"Winter" & New Kid Stuff
“Winter Is for Snow” is a tale of two siblings — a brother who loves the icy flakes pouring down outside their apartment window and a sister who is cranky about it all — by the prolific children’s book author and illustrator Robert Neubecker. These two start out like Desi and Lucy, disagreeing about everything. “Winter is for fabulous! Winter is for snow,” sings out the copper-haired brother. “Winter is for lots of clothes! And I don’t want to go,” deadpans his younger copper-haired sister. (Her blasphemy recalls a Carl Reiner quip: “A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water.”) These small urbanites argue back and forth in delightful, singsong rhyme, the brother joyfully throwing his arms up and kicking his legs out to add emphasis to his argument, which grows more elaborate with every page. “Winter is for glaciers, with walruses and seals,” he pleads, “diving in the icy sea for scaly, fishy meals.” Slowly but surely, he manages to dress his sister and edge her outdoors into a cityscape colorfully and whimsically depicted with a park jam-packed with people frolicking in an excellent variety of snow hats. Though she has resisted her brother’s — and winter’s — charms, even turning her attention to a beeping electronic device (at which point lesser brothers would have given up), we eventually see him pulling her along on a sled. And then, a little too easily, she finally changes her mind, declaring, “I love snow!” It’s nice to see her hardworking brother win the argument and to see them both out enjoying the fresh air. But she was such a good curmudgeon — I missed her old self a little when she was gone.
I dummied up five books, Boom, Zoom, to the Moon, stuff like that, dropped them off with my agent, Linda Pratt of Wernick & Pratt, and she showed them around. No takers at first, but Linda was behind the project 100% and kept showing it even after I'd moved on to other books and other things.
Then, as it turns out, Scholastic was looking for just such a project, and we had it in hand. I'm working with the delightful Jenne Abromowitz and she's a wonderful editor. We upped the reading level to level two- from about level 1/2... and I got to add more detail... It's still edited very simply and I try to show as much, more, information with the pictures as with the story.
The first introduces Red, the Time Dragon, and we chose the Middle Ages to start because, he's well, a dragon. It's distilled way down, but if you want to know where my information comes from, "A Distant Mirror" by Barb Tuchman & "A World Lit Only by Fire" From William Manchester are a good start. Marketing liked "Days of the Knights" for a title, but I preferred my own "Me de Evil?"
The second book is the incredible story of the Flying Cloud, a clipper ship, piloted by Eleanor Creesy, that set the world sail speed record from NY to San Francisco in 1853 and it stood for....138 years. My primary reference for that is "Flying Cloud" by David Shaw- an excellent adventure.