19 Jul

A big thank you, a third star, and an exploding bottle of ketchup

One young attendee checks out The Day-Glo Brothers under black light. Photo courtesy of Donna Bowman Bratton.

Last Saturday’s BookPeople party celebrating The Day-Glo Brothers was one of the best days of my life. Donna Bowman Bratton and Christy Stallop have already documented the event nicely with kind words and lots of photos, but I’d just like to say a couple more things about it:

1) I had way more fun than I ever would have thought possible — and my expectations were running pretty high to begin with.

2) Thank you! To everyone who showed up, took pictures, bought books (the store sold out!), asked me to sign them, ate cookies, made daylight-fluorescent crafts, listened to what I had to say, spread the word, hosted me, introduced me, or otherwise helped out — you made my day. You made my year.

[Update: Greg Leitich Smith and Moxy Jane have also posted accounts and photos of the big event. Thanks, guys!]

I hadn't had this many people paying attention to me since my wedding day. Photo courtesy of Christy Stallop.

I was on vacation all the following week, and I had no reason to suspect that the story of this book would get even better while I was out. I was essentially offline for the entire time, so I figured that even if things did get better, I wouldn’t know about it until I was back in front of my computer.

Then on Wednesday I got a call from my editor at Charlesbridge: The Day-Glo Brothers had received its third starred review, this one from School Library Journal (“The story is written in clear language and includes whimsical cartoons. … This unique book does an excellent job of describing an innovative process.”), following stars from Kirkus and Publishers Weekly.

Wow.

Some might possibly wonder — OK, at least one person has already stated as much — whether this book’s warm reception will give me a swollen head. I’m not too worried, though, as the universe has shown that it has ways of keeping me in check.

Immediately after the party at BookPeople, I headed up the street to have a late lunch with a fun assortment of relatives, children’s literature peers, and college friends. As it has been for every day these past few weeks, the temperature in Austin was north of 100 degrees, or heading that way. Still, the outdoor seating area was shaded, and with fans and misters blowing on us, sitting outside was quite bearable — even for me in the bright green necktie you can see in the photo at the top.

I almost never wear a tie these days, but for some reason the old reflex kicked in, and when my lunch arrived, I flipped my brand-new, first-time-being-worn tie over my shoulder. I then grabbed the bottle of ketchup, gave it a shake and a twist of the cap and —

FOOMP!

Ketchup everywhere. Everywhere on my equally brand-new white shirt, at least, and some on my aunt, too. Not on the tie, though — the daylight-fluorescent tie came through without a spot.

Now, if you have a copy of The Day-Glo Brothers handy, turn to the spread in which Bob Switzer is in bed recuperating from his head injury. See those objects that he’s hallucinating? They aren’t marked with a brand, but they’re clearly identifiable to anyone who’s ever sat at an American restaurant table.

Care to guess which brand of ketchup I wore home from my big day?

The table stocked with daylight-fluorescent craft materials was a hit. Photo courtesy of Carmen Ramirez McFarlin.

These went fast. Glad I wasn't counting on leftovers. Photo courtesy of Carmen Ramirez McFarlin.

6 thoughts on “A big thank you, a third star, and an exploding bottle of ketchup

  1. I wanted to be there…at least my book was there. So glad I ordered one before they sold out!!!

    Starred Review in School Library Journal — that is HUGE Chris!!!
    CONGRATULATIONS!!

  2. Wow! Congratulations, Chris. You deserve all of the attention. I can’t believe how many people are there. Sorry I missed it. That pesky ALA conference gets in the way of so much.

  3. I was just kidding about the swelled head thing! I know you’d never! These pictures are fantastic–and now I get the ketchup reference you made earlier. Did I mention my mom’s maiden name is Heinz, by the way?

  4. Pingback: Bartography » Blog Archive » Upcoming Events: BookPeople, Sept. 12 & Sulphur Springs Public Library, Sept. 18

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