order of oddfish cover

The Order of Oddfish

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Shelly Tan’s Odd-Fish and Moots fan art, plus A Bridge to Terabithia 90-Second Newbery

September 1, 2011

This summer I taught a course in science fiction and fantasy at Northwestern University for the Center for Talent Development, a kind of academic camp for junior high school students. I received some great Odd-Fish fan art from CTD students, not least from a certain Shelly Tan, one of my favorites.

That’s her picture above! It’s the scene when Chatterbox, the snarky centipede journalist, leans out his window and gently undercuts Sefino when he comes on his triumphant visit with Jo wearing the ridiculous Hat of Honor. I already knew that Shelly was an appreciator of the insectoid form―one of the first things she mentioned to me was that she had a collection of hissing cockroaches at home―so I was pleased to see her take on Chatterbox. (But where, oh where, is the “fifteen-piece suit”?!) I particularly liked the subtly detailed color work on the windows too. Wonderful!

I’ve featured Shelly’s art on the blog before―she did excellent illustrations of the squid-worm and dragon-wasp aliens featured in the first chapter of The Magnificent Moots (my second book, which I’m editing right now―I read the first few chapters out loud on the last day of class). Below are two more pieces she sent me!

On the left, from The Magnificent Moots, is Feepness Moot, a sentient gas from Saturn. On the right, the flaming double-sided lance that is the discriminating knight’s weapon of choice in The Order of Odd-Fish. Both highly accomplished illustrations. I love the dynamic shading of the gas and the elegant swirl of the eyes in Feepness. Shelly’s inspiring me to finish editing this book, to justify the art!

But one last thing before I head back to the brain mines―another 90-second Newbery video. I’m receiving entries for the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival faster than I can post them! (Don’t know what the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival is? All the details, including dates of New York and Chicago screenings in November, are here.).

Today it’s a fun 90-second version of A Bridge to Terabithia, the 1978 Newbery Medal winner. The film is by Hannah, Tyler, and Polina from Appleton, WI (which they hail as “the weirdest place in the whole wide world”).

Great! Leslie’s funky blue sunglasses are a deft in-character fashion choice. I particularly liked when Jess said “There are vicious creatures” and the camera cut to a bunch of stuffed animals. The musical interlude was surreal and amusing―it’s counterintuitive to see a 90-Second Newbery that actually tries to kill time . . . !

Thanks, Hannah, Tyler, and Polina of Appleton! Well done!