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    Tom Angleberger is the author of "The Strange Case of Origami Yoda," coming Spring 2010 from Amulet.

    Sam Riddleburger is the author of The Qwikpick Adventure Society and co-author of Stonewall Hinkleman & the Battle of Bull Run.

    You can e-mail us at:

  • Cece Bell

    Cece Bell, writer and illustrator of the Sock Monkey series, Bee-Wigged, Itty Bitty and much more, is frequently featured here. Sock Monkey himself appears from time to time, too. Visit Cece's Website
  • Read Our Books

    Ask your local bookseller, visit your library or follow these links to read our books. Sam at amazon.com Cece at amazon.com
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The Llama in the Hat has Landed! – or – Origami Yoda Arrives!

How’s this for the best Christmas present ever…

Origami Yoda

Charlie Christmas reads Origami Yoda

My awesome editor zipped this to me on Christmas Eve! It’s the paperback advance reader copy of Origami Yoda! She even wrapped it!

After so much work it was wild to open it up and see what it’s like — crammed with doodles and details! It sure pays off to have an incredible designer working on your project! And of course, that same designer made the spectacular cover. Man, I love it like Lobot loves headphones!

Well, this sure has made my Christmas merry and I hope yours is too!

Marble Raceways

I’ve got a Geekdad post up about Marble Raceways and picking the right one for the right kid.


Here’s a picture of one made from old cereal boxes and canned food. It’s a freebie — except for the $5 worth of tape that holds it together. (That’s an exaggeration, of course, but it’s good to have plenty of tape on hand.)

Bits & Geeses

Streetball, a one-page ad for basketballs that ran in bajillions of old comic books, is possibly the greatest single page of comic booking ever done. The great Jack Davis was on fire! And so was Dr. J.

Awhile back I set out to recreate at least part of this great page on a large scale and in felt. The Dude at Dudecraft was nice enough to put it on his blog…



Want another dose of Cece’s holiday magic?


Little Christmas miracle:

I’ve been searching for “The Barking Ghost” a Goosebumps book for a kid I know who is a big fan AND is my square dance calling partner. Finally nabbed it today at Once Upon a Child.

Happy Holidays from Tom and Sam

Here’s an old chestnut Tom found at the bottom of a box of Christmas lights:



Meanwhile, Sam’s been crying because somebody made a mean comment on “The Best ‘Best Christmas Pageant Ever’ Ever.”



And Cece has a lovely Sock Monkey Christmas card up at http://www.cecebell.com


And, of course, no Christmas would be complete without watching the Folger’s “Peter’s Home” commercial — starring Sock Monkey:

At last … 1,000 Origami Yodas

It has been a long journey. But now I have (circa) 1,000 origami Yodas to help promote my book “The Strange Case of Origami Yoda.” ( http://www.origamiyoda.com )

You may notice stickers on the backs of the Yodas. Yes, I know adhesives are not part of Origami. The stickers are not necessary for day-to-day use. But since these Yodas are going to be given away for use as finger puppets, I wanted them to have something to help keep them together.

Here they are boxed up for their trip to New York:

These Yodas were all hand-made from hand-cut paper — which is really a way of saying that the paper was only approximately the right size and many of the folds were judgement calls. Thus the result is a lot of variation among the Yodas, as you can see here:

The Yodas on the top row are Golden Yodas. These means that some strange combination of paper-size and fold placement resulted in their ears folding out on existing creases. This only happens to 1 or 2 percent of Yodas. Oddly, it doesn’t result in them looking much different that the others or even being uncrooked.

How do you like those benevolent, beatific smiles? That’s Cece’s work! She drew the faces on every one of them. I’m pretty lucky to have an Acclaimed, Award-Winning, Superstar Illustrator willing to help!

Kidlit Trivia — note: I don’t know the answer

Here’s a shot from my latest school visit:

This is actually a 1946 shot of an unnamed illustrator from the Google Life Archive.

Anybody recognize the elephant? The monkeys? the style? The ill-fitting suit?

Misty, Marguerite and more on Google’s Life Archive

How often do you see a picture of the author and the hero of a book together?

Here’s a nice photo of M. Henry and M. Horse together.


The caption is a little cryptic:

Authoress Marguerite Henry w. ‘misty horse heroine of her childrens’ book bidding farewell to for breeding farm.

This Google Life Archive is amazing. Lots of unpublished photos.

Just go to Google, type your search word and add source:life

trythis one:

beatrix potter castle farm source:life

1000 Yodas Update – starring the armored polar bears from Golden Compass

Angleberger’s on the home stretch now, folks. Less than 75 more to go. He should be able to coast from here…
Wait, a second. Looks like trouble. He’s grasping his left thumb and screaming with pain!
The big question now: does he have enough cartilage left for the remaining folds. He’s still a lot of pinch creases away from 1,000!
And will the discomfort prevent him from gaining spiritual enlightenment?

Stonewall is Everywhere (thanks to Greg and Cynthia)

Cynthia and Doug Leitich Smith have already been very good to Stonewall. Now they’re ending the year with more goodness by putting us on their year end lists.

Doug put us on his Favorites of 2009 list! http://greglsblog.blogspot.com/2009/12/favorites-of-2009.html

Cynthia dropped our name on the BookPeople KidsBlog page of books she recommends: http://kidsblog.bookpeople.com/2009/12/10/what-are-your-favorite-authors-giving-this-holiday-season/

where she called the book a “a whopper of a time-travel adventure story.” Wow! I like that word “whopper!”

In an unrelated note, the next edition of our book will have the following minor change to the title: “Stonewall Leitich Smith and the Battle of Bull Run.”

Pinball Milestone: Touring the Addams Family mansion at last

WARNING: This will sound silly to some of you and you’re more than welcome to skip it.

I’m not a very good pinball player, but I love to play and have been doing since I found the Pat Lawlor’s Earthshaker back in 1996. The Addams Family — also by Pat Lawlor — has long been my favorite game.

Last night I watched the documentary Tilt! The Battle to Save Pinball and it helped inspire me to visit the bowling alley today. I could only get the change machine to give me 4 quarters. That’s only enough for two games! Luckily, I won two free games early one with a really good run of 130 million.

That was a great game, but I was about to have my best game ever. An all-time high score — 230,000,000 — that was about double my previous high-score. And much higher than I’ve ever reached playing the game on Visual Pinball either.

And at last I got my a chance to Tour the Mansion.

What a ride. I don’t know if I can ever do it again. Numerous Good Balls. There were some lucky shots involved, of course. And long periods where the ball just stayed away from the side channels. And times when it was eager to go where I wanted it. Plus there were three hard-earned extra balls.

Also I was using a new strategy. I tried to remain focused on reaching Tour the Mansion — the pay-off mode you can reach only by lighting up each of the other modes. In the past I’ve often lost balls trying to score points during, say, the Mamushka or Hit Cousin It. This time I tried to ignore all that and focus on Bear Kick Ramp with the left flipper followed by Electric Chair with the right flipper. Or anyway else I could make it happen.

Skillshots and train wrecks did most of the rest of it. I never got the big jackpot, though I may have gotten the quick multi-ball jackpot. I think I got a second multi-ball and it seemed as if Gomez said something a little different. “This thing’ll kill you” or something like that.

Exciting game for me, but nowhere near the machine’s high score, which is over 1 billion.