Thursday, November 1, 2012

Banana Peelin' with Janee Trasler

I debated whether or not to post this week due to the events on the east coast .  I know that some of our friends are without electricity still, and this seems slightly indulgent…blogging, carrying on. I think many of us are feeling survivor’s guilt.

But I decided that a main goal of this blog and this series is to get a smile and maybe even a chuckle or two out of its readers.  And what better way to take someone’s mind off the ickiness that is catastrophic climate than someone else’s embarrassing moment? Let’s give it a shot, shall we?
This being the first post of November, a month traditionally reserved for giving thanks, my goal was to focus on gratitude.  Well, this week’s author Janee Trasler, has this amazing book that really makes you appreciate our fancy, modern conveniences, like…grocery stores. Caveman: A B.C. Story, (clever ain’t it?), follows a caveman and his buddies around on what appears to be just your average cave person day. Although there are only 26 words in its entirty (as it is an ABC book), they really pack a punch, especially when paired with the hilarious illustrations. It is one of our silliest books in the house.

I am grateful for so many things today: the safety our friends on the east coast, the health of my own family and friends, the grocery store, two buckets a bucket full of Halloween candy waiting for me on the kitchen counter… but I am also so thankful to have the wonderful Janee Trasler on the blog!

Having just left my job in corporate graphics, I was excited and eager to start my new career in children’s book. I was also greener than green eggs and ham.
Visit the library? Take a class? Actually read a picture book? Pshaw. When you’re walking around with that much blind optimism, you never even see the banana peel coming.
Within a week, I had my masterpiece! It was well over a thousand words, had 64 stanzas, and every other line ended in a rhyming “oo” sound. I packed up my single-spaced manuscript, mailed it to an agent, and waited for my contract.
I have to hand it to the agent (who did not even represent picture books, by the way). Somehow, he managed to send my “masterpiece” back to me without a big “SNORT!” written anywhere on it.
One picture book workshop and a trip or two to the bookstore later, I knew enough to be acutely embarrassed.
I learned so much from that slip. Now, I read a ton of current picture books, I watch the trends, and I’d never dream of sending anything out the door without running it by my critique group first (waves madly at the PBJeebies).
If I’d really researched the market before just barreling in the way I did, I’d probably have run screaming. It takes a lot of guts and hard work to get a book published; luckily, I was too green to know it.
 Janee has been generous enough to offer a copy of Caveman, to one person who responds to this question in the comments:
What is ONE modern convenience for which you are forever grateful?
The winner will be chosen via and will be announced the beginning of next week! Good luck!


  1. One major convenience that I am deeply grateful for is the iPad. I see how my students are engaged in their learning and it is powerful to witness.

  2. My grandfather has always told me if you're not making mistakes, then you're not learning. Here's to those educational (if painful) banana peels!

    One major convenience that I couldn't live without is the internet. My family uses google umpteen million times a day to research anything and everything that crosses our wee minds. There is some amazing information available 24 hours a day. Awesome! Seriously, when people ask what curriculum we use here I answer "google".

  3. *waves madly right back at Janee*

    I am one of the lucky ducks in Janee's crit group. She is so fabulous there isn't even a word for it yet.

    No need to count me in the drawing. I already own a copy of her prehistoric masterpiece. Ooga!

    1. Now if they could just get that future convenience, the teleporter, invented, we could critique in person. Oh wait, that would require grooming and daytime clothing...never mind.

  4. Hot water! When my husband and I built our house, we didn't have the hot water up running by the time we had to move in. Cold showers anyone. It wasn't fun, but boy was I grateful when we finally managed to get it running.

  5. I have to admit, I think TIVO is the greatest invention of the 20th century. It saves me so much time. I never watch commercials anymore, and during the political silly season, that is a true blessing. The book looks awfully cute. Thanks for running the giveaway.

  6. Hi Janee,

    Great to see you on Elizabeth's blog! I remember this book from the Spring Spirit conference. I was in editor Brett Duchette's workshop on Voice and he absolutely raved about it!

    The one modern convenience I couldn't live without and am truly thankful for is the washing machine! I can't imagine scrubbing clothes over a washboard! With a family of 5, that's ALL I'll be doing. But then again, if I had the kids scrubbing their own clothes, they wouldn't change as often!

  7. I vote retractable leash. If I had to walk through 3 feet of Chicago Lake Effect snow to get to the nearest tree avec mon chien my ankle dampness would severely decrease my pursuit of happiness.

    Yay Janee!

  8. Thanks for sharing your moment with us! Very slippish and relatable.

    Modern conveniences??? Hmmmm...there are so many! Flip flops have allowed for a lot of foot freedom :-)

  9. What a great post! Thanks for sharing your banana peel, Janee! And thanks to you, Elizabeth, for lifting our spirits. I'd have to say the modern convenience I'm very grateful for is indoor plumbing... really...! :) (And I'm dying to read that book... just sayin' :))

  10. A green banana peel . . . Yikes!

    This post is truly a spirit lifter :D
    Thank you, ladies!!

  11. Thank you so much for sharing your banana peel, Janee!

    I'm with Susanna, the modern convenience I'm most grateful for is indoor plumbing.

  12. Clever title for the book (took me a while, but it was pre-coffee)! Thanks for sharing your experience.
    As for modern conveniences- how to choose?- I'd agree with Rena that hot water is way up there. Couldn't imagine winter without hot baths.

  13. It's nice to know we all made the same mistakes. Thanks for sharing Janee. My modern convenience? The microwave! Need hot water? DING! Need a quick meal? DING! Need to thaw out that frozen chicken quickly? DING! Need an idea for PiBoIdMo? DInn....g...okay, maybe not.

  14. I am grateful for indoor plumbing. When I was a litle girl I visited my great grandfather in Kentucky and he still had an outhouse (-: It was a history lesson indeed.

  15. Great confidence Janee - hope you still have it, just using it wisely now! My inner kid needs to butt in and answer this one: the flashlight! I loved camping (even if it was just me and my bro' in the back of the station the garage!) and this is the only convenience we really needed! (Sure, Mom and Dad took care of everything else!) I'm not talking about the trip to the 'outhouse', but the storytelling and shadow-making in the tent (or the car!).

  16. Thanks guys, and I love all my modern conveniences!

  17. نقدم لكم شركة الحورس لتركيب طارد الحمام والطيور بالرياض نحن شركة ممتازة جداً و ذات خبرات و عناية فائقة فى اعمال مكافحة الطيور و الحمام و القيام بعمل و تنفيذ تلك الطوارد المعدنية على أمثل وجه فهى تعمل على طرد الطيور و هروبها و ليس نعمل من اجل قتلها لان معظمها هذه الطيور قد تكون للزينة و التربية فتواصلوا معانا لكى نخلصك عملينا الكريم من جميع الروائح و الفضلات التى تتركها تلك الطيور والحمام عند تواجودها على المبنى فوداعاً لتواجد الطيور على النوافذ والاسوار الخارجية للمبنى فلا تقلق ابداً.
    طارد الحمام


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