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Author: Dave


Christmas Tweets


Red Sled

RED SLED has just been included on the Common Sense Media list of essential books for kids and teens!


It joins some pretty good company in the age 2-6 category!



Air and Space

Sometimes the year end "best of" lists are quite enjoyable! Smithsonian Air and Space, one of my favorite magazines, picked FLIGHT SCHOOL as one of the best aviation and space themed books for children!



Reviews of Flight School

We've seen a few really nice reviews of Flight School in the past few days. One was a *STARRED REVIEW* from the June 2014 issue of The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books! Here's a little snippet from that:

"The watercolor and pencil illustrations are warm, robust, and thoughtfully composed... Penguin is a charmingly tubby and stout guy, and the skillful positioning of his red flight goggles visually convey his emotions: when he’s happy, the earpieces flip up jauntily, and when he’s sad, they dejectedly droop. This could be a useful tool for many kinds of discussions—from the adaptations that some kids need in a classroom, to creative problem solving, to perseverance—or a cheerful addition to a unit or story hour about birds or penguins."

Another nice review was from the Librarian's quest blog.


Here's a quote from Librarian's Quest:

"If you are looking for a title about dreaming the impossible dream look no further than Flight School...It presents readers with a cast of lovable characters who look on the bright side of life. Sometimes we truly need the help of our friends to keep our heart full..."

Recent Paintings/Studio Musings

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Red Hat is out!

Red Hat was released yesterday!

Lita will be at the Books of Wonder in New York City on Sunday, March 10 from 1-3pm. More info on the event is at the Books of Wonder events page. She'll be at the Toadstool in Peterborough on March 16, 11am.

We received our first set of Red Hat Contest entries from a classroom this week -- Temple Elementary School. Here are some:

And we got this interesting one:


Beatrix Tricks

We took this video of Beatrix a few months ago when she was just a baby and was learning her first tricks.


Phoebe Nest Started

For the past several years we've had a pair of Phoebes nesting in our woodshed. They've just started on this year's nest! Here are a few pictures from last Thursday (May 3rd):

(Click on the images to see them a bit larger.)

Red Sled In the News

USA Today "Talk about joy rides...It's a perfect book for reading aloud, especially by expressive readers who can do justice to a walk in the snow: Scrinch scrunch scrinch scrunch scrinch scrunch."

Washington Post ".. a delightful winter book for very young readers. Each double-page spread features a serene snowscape bathed in moonlight, the perfect foil for the explosive humor of the animals' antics."  

PEOPLE "Just the right blend of danger and delight, this book is perfect for a wintry night.",,20552540,00.html  

San Francisco Chronicle "It's strikingly original and totally inspired."  

Concord Monitor "As with many a treasured children's book, the details are left to the fertile young imagination...the book is exactly what a book about sledding should be: pure fun."  

Book Page "Parents and kids will enjoy this sweet, energy-filled tale."!  

Shelf Awareness "Like the red sled's riders, young readers will be pleading, AGAIN!"  

Newburyport News, Newburyport, MA "Charmingly depicted"  

Ithaca Child "A delicate, beautiful book about the wonder of winter and play."  

Winter Indie List "This is my new favorite snow book! The minimal text highlighted with fun sound effects is complemented by beautiful art...In this sweet and wonderful picture book, Judge successfully captures all of the joy of a great sled ride."


Red Sled Short Video

(Written by Dave) Lots of our friends have commented on the short video that Lita and I created for Red Sled, so I wanted to post it to the blog and mention a bit about how we produced this. So first, here's the video:

When Lita and I work together on these types of things, she does all the story-boarding and then I produce something quickly to get started from and then we tweak and change things until it feels right. There are many, many iterations of tweaks and changes. To get the right feel for the animation we did a lot of experimentation. We used Adobe After Effects CS5 (mac version) for the whole thing and for the animation. Here's what the project looks like in After Effects:

We had various ideas for the music but then I saw a snippet of Prokoviev's Romeo and Juliet on Pianopedia. It wasn't quite long enough so I made up the rest and recorded it and it seemed to set the right mood.

There are many video settings, and I'm not sure if I went down the optimal path, but I find it quite helpful when other people post their settings, so here's what I did. I made the "master" copy at 1280 x 720 pixels, 29.97 frames per second, using Apple QuickTime mov format. This created a 230 MB file for just over a minute of video. Then I compressed the file using Adobe Media Encoder to an MP4 format, still 1280 x 720, but now more like 20 MB. Then I upload that to YouTube where it gets compressed again into whatever format they use.

We hope you like the video!