Cece Bell news… Beewigged

Cece got her first copy of Bee-Wigged and it’s just glorious. Even Crazy Ceramic Bear likes it!
As you may know, this will be her first hand-painted full-length picture book. (Sock Monkey is done on Freehand.) The artwork is just amazing. And the story is pure Cece. Go ahead and order it (release date is in Nov.) because it is super-duper!
What else is Cece doing? Experimenting with a new painting technique for a book she’s just written and pencilled. Preparing for the Tomato Festival. And all sorts of other stuff.
Sock Monkey fans, don’t go away mad! No news yet on the next Sock Monkey book, but … here’s the world’s coolest T-shirt…

My worlds collide: A Kidlit column for the newspaper

As a Q&A writer, I have to take the subjects that readers ask me about, so I don’t often get to write about kidlit.
But this week, there was a Babe question:

Q: We were reading “Babe: The Sheep Pig” and were surprised to see that the emergency phone number was 999 not 911. Why the difference? Stewart Hill, Elliston

A: Dick King-Smith’s book about Babe, on which the movie was based, was first published in England and certainly seems to be set in England. That fair country uses the number 999 for its emergency calls. Thus when Babe catches sheep rustlers in the act, Mrs. Hoggett dials 999 to summon the police.

Sometimes books are edited slightly when brought across the Atlantic in either direction and little details like this are “translated” to save readers from this sort of confusion, but some might argue that such details should remain since they add flavor and texture to a book.

I knew about the transatlantic translations (nearly) firsthand, since Cece’s Sock Monkey books have been published in Britain with charming changes to the text, along the lines of:

Sock Monkey rented a tuxedeo >>> Sock Monkey hired a dinner jacket

Origami Sock Monkey

I had told Cece that making an Origami Sock Monkey was probably beyond my abilities, what with needing to get a white tip to his head and then a white mouth lower down AND needing to get longish arms and legs.
But then I finally hit on a solution, using an asymmetrical fold for the white head and bringing a flap up from the bottom to create the mouth. Then the arms and legs were a matter of lots of fussing and fiddling, with each side being different because of the asymm. folding. It’s a lot of non-Hoyle stuff in the back, as usual for one of my folds.
Here’s the first attempt:
The second attempt was abandonded, due to a lack of legs, I think.
And here is the third, qualifiedly successful attempt:
 At one point he had ears, but then I tried to go for the white tip on the right ear and ended up with a big papery mess. And as I mentioned the back is in bad shape. So … he’s earless and rearless.

Sam & Cece’s Holiday Funland – Day 22 – 12 Days of Sock Monkey

Cece Bell’s 12 Days of Sock Monkey Christmas Card!

Sam & Cece’s Holiday Funland – Day 19 – The Making Of…

Here we see Cece’s pencil sketch, an early computer rendering and a close-up of one of the many details she put on the card to give it the appearance of a piece of old-time sheet music.
The result….
It was packed with silly lyrics and other gags inside, too.

Sam & Cece’s Holiday Funland – Days 13 – a classic Sock Monkey Christmas Card


Sam & Cece’s Holiday Funland Day 12 – Sock Monkey Shrinky Dinks

One of the all-time great Sock Monkey give-aways! Shrinky Dinks that friends and fans could color and bake!


Click here to see the process demonstrated by Veronica Monkeygirl!

Frog and Toad lend Sock Monkey a helping hand

So we’re at Barnes & Noble for a booksigning and we need a place to put Cece’s jumbo Sock Monkey display….


We got it balanced on Toad’s arm and on a pen stuck in a bookshelf.

Obviously, I need to make a giant cardboard fountain of poop for Qwikpick, because Cece outsold me like crazy!

Cece & Sam’s Holiday Funland Day 10 – Sock Monkey’s Online Train Set – Free Flash Game Fun

 At last! You can ride the rails with your favorite toy actor and picture book star, Sock Monkey!

Sock Monkey’s Online Train Set (or SMOTS) is a Flash game, that lets you control the train, build a new layout, create cities, farms and roads. AND you can toot the whistle as much as you want! Yes, it’s a free flash game for kids or adults or sock monkeys.


Above: a pretty busy layout, but Sock Monkey prefers one like that below…


In case you’re wondering… yes, I programmed this myself, but not from scratch. I started with source code for a tile world from a book called Flash MX Game Design Demystified. Also, if you play, you’ll notice that I didn’t check for train and truck collisions. So, no crashes!

While we’re on the subject, don’t forget the first Sock Monkey Flash Game…

Sam & Cece’s Holiday Funland – Day 8 – Sock Monkey Christmas Card

If you’re a member of Sock Monkey’s fan club (or otherwise connected) you get a Sock Monkey Christmas Card every year. Here’s one of my favorites, from 2002….