Archive for the ‘children’s book’ category

Sally & Seemore Samples? (Woes of Non-Illustrator)

May 23, 2015


Hi All!

On my break from poetry, I’ve been thinking about poems all the time!  (Also, doing a bunch of long-overdue cleaning projects.)

I have not yet had the courage to look at the children’s book project–a manuscript for a child’s novel–that I hope to finally finalize.  But I did get myself to do a couple more pics with the book in mind.

When you try to draw pictures for a book, you become immediately conscious of how wonderfully skilled trained illustrators are.  They draw in single defined strokes instead of ten or twenty pale scratchings!  Their characters look the same on every page!  And yet not the same!  Meaning that the characters are recognizable, but the postures and facial expressions change.  The difficulty in drawing consistent human beings is why I usually stick to elephants.

Anyway, here’s a couple of new ones.   I don’t know if I can use them as the little girl is just too young here.    And really the dog should probably not be smiling quite so much.  And these pictures are supposed to take place in an attic; I completely forgot about any kind of sloping roof.

But thought you might enjoy.  (Or hope so.)

PS – girl’s name is Sally; dog is Seemore.

Sally and Seemore and the Meaning of Mushki (Maybe Part I)

December 7, 2014










This is a bit of an experiment.  “Sally and Seemore and the Meaning of Mushki” is the manuscript of a children’s (middle grade) novel that I wrote some years ago and never published.  It is a true novel–i.e. with lots of words-and not a lot of pictures.  But lately I’ve been thinking that it might make sense to vastly simplify it by cutting a lot of words and adding in a lot of pictures.  So, I thought today that I might just start trying to write it out in this pictogram/graphic novel sort of format.

Honestly, I don’t know if I can keep it up, as it is a novel with at least 150 pages or so in the old version with all the words, and I have no art training, but I have hated to let the book languish,  So,  I guess I’ll see if I can periodically keep it up.  (A few frames at a time!) 

If the Toads are very lenient, I may link this to With Real Toads open link night. 

PS–Yes, I know the story, but am making the current text up as I go along, in pencil, so please forgive erasures, and photographed (rather than scanned) drawings, and please feel free to make suggestions!   (Right now, I’m not photographing these in very good light, but hopefully I’ll get more confident as I go along!) 

PPS – as always, all rights reserved in pictures and text. 

PPPS-since it is getting near Christmas, I will mention that I have written two other (sort of) children’s books--1 Mississippi, a counting book for lovers of watercolors and pachyderms, and Nose Dive, a young adult (and rather funny) novel for people who are not quite happy with how they look but love to sing anyway. 

Nose Dive pic

(From 1 Mississippi)

(From 1 Mississippi)






October 20, 2013



Got a camera for my birthday;
I take pictures all day long,
sometimes they’re of my brother
sitting on the john.




Some people call him John.
(But his name is Michael.)


I take pictures of my mother,
take pictures of my dad,
take LOTS of pictures of my dog
whose eyes come out so sad.


Sometimes I try to catch a crime–
I mean, what could be neater?
So far the only pic I’ve got
is “man kicking parking meter.”


Not sure that’s even illegal–
the man says it didn’t work.
Don’t know if I believe him
’cause he called me a little jerk.

My folks now say that nature
is better for me to shoot–
stuff like deer in our backyard
and, in a nearby swamp, the newt.

At first I groaned, how boring,
but, actually, that’s not true
cause there’s something cool my camera does
whenever I look through.

It makes the world turn special–
sure, it’s special anyhow.
But my camera makes it special-er
adds in some extra wow.


So now my camera’s with me
’bout everywhere I go–
my imaginary friend, I guess,
but don’t tell that I said so.

Especially don’t tell Michael
(that kid “some folks” call John)
’cause he’d probably try to snitch it
if he knew it was so fun.

‘Course, then, I’d get his picture–
red-handed as can be,
still, better keep it secret (sigh)
between just you and me.

Here’s a new little poem written and illustrated for Victoria Slotto’s prompt on dVerse Poets Pub to write a poem for children. I did poem and illustrations today, so they are very rough–especially towards the beginning where I wasn’t sure how to best get the joke of the big brother across and just repeated the same drawing with dialogue. Also very uncertain of the title–any suggestions, let me know. All fun. Check out Victoria’s prompt and the other children’s poems on dVerse.

Finally, if you like the elephants, check out a children’s book I wrote and illustrated called 1 Mississippi, available on Amazon.

Sad News Today – Death of Maurice Sendak – Portraitist of the Wild and Wistful, Disconsolate and Redeemed.

May 8, 2012

Sad news today – the death of Maurice Sendak (1928-2012), incomparable illustrator and children’s book author.  I hope to write more about Sendak – but just wanted to mark the loss that I’m pretty sure must be felt by anyone who loves the fierce, the wistful, the ashamed, the lonely, the disconsolate, the proud, the wild, the adventurer, the kind, the redeemed, the joyful,  and wants to know just what they look like.  Here’s the link to the NY Times Obit.

Hard to imagine anyone who grew up in this country over the last several decades who can truly say “I don’t care.”    If there is such a person, he or she must not have seen the books and pictures (or the zillions that have copied and been influenced by Sendak).   They should hurry up and check them out – Sendak’s books, that is.  I personally recommend The Nutshell Library.

1 Mississippi (See the movie, at least trailer!)

December 17, 2010

I am a truly terrible self-promoter.

Every once in a while, I feel I should try.

A while ago, I published a (I think) very cute little children’s book called 1 Mississippi. It is a counting book–its most notable feature are watercolor illustrations, mainly of elephants, that tend to be, well, more watery than the illustrations in many children’s books–more variegated, less blocky.  I think this is because I paint in a somewhat brushy way, with of different tints.  (Sort of like this blog.)

It is a sweet book for a young child, new parent, or, perhaps, a pet pachyderm.

The book is on sale on Amazon (with my other books Going on Somewhere, and Nose Dive),  and there is related gear on the publishing site BackStroke Books.   (if you want to buy or receive a book at a discount, contact me and I’ll see what I can do.)

Thanks much!


PS – I am linking this post to the wonderful Jingle and gooseberry garden.

(PS  – yes, the above video is not good!  Alas, my favorite movie actor, Pearl, is away this morning.  I will try to re-do later with her assistance.)

Looking For Relief at 102 Degrees (With Elephant)

July 7, 2010


Keep cool.

(And, while doing so, check out 1 Mississippi by Karin Gustafson on Amazon.)

Sometimes The Batteries Just Run Down

March 3, 2010

Tonight is one of those times.

(PS–the above painting is from “Pantoum”, part of A Definite Spark, a sometime-to-be-published guide to formal poetry for children, parents, and pachyderms, by Karin Gustafson.  In the meantime, please check out 1 Mississippi on Amazon.)