But first, Nooz of a different sort!
It’s now official. A book written by Beth Bacon and illustrated by yours truly will be released on September 6, but you can pre-order it now via Amazon. It’s called The Panda Cub Swap and it’s all about the birth of the first twin pandas born in the US who lived to young adulthood, Mei Lun and Mei Huan of Zoo Atlanta.
This book took almost 8 years to come into being. I met Beth through working on Pandamorphosis, and while the publisher she was working on at the time kind of crashed and burned, and did not ultimately participate in publishing Pandamorphosis, she helped to shape the book and we connected through our interest in writing for kids.
Fast forward a few years from working on Pandamorphosis. Beth was completing an MFA in writing for children at Vermont College of Fine Art. She needed a project, and she suggested we collaborate on a picture book, which hopefully we would be able to interest an agent or publisher. I suggested the story of Mei Lun and Mei Huan (aka the Meihems) since they were the first surviving twins born in the US and we were off to the races.
Well, if you think things are going to happen quickly and easily in publishing, you are going to be disappointed. The project had various moments of interest, then rejections, and we each got busy with other projects and put it aside. Sad, because we thought it could be a beautiful book, but there is a lot of “oh well, what might have been,” in publishing.
About 2 years ago, Beth called me and said she wanted to self publish the book and could she hire me to do the illustrations. I had some sketches from the early drafts, but really had to start from scratch other than the source photos that I had already saved. In the end, she decided to try once more to find a publisher who would be interested in the project and she finally did.
This was such a fun book to work on. She had lots of communication with the panda keepers at Zoo Atlanta, so that the story she told was accurate. I got to draw pandas! I know September seems like a long time to wait, but it will go faster than you think. Meanwhile, pre-orders really help to get the book more notice in a crowded field of children’s book, and help the publisher make a larger first printing. Over the months while we wait, I will occasionally tease you with an image for the book!
So let’s start with the cover:
But what about today’s ‘toon?!?!?!?!
Remember I said something about presents from the universe? There was this story on the mid week edition of Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me about a job posting for a Grizzly Bear Conflict Manager in Montana. Doesn’t that sound like the perfect job for Frank and Mikey? (MX: yes! It sounds perfect! Can I help you pack?)
Well, that’s all we have time for today! Alas, I think this job listing has already closed, but if Frank and Mikey are on the job, I’m sure there will be another opening *soon*!
Be the Bear!
Buy my book!*
Bob T Panda
- okay, technically, it is Beth’s book, but I made the pictures!