Back during the era of the Garden of Eden, snakes didn't have Reputation.com to manage their public profile. On that fateful day when Eve ate a simple apple, the street cred of snakes took a big hit and it has never really recovered since then.
From then on, every little snakelet has had to deal with bad PR that would tax the abilities of even the most well-funded Washington lobbyist to spin.
And were not even mentioning the negative Q ratings of G.I. Joe's nemesis Serpentor or of the Lego Ninjago's enemies the Serpentine (Hypnobrai, Fangpyre, Venomari, Constrictai, Anacondrai - boy that is a mouthful - who thinks of these names?!).
Well the new year is as good a time as any to reverse millenia of stereotyping. February 10, 2013 is the start of The Year of the Snake. Therefore, we are proud to introduce the 8th in our annual children's picture book series Tales from the Chinese Zodiac.
We personally cannot think of a better animal to carry the banner than our heroine Suzie. This gal has a lot of fire in her belly and won't take put downs lying down! Suzie and her bff Lily are soon joined at the hip. Together they set out to defrost the others' hoary preconceptions of snakes.
Jennifer Wood (www.artofjwood.com), the artist of 2012's uber popular The Year of the Dragon, has done a bang up job of making Suzie a contemporary 21st century reptile. No bashful skulking in shadows. No boring greens in Suzie's wardrobe, no sirree Bob. She is bright-eyed and bushy tailed. She's is ready to shake, rattle, and roll. She takes the world on by the horns.
Spoiler Alert: Suzie proves, once and for all, people born in The Year of the Snake have no reason to be ashamed. They are stellar characters and have great qualities. They can walk tall and proud and accomplish fantastic things!
Our third tale for the fall season is about a realm both far away and yet familiar. The Treehouse Heroes & the Forgotten Beast is the first children's book by writer Phil Amara and artist Alina Chau. Phil was a comics editor at Dark Horse Comics (Star Wars, Predator, Terminator, and many other titles) and Kitchen Sink Press, and is now an elementary school teacher for Boston Public. Alina is a professional animator and now a 3D artist at LucasArts, working on the popular animated TV series on the Cartoon Network Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
Together they've created a brave new world, where fantasic scenery and characters are beautifully rendered in flowing watercolors.
Situated high in an ancient forest, five young teens have banded together under the tutelage of a wise teacher. They live in a land of noble traditions which are suddenly under siege by an increasingly rapacious civilization. A case in point is how mystical creatures are becoming rarer, such as the red-coated Zez whose reputed powers are now highly sought after by the power hungry General Moon.
Luckily for the Zez, it befriends the Treehouse Heroes, each of whom also possess special abilities. Cha is super strong. Klee can shape-shift. Gru is a speedster. Flo can teleport. Bri's breath is like the wind. But together can they save the Zez and the vanishing world it represents?
Sunil Thankamushy from DEEPBLUE Worlds called this a "A
beautifully illustrated mythical adventure filled with fun and magic for young
kids. The vibrant characters and creatures pop out of the pages and fill your
imaginations. My kids loved it!" Discover this unique blend of picture book and graphic novel storytelling for yourself :)
Here a boy loves animals so much that he can imagines himself to be any one of his favorite furry, feathered, or finned friends. Ben has a will of his own and likewise becomes beasts that cannot be tamed!
But little does Ben expect his mother to have the same power to transform... especially when she wants her son to clean up, eat dinner, and take a bath! So ensues a battle of wits that will entertain and inform kids, and cause knowing smiles to spread across parents' lips.
Drawn in traditional watercolors, the scenery pulses with a vibrant energy. Characters are drawn with a unique touch that is both photo-realistic but emotionally expressive. Watch the animated book trailer on YouTube.
Dave is sharing Animals Don't, So I Won't! throughout Southern California. This romp will find a home wherever there is a child who loves stuffed animals ("stuffies" in common parlance). Plus it touches the hearts of those who like visiting zoos and aquariums, and enjoy the company of our kindred souls on four legs (or more).
Justin is a kid just like us: he has a boundless imagination! So much so, that he can quickly imagine himself in a different place and time. There adventure awaits! Luckily his pals Squidgy and Olive accompany him, and together they learn about fun lessons about people, landscapes, animals, traditions, and cultures before returning to the familiar comforts of home.
Justin was created by Brandon James Scott and produced by Guru Studio in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Brandon now has created brand new illustrations for the first book adaptation of one of the episodes. The style hearkens to the classic Golden Books of our youth, but reflects the energy and expressiveness of Justin's 21st century can-do attitude.
In The Pancake Express, Justin likes trains so much that he wants to drive his own locomotive. Presto! He and Squidgy are now steaming through the Canadian wilderness and steering their own engine. They stop at Olive's junction, where she has an important delivery for them. She needs help to transport her and her delicious maple syrup to the Pancake Festival at Flapjack Falls on the double! Can they make it in time? Find out!
Meanwhile, the TV series' first two seasons have been picked up by Germany's Super RTL, which will premiere them this December, Estonia's ETV (November), and Disney Jr. Germany for Austria and Switzerland (March 2013). Already in Latin America, Australia and New Zealand, the show debuted on VRT in Belgium and on Pop TV's Tiny Pop in the U.K in October.
We're working on the next book sequel for March 2013...so stay tuned!
We've added 4 upcoming titles for your viewing pleasure!
Three are scheduled for publication in Fall 2012:
1. Justin Time: The Pancake Express by Brandon Scott (September).
This is a new series, adapted from episodes from the TV show of the same name, which began airing in the USA on PBS Sprout in April, and will broadcast on the Disney Channel in Canada in September. Watch a clip at www.justintime.net.
2. Animal's Don't, So I Won't by David Derrick (September).
We're happy but it is well-deserved honor (if we can say so ourselves). See for yourself! The app is chock full of everything you'd ever want on a monster-filled island.
7 incredibly animated (but mysterious) creatures who fill the sky with unusual sounds! These aren't your run-of-the mill beasts...
sound FX and dramatic narrative track
multiple touch points per screen which unleash surprising and appealing animations
hidden pieces of the island's map
hidden totems of cackling laughter!
The highest recommendation we can offer is the satisfaction of the artist himself. Now you should know Jeff is a perfectionist and probably the toughest critic of his own work. This is what he had to say after viewing the app:
"Your team knocked this one out of the park!!! I can't sing enough praise about what a fantastic job you all did adapting this book to the iPad. Last night, with my three children gathered around, we went through the book and laughed ourselves silly with all the great animations and sounds. We loved the farting Zillard and Catoblepas. That was an especially hilarious touch. The narration is top notch. I could go on and on with praise but just know that I am very pleased. My kids even said the iPad app was better than the actual, static book. Kinda made me sad ;-) But this really is the ideal way to experience these kinds of books."
We're well aware of the market tension between books and e-books, as well as the aesthetic and cultural arguments. But we are striving to make amazing stories in print and then bring them to life in ways beyond. We hope you enjoy them in the forms they evolve into.
Editor's Choice: "Children and parents alike are going to fall in love with Billie the
Unicorn. Between the gorgeous artwork, 3D effects, and the charming story, Billie
the Unicorn will become a favorite for every family who downloads it. The
artwork alone in this book is worth adding to the library, but the story makes
it that much better.” – AppTudes
Brianne signed at WonderCon 2011. She is a designer
on the animated TV series Scooby Doo Mystery Inc. and Cartoon Network’s DC Nation, and lead producer of the upcoming their
episode Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld.
We're two months into the Chinese New Year of the Dragon. But hey, it's relatively early since there are 10 months left to celebrate what seems to be the most popular of all the 12 animals of the zodiac.
Our main character Dominic is happy to finally debut on the blog. As you can tell, he possesses a unique skill set and proves to be quite a handy friend.
The Year of the Dragon features a new illustrator, Jennifer Wood (www.artofjwood.com). By day, she is a designer on Nickelodeon's animated TV series T.U.F.F. Puppy (and previously has contributed to a rainbow of programs such as Catscratch and The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack. Recently she gave a whiz bang drawing workshop at the children's museum Kidspace, near the Pasadena Rose Bowl.
We've had a ball sharing this 7th adventure in the Tales from the Chinese Zodiac with families at schools, libraries, and museums. Some of the book buyers have included people who have told us they are trying to have a baby this year! Others have been for 12 year old teens who have patiently waited 7 years to get the story of their birth year animal! We are flattered on both ends of the spectrum and hope they enjoy Dom's journey as much as we did when we created it.
Now they can also experience the story as an Apple app! We are proud to partner with Mobad Media, who have produced a wonderfully interactive version (available for both Mac and iOS on iTunes).
Whenever we have showed the app to an auditorium packed with kids, they always go gaga and rush to poke the screen with their fingers. Then they happily make the Mama and Papa dragons blow smoke, Dominic fly, and the other 11 animals go thru very humorous motions and equally amusing sound effects. We invite you to try it out, and see how The Year of the Dragon will provide smiles for many moons to come.