I'm pleased to announce that Dasha Tolstikova has been awarded the 2015 Guion Fellowship!

Reached for comment, past Fellow Hallie Bateman said, "I am proud to pass the torch-colored crayon!"

For more information about the Guion Fellowship, click here.

(Foxie illustration © 2015 Dasha Tolstikova, used with permission)



I'd like you to meet my colleague Pricilla, who has been heavily involved in the launch of BABY PENGUINS LOVE THEIR MAMA!

Pricilla the Goat

Pricilla is Famous SpokesGoat for Happy Goat Soaps. They make the amazing mama/baby penguin soaps I've been giving away at my readings. It has been a pleasure for a city-dweller like me to meet Pricilla and her owner, Patty, and I thought I'd invite Pricilla to talk about herself and life on the farm.
Pricilla, I have so many questions. First, how old are you?
A ladygoat does not maaa things like this! But I can pass on that I am nearing 18 years on this Earth.
Do you have any kids?
I have had several kids in my day. AbbyGoat is my kid but she doesn't listen to me any longer. Isn't THAT the way of it?
How long have you lived with Patty? Do you get along? 
I LOVE my publicist! She brings me apples and she scratches my tail. I have lived with her for almost 7 years now.
Where is your farm?
My farm is in a magical part of Montana. It is called Superior. And it is.
Are there other animals on your farm? Are any of them famous, like you?
AbbyGoat likes to THINK she is famous but she is not. I am training little Bernadette the goat to take over when I retire. The four Farm cats - Stinky, Pumpkin, Sherpa and Harry - are developing quite a following. Especially Sherpa. He is a crazy cat!
How many years were you active as a dairy goat?
I have kept my past secret from my publicist. My first farm was not a happy farm. They took my horns. I miss my horns. My second farm was very nice. I was there for three years and gave them lots of rich milk. Then I came to the Happy Goats Farm where I helped the publicist start my soap shop. I gave her milk for two years and then retired. She was just learning and she realized that I should have been retired earlier. The people who had me before didn't know that and didn't tell her either. We are all lucky that I survived my last pregnancy. Now I get to graze and bask my days away and maaaa about being a Happy Goat!
What’s your favorite food?
Apples, apples, apples, apples, apples, apples, apples, apples, apples, apples, apples, grain, apples apples, apples, corn, apples apples, apples, strawberries, apples, apples, apples, apples, apples, watermelon, apples, apples, apples, carrot tops, apples, apples, apples, apples, apples, beet greens, apples, apples, apples, APPLES!
What’s your favorite soap scent?
I really don't work with the scents. That is the publicist's job. If I had to pick I would maaaa Apple! The publicist has several favorites including Afternoon Tea, Lemongrass and Fresh Pineapple.
Was your milk used for things other than soap?
Oh yes! The publicist makes cheeses and ice cream and caramel and fudge and hot fudge sauce and yogurt.
Do you ever take baths? 
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! No water. I hate water except to drink. If I need to feel clean I take a dust bath. It feels soooo good to roll around in the dust.
What’s retirement like?
It's the best! I eat my grain. I eat my hay. I graze, I munch, I nibble, I bask. It's the goat life!
Any questions for me?
When are you going to write a book about a goat?
Funny you should ask, Pricilla. A good friend of mine just wrote a book about a goat. You'd enjoy it!
I want to thank Pricilla and her owner publicist Patty for all they've done. They've even donated three wonderful soaps for a giveaway! Enter whydoncha!


CALLING ALL READERS! Baby Penguins Everywhere has joined the awesome literacy program We Give Books.

How it works: Every time your child/grandkid/student/Uncle Bob reads a book in We Give Books' online collection, We Give Books gives a book to a child in need.

You can even get your community or school involved here. Read! And spread the word!


Both my parents taught high school science and were very successful at it. Growing up with them, I had a lot of time to observe what teaching is, and what makes a teacher good.

Devil's Garden, Roger WinterRoger Winter, Devil's Garden, 1990

Roger Winter, who taught my drawing class at the National Academy School, is a great teacher. Smart and dedicated, with a wicked sense of humor, he mentored a generation of artists during his three decades as a professor at Southern Methodist University. In our class, Roger was truthful about what I did well and insightful about what I could work on. He cared about my progress but didn't take weird responsibility for it, because teachers aren't trainers and students aren't performing seals. I always felt Roger gave me the best advice he could offer, but whatever I made in the room with him, I owned. From September 15 to October 20, The McKinney Avenue Contemporary in Dallas will host a retrospective dedicated to Roger's body of work: Lost Highway – A Painter’s Journey. A second gallery at The MAC will exhibit work by prominent artists who studied with him. Kirk Hopper Fine Art is hosting a simultaneous show of Roger's paintings called Between Heaven and Earth. I wish I could get to Dallas this month; if you're in the area, go, and say hi to Roger for me.


Ella Bernice on the Doerr family farm

My 93-year old grandmother is failing, and I’m flying to Illinois this weekend to see her, probably for the last time. I hate to lose her because I love her, and because she’s my one living connection to a generation of country badasses who knew how to make, build, grow, hunt, cook and preserve what they needed.  My grandparents taught my parents to do some of these things, and my parents taught me. Some of these skills will trickle down to Holly so she, too, will know how to clean fish and can peaches. She may not know what it's like to do these things to survive, but she’ll have the feeling of self-reliance that comes with knowing how. That feeling will get you through a lot of experiences that have nothing to do with fish and peaches.


In 2002, conservationist Andrew Balmford published a study showing that 8-year-olds could identify more than 120 Pokémon characters.

Those same 8-year olds recognized less than half the native plant and animal species they were shown.

The real world is full of interesting creatures, so to help kids learn about them, scientists are developing a card game called Phylo. There's a coral reef deck, to which I contributed, and other decks are available or in the works. They're free, and kids can submit card art for consideration. So if you and junior want to know more about that brown thing that's eating a peanut in that green stuff, get some!  Download a starter deck here, or build your own set card by card. (PS:  A FREE DECK to the first person who comments and correctly identifies the brown thing.  Kids only!!)



Writing and illustrating books can turn you into a lonely desk potato.  Since I like other people and leaving the house, I enjoy collaborations like the Street Seats tumblr created by my friend Rebecca Pellman.  It's exactly what it sounds like.  Anyone can contribute, so if you see a Street Seat, snap a pic and share.  It's good for you!


My contribution to the aforementioned Paper Quilt Project: paper quilt


I'm excited to be participating in the Paper Quilt Project later this summer. Time to start honing those cutting and pasting skills. (Thanks to Dawbis, mastermind of the project.) bluebird


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