Friday, August 20, 2010

I'm Back!

The Knuffle Manor Studio is awash with unopened correspondence and full email boxes (have to get around to answering that nice Nigerian guy about how to share his fortune), but I thought I'd give a quick update as to my recent west coast trip.

While primarily a family visit, I did get to soak up some of the great cartoon-based attractions in Northern California.

First stop, Santa Rosa, home to the fantastic Charles M. Schulz Museum & Research Center, where we stayed as guests of "Sparky" Schulz's power-packed widow, Jeannie. I've told you how cool the museum is before. This time, in addition to the great Peanuts cartoons there was a show that featured lovely Pogo, Krazy Kat, & Cul de Sac comics along with other jewels.

Jeannie was kind enough to have a few cartoonists over for drinks and a game of pentaque, and we spent a fun, long lunch at Sparky's ice-skating rink with the talented Paige Braddock, who let us in on some top-secret upcoming Peanuts stuff (very exciting).

San Francisco was a short stop, but fortunately we made it to the Cartoon Art Museum, which is currently holding a show entitled STORYTIME! that features some Elephant & Piggie on the same wall with a brand new BONE story. The curator Andrew Farago and Shaenon Garrity gave me a tour of the place which included a great Beatle Bailey show & fantastic stuff from the permanent collection such as a SPIRIT page, Hilary Price gag, & lovely Virgil Partch drawing. It's a cool place that's definitely worth the trip.

Other highlights included a meeting with University Games about upcoming Pigeon stuff, dinner with pals Daniel Handler & Lisa Brown, and a tour of Dreamworks from awesome art director David James.

A great, exhausting visit.

While away, the good news kept coming.

Elephant & Piggie's Can I Play Too? was #10 on the NY Times Bestseller list 2 weeks ago.

City Dog, Country Frog spent the last two weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List (coming in at #2 and #6). A spy tells me it will be on at #5 this week, for the 10th week in a row. Both Jon Muth and I are thrilled.

Thanks to all for the support!

Two nice reviews for upcoming work just came in as well.

Kirkus loved Elephant & Piggie's next adventure, We Are In a Book! (due out in about a month). In a starred review, they said of the 4th-Wall-Breaking tale:

"Emergent readers just beginning to grapple one-on-one with the rules of the printed codex will find the friends' antics both funny and provocative: Just who is in control here, anyway? As always, Willems displays his customary control of both body language and pacing even as he challenges his readers to engage with his characters and the physicality of their book."

The Horn Book's review of late September's Knuffle Bunny Free remarks on the:
"many smart and effective design choices this series has made, hip and homey in equal measure."

and says:
"parents who have watched their kids grow up along with Trixie may shed a tear."


Next week, pals Mac Barnett & Dan Santat begin auction one for Eyewitness Reports to benefit 826LA. My work will be in that one, so make sure you go and bid!

Oh and just for fun, someone seems to have posted a favorite old Sheep in the Big City commercial:

Now, to that mail....