You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Carolyn Crimi’ tag.

Ever heard of the picture book THE LOUDS MOVE IN? It’s one of my all-time favorites, with a cast of unique characters like Miss Shushermush, who eats quiet meals of leftover mashed potatoes. When the Loud family moves onto Earmuffle Avenue, the chaos begins and friendships are eventually [noisily] forged.

Ever since I read THE LOUDS I have been a huge fan of author Carolyn Crimi. So when I heard about her newest book PUGS IN A BUG, and then saw the illustrations by Stephanie Buscema, I nearly fell off my chair with an attack of acute cuteness. Punch-buggy green! Gotcha!

PUGS is a “catchy canine counting book” with a jaunty joy-ride rhyme and a groovin’ get-up-and-go beat. It’s so much fun to read aloud with its twists and turns in language—and in the road. Chugging along, the pugs meet up with a pooch parade, so there’s not only pugs in a bug, but bulldogs in a taxi and poodles on skateboards. This book proves that it’s not always about the destination but the journey. Beep, beep! Bow wow! I know you want to win it now!

So Carolyn and Stephanie are both here today to talk about the creation of PUGS…and yes, you can win it!

TL: Carolyn, are pugs your favorite kind of dog? Do you own a pug? Why PUGS?

CC: I actually love all kinds of dogs. I met a Newfoundland yesterday that I was ready to take home with me. Alas, she was a big dog and probably would not have fit in my car. But pugs are probably my favorite. They’re the comedians of the dog world. When I walk down the street with my pug Emerson people laugh. I kind of love that about him—he brings laughter with him wherever he goes.

Not that he cares about that. All he really cares about is food. If he had to choose between me and a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken I’m afraid there would be no contest. KFC would win, paws down.

Not only do I own a pug, I also own a VW Bug. It’s even green, just like the one in the book. I came up with the entire idea for PUGS IN A BUG the very first time I took Emerson for a ride in my car. That was way back in 2001. I still have both the pug and the Bug. I highly recommend both!

I’ve attached a pic of Emerson for your amusement.

TL: Aww, I love Emerson! His tongue is hilarious.

So you had the idea for the book over 10 years ago. How long did it take you to write it?

CC: Boy, I wish I had a timeline for this book, but I don’t have a clear idea of when I wrote the first draft. I don’t think it was submitted until 2003. Of course the whole submission process takes forever and a day. I also probably revised it a bunch of times to no avail. Then I think it took a while to find the right illustrator.

In other words, same ole same ole.

My first drafts don’t usually take long at all. Maybe just a couple of days. It’s the many revisions I do that take years. Yup, years. I’ll put something away for a while if it doesn’t sell right away. I’ll take another look at it years later and will sometimes be able to see the changes that need to be made. Sometimes I can’t see how to change it. I have a lot of unsold manuscripts lurking in my computer just waiting for the day when I can fix them.

I often tell new writers that this is not a microwave career where you stick in a hastily written manuscript and a six figure income pops out thirty seconds later. It takes oodles of revisions and a lot of “thinking time” to polish a manuscript into submission-ready form.

TL: I remember you once said that an illustrator never does what you imagine—they do far better than you ever could have imagined. What did Stephanie do with PUGS that really surprised you?

CC: Lots of things!

She gave them all hats, which I love, especially since I have been known to, um, dress up my pug on occasion. This lends a distinct personality to each pug. Genius!

Something else that surprised me was that two sweet little birds appear on every spread. (TL: Can you find them below?) That’s the kind of thing kids love to follow in a book. Also, toward the end a rascally squirrel jumps onto the back of the Bug, unbeknownst to the pugs riding in it. So fun! Stephanie has added so many details like this. It’s the kind of book that has endless surprises in the illustrations. I’m still finding things in it that I hadn’t noticed before!

TL: Stephanie, what drew you to PUGS IN A BUG?

SB: When I got the manuscript for PUGS, I was thrilled with the subject matter (I love drawing and painting animals) and was immediately drawn to it! The story had so much room for play, color and lots of fun character designs. I’m a big fan of Carolyn’s work, so it was an honor to illustrate one of her books.

TL: What kind of tricks do you use to keep so many similar-looking characters diverse? Did you name the Pugs as you drew them?

SB: I didn’t name them, but I did add in little pug accessories so that the reader would know each pug was different (and so I could keep track, haha)!

TL: LOL! Yes, I love all the little details like the bow ties and hats, although I confess the girl with the flower in her fur is my favorite. Or maybe it’s the cool jazz dude. Or the one with the pink horn-rimmed glasses. Oh, I can’t choose!

What was your favorite spread to illustrate?

SB: I have to say, I enjoyed most of the spreads. I think my most favorite spreads to paint were the pages at the beginning of the book. It was really fun to push myself with the landscapes and scene changes. If I had to chose one? I think the spread with the 3 pugs driving into the city was my favorite to paint. The entire book was painted in gouache and cel-vinyl (animation) paints on watercolor paper.

TL: Do you do any Photoshop or computer work once your paintings are finished?

SB: Nope, I work 100% traditional. Sometimes we’ll have to clean up a little spot here or there, and of course in the proofing stage if something isn’t bright enough we’ll bump it up. But other then that, I don’t use Photoshop in the art stages at all.

TL: How do you hope readers will react to the illustrations?

SB: Like any job I do, I always hope the readers enjoy the visuals and pick up on the sense of joy I get out of painting a book.

TL: I think that is totally obvious with this book—the bright color and playfulness just jumps out and slaps a seatbelt on you. Sit down and enjoy the ride!

Carolyn, you  have published so many terrific books—WHERE’S MY MUMMY?, HENRY & THE BUCCANEER BUNNIES, DON’T NEED FRIENDS—and now PUGS is added to that list. Can you even pick a favorite?

CC: Well, I have to say based on the writing alone, I like my book DEAR TABBY the best. I love all my books, but I think DEAR TABBY is the funniest. And while I don’t believe in heavy-handed message books, if you read the last page you’ll know my philosophy of life. More importantly, I had a ton of fun writing it!

TL: And those are the best books–the ones that gave the author the most pleasure often give the audience the most fun. Your joy and enthusiasm shine through. 

Thanks, Carolyn and Stephanie! I know everyone will have a blast with PUGS…so let’s give them a chance to win it!

See the pugs on the cover above? Which is your favorite? And just what *is* that pugs name? Name that dog! (Which also happens to be another book illustrated by Stephanie.) I hope you come up with names as creative as Carolyn’s nicknames for Emerson: Sir Scratch and Sniff, Mr. Wiggle Butt, The Mayor and Circus Dog.

You get an extra entry for each share on social media—just mention it in the comments.

Comments close the end of April 30 and a random winner will be chosen shortly thereafter.

Good luck and thanks for stopping by!

Beep, beep! Bow wow!

Visit CarolynCrimi.com and StephanieBuscema.com to learn more about their books!

Thanks to everyone who visited Salina Yoon’s post about her newest and most challenging novelty book, KALEIDOSCOPE. The winner of the signed copy is:

DONNA SHEPHERD!

Congratulations, Donna! Be on the lookout for an email from me…

Didn’t win? No worries. There’s more giveaways coming in the next two weeks. Yes, it’s a busy Spring over here! Here’s a sneaky peekie (what my five-year-old calls it):

Ame Dyckman and Dan Yaccarino’s BOY + BOT

Sarah Frances Hardy’s PUZZLED BY PINK

Carolyn Crimi and Stephanie Buscema’s PUGS IN A BUG

Ammi-Joan Paquette & Marie Letourneau’s THE TIPTOE GUIDE TO TRACKING MERMAIDS

It’s a Picture Book Palooza!

Plus, don’t forget, if you’re not already subscribed to my blog via email, join today to be entered into a SEPARATE “new follower” three-picture-book-prize-pack giveaway on April 1st (EXTRA YARN, BOY + BOT, ARNIE THE DOUGHNUT). I’m not foolin’! Just enter your email address in the left column.

by Carolyn Crimi

Here are three of my favorite things to do to generate picture book ideas. Pick one and try it out!

1) One of the first things I do is look at problems I’m dealing with in my own life to see if I can turn them into a story. For instance, my husband and I sometimes have “disagreements” about how tidy things need to be. I am, well, a bit of a messy person. He is a neat freak. I have had this problem with neat freaks my entire life. (Why do they always think they’re right?) Anyway, I decided to turn this problem into a book titled BORIS AND BELLA. It’s about a very messy monster named Bella LeGrossi who lives next to a very tidy monster named Boris Kleanitoff. Nothing has more emotional resonance than writing about your own problems. I wrote ROCK ‘N’ ROLL MOLE after experiencing extreme stage fright. I still get stage fright every once in a while, but at least I’ve gotten a book out of it, too, and it’s a lot cheaper than therapy!

2)  I love picture books. Being surrounded by them feels like home. So I’ll often read all the books on the Barnes and Noble picture book wall. Reading them leaves me feeling buzzed and ready to create my own great book. I also like to see what books moms pick out for their children and what books the kids themselves want to buy. I’ve heard some writers say they don’t read picture books because they don’t want to be influenced by other writers. I think that if you’re writing enough you won’t have that problem.  Read the new books and the classics. Keep up with the genre.  And if you find a book you love, buy it, take it home and type it up. You discover all sorts of things about a picture book when you do this.

3) Keep an Image Board. I have dry erase board in my office. I stick greeting cards, magazine clippings, poems and titles on it. It sits right in front of me as I write. Whenever I find a card that seems like it might have the seed of a story in it I buy it and stick it up on my Image Board. I may not think of a story for it for years, but the act of collecting inspiring images is just plain fun and it fills the well. Even if you don’t want to make your own Image Board, I encourage you to look through the greeting cards at your local drugstore and buy a few for inspiration. The illustration style is often very similar to picture book illustration style, and of course they are usually about major life changes.

If all else fails, go for a walk! Ask yourself at the beginning of the walk for a story idea and see if you get one by the end of the walk. I get ideas this way all the time!

Have fun!

Carolyn Crimi writes about things that make her laugh, or about things she loved when she was young. Sometimes that leads her down strange, twisted paths, since the things that she loves, like monsters and Pop Tarts, tend to be a bit odd. In addition to writing books, she also teaches adult education courses on writing for children, visits schools for Author Talks, and writes stories and articles for children’s textbooks and magazines. Her picture books include HENRY AND THE BUCCANEER BUNNIES, THE LOUDS MOVE IN (one of Tara’s favorite picture books), WHERE’S MY MUMMY? and many more. Check them all out at CarolynCrimi.com.

Follow Me on Pinterest As a children's book author and mother of two, I'm pushing a stroller along the path to publication. I collect shiny doodads on the journey and share them here. You've found a kidlit treasure box.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive kidlit news, writing tips, book reviews & giveaways via email. Wow, such incredible technology! Next up: flying cars.

Join 5,153 other followers

My Picture Books


Available now at:

Coming Soon:


I THOUGHT THIS
WAS A BEAR BOOK
illustrated by Benji Davies
Aladdin/Simon & Schuster
August 2015

NORMAL NORMAN
illustrated by S.Britt
Sterling Children's Books
September 2015

LITTLE RED GLIDING HOOD
illustrated by Troy Cummings
Random House
October 2015

7 ATE 9: THE UNTOLD STORY
illustrator TBA
Disney*Hyperion
2016

WAY PAST BEDTIME
illustrator TBA
Aladdin/Simon & Schuster
2016

My Other Books

Blog Topics

Archives

PiBoIdMo Shop

Get your PiBoIdMo mug, journal, tote and tee! Proceeds benefit Reading is Fundamental (RIF)!

Twitter Updates

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 5,153 other followers