Thursday, December 16, 2010

GIFT OF THE MAGPIE's first review, and it's a doozie!



Author: Mason, Janeen

Illustrator: Mason, Janeen

Review Date: January 1, 2011


Pages: 32

Price ( Hardcover ): $16.99

Publication Date: January 1, 2011

ISBN ( Hardcover ): 978-1-58980-861-4

Category: Picture Books

Regina is a shoe-obsessed magpie. Max is into Regina, a smitten magpie. Max figures if he finds the right shoe, it will seal their fate together. He tenders a flip-flop. “That was funny, Max. What would I do with a shoe?” Ho ho, but no deal. Max next tries an old basketball sneaker. “The silence was deafening.” Regina, mortified, flees. Max, heartbroken, joins another flock. But that winter, in the gloom and cold, Regina takes to the hi-top, a cozy retreat. Come spring and the return of Max—voila, magpies in heaven. Mason has pulled a double out of her hat. The text is uncomplicated but sophisticated and poignant: Of the spurned sneaker, “ ‘It was the biggest shoe in the whole dump,’ he pleaded in a whisper.” And the artwork is an impressive display, as riotously colorful as a bowl of jelly beans, the lush two-page spreads shot through with the trills of the other magpies’ less fetishistic finds: huckleberries, sweet peas, sunflowers and grasshoppers. But they don’t hold a candle to Regina's magpie-enhanced sneaker for two. (Picture book. 5-9)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Jenna Huttula, from took this photo of a school of parrotfish looking over my shoulder!

In the last month I've been to Clermont, Florida, to speak to 1000 terrific kids at Cypress Ridge Elementary School, matted, framed, and delivered 12 pieces of original art to the Elliott Museum for an exhibit, drove to Tallahassee for a convening session of the Florida Council on Arts and Culture (where we reviewed 30 Cultural Facilities Grant Applications totaling $18.9 million in requests), celebrated the release of "Ocean Commotion: Life on the Reef" at a publishing party hosted by The Elliott Museum (where we sold about 100 books and people stood in line for hours to get their copies signed), went to the Miami International Book Fair, prepared Thanksgiving Dinner for 12, did my Christmas shopping, delivered original art to the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, attended the memorial service for the son of my friend, appeared at the Elliott Museum (again) for a calendar signing for Helping People Succeed (a charity that features local artists in this annual publication - all proceeds help developmentally disabled residents of Martin County), back to Fort Lauderdale to present at a one day workshop and exhibition opening at the Art Institute along with seven other Florida book illustrators, helped Penny move, went to a Christmas party, met with Tim Luke, "The Appraisal Guy" with Penny to talk about her Babe Ruth ball, attended a world premier opening of "The Academy" (an award winning musical written and produced by my friend, Andrew Kato), visited my mom in the nursing home a few times, attended a lecture at Harbor Branch given by the director of the Atlanta Aquarium and their whale shark expert, appeared at a booksigning and reading at Barnes and Noble in Jensen Beach for Parkway Elementary School, toured the fabulous aquaculture facility and appeared at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution (again) for a reading and book signing on their Children's Day, and all the while I've continued to work at my paying job: illustrating "Fish Facts" which is now over its deadline.

It's good to love what you do.

Monday, October 25, 2010



Friday, November 19, 2010
5 - 7pm
The Elliott Museum
825 North East Ocean Blvd.
Stuart, Florida 34996
RSVP 772-225-1961 x 107

It's going to be a roaring good time with book lovers young and old. The original illustrations will be on exhibit, books will be available for purchase and between the snicker-doodles and the fruit punch I'll be happy to autograph copies for you!

School Library Journal says "Vivid illustrations fill the spreads, and all the creatures have faces with expressive mouths and searching eyes. The red grouper with blue spots and the accompanying red-and-yellow cleaner shrimp pop off the pages. The nighttime view of the reef is beautiful, and the glossary will help with words like “copepods” and “bioluminescence.”

Friday, October 22, 2010

Crab march and booksigning

This talented boy dazzled us at the book signing for Ocean Commotion: Life on the Reef! at Barnes and Noble in Jensen Beach, Florida. After the reading we talked about the creatures who live on a reef. Because Jensen Beach is so close to the Atlantic Ocean, local kids are introduced to the sea as babies. My little friend was an expert on all things concerning sea life and he couldn't wait to color the book's leading character so he could lead a crab parade as the Grand Marshal. The kids and their crabs wandered around the entire children's department. Good job everybody!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Ocean Commotion: Life on the Reef!

My newest book, Ocean Commotion: Life on the Reef arrived, and it's beautiful!

I just discovered its first review:

School Library Journal
Gr 1-3–A molting hermit crab is searching through a splendidly colored seascape for a new shell to replace the one it has outgrown. Among other things, the perky heroine “tiptoed through a garden of anemones,” “waved to a family of cleaner shrimp,” and “danced across the bottom” where she finally found a vacant conch shell that was a perfect fit. Vivid illustrations fill the spreads, and all the creatures have faces with expressive mouths and searching eyes. The red grouper with blue spots and the accompanying red-and-yellow cleaner shrimp pop off the pages. The nighttime view of the reef is beautiful, and the glossary will help with words like “copepods” and “bioluminescence.” Endpapers contain serious talk about the endangered coral reefs of the world, and the author has referenced international organizations working to combat their destruction.Frances E. Millhouser, formerly at Chantilly Regional Library, Fairfax County, VA
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC

Monday, August 2, 2010

Letters ARE my friends.. They ARE. They ARE.

There are days - like today - when I'm reading a contract thinking "surely it doesn't say THAT?" (It does.) The words look like they're made up of letters like these. Which reminds me of the days when I was so little I thought I was NEVER going to get the alphabet straight. I was NEVER going to be able to read. There were too many letters. And I absolutely couldn't be interrupted if I was reciting them, I had to go back to the beginning, remember? Who knew if "H" came before "J" unless you started again... a.b.c.... But today, with confidence and experience, and trust, I know these wild letters can be tamed into a contract that will be comfortable for both my publisher and myself. Shhh. Be good little letters.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Ocean Commotion: Life on the Reef

Good news! My newest book, Ocean Commotion: Life on the Reef (September 2010, Pelican Pub) will be included in the September 1st edition of Booklist Fall Youth Preview Section.

Friday, April 2, 2010

A one-woman exhibition of Janeen Mason's lively original picture book illustrations opens in the 22nd floor gallery of the Capitol Building in Tallahassee on April 8, 2010. The reception is from 3 - 5 pm. Please join us if you're in the neighborhood! Can't make it for the reception? The work will remain on exhibit until July 1, 2010.

For more information: