Settling In

What an exciting week! The Inauguration is over. President Obama is in the White House. The Caldecott/Newbery Medals for this year have been announced. Looks like the exciting part of the year is over. Now we settle down and wait for spring.

On the other hand, lots of things are happening, although they may be out of sight. For one, I’ve finally launched an experiment I’ve been working on for months. I want to use my website as a publishing tool. And now it’s happening.

I have three new audio downloads posted on Anansi’s Store. The first is Anansi On The Moon, the sequel to Anansi’s Party Time. If you were wondering how Crab and Anansi were going to get home, here’s your chance to find out.

Even more exciting is the first chapter of Jungle!!! Every editor I ever showed this novel to has hated it. Every kid I ever shared it with has loved it. You be the judge. I’ve been in real jungles in Venezuela and Panama. I must admit, the jungle where Arthur and Emily are lost has more to do with all the bad jungle movies I loved as a kid than to any real rainforest. Cannibals, piranhas, man-eating plants, the volcano, the Lost City. I threw everything into the mix but Tarzan.

I plan to record and post a new chapter every four weeks. Figure the next one will be coming in March. I’m interested to know my readers’ reaction to a new kind of publishing and a new way for “reading” a book. Don’t hesitate to contact me to share your thoughts.

Finally, I posted myself singing The Erie Canal Pirates. Many people have written to me over the years, asking about the tune that goes with the book. Most are making the mistake of trying to sing it to “I’ve got a mule/Her name is Sal/Fifteen miles on the Erie Canal.” That won’t work. This book goes to the other Erie Canal tune: “We were forty miles from Albany/Forget it I never shall…” Try it that way. I’ve sung a bit of it in the teaser get you started. If you want to hear my magnificent voice, you can download me singing the whole book. My son-in-law James has perfect pitch. He winces whenever I try to sing. I ask him what key I’m in. He answers, “All of them!”

One more comment: A great American writer, John Updike, died today. I hope he’ll be read and remembered for generations. He was one of my favorites.

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