Saturday, December 22, 2007

Frankie Say...

And a general Happy Holidays to those of you who aren't in to that sort of thing.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Robert's Snow auction is GO!

I almost forgot to post that my snowflake is currently up for bid at the Robert's Snow auction. Here's a picture of it again. Bidding ends December 7th.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Back Pattery

I should have blogged about this a good while ago. It's been a busy fall. But The True Meaning of Smekday received a shockingly good review in the New York Times Book Review a few weeks ago. I hope that link is still good–it didn't work for me yesterday.

Also, I'm proud to say that The True Meaning of Smekday and Pssst! have been appearing on some Year's Best-type lists lately. Here's a possibly incomplete list:

-Top Ten Book Sense Autumn 2007 Children's Picks
-Amazon Top 10 Editors' Picks: Picture Books
-A Best Book of the Year by the Miami Herald
-A Kirkus Reviews Best Children’s Book of 2007
-New York Public Library Best Books of 2007
-School Library Journal Best of 2007

Okay, enough of me.

Friday, November 30, 2007

New picture, finally.

Wow. Even I've been finding my blog boring lately. No pictures. So here's one:

It's the color rough (Rough. I can't emphasize that enough.) of the cover to my next book of monster stories, Frankenstein Takes the Cake. Which I'm still working on, and which will be out in the fall of next year.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Politics and Prose

Last minute alert–I will be at Politics and Prose in Washington, DC on Wednesday, November 14th, at 10:30. Whilst there I'll be discussing my policy of interest rate reduction to instigate long-term economic growth.

Naw, I'll be signing kids' books.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Attention Wilmington and New York:

I will be at the Barnes & Noble in Wilmington, DE at 7PM on Thursday, November 8th to talk about my new picture book, Pssst!.
And I will be at Books of Wonder in Manhattan from 12 to 2 PM this Saturday. And I'll be joined by Jon Scieszka, Lane Smith, Laurie Keller, S. D. Schindler, Alyssa Satin Capucilli, Henry Cole, and Amy Schwartz! Or they'll be joined by me. Or whatever.

Anyway, if either city wants me to keep out, now's the time to say something.

Monday, November 5, 2007

An Introduction–

How cool is this? Here's a transcript of an introduction written by 6th grader Brooks Gonzales, which he read before I took the stage at a reading this past weekend in Austin, TX:

In my study of Adam Rex
I had to read a lot of text.
Adam Rex, he likes to rhyme
With puns and limericks from
Time to time.

In his book titled Pssst,
It's not your ordinary zoo.
You will meet cunning and
Clever animals all the way
They convince a little girl
To do their bidding.
And when you read the end
You'll say
You've got to be kidding!

In his book, Tree Ring Circus,
One thing you will agree
Is that it isn't about a circus
But more about a tree.
His attention to detail
Is clever it's true
If you read through it fast
You won't have a clue.

His most notable book
Frankenstein Makes a
Would appeal to anyone
Who likes monsters, It's a
Small World, and a whole
Lot of fun.

He is hip this man, named
Adam Rex
Including pop culture in
The fine print of his text.

While reading the book
Some things that I noticed
Was that Latin dance, the Yeti,
And Phantom of the Opera were
Of focus.

His books show detail, humor and wit
And when you start one
You won't want to quit!

Thanks, Brooks, for the best introduction I've ever been given.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Sorry to be one of THOSE people...

...but I feel compelled to spread this around. I watch it about once a week, whenever I need a punch of happy. I feel if everyone on Earth were to see this we would all come together in a spirit of togetherness or whatever.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Happy Dia de los Muertos!

Austin area readers–come see me this weekend at the Texas Book Festival!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Whoops–Halloween Event!

I'm posting this much later than I should, but I'll be reading, signing, and drawing pictures on Halloween at noon at the Please Touch Museum here in Philadelphia. Are you a kid? Do you know a kid? Then you should maybe come see me.

Halloween @ Noon
Please Touch Museum
210 North 21st Street

Saturday, October 27, 2007


Thanks to the kids at Radnor MIddle School for being a great audience when I visited recently, and for making this banner! I hope they all have a Happy Smekday.

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Toy Pad

Just a note to tell readers in Pennsylvania that I'll be at THE TOY PAD at 826 East Baltimore Pike in Kennett Square this Staurday, the 27th, at about 11AM. I'll draw, maybe read, and sign books. Come see me!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Special Request

Diantres has asked if I could post a decent-sized image of a card of mine in the most recent Magic: The Gathering epansion, Lorwyn. It's called "Horde of Notions," apparently. When I was working on it, it was called "Teeming Host."
Here you go, Diantres:

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Another Star!

The True Meaning of Smekday has earned a starred review from Publisher's Weekly, which writes, "Who knew the end of the world could be so hilarious?...Parallels between the Boov and European settlers and their treatment of Native Americans deepen the impact of the story, but the author goes well beyond delivering a single political message. Incorporating dozens of his weird and wonderful illustrations and fruitfully manipulating the narrative structure, Rex skewers any number of subjects, from Disney World to various fleeting fads."
I've also just learned that The True Meaning of Smekday is one of the New York Public Library Best Books of 2007! Hooha!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Chicken Nugget Lemon Tooty

The kids over at Chicken Nugget Lemon Tooty have posted some fan art inspired by my books, and it's just like getting a big box full of candy. Issac (9), Grace (7), and Lily (4) are amazing illustrators already, and will possibly rule the world in ten or fifteen years.

Elephant in a Tree by Lily (from Tree Ring Circus)

Clown Watching a Boov by Gracie (from Tree Ring Circus and The True Meaning of Smekday)

The Narwhal Gets a Turn on the Zoomobile by Isaac (from Pssst!)
It's no wonder the kids are good, I suppose. Check out their Dad.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Come On Feel The Illinoise!

Apologies to Sufjan Stevens for stealing his title.
I had a great visit to the Chicago area last week, thanks to Anderson's Books in Naperville. They set up two of the best school visits I've ever done (to the Crone and Scullen Middle Schools), and also had me to their store for an evening visit with customers and two elementary school classes. Below are pictures of just some of the great people I met, sorry i can't post all of them. That's me with Amy Timberake (author of The Dirty Cowboy and That Girl Lucy Moon) in the upper right.

Thanks also to the GLBA, which is not, as I found out, a support group for altenative lifestyles, but rather the Great Lakes Bookseller's Association.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The True Meaning of Website

I've just launched the official website for my book, The True Meaning of Smekday. It has a puppet show and everything. I would be honored if you visited. Thank you.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Role Models

Possible new feature around here. Portraits of some of the people who've inspired me to make the kind of books I make.

Around 1990 I was working in a bookstore, and saw some of the antastic picture books that were being produced at the time. Picture books unlike those I'd read when I was a kid. One of them was The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Scieszka and illustrated by Lane Smith. They of course followed this up with The Stinky Cheese Man. It wasn't hard to see myself making picture books after that.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The 2008 Model T Ford

A recent article on The Onion's website got me wondering what it might look like if Ford reintroduced the Model T in a "new Beetle" sort of way. Or in the way they redesigned their own Mustang to make it both modern and reminiscient of its muscle car glory days. In other words, what would the Model T look like if it had never gone out of production, and had instead been updated year after year? Probably nothing like this:

Drawing mech and tech isn't really my strong suit. Anyone else out there have any ideas? If so, post it on your own blogs or whatever and link back here.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Ask Not For Whom My Horn Toots...It Toots for Me.

Just a random news and self-congratulatory roundup.
My latest picture book, Pssst! has thus far recived TWO STARRED REVIEWS from Kirkus and Publishers Weekly. Kirkus says it's "[A] gleefully postmodern romp." PW admires my "astringent attitude and a refreshing brake on the cuteness," and calls Pssst! "[a] very funny excursion."
Also, an ALERT TO CHICAGO AREA READERS. I'll be appearing at the Naperville Anderson's at 7PM on September 27th. I'll read, sign, possibly do a little soft shoe, and MOVE OBJECTS WITH NOTHING BUT MY MIND, ARM, AND HAND. I'll also be signing books at the Great Lakes Booksellers Association Trade Show on September 28th.

Monday, September 17, 2007

CONTEST WINNER! Character In Search of a Story #7

Here's the winner of our contest:

AMBIGUGUS, The Remarkably Unmemorable Man, suggested by Jon Harmon
Okay, here's what I was thinking (and if you need to read this section, then I have failed you, reader. I am sorry). I was originally thinking of giving him no features at all, like the old Dick Tracy character, The Blank. Of course, it bothered me that if any of us really saw a featureless man, he would be the most remarkably memorable man we'd ever encountered. So, apart from making his features a little indistinct, I decided to put him in front of three mirrors, each of which is reflecting something entirely different. He's unmemorable because, each time you look at him, he appears as a completely new person or thing.
Ta da.
Thanks to everyone who submitted a name or voted for one! And thanks to Cyril for putting the idea of reflections in my head.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Character in Search of a Story #6 and CONTEST!

UPDATE!–I've joined with Ironic Sans to hold a contest–a contest to name the next Character in Search of a Story. Click HERE for details. The winner recives the original art!

Look at that cat! That's a barn next to him! That's a cow! He's HUGE! What a big, floppy kitty.
I'm really ripping off Totoro on this one.
Here's the last C.S.S..

The Impossible Interview

The good women at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast have been ridiculously generous to me this week. Yesterday they reviewed my new picture book and novel, and today they posted an interview so nice I may seriously take a vow of silence now so I don't ruin it. Thanks Jules and Eisha!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Marvel Sketch Cards

This was fun. The Upper Deck Company is putting out a new Marvel Masterpieces collectible card set, and some packs will include one-of-a-kind sketch cards, featuring original drawings by comics industry artists. Calling me a comics industry artist is a bit of a stretch, but I agreed to sketch on 10 blanks. Here are 9 of them:

9 because it makes a rectangle, and 9 because my 10th card (Captain America) kind of sucked.
I hope someone gives me a good excuse to do a painting of Modok some day.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Nerds With Kids Interview a Nerd Without Any

The blog Nerds With Kids asked me some good questions recently. Have a look if you want to know what I think about Spiderman 3 or Joss Whedon.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Fan Art!

Illustration rock star Rodrigo Avil├ęs has sent some Abraham SuperLincoln fan art:

Go see it on his blog and then follow the links to find out what that spaghetti tree business is all about.
Thanks, Rodrigo!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Phony Tiny

I was just looking at photos on Brian Biggs' (Biggs's?) site ( and noticed this photo that looks like a miniature but isn't a miniature. I love these, so I thought I'd post my favorite of those that I've made. This is Memorial Hall in Fairmount Park, taken (not by me) from a small prop plane, altered (by me) in Photoshop, and absolutely not a photograph of a miniature.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Robert's Snow

I'm proud once again to create an original, snowflake-shaped painting for The Jimmy Fund and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The snowflake, and many others decorated by fellow kid's book creators, will be auctioned online to raise money for cancer research this fall. I'll post this again when the auction is underway in November, but here's a preview:

If you'd like to see the snowflake I painted for the last auction, click here.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007


Got back this afternoon, after 28 hours on airplanes and in airports and sleeping beneath an escalator with a beach towel under my head. Here are a few pictures from Kauai. There are chickens everywhere on the island, roaming free, getting into all kinds of chickenbusiness.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Kauai Turtle

I'm still on vacation, but I thought I'd post this sketch. It's of any one of the big sea turtles I've been snokeling with here in Kauai–they all look the same to me. That's not an ethnic slur, it's just the truth.
This was drawn strictly from memory, so I'm not claiming a high level of accuracy here. But I'm happy with it.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

On Vacation

I'm on holiday as of tomorrow, but I'm leaving behind a simpsonized version of me to watch over the place while I'm gone. See you in about a week.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Book Recommendation

Last night I finished reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, the seventh and last book from a series by a Mr. J. Rowling. They follow the adventures of an English boy wizard at magic school. I recommend the whole series to anyone interested in stories about magic, boys, schools, or England. They were originally published in Great Britain but you can get them here, too.

Monday, July 16, 2007

The True Meaning of Smekday – Making the Cover 3

So here's the cover we selected and I painted again, in case you didn't see it the first time. This is what the jacket will look like when the books ship in September:

But, waste not, want not. I still liked the flying car cover idea, so it became the book's title page:

And, finally, I used another of the concepts on the book's case–you'll have to lift the dust jacket to see this "alternate cover."

Incidentally, if you'd like to learn a little more about The True Meaning of Smekday, click here.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The True Meaning of Smekday – Making the Cover 2

So here are four cover ideas that I sort of settled on as my best bets. The story features, among other things, a road trip in a flying car, a theme park with the Snow Queen's castle at its center, and large spaceships that have fish bowl-like tops and hose-tentacled lower halves. This is hopefully enough information to understand why I liked these images.

Monday, July 9, 2007

The True Meaning of Smekday – Making the Cover

Here are a number of thumbnails and sketches of potential covers for my fall novel, The True Meaning of Smekday. I sketched out more ideas for this cover than I do for most–I was just really excited about this project, and the story is such that it didn't suggest an obvious solution to me early on as some do.

I had high hopes for something like the setch below, but on paper it didn't seem to work as well as it did in my head. In fact, I wonder if anyone other than me can even tell what's going on.

More soon.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Studio Tour

My studio is actually sort of clean for a change, so I thought I'd post pictures. I always like seeing where artists work. Like in this flickr stream by Brian Biggs.
Anyway, here's my decidedly less impressive studio.

A 2-part panorama of the whole deal:

Closeup of my workstation:

What's left of the paper steamboat model I made whilst working on Ste-e-e-e-eamboat A-Comin'!. See the "BOOKS" link at the right for details.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

7 Impossible Things

Check out this post on the kids' lit blog Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. You can see a page from my fall picture book, Pssst!, as well as a painting of the alien star of my fall novel, The True Meaning of Smekday. Then keep reading the blog for all kinds of great interviews and reviews.
In the meantime, here's one of my favorite panels from Pssst!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Super Models, But Not the Good Kind.

Just a quick post to show this photo of a few of my models for Pssst!. In the center is a Sculpey head I made of my human character, Zooey, and she's flanked by a couple of nice little toys from Schleich. These, in conjunction with a lot of photos of real animals, helped me paint.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Pssst!–Making the Cover

Here's a potentially embarrassing look behind the scenes at the making of the cover of Pssst! (see previous post for the final cover).
My first finished sketch was theatically similar, but with a completely different composition ang title design. The thumbnail:

and the finished sketch, with some digital color:

Harcourt didn't like it. I can't remember why. But I like the final cover better, so they must have been right. Here are a few subsequent stages:

That last one turned into the final cover you can see below. The title changed a bit–typographical artist Judythe Sieck helped me redesign it into something a little cleaner and easier to read.
That's all for now, more in a few days.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Fall Preview–Pssst!

Here's the jacket of my fall '07 picture book, Pssst!. It's to be released at the beginning of September by Harcourt. It's the story of a day at the zoo, and what happens when the animals start asking for favors. And it's got penguins in it, which I understand the kids like. More images from the book to come.