What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week
(Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Eric Rohmann and a Sneak Peek at his Next Picture Book, Bone Dog)

h1 April 1st, 2011 by jules


“Cute? These mouselets were a hideous shade of pink, and their ribs showed.
They were not cute at all.”

With apologies to T.S. Eliot, April is not the cruellest month. At least not when you celebrate it with the Academy of American Poets.

Today marks the first day of National Poetry Month 2011, and—since I get inordinately excited about it every year—my Kirkus column today celebrates with three new children’s poetry titles I like, including one Honorable Mention (only thusly named, because I didn’t have enough space to talk about four). The column is here.

Pictured left is the 2011 National Poetry Month poster, designed by Stephen Doyle. Click here or on the image itself for more info. You will even see at that page a link to request a free poster. (Also: Check out how other children’s lit bloggers will be celebrating poetry all month.)

If you missed last week’s Kirkus column, I weighed in on Lois Lowry’s newest novel for children, Bless This Mouse, illustrated by Eric Rohmann, a short novel which made me wonder about genres and labels and how, specifically, this field categorizes books with Christian content, so if you have thoughts on the matter, please go weigh in.

'From the Greek,' he said. 'Rhodos---rose; and dendron---tree.'Featured right is Eric’s rendition of Ignatious, who “had become a church mouse quite by accident when he had foolishly crawled into the pocket of an overcoat that was draped across a chair during a lecture” and who is very old and very learned. In this particular illustration, he’s telling the other mice exactly from where the word “rhododendron” comes and why exactly they’re poisonous. The mice have left their church home to head outside, a great exodus, and they’re being warned not to nibble the dangerous leaves. Featured at the opening of the post is the indomitable Hildegarde.

I touched base with Eric to see what he’s up to now, and just below you’ll see some images he’s sharing from his next picture book. Bone Dog will be released this July from Roaring Brook, and below he shares one of the prints in progress.

Eric will also be teaching in July at the 27th Annual Writers Workshop at Chautauqua. This is where, as their site states, aspiring authors and illustrators (or those already working and wanting to hone their craft) can spend a week learning from children’s book and magazine editors, authors, and illustrators and work one-on-one with a publishing professional to polish and shape manuscripts — all in Chautauqua, home of the Chautauqua Institution in southwestern New York State. Eric is one in a long list of impressive 2011 faculty; check out the other instructors here. Eric also tells me he’ll be teaching an illustration workshop with Floyd Cooper and others in September over at Highlights in Honesdale, Pennsylvania. This is also open to aspiring illustrators. Again, here is the link for more information about the upcoming Chautauqua workshop.

Here are a few more interior illustrations from the Bless This Mouse:


“‘Shhh. Let me finish. I heard the sexton describe that sighting to the Bad Hat Lady, and he said, “We seem to have a mousie in the church. Someone saw it last night
in the ladies’ room.”‘”


“Nighttime was foraging time, and after the church was darkened and silent, they had emerged, all of them, spreading out to check all the potential nourishment sources.”


“Harvey, the little whiny mouse, sought him out and pulled at his tail to get his attention. There were few things Ignatious hated more than having his tail yanked.
He turned irritably and said, ‘What?’”

And here, as promised, is a sneak-peek at Bone Dog, and I thank Eric for sharing:






Here it is printed without color:


* * * * * * *

All artwork is © 2011 by Eric Rohmann and used with permission.





5 comments to “What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week
(Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Eric Rohmann and a Sneak Peek at his Next Picture Book, Bone Dog)”

  1. Awesome post, Jules! Love that Eric Rohmann guy.


  2. Thanks for the poetry recs at Kirkus. I still can’t seem to comment (Do you think Kirkus just doesn’t like me anymore?), but I hadn’t seen ANY of those books yet, and they all seemed like great choices for my library.

    And YAY new Eric Rohmann book!!!


  3. I don’t know, Adrienne. That’s odd. I do wish there were avenues for commenting other than Facebook, too. I actually copied and pasted a comment from Tanita the other day, since she had something to say yet gave up Facebook.

    I hope you like the poetry titles! I’m like you, can’t wait to see Bone Dog.


  4. Thank you for the preview of Bone Dog. I just love his work!


  5. Truly beautiful stuff.


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