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April 30, 2009

By A Whisker

My cat whiskers

Every once in a while, if I am careful to look 
before I sweep, I find an endearing gift left by 
a passing cat boy. A delicate whisker. 
As both Tizzy and Fred sport white whiskers 
I can not tell which one left it. I save them all 
in a lavender jasperware box.

One day I want to gather them together in
a silver ferrule. A cat whisker brush.
A souvenir of life with two generous cats.

April 22, 2009

Not PC, But CC

Sipping my morning coffee, checking 
email and listening to morning TV.
First Brooke Shields then less than 20 
minutes later, Dolly Parton touting
their new children's books. Earlier I 
read that Mario Lopez is authoring a 
children's book. I have nothing personal 
against these three or anyone for that 
matter who wants to try and write a 
children's book. There is always room for 
good new book ideas. Wannabe children's 
writers please note: Publishers pay 
celebrities huge sums that dwarf  any 
advance paid to mid list real authors.

I initiated and taught the Children's Book 
Illustration class at the University of the 
Arts, some years ago. Each student produced 
their own original picture book from 
manuscript through dummy to a finished 
art sample. Most were artists not writers, 
but with some direction  and constructive 
critiques, as one would receive from a good editor 
at a good publishing house, they produced some 
wonderful books. One, The Third Story Cat, by 
Leslie Baker, was published by Little Brown and 
won Leslie the Ezra jack Keats award. The first 
of over a dozen handsome books she published,
some by other authors. 

For some students, including Jacqueline 
Bardner Smith and Alix Berenzy, their 
dummies helped open publishing doors 

I always encourage anyone who tells me 
they have an idea for a kid's book to 
write it and if they are serious, include 
advice on professional presentation 
and finding an appropriate publisher for 

All this said, I am deeply dismayed by the 
trite subject matter and substandard writing 
in so many celebrity books. Material that 
would never be tolerated from true
children's book authors. 

The biggest losers, I believe, are children 
growing up thinking the mediocrity is literature 
and being famous is far more important and than
ideas and writing skill. 

I am also wondering how come with all the celebrity 
children's book authors there are no celebrity 
children's book Illustrators

April 21, 2009

Nutty Squirrel

Last week some genuine Spring in the city.
Magnolia blooms in Rittenhouse Square.

Sparrows delivering dried grass and bits of 
soft stuff to a secret nest in a niche behind 
a saint high on St. Mark's church wall. 

Washington Square, an upside down squirrel 
eating a nut on a tree trunk. Hard to swallow?

April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

Illustration by Carolyn Croll, from The Great 
Easter Egg Hunt, Mary Packard, Workman

April 8, 2009

Honoring The Year Of The Rabbit

In honor of Chinese New Year, the year of 
the RABBIT, a redux of an appropriate
personal post from April 2009.

Two kroliks......

When preparing for my trip to Russia,
a favorite Russian speaking NY editor
warned me that not knowing the language
I could go missing in Moscow.
With little time before departure, I
thought I'd try to at least learn the Cyrillic
alphabet. (after all, little Russian kids do it
all the time).
Soon I was sounding out Russian words for
ordinary objects in a traveler's pocket Russian
vocabulary book.
One day, part way through the list of food
items, I read the word кролик. Pronunciation,
krolik, English translation, hare or rabbit.
Grandfather Кролик (Crollick)

My paternal Grandfather's original name when he
left Russia in the early 20th Century was Krolik.
(changed to Crollick in England, which at some point
changed to Croll when his widow, my Grandmother
immigrated here).
Seems many family members already knew this.
Why hadn't anyone told ME?
"You never asked".

My collection of kroliks

April 7, 2009

Passover Wish

From THE STORY OF PASSOVER, The parting of the Red Sea- CC

As Passover and Easter approach, again relying 
on purposeful leadership to bring us to promised 
land following loss, fear and distress and golden
idol worship.

Next year, hopefully, a rebirth of hope and inspiration 
everywhere, not just in Jerusalem.

April 5, 2009

Nice Mice

These irresistible handknit and felted catnip 
filled adorable mice from Catitude Creations
on are made by Nikki in Vermont.
Ordered the bargain priced collection including 
2 mice, one fish and something simple yet clever 
called a "beat'em up".

TZ and Fred couldn't get the mailing bag open fast
enough. (If catnip were illegal, they could get a job 
sniffing bags at the airport).
Better than television, watching the catboys
rock and roll, kick, bite and lick. 

April 3, 2009

Passed Over

From THE STORY OF PASSOVER, illustrated by Carolyn Croll

My picture of one of the plagues (excessive 
frogs) visited on ancient Egyptians by God 
when their Pharaoh wouldn't cooperate with 
Moses and let his people go.
children's book I illustrated for Golden Books
a while back.  The acquisition of Golden by 
another publisher just before it came out 
prevented its publication.
Books cancelled after months of research, 
design, drawing, painting, and through no 
fault of my own. Exercises in wasting time.

Nice to have an opportunity to use some 
of this art work.