My literacy-building hero

August 10th, 2009


Wow! Congratulations to Cynthea Liu for her great Take the Dare: Show You Care fundraising effort for Tulakes Elementary. They raised $15,000 to support various literacy-building activities. Zowie. That’s a lot. I’m glad I could be a teeny little part of the effort. (I donated a Bubble Party Prize Package, with a copy of Bubble Homes, and prints, and cards, a bubble-stuff recipe, and bubble activities, such as ever-so-silly otter-face hat. See above.) I admire people who can organize, and motivate…

Away away, to ALA

July 8th, 2009
Drop by and say Hi!

Drop by and say Hi!

So here I am, working late late when I’m flying out early, early.

Silly me.

Looking forward to a lot of mingling with books and book people… lovely, lovely books. And lovely, lovely book people. If you stop by the Charlesbridge booth on Saturday roundabout 11 am, I will happily deface a copy of Bubble Homes & Fish Farts for you.

I just picked up my postcards this afternoon, from the nice folks at JDA Creative Color. They were kind to me in my frazzled state, and they did a great job, too.  There’s a bubble recipe on the back! So you can have your own bubble fun.

Work and Folly

June 24th, 2009
This guy is not the problem.

This chicken is not the problem.

I’m working on something that’s been through many changes. I got so used to circling around, it feels strange to be making progress. Now that I’ve stopped trying to make it be something I didn’t want to do, to suit my perception of what someone told me they wanted.

I am a good little worker-bee. This is my work. But if I don’t care what I do, why not get a steady job, with benefits? On a happy note: I could be wrong about what this person wants. I’m often wrong.

It’s not that I’m unwilling to listen, or take suggestions. I’m happy to get a great idea, especially if I can do it without working my brain into a sweat. It’s not because I think what I’m doing is so important, either. I don’t know why I do what I do, but that’s NOT it.

Which leaves me pondering folly, as in “foolish act, idea, or practice”. Working with energy and diligence towards… what? Something good, I hope. Guess I have a soft spot. Further evidence:

Mark, riding his very own skate bowl, dug by skate friends, poured by his good buddies at Dreamland. (Who else?)

Mark, riding his very own skate bowl, dug by hand in our back yard, poured by a crew from Dreamland. (Who else?) Photo by Bryce Kanights

Sneaky weed research

May 17th, 2009

Hey! Fiona Bayrock and I are featured on the Seven Kicks section on SevenImpossibleThingsBeforeBreakfast. You’ll find other wonderful things, too, like a recipe for Purple Yam Cake. (Which sounds tasty and is fun to say, too.)Pretty!

Forget they’re weeds… aren’t they pretty? On my street.

Lots of dandelions!

No, this is not my house. Around the corner. Mark thinks this is a little much, but I love it. And in case you’re wondering… I do pull weeds in my own yard. Consistently inconsistent, that’s me.

Current view from the little house...

Bonus: View out my little house window, of the big hole which will soon be a mighty-fine skateboarding pool.

Bridget Zinn Fundraising Auction

May 5th, 2009


A young writing friend and neighbor, Bridget Zinn, was recently diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer, just as great things were starting to happen with her writing career. She signed with a super agent (yay!) A week or two later she went to the emergency room with a headache (it was a very bad headache) and a few other mysterious symptoms. She got an incomprehensible diagnosis (She’s young! She’s fit! She doesn’t drink, smoke, or eat meat!) followed by a grueling course of medical treatment, and medical bills, bills, bills. This is SO wrong. She’s a talented, funny person, and a positive force in the writing community. Helping out, organizing events, sending reminders for writer friends’ book events even after chemo, as the nasty side effects kicked in! We need people like this in the world. We need them happy and healthy and on their feet. We can’t fight the cancer for her, but maybe we can help a little with the bills. Here’s a link to an online auction where you can purchase many cool items and services and do good at the same time. I am offering the illustration above, from Bubble Homes & Fish Farts.

Bubble Homes & Fish Farts (bits and blurbs)

May 4th, 2009
Fiona Bayrock rocks the book launch thing.

Fiona Bayrock rocks the book launch thing! These are scenes from her launch at the Vancouver Aquarium... That's the Vancouver in Canada, not the Vancouver right across the river from me. I wish we lived closer, so I could take advantage of her mad skills, er... I mean, so we could do something together.

Here are links to some very nice reviews. (They’ve all been nice, luckily.)
Jen Robinson’s Book Page,
The Well-Read Child, The Miss Rumphius Effect, and
Just One More Book! (audio review). Anastasia Suen has some ideas how to use Bubble Homes on her blog, Using Picture Books to Teach the Six Traits of writing.

Bubble Homes & Fish Farts Freebies for fun and coloring

February 27th, 2009


These are not pictures from the book–these are extras, images I created for coloring, or masks, or hats, or what-have-you. For kids, teachers, librarians, and other nice book people to be used with the book (Bubble Homes & Fish Farts, published by Charlesbridge, written by Fiona Bayrock, and illustrated by me, me, me!) for happy, non-commercial, literacy-building purposes. Click on an image to go to its page. You might have to zoom in a little to get them to properly fill the page, the browser is meddling with our layout. (GRR!) Hope it works for you. I’d love to hear you use them! 


Herring communicate with bubbles – FAst Repetitive Ticks, or Farts. (Really!)

Humpback whales blow bubble rings to catch fish.

Humpback whales blow bubble nets to catch fish.

African Gray Treefrogs kick foamy bubble nests to protect their eggs!

African Gray Treefrogs kick foamy bubble nests to protect their eggs.

Sea otters comb bubbles into their fur for insulation!

Sea otters comb bubbles into their fur for insulation.

Herring, side view.

Herring, side view.

Humpback whale, side view.

Humpback whale, side view.

Bubble Homes & Fish Farts (Toot-toot)

January 29th, 2009

Bubble Homes & Fish Farts cover

So! It’s out. I have a fart book. A whole box of them, actually. Does this mean no one will take me seriously? (Like THAT was going to happen!) Oh well. Working with great people and having a great time will be my revenge. Ha! I should mention at some point that Bubble Homes & Fish Farts was written by Fiona Bayrock, so it’s her book, too. It was her book first, If you want to get technical about it. I am only the illustrator…

We got a nice review from Kirkus. (One more TOOT.) Interested? Read on.

Bayrock’s love of “way cool science” bubbles over in this surprisingly
substantial book. How do animals use bubbles? For sailing, running,
breathing, nesting–even playing (dolphins seem to blow bubbles just
for fun). Sixteen double-page spreads cover 16 wholly different ways
that fish, insects, amphibians and mammals use bubbles. Did you know
that one species of spider creates a bubble home to live in
underwater? That the popping bubbles of snapping shrimp can be “so
loud it gets in the way of U.S. Navy sonar”? That the water shrew can
actually run across the surface of the water courtesy of the bubbles
trapped between its hairy toes? Lively expository prose deftly
combines straightforward facts (the scientific name of each animal),
sound effects (the “fwap-fwap-fwap-fwap” of tree frogs creating foam)
and kid-friendly comparisons (the gourami fish spitting eggs into its
nest looks like it’s playing basketball). Conahan’s whimsical
watercolor illustrations, complete with conversational bubbles, add
humor and interest. Three pages of additional facts and a combined
glossary/index round out a volume that’s sure to rise to the top.
(Informational picture book. 5-10) KIRKUS Jan 15/09

Out with the old, in with the Gnu…

January 1st, 2009

gnu year!

Happy New Year! Let’s have some fun with this thing.


December 29th, 2008

recession of a sort)

Bet you thought I meant something else. Why would I want to think about THAT? Bleah.