Join me at the National Math Festival, May 4 in Washington D. C.
Word by Word
This fall will see the return of MY FAMILY PLAYS MUSIC with a brand new 15th Anniversary Edition from Holiday House. The book won the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent (Illustrator Elbrite Brown) in 2004.
Also coming--July 2018--THE CASE OF THE PURLOINED PROFESSOR in paperback! Available for pre-order on Amazon.
Why the long wait? Well, real life has a way of interrupting a writer's fantasy world from time to time. We had a rough couple of years that included an across-state move to be closer to family, and some severe health problems. But all is well now, and I was at last able to finish THE SECRET OF THE DOOLITTLE DEVICE. It is currently ONLY available as an eBook. If there is some demand, I will release a print version. There is a FREE preview on Amazon.com!
Many thanks to all of the fans of Frederick and Ishbu who encouraged me to keep going. I love those ratty brothers, and I love all of you.
THE SECRET OF THE DOOLITTLE DEVICE
Ishbu loves carrot sticks and marshmallow treats, and Frederick loves Geography. The rat brothers live and learn in a cozy cage in Miss Dove’s classroom, until the fateful day when Mrs. Thorn throws them out of the window, and launches them on a wild journey to save the world. This third adventure finds them traveling the globe in search of a rare element needed to power the mysterious Doolittle Device. But can the brothers reach it before the Big Cheese gets his evil paws on it?
A companion volume to "The Mystery of the Burmese Bandicoot" and "The Case of the Purloined Professor" also by Judy Cox. Read More
You might know that WEIRD STORIES FROM THE LONESOME CAFE, published by Harcourt in 2000, is now out of print. The rights have reverted to us, and so we are pursuing the opportunity to bring out a new edition.
And--(drum roll, please) we are planning to publish a sequel as well!
This is an exciting new venture for us! I'll keep you posted as things progress! Read More
“Are you going to make any more Frederick and Ishbu adventure books? I read both of those books in two days, so could you at least think about it?”
For those of you who don’t know, there are currently two books in the series. The first, THE MYSTERY OF THE BURMESE BANDICOOT came out in 2007. It introduces rat brothers Frederick and Ishbu, who live in a cage in Miss Dove’s fifth grade classroom. Ishbu loves marshmallow treats and carrot sticks, and Frederick loves geography. During their sojourn in the class, Frederick has learned to read. When the two rats are called to save the world from the evil mastermind (a blind, albino opossum named The Big Cheese) Frederick’s reading skills—and the fifth grade education he’s received—save the day.
The second book, THE CASE OF THE PURLOINED PROFESSOR, came out in 2009. It can be read on its own, although it includes several continuing characters. The lovable rats must again save the world from the Big Cheese and his gang, the Bilgewater Brigade.
The books are part adventure, part mystery, and total fun. Cultural references range from Edgar Allan Poe, to the Maltese Falcon.
Both books received good reviews and THE MYSTERY OF THE BURMESE BANDICOOT was awarded “Book of the Month” at a library in Wellington, New Zealand! Some fans in Prince George, BC invited me to come and visit their schools, and I had a marvelous time.
I loved writing those books, and I was heart broken when my publisher decided not to publish any more in the series. According to them, the books didn’t sell well enough.
Fortunately, I have options. With new technology, I don’t need a publisher; I can bring the third Frederick and Ishbu book out on my own. It’s truly a labor of love.
At the time of this writing, THE CASE OF THE PURLOINED PROFESSOR is still in print and is available from Amazon.com and all leading bookstores. THE MYSTERY OF THE BURMESE BANDICOOT went out of print in hardback, and I brought it back out in a paperback edition with my own cut paper artwork on the cover. It’s also available on Amazon.com.
I hope to have the third book finished by this summer. (Keep your fingers crossed!) So keep those cards and letter coming, folks. You inspire me.
What gave you the idea for Ukulele Hayley?
I knew that ukuleles were enormously popular, and that many schools were starting up uke bands and clubs. As part of my research, I taught myself to play ukulele and became completely hooked! The uke is a fun instrument—it’s light, portable, and inexpensive. It’s relatively easy to learn the basic chords, but the instrument is versatile enough for jazz and classical music. In the book, Hayley starts a uke club at school. I became so enthralled with ukulele that I started a ukulele group in my town, and I also teach uke classes for children at a local music store. It’s a clear case of Life imitating Art!
How does it differ from others in that genre?
Ukulele Hayley is an early chapter book with a lot of humor. There are lots of books for that age group, but I think mine differ in that they are a little bit deeper. I hope that my children’s books have “heart”—something you can take away after you finish the book—an idea that resonates with both children and adults. In the case of Ukulele Hayley, I wanted to portray the power music has to bring people together.
Why do you write what you do?
I write humor because I see the quirky side of things. It’s my nature to make up stories; that just seems to be the way I think. I probably only get around to writing down a small portion of them! I was a bookworm growing up, and I remember all the wonderful books from my childhood and the joy reading brought me. I always wanted to be a part of that writing and reading world. Even after 26 books, seeing my books at a library or bookstore is a tremendous thrill.
What’s the hardest part about writing?
That’s changed over the years. When I was working as a teacher, playing in a band, and raising my son, finding the time to write was the hardest part. Now that I’m retired, and my son is grown, I still struggle with finding time--possibly even more so now that I don’t have a regular job to organize my time. I’d so much rather play the ukulele! But, once I sit down and get involved in my story, the words eventually flow, even if not quite at the same pace as they once did.
What are you working on now?
I have a new picture book, tentatively titled “WoolGathering” coming out in 2014. I’m currently working on the third book in my fantasy/animal/adventure series, The Tails of Frederick and Ishbu. The series includes The Mystery of the Burmese Bandicoot and The Case of the Purloined Professor. Frederick and Ishbu are brother rats who live in a cage in Miss Dove’s fifth grade classroom. Ishbu loves carrot sticks and marshmallow treats and Frederick loves Geography. In my new book, they are evicted from their cage and must find their way back home (and save the world from their nemesis, the Big Cheese—an evil mastermind who heads up the Bilgewater Brigade gang.
I've invited other children's authors to participate--I'll add them as they respond, so keep checking back! Read More
Winners will be presented with the award at the OCTE Fall Conference on October 5, 2013, at Wilsonville High School.
THE SECRET CHICKEN SOCIETY
$15.95 HC • 978-0-8234-2372-9
$5.99 PB • 978-0-8234-2765-9 Read More
What is it? It’s a terrific blog event that shines a spotlight on authors’ upcoming book releases. The event was originally launched in Australia and is now spreading around the world. I received my tag from children’s author, Lori Mortensen, and at the end of my interview, I’ll tag several other writers who’ll share what their Next Big Thing when they blog next week.
Here's my interview about my Next Big Thing:
What is the title of your new book?
SNOW DAY FOR MOUSE
Where did the idea come from for the book?
This is the fourth picture book about Mouse. He began his adventures in ONE IS A FEAST FOR MOUSE: A THANKSGIVING TALE; continued in CINCO DE MOUSE-O!, and HAUNTED HOUSE, HAUNTED MOUSE.
What genre does your book fall under?
My book is a humorous fiction picture book.
What is the synopsis of your book?
Hooray! It's a snow day. The family is baking cookies, and Mouse gets showered with yummy crumbs. But the real adventure begins when he accidentally gets swept out the door with the snow Dad has tracked into the house. Mouse is in for a wild winter wonderland romp with Cat close on his tail!
Who published your book?
Holiday House. They’ve published quite a few of my books, including the entire Mouse series. They are the oldest independent children's book publishers in New York City.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
The idea developed over a few years, as I kept changing the holiday from Valentine’s Day to Christmas and finally settled on a book that would reflect winter rather than a specific holiday. The actual draft took only a couple of weeks.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Picture books with engaging animal characters such as Peter Rabbit, Olivia, and Angelina Ballerina, and of course my other Mouse books.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
My husband likes to feed the birds on our back deck in the winter. We get wintering juncos, white-crowned sparrows, and house sparrows. Nothing as exotic as the birds that Mouse meets! We also have mice living under our deck, eating the birdseed that falls through the cracks. They occasionally dart out to steal seed the birds have dropped. I love watching them—and so does our cat!
What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?
There is a free activities page on the Holiday House website Holiday House Activities Page
And here’s what reviewers are saying:
"Readers will look forward to taking this snow-day romp again and again." --Kirkus Reviews
"Ebbeler's generously detailed acrylics brim with comedic details."--Publisher's Weekly
“This fourth story about Mouse perfectly sums up the euphoria of fresh-fallen snow. Cox’s text rhymes throughout, and reads aloud well.”--School Library Journal
What’s coming up?
My next “Next Big Thing” is a chapter book titled Ukulele Hayley, that will come out in Fall 2013 from Holiday House, with illustrations by Amanda Haley. It’s the story of third grader, Hayley, who saves her school’s music program when she starts a ukulele club. While researching the book, I taught myself to play the ukulele. Now I teach classes and run a ukulele group. I’m totally hooked! Watch for UKULELE HAYLEY in Fall 2013.
Next week, check out these fine authors:
Pamela Smith Hill
It was recently honored with being named to the Chicago Public Library's "BEST OF THE BEST 2012" list of children's books:
Next week, I'll be part of The Next Big Thing Blog Tour, so stay tuned to this channel! Read More
One of the hardest things about being an author these days is seeing a favorite book go out of print. In the olden, golden days of children's books, books stayed in print for decades, giving time for people to find the book and for the audience to grow. Not so anymore. All sorts of economic pressures conspire to put books out of print.
I cried when I found out that The Mystery of the Burmese Bandicoot was going OOP. I cried, and then I bought up as many copies as I could afford. And then I decided to do something else--something that was never available to me before. I brought out a new paperback edition of the book, through Authors Guild's Back in Print program.
Sadly, I wasn't able to obtain the rights to Omar Rayvan's gorgeous cover illustration, so I made a cut paper illustration of my own and used that.
Now, at long last, the first adventure of Frederick and Ishbu is available again. I hope you enjoy it! Read More