Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Man with 75 Faces

Christine and Martin Marklin created this 75th birthday card and called it "The 75 Faces of Tomie."

The photographs were taken during an interview on stage in the auditorium of the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.

Click on the image to get a better look.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Tomie: Saving the World One Drawing at a Time

 Pratt Hero © by James Emmett
James Emmett was a recipient of Tomie's scholarship at Pratt Institute. He sent this drawing with a thank you note.

World Fruitcake Competition: We Have a Winner!

The winner of this year's World (except Canada) Fruitcake Competion is - drumroll - Sonali Fry, Editorial Director, Little Simon, Simon & Schuster.

She submitted her mother's recipe for a Sri Lankan Christmas Cake with marzipan frosting. (I'd post a photo of the cake, but the judge ate it before I could get the camera.)

Judge's remarks: Exotic and delicious! 

Conversations with a Chair

Richard Jesse Watson sent Tomie a Christmas card with this note: Think of you often and sometimes have discussions w/ you in my studio. "What do you think of this, Tomie?" Ha! Ha! You are such an influence.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Love, Love, Love the Snow!

Day One of Three Days of Culinary Decadence

Left to Right: Peggy, Nola, Tomie

Peggy and Connie are co-owners of Morgan Hill Bookstore in New London. They like to thank Tomie for autographing at their store by taking him to dinner. Or, is it bribery for the next autographing request?

Connie was absent from this Christmas Eve dinner at the Coach House Restaurant at the New London Inn because she was driving north to visit family in Burlington, Vermont.

Nola (New Orleans, Louisiana) is a part-time store employee who also travels the world - India is the next stop.

It was a lovely way to celebrate Christmas Eve.

A Perfect Christmas Dinner

The elements of Christmas dinner were prepared to perfection.

Molasses-brined Niman Ranch pork chop with a multi-layered sauce (evolving over months - the newest layer of pomegranate conserve added to the sauce) and a condiment of Cunningham Farms sweet potato butter.

Hasselback butter baked potatoes - basted in butter for hours.

Belgian endive salad (a typical Parisian winter salad that Tomie had for the first time in Paris in 1959) with a dressing of lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, salt, freshly ground pepper, a spoonful of dijon mustard, and sugar to taste - to cut the mustard.

Yummy Memories

As we sit through a snowstorm (a predicted 10-16 inches is expected), it's nice to remember the trip yesterday to The Restaurant at Burdick Chocolate in Walpole, NH, for lunch. It's a drive of 70 minutes from New London, NH, and worth every minute of drive-time.

Brita's choices:
French Onion Soup
Calf's Liver
Zuger Kirsch

Tomie's choices:
Oysters on the Half Shell
Steak Frites
Butter Crust Cranberry Tart, and One Canele
(aka Canele de Bordeaux, Cannelle, Cannele)

My choices:
Mushroom Soup
Beef Stew
Hot Chocolate

The Restaurant at Burdick Chocolate is a bit French bistro. The little Walpole Grocery is also worth a visit for its unusual offerings. Burdick's owns the grocery store. It's located only a few yards from the restaurant.

A teacher from Massachusetts was eating with family and friends at the restaurant and recognized Tomie. She asked for an autograph and a photo.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Introducing Mr. and Mrs. Drew Kidder

Newlyweds Katie and Drew Kidder visited last night. Here they are standing next to Tomie's newest painting (completed a couple of days ago).

We've known Drew since he was a little boy. (See December 2, 2012, "The Lost Photos - #2." Drew is the taller of the two boys. Stowe is the "short one" who is quite handsome as an adult... with the right lighting.)

We were invited to Katie and Drew's wedding in Raleigh, NC, but couldn't go because of Bronte's "new" blindness. Drew is an artist, and Katie is in the next stage of her medical training.

Flowers in the House

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Saturday, December 22, 2012

A Welcoming Front Door

Here's the wreath on Tomie's front door. (Yes, that's the color of the front door.)

The orange star and wreath with manger scene were from Tomie's Midwest of Cannon Falls collection from many years ago.

The greens and ribbons are the work of the brilliant (in so many ways) Mauli at the Art of Nature in New London, NH.

Click on the photo to get a better look.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


THE NEW YORK TIMES published today a review online of THE BIRDS OF BETHLEHEM.

"Tomie dePaola uses his signature folk-tale illustrations to stunning effect..." 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Thoughts and Prayers

Our thoughts and prayers are of the Sandy Hook Elementary School community.

We have a small connection to the school. Earlier this year, a parent, from the school, who had grown up in New London, NH, wrote to ask if Tomie would visit the school in person or via Skype. 

Tomie offered to Skype with some classrooms. The librarian, Yvonne Cech, arranged for him to meet some of her students this past March. They were Tomie's first Skype sessions and the school's first Skype session with an author.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

"Everyone's Favorite"

Fit for a Tomie dePaola Christmas Tree

Donna Lee Woolcott painted an ornament for Tomie featuring Strega Nona and Tomie's dog. Very nice.

(I think you can only view the Facebook page with a Facebook account.)

Monday, December 10, 2012

When Is Midnight Mass?

Several years ago, Tomie's friends from Australia were visiting for Christmas. They wanted to go to Christmas Eve midnight mass at the local Catholic church. Tomie was "performing" - that is, reading one of his stories as a favor to the priest.

Jenny, from Australia, asked, "When is midnight mass?" Tomie said, "Call the church."

The answer was that midnight mass began at 10:00 p.m.

When she told Tomie, she also added, "How twisted."  

He's So Sculpture-al

Tomie's friend, Rhett Johnson, has installed sculpture at the new Ronald McDonald House in Chicago.

Rhett's wife Kelly Buntin-Johnson's website is:

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Have Yourself a Merry Marklin Christmas

Book Signing
1:00 - 2:00 p.m.
28 Riverside Drive
Contoocook, NH 03229
Store Phone: 603-746-5442

The Angel Tomie

Many years ago, the W.D. Hall Elementary kindergarten classes of El Cajon, California, sent an apron featuring stars (a photograph of a child was in each star) and the angel Tomie. Tomie's Blog Blogger has the apron hanging in his office.

Shared Experiences

A grandfather came yesterday to the autographing at Boston College to get a book signed for his two grandchildren. But, he couldn't remember the name of one of the grandchildren. We suggested that he step aside for a few minutes to refresh his memory while others got their books signed. He returned to the autographing table after remembering the name (without calling his wife).

After Tomie signed the book, he mentioned he too had Airedale terrier dogs over the years. Tomie shared that his dog was blind. This man explained that he had an Airedale who went blind, and then lived another healthy eight years. They commiserated that their blind dogs missed running after thrown toys. But, it was good to hear of a family's similar story with a dog.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

A Reunion of Cousins

Tomie's cousin, Maureen Malavase, came to Boston College's Alumni Association Winter Wonderland today. Maureen's grandparents were Viva and Charles (from the "26 Fairmount Avenue" chapter books).

Friday, December 7, 2012

Back to College

Brief Presentation and Book Signing
1:00 p.m.
Brighton Campus
9 Lake Street, Room 100
Brighton, MA 02135

He's So Grand!

THE BIRDS OF BETHLEHEM in the window of Posman's Bookstore in Grand Central.

A House of Vignettes

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Big Anthony as Movie Theater Popcorn Maker

Barbara Elleman (TOMIE DEPAOLA, HIS ART & HIS STORIES) sent this "New Yorker," December 3, 2012, cartoon. "Do you suppose the guy at the door is Big Anthony?" she wrote.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

I Feel Pretty

Left to Right:
Bronte, Mooey, Dee Ganley (stylist)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

An Anniversary

It was a year ago, December 4, 2011, that Tomie was admitted to the hospital and didn't leave until 15 days later.

John Walters wrote in the Winter 2012/2013 "Kearsarge Magazine": His own future nearly came to an end just before Christmas 2011. At the end of a busy book tour, "I had some  serious and mysterious health issues," he says. He was hospitalized for most of December. They never figured out exactly what the problem was, but he did recover. Now, he's looking forward to writing and making art for as long as he can, and celebrating as many Christmases as he can.

Monday, December 3, 2012

At Night

Change Is Good

The little Christmas tree stood for many Christmases in the house entryway. But, this year, Tomie wanted it in front of the large windows in the Mercer room. This tree is decorated with Marklin Candle ornaments designed by Tomie.

Click on the photo to get a better look.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

All I Want for Christmas Is a Singing Tree

Last night Tomie watched on TLC, the so-called Learning Channel, "Crazy Christmas Lights" and "Extreme Christmas Trees." The latter program featured the Mona Shores High School's "singing Christmas tree" in Muskegon, Michigan. The tree is sixty-seven feet tall and holds 300 high school students.

I told Tomie, "Don't get any ideas."

The Lost Photos - #2

1985. Left to Right: Stowe Kidder, Tomie, Drew Kidder, Papa David Kidder, Tomie's Blog Blogger, Kathy Belko

The photographer was Mama Janet Kidder. We're all smiles as we get ready to cut down Christmas trees at a hilltop tree farm.

Covered in Snow Crystals This Morning

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Another Saturday, Another Autographing

Mary Jane and Fred Ogmundson attended the autographing today at Morgan Hill Bookstore. Mary Jane is best known in our area as "Mrs. O" from her elementary school teaching days.

They are the parents of the very talented Will Ogmundson.

Pen Pals

Tomie wrote to Philip Pullman to compliment him on his newest book, FAIRY TALES FROM THE BROTHERS GRIMM.

Philip Pullman replied, "The praise of a friend whom one esteems for his own work is worth diamonds."


Left to Right: Tom Dunn, Will Ogmundson, Cindy Johnson, Tomie, Linny Kenney, Scott Sweatt, Fred Sprague

Last night was the premiere performance of "an original operetta by Will Ogmundson and Tom Dunn" of "Tomie dePaola's The Night of Las Posadas" by the Alchemists' Workshop.

Cindy Johnson, Linny Kenney, Scott Sweatt and Fred Sprague were the actors.

The performance was at the Wilmot Congregational Church in Wilmot, NH.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Tomie and Skype

This morning Tomie chatted via Skype with second grade students at Van Cortlandtville Elementary in Mohegan Lake, New York. The students asked a lot of questions about writing stories. They even mentioned writing techniques that were new to Tomie.

It was time.

Tomie picked out a new cell phone in 2006. He told the clerk he wanted a phone that made phone calls and nothing else. He didn't want "bells and whistles." He didn't want to play music. He didn't want to search the internet.

The phone he got was a flip phone with large letters and numbers for dialing and viewing. We assumed the phone was designed for children, or for persons "of age."

But now, his 2006 model won't hold a charge and the battery is warped.

It was time to get a new cell phone.

We went to the local Verizon Wireless store and he got an iPhone4. The phone was free, and it was similar to my phone. The assumption was that I could teach him how to use it.

He had to return once to the store because of some glitches, but Will whom he's known since Will was in grade school, quickly resolved the issues.

Tomie has successfully made a couple of phone calls. But now, he wants to learn about the other capabilities of the phone. 

Challenges ahead!    

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Tomie and His World in Words and Photographs

Available from our local bookseller,
Morgan Hill Bookstore,

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Monday, November 26, 2012

Limited Edition Holy Twins Print

© 2001 by Tomie dePaola
From the book, THE HOLY TWINS, Putnam
Tomie has created an exclusive, limited edition, signed and numbered print, "The Holy Twins," for the Abbey of Regina Laudis to help fund the Abbey's New Horizons Renovation Project.
For more information, and to purchase a print, contact:
Monastic Art Shop
Abbey of Regina Laudis, OSB
273 Flanders Road
Bethlehem, CT 06751
Hours - Daily 10:00 a.m. - noon, 1:30 - 4:00 p.m.
Closed on Wednesdays.
All proceeds to benefit New Horizons Project.

Kissed Icon

© 2012 by Carolyn Croll


Book Signing
11:00 a.m. - Noon
253 Main Street
New London, NH 03257
Store Phone: 603-526-5850

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Lost Photos - #1

2006. Here is Norman Stevens (Director of University Libraries, Emeritus, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT) with his favorite book, BILL AND PETE GO DOWN THE NILE, or as Norman refers to it: NORM AND PETE GO DOWN THE NILE. Tomie's books are for children and imaginations of ALL ages.

Blatant Intention

Margarita Perez is a professor of early childhood education at Worcester State University in Worcester, Massachusetts. She attended the autographing at the Norwich Bookstore. The photo was taken to cause envy.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thank You, Norwich Bookstore

We just returned from another wonderful autographing at the Norwich Bookstore in Norwich, Vermont. Left to Right: Penny McConnel (co-owner), Tomie, Liza Bernard (co-owner).

Friday, November 23, 2012


Book Signing
10:30 a.m. - Noon
291 Main Street
Norwich, VT 05055
Store Phone: 802-649-1114

Thanksgiving and Grace

Tomie spent the day yesterday in a big comfortable chair reading GRACE: A MEMOIR, by Grace Coddington. Grace Coddington is the Creative Director of Vogue magazine.

Tomie noticed a photograph in the book was taken by one of his twin photographer cousins, Frances McLaughlin-Gill, aka Franny.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Tomie's Thanksgiving Feast for One

Lobel's all-beef Kosher knockwurst stuffed with cheddar cheese, wrapped with bacon. Baked, then broiled. Dijon mustard on the side. Tomie exclaimed, "Delicious."

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tomie does not like turkey nor does Calvin Trillin. (Calvin Trillin, according to wikipedia, "is an American journalist, humorist, food writer, poet, memoirist and novelist.")

According to Trillin in THE TUMMY TRILOGY (Farrar, Straus and Girous, 1994), "I have been campaigning to have the national Thanksgiving dish changed from turkey to spaghetti carbonara...

"...the campaign had been inspired partly by my belief that turkey is basically something college dormitories use to punish students for hanging around on Sunday."

Trillin imagined his own story of the first Thanksgiving meal with the Pilgrims and Indians:

The Indians brought to the meal a dish they learned about from Christopher Columbus - "spaghetti carbonara - made with pancetta bacon and fontina and the best imported prosciutto. The Pilgrims hated it... The Indians were so disgusted that on the way back to their village after dinner one of them made a remark about the Pilgrims that was repeated down through the years and unfortunately caused confusion among historians about the first Thanksgiving meal. He said, 'What a bunch of turkeys!'"

Tomie will be having a hot dog later today for his Thanksgiving meal.     

Monday, November 19, 2012

Paintings of an Icon

"Tomie Is a Good Listener," © 2012 by Daphne Confar
Tomie sat for two portraits by Daphne Confar earlier this year. ("Tomie on the Other Side of the Brush" is on the right column of the blog.) Tomie loves them!

Before He Was an Icon

This is Tomie's friend Delli from Pittsburgh. She knew Tomie when they both were at Pratt Institute, and before he was an icon.

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines "icon," as: "an emblem, a symbol, an object of uncritical devotion," among other meanings. When presented with the iconic news, Delli replied, "Who knew?!"

Here Delli is volunteer knitting for children and the elderly.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Speaking of Alma Maters

Many years ago, Tomie autographed in a store in the Seattle area. One of the teachers from Peter Kirk Elementary in Kirkland, Washington, attended the autographing. She brought Tomie a gift of two Peter Kirk Elementary sweatshirts.

I have worn "mine" nearly every day for YEARS. It is simply indestructible.

The Peter Kirk name is on the front of the sweatshirt. It is also on the back in HUGE letters.

This summer a clerk in the local hardware store asked me if Peter Kirk Elementary was my alma mater. I said, "Yes, and I'm very proud."  

It's Iconic, Really

Tomie just received a letter from his alma mater, Pratt Institute.

"We are pleased that your work has been voted by the Pratt Institute community and public as one of the top 125 Pratt icons of all time. In honor of the Institute's 125th anniversary this year, Pratt hosted an online gallery of works by Pratt alumni and faculty, and invited alumni, students and friends to select those they consider to be the most iconic. It is a truly impressive collection of work, and we are delighted that yours has been recognized as among the best."

Some of the other 125 Pratt icons are:
Philip Johnson, Architect
Jules Feiffer, Artist
Arnold Lobel, Illustrator and Author
Betsey Johnson, Fashion Designer
Harvey Fierstein, Actor
Robert Sabuda, Illustrator and Author
Edward Koren, Illustrator
Richard Meier, Architect   

Friday, November 16, 2012

Right Down the Road

Although we've never seen them in the local grocery store or pharmacy or in one of the area restaurants, we learned this week that former CIA Director David Petraeus and his wife, Holly, own a home in Springfield, New Hampshire, which is a hop, skip and a jump away from Tomie's home.

Mrs. Petraeus inherited the home from her parents.

The wikipedia entry for David Petraeus lists Springfield as his "official domicile."

Hotbed of Creativity

Nancy Paulsen (Nancy Paulsen Books of Penguin Young Readers Group), Tomie's editor, is visiting. She arrived last night to the sight of Tomie holding a platter of meatloaf for her. Nancy loves Tomie's meatloaf, so Tomie makes meatloaf every time Nancy visits.

Tomie and Nancy worked on new projects today. They completed a nearly final draft of a story for 2014. They discussed several other ideas for books for 2014 and beyond.

It's always helpful when Nancy comes to New Hampshire to discuss projects.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

You Go, Girl! (At least, in NH.)

New Hampshire makes history! No state has ever had a female governor AND entirely female Federal delegation (U.S. senators and representatives) until now.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Italian Invasion

Elizabeth Masucci (left) and Cynthia Pietrantoni, "early retired" teachers, visited yesterday from the Boston area. We've known "the grammar queens" for many years. They like to be called "early retired" because they retired YEARS before the usual retirement age.

They came with a box from the Gingerbread Construction Co. filled with two gingerbread girls and six SWEET muffins.

We learned for the first time that Elizabeth had become an actress. You may have seen her in scenes in the following movies:
Edge of Darkness, with Mel Gibson
Game Plan, with The Rock
What's Your Number, with Anna Faris
The Makeover, with Julia Stiles
Clear History, with Larry David
Here Comes the Boom, with Kevin James

Crowd scenes, that is.