Archive for the ‘A Very Witchy Spelling Bee’ Category

I had a great time visiting Warrenton Grade School in Oregon! I spent time with hundreds of kids across two days and answered so many great questions about writing, drawing and even animation, that I left totally inspired. Thanks for a great visit!

And thanks for the teachers and librarians and everyone up there who made the visit possible.

I have lots of great photos that I will post across the next few days. I received some really neat cards, and the posters and bulletin boards they made were the best I’ve seen yet!



Great welcome poster, and look at what’s inside the letters! Green Beans!


And another first – those bad green beans finally meet their match! The Book That Eats People!



I have plenty of more posts of the amazing creativity on display at the school!

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Here I am tooting that horn which belongs to me. A Very Witchy Spelling Bee written by George Shannon and illustrated by me was selected as an ideal Halloween book by USA Today. And who would know better?

See the list by clicking here.

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IMG_1364 A nice review of A Very Witchy Spelling Bee over on this great little blog. Take a few minutes and and give it a read — the blog AND the book! I’ve received many nice comments from kids who enjoy this book and teachers and librarians who have fun with it celebrateing the season AND introducing some spelling lessons. See it at Amazon and Indie Bound.

Here’s a spot image from the book I haven’t shown before.


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It’s that time a year again. Me out shilling books I’ve worked on for the Halloween time of year. But this time I’m not the only one.


The Huff Post picked out some of the Best Halloween books for 2013 and A Very Witchy Spelling Bee is on the list! Even though, you know, it’s not reallllly a Halloween book. It’s a spelling book. With witches. And pumpkins.

Happy Halloween indeed!


And thanks to illustrator Bob McMahon for spotting this and letting me know before my day even had a chance to get ugly! And now the day can’t get ugly.

See it and buy it at Amazon or find it locally at Indie Bound!

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There are some early reviews floating around for a new picture book I illustrated called, A Very Witchy Spelling Bee. Written by George Shannon.

Here’s a review from A Dream Within a Dream blog.

Here it is on Amazon.

And if you are in Australia, order it here.

And if you are in San Francisco, here’s one.

I can’t wait for a permanent settlement on the moon that has a literary review, so I can  link to a review and write, “The Lunar Review gives it 5 stars. Literally.” But because of cost per ounce of launching anything into space, they’d probably get a digital download of the book. And the fact that they have to drink recycled urine because there’s so little water available at the moonbase would make me  sympathetic about them even if they gave my books bad reviews.

Gentle readers, you know what to do. Order three copies for yourself and at least seven as gifts. Or not.

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Here’ s a link to an interview I did with Mackin Educational Services.  And I really appreciate the opportunity and the time they put into this.

The top of the page is about Kate DiCamillo’s new book which the odds makers put at 800-to-1 to be great. Does she write finished manuscripts in her sleep? That might explain the amazing amount of wonderful work she does. Anyway, you can scroll on down and read about me.

Actually the page and site has a lot of great info on books and reading so by all means go there to read about me, but you might actually enjoy all the other material far more.

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I’ve always liked scary things. Eerie things. Things that go bump in the night that aren’t just one of my dogs rambling around the house. Growing up my father had reels of 8mm ‘monster’ movies. The Wolf Man, Frankenstein, Frankenstein meets the Wolf Man. And this was before VCR’s, DVD’s or streaming movies on your phone…for gawd sakes I feel old. But watching these black and white films nearly every weekend was a highlight for me.

In my teens I liked slashers and gross-outs. I had a subscription to Fangoria magazine and made plenty of gruesome masks and did Halloween make-up year-round. But I grew less interested in the gore factor as I got older, but doubled-down on good, old fashioned scare stuff. I  usually enjoy horror that includes a big dose of metaphor.

I’ve done a lot of illustration work that would fall into the scare file including The Thing with No Head, which if you know me, you are tired of hearing about.


And sometimes do the odd bit of photoshop retouching.


And considering my first major publisher picture book was The Book That Eats People, I think my last name can’t hurt.

A few years ago I received offers to illustrate two ‘monster’ type picture books and I had to pick one. I picked George Shannon’s A Very Witchy Spelling Bee. (Soon to be released!)

It’s about witches and spelling. This topic comes directly from the ‘monsters who like to spell’ classical canon. And who says a witch is a monster anyway? I did make them green after the editor and I discussed this at length. I believe it was her seven year old daughter who said, ‘If they aren’t green I don’t believe they are witches.’ Green it is.


My daughter is fully involved with the monsters she comes across. How many vampire picture books do we own? Every one that we can find. But my daughter has made clear – there is a need for more vampire and witch picture books! So, come on editors, get shipping.

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