Saturday, 6 November 2010

back on track and leaving behind...

There are times when you really need to be reminded of what you do and why.
Next week I'm giving two workshops at the SCBWI British Isles conference in Winchester which will help put me back on track. 

And now I've just had this first  -  wonderful - review by Kirkus in the US, a month ahead of  the Bloomsbury US publication date for my upcoming book,  Mini Racer (author Kristy Dempsey).  The UK edition is due out in January:
"'Start your engines! Time to race, / round the corners, take your place.'   
So begins this fast-paced rhyming book featuring a diverse animal menagerie in a humorous variety of unique, coordinating vehicles revving to cross the finish line. 
Both preschoolers and adults will find much to explore in the bright cartoon-like illustrations as the track weaves past town and “Over, under, in, and through.” 
Strevens-Marzo successfully shows the circuitous route through the use of varying, at times almost Cubist perspectives. Each creature’s emotions during the race come across clearly, including frustration at crashing, panicked urgency during a pit stop and the mix of disappointment and elation at the end with the surprise winner. ... Full of zooming action and fender-bender drama, it has definite appeal for youngsters"--Kirkus Reviews

I've had no time to sit down and think about new projects  -  let alone blog -  since my last post. Shuttling between France and England, I've been clearing the way for a new stage in my life.  
My parent's house and my father's studio,  two lifetimes of memories,  is a heavy weight - to shift and to share.  Years of 200+ paintings  in their home which he didn't sell or give away (there are many more that he did!) .  Shelves of  books, old music, the trappings of an incurable romantic.  Notes by my ma, when as a young Catalan woman, she came to England in the 1950s, not knowing a word of English, and how a guitar (bought on impulse with the money saved for a winter coat) let to her meeting my pa.
Little by little I'm recording what I can.  There are stories to share there.  
A friend gave me this short film of the place, accompanied by a guitar piece that my father used to play.   I've put  it on the John Strevens site.  It's a lovely gift.  And it helps make the letting-go lighter.

And it helps too when I hear my work has got through to the toughest critics of all. 
There's nice write-up in  a French blog about a certain baby Raoul who has tested and approves of my Snail bath book.