Two Fish in the Same Pond…Finally!

….Fish lovers that is. Specifically Norman the Fish lovers me and Noah Z. Jones the Amazing, who illustrated Not Norman, A Goldfish Story. We met up for the 1st time at St. George’s Pre-school in La Canada, California on Wednesday. How? In some wonderful cosmic collision Rebecca Grose, of SoCal Public Relations,

just happened to reach out to Flintridge Books in La Canada when she was scheduling events to celebrate my new picture book, Your Mommy Was Just Like You, and, fellow Vermont College grad Catherine Linka

just happens to be the Children’s Book Buyer for Flintridge Books (which is now is a brand spankin’ new, bigger and better location right on the corner of Foothill and Angeles Crest)

, and Noah’s son Eli just happens to be attend pre-school at St. Georges—what are the chances of that!

Noah, who is quite famous and successful nowadays as creator of the Disney animated series, Fish Hooks took time that morning to pop over to St. George’s for a visit. What a surprise! What a treat! Noah is just as silly and fun and clever in real live as I imagined him to be when he brought to life our funny flippin’ and floppin’ fish character Norman!

Noah and I had never met. Never even talked on the phone before. Never even e-mailed until after Not Norman was released in 2005. (Which is pretty normal in the picture book creating process.) Still, it is kind of weird if you think about it….wouldn’t it make sense for the illustrator and author to chat? Or meet? But that’s not how it’s usually done. The idea is that the author might muck up the illustrator’s creative process by imposing his or her vision over the artist’s. I must admit, judging by the wonderful, surprising art in picture books—especially mine!—the system works!

Our editor, Sarah,  kept telling me how much fun Noah was and how nice Noah was and and and…and finally I got to see for myself! Noah brought his easel, giant paper and markers along when he came to surprise me. And so together we entertained the preschoolers with the story of how Not Norman came to life. For a few hours on Wednesday it was the Noah and Kelly Show: while I talked and read, Noah drew silly, funny sketches. The kid’s heads were bobbing back and forth faster than fans at Wimbledon!

Noah and I had a blast! We’re hoping this is the beginning of more fishy fun! (Hint, hint, Sarah...)