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rhcrayon: The Blog!

Jan. 26th, 2009

12:00 am - New Beginnings: Charlotte's Web and More

New Beginnings

Just in time for the first Westside Schmooze of the year
the first weekend after the Schmooze
the Inauguration
Chinese New Year
comes this post on New Beginnings!

So, you know how E.B. White's Charlotte's Web contains what is probably the most famous first line in children's book history?

"Where's Papa going with that ax?" said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast.
     —Charlotte's Web, E.B. White (Middle Grade, Newbery Honor). HarperCollins, 1952

Did you know that other versions of this opening exist, that are totally different?? Earlier drafts?? And that they are totally available to the public?!?!

Well, they're "totally available" if you contact the super nice librarians at Cornell University's Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections and ask them to look them up for you—and those librarians are so nice as to type them up and email them back. That's what Westside Schmoozer Eric Drachman did—and what the librarians did!!—in preparation for our first Westside Schmooze of 2009.


I love this opening to Charlotte's Web beyond all reason and can't imagine the whole world doesn't want to hear what the earlier drafts sounded like. I think it's okay to post them . . .

Here is the email from the librarian:

Dear Eric,

I have been able to locate three very different starts to "Charlotte's Web.

1. Chapter I. The Barn (in White's hand)
A barn can have a horse in it, and a barn can have a cow in it, and a barn can have hens scratching in the chaff and swallows flying in and out through the door -- but if a barn hasn't got a pig in it, it is hardly worth talking about. I am very Glad to say that Mr. Zuckerman's barn had a pig in it, and therefore I feel free to talk about it as much as I want to. The pig's name was Wilbur.

2. Chapter I. Escape (in White's hand)
I shall speak first of Wilbur.
Wilbur was a small beautiful, nicely behaved symmetrical pig living in a manure pile in the cellar of a barn. He was what farmers call a spring pig -- which simply means that he was born in springtime. But there is no use talking about Wilbur until we have looked into the matter of the barn itself. The barn was very large. It was very old.

3. Chapter I (typed and corrected in White's hand)
At midnight, John Arable pulled his boots on, lit a lantern, and walked out to the hog house. The sky was clear, the earth smelled of springtime. Inside the hog house, the sow lay on her side; her eyes were closed. Huddled in a corner stood the newborn pigs, eleven of them. They had their heads together, in a circle, like football players before a play

There is no mention in any of them of the axe at the beginning.

I hope this meets with your request. If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to email again.

[super nice librarian's name redacted, though I'm not sure this is necessary]

They actually sound pretty good, don't they? (Some Schmoozers wished they sounded worse.) If you read the beginning to Chapter 3 in the book, you can see how E.B. White recycled and used many of the lines from his opening about the barn, so that work wasn't wasted. My own copy has that part underlined with smiley faces—by a younger me—so I am happy for the writer about that.

The final version of the opening definitely communicates all of the elements we mentioned at the Schmooze that a great opening might: intended genre/age group, tone, theme ("MURDER!!"/death ;) ), setting, and (optional) who the main characters will be. I personally have always also loved the opening to Charlotte's Web for another reason: It doesn't feel like an opening at all. You practically fall face-first into the kitchen and are off and running, without realizing you're only one line in.

Our Westside Schmooze topic this month was Beginnings--as in, what kinds of first lines will grab readers' and editors' attention, and do the openings to today's successful children's books all possess this special something? This was the first Westside Schmooze after the holidays and the first to be led by Lee Wind and me as its new Co-Coordinators. Our big idea was to invite everyone to bring in their own opening lines, and, after some initial discussion of the topic, to mix them in with beginnings from already published books. We read them out loud, and everyone discussed what they got out of each and whether (by a show of hands) they'd read on. The writers didn't have to reveal themselves, though some did. The quality of work brought in was outstanding.

You can read how the whole night went at Lee's fantastic recap at the official SCBWI Tri-Regions of Southern California Schmooze Blog. He got all our notes onlines, plus links to more resources!

For my part, I just want to say:

1) As much as I've spoken up at the Schmooze before, I've never had the experience of opening my mouth and suddenly seeing all heads in the room go down, every person silent and writing. It was a little disconcerting. But I'm a big note-taker, too, so I tried to be cool.

2) Lee and I totally overprepared. Just choosing which published books to read from grew into a task. After narrowing our favorites to those recently published and bestselling—ideally to indicate what publishers and readers are buying now—and after defining our categories—Picture Books, Chapter Books, Middle Grades, Young Adults, graphic novels; fiction, non-fiction; historical, fantasy, realistic, funny, and edgy—to make sure we had a balanced representation; and after making allowances for a few older books that were either really, really successful (or that I really, really loved), by the time I'd added my picks to Lee's, we had 63 selections, all typed up.

At the Schmooze, we read a total of 26 Beginnings: 20 brought in by Schmoozers, and 6 brought in by us.

So, here are a few more we didn't read. You tell me: Which ones are your favorites? What kinds of books do these first lines promise, and which ones make you want to read more? (You can read the 6 we did share, at the Schmooze recap linked above.)

I did not choose any books based on whether I loved their first lines. I didn't want to bias the topic ("What makes a great opening?") according to my tastes. Lee and I were more interested in whether first lines pulled from books that were loved overall held up under the group's scrutiny. )

(Also Note:
We didn't show any book covers at the Schmooze, so you have a different advantage. It's just more fun to post pictures. But maybe this is more true to how readers choose their books, anyway.)

The day I decided to steal a dog was the same day my best friend, Luanne Godfrey, found out I lived in a car.
    I had told Mama she would find out sooner or later, seeing as how she’s so nosy and all. But Mama had rolled her eyes and said, “Just get on up there to the bus stop, Georgina, and quit your whining.”

—How to Steal a Dog, Barbara O’Connor (Middle Grade). Frances Foster Books/Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007

It’s hard work being a kid.
    First of all, there’s school. Then there’s soccer practice, violin class, voice lessons, walking Sparky, babysitting your little sister, not to mention having to eat your vegetables!
    So, one day, Brian decided to retire.

—The Retired Kid, Jon Agee (Picture Book, NY Times Pick of the Year). Hyperion Books for Children/Disney, 2008

Look, I didn’t want to be a half-blood.
    If you’re reading this because you think you might be one, my advice is: close this book right now. Believe whatever lie your mom or dad told you about your birth, and try to lead a normal life.
—Percy Jackson & The Olympians, Book One: The Lightning Thief, Rick Riordan (Middle Grade fantasy). Miramax Books/Hyperion Books for Children, 2005

When Bird woke up, he was grumpy.
    He was too grumpy to eat. He was too grumpy to play. In fact, he was too grumpy to fly.
    “Looks like I’m walking today,” said Bird.

—Grumpy Bird, Jeremy Tankard (Picture Book). Scholastic Press, 2007

Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you’d expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just didn’t hold with such nonsense.
    Mr. Dursley was the director of a firm called Grunnings, which made drills.

—Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone, J.K. Rowling. Illustrations by Mary Grandpré (Middle Grade fantasy). Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic Press, 1997

Bat is waking, upside down as usual, hanging by her toenails. Her beady eyes open. Her pixie ears twitch. She shakes her thistledown fur.

—Bat Loves the Night, Nicola Davies, ill. By Sarah Fox-Davies (non-fiction Picture Book). Candlewick Press, 2004

The Stein family lived in the pretty pink house with lovely purple shutters down at the end of Daffodil Street. Everything about the house was bright and cheery. Everything, that is, except the upstairs bedroom with the tiny round window.
    That room belonged to Franny K. Stein, and she liked to keep it dark, and spooky, and creepy.

—Franny K. Stein Mad Scientist #1: Lunch Walks Among Us, Jim Benton (younger Middle Grade? Chapter Book?). Simon & Schuster, 2003

I am running.
    That’s the first thing I remember. Running.
I carry something, my arm curled around it, hugging it to my chest. Bread, of course. Someone is chasing me. “Stop! Thief!” I run. People. Shoulders. Shoes. “Stop! Thief!”

—Milkweed, Jerry Spinelli (Middle Grade/Young Adult? historical fiction about a boy in the Holocaust). Alfred A. Knopf, 2003

Claudia knew that she could never pull off the old-fashioned kind of running away. That is, running away in the heat of anger with a knapsack on her back. She didn’t like discomfort; even picnics were untidy and inconvenient: all those insects and the sun melting the icing on the cupcakes. Therefore, she decided that her leaving home would not be just running from somewhere but would be running to somewhere. To a large place, a comfortable place, an indoor place, and preferably a beautiful place. And that's why she decided upon the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

—From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, E.L. Konigsburg (Middle Grade, Newbery Medal winner). Simon & Schuster, 1967

On Career Day Lily visited her dad’s work with him and discovered he worked for a mad scientist who wanted to rule the earth through destruction and desolation. 
    Up until then life hadn’t been very interesting for Lily. There had not been very many mad scientists.

—Whales on Stilts, M.T. Anderson (Middle Grade awesome). Harcourt, Inc., 2005

Everybody knows the story of the Three Little Pigs. Or at least they think they do. But I’ll let you in on a little secret. Nobody knows the real story, because nobody has ever heard my side of the story.
    I’m the wolf. Alexander T. Wolf.
    You can call me Al.
—The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs, Jon Scieszka. Ill. by Lane Smith. (Picture Book awesome) Viking/Penguin, 1989

I’m a sweating fat kid standing on the edge of the subway platform staring at the tracks. I’m seventeen years old, weigh 296 pounds, and I’m six-foot-one. I have a crew cut, yes a crew cut, sallow skin, and the kind of mouth that puckers when I breathe. I’m wearing a shirt that reads MIAMI BEACH—SPRING BREAK 1997, and huge, bland tan pants—the only kind of pants I own. Eight pairs, all tan.

—Fat Kid Rules the World, K.L. Going (Young Adult awesome). G.P. Putnam’s Sons / Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers, 2003

“Happy Year of the Rat!” Dad said as he toasted us with his glass. The clinking noises filled the air as the adults knocked glasses of wine against the kids’ cups of juice.
    It was the eve of Chinese New Year and my best friend, Melody, and her family had come for the celebration dinner just as they had for the last two years.

—The Year of the Rat, Grace Lin (Middle Grade, and a book I once blogged about here). Little, Brown and Company, 2007

Happy Chinese New Year, Everyone!! Happy Year of the Ox!


Seeing these different openings to Charlotte's Web reminded me of this great article by Orson Scott Card on writing Beginnings, that Stephanie Ruble once posted on her blog. In this article, Orson Scott Card reveals four completely different first chapters he wrote for his first sequel to Ender's Game (the series of sequels about Bean, not the series of sequels that were harder sci-fi). I had just read (and loved) Ender's Game, but hadn't ready any sequels yet. This article knocked my socks off. Talk about someone who knows what he's doing.

Someone asked a very interesting question at the Schmooze. When people commented that certain beginnings sounded "older" in style than what might get published today—particularly those written from an omniscient point of view—the question was whether we could talk about this supposed difference between children's books published a couple decades ago vs. now.

I have a couple ideas on this; nothing I'd go out on a limb for (yet). Maybe, for my next post, I'll type up a few beginnings from beloved, older books, and we can search for any differences together.

Of the children's books referenced in this post, #9 above and, of course, Charlotte's Web (1952) are the oldest!

Jan. 16th, 2009

11:37 am - Rita Book Today: Sarah, Plain and Tall

Sarah, Plain and Tall  (HarperClassics) Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan (Newbery Medal winner)

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars

Good grief. Everyone has read and loved Sarah, Plain and Tall, so I thought I had read and loved it, too. Trouble was, I couldn’t remember a thing about it, which, well, troubled me over the years.

Turns out, I’ve never read Sarah, Plain and Tall. Ever.

Took about half an hour, and I teared up every other chapter—plus the last. That’s five chapters out of nine.

Good grief. I love Sarah, Plain and Tall!!


View all my reviews.

Nov. 14th, 2008

12:30 pm - Rita Book Today: Bat Loves the Night

I just found this delightful nonfiction picture book that reads like fiction (which is what I need):

Bat Loves the Night, by Nicola Davies. Illustrated by Sarah Fox-Davies. Bat Loves the Night by Nicola Davies. Illustrated by Sarah Fox-Davies.

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars

The words are evocative, gentle, swooping, imaginative. The illustrations add the same tender touch, informative and finely detailed, without ever overwhelming. We feel like we go on this journey. And there's wonderful extra information on bats in smaller lettering on some of the pages.

A delight!


View all my reviews.

Feb. 22nd, 2008

02:31 am - Nim's Island! Nim's Island! Nim's Island!

Remember how in my last reading recommendations post, I goofily transitioned from talking about Grace Lin's The Year of the Rat to Robert C. O'Brien's Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH?

Well, that book segues into my next reading recommendation just perfect: Nim's Island!!

Nim's Island, by Wendy Orr. Illustrated by Kerry Millard. (Originally published in Australia in 1999; first American edition 2001.)

Oh, what a find!!—is what I want to say, but apparently the book has been found. It's being made into a movie for later this year. (In fact, I learned about this book through Tony W's blog post on movies to watch out for.) Starring Jodie Foster as (I can only assume) Alex Rover!

Perfect casting!! I'm excited. Aren't you?

The best thing about this book is how the story feels imagined by a nine year old—with much of reality going cheerfully out the window, such as when the book states on page six that "Marine iguanas don't eat coconut, but no one had ever told Fred"—and how Nim feels like a true nine year old, too, with her marine iguana and sea lion friends, and her going around the island wielding a machete. The coincidences in the story strike just the right tone of wonder, and in the meantime, you feel like you are living there with her. Lovely!

One thing saddens me. I wanted to buy the copy of this book with the same cover art that my library copy had (the first version shown in this post)—but it seems a bit harder to get now that new covers tie in to the movie. I will have to search!

Linda Sue Park has said in her blog that one of the highest recommendations you can give a book is to say you read it all in one sitting. I read this book twice. When I got to the end, I flipped right back to the start. (And the reread was totally rewarding!)

I'm crazy about this book,

Check out excerpts from the book's opening pages here! I could just start reading again.

I love how Nim has email and a cell phone, but has never spoken to another human friend.

Feb. 7th, 2008

08:28 am - Happy, Happy Year of the Rat!! (Reading Recommendations for the New Year!)

The Year of the Rat, by Grace LinJust in time for Chinese New Year comes The Year of the Rat, by Grace Lin. My nine-year-old cousin should have received her copy by now!

Happy Chinese New Year! Of all the books I want to review, I have the perfect one to start!

Grace Lin's The Year of the Rat is the sequel to her debut middle grade novel, The Year of the Dog (which I was completely gaga about). Once again Pacy's modern-day, American, grade school experiences, triumphs, and discoveries are peppered throughout with little stories and anecdotes told by her family: of their childhoods back in Taiwan, of their earlier years in the U.S., and of a lot of Chinese fables familiar to my heart. Plus there are these delightful line drawings. The emotional stakes are raised this time when Pacy's best friend Melody moves away to California. Pacy's cultural self-awareness evolves, too, ever so gently and truthfully, when a new Chinese family (from China) moves into Melody's very home, with a boy Pacy's age whose grade-school experiences in the U.S. seem not so rosy as her own.

I also related to Pacy's growing concern over her family's attitude toward her ambitions an an artist. Her triumphs with the class poster. Her crush. Her experience of a Taiwanese American wedding. Her return to her pre-Melody friends. Her decision with Melody to share their beloved book collection by actually mailing their books to and from California every month. All the words I've seen other reviewers use for these books--"gentle," "engaging," "lively," "magical,"--I heartily echo, and I love the simple language, too. I can't wait to hear what my little cousin has to say.

I sent my little cousin The Year of the Dog last fall, by the way, and this was her review (via e-mail):

Thanks for the book The Year of the Dog. I finished it in the first two nights. It was a great book except for one editing mistake.

What! Luckily, I saw my cousin a couple weeks later and got to find out exactly what she was talking about. First she said, "Oh, it was more just like a typo." Then she explained that a certain Chinese fable mentioned in it had been titled one way, when really it was another.

I've heard that story told a few different ways, so this wasn't a "mistake" in my book. But I was glad to see her treating the content with such authority. (She's this genius whose reading/writing progress knocks me out every next time I see her. I've no doubt her next review will be several pages long.)

The Year of the Rat has gotten me thinking this is going to be an excellent year for making Changes. Just as I was pondering the possibilities, my husband said, “Let’s resolve to make one piece of art each, this year, and put it up."

Cool! I'm up for anything!

Just one piece of art? That’s such a small goal. (An excellent, doable, lovely goal.) Maybe I’ll make five. But maybe I’ll start with just one (and maybe four more will follow).

I was going to end this book review here, but Year of the Rat actually gives me an unintentional transition to the next book on my list:

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, by Robert C. O'BrienMrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, by Robert C. O'Brien. Winner of the 1972 Newbery Medal.

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH!! I recently revisited this classic when Sara reminded me of its awesomeness. 

Read this, read this, you must re-read this!

Oh, those poor rats of NIMH. Oh, oh. They never even said what NIMH stood for. You have to make it up [edit: or figure it out for yourself]. And that is just one tiny example of the genius at work here, because even though these pages are jam-packed with informative, evocative, smartly written details (on locations! Action!! Story! Backstories! The goals of the rats of NIMH!), everywhere you look, there is room for your imagination to fill in more. What Jonathan Frisby saw in Mrs. Frisby (she was clearly a remarkable mouse). The hints at Justin’s future. The fact you don’t know . . . so many things you want to know. What you think you know. What you hope you know. You’re left wanting to go there, to find out the rest for yourself.

Oh, oh, oh.

I was aware as I was reading that some of my intense bond with these rats (and mice!!) was underscored by association with my equally intense love for Flowers for Algernon, by Daniel Keyes--a book I pushed on my brother when he was in 7th grade (and I was in 10th) that he read all in one night. (I'm actually reading The Wednesday Wars, by Gary D. Schmidt, right now, and there are rats in that book, too. Goodness!)

I have a lot more books to review, but I like this beginning to the Year of the Rat. We now return to our regular posting schedule of (maybe) once a week.

With love for books!

I urge you to read these books.

It is my hope, once you’ve read these books, that we can talk about them in-depth. Preferably in person!

Jan. 7th, 2008

07:25 pm - I wish I knew how to burst spontaneously into song and dance

We rented this from Netflix (picture from off the Web somewhere)I spent fifteen minutes today learning the end dance moves to High School Musical. I've got the gist now. I'll probably try it again tonight. big cheesy grin Who's in for a pyramid dance formation? (Irvin? Karen?! I need backup!)

This movie is kinda terrible; but also kinda wonderful. We just watched it two nights ago. (We saw High School Musical 2 a few months ago—at Calvin's place, haha.)  The song "Stick With the Status Quo" is by far the best thing in this one—in terms of melody, lyrics, message, choreography; everything. Oh, man, it's so good! I get giddy. I've watched this track seven times already. I think I have to buy this movie, just so I can watch this track always.

This song takes the tired old premise I usually hate—about high school cliques being so rigid and everyone being so locked into their roles—and translates it into mass hysteria, with one guy's mini-rebellion creating a huge ripple effect of mini-rebellions in every circle. Anarchy; I love it! It makes me buy into this world, just so I can have the fun of seeing its rules get broken.

(Also: that turn of everyone wanting to hear your secret but then turning on you the second they do; I love that, too!)

I have to say that while 2's story was weaker (and the dialogue was horrible), the song-and-dance numbers in that sequel were fairly consistent*—with just the one travesty. ;) Whereas, in the first one, there's really only two shining song-and-dance numbers—"Stick With the Status Quo" and Ryan and Sharpay's callback (one of the HSM promo photos circulating)Ryan and Sharpay's callback number, which cracks me up. The others . . . have their moments.

But the end group sing [oh, that makes three; I can't count] is made for kids to want to dance along. It begs you to stand up and learn the moves, and they're really sellin' it in that beaming Disney way that calls to my inner upstanding youth. I could feel the urge—and the embarrassment—of wanting to get up and sing. I'm not one to let embarrassment get me down.

"We're all/ in this/ to-gether! Dah dah dat! Dah dah dat! Dah dah dat! Dah dah da-ahhh!"

The best character in this series is Zeke by far, the jock who confesses he loves to bake. Oh, man. This is what Ryan looks like. I wish I could find one of Zeke!And my second favorite is Ryan (who grew up to look the way Macaulay Culkin should have). I'm not a fan of the main guy, but those two?? *love*

Why don't they use Zeke more? Even his singing (if that is his singing) is better than all the others'. And that's sayin' somethin! He doesn't deliver a bad line or facial expression ever, in the few bits they give him. He rocks!!

And that is my rave about High School Musical.

I told you I don't let embarrassment get me down. :D


Sharpay is a lot better and more fun in this storyline, too. Hilarious, actually. You know what? They made her and her brother too powerful at the Country Club, in High School Musical 2. In the high school setting, you feel for them. (You know? Their world was perfect before these people came along.)

Plus, being that little bit younger makes their ridiculousness that much cuter. :)

Oh! Look what I can do! I can post a YouTube link to the big group sing I'm talking about!

("We're All In This Together")
Quality isn't great, but you get the idea. The first time they do the chorus routine is one minute in, and the best is two minutes in, when they show the whole sequence clearly. (Damon's been egging me on, by the way. He's home sick with a fever, but is also full of advice about which foot to turn on. Contrary to what you'd think, embarrassing stuff is actually easier when someone's watching.)

And here, for good measure, is Ryan and Sharpay's callback audition:
"Bop to the Top"

(They're the brother-sister act that rules the school's drama scene—until the new girl and this jock mess up their perfect world.)

Oh, and you need this link, too:
"Stick to the Status Quo!!"

The setup for this is that the whole school has just found out the school's star basketball player has landed a callback audition for the musical; which means he auditioned in secret. Haha. The first guy to sing here is my favorite, Zeke!

:D Cheers!

Pictures in this post were lifted off the Web. I don't remember the sites, but they're the same promo pictures circulating everywhere. I wish I could find one of Zeke!

Calvin, I know you're secretly practicing.

Emmie, you better be watching!!

* I really don't remember how good the numbers in High School Musical 2 were. I guess we'll be renting that next!

Dec. 4th, 2007

02:57 pm - Robert's Snow: The Last Round!!! (Auction 3 Ends This Friday, Dec. 7, 5 PM E.S.T.)

If you roll over these images, you should see the snowflakes' titles and artists' names pop up (though I've noticed this feature doesn't work in Firefox).

Once again, just "a few" of my favorites:

Loch Kindness, by Scott MagoonSupportiveness, by Randy CecilSkippyjon 'Snow Flake' Jones, by Judy SchachnerThree French Hens, by Laura Huliska-BeithGilbert says 'Hi,' by Diane deGroatPaddington at Paddington Station, by R.W. AlleyFlower, by Grace LinChillax! by Dan SantatJingle Pig Rock, By Jarrett J. Krosoczka     A Cozy Night for Cuddling Up, by Juli KangasThe Great Crab Hunters by Kelly MurphyWithin Reach, by Joy AllenChowder's Snowy Bounce, by Peter BrownWishing, by Jui IshidaHopper Holiday, by James T. WilliamsonBird and Flowers, by Kristina SwarnerGrace, by Linda S. WingerterBe Strong, by Meghan McCarthySnow Taxi, by Selina AlkoYikes! by Mo Willems

Bid bid bid bid bid bid bid.

I lifted these images (fronts and backs) off the Auction 3 page of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute/Robert's Snow Web site. Too many wonderful snowflakes to post here! Go to Auction 3 and get tempted by them all!


Nov. 28th, 2007

02:54 am - Robert's Snow 2007: Auction 2 (until Nov. 30, 5 PM EST!!)

Auction 2 of Robert's Snow is going on right now.

I could not possibly show you all the awesome snowflakes I want that are part of this round. You have to check them out yourself.

Here are just a few . . .

"Expectation" by Wendy Edelson"Kachinas Bearing Gifts" by Ashley Wolff"The Joy of the Future" by Scott Bakal"Special Delivery" by Joanne Friar"The Clauses" by Linas Alsenas"Snow Dance" by Denise Fleming"Winterdragon" by Aaron Zenz"Penguins" by Carol Schwartz"I am not a snowflake, I'm a dog!" by Janet Stevens"You'd Better Duck!" by Don Tate"Rain Forest Wreath" by Laura Jacques"Arctic Christmas" by Teri Sloat"City Snowflake" by Cecily Lang"Peace on Earth" by C.B. Decker"Snow Angels" by Jane Dippold"Hedgehog's First Snow" by Judith Moffatt"Winter is the Warmest Season" by Lauren Stringer"Sunset over Manana Island" by Matt Tavares"The Gift" by Lee White


Imagine how beautiful your tree will look decorated in one, two, three, or half a dozen of these! Imagine a child looking at your tree (or window, or holiday vacuum cleaner) and dreaming of the stories implied.

I lifted these images (fronts and backs) off the Auction 2 page of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute/Robert's Snow Web site.

Go bid!

Nov. 23rd, 2007

01:56 am - Robert's Snow: Auction 1!


Here is the most important thing I've needed to tell you:

www.robertssnow.comThe Bidding For Auction 1 of Robert's Snow is going on right now, and it ends today.

Bid now! Bid today! Bid before 5 PM (Eastern Standard Time)!!!
(Click this link and go!!)

Remember, this is the awesome opportunity I told you about a little while back—to own your very own original piece of artwork by a children's book artist of astounding renown and fight cancer at the same time? Where all these incredible children's book illustrators and authors have come together to contribute unique snowflake holiday ornaments, and the art pieces are available online, right now??

Robert's Snow happens in three rounds of online bidding, with a different third of the snowflakes being auctioned off each week. Next week is Auction 2. The week after is Auction 3.

The first third of the snowflakes is going fast, right now!!

Click here to go to Auction 1!!

Click here to go to Auction 2!!

Click here to go to Auction 3!!

(Actually, here is one master link that will take you to all three auctions! They happen Nov. 19–23, Nov. 26–30, and Dec. 3–7, respectively. Check out all the snowflakes! It's incredible!!)

Equally incredible is that each of these artists—and the snowflake each has contributed—has been further individually profiled by dedicated bloggers. So here is a list of all the relevant links where you can read up even more on the snowflakes you love and want!!

Amazing collectibles. Stunning gifts. The joy of owning/giving/bidding on these will warm your hearts for always.

Let it snow, let it snow,
now go, let's go!!


P.S.  A few sample Auction 1 snowflakes:

Blue-Haired Lady by Brie SpanglerSnowy Snooze by Mary PetersonShoveling by Lisa WoodruffReflection, by Paige KeiserGretchens Snow, by Leanne FransonFishmas Tree Topper, by Patrick Girouard

I lifted these few images (fronts and backs) off the Auction 1 page of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute/Robert's Snow Web site. The Robert's Snow poster above I lifted from 7-Imp, the good people who have done an incredible job of organizing Blogging For A Cure. Ooh, you want to bid!

Nov. 1st, 2007

12:19 pm - The Most Popular Picture Book of All Time?

I have a million and one blog posts coming up. In the meantime, here's something that's been on my mind the past couple days:

What would you say is the most beloved and well-known picture book of all time?

Which one is your favorite, but also, which one do you think is the favorite of the masses, not just of children's book people? If we had to crown just one, based on pure popularity and mass recognition (and maybe sales), what do you think is in everyone's hearts?

I ask because a friend asked me about a certain book, and I tried to make this claim about it. Now I wonder how outrageous that statement was.


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