Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Illustration from FOUR SCARY STORIES, by Tony Johnston, illustrated by Tomie dePaola. Copyright 1978, published by G. P. Putnam's Sons.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Happy Bithday!

Students in Mrs. Mondul's second grade class at Cypress Springs Elementary in Orlando, Florida sent birthday cards. Here is Joey's card. The note inside read:
"You are a great author and a great illistrater. I have read a lot of your books in class. Your pictures are great like I said. When I grow up I might want to be an author like you! You are awesome!"

Tomie: Thanks for the terrific bithday card. It's really terrific like I said.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Instructions on How to Turn 26!

The second grade students in Mrs. May-Stein's library class at Community Day School in Pittsburgh wrote magic spells in the spirit of Strega Nona's.

Here is Dylan's magic spell "To Make People Turn 26."

Ingredients: Bananas, Popcorn and Girl Scouts.

You say,
"Fat guy, old guy, fancy drum, too,
Ice cream cake,
Turn me 26 years old."


Tomie: I've got bananas and popcorn. But, I need to find some Girl Scouts. Then, I'll say the spell, and "Poof," I will no longer be 75. I'll be 26!

Mr. February

The 2010 Family Reading Partnership calendar came in today's mail. The illustration from THE BABY SISTER in which Tomie is imagining Aunt Nell reading to him is "February" in the calendar. The illustrations are also used as banners. The banners are placed on buildings in Ithaca, New York.

Good friend Jesse Joshua Watson has an illustration in the calendar, in addition to Aliki, Elisa Kleven and others.

(Jesse created a wonderful portrait of me for the site...
(Click "Programs," Click "Read to Me Banners and Calendars.")

Not One of My Best Years

Luke M. is a student at St. Jude the Apostle Catholic School in Atlanta, and he likes 26 FAIRMOUNT AVENUE: I also agree with you about kindergarten. It was not one of my best years. I didn't like it when we had to take a nap because I found it to be a waste of time. One of my teachers was very strict and not very nice. This is not the school I go to now. But the other teacher was insanely nice and she loves children.

Tomie: I hope you're having better years.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

"Mr. Carle, I presume?"

Last Sunday, the Carle Museum held two "Pancakes for Breakfast" breakfasts in the cafe. Tomie mingled amongst the tables to greet everyone.

When he approached one table of two children, a woman and a man, the woman said to Tomie, "Mr. Carle, I presume?" Tomie explained that he was not Eric Carle, and that he was Tomie dePaola. I wanted the woman to pose with Tomie for a photograph, for this note, but she was too embarrassed by her mistake.

Later that morning, a little boy said to Tomie, "I know who you are. You're Eric Carle." Tomie said, "No, I'm not." The little boy said, "Yes, you are. I saw the movie when you draw a dog."

Tomie maintains that you need to grow a beard, and try to look like Eric Carle before the Carle Museum will show your artwork.

Now that I think of it, has anyone seen Tomie dePaola, Eric Carle, Santa Claus and Henri Matisse together in the same place at the same time?

Dr. Strega Nona

The second graders in Mrs. Bashaw's class at Britton Elementary in Hilliard, Ohio imagined what Strega Nona would say or do to to help Tomie recover from hand surgery.

Strega Nona's Advice for Recovering From Surgery:
Take some deep breaths.
Stay calm.
Lay down in bed and rest your hand.
Don't do anything to hurt yourself.
Mix herbs, like mint and rosemary, in water. Then, drink it.
Mix milk and water. Then take a drink.
Make three wishes and blow three kisses.
Blow out three candles and wish for a speedy recovery.
Strega Nona would make a special potion and rub it on your wrist.

Real or Imagined?

Mrs. Bower's second grade class at Schurz School in Watertown, Wisconsin wrote a big letter with a couple of questions.

Q: How many books have you written so far?
A: I've illustrated 242 books, and I've written the stories for 121 of those books. Do you have all of my books?

Q: We just read OLIVER BUTTON IS A SISSY. We were wondering if you wrote this story about something that happened to you when you were young?
A: The story is loosely based on incidents from my life.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Olden Times

Fourth graders in Susan Page and Susan Turi's class at Montgomery Elementary in Montgomery, New York wrote.

Kali: What was it like being a kid back then?
Tomie: We didn't have McDonald's, or Burger King, or Disney World, or cell phones, or iPods, or Miley Cyrus, or the Jonas Brothers. Can you imagine?!

Ethan: How many Strega Nona books did you make?
Tomie: STREGA NONA'S HARVEST is the newest and the tenth.

Tomie: No

Ethan: How many books have you sold?
Tomie: Over fifteen million.

Watch Out for Slick Sisters!

Evie Albert's third grade class at the Fox Chase Academics Plus School in Philadelphia wrote letters.

Camara: I heard that your favorite color is white and so is mine. You know I have a very slick sister who once put butter on the stairs and I slipped. The next night she put whipped cream on my face in my sleep and it was funny. Maybe we will meet sometime.

Tomie: Can you guarantee that your slick sister won't be with you?


Mrs. Skipper's class at Britton Elementary in Hilliard, Ohio like the Bill and Pete books. "We are wondering in the book, BILL AND PETE GO DOWN THE NILE, what does WC mean on the bathroom door?"

Tomie: Excellent question! WC stands for Water Closet. Water Closet was the original name for a room with a toilet. My house has four water closets although three of them could correctly be called bathrooms as three of them have toilets AND showers.

Going, Going... Almost Gone!

"Drawings From the Heart: Tomie dePaola Turns 75" closes November 1, 2009. Here's a photograph, from July, of Tomie and Barbara Elleman at the entrance to the show. Barbara curated the show (and wrote TOMIE DEPAOLA, HIS ART & HIS STORIES, published in 1999).

125 West Bay Road
Amherst, MA 01002

Wassup Up, Doc?

Yesterday was one doctor's visit after another. First, Tomie met with the hematologist. The doctor decided to increase the medication dosage to combat Tomie's anemia in an effort to avoid the need for another blood transfusion at some future time.

Next was a visit to the Wound Healing Center at Concord Hospital for the third ultrasound MIST treatment. Tomie will have more MIST treatments next week. I believe the goal is to prepare the wound for a skin graft of manufactured skin.

The last doctor's visit was a follow-up appointment with the hand surgeon. The doctor will check in again with Tomie in two months, but for now, the doctor is satisfied. He's cautioned Tomie to frequently rest his hand while working. If I, Tomie's blog blogger, had a vote, I would vote against future autographings as I would rather Tomie saved his hand for writing stories and creating artwork.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

"Red Carpet," 75th Birthday Party #3, Photo #1

Bern and Peter Collins have been friends for decades, literally. This third 75th birthday party was held at the Carle Museum on Friday, October 16, and hosted by Barbara and Don Elleman. Each partygoer was asked to tell a special "Tomie memory." Peter is a founding partner at the law firm in Burlington, Vermont that Tomie uses. Bern is one of Tomie's hat/cap makers. She made the cap Tomie is wearing.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Award for the "Educator Who Traveled the Farthest" Goes to...

Left to Right:
Jill Crutfield, Tomie, Barbara Elleman
Jill Crutfield is a K-5 art teacher at Wrens Elementary in Wrens, Georgia. Barbara Elleman wrote TOMIE DEPAOLA, HIS ART & HIS STORIES, and curated "Drawings From the Heart: Tomie dePaola Turns 75" at the Carle Museum.

Jill attended Educators' Night at the Museum on Thursday, October 15, during which Barbara and Tomie had a "conversation" about his artwork and books.

R. Michelson Galleries, Photo #1

Elizabeth Bird is a children's librarian at "Children's Center at 42nd Street" of the New York Public Library system. She also blogs for SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL. She can be read at: Click "Blogs" in the upper right, and then "A Fuse #8 Production." Elizabeth and Tomie were photographed at a birthday party for Tomie and reception for Tomie's show of artwork at the R. Michelson Galleries in Northampton, Massachusetts on Saturday evening, October 17.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Holy Best Sellers Lists, Strega Nona!

STREGA NONA'S HARVEST celebrated this past Sunday a month of Sundays on the NEW YORK TIMES best sellers list. To the gardens, Big Anthony!

75th Birthday Party #1, Photo #3

Margaret Frith was Tomie's editor for over forty years.

75th Birthday Party #2, Photo #9

Annie Ballin is the former children's librarian in New London, an artist, and the executive director of the New London Area Center for the Arts (

From the Penguin Publisher's Office: The Screening Room

Here is a Penguin Storytime Special in the "Screening Room" at the "Publisher's Office."

Spotlight on Tomie dePaola

We Are Better Than This

Several days ago four teenage boys allegedly burglarized a rural New Hampshire home, and allegedly killed the mother and severely injured the daughter who were at home asleep. Their weapons were a machete and a knife. Hours later the boys lived as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened in their lives.

Although this is just one horrific "crime" that occurs each day/hour/minute/second throughout the world, someone in New Hampshire was motivated by this New Hampshire crime to create a website...

It's a lovely site, and you might want to visit it to post a comment and "light a candle" for the husband/father, daughter... and our world.

We ARE better than this, aren't we?

Can He Really Be REPLACED?

Last year Tomie was asked to be the "expert" judge on a Food Network cake challenge. The challenge was to take place in Denver, and the cakes were to be based on nursery rhymes. Although it would have been great publicity for TOMIE DEPAOLA'S MOTHER GOOSE (he could have "worn" the book on a neck chain), we couldn't find a way to fit the event into Tomie's schedule.

But, we've always wondered who was chosen to be the REPLACEMENT "expert" judge. Tomie saw the episode last night, and the "expert" judge was Rosemary Wells.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Need a Gnu?

Are you missing just one more thing to complete your interior house design or your yard? That one item could be a gnu - Tomie's gnu (named Rita GnuBook)! The Gnu Gala Auction will be Sunday, October 11th. Bid Early and Often!

75th Birthday Party #1, Photo #2

Susan Petersen Kennedy is President of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

I've Been in the Business a Very Long Time

Here's a first proof of the front jacket of the 25th anniversary edition of TOMIE DEPAOLA'S MOTHER GOOSE. We just heard that Putnam is considering publishing a 20th anniversary edition of TOMIE DEPAOLA'S BOOK OF BIBLE STORIES. Both anniversary editions would be published Fall 2010.

Q & A with Tomie

Monday, October 5, 2009

In Today's Mail

(The sky is actually blue, and the color of THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS type is silver.) Oxford University Press, England, has issued a "refreshed" edition of their paperback of THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS. Every few years OUP redesigns the cover and some interior pages.

75th Birthday Party #1, Photo #1

Liz and David Shanks, and the Penguin Young Readers Group hosted a 75th birthday party for Tomie, and a launch party for STREGA NONA'S HARVEST at Valbella Restaurant in the Meatpacking District in New York City on September 10, 2009. Liz is a huge fan of Tomie and his work, and David is CEO of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

75th Birthday Party #2, Photo #8

Left to Right:
Susan Galligan, Shari Keenan, Jon Keenan/Tomie, Tom Galligan
Jon Keenan is a professor in the Fine and Performing Arts Department at Colby-Sawyer College in New London, NH. (Tomie is a collector of Jon's pottery.) Tom Galligan is the president of Colby-Sawyer College.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Out with the Old

SHH! WE'RE WRITING THE CONSTITUTION, written by Jean Fritz, illustrated by Tomie, was published in 1987. Puffin Books is publishing a new edition of the book with a cover redesign by David Small, and interior art by Tomie.

Should Tomie be offended?

David Small has created cover redesigns for several Jean Fritz books.

Many years ago, Tomie was asked to create a cover redesign for GEORGE WASHINGTON'S BREAKFAST, written by Jean Fritz, originally illustrated by Paul Galdone. The interior art is still Paul Galdone's, but the cover art is now Tomie's (that is, until David Small creates new cover art). I remember Tomie was uncomfortable making new art for the BREAKFAST cover.

Ah well, if it's good for sales...

Tomie (Hearts) Perennial Hibiscus Flowers

A Winning Tale

I just noticed these words about STREGA NONA'S HARVEST from PUBLISHERS WEEKLY: DePaola's bighearted witch returns in a winning tale about generosity and cooperation... Without an ounce of moralizing, dePaola demonstrates the benefits of sharing (not to mention eating locally).

Saturday, October 3, 2009


CHRISTMAS REMEMBERED is now in paperback from Puffin Books!

Publisher's note: In this enchanting Christmas memoir, critically acclaimed artist/author Tomie dePaola shares his love of the season in fifteen vivid memories spanning six decades...

There's a Bear on the Loose!

We haven't seen the bear, but we're rather certain that a bear has been visiting the corn field and Tomie's yard. The proof is in the form of "droppings," if you know what I mean. I was tempted to make this a visual post... I have spent a bit of time this week looking online at "droppings" and asking friends about "droppings." Scintillating conversation.

Those of us who work in and walk through Tomie's yard are now hyperaware of our surroundings, including the tops of trees.

Cast Off

The cast came off of the right hand/wrist/arm yesterday afternoon. The hand surgeon is confident that Tomie will fully recover from carpal tunnel surgery. He cautioned Tomie to rest his hand when he is drawing, painting and writing. I think the days of long autographings may necessarily be over. A follow-up appointment is scheduled for three weeks.

On Wednesday, Tomie's red blood cell count was checked, and it was satisfactory. The blood transfusion apparently made a difference. He'll meet with the hematologist later this month.

Later on Wednesday, Tomie had a physical and the doctor was content with the results.

A week ago from yesterday, Tomie met with nurses at the Wound Healing Center at Concord (NH) Hospital. They spent over an hour with him. It appears as if the change in dressing the foot wound, as suggested by the nurses, has helped. Tomie returns to the Wound Center on Monday.

The goal is to get Tomie healthy before winter begins. Last year he entered winter in a weakened condition, probably as the result of a grueling book tour, and got a serious form of pneumonia that lasted for months.

Although it was an awful choice to cancel the book tour, in retrospect, it was the best decision. I don't know how he could have survived the demands of book tour travel.