Yes! You Can Draw A Capybara!

“Don’t say you can’t draw me. Of course you can. Capy has faith in you. All you need is a little faith in yourself.”

The release date for Sleepy Happy Capy Cuddles is about a month away and, well, I’m getting giddy!

Preorder it HERE!

I’m pleased to say that this giddiness is shared by the good folks at Page Street Kids, who have done many wonderful things to get the word out. They’ve sponsored a capybara through the World Wildlife Fund. They’ve set me up with book signings and school visits. They’ve created book plates and buttons and other bits of capybara swag. They’ve even sent me a capybara stuffed animal. (Gotta have my stuffy!)

They’ve also created an activity packet. Included in this packet is a capybara drawing guide by Illustrator Extraordinaire Jaimie Whitbread. And I don’t care how artistically challenged you might be, Whitbread’s simple, step-by-step instructions will get you drawing a Guinea Big of your very own!

So give it a try, my friends! And by all means, feel free to share your work in the comments! Or share whatever else you want to say in the comments. I like chatting with you.

Is there a Capybara Appreciation Day?

What a great question! And YES! There is a Capybara Appreciation Day! And it’s coming SOON!

Sunday, July 10 is the big day, and thank goodness, for no creature on this big rock we all live on is more worthy of appreciation.

Seriously, what a cutie.

For those of you who’ve never heard of these guys (and for shame!), capybaras are the world’s largest rodent. They are native to South America, semi-aquatic, can weigh more than 100 pounds, and are very, very cute.

Unofficially known as “coconut doggos” and “guinea bigs,” these fine, floofy, fellas are devoted herd animals. If a capybara doesn’t have a herd of other capybaras to mingle with, she’ll happily assemble a new herd consisting of other species. Don’t believe me? Well, the internet is jam-packed with photos of capys lazily snuggling with turtles, birds, monkeys, dogs, cats, goats, pigs, guinea pigs, and about a zillion other things—so stop being such a contrarian, it’s unseemly.

Look! This capybara is hanging with a freakin’ alligator! Or maybe it’s a caiman? All I know is that thing is big and scary and Mr. Capy is like, “No biggie.”

So how can one properly celebrate this holiday?

That’s another excellent question! I have three suggestions:

1. Peruse the internet for photos and stories about capybaras. The more you learn, the more you’ll love these guys.

For example, did you hear about the capybaras who invaded a wealthy gated community in Argentina?

Did you hear about the capy (named Cheesecake) who serves as a foster mom to litters of puppies?

This is Cheesecake. Image owned by Rocky Ridge Refuge.

And did you know that if you pet a capybara in just the right way, she will floof her fur and collapse into a state of sleepy bliss? ‘Tis true!

2. Go visit your local zoo or wildlife sanctuary and see these critters up close.

Note: They’ll probably just be lying around. Unlike most rodents, capybaras don’t do many things with much urgency. Remember, capybaras are not here to entertain you; they’re here to gently encourage you to adopt a more Zen-like lifestyle.

3. Last but not least, consider preordering a book about capybaras. Not just any book, of course; that would be foolish. You’ll want to find a book that got a really, really good review from Kirkus.

This might fit the bill. Click here to preorder.

So mark your calendars, my friends, and be sure to have a happy capy day! WOO!

You know your publisher likes you when you get this little guy in the mail. Thanks, Lizzy!

It’s National Typewriter Day!

I even put typewriter ads on my wall.

June 23rd is the day to celebrate a thwacking, banging, dinging Steampunky masterpiece of engineering!

This analog computer for old people has contributed to the completion of many Great American Novels. It has made legible the wishes of many people with unreadable handwriting. And, most significantly, it has played a role in many of my fond childhood memories.

I’ve always loved typewriters.

Always.

I own two, a 1938 Royal Magic Margin and a 1928 Underwood, both so aggressively heavy I could become a bodybuilder by bench pressing them.

But bodybuilding is not my cup of tea.

The Underwood originally belonged to my Uncle Jay who had it sitting on a shelf for as long as I can remember. I’d always stare at the thing whenever I visited his house. And, like everyone in the presence of a typewriter, I would absolutely need to press the keys. (They always jammed. Once upon a time someone had dropped it. Dropping an antique Underwood should be a crime, I think.)

That Underwood always stood out among Uncle Jay’s many possessions. Not only because I liked it so much, but also because it was so out of character. Uncle Jay was not a writer or a collector of antiques. Quite the opposite, really. He was a gadget guy. If something new hit the market that was state-of-the-art and/or techy, he would be the first in line to buy it. I believe Uncle Jay was the only person in the world to own a 3-D television—a technological marvel that was as awesome as it was useless.

Uncle Jay sensed I liked his Underwood by the subtle hints I would sometimes drop—like the way I would endlessly shout, “I really like your Underwood! I wish I had an Underwood! I always wanted an Underwood!” So when he and Auntie Susan decided to downsize and move to Florida (the legally mandated nesting place for New Jersey old people) he gave it to me.

A little bent, a little broken, but a beauty nonetheless.

I was ecstatic.

Because the keys are damaged, my Underwood is “for display purposes only,” which is regrettable. But old Underwoods are such beautiful machines that I almost don’t mind its lack of functionality. I like looking at it. I like the idea that I own one. And I especially like the idea that I have the option to get the thing refurbished. Which I will. Soon.

My Royal is a different animal entirely. It’s built like a Sherman tank and works like new. I found it in a thrift store and  consider it the smartest purchase I’ve ever made. Where else can a $40 investment lead to decades of happy, satisfying, cathartic thwacking?

God, what a fun machine. It’s such a refreshing change of pace from the wimpy, whispery clickitaclickitas of my laptop keyboard.  Writing is hard work, dangit! Bangs, whumps, and thumps from a good old fashioned manual typewriter makes it sound like you’re working!

Longtime readers of this blog know that this isn’t the first time I’ve delivered an ode to typewriters. This (typewritten) blog post below is from 2013 and I still agree with it–especially my views on Davy and Goliath.  (Click to see larger.)

Long story short, I highly recommend that you peruse the secondhand
shops for a typewriter right now. One THWACK and you’ll be a convert for life.

Are there any typewriter fans out there? Do you prefer another (non-laptoppy) way to write down your ideas? Leave a comment! Let’s chat!