This is my newest book , (published by Knopf/RandomHouse in Spring 2010). It was written by the legendary writer, and teacher of legendary writers, Barbara Bottner . She has written such classics as the picture book, Bootsie Barker Bites.
‘Bootsie’ is one of my all time favorite picture books and I was thrilled to actually meet Barbara in person at a fundraising event we did together in northern California. I already knew about Bootsie, because it was one of my favorite books. Now, because it sounds so trite when I hear people say such things, I felt compelled to get across that I was being sincere about knowing her and honest about her book being a favorite of mine, and that I don’t actually like that many books, so this was quite amazing that we would meet like this, especially as I did not know she would be there, and… well I blathered on for a bit before she assured me she believed me…. I must have lived in Southern California for too long I forgot people might not assume I was being shallow… Anyway, we kept in touch, she submitted her newest manuscript to her publisher, her editor called me up and said they wanted me to illustrate, and this is the result! This is the first of hopefully many books we will collaborate on. In fact I have recently finished the illustrations for our next book, also Knopf, titled, An Annoying ABC …
Even though she is in Los Angeles, I am in Dublin, and our publisher is in New York, we can still do our work, as so many authors and illustrators do, by email and telephone. The illustrations for this book were the first done by me here in Ireland.
The character of Miss Brooks is an amalgam of a few teachers I know and she looks a bit like two friends of mine put together. The Missy character wears a woolie hat all the time and she is based loosely on one of the little girls of friends of mine – the owners of the fantastic, worth driving from two states over to go to Reading Reptile bookstore in Kansa City.
The opening office scene is right out of my friend Susanna’s house/office/life. A children’s literature expert and all round book nut who’s children’s book collection makes Miss Brooks collection look puny.
I am also a huge admirer of author and illustrator William Stieg. One of his books, Shrek! (the original book not the hollywood movies…) is featured within our book as the only book to get reluctant reader Missy on the reading path – mostly because it has lots of warts in it… Though I have to admit Shrek is not my all time personal favorite Stieg book, (I think that has to be The Bad Island(or Rotten Island), Sylvester and the Magic Pebble or Dr. Desoto. I also love Soloman and the Rusty Nail, The Amazing Bone, as well as others.
“…the illustrations by Michael Emberley are utterly adorable…”2
– Read Smead
“In a word: lovable.”1
– Kirkus Reviews
“Lots of fun for avid and reluctant readers alike.”
“The Heroine makes an indelible presence…
Emberly’s slice-of-life cartooning is funny, empathetic, and of-the-moment.”
“…. Michael Emberley and Barbara Bottner hit the funny bone with thisclever and quirky new read.”
— Amazon’s Best Books of March(2008) –
“Bottner’s deadpan humor and delicious prose combine with Emberley’s droll caricatures to create a story sure to please those who celebrate books. “
—School Library Journal – * Starred Review
“Barbara Bottner and Michael Emberley pay playful homage to the diverse tastes of child readers and valiant librarians.
* A Parent’s Magazine Best Kids Entertainment of the Year (one of only 4 Picture Books) for 2010
* A Bank Street Book Pick of the Month for April 2010.
* An Amazon Best book pick of the month for March 2010.
* The Chicago Public Library’s – Best of the Best for 2010 list.