order of oddfish cover

The Order of Oddfish


I’ll be at ALA this weekend. Plus: Odd-Fish fan art, cakes, and board game!

Attending the American Library Association conference in Chicago this weekend? Me too! On Saturday I’ll be talking about the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival for one of their “Conversation Starter” presentations and also signing The Order of Odd-Fish at the Random House booth. On Sunday I’ll be appearing at the YA Author Kaffeeklatsch. Check out my events page for details.

Back in May I visited some schools in near Rochester, New York. One of them was Avon High School, and I received some stellar Order of Odd-Fish fan art from there. First up, the above portrait of Jo Larouche in her waitress uniform, by Anna Christiano, also known as “Chrome.” Extremely well done! Jo’s eyes in particular are haunting. The silhouette of the Ichthala monster looming in the background was a masterstroke. Thank you so much, Anna! This is one of the best Jo portraits I’ve received.

But that’s not all I got from Avon High School. Right when I walked into the library I saw this:

Not a bad way to be greeted, come to think of it! I was also greeted by two Odd-Fishian cakes: one in the shape of the fish, the other with six ostriches hiding their heads in the rice-krispy-treat sand. Those ostriches were edible, too! Ingenious and tasty!

Thanks again, Avon High School, and all the other high schools I visited while in the area (Attica, Byron-Bergen, and Letchworth). This is the same neck of the woods where they have the legendary Rochester Teen Book Festival. They treat authors right in the state of New York!

I’ll wrap up this post with something I’ve been meaning to share for a while: pictures of a unique and wonderful Odd-Fish board game made by Amanda Simpson, whom I met long ago in 2012 when I spoke in the Mississippi Delta. The game takes you all around Eldritch City, from the Odd-Fish knight’s lodge to the offices of the Eldritch Snitch to the set of “Teenage Ichthala” to the lodge of the Wormbeards. And check out the Schwenk peeking in the right-hand side! Superior work, Amanda!

Thanks for the marvelous Odd-Fish art, everyone! I really appreciate it.

The Odd-Fish Art of Jacob von Borg!

I have a treat for you today! Many treats. Eight treats to be precise. It’s all terrific Order of Odd-Fish fan art from one Jacob von Borg of Portland, OR. I first met him because he was one of the team who animated this terrific Frog and Toad Together movie for last year’s 90-Second Newbery Film Festival.

Check out his illustration above, of Lily Larouche’s costume party at her ruby palace from Chapter 1. What attention to detail! I love the composition—with the UFO talking to the eggplant while Jo eavesdrops from the bush—and how through the window, we see the robot, the pirate arm-wrestling the dinosaur, the giggling devil, Lily dancing on a table, and if you look hard, even a certain well-dressed cockroach. Elaborately constructed and winningly done! (Jacob wrote, “Honestly, I think the hardest part to draw in this one was the eggplant’s feet.”)

There’s more where that came from. Here’s Jacob’s illustrations of scenes from chapter 2 and chapter 3—Jo’s bedroom which was shaped like a giant jeweled egg, and when Mr. Cavendish’s head flies around the Dust Creek Cafe:

The picture of Jo’s room also nails exactly how I imagined it (bonus: out the window, you can see Dust Creek behind the highway). Same with the raucous madness of the Dust Creek Cafe picture—it’s got everything, Mrs. Horpness hurling waffles, Jo helping Aunt Lily, Mrs. Cavendish sternly chastising Mr. Cavendish (I love Mrs. Cavendish’s flower sun hat!) even as his head flies around the room, and all the old people running pell-mell for the doors—exactly what I was hoping to express in that scene. Well done!

Jacob also sent along some “concept art” of Lily Larouche’s ruby palace:

It’s inspired! I love the concept of a tree in Lily Larouche’s garden that is grown from a seed brought from Eldritch City. A statue of Lily by some old jilted lover is a nice touch. And a landing platform for her hot-air balloon! It makes me wish I had put these details about the ruby palace in the book! I love it when artists expand and add on to the original ideas from the book with even better ideas.

Finally, Jacob did some character sketches too. Aunt Lily is perfect, from the louche way she holds her cocktail to the mischievous twist of her lip and playful eyes. Jo is properly demure but not dull, with a spark of something dangerous in her eyes. I love how Korsakov’s eyes spring wide as he listens to his digestion, his finger held up as if it to ask for momentary silence while he mentally decodes his intestines’ squishings and rumblings. And Jacob nailed Sefino’s ridiculous outrage—one pair of arms pointedly akimbo, the other pair flung up in exasperation, clutching what must be a copy of the Eldritch Snitch—all while still keeping him totally insect-like.

Incredible work on all of this, Jacob! Thank you so much! And for those of you who are Jacob von Borg completists, you may also want to check out the silent movie he helped make for the International Youth Silent Film Festival, which you can view here.

90-Second Newbery at Printers Row in Chicago. (And thanks, SF!)

Chicagoans! This Saturday, June 8, we’ll be doing a “best-of” screening of the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival for the Printers Row Lit Fest. It’ll be at the auditorium at Jones College Prep, which is at 606 S State St (enter on Harrison St.) from 10:30 am – 11:30 am. The event is free, but you’re supposed to reserve a seat in advance. (You can reserve a seat here.)

The Printers Row Lit Fest is an annual book festival run by the Chicago Tribune, and there are many other events going on too—click here to find out more about it.

I never got a chance to blog a recap of the San Francisco 90-Second Newbery—and frustratingly, I never thought to get a photographer for the event, so we don’t have any pictures! However, it was a great time, and Newbery honoree Jenni Holm killed it as a co-host with her wit and charm. Thanks to everyone at the San Francisco Public Library for helping us pull it off—Toni Bernardi, Carla Kozak, Christy Estrovitz, and many more—plus San Francisco children’s literature advocates Sharon Levin, Summer Laurie, Amy Laughlin, and many more. Pulling off these screenings is always a big team effort, and I appreciate all the hard work and logistics that goes into them. Thanks!

I have a backlog of other great stuff to share, including Order of Odd-Fish fan art I’ve received lately and plans for upcoming projects. Coming soon!