First review of RUM PUM PUM

Hi everyone,

I’m happy to share the first review of RUM PUM PUM, which was officially published by Kirkus yesterday.

Author: David L. Harrison
Author: Jane Yolen
Illustrator: Anjan Sarkar
Deep in an Indian jungle, a lonely tiger longs for friends.

Although he claims to be friendly, Tiger’s sharp claws, huge teeth, and fearsome growl scare off his fellow creatures. All this changes when Tiger discovers a drum left beneath a sal tree. Tiger…notices that when he taps it with his tail, it makes a delightful rum pum pum sound. Carrying his new, rhythmic “friend” with him, Tiger wanders through the forest. Before long, the drum’s rum pum pum attracts a monkey, a rhinoceros, a parrot, a chameleon, and an elephant, all of whom layer their own, distinctive sounds over the beat of Tiger’s drum…The book’s earth-toned illustrations are stunning: Each page is packed with movement and atmosphere, and the characters’ faces are wonderfully expressive. The text is poetic, rhythmic, and, at times, humorous…the language is a pleasure to read aloud.”

The book is now set for release on September 15 and can be preordered now.


Hi everyone,

Yesterday Jane Yolen and I received a copy of the first review of our upcoming picture book, RUM PUM PUM, a lovely review from Kirkus, which will be published July 14. The title is now set for a September 15 release date and is already available online for advance orders.
British artist Anjan Sarkar illustrated our book and the reviewers love his work as much as we do. For more information about Anjan, here’s a link.

I’m especially happy with this book and one reason is because it began spontaneously here on my blog. Some of you may recall the day when Jane responded to something I posted, I answered, she answered, and we went offline to complete the book we’d accidentally begun. Every book has a back story but this one is unique in that it has many godmothers and godfathers who watched its public conception.

About June and Poetry Pals and conferences and poems

Hi everyone,

Have you tuned into “Poetry Pals,” the on-air 5-minute segments of readers reading children’s poetry being broadcast on KSMU Public Radio each Wednesday morning at 9:45 CST? The program is a collaboration of KSMU, Springfield-Greene County Library District, and me. I hope you’ll provide your support by listening to the program and sending the station comments of appreciation for what they are doing in care of News Director Jennifer Moore ( ). You can hear the segments from anywhere in the world via the station’s website live streaming. Here again is how you can find it. Tomorrow will be the third in the series. I did the first one and yesterday I prerecorded a second episode that might be used at a later date. It’s great fun and I hope to see the audience continue to grow each week. Tell everyone you know! Here’s how to find the 5-minute program.
91.1 FM in Springfield
90.5 FM in Point Lookout/Branson;
90.3 FM in West Plains;
88.7 FM in Mountain Grove;
98.9 FM in Joplin;
103.7 FM in Neosho
And wherever you are you can find it at KSMU-Ozarks Public Radio live-streaming on its website,

In other matters, NCTE (National Council for Teachers of English) has now been cancelled for late this year, making it a clean sweep of all major conferences in 2020. The conference coordinators are going to attempt to carry on the best they can with online presentations so we’ll see how that goes. Fingers crossed for everyone concerned, including me.

Meanwhile, my thanks to Jeanne Poland and Jane Yolen for leading the way in this month’s poetry challenge. Great fun so far and I must say the guys are going to have to go some to keep up. I haven’t given enough thought yet to what I’ll write about but can already see that June is busting out all over. So in spite of it all, come one come all, and let’s make poems together. Teachers, if you need any last minute exercises for your students, please don’t forget the opportunity to post their work here.

Waiting for RUM PUM PUM

Hi everyone,

I’ve noticed that RUM PUM PUM, the picture book Jane Yolen and I did, has been put back from an August release to September 15, another adjustment made necessary by the current market conditions I’m sure.

Unless they change it, Corwin also plans to release my book with Laura Robb in September and NCTE will bring out the book with Mary Jo Fresch in November so I’m going to be busy pushing books come fall.

Arranging priorities

Hi everyone,

Yesterday was a good day for finding ideas. The first came while watching a taped segment of Saturday Night Live. It’s not really an idea for a story but a way to tell a story that appealed to me. I’ve tucked it away until I think of a way to use it. The second came from reading the newspaper. I think I’ll get a book going based on that one. Earlier in the week I was reading about a subject I’m working on with Charles Ghigna and stumbled across a somewhat related idea that also appeals to me.

I don’t know when I’m going to have time for any of these new thoughts. I still have one that came from kidding around with Jeff last time we were in Florida together. Jane Yolen and I have the beginning of a collaboration waiting for us to both have time to finish. On the flights to and from New York I decided to rewrite my middle grade novel with a desert setting and know how I’m going to do it so I’m eager to get back to that one. I still have a few poems and texts to write for my book with Laura Robb and any day now Mary Jo Fresch and I should hear back from our editor and learn how much tweaking, if any, he’s going to ask us to do.

Over the next few weeks I have a lot of traveling to do so it’s going to be hard to put together a lot of time in useful blocks. Writing on planes is never as practical as sitting here at the keyboard in my pajamas. Sooner or later I’ll get to all these priorities but for now I’m struggling to put them in the best order.