As you can no doubt tell by our highly detailed and anatomically precise self-portraits, we're a friendly bunch — a crew of picture book builders (a.k.a. author/illustrators) from the upper left corner of the left coast who gather together once a month to talk about BOOKS, but not just any books—picture books!
Now we’ve put our wandering minds together here to talk about things way beyond shoes and ships and sealing wax! You’ll hear about monsters that love puddles, dragons popping out of mailboxes, flying chickens and dancing pigs, friends lost and found, and bunny noodle soup! But that’s not all! We’ll talk of things like book cases and jackets (and we don’t mean the furniture and clothes), pagination, the interplay of text and pictures, creating characters, story ingredients, endpapers, and subplots. We’ll dissect books, and touch on subjects near and dear to our personal hearts.
Be on the lookout, too, for reviews (where we’ll gush over books we wish we had made). And there will be games—drawing games and writing games, prompts and challenges! So hop on for the ride! You’re in for some picture book awesomeness from the WHATSITS!
Here’s who we are:
Ben Clanton (or Clantoon if you prefer)
Most of the time I scribble and doodle up stories that will likely never see print.
But some of my tales have had the good fortune to be published such as
SOMETHING EXTRAORDINARY, REX WRECKS IT!, MO'S MUSTACHE, VOTE FOR ME!, and THE TABLE SETS ITSELF. When I’m not making up stories (and often when I am) I enjoy cooking, basketball, exploring outdoors, eating ice cream, and playing games.
Elizabeth Rose Stanton
I am represented by Joanna Volpe at New Leaf Literary & Media in New York.
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Jennifer K. Mann
Just like Elizabeth Rose Stanton, I was once an architect. That was a great job! But writing and illustrating books for children is the best job I can imagine. I spend my days drawing, painting, and writing from my little old cottage on Bainbridge Island where I live with my husband, my two kids, my two dogs, and my five chickens. Daydreaming is a job requirement—how else would I bring up all the childhood memories that have inspired my books? And drinking coffee and talking books with friends--picture book friends—that is one of the best perqs of all. I’ve written and illustrated TWO SPECKLED EGGS published by Candlewick Press, 2014, I'LL NEVER GET A STAR ON MRS BENSON'S BLACKBOARD, published by Candlewick Press, 2015, and SAM AND JUMP to be published by Candlewick in May of 2016. I’ve also illustrated TURKEY TOT, written by George Shannon, published by Holiday House, 2013. I am currently illustrating PERCY, DOG OF DESTINY, written by Allison McGhee, to be published by Holiday House, 2017. I am represented by Holly McGhee of Pippin Properties.
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Somehow, I never grew up (Though I no longer get carded). It is something I’ve learned to deal with. Fortunately in my career as a writer and illustrator of kid’s books it seems to be an asset. Among the award-winning picture books I’ve illustrated is FRANKIE STEIN, by Lola Schaefer, winner of the Children’s Book Council’s 2008 Book of the Year (K-2), and the 2009 Mockingbird Award. I also illustrated TICKLE MONSTER, by Josie Bissett, a Mom’s Choice Award winner and HALLOWEEN HUSTLE, by Charlottte Gunnafson. My first authored book, BUNNIES!!! Launched January 2015. I, of course, illustrated it as well.
My illustrations can be seen in books, magazines, greeting cards, packaging and in software. My biggest claim to fame has to be the creating Clippy the Paperclip, the helper in Microsoft Word. There is an odd kind of pride knowing my creation at one point was annoying hundreds of millions of people on a daily basis.
I am represented by Erin Murphy of the Erin Murphy Literary Agency. I have served on the advisory committee of the Western Washington SCBWI for over twelve of the past twenty years.
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I live with my husband Joe, a writer and singer/songwriter and our two standard poodle children, Jody and LaRoo. Besides children’s books, (and yoga) I do editorial Illustration and info-graphics (little known fact: I love making maps). I worked in the Art Department of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer until they closed in 2009. The P-I was a ‘scrappy liberal rag,’ a Hearst newspaper in print for 147 years. I only worked 12 of the 147 years, but I loved it and miss it still.
My first picture book was DON'T LICK THE DOG. It was selected as a 2010 Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year, starred for Outstanding Merit and accepted to the Society of Illustrators Original Art show. A CAT LIKE THAT, the companion please-be-nice-&-safe-with-animals book, followed. I illustrated SNOWBOY 1, 2, 3 by Joe Wahman. Next up in my, please-be-nice-to-animals agenda is (believe it or not) RABBIT STEW, coming Spring 2017.
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Shops: Cafe Press • RedBubble • Zazzle
Book Trailers: Don't Lick the Dog • A Cat Like That • Snowboy 1, 2, 3