Another Column at MyShelf.Com

Babe To Teens, Past
A YOuth Column
By Beverly Rowe

    Young Readers' Vacation Stories
    An Interview with Philip Pelletier
    Award Winning Books
    A New Contest - Enter the drawing for free books

    We asked for stories about your vacations and here is what some of you had to say:

    Dear Babes to Teens: I went to my grandma's house last summer. Well, just in July. She lives in Houston, Texas. She took me to Waterworld, and the Houston Zoo. I loved seeing the animals there. We also went to the Museum of Natural Science where there was a display of Leonardo da Vinci paintings, and models of his inventions. We had talked about him in school, so that was kinda exciting. Next summer, I want to stay home and go to summer camp. Love, Kendra

    Hi! I went to basketball camp that is by the Boys & Girls club. It was lots of fun, and I learned some new moves. I even made some baskets from the three point line! I can't wait for basketball season to start at school. James B.

    Hello Mrs. Rowe: I just stayed home, but my mom let my brother and me get a new puppy. He took up most of our time. He is a cute little guy that we got at the Humane society, with a stubby tail and short legs. We named him Max, and he already knows some cool tricks. Lots of love. Joyce E. (and brother Freddy)

    To Babes to Teens: I read the new books that I won on your contest. Kewl! I'm entering again and hope I win again. Other than that, my Mom and Dad and two sisters and I just went to the beach sometimes and camping sometimes. It was fun though. Jeremy

    Hi, My cousin Susan came to visit me this summer and we had a great time. She is my same age. We did a lot of rollerblading, and Mom took us to a cooking class. We learned to make spritz cookies, and Aunt Rebecca bought us each a cookie press. I can't wait to make Christmas cookies. Love, Amy S.

    Philip Pelletier making music for Frogtown One Night in Frogtown is distributed through Allegro Music, and is the beginning of a Frogtown series of kids’ books, CDs, and DVDs, each containing messages of cultural and ethnic understanding. In One Night in Frogtown, a saxophone-playing frog learns to appreciate different styles of music (classical, jazz, R & B., and hip-hop). This serves as a metaphor for the value of cultural diversity.

    Philip Pelletier’s work has been praised by The New York Times, Variety, Premiere, Buzz, LA Weekly, Time Out NY, and BBC World News. He has won many awards and worldwide recognition. Pelletier has composed, conducted, and produced music for Emmy Award-winning children’s series, Disney and Pixar animations, and many award-winning films. He has created film and television scores for Amblin’ Entertainment, CBS, Paramount, 20th Century Fox, Universal, and Warner Brothers.

    Even before its official release, One Night in Frogtown has been nominated for the 2008 Oregon Book Award for Children’s Literature.

    Here is what Mr. Pelletier has to say about this marvelous new children's book.


    Bev: Is this your first venture into the world of printed books? Tell us about your motivation to write One Night in Frogtown.

    Philip: Yes it is. I've written primarily movie screenplays and scripts before this. I've created two original tv series, and co-created a third for the producer of Star Wars called Star, that's a modern-retelling of Voltaire's Candide. I believe that project will be in development for eternity. I also wrote & produced animated web shows for what is now Fox Interactive, and scripted & produced animated projects for another certain high profile movie studio. I can't say their name, but their mascot is a big-eared mouse.

    When I had the idea for Frogtown, I thought that instead of creating a movie or One Night in Frogtown television script, that I'd like to produce the whole idea myself and share it with people directly, rather than through a film studio or tv network. This way the whole idea stays organic and reaches the audience much faster, since studio projects can take so many years to get made.

    Bev: I just finished reading One Night in Frogtown and listening to the fabulous CD. I know frogs are very musical, and I love listening to their concerts at night, but how did you come up with the idea of a saxophone playing tadpole as the main character in your book?

    Philip: Well it all started in a puddle. I was looking out a window and saw a puddle in the rain, and I imagined a little tadpole playing a tiny horn. I happened to be sitting with the Frogtown illustrator Verne Lindner, and I told her what I was thinking and she loved the idea. So I wrote the image down on a scrap of paper and that was the beginning of the book. (I still have that piece of paper!)

    Bev:  On the back of the book, there is a statement that One World Musical Books is dedicated to teaching kids of all ages about the value of cultural diversity through innovative musical storybooks. What plans do you have for additional books? Do you plan other stories about Frogtown?

    Philip: Yes Frogtown is a continuing story and there will be a series of musical Frogtown books/CDs.

    We're releasing the first of our Frogtown "Learn To Read" DVD series in the spring, and a series of Music CDs in 2009, entitled Lullabies from Frogtown - Bedtime for Tadpoles, which is ambient dream music for kids of all ages. It will feature Frogtown vocalist Heather Christie ("Alone"). We have lots of Frogtown projects on the way!

    Bev: I see that a portion of the proceeds from this book is being donated to the Oregon Cultural Trust. Tell us about this trust and its goals.

    Philip:  The Cultural Trust is a statewide cultural plan to invest in Oregon's arts, humanities and heritage. The Oregon Cultural Trust was created to preserve and strengthen every aspect of Oregon culture. Its goal is to provide long-term support for culture in Oregon. Supporting Oregon's culture creates vibrant communities by strengthening the economy, improving education, and bettering our quality of life.

    These are goals that we support, and so we try to promote those values in our work as well.

    Bev: Five beautiful songs, complete with lyrics! Were these songs written especially for One Night in Frogtown?

    Philip: Yes I wrote the songs specifically for One Night in Frogtown. I also composed the music with the actual performers in mind for each song.

    Bev: I can see that this book required the effort and contribution of many people. How did you get so many talented performers to come together for this project?

    Philip: As soon as I showed the performers what Frogtown was about, everyone wanted to do it. I think the themes resonate with a lot of people in our post 9/11 world. Creating a message of cultural & racial understanding in a fun way was something that everyone wanted to be a part of. Plus it´s not every day that you get to go into a professional recording studio and make frog noises.

    Bev: Do you have any advice for kids who want to be writers?

    Philip: There's an expression "A writer writes". I think that is pretty good advice. The most important thing is to do it. And writing is rewriting, so to continually improve your work is quite important also.

    Bev: Do you have other thoughts you would like to share with us?

    Philip: One Night In Frogtown´s wide-ranging musical canvas exposes kids to different kinds of music, from R&B, to Classical, to Hip-Hop. The different styles of music symbolize the differences between the social groups of frogs, while the pond itself acts as a metaphor for the world. I was working in LA during the LA Riots, and the memory still haunts me. It´s probably one of the reasons I wanted to do this project. When I showed Frogtown to Curtis (Salgado), he echoed the other performers when he said, "Of course I´ll do it. The world needs this right now"...

    Bev: Thank you so much for sharing that with us.

    Be sure to check out the Frogtown web site! It's fabulous! You can meet all the artists there, and even listen to the songs.


    Children's Book Award winners for 2008:

    Newbery Medal Award Winner: Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices From a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz. It tells wonderful stories about people from that time.

    Newbery Honor Award: Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis. An 11-year old boy from Canada risks his freedom to help an American friend during slavery.

    Caldecott Medal Winner: The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. It's a mystery about an orphan living in a Paris train station.

    Caldecott Honor book: Henry's Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad illustrated by Kadir Nelson, written by Ellen Levine (Scholastic Press, an imprint of Scholastic). Inspired by an antique lithograph, Kadir Nelson has created dramatically luminous illustrations that portray Henry "Box" Brown's ingenious design to ship himself in a box from slavery to freedom

2008 Past Columns

An Interview with Philip Pelletier


© MyShelf.Com. All Rights Reserved.