This is me, my (temporarily) hairless dog, my daughter-in-law, and my granddaughter, all of us sitting in front of an art gallery in Bridgton, Maine, watching the work being done across the street, where the front of the wonderful old library is being turned into a courtyard with a stone wall suitable-for-sitting-on, tables and chairs and wireless access, all that good stuff which will make the library (at least in summer) into a meeting place and hub of activity. This photograph was actually taken by the landscape architect, who then emailed me a copy. Here's a sketch of what it will look like when it's done:
When my German family is visiting they always comment on the wonderful role that public libraries play in small American towns. They can see first-hand, of course, how true that is, because every time we set out anywhere I always seem to have to stop at the library for a drop-off or pick-up.
And THIS picture (below) is a tantalizing peek at my new book, BLESS THIS MOUSE, to be published next March and illustrated by---now it can be revealed---Eric Rohmann. It's a full-length middle-grade novel, not a picture book, but will be wonderfully enhanced and invigorated by Eric's art. And yes, all the characters are mice. I believe the two in this illustration are Hildegarde and Roderick.
Now: a word about NAMES. Last night I watched a BBC production of "Madame Bovary" on the Ovation Channel. It had probably been around for a long time but I hadn't seen it before, though I did see a wonderful Madame Bovary on probably Masterpiece Theater many years ago.
It made me start wondering why, about 12-15 years ago, everyone in the Western world named their little girls Emma. Just for the record, Emma Bovary is a pretty unsympathetic character. Jane Austen's Emma Woodhouse is slightly nicer.
And now Emma is passé and all little girls are--what? Chloe and Zoe and Isabelle?
How do names appear that way, simultaneously, by spontaneous combustion?
And what ever happened to Susan and Jane?