Hope everyone is having a great summer! Last week I headed down to the beach here in North Carolina for a short little summer vacation. Unfortunately it rained harder than I’ve ever seen it rain. It was one of those rains where you think it can’t possibly rain any harder but then it does….all day. Just as we checked into the hotel it started let up. The sun popped out for about an hour and half so the kids and I grabbed our boogie boards and headed down to the ocean. Right about the time we decided to to get out of the water the rain came back. And so it went the following day. Two hours of sun at the beach in the morning (with the darkest storm cloud I’ve ever seen on the horizon) followed by a torrential down pour. Since we don’t live too far we decided enough was enough, jumped in the car and headed back home. All in all everyone had a pretty great time. I think maybe we’ll head down another time before the summer is done and see if we can’t get a little better weather.
This was a sketch for a book about a little boy trying to conquer his fear of monsters. If you have a young child or have had young children you can probably relate to the middle of the night search for monsters on the bed. My kids are older now but I remember very clearly the fears my kids had and some of the fears I had as a kid. It seems like most kids go through this at one point or another. My advice for parents is simple, comfort your kids they’ll grow out of it before you know it.
I’ve been seeing these little penguins in sweaters all over the web lately. The story behind these guys is that there was a massive oil spill in New Zealand effecting all kinds wild life including penguins. In an effort to save the birds they were being fitted with sweaters to keep them warm and from preening their oil soaked feathers. They looked so cute that the knitting sweaters for penguins request took off like a rocket ship but then came the controversy…because on the web there is always controversy. Did the penguins really need the sweaters or was it just one of those internet phenomenons? There are quite a few different takes… Some say they still need them, some say it stresses the penguins to be in sweaters, others say they need them to help a charity but not for real penguins (the charity is putting them on stuffed penguins and selling them to help raise money). The latest info I’ve read is that the penguin sweater knit-a-thon is still on. Tomorrow it might change. The internet is a funny place full of information that isn’t always as accurate as we’d hope.
Anyhow the story got me thinking and I know there’s a picture book in there somewhere. So I thought what if there was one little clever penguin who decided instead of asking for a sweater he wanted something else. Maybe while the volunteers were looking to opposite way that little guy jumped on a computer and asked for something else. I imagine as a stressed out little penguin a vacation to someplace warm and sunny might be just the ticket. And what if the message he sent out went viral. Donations started flooding in from all over the world, suddenly planeloads full of penguins in sweaters show up to beach side resorts everywhere and settle in for fun in the sun. How much fun would that be?
Bob Ostrom is an award winning children’s illustrator who’s work has appeared in close to 300 children’s book and publications. If you’d like to work with Bob on your next project it’s as easy as following this link.