Monday, April 20, 2009

Monday, April 13, 2009

Work nightmare

(reposted belatedly from Blue Rose Girls)

My assistant Connie and I had just opened up a brand-new box full of copies of Grace's upcoming book, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (pub date: June 2009). It was absolutely beautiful, and the gold ink on the cover was really striking...but then I noticed that the book had somehow been printed with the wrong title!!! Printed on the cover in brilliant, beautiful gold ink was one of the other titles Grace had tossed around when we were brainstorming different title ideas.

Before Grace completely panics, I have to say that this was all in a dream I had Friday night.

So, in my dream, it took me a while to realize what had happened. I freaked out and said to Connie in a panicked voice, "It has the wrong title!!!!" I had no idea how this could have happened. The ARCs had all been printed with the right title, we had all reviewed the proofs and the title had been right then. I frantically checked the interior, and the title was okay there, so it was just the jacket. That was a small relief. We started running around the office find the appropriate people to notify, and eventually determined that we'd have to print the jackets over...

And that's when I woke up. What a relief.

I'm not surprised I had this dream. Last week was a stressful work week (unrelated to Grace's book), we've had some printing problems with finished books lately (one book had been printed without the last 16 pages, another had the author's byline mysteriously gone from the front cover--in both cases, it was deemed to be the printer's error, and the books were reprinted at no cost to us--whew!) and I also found out that Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is printing on Tuesday (yay!). So, everything combined, it's somewhat natural that everything going on resulted in the nightmare. But man, I'm going to be nervous the first time I see a finished copy of the book! But the designer, the brilliant Alison Impey, will be going on press to make sure that the colors are just right--and I'm sure she'd notice if the title was wrong. Grace, don't worry, we'll get it right!

What types of anxiety work dreams do you all have? I have then all the time, sometimes funny, sometimes scary.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Beyond the Book: The Curious Garden by Peter Brown

(Cross-posted belatedly from the Blue Rose Girls)

Beyond the Book:
The Curious Garden by Peter Brown.

Most of you probably know Peter's work from his Chowder books. Or perhaps you know him from his very first book, Flight of the Dodo (read my Beyond the Book here). His newest book, just out now, is The Curious Garden, and it's a bit of a departure from his previous books. Instead of the irreverent potty humor of his earlier books, this one has a more gentle humor, and a more classic feel overall.

The Curious Garden is the story of a boy named Liam who lives in a dull, gray city. Despite the dreariness of his surroundings, Liam still loves exploring, and one day he discovers a struggling garden on the top of an abandoned railway, and he decides to help nurse the plants back to life. Eventually, the plants thrive and end up exploring the whole city, inspiring other to join in the act of becoming gardeners!

Peter has really outdone himself with the art—each painting is truly a masterpiece, and the details throughout are just marvelous and full of life. There’s also a fun search and find element here, as red-headed Liam can be found on every spread, even the cityscapes. This is a charming, breathtaking and beautifully designed book in the classic tradition of The Little House and Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel. This book really has both the best writing and painting that I’ve ever seen from Peter--it was a true labor or love, and I’m incredibly proud of him, and this book. Here's one of my favorite spreads which we turned into a lavish poster:Peter was inspired to write The Curious Garden in part by the Highline, a public space on an elevated railway on the West side of Manhattan, scheduled to open to the public later this year. There are also similar parks all over Europe, and what’s wonderful about this book is that the setting is really a kind of every-city—it could be NY, or London, or Berlin. There’s also a great environmental theme here (and we've printed the book on recycled paper), and of course I also love the message that one little boy can change the world--he helps completely transform a gray dirty city into a lush, green world.

Speaking of a lush green world, our fabulous marketing team decided to send these little pots with a packet of seeds to key accounts, and I decided to test my green thumb. Here they are, just starting to sprout:
A few days later, growing strong!Even better!

But then today I noticed the little forget-me-nots looked a little droopy. I've never been good with plants, and I think they might be dying. So sad. We'll see. Maybe I should sing to them, as Liam does in the book!One of the most exciting firsts for me in my publishing career is that we made a display for The Curious Garden. Now, the way this works is our marketing team chooses a few key books each list and offer displays for them. They design the display and mock it up for the catalog and offer it to accounts to order. Only if they get enough takers for the display do they actually produce it. I've had other displays offered for books I've edited, but this is the first time there were actually enough takers! I was so excited to put it together for my office:
Isn't it cool? And it comes with a little pocket for the free seed packets. And if you'll notice the little star stuck on top, that was added by me in honor of its starred review in Publisher's Weekly:

"Brown's latest is a quiet but stirring fable of urban renewal, sure to capture imaginations....In Brown's utopian vision, the urban and the pastoral mingle to joyfully harmonious effect-especially on the final pages, which show a city filled with rooftop gardens, fantastic topiaries, windmills and sparkling ponds."

Peter is going on a carbon-neutral tour later this month (including a few appearances at IKEA? Strange but cool), check out the dates and locations here!