Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Arnold Lobel

I am a big Arnold Lobel fan! I started out wanting to be an illustrator and his work was my main inspiration. Once when I went to NY to show my portfolio I stopped in at Harper & Row (that's right-it was a long time ago if I am not calling it HarperCollins). The editor was very helpful and not only did she convince me to try and write my own books (I had never considered writing!) but she showed me Arnold's dummy book for his newest story at the time, Uncle Elephant. It was like seeing the holy grail. I felt so lucky!

A few years later I wrote to him care of Harper & Row and was very surprised when I got a note back. I told him I was not only a huge fan but had the chance to see his newest book ahead of time. I'll show his letter to you below. It reads:

Dear Jeff,
Thanks so much for your letter and for your kind words about my work. It is good to know, during my frequent periods of creative poop-out that my work is a source of encouragement to others. Good luck with your career.

The letter has been framed and always sits above my desk.

Monday, August 29, 2011

My favorite series of children's books

I never really discovered children's books till I was in my 20's. I certainly had lots of favorites as a kid but never really got too interested in them until I went to college. I discovered this great series of books about two toad brothers called "Warton and Morton" by Russell E Erickson. If you know the series you probably know the first book titled "Toad for Tuesday" which is still in print.

The whole series was amazing and I loved reading about what trouble these two got into. I think there were 6 or 7 published. I had a heck of a hard time finding them all for my collection but they are worth looking for. If you were a fan of "Frog and Toad" by Arnold Lobel you can think of these as similar books for the slightly older crowd.

I had a chance to talk to Russell about the books and he loved doing them but was annoyed at how quickly several of them had gone out of print. I am a huge fan on anthropomorphic animal novels and I think his are some of the best. For a great read for yourself or a child over a week's worth of bed time reading, you can't go wrong with this series!

New Books

Here is one of the new titles from Red Chair Press that I am very proud of: Attack of the Bully Bug! I really enjoyed writing this story. And it gave me the chance to work with one of my favorite artists again-Jim Paillot. He is the one who really brought the story to life! Way to go Jim.

I tried to use characters we had not done before and bugs seem like a natural choice and would leave the artist lots of room for invention. You can tell I love this one!

Red Chair Press

Those who are new to this site or to me should know that I am the Creative Director for Red Chair Press. I great publishing company I co started with Keith Garton. We have lower level readers for Character Development and Living Healthy. But all done with humor and some top notch illustration! And I am also an author of children's books. Check us out at www.redchairpress.com