Monday, September 23, 2013


My "To Be Read" pile is a leaning tower of Pisa, ok, actually it's usually two or three or ten leaning towers. I'm always thinking several books ahead. I want kids to develop that same readerly habit, so in my teaching life,  I constantly ask kids, "What are you planning to read next?"  

After a while, my students, or at least most of them, get pretty good at answering me. The kids who generally have the hardest time are my "tentative readers," those kids who are just beginning to launch their  reading lives. And to be honest, sometimes I have a hard time thinking of books I know will be sure winners for them.

l  delighted then, to participate in the blog tour for SUPER SCHNOZ AND THE GATES OF SMELL,  the first book in a series I am pretty sure that readers of STINK, CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS and DIARY OF A WIMPY KID are going to love. Just listen to the first couple of paragraphs:

I'm Andy Whiffler and I was born with a humongous honker.
I'm talking a nose so big it should have come with a warning label, a schnoz so enormous little people could use it as a sledding hill, a pie sniffer so enormous that if someone was walking beside me and I turned my head suddenly, I'd knock them out cold…
There's a reason why I have a huge beak. When my mom was pregnant with me, the pharmacist mixed her pre-nasal vitamins with a steroid for nasal congestion. The effect was disastrous. The steroid overstimulated a gland in my brain that made my nose grow and keep growing. And I can never have a nose job because there's a major artery that connects from my nasal septum to my brain.
 If I snip off my snout, I'm a goner…"
When Andy moves to Denmark, New Hampshire, he is first subjected to the usual teasing, but then his classmates at James Durante Elementary School decide that Andy's remarkable nose, along with his incredible sense of smell, might have some benefits for them. Andy, along with several of his classmates (the Not-Right brothers), are faced with the charge of unraveling the mystery of a terrible smell that is permeating their school.

Sounds like fun, right? Well, keep reading, because there's more.  Today, as part of the blog tour, author Gary Urey is interviewing illustrator Ethan Long (I'd really like their pictures to be right next to each other, but the blogspot gods have different plans).

Gary Urey
Ethan Long
I see from your bio that you grew up in Pennsylvania. I’m a PA native too. When did you first get an inkling that you wanted to be a professional artist?

When I was a kid I used to get up early in the morning before everyone else, much like I do now, and get to work drawing. My parents kept telling me I was going to be a famous artist one day. Now look at me! I get up when I feel like it and I am only semi-famous. So much for big dreams!

How did you gravitate toward children’s book illustration?

I enjoyed children’s books as a child. But lost interest in them as a grew older. When I got to college, I stumbled into a children’s book illustrating class and I caught the children’s book bug. Then when I got married and had children, it resurfaced even more into sort of a children’s book rash. Now I can’t get rid of it.

I am a big fan of your animation. Dead Stunt Man is hilarious!

Thank you.

What are the differences between book illustration and animation?

Many things. But overall, animation is much more complex and needs a team of people on a daily basis to do it well. Children’s books is mainly a solitary existence with phone calls to editors and art directors now and again.

Also, what was a bigger thrill, winning the Theodor Geisel Award for Up, Tall and High or your Daytime Emmy nomination for Tasty Time With ZeFronk?

Honestly, the bigger adrenaline rush was the Emmy nomination, but looking back, winning the Geisel Award was more of a long-term slow-cooked satisfaction for 4 reasons  1. because I won  2. Because I work so hard at children’s books 3.  because my wife Heather and my Mother were there in Chicago to share in the festivities of it all.

The illustrations for Super Schnoz and the Gates of Smell are hysterical. Every character is so funny and distinct. When illustrating a book written by someone else, how do you balance the author’s description and your own vision of what the characters should look like?

I just trust my creative process. I close my eyes and wait for a vision of what I think that character would look like, then I draw it. If it’s not quite right, I close my eyes again and wait.

From your list of books, you are an incredibly busy illustrator. What is your schedule like?

I don’t talk about my schedule. It is fast and efficient, with tears, blood and spit playing a big part in it. That’s all I can say.

How do you juggle multiple projects?

I cut out all hesitation and just get things done. But now I am talking about my schedule . . .

In your imagination, what smells does the Gates of Smell give off?

Scents of rancor and burnt back hair.

As a kid, did you ever keep a scent dictionary?

No never. But it would be fun to have one now so I could smell the wonderful memories of my brother’s booger breath and my Dad’s burnt chicken recipe.

What are favorite and least favorite smells?

Favorite Smells: Lemons, freshly cut wood, Spaghetti Sauce   Least Favorite: Wet Dog, Cheerio breath, tub drains

For more information about Gary and Ethan, check out their websites.   

If you'd like to win a signed copy of SUPER SCHNOZ AND THE GATES OF SMELL, leave a comment below. Please be sure to leave your email address also. If you don't win today, the book will be on tour all week.

Super Schnoz Blog TourSeptember 21-27, 2013

Saturday, September 21, 2013
Review Only

Sunday, September 22, 2013
Q&A with Gary Urey and Signed Book Giveaway

Monday, September 23, 2013
Gary Urey Interviews Ethan Long and Signed Book Giveaway

Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Review and Signed Book Giveaway

Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Gary Urey Guest Post and Signed Book Giveaway

Thursday, September 26, 2013
Gary Urey Guest Post and Signed Book Giveaway

Friday, September 27, 2013
Q&A with Gary Urey and Signed Book Giveaway

Thanks to publisher Albert Whitman for providing the review copy and a signed book for the giveaway. Ebooks are available from Open Road Media (


Hundred Pots said...

I would love to win a signed copy of "Super Schnoz"!! Sounds like a wildly funny romp. Gary Urey is hilarious!!!

Thanks so much,


Angie said...

This book looks great! Can't wait to read it!

Unknown said...

This sounds like a great book for some of my struggling boy readers. I would love to have a copy of it in my classroom Book Nook.
juli g

Gary Urey said...

Thanks for hosting the Schnoz Blog Tour! Gary

Hundred Pots said...

Any updates on the "Super Schnoz" giveaway? Any info you could share would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks a bunch,