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The reason why: page 7 in shiny happy colour

The reason why I went to the moon for my birthday, page 7 in colour

I love Dr. Seuss books. I like his limited colour palette and large areas of flat colour, so I copied him a bit. I’d like to know what you what you think. Does it work? Does it make you happy? Do you wish I had used some purple? (This book will contain no purple.)

The reason you’re getting a coloured page is that I have hired a successful children’s author to look at my story and tell me if it’s any good or not and recommend changes that will help it on it’s way to publication. I want her to have an idea of how the finished pages will look and there is no way I’m going to keep this little treat from you.

Here is a comparison of the original scan and the tidied and coloured page:

The reason why I went to the moon for my birthday, page 7 comparison

24 June 2015
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Two picture books that are not what they seem

Ten Apples Up On Top by Theo. LeSieg and Roy McKie (affiliate link) is supposedly a counting book for beginning readers. It is actually the story of three ne’er-do-well youths who break into a bear family’s home,

Ten Apples Up On Top, pages 24–25

steal their apples and milk, trash the house,

Ten Apples Up On Top, pages 30–31

then, in the process of fleeing justice, assault the youngest bear THREE times. (For the sake of my more sensitive readers, I have not shown the third assault.)

Ten Apples Up On Top, pages 44–45

Ten Apples Up On Top, pages 48–49

The story continues with more theft, a lynch mob and wholesale destruction of a farmer’s crop and vehicle. Do not be fooled by the happy ending; this book wholeheartedly endorses antisocial and illegal behaviour. But that’s not the only thing that makes it brilliant. Dr Seuss (as Theo. LeSieg) works the limited vocabulary for all its worth and the language sparkles. McKie’s seemingly simple brush and ink illustrations convey a remarkable range of emotion and action.

The copy of book is my personal copy with the original colouring, not the stupid updated brightly coloured version. My kids are not allowed to look at it without my permission.


Quentin Blake’s Mister Magnolia (affiliate link) seems to be the story of an eccentric bachelor who befriends young children so that they will buy him footwear. But it is secretly a counting book. It’s so secretly a counting book that we had it for a few years before I realised it was a counting book.

Five owls:

Mister Magnolia, owls spread

Six children:

Mister Magnolia, scooter spread

If these two examples have caused you to raise your eyebrows, wait until next week when I write about the real meaning of Hop On Pop.

Part of Mother, Daughter and Son Book Reviews’ Kid Lit Blog Hop 44.

3 September 2014
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Suess’s supporting characters

I love the way that, except for the the two protagonists, every character on these pages from Dr Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham maintains a zen-like calm through the horrific train and boat disaster. First, it’s very funny. Second, it is effective at keeping our focus on the important characters even though all the characters are of similar size and colour.

Green Eggs and Ham, pages 46–47

Green Eggs and Ham, page 47, detail

Green Eggs and Ham, pages 48–49

23 August 2014
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