My editor at Putnam just sent me my first official review of "The Middle-Child Blues." It's from Kirkus:


Being stuck in between a big brother and a younger sister has put Lee in touch with the spirit of the blues. A family trip to the amusement park provides a vivid reminder of why being the middle child can be so bad. Their day begins with Lee, guitar in backpack and sporting a perfectly coiffed pompadour, being left in the driveway. Even getting lunch is no fun: “Ray can order a ‘Big Bun,’ / and Kate’s meal has a toy. / I get a plain cheeseburger / since I’m just the middle boy.” Catrow’s vibrant palette and frenetic style aptly depict this active family and their environs. His keen sense of proportion and angle keeps a scowling Lee at the center of the double-page spreads of bustling crowds and park rides. A series of humiliations ensues until the blues cannot be restrained. Lee breaks into his song of woe that attracts a crowd of birth-order misfits, finally singing his way to a realization that “I’m a kid like no other.” This ode to all the “mid-kids” demands to be read aloud accompanied by plenty of foot tapping and grooving. (Picture book. 5-8)


Here are my favorite phrases from the review:

"the spirit of the blues"
"perfectly coiffed pompadour"
"Catrow's vibrant palette"
"series of humiliations"
"the blues cannot be restrained"
"birth-order misfits"
"demands to be read aloud"
"foot tapping and grooving"

Oh, YEAHHHHH. (That's the spirit of the blues.)

Also, I learned that Cool Daddy Rat has been nominated for the UTAH BOOK AWARD. There are two other fabulous books which have been nominated as well, and I'm just thrilled to be considered at all. The winner will be announced in mid-October.

Also, Bedtime at the Swamp is still in the running for the Ladybug Award, as well as the Washington Children's Choice Picture Book Award. I'm having so much fun writing for children, and to get positive feedback is truly a wonderful, unexpected gift.

I'm currently working on a couple other manuscripts, mostly fine-tuning. I had lunch with Rick Walton, Sharlee Glenn and Lezlie Evans today. It's always great to meet with other writers and get their support and advice.

The WRITING FOR CHARITY event at the Treehouse Museum last Saturday was fabulous. I really enjoyed meeting with hopeful writers, and especially a handful who write in verse, like I do. We critiqued manuscripts and learned a lot! It was a blast hanging out with the likes of Anne Bowen, Shannon Hale, Brandon Mull, James Dashner, Sara Zarr, Sydney Salter, Sharlee, Rick, and so many other Utah Writers for children. We were able to raise thousands of dollars to help the museum, and to put books in the hands of kids!


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