Here's Mimi! She made her official debut last Wednesday, and I'm as excited as a new mommy. Well, probably even more excited since she's very well behaved and doesn't keep me up all night like my human children did or make a colossal mess of the house. (Though now that I think about it, she did make me lose a lot of sleep last summer when I was slaving over the illustrations. And the mess! It was truly epic. Just ask my family - or anyone foolish enough to stop by my house during those last weeks.)
Like any new mom, I'm having a lovely time wallowing in compliments about how cute my little one is. And checking her amazon ranking obsessively - but I figure that's the author equivalent of checking every five minutes to make sure your newborn is still breathing. My favorite review so far is this very sweet one by five year old Kaya Wheatley on cnn.com, who likes the book because it's weird and happy. Okay, in the interest of full disclosure, she also said it had "bad stuff" because Mimi wants her pet bug Frank to get some kisses and you shouldn't kiss bugs because they've been in dirt. And I also got a nice review from someone at Kirkus, who apparently didn't notice about the dirt, but who did say stuff like this that makes me blush and squirm in a happy, embarrassed way: "A satisfying plot, whimsical illustrations and a beguiling main character add up to a delightful treat that even younger preschoolers will enjoy. Baicker-McKee is an author-illustrator to watch.” And there were other nothing-but-nice reviews like this and this and this, (geez, I hope these links work -- scroll down if you don't see Mimi at first and you're actually reading them...) and Parenting Magazine has a nice write-up in the July issue and is giving away 100 free copies (you can register here).
I don't really know any great way to sign copies that people buy (or win). I'm going to see if I can find an independent bookseller that will stock some for me to sign on an as-bought basis and then ship them (man, do I miss the children's bookstore that used to be just up the street from here). But meanwhile, if anyone's interested I'll be happy to personalize a bookplate and mail that to you.
Oh, and I had a request from a blog reader for a Mimi doll. I wish I had some to send you! But the Mimi in the book isn't really quite a doll-- I made each one individually (yes, there were an awful lot of them. The number of limbs was quite staggering) in an insanely time consuming process that involves wrapping fabric around illustration board and pipecleaners, and stuffing it and sewing little clothes and making features from polymer clay, beads and felt, and so on. I am thinking about making a handful of stuffed animal Mimis, if I can figure out how, for gifts (stop reading this Melanie. And Deb.) If I get good at it, I'll make an extra and have a contest for it -- but at this point it's the best Ican do!
Well, enough avoiding the apologies. Sorry I've been away from blogging for so long. I've been struggling to finish a book (yes, that SAME book about the apple pie and Granny) and it's finally nearly done! And dealing with the many obligations of a son graduating from high school, and um, a vacation last week (ah! It was paradise.) But now I'm back. Really and truly. No more excuses. My new theme this year is "Balance." Last year it was "Risk." (I picked that theme after the fact when I realized I kept putting myself in situations where I was over my head...) At any rate, my plan is to set the timer several times a week and just put something down. No more mammoth essays like, well, this one. Short and sweet -- and pictures. Now just pray at least some of my techno stuff keeps working so I can do it.
I leave you with this lovely picture of my messy, messy studio, aka the kitchen table. (I cleaned it up today! There's a tablecloth! And flowers! And already little piles of clutter!) Oops. I'll have to add the photo later. Just remembered it's on my husband's laptop and I forgot to email it here...