Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

week 11 storytime video: God makes a way

God Makes A Way from Jonathan Michael on Vimeo.

(no need to add a code, just hit ENTER and it'll play)

visit the The Jesus Storybook Bible site to learn more
buy the book: here
download audio on The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name (Unabridged) or amazon

Friday, December 18, 2009

tension and storytelling

Richard Condon (1915-1996), novelist best known for The Manchurian Candidate (1959) and Prizzi's Honor (1982), said: "I think the most important part of storytelling is tension. It's the constant tension of suspense that in a sense mirrors life, because nobody knows what's going to happen three hours from now."

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

week 10 storytime video: God to the rescue!

God to the Rescue! from Jonathan Michael on Vimeo.

(no need to add a code, just hit ENTER and it'll play)

visit the The Jesus Storybook Bible site to learn more
buy the book: here
download audio on The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name (Unabridged) or amazon

Monday, December 14, 2009

sneak peak... out in January...

for the teeniest of tiny tots a very first first bible storybook -- in verse (stay tuned more in January... but in the meantime you can pre-order here).

Friday, December 11, 2009

Village Pillows

Rachel Cole is not only the brilliant designer I get to work with at Schwartz & Wade (How To Be A Baby, How To Get Married and Being A Pig) but also the creator of Village Pillows.

Here's what Rachel says about them:

"Village Pillows are a set of cushions that fit together to form the landscape of a little town—somewhere far away from the city. They're ideal for both play and decoration—as individual pillows or as a group. Hand screen-printed on cotton duck cloth or linen in extremely small editions, Village Pillows are well constructed and include an insert."

How cool are they? Don't you need them? Immediately?

More here.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Monday, December 7, 2009

Dicken's Christmas Carol: the marked up manscript

Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol in just 6 weeks to raise much-needed cash in September 1843.

Printing the manuscript was a Christmas rush job, so there wasn't enough time for Dickens to make a clean manuscript copy. As a result, the copy that went to print is heavily marked up and extremely difficult to read. It has all of Dickens’s additions and subtractions in his own hand.

The manuscript is housed in the Morgan Library. And every year they turn the page so you can look at the next spread. This year, for the first time, all 66 pages are available online. (So you won't have to wait 64 years to see the entire book.)

The watercolor of the Ghost of Christmas Present, above left, had to be redone because the spirit was supposed to be wearing green, not red.

Here's just two of the changes he made to the text (so brilliant!):

On page 3, he inserts “his eyes sparkled” to amplify the portrait of Scrooge’s nephew, whose beneficence is crucial to the plot.

On page 12, where Scrooge takes Marley’s ghost to be evidence not of the supernatural, but of his own indigestion, (“more of gravy than of grave,”) he converts the offending bit of food from being a “spot of mustard” to a less digestible “blot of mustard.” (Genius!)

Read more here.

Listen to an interview here.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

He's Here - a Christmas story

Here's a Christmas video to share... (if you want to rate it with lots of stars on YouTube and give it fabulous reviews, of course do feel free! I won't mind.)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Monday, November 30, 2009

bad weather

Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.

-John Ruskin, author, art critic, and social reformer (1819-1900)


The Ultimate Guide To Grandmas and Grandpas has won the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Best Book Award 2009. So maybe now's the time if you have anyone tiny in your family... to get hold of this invaluable handbook on how to look after your grandparents (in case you didn't know you actually need to dance for them, kiss them, hold their hands, let them eat your ice cream, and other lovely things like that...)

More here.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Christoph Niemann

Christoph Niemann in Abstract City in The New York Times has a great piece on Bio-Diversity... sound a bit dull? No it's not. It's very funny. For example (to get you started):

(Niemann is the author of two children's books and many of his illustrations have appeared in NYT, New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly and basically a genius.)

More here.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Monday, November 23, 2009

David Suchet Interview: School Days

The Daily Mail Online in the UK did an interesting article about David (whom we were lucky enough to get to read the complete audio of The Jesus Storybook Bible). Some of it is pretty Dickensian. The maths teacher: I think I had the same one...

Read more: here.

School days: David Suchet, bottom left, with members of the Wellington School tennis team

IN OTHER NEWS: to anyone in the UK, the deluxe edition is available on amazon! (It was originally wrongly listed as the "deluze" edition which made it sound like the lounge singer version) You can find it here.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Dreams That Come True

in case you were worrying about something or dreaming about something and thinking you could never in a million years... here's an incredible story from Nicholas Kristoff in the New York Times about a poor uneducated woman in Zimbabwe and how she set about her dream...

More here.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

week 6 storytime video: Son of Laughter

(NOTE these are ANIMATED versions of the book with the audio
recording from David Suchet. They are extra wonderful and you are the first to see it and they come courtesy of the fabulous Jonathan Michael at Zondervan.)

Son of Laughter from Jonathan Michael on Vimeo.

(no need for a code, you can just hit ENTER and it'll play)

visit the The Jesus Storybook Bible site to learn more
buy the book: here
download audio on The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name (Unabridged) or amazon

Monday, November 16, 2009


Japanese Edition released... and hits #1 in 1st week! Link here.
(Thanks to Asako Hirohashi who did the translation!)

lovely scrumpdildlyumptious Englishness

from my fab friend (and fellow Brit) Josie, comes super delicious extra English things: home-made marmalade, chutneys, and more. If you get your order in you can get some for Christmas!

Here's how it began:

"It was November 2007, and the pressure was on. My husband was between jobs, bills were mounting, and it seemed my two young children would be staring at an empty tree for Christmas. That’s when a good friend suggested I turn my passion for food into something more..."

She sent out an email and hoped to sell a few dozen jars so she could buy presents for her children. She ended up making nearly 500 jars. And two years later and she has a new site, a professional commercial kitchen and Josie's English Kitchen.

Cool eh? Find out more here.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Monday, November 9, 2009

laser art

Section of Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland, captured in minute detail with laser scanners

This new cutting edge laser technology (from the Glasgow School of Art) is helping preserve and conjure up what buildings actually looked like ages ago, in effect turning the clock back on ancient sites.

As well as being a kind of time travel, it turns out to be an art form. I love that it also happens to be utterly beautiful.

More here

Friday, November 6, 2009

interview with David Suchet

David (Hercule Poirot) Suchet speaks to radio host Charles Morris about why he chose to read The Jesus Storybook Bible for audio, how he selects his roles, what his faith means to him, and more... in this fabulous conversation which you can listen to here.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Sunday, November 1, 2009

happy ny marathon!

hope all those runners remembered to fall back this morning...

Interesting Marathon Factoid

At the 1908 Olympic Games in London, the marathon distance was changed from 25 to 26 miles to cover the ground from Windsor Castle to White City stadium, with 385 yards added on so the race could finish in front of King Edward VII's royal box. 

After 16 years of extremely heated discussion, this 26.2 mile distance was established at the 1924 Olympics in Paris as the official marathon distance. -Paul Ostapuk

Makes you proud to be British...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Monday, October 26, 2009

Some Strange Satie Facts

The French composer Erik Satie (1866-1925) gave his piano pieces some odd titles. For instance: "Flabby Preludes (for a Dog)" (1912) and "Three Pieces in the Shape of a Pear" (1903).

 His scores also contain instructions to the performers like "Light as an egg," "With astonishment," or "Work it out yourself." Here some others:
  • In the morning, on an empty stomach 
  • Hypocritically Crabbed and cantankerous 
  • Moderate and very restless 
  • Pianissimo, short of breath 
  • With a lot of difficulty Run! 
 More? Here are some other Strange Satie Facts:
  • he carried a gun in his pocket for protection 
  • he wore grey velvet suits and became known as "the velvet gentleman." 
  • he detested the sun, and tried to go outside only during bleak days
  • he washed only with pumice stone, never soap 
  • he "never spoke while eating, for fear of strangling himself," 
  • and only ate white foods. His list? Eggs, sugar, shredded bones, animal fat, salt, coconuts, rice, turnips, pastry, cheese (white varieties), cotton salad, and certain kinds of fish
(which one's not true (the first: it was a hammer not a gun)
    At the very least this gives us all a free pass today to be as odd as we like (or even odder than usual).

    Friday, October 23, 2009

    Norman Foster & Dr Seuss: Constraints and Inspiration

    Interesting article about Norman Foster and the tiny sliver of a building he is designing in the Bowery. He has come up with an ingenius use of an elevator to do it. Foster said he had managed not to be daunted by the notion of stacking galleries with such a circumscribed footprint on top of one another; instead, Mr. Foster said, “it’s a case of the constraints finally becoming the inspiration."

    The constraints that limit you can actually lead to the inspiration. Freedom isn't always about having no boundaries, it's more about being able to run free because you have them... Like sheep on a cliff... without the fence they aren't free. (Or they're free to leap off the cliff and die I suppose.) But with the fence they can be move about freely without fear... even run. Anyway all that rambling on about sheep and fences and fear to say... limits sometime make you cleverer.

    Take Dr Seuss for example. The Cat In The Hat came about because his publisher challenged him to write a beginning reading book with only a limited vocabulary. It has only 223 different words. (The word cloud shows the words he used, minus "the", "and" and "I".) With a tiny pile of short words he created a classic.

    Seuss found the limited vocabulary challenging and, after a period of frustration, simply chose the first two words on the word list that rhymed: "Cat" and "Hat".

    Monday, October 19, 2009

    cluttered desks

    "If a cluttered desk signs a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?"
    —Albert Einstein

    Uh-oh. I sort of have an empty desk. All clear and lovely. But the clutter is off to the side. Or pushed to the back. In a neat pile of clutter. So that's alright then. I think. Is it?

    Tuesday, October 13, 2009

    look what's on itunes!

    if you feel like it, do please click through to itunes and write a review--it will really help it get noticed in audio books! thanks... (Oh and if you buy it, well...)

    Cover Art
    The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name (Unabridged)
    Sally Lloyd-Jones
    The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name (Unabridged)
    Release Date: 01 Oct 2009
    Genre: Religion & Spirituality
    ℗ 2009 Zondervan
    Download iTunes

    Monday, October 12, 2009

    reality TV that's truly real...

    ... and absolutely life-changing. how far would you walk to get to school? Watch and see how far these children's in Peru will go. A team of inventors, engineers, teachers came together to drastically change these children's lives. A friend is involved in getting this fabulous world changing movement off the ground. You can help by signing up on their site here

    Friday, October 9, 2009

    Maira Kalman... Latest Pursuit of Happiness

    excuse me, but how is it that the woman has a blue face on that bike--and I saw her. on my street. exactly her. and that dog? and the woman with the bag.

    To see more of this genius's work go here

    Wednesday, October 7, 2009

    priceless treasure under your feet

    "A harvest of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver so beautiful it brought tears to the eyes of one expert, has poured out of a Staffordshire field - the largest hoard of gold from the period ever found."

    And it was found in July in a farmer's field by Terry Herbert, an amateur metal detector who lives alone in a council flat on disability benefit, who had never before found anything remotely as valuable.

    This time though he uncovered a hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold so large it will "redefine the Dark Ages." It's been declared treasure (which means it belongs to the Queen). They think it's from the late 7th or early 8th century--and that it must have belonged to a king because there is so much of it and all it's so valuable. There are 1500 pieces so far--weapons, helmet decorations, Christian crosses and hundreds still embedded in blocks of soil.

    How many people I wonder walked over that bit of mud little realizing priceless treasure was under their feet. And how many times, I wonder, did people laugh and make fun of Terry Herbert out there in the fields with his metal detector. And what treasure might be lying under our feet?

    Treasure buried in a field. Hmm. Reminds me of a story Someone told once ...

    You can watch Terry Herbert talk about it here and read more here.

    Monday, October 5, 2009

    The "new and improved" Winnie The Pooh

    Today RETURN TO THE HUNDRED ACRE WOOD is being published in the US and UK: the first authorized "sequel" to A A Milne's 1920s masterpiece. It appears to be the "new and improved" world of Winnie the Pooh--they've made Eeyore less Eeyore (he isn't such a victim, they say, but "more proactive"), they've added a Fancy Nancy-esque Otter (who loves to wear pearls)... which is all very well--but what I want to know is... why? Why is this a good idea, again?

    The characters of The Hundred Acre Wood all sprung from actual real life toys that belonged to Milne's little boy... so nothing against otters or Lottie or pearls but he did he actually have an otter with pearls?

    None of this bodes well. I should reserve judgment until I read the thing... (perhaps this book will drive children to the real Winnie The Pooh and away from the Disney-fied version which would be a very good thing and I'd be all for it) but apart from assuming we know better now than Milne and Shephard then (call me old fashioned, but new isn't always improved and improved isn't always better), the first question that popped into my head when I heard about Lottie and needing to add a girl character and improving Eeyore was--can you begin to imagine anyone adding a girl character into a Rembrandt painting? Or Shakespeare's Ophelia being "modified" to be less of a victim?

    Not so much.

    Friday, October 2, 2009

    Robert Frank

    Swiss-born Robert Frank has a show at the Met and a film at Film Forum. He is 84 and lives in Manhattan. And no one has had a greater influence on photography in the last half-century. Though he took many photos and made many films, his reputation rests almost entirely on a single book published in 1958. The book (a collection of 83 black-and-white images of American life and now on view in a show at the Met) is an intimate visual chronicle of common people in ordinary situations drawn from several trips he made through his adopted country in the mid-1950s. Frank's favorite photo in the book is this one... Canal Street - New Orleans, 1955 He said of it, "It's rare that you have that movement and the variety of people on the street." Philippe S├ęclier’s documentary showing at Film Forum is called: “An American Journey: Revisiting Robert Frank’s ‘The Americans’” and retraces Frank's steps using a digital camera rather than a Leica.

    Wednesday, September 30, 2009

    In the field... on the streets...

    A friend, David, went on a trip to Peru to be with the street boys there. He came back with these cool photos: Abraham and Jairo reading The Jesus Storybook Bible (Spanish edition).

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