Cooking up old memories

Hi everyone,
When Kent Brown published my first book of poetry — SOMEBODY CATCH MY HOMEWORK — in 1993, he followed up by sending me a box of note cards with Betsy Lewin’s art on the cover as well as a cooking apron also decorated with her work.somebody-catch-my-homework

I sent the last of the cards long ago but after all these twenty-three years I remain the proud owner of the apron and wear it from time to time when I’m grilling.
Over the holidays our son Jeff Harrison was cooking and needed an apron to protect his sweater.betsy_lewin_2013 Out came the treasured apron and my camera. So here we have the second generation preserving good memories made possible by an old friend and one of the best publishers I’ve had the pleasure of working with.

A round of applause for artists

Hi everyone,
I’ve been blessed to work with many gifted artists over the years. This morning I happened to pull down A THOUSAND COUSINS, illustrated in 1996 by Betsy Lewin. The cover shows a crowd of faces, all cousins no doubt. Each face is different and alive and funny, made so my just the right dot here, crooked line there, raised brow, tongue out — all tricks of the trade and none of which I could pull off.
When Cows Come Home
Above my desk are two paintings, one by Chris Demarest from WHEN COWS COME HOME and one by Dan Burr from PIRATES. PIRATESI always smile at Chris’s picture of a clueless farmer looking the other way while his cows are breaking out of the barn behind his back. Dan’s haunting image of a marooned pirate makes me feel sorry for the guy even though he had done terrible things. Totally different styles to help bring two very different books to life. On my desk are two framed drawings by Rob Shepperson who always brings his special brand of humor to his characters through body language, expression, activities, and general attitude. BUGS is one of my favorites. CCI01252016_00002

Hans Wilhelm’s characters frolic through A MONSTER IS COMING! a story for the very young. 12039493_10208202716125156_1119096076349897225_nRoberta Angaramo’s raccoons invite you into their world in A PERFECT HOME FOR A FAMILY. A Perfect Home for a Family

Currently I’m working with Giles Laroche on our second book. 61wO366ugqL__AA160_Our first, NOW YOU SEE THEM, NOW YOU DON’T, comes out in a few weeks and we’re already deep into another project. I love how Giles goes about his craft through cutting paper, gluing pieces into a picture, and painting the result.

The list goes on but my point is that every artist is special and brings his or her own particular talent to bear on the writer’s work. Words on a manuscript page leap to life in ways that I never see coming. I have rarely been disappointed in my collaborations.

So today I salute all those talented artists who represent the other half of the team. We don’t always meet but the success of our partnership has everything to do with the way our readers see, understand, and enjoy the finished effort. I can’t do what you can, but I’m grateful that you can!