Friday, May 14, 2010

Hey Bidder, Bidder

The Association of Booksellers for Children holds a silent auction of children’s book art each year during BookExpo America. Monies raised help underwrite projects that benefit the ABC independent booksellers, a group for which I’m glad to try to do my small bit. My donation is above (click to enlarge): a riff on Moonshot, with a nod, executed in humility, to Hergé, who sent Tintin to the moon well before Apollo 11 got there. (Please don’t infer from the drawing that I speak French, but I thought that if I was going to butcher a Hergé cover I ought to at least work with the original.) The auction will be part of an evening event featuring a keynote speech by David Wiesner, and will be held in New York on May 25. More information is here.

Monday, May 10, 2010

A lightship on the move

If you happen to be reading this blog, in Boston, and a fan of lightships, then this is the post you’ve been waiting for! Light Vessel 112, which for years languished unwanted in Oyster Bay on Long Island, is on its way to a new home in Boston Harbor, traveling via Long Island Sound, Buzzard’s Bay, and the Cape Cod canal as I type. The latest word is that she’s expected at the Charlestown Naval Shipyard dock around 7:00 tomorrow (Tuesday) evening. So if you’re in range and you’ve ever wanted to see a lightship come into port, now’s your chance.

Why is this happening? I’m late to these events but it seems that the United States Lightship Museum (itself a developing story, I believe) has rescued the ship from Long Island limbo. According to the museum’s handsome web site, here, they are moving LV 112 to Boston where the ship “will serve as a floating museum and learning center for the general public, chronicling the maritime history of the U.S. Lightship Service from its inception in 1820 to its end in 1985. Visitors will experience what lightship service was like for crewmembers living aboard these “floating lighthouses,” whose duty was to stay on their station regardless of conditions, faithfully and courageously guiding transoceanic shipping to and from the United States through dangerous seas.”


Theoretically I could wait until I know a little more about this story before posting it, but some of you will want as much advance notice as possible to aid with rescheduling your Tuesdays, so here we go. I’ll follow up when I have additional information. Set those RSS feeds!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Coming Soon

I got to visit the Roaring Brook offices yesterday (in the eternally fantastic Flatiron Building) and was able to pick up a copy of their Fall 2010 catalogue, which includes Jan Greenberg’s and Sandra Jordan’s (and my) Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring. I also got to pick up an unbound copy of the book itself. It was great to see the book handsomely treated in the catalogue, and also to see how beautifully it’s been printed. (Thank you, Neal and Susan.) It was one of those good moments when you realize that those drawings you worked on for so long are actually going to be a book. Coming in August!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Guenter Wendt, 1924-2010

From friend and Apollo obsessive (I use the term with affection) Sharyn November I learned that Guenter Wendt passed away this morning. Wendt was the “pad leader” for the Apollo flights, the man who ran the White Room at the top of the launch tower and who oversaw the astronauts’ ingress into their spaceships. Several astronauts describe riding up to the White Room on launch day as the moment that it hit them that, yes, this is really going to happen. Wendt and his closeout crew were waiting for them at the top, a last set of trusted hands and eyes to see them on their way.

Wendt (someone playing Wendt, I should say) appears briefly in the movie Apollo 13; Tom Hanks as Jim Lovell gets the line, “I vhonder vhere Guenter vhent?” (It’s a joke that was actually made by Donn Eisele on Apollo 7, but who’s counting?) Wendt’s German background and accent seem to have been a running source of comic material for the astronauts, with mixed results; he was affectionately known as the “pad führer,” and there’s a photo out there somewhere of Alan Shepard giving him a WW II-era German helmet labeled “Col. Guenter Klink” as a gag gift just before the liftoff of Apollo 14. The image is a little jarring and apparently Wendt wasn’t thrilled with the gift, but I suppose nobody ever said Al Shepard was hired for his cultural sensitivity.

Wendt is not mentioned in Moonshot, but I included him (and his glasses and bow tie) as the man sealing the hatch in the drawing above. An obituary today at the web site Collect Space, here, points out that Wendt never actually closed the door himself (So do I tell you that the drawing includes a mistake, or artistic license? Okay, mistake.) but also helps give an idea of why I wanted him in the book.

Wendt’s personal web site is here.