26 November 2010

Todays post is brought to you by the number 2 (or 3)

It seems that we're hurtling with frightening speed towards the season of togetherness. You know what we mean - it's the season of school holidays, and of taking food round to someone else's house to cook it on their BBQ; the season of gathering round the TV to watch the start of the Sydney to Hobart, and of forcing your family to listen to the Boxing Day test as you drive to the beach. It's the season of gathering with your colleagues at any inn that has room.

So in that spirit, we thought we'd celebrate some of our favourite literary collaborators.

Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Writing one chapter apiece, Rachel and David created Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist and Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List. This Christmas they bring us the utterly adorable and excruciatingly funny Dash and Lily's Book of Dares. Perhaps just a few key phrases will pique your interest: finding love in a 2nd-hand bookshop, make-your-own muppets, Christmas in New York, a gay Jewish dancepop/indie/punk band called 'Silly Rabbi, Tricks Are for Yids'... We could go on, but really just get hold of a copy - it's a complete delight. And look at that amazing cover by our very own LW. We're so proud to be Rachel and David's home in Oz.

Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake
You know it's a match made in heaven when you can write a list of adjectives that apply equally well to either the words or the illustrations: exuberant, inventive, playful, funny, occasionally gross, often poignant. Whoever first paired these two for The Enormous Crocodile was a genius. It's well worth spending time exploring Quentin Blake's gorgeous website. Keep an eye out for the anecdote about how the BFG came to be wearing Roald Dahl's sandals.

Penni Russon and Kate Constable
They've written just one book together. But we love Dear Swoosie hard that we're secretly hoping they'll find something else to work on. Given that both Penni and Kate have talked about how much they enjoyed the process, the signs are hopeful!

Terry Denton and Andy Griffiths
Take a swash of Griffiths and add a dash of Denton and the result is hilariously entertaining chaos. This cheeky pair do like to egg each other on with flat cats on mats, big fat cows going KAPOW!, a whole lot of crazy Just-ness and bad, bad books that make us afraid. Very afraid. While adult readers might sometimes go eeeew, the younger readers gobble these books right up.

Roland Harvey and Alison Lester
There was moonlight at the paddock, and silver brumbies on the roam, the night the mare from Currawong Creek soared away. Horses! Ponies! Brumbies! Secrets! Trick riding! Holidays! Rescue operations! Friendship! Alison Lester's wonderful stories of the adventures of horse-crazy Bonnie & Sam are complemented beautifully by Roland Harvey's wonderful watercolour illustrations. And with four books all in one big collection Horse Crazy! is whole lot of happy for every young horse-lover.

AA Milne and EH Shepard*
To any devotee of the original EH Shepard drawings of Pooh and Piglet, Rabbit & Owl and all the other denizens of the Hundred Aker Wood, any other depiction of the characters is an affront. Pooh IS the delicate line drawing as surely as he is coming down the stairs now, bump, bump, bump on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin. Actually, perhaps the true collaboration is between EH Shepard and Christopher Robin - the map of the wood does have inscribed at the bottom: DRAWN BY ME AND MR SHEPARD HELPD.

Anna and Barbara Fienberg and Kim Gamble**
Tashi is brave. Tashi is bold. Tashi is the best. He's not just the stories, and he's not just the pictures - he lives in the combination. Anna, Barbara and Kim have collaborated on 18 books over 15 years. And now there's this glorious great big enormous bind up. Just in time for Christmas - well fancy that!

* It has recently come to our attention that one of the Onions has not read Winnie the Pooh. Yes, you read that right. It's true, one of the Onions has not read Winnie the Pooh. Inconceivable! She has been duly chastised and we have extracted a promise that she will rectify this situation poste haste. However, in a curious turn of events it seems that while she is unfamiliar with the genius of the actual book, she does know all the words to this version of House at Pooh Corner.
** Okay, so technically that's three people, but two of them have the same last name, so that evens it out. That, my friends, is irrefutable logic.

22 November 2010

A Visit to the Mothership

Last week, most of the editorial Onions paid a visit to the Mothership for a day of learning, broadening, listening, discussing,* doing, gossiping and eating.

We were excited to see this :

But we were almost more excited to see these:

Big thanks to all the presenters, and to AH for organising a terrific day!

* When we say discussing here, imagine, if you will, a large group of eager editors having robust opinions about a whole range of editorial matters pertaining to structure, tone, content, voice, punctuation, grammar and, ahem, adverbs. So perhaps less like quiet industrious editing, and more like editing as a team sport.

16 November 2010

Welcome to the World!

On Monday, while we in the House were quietly editing, Penni Russon went and had a baby. That's a good Monday's work, Penni. Well done. And a big welcome to little Avery Miles.

Avery's just beginning his first page, so in celebration we'd like to share some of our favourite first pages from books for new people.

1) Noni the Pony by Alison Lester

3) Monkey Red Monkey Blue by Nicki Greenberg

4) Mannie and the Long Brave Day by Martine Murray and Sally Rippin

5) Go Baby Go! by Sally Rippin and Ann James

12 November 2010

Friday stuff and Items

1) Fresh from the triumph of the launch of Hamlet, Nicki Greenberg has another brand new book - but this one is for an age group who may not yet have familiarised themselves with the works of Mr William Shakespeare. Or perhaps they have...

Monkey Blue & Monkey Red are two cheeky monkeys who have sneakily not gone to bed - and decided to have a wild midnight feast instead! And with the help of an over enthusiastic chameleon, oh what a mess they make!

Monkey Red Monkey Blue is to be launched by the irrepressible Mr Terry Denton (famed for many wonderful books of his own AND our beautiful banner illustration) at the Fairfield Library on Monday 22 November at 11 am (right after story time). So if you have a little monkey of your own - come along and join in the fun. You can rsvp over at Fairfieldbooks On Kids.

2) The ever-eloquent Penni Russon is doing a spot of major multi-tasking at the moment. She's putting the finishing touches on the final draft of her new novel, teaching Creative Writing at Melbourne Uni, blogging at Eglantine's Cake, waiting for the imminent arrival of her third child AND answering questions for the Voiceworks crew over at their blog Virgule.

3) Scott Westerfeld is standing up for steampunk against all those grown-ups who are scared of its genre* cooties. As usual, he is funny and articulate - and also has some very clever readers who make cool things. In further celebration of steampunk - feast your eyes on these amazing cakes and awesome weddings.

* I think in Oz, we'd probably call them genre germs, which has a certain alliterative appeal.

11 November 2010

Three Things about Daisy Blue

Fair readers, we know that you know that we Onions love a list.
So when an opportunity arises for us to make one (or more), we leap on it. And it just so happens that one of those opportunities has arisen.

Three Things about Daisy Blue (Girlfriend Fiction 20)
by Kate Gordon is the final book in our wonderful Girlfriend Fiction series. That’s 20 books, people. 20! And look at this handy list we prepared earlier of all the books and extracts for each one.

But back to Daisy Blue - a girl who, like us, loves a list. So here is a list of three things about Daisy Blue:
  1. Daisy Blue does not like keeping a diary.
  2. Daisy Blue loves fashion, movies, TV, celebrity gossip, being skinny, her best friend Jazz and Robbie Chandler.
  3. Daisy Blue does not like politics, homework or nerds.
  4. Daisy Blue does not want to go to Bali.*
And here is a list of three things about Paulina M. Gifford:
  1. Paulina M. Gifford wants to be a historian, but not a celebrity TV historian, because TV rather demeans the seriousness of true historical endeavour.
  2. Paulina M. Gifford loves to travel and is eager to go to Bali to experience the delights of a country rich in religious, historical and cultural significance.
  3. Paulina M. Gifford’s mother has made Paulina promise to look after Daisy Blue while they are in Bali together.
  4. Paulina M. Gifford is not happy about this situation, but she knows that conceding to her mother's wishes is a sensible course of action.**
And here is a list of three things about Kate Gordon:
  1. Kate Gordon was a library monitor and a canteen monitor at high school.
  2. Kate Gordon has three tattoos.
  3. Kate Gordon has climbed a volcano.
  4. Kate Gordon has made a list of her favourite YA novels for 2010.***
And here are three BIG cheers for Kate's debut novel Three Things about Daisy Blue:
  1. Hooray!
  2. Hurrah!
  3. Woohoot!
  4. HUZZAH!****

* Oops, that seems to be a whole lot more than three things about Daisy Blue.
** Okay, so we seem to be resistant to the idea of three as a number of list items. But of course, we already knew this about ourselves.
*** Please note that we borrowed most of these list items from Kate's list of 28 things. Clearly we are showing great restraint by stopping at four.
**** Very resistant.

04 November 2010

Cheesecake surprise

Guinea Pig Thursday made a welcome return today with this interesting specimen:

It looked like a cheesecake...

It smelled like a cheesecake...

It tasted like a cheesecake...


It was made from tofu, and IT WAS DELICIOUS.
It was creamy and soft, and delicate of flavour, and we're talking about it in the past tense because it's all been eaten up.

The Cake-maker Virtuoso tells us that it did also contain cream cheese and other traditional cheesecake ingredients, so it wasn't a purebred tofudebeest.

We are in awe of her talents. Anyone wishing to attempt to replicate her feat should get hold of a copy of Okashi: Sweet Treats made with love.

Arigato, Cake-maker Virtuoso! Totemo oishikatta desu.

03 November 2010

A bit of shush, please, we have an announcement...

Margo Lanagan is a superstar!

The World Fantasy Awards are the most prestigious awards in the speculative fiction genre. And Margo Lanagan now has four of them. Count them. Four.

What a good idea - let's count them then, shall we?
for 'Singing My Sister Down' which, as we have noted before, has a very special place in our hearts.

And 4! 4! 4! 4!

Sea-Hearts was first published in X6 - A Novellanthology, edited by Keith Stevenson. It's a tender and beautiful selkie story, quivering with love, magics and heartbreak. As Margo says, it is 'soaked in tears and sea-water'.

OUTSTANDING! Congratulations, Margo. Huge congratulations.

But wait, there's more. Well, there will be. Margo is currently hard at work transforming the Sea-Hearts novella into a novel. We are so excited about this we can barely breathe. In fact, the only thing keeping us breathing is this gorgeous cover for Yellowcake which is Margo's next collection of short stories.*

* So so spooky and beautiful. And, yes, there's a little bit of waiting for this one too, because it's not published until March, but March is not far away, people. After all, it's almost Christmas time. Oh, dear, did we say that out loud?

01 November 2010

Fictions on the Field III

It's that time of year again. Celebrities are mingling with sports stars under canvas. Bart Cummings's eyebrows are featuring prominently in the media. Punters are listening to their gut feelings and wearing see-through ponchos to keep out the monsoon.

And a few lonely Onions are keeping the House fires burning, and studying the form guide...

Horses you would bet on if the 2010 Melbourne Cup were:

a historical romance set in Florence in the late 14th Century
  • Mr Medici
  • Monaco Consul
  • Bucaletti
  • Profound Beauty

a Zane Grey novel
  • Shoot Out
  • Maluckyday
  • Americain

one of the Billabong books
  • Linton

a Herald Sun article about the scourge of binge-drinking teens
  • Shocking

one of the much-admired articles in Playboy
  • Illustrious Blue

a Socratic dialogue by a Classical Greek philosopher
  • So You Think

the long-awaited sequel to a beloved Maurice Sendak picture book
  • Once Were Wild

a biography of Mao Tse-tung
  • Red Ruler

a memoir of a 19th-century weaver from the Outer Hebrides of Scotland who specialised in luxury woolen cloth woven with subtle flecks of colour
  • Harris Tweed

So, pack your gumboots in your handbag, fill your champagne flutes, keep your umbrellas out of other peoples eyes - and have a lovely Melbourne Cup.