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Children’s Story

The Yawn Snatcher

The Yawn Snatcher is a wily creature.

It has curling horns,

And curving fingers.

Its feet are quiet as a whisper.

You won’t ever hear it coming.

But you might feel it:

That reaching feeling just behind your ears

Like the pull of a magnet

Drawing the yawn away.

 

The Yawn Snatcher waits

In late nights

Early mornings

Afternoons that drag on.

The Yawn Snatcher loves boring lectures

Fancy dinners

And long waits at the bus stop.

 

When a yawn begins,

The Yawn Snatcher senses it,

Smells it.

With its spindle-thin legs

It strides across the land,

Fast as a shadow.

It crouches behind you,

Fingers curled

Elbows back

Ears cocked and

Eyes bright.

 

It reaches round you

— so quickly you can’t see it,

So deftly you tell yourself it was a trick of the light—

And plucks the yawn right out of your chest.

Its fingers curl, cage-like

Around the vaporous, wriggling yawn.

Then it gobbles it down

Or stuffs the yawn into its sack

Or one of its many bulging pockets,

And lopes off

Back to its lair in the misty mountains.

And you will stand and scratch your head:

Where did that yawn go?

 

Sometimes, the Yawn Snatcher will trip,

Drop its sack with a spill,

Or the yawn will wriggle out through a hole in its sweater

And fly back to the yawner.

 

Sometimes, if it has flown a long way,

It will be a weak little thing,

Hardly satisfying at all.

 

But sometimes a quick and clever yawn

Will break free

And gather momentum.

It will hit you square in the back

Sending a shock through your whole body.

And then you will have the most jaw-cracking,

Arm-stretching,

Mumble-moaning yawn in years.

A yawn that makes you blink your eyes and smile.

 

The Yawn Snatcher will gnash its teeth,

But it can’t do a thing about it.

It will slink back to its cave

With a grumble and a grimace

To sit and stroke its stolen yawns

And swallow them one by one.

 


 

(Inspired by Ennis taking FOREVER to get that yawn out last night!)

Digital Drawing: Coraline’s House

A group of picture book illustrators stayed at the B&B over Memorial weekend. I had met one of them at a SCBWI conference in Chicago last year, and she pulled a group together and headed north.

First of all, I LOVED that each of them led a workshop. It was so much more fun than being at a big conference where everyone is feeling shy and hurrying from one session to the next.

Emily led book deconstruction and reconstruction (or corruption, as my son referred to it).

Emmeline led us through chapter book illustration. We read the first chapter of Neil Gaiman’s “Coraline” and made notes of what we could draw for the full page and for the “spot,” a smaller image. (I discovered that though I like having a picture of the setting, I otherwise choose small tokens that aren’t necessarily important to the plot; others drew the characters right away, but I like to leave that up to the reader).

Alicia showed us her iPad Pro and Apple Pencil… and so began my conversion.

I’m pretty crotchety about technology; I dig my heels in and don’t like new things– i.e., I was totally anti iPod for years– and then I do a total 180.

I should have seen it coming given that I kept asking them, “But don’t people think it’s cheating to go back and forth doing your art on paper and on the computer?”

Nope, not cheating. Not cheating to use the computer, to make multiple photocopies of the “good” sketch, or to use tracing paper.

So, I tried the magic Apple Pencil (which responds to pressure, in addition to having a ton of cool options). And I was in LOVE.

It was so EASY! There was a BACK BUTTON!

I took a picture of my sketch of Coraline’s house…

 

And started messing around, just using the basic photo editing app on my (android) phone. I loved that I could take pictures along the way. And I discovered that in the digital medium it felt much easier to do background layers– something I seem to forget about on paper.

And here it is: Coraline’s house! Drawn on a phone with my finger!

 

I’m so grateful to join these lovely ladies, and to discover a very accessible way to illustrate. I’m inspired to illustrate some of my own picture books, and I’m starting to research digital drawing pad options.

My son has really enjoyed drawing on photos. Here’s “Miss Glurkel-Glurk:”

 

For some reason, he didn’t think it was quite as funny when I drew on a photo of him… Doesn’t this look like a fun character for a story?