Monday, December 24, 2012

Choose Your Own Adventure . . . Happy Birthday, Erik!

If you have arrived in the middle of the adventure, you may start at the beginning by going HERE (

Erik chooses the path that leads to Mystery Mountain:

Before they went more than two steps down the path to Mystery Mountain, Benton walked off the path into some lush, if rather wet, tall grass, and bent his head to crop some of the delicious greens. Erik promptly slid down Benton’s neck to land kersploosh in a puddle hidden by the heavy undergrowth. 

“Hey! What do you think you’re doing?” Erik said.

Benton nickered an explanation, but his words seemed to go over Erik’s head, so he illustrated by flopping down on his side in the damp grass and rolling back and forth, his hooves flailing the air. When he stood up again, he gave a mighty shake, showering Erik with clear, cold water from the grass. Benton was much cleaner.

“Good idea, Benton!” Erik said, pulling some of the grass and wiping off the worst of the mud. “But this isn’t getting us any closer to finding my present. Even if we are more presentable. Get it? PRESENTable?” Benton just shook his mane.

Erik pulled himself up onto Benton’s back and nudged his sides. He had to nudge several times before Benton was willing to walk on into the dark as night forest that lay ahead of them.

The path narrowed. If Benton had been much larger, it would have been a tight fit between the trees. Could Lady Josie really have come this way on the black horse? “Look, Benton! There’s a hoofprint! We must be on the right path...”

Something swooped by them in the dank darkness. “That was just an owl. Right, Benton?” Erik said aloud. “Right?” Benton didn’t answer. He was too busy laying his ears back on his head at the creature that blocked the path in front of them.

“WHOA, Benton! What IS that?” It looked like a wolf, or an ogre, or something that neither of them really wanted to encounter close up.

Erik looked from side to side, hoping that the path might have a fork in it. Usually when you want a fork, you can’t find one (ever have to eat your dinner with a spoon?) but almost magically, there was a fork. The road kind, not the dinner kind. A sign pointed in two directions. Ahead of them, past the wolf-ogre, was Mystery Mountain. Off to the right was Otterley Creek. 

“Otters? Lady Josie likes otters. Do you suppose she went that way, Benton? Or did she try to get past the ogre?” Erik leaned forward to get his pony’s advice.

Benton neighed, but his answer was carried off by a strong wind that whirled past them. Erik would have to decide for himself.

To face the ogre, go HERE

To go to Otterley Creek, go HERE

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Winner is ....

And the winner of the beautiful NUTCRACKER illustrated by Maurice Sendak is Betty Person.

Ho! Ho! Ho!


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Maurice Sendak Nutcracker Giveaway

'Tis the season!

One of my daughters is a ballet dancer and she has danced in the Nutcracker since she was four-years-old. A couple of years ago, her dreams came true when she got to play the part of Clara. Such fun!

But a few months ago, I realized that since she'd always been in the Nutcracker, she'd never actually seen a live performance. I'm happy to say that this past weekend our schedules worked out (which is tricky during this busy month) and I was able to take my daughter to see an absolutely beautiful performance of the ballet in Jackson, Mississippi.

I'm officially in the Christmas spirit.

So ... you can imagine how excited I was to receive this beautiful book as a gift from Random House. And it is stunning.

How many of you knew that not only did Maurice Sendak illustrate E.T.A. Hoffmann's story upon which the Nutcracker Ballet is based, but that he designed the set and costumes for a performance by the Pacific Northwest Ballet? The performance is available as a movie, but I'm sad to report that it is only available as a VHS. Here's the trailer, though, which absolutely gives me CHILLS. I would love to see those backdrops, billboard sized. And those costumes!!!

In the NUTCRACKER book which was just rereleased by Random House, Maurice Sendak uses costume designs and backdrops that he created for the ballet as illustrations, and he painted additional pieces specific to E.T.A. Hoffman's story. The book itself is a piece of art, printed on beautiful paper. It is one of those books that the reader is meant to linger upon, savoring each detail and each piece of beauty that can be found on every page.

A perfect Christmas gift, yes? And I'd love to be able to give this copy away to a lucky reader, just enter the giveaway below. It closes on December 17th, so be sure to enter and spread the word!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And if you don't happen to be one of the lucky winners or have more than one person in your life who would love this masterpiece, click here to order. And support your indies!!!