Monday, February 25, 2013

Awesome News and Thank You

Last week The Snake Who Wanted to be a Horse made it to #1 in it's category on Amazon Kindle! I want to thank everyone who has taken an interest in the book and given it some great reviews. We are almost ready to make our next book available for purchase. It is called The Elephant Who Wanted to be a Bee. However, I need some help with the cover. Originally I had a pink title strip but someone suggested that with that color, parents might think it was a book just for girls. Here are the two options I was thinking of. Let me know what color you think would be best.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I am feeling grateful for technology. Even when I am having a day like today when I have been suffering from illustrator's block, I can find out in a few hours that a design is not working instead of a few days. When I was in college I developed the style that I am currently using for the WantsToBe series. When I finally got a design on tracing paper the way I wanted it I had to then transfer it to the art board. Each shape had to be cut out with a sharp blade to make a stencil. I would then spray the stencil with glue and position it on the board. Finally I could spray on the color with an air compressor that forced air through the tip of a colored marker. The best part for me was to take off the stencil and see the final result. Changing the color with the click of a mouse was definitely not an option. Here are some of the first illustrations I did using a marker airbrush.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Third Grade Discussion

Last week I invited a teacher to show the 2 books we have finished to her 3rd grade class and I thought their comments were cute. The teacher first read our upcoming book The Elephant Who Wanted to Be a Bee. This is how the discussion went:

Student Responses to The Elephant Who Wanted to Be a Bee

Teacher: Can an Elephant become a Bee?
Students: No!

Teacher: Where do you think the story is going?
I think the bee is going to do some tricking.
You can't predict a story.
Bee won't help the Elephant.

Teacher: What is the motivation?
The flowers.
Bees only last a few hours.

Teacher: What do you think will happen?
She will go in there and all the bees will come outside.
Her head will get stuck.
She will get in and the Bees will come out and sting her.
I think Lizzy's prediction is right. The Bee is tricking the elephant.
Bees don't have a long life so they can't learn a lot.
The Bee is helping the elephant.

Teacher: How are you feeling about the Elephant?
Not good.
That she should just be herself.
She is the best the way she is.
She will give up and go to sleep and get some rest
I feel bad for the elephant.

(They liked the "Ka-Poof " and had me show it over and over again!)

Teacher: What lesson does this teach?
If you want something really bad, keep trying.
Really put your effort into something that you want.
All of her trying transformed her.
This has a relationship to The Engine that Could.
Chasing your dreams.

Teacher: How do you feel about this book?
Good to teach children to try your best!
Keep trying till you get it right!
Good book to read to someone who has tried but haven't achieved a goal.
Could be a "Beefant" instead of an "Elabee."

Now that the students knew how the the books played out, the teacher was curious to see their reaction to the next book.

Student Responses to The Snake Who Wanted to Be a Horse

Teacher: What do you think will happen?
The Snake will turn into a Horse.
The tail will be the back of the Snake.
It will be hard to fit 4 legs out of the bottom of the Snake.

Teacher: What is his motivation?
Wants legs.
Doesn't like the ground.
Wants to become a Horse.

Student's comments at the end of the book:
A Snorse can start a new species!!!
The scales look grouse on the horse.
He didn't lose totally who he was.
It was great!
I like the patterns the illustrator used on the snake!
They should write more of these books!!!
They should write one that goes the other way around; a Bee turning into an Elephant.
They should make a Turtle wanting to be a Cheetah
A Rabbit wanting to become a Human!
The Turtle wants to become a Cheetah so he can be fast.
Rabbit wanting to be a Kangaroo.
A Snorse who wants to be an Elabee!!!

Monday, February 11, 2013

     Last week my daughter came over to show me how to set up a blog. She quickly navigated through all the choices and in less than an hour I had my own blog. It took that long because I couldn't decide which background to have. After looking through the variety of backgrounds from high-tech to nature, I came across this picture of an ancient desktop computer. Instantly I was transported back to my first job as a graphic designer and my first experience using a computer. Learning to use that top-of-the-line word processing machine was frustrating and fun at the same time--I was a fish out of water. The image of this old computer represents the start of a journey which I am still in middle of.
     Creating this blog and sharing my thoughts with the world is another one of those fish-out-of-water experiences. However since the "world" will probably be just a few family members and friends, I probably shouldn't panic. Since trying something you've never done before is a theme in my children's picture book series (, I'm getting to know the feeling first hand. I have started many things and I can honestly say that whatever I was determined to finish enriched my life.
     When I first got the idea for this series of books, I just wanted to duplicate the good times I had telling these stories to my youngest son. But as I read the reviews it became apparent that whether I liked it or not, every story has a message and what our readers were finding was that it was not the one they were expecting. This in itself starts some interesting conversations and sparks the imagination of both children and parents. Having a talented writer like Valerie has brought these tales to life and I hope you enjoy our first book The Snake Who Wanted to Be a Horse