can open her mouth as wide    wider and suck
All the heat from the cornfields    can go down on her back with a feeling

Shoshana Flax: Calling all nonfiction fans!

From: Walk the Ridgepole
October 18, 2012 at 08:55AM

Much of the best nonfiction for kids is, in one way or another, interactive. It gives them a chance to do something: breeze past one spread, choose another spread to obsess over, explore this diagram, discover what’s under this flap or that fold-out. Astound their friends and family with their ownership of topic-specific knowledge. Two people who realize this are author Richard Platt and illustrator Stephen Biesty, both of whom will be at the USS Constitution Museum in Charlestown, MA (close to Boston’s North End) this weekend.

Platt, author of books in the Incredible Cross-Section and Eyewitness series and most recently of Plague, Pox and Pestilence, will present “Finding a Voice: Writing Non-Fiction for Children” at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, with a meet-and-mingle reception preceding from 12:00 to 2:30.

 Biesty, illustrator of the Incredible Cross-Section books and other works including the very cool Into the Unknown: How Explorers Found Their Way by Land, Sea, and Air, will present “Illustrating History in Detail” at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, also preceded by a meet-and-mingle reception from 12:00 to 2:30.

While you’re there, check out the museum’s All Hands on Deck: A Sailor’s Life in 1812 exhibit. What was that about nonfiction being interactive?

%d bloggers like this: