2012 Colorado Book Award Finalists

April 15, 2012 § Leave a comment

Young Henry and the Dragon

Please join Jeanne Kaufamn, finalist in the Colorado Book Awards,  as she reads her work Young Henry and the Dragon at the Finalist Readings, Thursday, April 19, 5:30 to 7 p.m., Residence Inn Marriott at 17th & Champa!

The Year of the Dragon began on January 23rd and will end on February 9, 2013. It’s considered to be the luckiest year in the Chinese Zodiac.

The Dragon, being the only mythical animal in the Zodiac, is regarded as a divine beast. He was believed to have been created from the head of an ox, the muzzle of a donkey, the eyes of a shrimp, the horns of a deer, the body of a serpent and the feet of a phoenix. He was a creature so universally admired that even the most overzealous medieval knight wouldn’t dare fight him.

In Young Henry and the Dragon, our young knight is more interested in dining than dismemberment. Read this charming review from School Library Journal!
Dragon Delights: Tales of Wonder and Whimsy for Young Readers

By Joy Fleishhacker, Curricululm Connections–School Library Journal

Jeanne Kaufman’s Young Henry and the Dragon (Shenanigan, 2011; K-Gr 4) combines a once-upon-a-time scenario with an appealingly contemporary vibe. While adventuring through the forest, a squire finds himself facing nightfall with no way to start a food-cooking, toe-warming campfire. However, his map reveals that a blaze-breathing creature lives nearby and Henry heads to its lair to politely beg a flame. The fearsome beast is less than cooperative, but the brave youngster comes up with a clever plan: if he can get the dragon to laugh, it will emit a fiery snort.

Henry’s efforts—wiggle-wagging his tongue and pulling on his ears, peeking upside down through his open legs, dancing a crazy jig, telling his best joke—will certainly amuse readers, but the dragon remains stone faced. It’s not until an exasperated Henry gives up and stomps away—and unintentionally trips over a tree root—that “The dragon swayed from side to side/and twitched from head to claw./A smoking snort escaped its lips,/and then a huge GUFFAW!!”

Henry ends up with a flame and a new friend. Seasoned with both folktale elements and giggle-inducing humor, the merrily rhyming text never misses a beat. Daria Tessler’s vibrantly colored paintings create a properly medieval mood (a gorgeous mix of pale green hues, crosshatched scales, and agile black-ink lines, the dragon could have stepped right out of a fairy tale) while playing up each and every pratfall. This book makes a clever contrast and possible segue to traditional dragon folklore.


Got Questions? Ask Ellen

April 4, 2012 § Leave a comment


Go behind the scenes with your favorite writers and illustrators to find out how they work – and to get a few tips to make your own work shine!

Ellen Jackson is a former Girl Scout and elementary school teacher and has written more than 60 books for children. Ellen has written about astronomy, the solstices, the U.S. presidents, and described how children lived 1,000 years ago. Six of her books are retold folk tales.

The Mysterious Universe was a Golden Kite honor book. Earth Mother received an award from the American Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Cinder Edna will be performed as a musical by Stages Theater and also by the Olympia Family Theater in 2013.

Like her parents, Ellen has been interested in books and reading since she was a small child. Her house was a mini-library. Ellen’s mother worked as a children’s librarian for Walt Disney Studios for more that thirty years. Her father was an amateur astronomer.

Ellen, a former teacher, has traveled in Europe and South America, and now lives in Santa Barbara, CA with her husband. When not reading or writing or playing the recorder, she likes to hike the backcountry and/or canoodle with her schnoodle.

Ellen’s books have won many awards. She is most proud of the awards given by real readers, such as the Family Fun“Book of the Year” award for Monsters in Your Mailbox. This book was chosen out of a list of 600 other books by a panel of children. Librarians and teachers have also honored Ellen’s books. The Summer Solstice was a Society of School Librarians International Honor Book. And It’s Back to School We Go! was an NCSS-CBC Notable Children’s Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies.

Her latest book is The Ballad of Booster Bogg.

Booster Bogg is a rambling dog that wanders from owner to owner. He is loved by all, except mean Mr. Green who thinks Booster is an outlaw because he doesn’t have a license or a leash. The townsfolk find a way to save Booster from the clutches of mean Mr. Green.

“Booster Bogg
is a rambling dog
Who wanders wild and free,
Through valleys and alleys
Over hill and dale
And down to the boundless sea.”

Fun Fact from Ellen: This book is based on the story of a true event and a real dog. The dog’s name was “Boozer.” Can you guess why I changed it?

Find out more about Ellen Jackson at: www.ellenjackson.net



An Egg in the Face or a Face on an Egg?

April 2, 2012 § Leave a comment

Growing up in the sixties, my favorite TV show was The Avengers, with Patrick McNee. I remember one episode in particular, that is indelibly etched in my memory. Its dark graphic plot involved a surreal museum that kept a registry of clown faces, hand-painted on chicken eggs.

I always wondered if this place really existed or if it was just created by the Avenger writers?

The answer, thanks to Google, is, yes it really does exist. The tradition began around 1946 at what was then the International Circus Clowns Club. A member named Stan Bult started recording clown images on eggs carefully blowing out the insides so the eggs would not explode. The eggs were not just a record of the clown’s facial makeup, but an actual portraiture in miniature. Examples of these detailed works of art are posted below.

The collection of clown eggs traveled around the world.   But sadly after Mr. Bult’s death most of the eggs were destroyed in an accident at one such traveling exhibit, around 1965.

Today many of the original designs have been reproduced on glass eggs and can be seen at the Clowns International website, www.clowns-international.co.uk.


 decided to use some of these wonderful mini portraits to create my own Clown Eggs.  I will be posting them next week and I hope that my readers will fine inspiration from these tiny works of art!

Send pictures of your eggs to Shenanigan Books and receive a special surprise!

Pro funnibono publico!

 Here are my quick amd easy to make clown eggs!

Girl Clown.jpgBoyClown.jpg


  • Hard boil or blow out the inside of the egg
  • With a Sharpie fine point marker, draw on the clown face (keep it simple)
  • mouth crayon.jpgColor in areas you want to remain white with a clear or white crayon. If this doesn’t work for you just go over the area with white acrylic paint when the egg is dry.
  • Dye the egg in Easter egg coloring dye – first in yellow than in pink,to make skin tone
  • When dry, use tacky glue to add a nose. I just a styrofoam berry from an old holiday decoration and cut off a slice from the back to flatten it, but there are many options. Buttons, pompoms, seed pods all work great!
  • The hair can be made from yarn, feathers, or moss, anything that’s colorful.
  • You can make a little hat for your clown or cheat as I did just buy one at the craft store. They are pretty easy to find.
  • The final touch is to glue on seed beads for eyes.  This really makes them come to life without a lot of fancy painting.

Kid’s Lantern Making

May 10, 2011 § Leave a comment

New Kid’s Stuff craft!

The ancient art of Japanese lantern making  has been simplified in this kid-friendly version.  However,  just as Japanese lanterns were inspired by the artistry of  their makers, these lanterns are also a one-of-a-kind work of art, created from a child’s painting.  

In the Beginning

April 15, 2011 § Leave a comment

In the beginning of every great children’s book are the sketches, the studies and the doodles. All are subject to painstaking changes, modifications and revisions.  It is a part of the process of creating an unforgettable picture book.  In the Works will take you behind the scenes and give you a glimpse into how our talented picture book artists bring their work to life.

Easy-to-Make Clothes Pin Fairy

April 12, 2011 § Leave a comment

Go to the “Kid’s Stuff” page

Introducing “Kid’s Stuff”

April 6, 2011 § Leave a comment

Shenanigan Books is adding a new blog page just for kids!

Each month we’ll feature easy-to-do craft projects, ideas for  young authors and illustrators, plus science and nature activities.

This month, go to the “Kid’s Stuff” page to find out how to make a Fairy House.


%d bloggers like this: