Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Gittle List Award

Check it out, folks! Frank the Gentle Viking has been chosen as 2013's Gittle List #1 award winner! I'm so excited to have the chance to spread the word about Frank on Aviva Gittle's site. Aviva is so passionate about children's books and I'm so grateful for her support, and even happiest of all that she purchased a copy for her grandson to have as his very own. 

I can't wait to check out the works of my fellow finalists. I'm especially intrigued by Ronald J. Robledo's title Sasquatch for Dinner. How could that be anything but delightfully entertaining? Congratulations to all the finalists!  

Friday, February 14, 2014

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Battle Bunny

Ok, normally when I do a book review, I try to aim for one that is either out of print, or at least published before 2000. However, I had never heard of this book before I stumbled over it at my local library, and I think for anyone not to have heard of this book is a tremendous shame, and I am therefore bound to rectify it. 

I laughed my socks off at Jon Scieszka's Battle Bunny. The book is designed to look exactly like a generic, saccharine children's story that has been unceremoniously improved by a six year old named Alex. Instead of remaining a story about a bunny who thinks his friends have forgotten his birthday, the book becomes a tale of the terrible rampages of Battle Bunny against various hard-core woodland creatures, Alex, and the President (who actually does resemble a child's rendition of Obama, which I think is hilarious and makes it a unique period piece in my mind.) This book will be a welcome change of pace to both children and parents tired of doe-eyed disney rejects.

The only question this brings up for me is "What is this going to teach my child about writing in books?" I'm totally behind the imagination it takes to re-engineer a story like this. Especially for the team who put together this book because they clearly had to go through and write the lame, generic story first in a way that would translate to the butt-kicking story they would transform it into. It really plays with your brain to see what words were left in, which were taken out and re-written. But is my kid going to do this to every book in my house now? I think I'll have to specially invest in some dollar-store books that will be designated "project books".

As a child, I was raised not to write or color on my books because that's how good little children behave. We take care of our things and don't mess them up. Now as a writer and an artist, I feel like I'm profaning someone else's hard work by scratching through this and putting eye patches on that. To me, if it's in print, it's sacred! Especially now as I struggle in my quest to be published by an actual publishing house. Surely Messrs. Simon & Shuester know what "art" and what "good" is, who am I to question it.....right? 

Maybe not. 

Perhaps this is a lesson in the good that can come from controlled chaos. Maybe I should take a page out of Mr. Myers book, even if I have to literally rip it out in the name of creativity!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Elephant Aesthetics

I was inspired to doodle after watching videos of elephants painting on YouTube. I'm sure they've been trained to some degree to perform for tourists, but the expression Suda makes as she paints gets me every time! She's so focused and delicate with her coordination which seems so amazing and unexpected from such an ungainly, massive creature. When I worked in a frame shop, I had the opportunity to frame some elephant artwork and it was just too cool.
As an art literate audience, we are taught to ask ourselves what the artist might have been thinking or feeling when they were painting. It's amazing to me to think that animals might be feeling or thinking the same thing, or that they might have some abstract, emotional motivation for painting. It just adds another level of significance to the existence of art if it allows for some new level of inter-species communication.