Archive for January 2008
The Dino Rhyme
The first manuscript I ever wrote for kids was not in rhyme. While far from an expert on the children's writing business, I had read enough about it to know that rhyme was often abused. Everyone and their mother thought they could write a rhyming children's book and ten times out of ten, it was horrible! So I didn't even try it for my first book. I waited until my second manuscript to write excruciatingly horrible rhyme. Of course, I thought it was wonderful. But it wasn't.
My learning curve with rhyme was a loooooooong one- and one that is still in progress. I love words and language and wordplay and reading books aloud, and rhyme, to me, is one of the best ways to wrap all of those wonderful things into one. It mesmerizes kids! And it is by far the most satisfying thing to write. When you know that you have nailed a rhyming piece, that it sings and is all slippery-silvery on the tongue, it is one of the best feelings on earth. It makes me feel like a writer.
Ever since that first really-awful rhyming book I wrote, I have wanted to do a rhyming book about dinosaurs. I've started quite a few, but none of the ideas panned out. My crit partner Deanna half-jokingly calls it the Holy Grail Of Rhyme. The long names, the ridiculous pronunciations...it's been done, of course, by many writers. But to do it, and do it well, is a REAL accomplishment.
I don't know yet if the rhyming dinosaur manuscript I just finished is done well yet (although it did make a certain famous writer I know jealous that she didn't write it (which is another Holy Grail of Writing altogether-ha!), but it IS... done! YEA!!!
In a recent search of Amazon hardcover books for ages 4-8 published in April, 2008 and sorted by "bestselling" order, Hush, Little Dragon clocks in at number 12 (!!!!!) out of 133.
Not that I look at that sort of thing.
Maybe we could call it "fashionably late"...
How did I miss this book from MARCH of last year??
It now ties with That Rabbit Belongs To Emily Brown
by Cressida Cowell as my favorite read-aloud of 2007. Except we didn't read it till 2008, which turns out to be a good thing because we have not had much luck in books so far this year (as I lamented in an earlier post.)
Janice N. Harrington KNOWS how to use language. If you can choose a favorite between these two sentences, you are a better person than me:
"She has high yellow stockings and long-fingered feet, and when she talks,-- "Pruck! Pruck! Pruck!" -- it sounds like pennies falling on a dinner plate."
"I stand so still even my shadow gets bored and starts to walk off."
WOW! Half-way through it, my 6-year-old daughter Lily said "I love the way she uses words!" So do I Lily.
If you missed this book like I did, go read it now- out loud, of course, to a child :) You'll be glad you did.
2008: I Can't Wait (Part II)
Today, over at Fuse #8
, there is a suggestion that bloggers list some of the books we are looking forward to this coming year. I, er, already did that (see blog entry from 12/28/07) (does this mean I'm FINALLY ahead of the curve??? Ha!), but I'll list some MORE titles I'm looking forward to in 2008!! Cause I forgot a few the first time around, and have found some new ones since as well (Hi, my name is Boni and I'm a Research Junkie...) and cause I just LOVE promoting BOOKS for KIDS! Especially ones I think will be worth their salt (whatever that means :) So, watch for these in 2008 and when you see them, grab 'em and read 'em!
Beware Of The Frog
by William Bee (any book that says this- "With deliciously ugly villains and a gasp-inducing ending, this quirky tale of the unexpected will have readers croaking with laughter." - on its Amazon listing is a must-order for me!! In fact, I already have, as a birthday present for myself, since it comes out two days before said event :) and it sounds like just what I'll need on my fortieth
The Odd Egg
by Emily Gravett
by Sara Pennypacker
(I know these aren't picture books, but this series is PURE GENIUS. Wonderfully written!)
Okay, that's all for now- I have to get writing (I could do this all day :) There will be more though....(for instance, the cover image for Kevin Sherry's follow-up to I'm The Biggest Thing In The Ocean
is not available yet, or it would definitely be on here.) But now I'll save him for another post :)
was WONDERFUL before
it won a 2008 Theodore Seuss Geisel Honor Award. Which it just did!
What? Me? A WIP?
I am not the kind of writer who can share her WIP (work-in-progress) with other people. It makes me uncomfortable and I have found that on the few occasions when I did share a WIP with someone, I didn't finish it. The sharing seems to suck the steam out of me.
It may be because I write like a reader- I like to be surprised. I don't outline, I try not to think about the end, I just get going and the fun is where I end up. I usually surprise myself and write things I didn't think I was capable of. I suppose if I allowed myself to think ahead, I'd tell myself I could never do that and then I wouldn't.
So, I'll not be sharing any WIP's here on my blog. But I just might mention, in passing, when I have one in progress. Especially if it was, say, the first has-promise WIP after, oh, I don't know, six months of not writing anything with-promise? Yeah, that I might just mention...
Bedtime Stories, Part II
So, my last post was about Jack reading my book (Hush, Little Dragon) for the bedtime story. But Jack is a twin, and if you have twins, or know anything about twins, you probably already know what went down over here on that couch (I know I said I was smiling, but that was much later- before that, it was a little, um, ugly around here...) I probably set myself up for it, since I broke with tradition and we only read ONE story instead of two that night. But it was late. And it was a school night. (See? Two reasons right there why all those editors want short, short, short PBs! And reading is even important in our house. Imagine the homes where it isn't...) And although mine IS short, short, short, Jack took a little longer than I usually take to read the stories (he did such a great job though!). So I drew the line at one story. Uh-huh.
The word "fair" is used approximately 84 times a day in our house. The concept is discussed so much, one would think there isn't even any time in the day to discuss anything else. Trust me, often there isn't. You'd also think we would have come up with solutions to the "fair" issue, seeing as how it's such a big one in our house. We haven't. Because life isn't fair. And I don't want my kids to grow up thinking that it is, because eventually they'd find out and then they'd blame me, even though what I had done had actually made their childhood smoother. You know, mothers never win. So, sometimes things are fair around here, and sometimes things aren't.
BUT, last night I evened things out and Lily, the twin sister, read Hush, Little Dragon for the story. I did this half out of laziness (I was tired and didn't want to read-ha!) and half out of the fear that someday when she's older (and I'M older) and she has forgotten all about these things, she'll read the archives of this blog and realize how UNfair I had been at just letting Jack read it and not her. And I REALLY don't want that issue coming up again after we finally bury it for good around here. Because we will bury it, right?
Every night in our house, we read two new picture books before bedtime. Yes, we check a LOT of books out of the library (inter-library loan is a wonderful invention.)
Sometimes we read books that make us scratch our heads and say, "Huh?" Sometimes we read books that some of us like, but others don't. And sometimes we happen on a wonderful, unexpected find that we all love. I love those kinds of picture books.
So far in 2008, however, we have not read any picture books that ANY of us like. Five days in a row. This is not a good omen for the year!
Tonight, Jack (my younger son) rescued us. I went over to pick out a book, filled with hope, and he stopped me and said, "Mom, I'll pick out a good one tonight. And I'LL read it!" The wonderfulness of that statement (from HIM) is in itself a milestone for us and a blog for another day.
But right now, I am reveling in the fact that he picked MY book. MY BOOK! So, strangely enough, for the first time ever, one of our bedtime stories was written by me. And read by Jack! Wherever you are, you ought to be able to see my smile from there. It's that big :)
My first interview!
Sometime this month, I'm going to be interviewed for the Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market 2009 edition
(the CWIM for those in-the-know...)
for a neat feature they have every year titled "First Books." It's for debut authors, five of them, and each interview/profile runs like TWO WHOLE PAGES! When Alice Pope, the editor, put out a call on her blog for potential interviewees, I responded without really even thinking about doing the ACTUAL interview. Whatever am I going to say?? Am I nervous? Yes! The writers featured in the 2008 edition (Carrie Jones, Tina Ferraro, Ruth McNally Barshaw, Rose Kent and Kelly Bingham) all sound like, (gulp!) REAL writers! I need to go practice saying writerly things... anyone know any??