Posts Tagged ‘A Very Witchy Spelling Bee’


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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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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There are a lot of ways to have a good day. But one way is receiving the first color proof of a new book, or a first actual copy of a new book. I received my advance copy of A Very Witchy Spelling Bee the other day. A very nice way to start a day indeed.


I’ll be honest. Whenever I see my work in final form I always think about what I would do differently if I did it again. How I might approach a page turn or visualize a plot beat in an alternative way. But I put a lot of effort into pushing those feelings aside and enjoying the results of what is often two or more years of working with the material.

A Very Witchy Spelling Bee, written by George Shannon, will be available later this year.

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I’ve posted a bit about this already, and you’ll be sick of hearing about it by October. But that’s when A Very Witchy Spelling Bee comes out. So get ready for some witchy tales as October approaches!


This was written by George Shannon and is based on a funny idea of combining spelling and spells.

I’ll post more art as the release approaches.



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