The Candlewick Spring-Summer catalog for 2016 (pages 8 and 9) just arrived in my mailbox. I'm thrilled to see two pages taken up with my bears. BEARS IN A BAND has an entire page and will reach bookstores in February. The facing page of the catalog shows BEARS IN THE BATH which is already out as a full-size picture book. "Splish! Splash! Sploosh!" In February, it will be released as a toddler board book to remind all the youngest readers that bath time is fun.
Most exciting of all is the third item. So many times over the years, I've paused in the children's departments in bookstores to admire book characters made into toys and sold in gift sets with the book. Now I will have a set with my own book and character!!! (Yes, to me, that deserves three exclamation points. And a cheer. YAY!). Little Yellow Bear has been created as an adorable plush toy. Beginning in February, he will be sold in a gift set with a toddler version of BEARS ON CHAIRS. It may still be finessed a bit, but here's a preview from Candlewick's website.
Illustrator David Walker has taken the little bears in my imagination into irresistible illustrations. And now Yellow Bear can be held, carried about and loved.
The first review for Dolls of Hope, by a reviewer for Kirkus, is gratifying. Here's part of the excerpt Amazon is running under the book's cover for preorders: Chiyo's struggle to live up to societal and gender-based expectations while also following her heart feels genuine and cheer-worthy. She questions the norm while respecting tradition, no matter how seemingly unfair. ... The message of friendship and peace between nations endures, while a small-town girl's honor is redefined.
The reviewer points out, however, that there is no satisfying resolution between Chiyo and the girl who bullies her relentlessly, leading me to wonder if every villain in a novel for ages 8 to 12 must be reformed by the end.
I would love to hear opinions on this. Click HERE to contact me!