Fan Art – New Qwikpick Cover!

Folks, I am bursting with pride/hubris over this fan art I’ve gotten. Some really wonderful stuff from a class that read my book and then endured a visit from me.
Here’s the first one. A new cover for The Qwikpick Adventure Society from Amber, Abigail and Courtney, who also offered this note on the book & visit: “Your book was Awesome! .. You rock, Dude… We miss you… Your visit is missed.”
They also warned: “Don’t drown in the Poop Jacuzzi!”

Scope Notes reviews Qwikpick

Man, the Kidlit god just keep smiling on the Qwikpick, formerly Middle Earth Mini Mart + Subs, lately!
Scope Notes wrote this really swell review of The Qwikpick Adventure Society:
The Scoper is not just a librarian, but also a Qwikpicker at heart — check out this excerpt:
“A friend and I used to be regulars at the local Kmart plaza, eating Nutty Bars and perusing the car care section to debate which chamois was “probably most absorbent”. These are the things that happen growing up in a small town. “The Qwikpick Adventure Society” exposes these seemingly mundane life experiences as the occasionally life changing times they can be. “

Qwikpick a Bank Street Best Book!

I just got this news from my editor!!!!!!
The Qwikpick Adventure Society  is among the Children’s Book Committee at Bank Street College of Education 2008 Best Books of the Year. It’s in the age group 9 to 12, under the genre/category “Today” (as opposed to history, fairy tale, science fiction).
Also, it looks like the big Bank Street award this year is going to Katherine Applegate’s Home of the Brave!
Hurray! Applegate, the sister of one of our best friends, gave Cece some great advice when she was just getting started, so we are always glad to see her prosper!

Poetry Friday – Librarians Get NASTY

Cece and I just had a great joint presentation at a VEMA conference, which is the Virginia Educational Media Association, which I think  was a convention of librarians.
From somewhere came the title “Making Books Fun” or something like that. So Cece and I showed the librarians what we do when we visit schools.
Cece had those librarians wearing animal ears and acting out “Sock Monkey Goes to Hollywood.” The key is casting Sock Monkey well, she always says, and she got a wild one this time!
As for me, I gave the librarians the same challenge I give kids. Can you do what the kids do in my book, The Qwikpick Adventure Society and write poems that create not a word picture, but a word smell? And can you make it even stinkier?
Yes, they could… and some of the could even get the haiku syllables right in just 2 or 3 minutes of writing time. This one came close:
thrown up stinky
chunky bits of Cheerios
mixed with applesauce
And they could be funny:
Candles burning bright
Caught my hair on fire tonight
Crackling hair, stinking so
But one librarian wrote a simply incredible poem. Oddly it was the first I read and was a total surprise. It did not win the popular vote, which went to a poem which was (I think) an inside VEMA joke, but this poem is among the very best ever written for Qwikpick Instant Poetry Contests…
Unpacking winter box
Afghan reveals bones, tissue
Heart races, smell explodes
-Deborah Wood

PixiePalace reviews Qwikpick!

The Qwikpick Adventure Society
The royal decree has gone forth from the palace:
This is a really fun book! It’s incredibly funny.
Thanks RosiePixie!

Another yahoo moment!

I’ve talked before about yahoo moments and how few and far between they can be.
Qwikpick has given me some — good reviews and fun school appearances. (But also a lot of heartbreak.)
And Llama with a Hat gave me a big one when I found it was actually going to happen AFTER I had given up on it.
But the Civil War Extravaganza hasn’t really had a yahoo moment. It’s been – what – four years of labor, lots of ups and downs and occasional really good news for me and my co-author. But there’s never really been a single moment for celebration.
But today… YAHOO!
Our new editor through us some tough challenges and today we heard that she dug our revisions! The book is SO much better now and our enthusiasm has been growing.
And then the editor drops the bombshell. She’s got an illustrator in mind and –YAHOO! — the person in question ROCKS THE MIC! If this works out this particular illustrator should tear the roof off with this cover! I cannot wait to see what it’s going to look like, but I think the word KUNG-FU may apply!
Coming to a store near you in 2009!

Kid: Harry Potter can wait, I’ve got to read Qwikpick!

Wickle, a sometimes commenter on this blog, has put up a review of Qwikpick! And it’s a fantastic read!
One of the best bits is this line:
My 11-year-old … took a break in the middle of reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire to read this…
Wow, put that on the book jacket and print another 100,000* copies! (*this number may be a Lisa Yee style exageration.)
Wickle has some other really nice things to say about the book being good for a reluctant reader and for a somewhat nostalgic adult.
Best of all, Wickle’s endorsement, proves that Qwikpick can reach across party lines. Democrats & Republicans, Obamians & Huckabeans are all welcome at the Qwikpick!

A Great Day in Crickenburg

Wow, what a fantastic time I had at Falling Branch Elem., this morning which is in Christiansburg which is, of course, the real life version of Crickenburg, the setting for the Qwickpick Adventure Society.
One teacher told me that my book was a great way to get the kids revved up for their upcoming Standards of Learning Test on writing. That was great to hear! Maybe I can get more teachers to give it a try. The book is all about kids using their brains and trying to tell their story in words, even if that means writing a haiku about sewage. And it’s just right for fifth graders and they’re the ones that have to take the mighty test.
3/4 of the kids had read my book. (Or actually their teachers had read it to them.) I got to listen in as one class told their teacher what the best parts were. Poop Fountain, Origami Pegasus and Meeting Marilla.
The teacher had the kids learn to play Penny Basketball from the diagram in the book. So I challenged a few and largely made a fool of myself. However the payoff came when this girl beaned me in the head with a bad shot! (This may have been captured on video by a teacher.)
A giant pile of new kid poems for the next Poetry Friday. Good and gross!
The principal walked in while I was reading the poems. And I was wondering, “Has she been briefed on what is about to come out of my mouth?” Apparently she was cool with it!
During autograph time a girl had me sign a Veggie Tales “Wizard of Oz” poster. Why? I have no idea, but I was flattered.
Another kid wanted me to sign a doodled on clipboard and he says something like: Sign the insane rat’s head.
The kids had some great questions:
Did Lyle ever beat Marilla’s high score on Ms. PacMan? (Answer: No, but Marilla has beated it herself.)
Am I rich? (No.)
Am I still friends with Dave and Marilla? This question made me cry on the way home. It’s a complicated world, kids.

Nice review of Qwikpick from Downers Grove Library

Downer’s Grove — Home of the amazing Emo Phillips and the wonderful Miss Rachel. I don’t know who Miss Rachel is, except that she reviewed my book on a Webpage called What the Junior Room Is Reading  on the Downers Grove Library site.
Miss Rachel says, “This story is told through a combination of drawings, newspaper clippings and handwritten notations, in addition to traditional prose (written by Lyle on an old typewriter.)  I found the three main characters to be very likeable and their honesty is refreshing.  It was fun to read about the journey the friends take, and although the last part of the book tends to be somewhat gross, I think 3rd and 4th grade boys will particularly enjoy this book.”
Thanks, Miss Rachel!
And, Emo, I thank you, too.

Wowzer! A Wonderful review from World of Words

I had started to think that everyone who was going to review Qwikpick had already done so. Then, right out of the blue, comes this swell review from World of Words!
I was fairly sure that she had read or at least looked at my book and I was afraid she was too polite to say what she thought about it. Turns out she liked it!
Her review contains this wonderful line, which would look great on the cover of a paperback version:
“It’s poop–well done.”
She also wrote this, which really really pleases me:
“Do you know a reluctant boy reader? Then go, buy this book!”
Although I certainly hope girls and non-reluctant readers will read it, too!