New stuff from Brimfield…

As I said, I picked up a few things at the Brimfield show last week, because you can’t go there and NOT find anything, that would be impossible.
For me, anyhow!
Old stuff is aesthetically more interesting than most new stuff.
Again, for me, anyhow!

Some of the things I am a sucker for are vintage children’s books:

This coloring book is from 1934, and was never used. Why is that a little sad?

These are from 1950- I especially love the alphabet one!

These are teeny- about 3″ each. Wee stuff is always extra cute!

A little salute to Belgium and Holland:

That’s a wine label, I think…plus some sweet wooden shoes.

I always manage to find at least a few “new” old fabrics…

New-old stock Easter candy box= LOVE!

Another mysterious love- old, unused stickers, preferably the gummed paper kind, and especially if they’re in their original package!

Also an unused decal from one of our favorite meccas…Santa’s Village in NH!

And a little something more medieval, too:

Rampant unicorns! Huzzah!

That’s most of what I picked up. I guess I am generally an ephemera lover!

Let’s play catch up, shall we?

Did you have an awesome summer? Didja?

I have been having a good amount of fun coupled with a lot of work, both in and out of the studio. So, I let my blog languish a bit for summer. Now is the time to bring it up to speed as we go into FALL!

Going back a couple of months, I don’t think I ever showed you this fabulous new book called lllustrating Children’s Picture Books:

It’s by my friends Steve Withrow and Lesley Breen Withrow, and I was most happy to contribute a couple of articles to it. This one is about writing and illustrating board books, which is truly one of my favorite subjects:

This page is about the “other” markets you can pursue with your children’s art. If there’s one thing I do know a lot about, it’s “other” markets! This encompasses toys, fabrics, magazines, and stuff like that.

Let’s see… what else? Ah, I have been illustrating almost monthly for Highlights High Five, mainly little snippets of recipe ingredients.

I am continuing to create the Newport Creamery children’s menus. The current one is summer-themed and has Newport’s Cliff Walk on the cover. Next time you’re there, go ahead and ask for the kid’s menu!

I haven’t managed to update my website in a while (it’s on the list), so for now I will show you a few of my recently designed Fred items, now available at a store near YOU! Keep your eyes open for:

Salt ‘n’ Pants! Oh, how happy it makes me to see this one on the market! The little guy is salt, and his pants are pepper. I know it’s weird, but I’ve been trying to get it made for a couple of years now. Huzzah! Hooray for pants!

Another item I am glad to see out there is the Candy Stash. It’s a zip-up wallet shaped like those candy buttons stuck on paper. Mmmm, paper…and candy!

Fresh into the world is the Desk Daisy– a little potted plant that has 3 stems full of paper clip “petals”, held in place by magnets. Perky, huh?

Also new to the market are Chewdrivers…little interchangeable tool handles that can be fitted with a knife, fork, and spoon. This one was challenging to figure out, but it came out well and works like a charm.

Last but not least, I spent a good part of summer ferrying kids to and from the Swamp Meadow Summer Children’s Theatre. They did a very fun musical called “Olivia”, which was something like a female “Oliver” but with all new songs, and a totally different plot. Anyhoo, I did the art that was used for the playbills, t-shirts, and media stuff.

That’s all for now… we now return you to your regularly scheduled blog posts!

Book Signing at Barrington Books

It was a beautiful day in the neighborhood! Here are a few scenes from my recent book signing at Barrington Books on May 15th.

The amazing Mary Jane Begin was signing at the same time as me:

Her Willow Buds books are adorable!

Also signing later that day were Karen Dugan and Richard Evan Schwartz.

Karen has created some gorgeous books! Richard is a math guy who found a cool way to integrate math concepts into a colorful monster book.

Bonus! Lesley and Marin were there, too!

Many thanks to the staff of Barrington Books and to Anika Denise for arranging this fun day!

Book News!

Oh, Mr. Blog, you have been ignored long enough.
There are many fine things going on here in the studio, but for now, here are three, count ’em, THREE, book-related snippets!

Thing One:

It’s official! I have a new book coming out in March 2011, and I couldn’t be happier. It’s called “What Does a Seed Need?” and will be published by Grosset/Penguin. I wrote and illustrated it myself, and it will have fun-o-rama flaps and interactive bits. I will show pictures of it when I can!

Thing Two:

Last year, I illustrated a biography about Christopher Columbus, written by the delightful Marion Dane Bauer, that was designed for preschoolers. It was available only through the Scholastic Book Clubs (you know, those brochures that the kids bring home). Well, THIS year starting in August, you will be able to find the trade version at Regular Bookstores Near You! That makes me happy.

Thing Three:

I’m signing copies of my book What Kind of Rabbit Are You? at the Barrington Books Children’s Book Week Event. Barrington Books is a fabulous bookstore located (surprise!) in Barrington, RI. Signing with me at the same time (10 am-12pm) is the amazing Mary Jane Begin. There will be authors there from 10-4, so that would be a good day to come, right? Crafts and other fun stuff will be going on during the day. Come on down and say “hi”!

There you go… book news x 3!

Whispering Pines 2010

Arrival at sunset.

Once again, the marvelously beautiful acreage of the Alton Jones campus welcomed us to the Whispering Pines Writer’s Retreat! It is always such a treat to head into the woods and live amongst authors, illustrators, and book lovers of all kinds for a few days.

We were swept into the experience right away with good food, drinks, and a First Pages panel. Folks had anonymously submitted first pages of their works in progress and were able to get first impressions from the panel.

All ears on the first pages.

The panel: Agent Rebecca Sherman, Assistant Editor Connie Hsu, Associate Editor Alexandra Penfold, Author Cynthia Lord. Continue reading “Whispering Pines 2010”

2009 RI Festival of Children’s Books and Authors

Also known as one of THE BEST book festivals you can go to, and lucky, us, it’s right here in RI!


Every year, the Lincoln School in Providence opens up and we get treated to the best writers and illustrators currently working. That is no exaggeration! To wit:

Here’s Brian Selznick explaining some of the windy journey that led him to create The Invention of Hugo Cabret. What’s fun about this festival is that the speakers have to be ready to talk to a mixed audience of kids and adults. I find that a lot more engaging, and it seems like they feel that way too! Brian is at the top of his game- a wonderful author/illustrator, and a contemporary of ours from RISD (he graduated in ’88, Eric and I in ’89). Go Brian!


Here’s the amazing Lois Lowry, signing our festival poster. Our kids have read a bunch of her books, so it was a treat to see her in person.

lois lowrey_sign

Jerry Pinkney. What can you say about him? I’d say he’s in the Liz Top Ten of Living Illustrators. Oh, yeah- and add to that he’s a totally genuine guy who really cares about people. You can see this in person for sure, but I think it comes out in his art, too.

That’s his childhood home in the slide.

Look- there’s betty Brown getting her book signed!


Here’s Mary Ann Hoberman:


With a few fans!

Chris Van Allsburg: My old teacher from RISD!

A very popular presenter at the festival each year!

Christopher Paul Curtis gave a great talk, also geared for the mixed kid/adult audience, that had the place in stitches. Here he is coercing a boy to declare his love of reading, after which he gave him a cash “bookmark.” Ha! Hearing him describe his ascent from Detroit auto worker to Newbery and Coretta Scott King Award winner was purely inspirational.


Paul O. Zelinsky was there too…add another name to the Top Illustrator List! He’s prolific, and also seems to be able to bend his style to match a story, sometimes in very surprising ways. What an array of work…very inspiring. And very dapper to boot!


AS IF that weren’t enough, The Very Hungry Caterpillar was there, too!


I simply had to add to my signed book collection. Wouldn’t you? My only regrets are that we couldn’t see everyone there and hear all the talks. It’s pretty much impossible to do…but for however long you are there, it’s a top-notch treat and a wonderful experience. If you’re anywhere near RI next year, be sure you come to the Festival!


Hot Off the Press!

I love seeing where my designs turn up. Here are some neat new places to find a couple of my items!

Crazy Books, the Food edition is coming out in October in Germany from Edition Braus. The publisher is debuting it at the Frankfurt Book Fair this year. My Calf and Half creamer is in it- keep your eyes open when in Germany (drat, I was just there a few weeks ago)!

Crazy Books-Food

Here is the current Fall ’09 MOMA (Metropolitan Museum of Art) catalog, with another of my glass items, the Half-Pint Creamer. Every purchase made thru the catalog supports the museum. Sweet!


Socially Accepted Rabbits


I thought this was interesting/funny.
My bunny book, What Kind of Rabbit Are You? came up in a title search at the Chicago Public Library. I’m happy to know it’s there!

What’s interesting are the many subjects under which it falls, all of which are searchable in their database:

Rabbits Juvenile fiction.
Social acceptance Juvenile fiction.
Conduct of life Juvenile fiction.
Perception Juvenile fiction.
Toy and movable books Specimens.
Rabbits Fiction.
Social acceptance Fiction.
Conduct of life Fiction.
Perception Fiction.
Stories in rhyme.
Pop-up books.
Toy and movable books.

I wonder what else is in the “conduct of life” section!

New Book! Christopher Columbus

I have a new book coming out juuuussst about now, in time for Columbus Day 2009. It’s Christopher Columbus, written by Marion Dane Bauer and illustrated by me!
It’s published by Scholastic and will appear in their school book club mailings.

columbus cover

There’s nothing more fun than seeing a book in print and receiving a box of ’em!


This is a new line for Scholastic: biographies for the very young/preschoolers. The text takes you from Christopher as a young boy through his many attempts at securing ships for exploration, to when he finally lands in San Salvador.


Let me know if you see it in on your book order form!

Authors Heart Kids, Too

The first ever Kids Heart Authors Day went really well here in Rhode Island! Barrington Books is a fabulously well-stocked store, and they went all out to make for a festive book signing event. It was truly heartwarming to see so many people (both the kind that make books, and the kind that read books) enthusiastically supporting this event.

Here are the five of us that were at Barrington Books:

Linda Crotta Brennan, Me, Anika Denise, Chris Denise, and Mary Jane Begin.


See what a nice job they did of making the setting as playful as possible? Excellent job!

Linda and I had fun chatting, meeting lots of little people and their parents, and eating M+M’s.


Chris and Anika have a great rapport with their little book fans.


Thank you to everyone who came out, and to Barrington Books for supporting such a great event!