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Word by Word

The Mystery of the Burmese Bandicoot

Now available in paperback--a new edition of The Mystery of the Burmese Bandicoot!

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 
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Having a Wonderful Time, Wish You Were Here

Luncheon in Prince George
I recently had a wonderful time in Prince George, British Columbia. In spite of some travel mishaps (maybe someday I'll write a humorous account of my travel mishaps--but right now they are still NOT funny)I was treated like royalty by three elementary schools: Highglen Montessori, Heather Park, and Ecole College Heights.

I was invited to visit Prince George by Nancie Miners's Division 6 class at Highglen Montessori. They had read both books in The Tails of Frederick and Ishbu series, THE MYSTERY OF THE BURMESE BANDICOOT and THE CASE OF THE PURLOINED PROFESSOR last year, and wrote me letters. They sent me photographs of their classrooom pet rats--Tonks and Fleur--who just happened to look like the rats in my book! We started corresponding, and I was invited to visit.

It was wonderful to meet all of the children, parents,teachers, and librarians. One of the highlights of my visit was a luncheon put on by Division 6. We had tea brewed in a china teapot and served with cream and sugar, coffee cake made by the teacher, and a violin serenade. I shared stories about the real Frederick and Ishbu, and gave the kids some writing tips.

Thank you, Prince George! It was a trip I will long remember.  Read More 
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Behind the Scenes The Case of the Purloined Professor

If you've read the first book in The Tails of Frederick and Ishbu series, The Mystery of the Burmese Bandicoot, you know that Frederick and Ishbu are based on two real pet rats I had in my kindergarten classroom a few years ago.

Frederick was a slim gray rat, the color known to rat fanciers as "lilac". Ishbu was a hooded rat with a white body and black head. Both rats had round shiny black eyes and whiskers that vibrated with every motion. I spun tales of their imagined adventures to entertain my kindergartners. Many years later, I expanded the adventures and wrote them down.

Most of the places in the first book were researched through the internet, books, and magazines, but when it came time to write the second book, I wanted to recreate places I'd actually visited--my hometown of San Francisco, one of the world's loveliest cities; Loch Ness and Cawdor Castle in Scotland; Zermatt and the Matterhorn in Switzerland.

I don't know where the rats will travel to next, but I hope they will take me along.  Read More 
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