Wednesday, April 29, 2009

TOOT TOOT ZOOM! out now!

Out now, is my second of the two books I have newly released this spring--TOOT TOOT ZOOM!, published by Candlewick, written by Phyllis Root, and illustrated by yours truly. It's a good, fun romp. Four animals, a little red car, a long drive up a tall mountain, a car crash off the side of said mountain... it's crazy. Good stuff! Please check it out online, here, or find it/order it at your local independent bookseller.

And this just in! A nice early review for TTZ! by way of School Library Journal:

ROOT, Phyllis. Toot Toot Zoom! illus. by Matthew Cordell. unpaged.
Candlewick. 2009. Tr $15.99. ISBN 978-0-7636-3452-0. LC 2008934781.

PreS-K­Pierre, a red fox, lives alone at the foot of a mountain. One day he drives off in his little red sports convertible, hoping to make a friend on the other side. Children must turn the book sideways to fully appreciate the spreads showing a "sky-high mountain" with a spiral road. They will love vocalizing "toot! toot! screech!" at each of the cumulative encounters Pierre has as Goat, Sheep, and Bear join in the quest. Although no one lives on the other side of the mountain, a satisfying conclusion marks several successful friendships. The quartet settle down together in a house that incorporates pieces of the car. A large font with generous spacing between the lines adds much to the book's pleasing design. The spirited cartoonlike illustrations are done in ink and watercolor. Front endpapers show Pierre driving alone; final endpapers picture him riding with his three new pals. Expect requests for repeated readings.­Blair Christolon, Prince William Public Library System, Manassas, VA


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Gimme Spring

Here in Chicagoland, Spring is doing it's best to stay unsprung. Not cool. Spring is my favorite time of year. The promise of warmer temps, heading into summer. Not too hot, but just getting there. So fresh. So clean. Energy burst out of the wintery slump. Temps have been all over the place in the last couple of weeks. Getting a taste of 60's here and there, but then it drops to 30's. Not cool. Supposedly it'll hit 80 this weekend. Let's see.

Still in throes of these two mid-grade novel illustration gigs. They've been kinda neck and neck with due dates. One's a little ahead of the other. The one that's more ahead, I'd like to share some of what's happening. I have, more or less, confirmed character sketches, and this page is what I'm using as my guide for art development.

(Click it to zoom, etc.)

And I just delivered a full set of 50 sketches to the pub (Abrams) yesterday. Waiting for some notes to come back. Here are a couple, from those, that I like. I hope these make the final cut.

In other news, Romy is also ready for spring. She wants to go outside! We're going crazy in here.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Julie, Romy, and Lynda Barry too!

Julie just came back from a writing workshop taught by the great Lynda Barry at our local community college. This is a class Ms. Barry does from time to time and she usually charges for admission. But I guess the school footed the bill for her to come so it was free! So Julie got to check that out and it sounded really great. Lynda's latest book, What It Is, is, sort of, the illustrated version of this class.

Anyhow, afterward, Julie sweet-talked a couple of sketches (Marlys! Monkey!) from Ms. Barry for our lil' Romy's bedroom. Awesome! Thanks, Lynda!

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Winner

Congratulations, Katie! (Um, apparently there were two "Katie" names. The winner is "Katie" and not "Katie N.". Sorry Katie and Katie N. for the confusion...) You were randomly selected as the winner of the MIGHTY CASEY contest. Please e-mail me to let me know your address, and how you’d like the book signed. Here, please:

Thanks very much to everyone for playing. And for playing along. It was a lot of fun to see what you people are getting into.

And not that anybody asked, but for my part, here’s my answers to those questions. Though I must say that these are not “all time” favorites. More like recent obsessions. And though I must say, the perfect and timeless Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood remains my newest favorite television show. But I thought I gushed enough about the late, great Fred Rogers a couple of weeks ago. Just saying. And the classic pig is almost probably my most favorite animal. But, to me, that was just obvious. So, yeah:

Favorite children’s book: What Do People Do All Day? by Richard Scarry
Favorite song: Visions of Johanna by Bob Dylan
Favorite television show: Curb Your Enthusiasm
Favorite animal: Owl
Favorite movie: The Visitor
Favorite snack: CornNuts

Also... when my next picture book “drops,” I will be doing this contest giveaway again with that one. (TOOT TOOT ZOOM! Candlewick, April 28)

Sneak preview, page 6 (click it to zoom):

Stay tuned, ok?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Contest! You can win!

Dear Readers,

How would you like a free copy of my newest book, MIGHTY CASEY? Signed! And even personalized!

All you have to do is enter this here contest! The rules:

1. Leave a comment on this blog post. (Click the link at the end of this post that says "comments", and proceed.)

2. In your comment, leave a name--it need not be your real name. Just don't leave it "anonymous".

3. Your comment has to be this (and in this order):

a) Favorite children's book
b) Favorite song
c) Favorite television show
d) Favorite animal
e) Favorite movie
f) Favorite snack

Don't ask me why. I'm just trying to make it fun, ok? And, you know, it ain't gotta be, like, your absolute favorite. If you're like me, that's too hard. Just name a favorite--current or past. In each category.

You got til Friday to do it. That's April 10.

Then, I'll put each name on a piece of paper, toss them all into a hat, and let my 5-month-old daughter pull out the winner. Or I'll do it if she's not into it.

I will announce the winner by also commenting into the "comments" section at around 5pm (central) Friday. So don't forget to check back! The winner will email me her/his mailing info and I'll take care of the rest.

This is all at absolutely no cost to you.

Good luck. God speed.



p.s. Keep it clean. I got kids reading this.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Yes, I still like to draw pigs.

p.s. This ain't just pig for pig's sake (or for blog's sake, as the case might look). This pig serves an actual, top secret purpose. Natch.