My Books

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

sweet book reviews

Two happy reviews for my upcoming picture book, Sweet Dreams Lullaby, have officially come out today. You have to have a subscription to access the reviews online, but here they are below. Hope you don't mind me's kind of a big moment for me. I'm starting to get really excited about the book coming out at the end of January. It feels REAL now.

December 15, 2009 issue of Booklist (circ: 20,000):

Snyder, Betsy (Author) , Snyder, Betsy (Illustrator)
Jan 2010. 32 p. Random, hardcover, $15.99. (9780375858529).

The author-illustrator of Haiku Baby (2008) offers a soothing bedtime story with just the right amount of sweetness. As a little bunny gets tucked into his bed, he dreams of his pastoral world outside as it slows down and readies for night. Dandelions, robin eggs, flower blossoms, frogs, caterpillars, and more all prepare for the night. “Dream of comforts all around, / in soothing colors, shapes, and sounds. / Set your cares and wishes free / to ride the dandelion breeze.” With their gentle cadence, Snyder’s short rhyming phrases add to the cuddly effect. The charming collage artwork, with images of snuggling squirrels and daddy frogs singing little ones to sleep, will bring a smile. Particularly effective are the backgrounds as the colors of the sky—and the pages—go from sunny yellow to pinks and oranges, then deep purples and blues, as the sun finally sets and the moon rises. A worthy and welcome addition to the canon of cozy bedtime stories.

— Rebecca Wojahn


December 15th issue of Kirkus Reviews (circ: 1,718):

Snyder, Betsy
Illus. by the author

In The Runaway Bunny, Margaret Wise Brown’s mother bunny famously tells her little one to “have a carrot” when he finally settles in for the night. The bunny in Snyder’s bedtime book already has a carrot securely tucked in his pajama pocket in the cover and title-page illustrations. Sustenance secured, he doesn’t tell his mother he will run away; instead, he acquiesces to having her tuck him into bed on the first page and then imagines himself in the dreamscapes she describes to lull him to sleep. The rhyming text describes the little bunny in different outdoor scenes where fireflies are cast as nightlights, a daddy frog “sings low and deep, / lulling all the pond to sleep” and stars whisper “good night.” Throughout the pictures, the pocketed carrot is often replaced by other objects from the text, though sometimes the bunny’s pocket is disappointingly empty. Digitally produced art with collage elements employs a rich, soothing palette befitting the gentle cadence of the text. A lovely addition to bedtime-book collections. (Picture book. 2-5)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

gobble, gobble!

Just a quick post to say happy Thanksgiving!

Here's some art I did this year for Clubhouse Jr. magazine...

And here are the "hand turkeys" that my niece Ava and I did together last year!

Friday, November 13, 2009

charter for compassion

This site just launched today...and I love the mission and the message of compassion. Compassion is such a simple principle, and probably the most important value you can teach to a child (or adult for that matter). Sometimes it's the littlest acts of compassion that make the biggest difference, don't you think? It's easy to forget the power we have to influence and helps others.

If anything, Charter for Compassion is a good opportunity for all of us to heighten our awareness, reaffirm what's important to us and how we want to live our lives, and choose the legacy we'd like to leave behind. I lost my dear grandmother on Sunday, so this week I've been giving a lot of thought to what I'd like to do to honor her. I feel my grandmother left behind a wonderful, rich legacy, and I can only hope to live a life that would make her proud. I don't think she realized how many lives she touched and were made better by her. I was lucky enough to be blessed by her love and compassion, and now I hope to pass it on. Love ya, Gram.

me, Gram, and Mom celebrating Gram's 86th birthday last June

Friday, October 30, 2009

happy boo day!!!

It's almost the witching are some Halloween pieces I did when I worked at American Greetings:

Halloween is truly one of my favorite holidays. I guess I've always loved the creativity of making costumes and decorating. My mom made my costumes every year and it was always lots of fun to have something unique and handmade, that couldn't be bought in the store. Here's me as a witch...I think I was about 4 or 5 years old:

And here's a drawing I did that same year:

I won't get to celebrate too much this year–no big parties to go to–but I'm hoping to host a Halloween party one of these years so I'll just have to make up for it then! Hope y'all have a happy, happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

fall catch up

It's been a while. I have a few new fun things to share...


I am happy to announce that my new book Don't Throw That Away! (written by Lara Bergen) just officially came out yesterday. This is part of Simon & Schuster's Little Green Books imprint, so it is 100% recycled material and is all about recycling and reusing in creative ways. It's a simple message, but the books has some fun interactive flaps that keep little ones entertained.


I just got samples today of the Haiku Baby boxed note card set I did with Papyrus. It contains 20 cards and envelopes, and features 4 different images from the book (sun, rain, moon, flower). You can buy it online here (click on "additional views" to see all the images). Or hopefully the note card set is in stores too, but I'm not sure about that (so let me know if you see it out there). So you know what to look for: the box is just the turtle image on the front, and all the text info is along the sides of the box.


If you are in the Ohio area, come visit me at the Buckeye Book Fair in Wooster on November 7. I will be signing 4 books (Haiku Baby, Have You Ever Tickled a Tiger?, Don't Throw That Away!, and Peanut Butter and Jellyfishes: A Very Silly Alphabet Book). I will also have a tiger mask craft for kids to make and wear. You can get the full scoop here. I participated last year and it was a lot of fun. It's a great place to find Christmas gifts for book-lovin' family and friends...and you can get all the books autographed too. But come early, because books do sell-out (I was sold out of books by 1:30-2:00 last year).


Stay tuned for some super-cool jellyfish pics from my trip to the Baltimore aquarium with one of my BFFs (and this is just a dinky one from my i-phone). Till my next post, I hope to be relaxin' and floatin' like a jellyfish on my soon-to-come beach sharks like jellyfish or aspiring jellyfish? Hope not;)

Monday, September 21, 2009

happy anniversary, happy fall

Today it has been two years since Jeff and I said "I do!" Last Sunday night we celebrated our anniversary with a plated landscape dinner with wine pairings at Muddy Fork Farm in Wooster. The event was organized and catered by chef Ben Bebenroth and his company Spice of Life Catering Co., who also catered our wedding. Not only do we love Ben's talent for food, but we also love his creativity, vision and whole philosophy of "regional, seasonal and sustainable ingredients." Plus, all of his staff is so darn nice! Much of what we ate came fresh from this certified organic farm...I literally looked out into the field while we were eating one course and saw Ben foraging for more ingredients for an upcoming dish. How cool is that?! And, we got to talk to the farmers and hear their story, and they even ate with us. So, this was the perfect way to remember our wedding day, celebrate the summer bounty, and welcome in fall all at the same time.

Jeff and his dream chickens (he's always wanted a few chickens)

Our new chicken-friend.

Sipping on some sparking wine and sampling ripe raspberries off the bush...does it get any better?

Asparagus field that has gone to seed.

Tiny eggplant. Love that purple!

Diggin' for sweet potatoes.

Greenhouse...we ended up eating in one of these greenhouses since it did start to rain. But the pitter-patter of the raindrops on the plastic roof was so comforting and cozy.

This is originally where the tables were situated.

The tablescape was gorgeous! I have to say I really love the midwest in late summer and fall.

Wooden votive holders made from old barrels, gourds, squash, pumpkins, home-grown flowers, and drinking water from mason jars.

And wine pairings for each course. Cheers...may we have many, many more anniversaries and reasons to celebrate!

Monday, July 27, 2009

good time story time!

My story time and signing for Have You Ever Tickled a Tiger? at Joseph-Beth in Cleveland went great on Saturday! When we were walking in, my husband pointed out the giant poster in the front window (which just seems funny to me, because it's ME). Anyway, the kids really participated and responded well, and I feel like it was the best turn-out yet. We had lots of fun learning about what it's like to touch interesting and unusual animals, reading books, and making tiger masks. Having family and good friends there for me, meeting new people, and sharing my books–it was just one of those days that fills you up inside. The mystery girl below is my niece...isn't she scary?!

I am finally getting more comfortable letting go and going with the flow of these "appearances." I am honestly not the most comfortable speaking in public, though I do really enjoy it once I am in the moment doing it. In the past, I tried to be really prepared and have an "agenda", but I've realized that each signing goes really different, just depending on the age of the kids, their personalities and the general vibe that day. It is much different and less predictable than speaking to adults, but this is also what makes it so fun.

So this time, other than getting together all the necessary materials and putting together a rough outline, I decided to not overly prepare or think about it too much. I got a little panicky the night before, when I thought, "What am I doing? I am NOT prepared!" But I shook it off pretty well. I am slowly learning to accept these feelings of anxiety and anticipation. Instead of trying to push those feeling down and ignore them, I now just let myself feel those things fully. And the panicky nervousness seems to pass much more quickly than when I try to fight it. I recognize that the nerves are just part of the process for me–feeling nervous is really not THAT bad of a thing, is it?

I am looking forward to another story time/signing at the Cincinnati Joseph-Beth this Friday morning. More close friends, kids and good times, I'm sure!

Friday, July 10, 2009

you're invited...

If you're in the Cleveland or Cincinnati areas, I'd love it if you'd come to one of my storytimes and book signings at Joseph-Beth. Click here for the scoop. And bring the cubs if you got 'em.

Monday, July 6, 2009

garden gifts

This year, Jeff and I decided to ease into gardening and planted some veggies and herbs in half of our neighbors' garden. This photo was from a few weeks ago, so things have already grown quite a bit more since then. We got a late start planting, and the deer already ate the tops off all our tomato plants before we could even get them planted, so we'll see how things go. I think most of the tomatoes are bouncing back. It already makes me want to plant lots more goodies next year. Once you get going, you just want to grow EVERYTHING yourself, right? Maybe some day.

And going along with the garden theme, I thought I'd post this gift card I did for Target last year. I just discovered it up on the Target website, so I thought I'd share. I had fun with this one.

Friday, July 3, 2009

check out my new diggs

Just a few pics of the new studio. These pics are of my room...Jeff has his own room now, and we have 3 other rooms for storage and clutter control. I love it...kind of like a mini apartment. And it's so nice to have lots of windows and feel connected to the world when I'm working. I do not miss our bat cave office one bit.

I painted my room (very) blue...I thought it was going to feel a little more like an antique blue, but at least it's not dull (even if I do feel like I am underwater in a swimming pool). I've decided to like the color. This is the first whole room I've ever painted...Jeff says I am a master taper, which I guess really means, "You will be doing the taping from now on, Bets." That's okay, I don't mind, because he has to paint everything up high for me. So it seems like a fair trade.

I think it is so funny that right outside my big front window, centered perfectly, it says, "Y-O-G-A." (there is a yoga studio directly across the street). Do I need any more signs to get my butt over to yoga class??? Geez.

I still have a lot I want to do to "betsify" the space, like add curtains, get a funky rug, stuff like that. But it's a good start. And now it's time to forget about decorating for a while and get back to work. Happy "Independence" Day!

Friday, June 26, 2009

my new favorite bag

I have a "thing" for bags and jackets, and I am loving my new bag from Etsy! What a surprise, I've picked out another thing with a bird on it. It just came in the mail yesterday...from Istanbul, Turkey, made by Sinem Inugur. It's nicely made and I really like the splash of orange inside, perfect for a summer day. Do you "need" a new bag too? I bet you do. Here is the link to Sinem's Etsy shop. Lots of fun bags to choose from.

Isn't Etsy such a cool thing? An international online consignment shop...gotta love it.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

parent's choice book review

Hey all. Click here to read a nice review and article about board books by Parents' Choice. I kind of can't believe Have You Ever Tickled a Tiger? puts me in the company of Margaret Wise Brown and Eric Carle in this piece, but I'm certainly happy to be there!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

haiku by two interview

Alison at recently reviewed Haiku Baby, and also contacted me for an interview. How fun, my first interview! And don't you love the bird art on their web Alison herself! Alison and her friend Kelly co-write and manage this haiku-centered website together. I love hearing about "friend projects" like this.

So, if you're procrastinating on whatever it is you really SHOULD be doing (like I am), click here to check out the interview (below is just a quick screen-grab for eye candy).

Thursday, June 11, 2009

don't look back!

Happy, happy birthday to my dearest "Gram." She's 86 today, and we just celebrated at her place with dinner and this cake. In a nutshell, here is why I think my Gram is the best...

I've always looked up to her, for so many reasons. I'm in awe of her crossword puzzle, Scrabble and card-playing skills...she has the most extensive vocabulary of anyone I've known, yet she's not snooty about it. She loves learning, and has been a long-time volunteer for PEO, an organization that promotes education for women (they gave me a scholarship and a loan too, thank you very much!) Though Gram's very modest about her artistic skills, she's got a creative spirit for sure, and has a lot to do with why I do what I do today. When I was a kid, we made paperdolls, watched birds, played dress-up, went to museums and the theater (saw Robert Goulet in South Pacific!), and had many, many sleepovers. So, I still think my Gram is one of the super-coolest ladies in the whole wide world. I got so lucky to get her in the grandma lottery...I really hit the jackpot.

When I was little and it was time for good-bye, my Gram would always turn her back to me, look over her shoulder and say, "Don't look back!" I think that's a good philosophy in life, and it's good to be reminded of that today.

So, just wanted to give a cyber shout-out to my Gram on her birthday. She's not really into fancy, newfangled technology, so she won't see this. But that's okay cuz she already knows how much I adore her. xoxo Gram!

This is Gram, my grandfather (who I never got to meet), my mom (left), and my uncle (right). My mom was born in Hawaii when my grandfather was stationed there...he was a military doctor.

Here's me playing dress-up at Gram's house...this was my mom's wedding dress.

And here's me as a bride again, officially. Gram's in the middle and my mom's on the right. Have I ever mentioned how awesome my wedding photographer/friend Donna Von Bruening is ??? She gave Jeff and me the gift of her photography for our wedding (as if her gift of friendship is not enough). She shot Jeff's sister's wedding, and she's shooting Jeff's brother's wedding in October (can't wait!).

And my Gram gave me this necklace to wear on my wedding day. It was more perfect than anything I could have picked out, and meant so much more.

And here we are today, 3 generations.