Pea Soup and Pink Loafers

The following guest post is by Elizabeth Barnett, recipient of the 2019 Billie M. Levy Travel and Research Grant. Ms. Barnett is an assistant professor of English at Rockhurst University in Kansas City, where she is the director of the Midwest Poets Series and editor of the Rockhurst Review. Her essays and poems have appeared in Modernism/modernity, Gulf Coast, and The Massachusetts Review. She is working, with great pleasure, on Marshall’s literary biography, tentatively titled Egads!

“But how then can you really care if anybody gets it, or gets what it means, or if it improves them. Improves them for what? For death? Why hurry them along? Too many poets act like a middle-aged mother trying to get her kids to eat too much cooked meat, and potatoes with drippings (tears). I don’t give a damn whether they eat or not.”

—Frank O’Hara, “Personism”

James Marshall’s voice had two kinds of drawls, the homey “ahs” of his Texas childhood—“I was told y’all are shy. You can’t be any shyer than I am”—and the playful “ohs” of the queer, East Coast communities he moved to soon after—“I live in New York as well as Connecticut and I go to galleries all the time and everything I see in painting is soooooo dull, suuuuuuch crap.” Marshall’s voice maps his identity. It also conceals it. A voice, as opposed to the words it speaks, can’t be “on the record,” so can supplement, complicate, and contradict those words.

I knew Marshall’s authorial voice—witty, warm, and weird—from gentle hippo friends George and Martha; sweet teacher Miss Nelson and her witchy alter ego, Viola Swamp; and the tragiocomedic Stupid family.[1]

Cover of George and Martha by James Marshall

More than 25 years after his death, I came to know Marshall’s actual voice when University of Connecticut archivist Kristin Eshelman guided me to an amazing and extensive cache of recordings. From 1976 to 1990 Marshall visited his friend, one-time landlady, and devoted admirer, Francelia Butler’s “kiddie lit” class most semesters, reading his stories; chatting about the art world, publishing industry, and their intersection in picture books; and, most revealingly, participating in Q&As. Thanks to the generosity of Billie Levy and the University of Connecticut Libraries, I was able to listen to the run of these tapes, which begin at the peak of Marshall’s career and end two years before his death of complications from AIDS.

Marshall’s first visit, from the Fall 1976 class photo album. (The class made a photo album!). Francelia Butler Papers, Archives & Special Collections, University of Connecticut Library

A question I had for the tapes: how did Marshall navigate being a gay artist at a time when it was, full stop, impossible to be an openly gay man making books for children? Eavesdropping on those Regan-era, AIDS-blighted years, I never heard Marshall say he was gay.  He never spoke as though he weren’t. Marshall’s authorial persona, distilled in his voice, suggests a key insight about his books, which also had to straddle the line between authentic artistic creations and market-dictated norms. What he says and how he says it are analogous to the words and pictures in one of his books. The voice says what the words can’t, just as the pictures, at times, undercut the moralistic conventions of children’s literature.

In Butler’s classroom, for example, I heard Marshall gesture to the limits of what he was allowed to say in an October 10, 1979, interaction with a female student. The student asked if Marshall was married. Marshall answered first with several beats of silence, then with a single word, “no,” then another beat of silence, then “I’m not” followed by a dismissive “next question.” The question asker perhaps wanted to catch Marshall out or perhaps didn’t understand what Marshall’s voice had been telling her. She asks an “innocent,” superficially unobjectionable question. But that banal surface hides (or not) the power of the dominant culture that the question summons. It really asks: Are you one of us? The asker uses the language of power and Marshall subverts that language by making it superfluous, his answer conveyed through silence and tone, not the words themselves.

This brief interaction reminded me of “Split Pea Soup,” the first story in 1972’s George and Martha, Marshall’s first book as both author and illustrator. It begins, “Martha was very fond of making split pea soup. Sometimes she made it all day long. Pots and pots of split pea soup.” These three simple sentences amplify each other and give a sense of something a little off about Martha’s soup making, the repetition mirroring Martha’s repetitive actions, recasting conventional domesticity as a less-cozy compulsion. Why is she making soup all day long? Why is she making so much? What begins in a normal place ends in a slightly absurd one. Or perhaps it’s just that the absurdity of normality comes through in the repetition. In the illustration, the framed slogan “Soup’s On” underlines Martha’s extreme enthusiasm for soup.

Illustration of Martha cooking pea soup

James Marshall, George and Martha

The illustration shows Martha, a hippo, in a massive checkered apron tied with an equally massive bow. She wears no other clothes. Her performance of femininity draws attention not to her femininity but its status as performance. (Here I echo and Marshall anticipates Judith Butler’s theorization of performativity). She is a topless large animal playing the part of a demure housewife. A drawn border surrounds the image, emphasizing that, like Martha in the kitchen, the book itself is performing. The redundant border puts “children’s story” in quotation marks by not allowing the page itself to function as the boundary, by insisting on something more artful, and by drawing attention to that artificiality. 

So Martha loves making soup. We then learn that George hates split pea soup but eats it anyway to make Martha happy. However, he’s only hippo and reaches a point where he can eat no more. How, though, can he tell Martha that this good, normal thing she’s doing makes him miserable? He can’t—he pours the soup into his loafers. His pink loafers. And Martha catches him.

James Marshall, George and Martha

“Light in his loafers” was a common euphemism for homosexuality in the mid-century heyday of loafers and sexual repression. Pink is coded as female or gay. Until a new, more economical method of full-color printing was pioneered in Japan in the mid-1980s,  most of Marshall’s illustrations were color overlays, which means that Marshall drew the picture then traced each thing that he wanted to be yellow, or blue, or red onto separate sheets of paper and colored those in with graphite, indicating if any colors were to be diluted by giving the percentage of that color to be applied. All to say, the pink was absolutely a deliberate choice.

Color overlay for George and Martha One Fine Day

Example of color overlay from George and Martha One Fine Day. de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection, University of Southern Mississippi.

George’s disposal of the soup in his loafers might be read as a symbolic refusal of compulsory heterosexuality. It is also a refusal of language, suggesting the complicity between the two. George “says” he hates the soup through his actions because language would imbricate him in the very power structure he’s resisting. I see Martha as the question-asker here. She is playing the feminine role as she’s supposed to. She’s aligned with the dominant culture. George is Marshall; he can’t tell Martha he hates the soup because here she is doing exactly what she’s supposed to do (however inane), and he’s messing it up. George avoids the language trap just as author/illustrator Marshall does—they don’t put the subversive part into words. 

The too-pat ending of “Split Pea Soup,”—Martha tells George, “Friends should always tell each other the truth,” and they eat chocolate chip cookies—to me signals that Marshall wants his reader to feel the tension between what the story says and what it means. I probably think that because that’s what I hear happening in the classroom interactions on the archive’s audio tapes. Marshall’s language, punctuated with strategic silences and curtness, insists on its own inadequacy, drawing an arrow to what’s left out. The story’s sharp turn to the didactic reads to me like the drawn border around the illustrations. It signals its own performativity, here of the norms of the picture book, which are weakened, rather than reinforced, by their inclusion.

Frank O’Hara’s 1959 critique of poetry-as-moral-vitamin anticipates Marshall’s later refusal of children’s literature’s didactic imperative. In both cases, queer writers already existed outside of mainstream culture, their morality maligned by that culture. It follows they may have been especially wary of the inherent value of literature being used for ethical indoctrination. Both suggest the value of their art form is not the moments it teaches us something, but the moments it refuses to.

In 1979 Marshall “answered” the student question with words that would not endanger his art and livelihood.  Marshall’s delivery suggests he wants the audience to know that’s why he’s saying them. The performative conformity is one way to understand the more conventional moments in Marshall’s startlingly original body of work. He tells us when he’s playing by the rules to protect the magic of when he’s not.


[1] The latter credit Harry Allard with authorship but, as Jerrold Connors convincingly argues in his post on this site, and Marshall’s materials confirm, Allard often provided the creative spark for a piece, but Marshall shaped the narrative and the finished prose.

Archives At Your Fingertips: Teaching with Archives and Special Collections | Archives & Special Collections

littlemags01Introduce your class to primary sources from Archives and Special Collections, UConn’s only public archive that offers students opportunities to explore and experience original letters, diaries, photographs, maps, drawings, artists books, graphic novels, student newspapers, travel narratives, oral histories, and rare sound recordings to illuminate a given topic of study.  With over 40,000 linear feet of materials – located in the center of campus at the Dodd Research Center –  the Archives welcomes all visitors to its Reading Room, a quiet space to contemplate potentially transformative resources.  Continue reading

Emily Arnold McCully gets a new finding aid

A new finding aid is now available for the Emily Arnold McCully Papers.  The collection consists of sketches, dummies, research materials and artwork for eight of her books: The Taxing Case of the Cows,  the Divide,  Old Home Day,  Ballot Box Battle,  Ballerina Swan,  My Heart Glow,  Secret Seder, and  The Helpful Puppy.  Emily Arnold McCully, an American writer and illustrator, won the Caldecott Medal for U.S. picture book illustration in 1993, for Mirette on the High Wire which she also wrote.

Ballot Box Battle (New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 1996)

Ballot Box Battle (New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 1996).  All rights reserved.

 

She was born in Galesburg, Illinois, in 1939, and grew up in Garden City, New York. She attended Pembroke College, now a part of Brown University, and earned an M.A. in Art History from Columbia University. At Brown she acted in the inaugural evening of Production Workshop and other plays, co-wrote the annual musical, Brownbrokers, and earned a Phi Beta Kappa key.

 

In 1976, she published a short story in The Massachusetts Review. It was selected for the O’Henry Collection: Best Short Stories of the Year. Two novels followed:  A Craving in 1982, and  Life Drawing in 1986. In 2012, Ms. McCully published  Ballerina Swan with Holiday House Books for Young People, written by legendary prima ballerina Allegra Kent. It has received rave reviews from The New York Times, Kirkus Reviews, and School Library Journal and was praised in the “Talk of the Town” column in The New Yorker

Secret Cave: Discovering Lascaux (New York : Farrar Straus Giroux, 2010)

Secret Cave: Discovering Lascaux (New York : Farrar Straus Giroux, 2010).  All rights reserved.

 

As an actor, she performed in Equity productions of Elizabeth Diggs’ Saint Florence at Capital Rep in Albany and The Vineyard Theater in New York City.  In addition to the Caldecott Award, Ms. McCully has received a Christopher Award for Picnic, the Jane Addams Award, the Giverney Award and an honorary doctorate from Brown University.

Curator to retire

As of June 30, 2015, Terri J. Goldich will retire from the University of Connecticut after a career of over 38 years with the UConn Libraries.  Ms. Goldich has had the good fortune to serve as the curator for the Northeast Children’s Literature Collection in Archives & Special Collections in a full-time capacity since February of 1998.  Care of the NCLC will be taken on by Kristin Eshelman, a highly skilled archivist currently on staff in the Archives.  Ms. Eshelman’s contact information is available on the website at http://doddcenter.uconn.edu/asc/about/staff.htm.

Book Launch for Dr. Katharine Capshaw

Civil Rights Childhood: Picturing Liberation in African American Photobooks (University of Minnesota Press).

Civil Rights Childhood: Picturing Liberation in African American Photobooks (University of Minnesota Press).

 

 

Dr. Capshaw’s latest book, Civil Rights Childhood: Picturing Liberation in African American Photobooks was published by University of Minnesota Press in 2014.  In it Dr. Capshaw “…draws on works ranging from documentary photography, coffee-table and art books, and popular historical narratives and photographic picture books for the very young.” (http://generalbooks.bookstore.uconn.edu/event/book-launch-katherine-capshaw).  Please join us on Wednesday, March 25, 2015 at 4:00pm at the UConn Co-op Bookstore, One Royce Circle, 101 Storrs Center, Storrs, CT 06268.  For more information call 860-486-8525.

 

Hilary Knight on HBO tonight

Kay Thompson's Eloise (New York : Simon and Schuster, 1955).  Illustrated by Hilary Knight.  Pg. 7.

Kay Thompson’s Eloise (New York : Simon and Schuster, 1955). Illustrated by Hilary Knight. Pg. 7.

 

 

 

 

At 9pm on March 23, 2015, HBO will present a documentary produced by Lena Dunham, titled It’s me, Hilary: the Man who Drew Eloise, in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the first Eloise book.  Lena Dunham, now 28, bears a tattoo of Eloise that is visible at times during her appearances on the HBO show Girls, so Hilary Knight sent her a signed book and a letter asking Ms. Dunham to share Indian food with him.  The rest, as they say, is history.  Read the full LA Times story.  The Northeast Children’s Literature Collection holds some of Mr. Knight’s archival papers.  Don’t miss the show tonight at 9pm.

 

 

Unpublished Seuss manuscripts rediscovered

Random House announced yesterday that it will publish What pet should I get? which features the brother and sister from One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish.  The manuscript and sketches were found in a box along with the original materials for at least two other books.  Random House will announce the publication dates for the other new releases later.

(The cover of a previously unknown Dr. Seuss book titled, What Pet Should I Get?)

Dr. Seuss’s widow, Audrey Geisel, set the box aside after her husband’s death in 1991, during a renovation of their home.  She and a longtime friend recently rediscovered the box, explaining in a statement to Random House:  “Ted always worked on multiple projects and started new things all the time — he was constantly drawing and coming up with ideas for new stories.”

ABC’s Good Morning America announced the story this morning as well as USA Today. 

What fantastic news for fans of Dr. Seuss.

 

Dr. Kate Capshaw launches new book

Civil Rights Childhood: Picturing Liberation in African American Photobooks (University of Minnesota Press).

Civil Rights Childhood: Picturing Liberation in African American Photobooks (University of Minnesota Press).

From Cathy J. Schlund-Vials, Ph.D., Director, Asian and Asian American Studies Institute Associate Professor of English and Asian/Asian American Studies:

 

On February 12, 2015 (at 4 PM) the UConn Co-op (in Storrs Center) will be hosting a book launch for Kate Capshaw’s recently published book, Civil Rights Childhood: Picturing Liberation in African American Photobooks (University of Minnesota Press). What follows is a brief description of the book and a link:

Civil Rights Childhood explores the function of children’s photographic books and the image of the black child in social justice campaigns for school integration and the civil rights movement. Drawing on works ranging from documentary photography and popular historical narratives to coffee-table and art books, Katharine Capshaw shows how the photobook-and the aspirations of childhood itself-encourage cultural transformation.  (https://www.upress.umn.edu/book-division/books/civil-rights-childhood)

Katharine Capshaw

Dr. Katharine Capshaw

 

This event is sponsored and hosted by the University Co-Op. For more information, please feel free to contact Cathy Schlund-Vials (cathy.schlund-vials@uconn.edu<mailto:cathy.schlund-vials@uconn.edu>).

 

2015 Youth Media Awards Announced

Congratulations to all of the American Library Association award winners!  The 2015 Youth Media Awards were announced on Monday, Feb. 2 during ALA’s Midwinter Meeting in Chicago.  Several of our friends won major awards.  A donor to the Northeast Children’s Literature Collection, Weston Woods Studio, Inc., received the Andrew Carnegie Medal honoring the most outstanding video productions for children released in the previous year.  The winners are Paul R. Gagne and Melissa Reilly Ellard, producers of Me…Jane, the adaption of Patrick McDonnell’s Caldecott Honor book for 2012 about Jane Goodall.

University of Connecticut’s Professor Emerita Marilyn Nelson received the Coretta Scott King (Author) Honor Book Award for How I Discovered Poetry, illustrated by Hadley Hooper and published by Dial Books.  Donald Crews, who participated in the CT Children’s Book Fair in 1997, is the winner of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, which honors an author or illustrator who had made “a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children.” (ALA.org).

Natalie Lloyd’s first novel, A Snicker of Magic, was a hit at the 2014 CT Children’s Book Fair as was Natalie herself.  The audiobook produced by Scholastic Audiobooks was awarded the Odyssey Award, for being one of the best audiobooks produced in English in the U.S.  Another Book Fair participant from 2003, Ann M. Martin, was awarded the Schneider Family Book Award for Rain Reign.  The Schneider Family honors books embodying “an artistic expression of the disability experience.” (ALA.org).

Mo Willems, another member of the NCLC and Book Fair family, won a Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Award for his Waiting is not Easy! published by Hyperion Books for Children.  Len Vlahos presented at the Book Fair in 2014 and was a finalist for the 2015 William C. Morris Award, given to a first-time author writing for teens.  NCLC donor and Book Fair participant Emily Arnold McCully was a finalist for the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults for her work Ida M. Tarbell: the Woman who Challenged Big Business-and Won!

For a complete listing of the 2015 Youth Media Awards, visit the American Library Association’s site.  Congratulations, everyone!

 

Farewell to Norman Bridwell, creator of Clifford the Big Red Dog, dead at 86

Article by The Martha’s Vineyard Times Dec 16, 2014

Norman Bridwell poses with his beloved creation, Clifford the Big Red Dog.

Norman Ray Bridwell of Edgartown, who brought delight to millions of readers young and old as the author of Clifford the Big Red Dog series of books, died on Friday, December 12, at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. He was 86.

Norman Bridwell in his Edgartown studio. File photo by Ralph Stewart.

Norman Bridwell was born in Kokomo, Indiana, in 1928, according to a biography by Scholastic Books. He studied at the John Herron Art Institute in Indianapolis and Cooper Union Art School in New York before working as a commercial artist for 12 years.

In 1962 Mr. Bridwell found himself having to support a wife and infant daughter on extra money he picked up doing freelance artwork. He considered supplementing his income by illustrating picture books. An editor at Harper & Row advised him that he might find success by writing a story about one of his pictures. Because of his young daughter, Bridwell chose to write a story about an illustration he had made of a little girl and a big red bloodhound. He decided to make the dog very big and more of a general, all-around dog instead of a bloodhound. Mr. Bridwell wanted to name the dog Tiny, but his wife thought the name too boring. She suggested the name Clifford, after an imaginary play friend from her own childhood. With that settled, Norman Bridwell decided to name the little girl in his book after his own daughter, Emily Elizabeth, and within a few days he completed his story. Three weeks after submitting his story and illustrations to Scholastic Books, the publishers called with an offer to publish his work.

Forty titles and 60 million copies later, Clifford the Big Red Dog is a well-known and beloved character to the preschool set.

Norman Bridwell gave generously of his time and was an annual contributor to the Possible Dreams auction, the major fundraiser for Martha’s Vineyard Community Services, the Island’s social services umbrella agency.

He was the husband of Norma (Howard) Bridwell and father of Tim Bridwell and Emily Bridwell Merz. A memorial service will be held in the summer of 2015 and a complete obituary will follow in a future edition of The Times.

Arrangements are under the care of the Chapman, Cole and Gleason Funeral Home, Edgartown Road, Oak Bluffs. Visit www.ccgfuneralhome.com for online guest book and information.

Janet Lawler’s last post: It’s all about story

IT’S ALL ABOUT STORY

When I began my research on the relationship between text and art in picture books, I was hoping to uncover the “secrets” of some of the author/illustrators whose work is housed in the Northeast Children’s Literature Collection archives. I studied a number of different collections, and I am leaving with many ideas of how to improve my craft. My writing process will now include consistent creation of picture book mock-ups (dummies), and I have a greater understanding of specific approaches to writing text that “leaves room” for an illustrator.

Interestingly, though, I conclude my research with one overriding thought. The very best picture books—whether written by an author and illustrated by someone else, or created by an author/illustrator—have at their heart a good story. So authors and author/illustrators have equal opportunity to begin their creative picture book journeys in the same place – at the deep well of great stories we each have within us, stories about memorable characters who change as they solve problems or encounter conflict.

Revising text plays an important role in refining such stories (although the author/illustrator also revises art to strengthen his or her work). But always, it is the story that is the starting point. I will share a fine example:

WINGS: A TALE OF TWO CHICKENSby James Marshall

The kernel of this story appears to have been James Marshall’s vision of an old, hungry fox trying to outwit foolish fowl to find a meal. A preliminary sketch shows the disguised fox tricking a chicken into a bag.

 

insert_1 smallMarshall, James. WINGS: A Tale of Two Chickens. Sketch of fox bagging chicken. Series I, Box 12: Folder 217 of James Marshall Papers. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any kind allowed.

When two silly geese sisters offer to help transport the heavy bag, the fox says, “This is too good to be true.”

 

insert_2 smallMarshall, James. WINGS: A Tale of Two Chickens. Sketch of fox and geese, in Series I, Box 12: Folder 217 of James Marshall Papers. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any kind allowed.

An incomplete, early dummy of this story line shows a “chicken crossing” sign and a fox hiding behind a tree:

 

insert_3 smallMarshall, James. WINGS: A Tale of Two Chickens. Untitled, incomplete dummy, p.3. Series I, Box 12: Folder 216 of James Marshall Papers. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any kind allowed.

The text on this opening page reads:

At a spot where chickens were

frequently known to cross the road,

a hungry fox came to stand and wait.

As he was no longer young

and agile, he had learned

to rely more heavily on his wits.

And for this occasion, he had come

in disguise.

The focus on the fox as protagonist continues in this version of the story, where we see the fox waiting in his chicken disguise:

 

insert_4 smallMarshall, James. WINGS: A Tale of Two Chickens. Untitled, incomplete dummy, pp. 4–5. Series I, Box 12: Folder 216 of James Marshall Papers. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any kind allowed.

However, it appears that James Marshall soon decided he could tell a better story from  another angle (the incomplete dummy ends on page 6).

The first complete dummy reveals that the plot has taken a very different turn. Marshall completely switches the beginning to focus on two chickens who are close friends (maybe the two silly goose sisters in his preliminary sketches inspired this turn); the fox still plays a key role, but he is no longer a protagonist.

The title of the book, shown on this hand-drawn dummy cover, is:

WINGS

A TALE OF TWO CHICKENS

 

insert_5 smallMarshall, James. WINGS: A Tale of Two Chickens. Sept. ’85 dummy, cover. Series I, Box 12: Folder 215 of James Marshall Papers. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any kind allowed.

Two chickens, with parasols, stand side by side at the edge of a precipice, and a fox hides in bushes in the background. The reader immediately knows this is a story of friendship and danger, and the first line of the dummy introduces Edna and Winnie (Harriet and Winnie in the published version) who are “as different as two chickens could possibly be.”

 

insert_6 smallMarshall, James. WINGS: A Tale of Two Chickens. Sept. ’85 dummy, p.3. Series I, Box 12: Folder 215 of James Marshall Papers. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any kind allowed.

The first page in the published book shows the two good friends sharing tea:

 

insert_7 smallMarshall, James. WINGS: A Tale of Two Chickens (New York: Viking Kestrel, 3. Photo taken from CLC C38, Archives and Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut Libraries.

Edna (Harriet) loves reading and hobbies. Winnie would “rather swat flies than read” and is easily bored. Marshall sets up this pair of friends immediately, and when the disguised fox appears and offers foolish Winnie a ride in a hot air balloon, Edna (Harriet) fears for Winnie’s safety. A whole series of events follows, with the dastardly fox ultimately outwitted by Harriet, disguised as a fox. The plot twists and understated text are hilarious, and readers cheer for the friends right up until the closing page, when Harriet tucks Winnie into bed.

Marshall revised and refined his text zealously—on the top of the cover of his Sept. ‘85 draft (see above) there is a parenthetical note he wrote to himself in blue pen, “too wordy.”  The following pages are replete with red pencil cross outs and revisions, to pare the text of this story. For example:

 

insert_8 smallMarshall, James. WINGS: A Tale of Two Chickens. Sept. ’85 dummy, pp.4–5. Series I, Box 12: Folder 215 of James Marshall Papers. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any kind allowed.

Marshall clearly thought about pacing and forward movement as he revised. The above page 5 has a crossed-out, bracketed note he wrote to himself: [Some lead in here for story?]. He created that lead-in by penciling in the line spoken by Winnie just before the hot air balloon floats into the garden:

 “I wish something wild would happen,” said Winnie.

And the story takes off from there. James Marshall continued to revise his text to strengthen his story and characters throughout that first complete dummy, a second dummy, a final dummy, and various pages of text revised within some of his sketchbooks.

As for character growth? Winnie is at last reading a book— about foxes. She exclaims, “Mr. Johnson was a fox!” Meanwhile, Harriet hasn’t given up on her friend. “Maybe there’s hope for her yet,” said Harriet. 

 

insert_9 smallMarshall, James. WINGS: A Tale of Two Chickens (New York: Viking Kestrel, 32. Photo taken from CLC C38, Archives and Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut Libraries.

INSPIRATION

 I am concluding my research at the Northeast Children’s Literature Collection greatly inspired.  For several months, I have been working on a picture book, Chipmunk and Robin, about two close friends who are very different. As I polish and revise this story, I will draw on my new knowledge of how some of the best picture book story tellers (who happen to also be illustrators) craft character, crisis, and resolution into a full and satisfying story arc. Even though it will be a lot of work, the real secret is—it will be a lot of fun!