Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Jack Benny's Birthday

Originally, I was meant to get in to Dublin tomorrow, Sunday, and immediately start doing interviews. Somewhere mid-week I realised that simply wasn't going to work -- I'd burned the candle at both ends and incinerated the middle during the two weeks of Coraline-and-Newbery-Madness in the US, and flying to Dublin, getting off the plane and doing six print, one TV interview and then going to Dundrum to introduce the film and do a Q&A interview afterwards seemed like a recipe for disaster, or at least, for sleeping through my own film.

So everything moved a day earlier, and that was a good thing. The flight was easy and pleasant (I sat next to one of the Original Fathers of the Internet, and he wanted to know about writing and I wanted to know about The Internet, so we chatted cheerfully over the meal service, which almost never happens). On landing I was whisked magically from the jetway to a little VIP place where I was given a cup of tea and put in a car with a lady from Universal, and I dreamed that all international airport exits could be as smooth and as graceful and as queue-free.

My loverly Android G1 doesn't work here -- it was, as you may remember, a gift from Google, and is, until one day it won't be, free, but its very freeness meant that it won't connect to any foreign phone service, as someone would have to be billed for the connection. At the point it informed me that it was now just a thing with photos and music on, I discovered how much I miss it (memo to self, tapping on the screen of the Nokia N73 does nothing at all). My elderly and eccentric Nokia N73, which turns itself off from time to time a bit randomly, sometimes mid phone-call, is now my phone while I am in Ireland. And I discovered the problems I was having with its predictive text function could mostly be traced to fact that it had decided in the last month or so that it would rather predict words in Dutch.

Anyway. Happy Valentine's Day from someone in a suspiciously empty and unValentiny sort of Dublin hotel room.


The Graveyard Book won a Cybil Award -- which is the children's book award from the blogging community. I was thrilled. All of the Cybil nominees and winners looked good this year, and I'm proud to be among them, and congratulations to everyone involved.

Monica Edinger reviews The Graveyard Book at The New York Times. Her review finishes,
I read the last of “The Graveyard Book” to my class on a gloomy day. For close to an hour there were the sounds of only rain and story. In this novel of wonder, Neil Gaiman follows in the footsteps of long-ago storytellers, weaving a tale of unforgettable enchantment.
Which made me really happy. The sounds of rain and story. Yes, that's what it's all for.


(About a month ago I'd told my Editor at HarperChildrens that I would send cupcakes for everyone at HarperChildrens if The Graveyard Book ever went back to Number One on the Childrens' list at the NYT. So last week, I sent an enormous number of cupcakes over to HarperChildren's  [although ten percent of the cupcakes were paid for by my agent]. I've told them if we ever get to be Number One five weeks in a row, more cupcakes.)

(I twittered my sadness at losing my long-time publisher at William Morrow, Lisa Gallagher. I don't think I mentioned it here. I worked with her for nine years -- she was originally in marketing, and then became my publisher, and when Anansi Boys went to Number 1 on the NYT list, we sat and drank champagne in a busy square together. She was always supportive and I will miss working with her very much, not just because she was the only person who would begin a phone call with a breezy "Hello darling, it's Lisa." I hope she gets a job as good as she is.)


Let's see.

Anyone who's seen CORALINE and wonders about the design work behind it should go and look at,
(For this one, click on Newer Things on the righ tand then Coraline.)

They're all awesome artists, but Dan Krall's work actually made me wish that he'd actually illustrated an edition of Coraline. Anyway, go and look at their art: you'll see illustrations for scenes that didn't make it into the finished movie. Like the Dan Krall drawing above.

I really hope there will be an actual Art of Coraline book, to collect all of this stuff, along with the other things you can look at on the videos at At the time of Steve Jones's Coraline: A Visual Companion book (you can browse it here) Laika and Focus weren't able to provide anything much in the way of art as, they explained, very sensibly, they were madly trying to finish a movie (they even cancelled the book at one point, pointing out that they didn't have anyone available to go through the art, as everyone was working on the film, and it took Henry Selick's intervention to get them to provide stills and bring it back from the dead). 

(Most of the above links taken from

Incidentally, if you are confused about which edition of Coraline to get, the ever-terrific School Library Journal has a round up of stuff about me here, and a round-up of all things Coraline here.

You want to know how to make 200,000 puppet-faces? You need a 3D printer.

Just wanna make a quick comment on Marcel's question, I watched Coraline yesterday here in Brazil and I watched it in 3D. Gotta say the dubbing is awesome. They're all great in what they do, really.

And it's, y'know, puppets.

Crafters have, I am informed, taken Coraline to their vast, capacious and Forcible-like bosum: is a facehugger octopus pattern, while takabelle made Coraline Gloves:

(Did I mention that I ran into Althea Crome in the airport on the way home from Portland last week? Or that just as were about to get off the plane she gave Maddy and me a tiny pair of gloves -- not from the film -- that I treasure, and have to figure out where to keep so they can be safely displayed?)


(Can you tell I'm closing Tabs here?)

Small disturbing book ban -- -- as a court upholds a ban on a book for small children about Cuba depicting smiling children as "inaccurate". 

Red Nose Day may reach America. Or the internet. I always get those two confused:

A list of ten childrens' films that are inappropriate for children has five of my -- and my kids -- favourite films on it. (If they'd just included Jan Svenkmayer's Alice...)

... Candy hearts with your own Valentine's wishes on them. Or birthday wishes.

And my own Valentine's Day wossname for the world -- you can hear Claudia Gonson singing "Bloody Sunrise", arranged and instrumentated by Michael Hearst, over at -- the link doesn't work, but if you click the play triangle, it'll play.

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