Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Publishers Weekly Cover!!!

"If a Monkey Jumps Onto Your School Bus" made the cover of Publishers Weekly this week! I've been waiting to see it and today Ginger Nielson was so nice to send me a pic of the cover. Monkey had to share the spotlight with Don Ho and a few other folks. But he's OK with that. Yay Monkey!!

If a Monkey Jumps Onto Your School Bus is in the lower right hand corner.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Another Monkey Review

Below is a nice review of "If a Monkey Jumps Onto Your School Bus" on the Menasha, WI Kids Lit blog.

This book is published by Pleasant Street Press, a new small press publishing children's books whose first books were released in December. I wanted to point this out, because I think it is so important that we start looking beyond the large publishers for quality books.

This book is structured as a guide book for what you should do if the animals break out of the local zoo and start heading your way. And what should you do? If a hippo appears offer her pancakes and tea. Let the lion drive the carpool. And just get out of the elephant's way as he rounds the bases. The book is filled with humor and situations that children will enjoy. The juxtaposition of zoo animals and their everyday routines will get children engaged and laughing along. To add to the fun, try to spot the monkey on each page.

Cochran's jaunty rhymes contribute to the spirit of fun and move the book along at a romping pace. Morris' art is vivacious, colorful and very child-friendly. The docile animals add to the fun without creating any worry at all for children, even the grinning alligator is friendly.

Share this one for storytimes on any zoo animal, but especially monkeys. The rhyming is fun to read aloud and the illustrations will project well to a group.

If a Monkey Has a Release Party!

If a Monkey Jumps Onto Your School Bus
Written by Jean Cochran
Illustrated by me

"If a Monkey Jumps Onto Your School Bus" has been out for a few weeks now. But I never had a chance to share the great book release party we had back in December at the Lunenburg Public Library. Even though it was a very cold and blustery day, there were lots of kids, lots (and lots) of cookies and lots of fun.

Of course we read the book, "If a Monkey Jumps Onto Your School Bus," and looked for the monkey on each page. Then we learned how to draw monkeys. Yes, everyone can draw monkeys!

Then came my favorite part. We discussed character design and how characters can be great launching points for new story ideas. I challenged the kids to come up with new characters. By asking them some questions and combining lots of great ideas, the kids came up with some pretty wacky new characters. It was a blast illustrating their creations. Then I challenged them to go home and write a story about their new characters.

To all of you that were there - I'm still waiting for the story of Henrietta the Hula dancing leprechaun (shown below)!

Thanks everyone for making it a great book release party! For those of you that couldn't make it, visit my website to download the coloring pages and other handouts from the event.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Heart Day

Here's my contribution to the Illustration For Kids Valentine's day mailer.

I decided to expand on this odd little body painting penguin. Here is the first of a two page little story about him. I'll post part two when I have time to finish the artwork.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 11, 2008

No Swimming... No Kidding!

We went on vacation recently and visited the Florida everglades. I just thought I'd share this one pic. I thought this guy picked a great place to take a nap.

I'm Baaaaack

Me and some of the divas of children's book illustration!
From Left to Right... Jannie Ho (aka Chicken Girl) Courtney Pippin-Mathur, Leeza Hernandez, Me, and Kim Fleming (aka Lil' Kim) It was so wonderful meeting all of you!!

Wow, what a great weekend in NYC at the SCBWI winter conference! I don't have the patients or the blogging prowess to write everything that happened this weekend but Leeza Hernandez the blogging goddess has already done so for your viewing enjoyment. And she has done a much better job than I ever could. Thank you Leeza!

I was inspired by so many talented speakers like Jerry Pinkney, David Wiesner, and Nicky Grimes. Then occasionally discouraged about the state of the business but then inspired once again by the likes of Susan Patron and Richard Peck. Besides the speakers, it was so comforting to know there are other folks just like me out there. I met many wonderful and generous people that I'm sure will be the next big names in children's books.

I don't have much time but I'd like to share a few things I learned at the SCBWI conference...

1. Chicken Girl does not have feathers.

2. Do not take the E train at rush hour with a ton of luggage. (UGH! I'm sure everyone just LOVED me!)

3. Do not check into a hotel if they already have a guest with the exact same name as yours. Apparently that seriously confuses the folks at the front desk.

4. Be the first in line to have David Wienser to sign your book (the queue looked like the line for Space Mountain!)

5. When staying at a hotel, make sure you are always presentable just in case the fire alarms go off. (There was really a fire too though just a teeny one.)

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Valentine's Promotion

I'm packing my bags and heading down to NYC for the SCBWI conference tomorrow. I'm so excited!

Above is my contribution to Illustration For Kids Valentine's day promotional postcard. Happy Heart Day everyone!