I've been seeing these strange creatures on our little cabin. They look a bit like a cross between a cicada shell and a spider. All of them are hollow (as in not alive) and have an opening on their backs. Finally, finally, the mystery was revealed! They are the remains of dragonfly nymphs. Here are some photos of one "hatching" this morning. The process is truly amazing.
And here are two other dragonflies, in various stages of their transformations:
A busy and delightful spring school (and library) visit time is winding down. My travels have taken me to seven schools in three states where I had the wonderful honor of meeting terrific students, teachers and librarians while presenting a variety of programs.
Here are a few photos of kids from Bath and Portland, Maine.
It's Spring in Maine, and time to start planning the garden. I've got a few things sprouting in peat pots in the kitchen window, and although it's exciting to see the new young shoots, it's still not warm enough to put them in the ground. In my studio, though, the garden is bursting to life. I'm working on a new book called Rainbow Stew, which Lee & Low Books will release next year. Three siblings visit their Grandpa, who invites them into his garden to pick all the colors of the rainbow, and then back inside to help make the yummy veggie stew. Since I've just entered a new decade (wince...) I've decided it's time to try something new: I'm experimenting with a new illustration style. I'm still using cut-paper collage (which I've used in 26 books) but since this book really needs lots of detail, I've added line. Here's a sample. I'd be delighted to hear your thoughts.
Couldn't decide if I should post here, or on my other blog, but finally landed here because I haven't posted for awhile. We've had alarmingly warm weather here in Maine, so the ice on the pond melted very fast, the peepers and wood frogs are going crazy, and the turtles are elbowing each other on the log to soak up the sun. This morning, the wood ducks returned. I love them--they look hand-painted. Very skittish, though, so I have to photograph them through the glass door 60 feet away. There were three drakes and two hens. At one point they flushed, and the hen flew up in a tree.
Last year we had a nesting pair, and thirteen ducklings arrived! Might these be returning woodies? I do hope they stick around and nest again!
I'm working on a new book right now. Rainbow Stew (to be published by Lee & Low Books) won't be out until next year, but the artwork must be done by June. Many of the scenes take place in a kitchen, and I was having trouble configuring three kids and their Grandpa into various views of the interior. A smarter person would have used her very own kitchen in the first place, but since I didn't, it became increasingly more difficult to visualize everything in the correct location. So....I built a model: a doll kitchen, if you will, with cut-up cracker and cereal boxes. Worked like a charm. That is, until the invasion...
After trashing the doll kitchen, Freida and Suzie (captured in the act, above) continued their diabolical plan. They are holding the youngest child hostage until I pay off with Fancy Feast.
Ah, the trials and tribulations of a children's book maker....