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.

A very nice day in Rochester, New York

Hi everyone,

Busy, fun day yesterday at the Rochester Children’s Book Festival. Thousands of people came through during the course of the day and I thoroughly enjoyed being part of it. Here are two pictures, one before they opened the doors at 10:00 a.m. and one at the end of the day at 4:00 p.m. Of the eleven of my titles the festival folks had ordered, a few copies were left representing four titles (one more sold after this picture was taken.

I’m grateful to the co-leaders of this year’s event, Barbara Underhill and Vicki Schultz as well as the numerous volunteers who performed all sorts of tasks that made the festival so successful. I loved being with friends — MJ and Herm Auch, Jane Yolen, Heidi E.Y.Stemple, Vivian Vande Velde, and Nikki Grimes — plus dozens of other active and productive authors and artists.

Now for home. I took work to keep me busy on flights going and returning, but during the extended layover in Chicago going, I finished it all. I was “forced” to work on a poem.