order of oddfish cover

The Order of Oddfish

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Downers Grove Author’s Festival and Frank Reade Book Review

February 19, 2012

I’m a day late telling you, but yesterday’s Wall Street Journal ran the review I wrote of Frank Reade: Adventures in the Age of Invention, a steampunk fake history coffee-table book by Paul Guinan and Anina Bennett. My verdict: a “retrofuturist visual feast!” Read the review here.

What is that intriguing hand-drawn version of the paperback cover of The Order of Odd-Fish above? It was done by sixth-grade girls at Pierce Downer School, one of the five schools I visited for the Downers Grove Author Festival last week. I was beyond delighted when the girls presented me with this poster-sized cover! Thanks so much!

The Downers Grove Author Festival was Thursday and Friday of last week, and it was exhausting but exhilarating. With several other authors, I spoke at O’Neill Middle School, Henry Puffer School, Herrick Middle School, Pierce Downer School, and Lester School. The event wound up on Friday night with book signings at the Downers Grove Public Library. Thanks to Gwen Box, Lara Vazquez, and the countless others who made it possible!

The above is not the only fan art I received while speaking at the Downers Grove schools. Selma of Lester School drew this fun cartoon of Jo facing Fiona in the Dome of Doom, each in their costume armor as Aznath, the Silver Kitten of Deceit and Ichthala, the All-Devouring Mother respectively:

Thanks a million, Selma! (I love the discombobulated look on Jo’s face . . . ) And here’s a rather nightmarish, conceptual take on the Ken Kiang introduction chapter, in which Ken Kiang sells his soul “to any supernatural being who cared to bid on it,” in one case for as low a price as a bag of barbecue-flavored potato chips. It’s by Aidan, also from Lester School:

Kind of chillingly maniacal! Is Ken Kiang transferring his soul to the balloon-like devil head via a homunculus-sized version of his own head, or . . . ? There’s some intriguing theological territory to excavate here.

And finally, here’s a choice Commissioner Olvershaw, by Ben of Lester School:

I have to admit, I feel this guy’s eyes follow me around the room. I keep the paper face down. At any rate, I received much more art than just this―but too much to include it all in one post! I certainly appreciated it all. Thanks, Downers Grove, for a great couple days!

As for the Portland screening of the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival: the deadline for submitting films has passed, and I am now going through them! I’ll feature as many as I can on the blog in these next two weeks leading up to the 90-Second Newbery screening on March 3 in Portland. Thanks everyone who submitted!