Sunday, June 29, 2008

New Cover--Babymouse: The Musical!

Well, it's up on Amazon, so I might as well show it off here—the cover for book #10, Babymouse: The Musical!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Filthy, dirty, disease carriers!

It's been a good day in Babymouse world. There are a number of cool things happening on a number of fronts, none of which I can really talk about at this point, unfortunately. But the thing that was just the capper, was the post from Library Voice entitled, "What’s the Deal with all these mice?" It made me laugh harder than I have in a while.

A mom, whose 9-year-old daughter is a regular at my branch, came up to the Children’s Information Desk recently and threw down several books on my desk: a few Babymouse volumes and MouseGuard: Fall 1152. After drawing my undivided attention by slamming said books on my desktop, she looked at me expectantly. Keep in mind that this is a relatively nice, mild-mannered woman who generally speaks softly and has never had an issue with me or the library in the past.

“Can I help you?” I ask.

“Yes, I just wanted to point something out to you that I think is a problem. What’s the deal with all these mice?”


“I mean, not to be a troublemaker or anything, but I really don’t think that it’s appropriate to have so many children’s books with mouse characters. Mickey Mouse- he’s okay. That’s one thing. But all the rest of these mice? I mean, it’s not right. Kids will get the wrong idea. They are flithy, dirty, disease carriers.”


“I’ll tell you what’s going to happen. A child will see a mouse at home run across the floor and they might go to pick it up or play with it. Because they think it’s cute. Because of all this.” [gesturing to the pile of Babymouse books].

The moral of the story: Don't touch Babymouse.

(Not even a little hug??)

UPDATE: More coverage over at

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Camp Babymouse, Iowa, and the Great American Backyard Campout

Apparently, the State of Iowa decided to include Camp Babymouse on the book list for the Great American Backyard Campout being held on June 28, 2008. (Glad to know someone in Iowa is able to think about something as mundane and fun as camping amid the current flooding mess.)

Thanks, Iowa!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Scripps Howard: 'Babymouse' a superhero kids can identify with

Jenni gave a talk at the Children's Book Guild of Washington, D.C., last week, and one Karen MacPherson was in attendance. She wrote up a little piece for Scripps Howard News Service entitled, "'Babymouse' a superhero kids can identify with":

As the only girl in a household of boys, Jennifer Holm grew up learning how to spit, climb trees and play kickball.

Like her four brothers, she also read lots of comics, especially those starring superheroes like Superman and Batman. But she often wondered why there were no women superheroes except for Wonder Woman.

"I just couldn't identify with her," Holm said. "It might have been her bustier (a type of push-up bra top) -- or maybe it was the go-go boots."

I think it's cute that she has to identify what a "bustier" is for readers.

Oh, Madonna, where have you gone??

UPDATE: This story also made it to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Stuff I Like: Primitive Cartoons (Part 1)

I'm sure some cartoonists might find the label "primitive" insulting, but I mean no disrespect. How about "outsider art" instead? (Yes, it's true. I wrote about many museum exhibitions at the American Folk Art Museum during my tenure at Country Living Magazine. I know the lingo. Of course "outsider art" usually means "created by semi-homeless 85-year-old crazy person who lives in a tin shack in the bayou and fills every square inch of free space on a painting with insane pseudo-religious rantings that look like they came off of a Dr. Bronner's soap label." So maybe you do want "primitive" instead.)

At any rate, I like cartoons that look like they were either scribbled on the back of a napkin or drawn by a five-year old, but are still funny. That last part's important. Otherwise you end up with stuff like Home Movies. Oog. That animation's a headache without any funny.

Today's primitive feature: Kate Beaton's comics. She does lots of historical strips:

... and also funny autobiographical ones:

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Stuff I like: Comic strip mashups/parodies

I read a lot of Garfield comics while growing up. (I read a lot of comic strips in general.) I recently ran across the delightful Web application Garkov (no, it has nothing to do with Flash Gordon, my first assumption), Josh Millard's exercise in applying some complex mathematics to Garfield speech balloons. Reloading the Garkov page randomly generates new strips, such as this:

or this:

Sometimes these Garkovs are very straightforward or could almost be real strips. But the best are the ones that read like Zen koans. (Most of the Garkovs, naturally, are nonsense.)

From Millard's page, I followed a link to a strip I had heard of and then forgotten about: Garfield Minus Garfield. Pretty straightforward: the guy takes all of the animals out of the Garfield strips, leaving you with a view into the lonely, mentally unstable life of bachelor Jon Arbuckle. Quite funny (and touching).

(I just like that he's talking to his salad.)

This all reminds me of the now-defunct Dysfunctional Family Circus, which had to be taken down once it came to the attention of Bil Keane. Made me laugh a great deal back before the dot-com bust.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Babymouse by Iris

I'm just finally getting around to posting a piece of fan art, by the young (and multilingual) Iris:


(Here's a link back to her mom's blog.)

Babymouse sighted in Singapore

Came across a blog whose owners made a trip to Bishan Library in Singapore and snapped the following photos of their young reader:

Joni and her 'Camp Babymouse' book.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Marty Gray #100

Marty Gray #100

Whew! That's it! The entire run of Marty Gray. Sometime in the future, if I can figure out how to force Blogger to do it, I'll create a single page with all of these entries in chronological order.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Better TLA than never

I just finally found illustrator Jarrett Krosoczka's blog, thanks to the Fuse #8 blogroll. Jarrett is a smart lad who takes pictures at events. I don't. So I immediately went to Jarrett's Web site right after the Texas Library Assn. conference, of course, to find the pics ... but I was either too tired or too slow-witted to find the link to his blog.

At any rate, Jarrett took photos of our TLA hijinks.

(I'm the tall skinny one on the left, as you can tell if you click and zoom in on the name tag.)

Matt and I are going to retire from illustrating and start our own cruise ship for librarians where we entertain as lounge singers. Who's in?
By the way, I'm TOTALLY behind the whole children's-librarian-cruise-ship idea. If they can have Star Trek vacation cruises, I'm sure we can get a kidlit cruise together. (I have an excellent singing voice for our lounge act, by the way.) I think we'd have to do the Alaska route and avoid international waters, though—I remember how lean attendance at the Toronto 2007 IRA conference was, thanks in great part to the fact that many school districts are not allowed to spend money sending their faculty to conferences outside the USA. (U.S. Virgin Islands? Hawaii?)

Marty Gray #099

Marty Gray #099