Tag Archive for Minisink Valley

Fan Mail Wednesday #184: Highlights & Thank You’s & Student Art


Often after a school visit I’ll receive a large package of thank you letters. Usually I’ll respond with one “thank-you-for-the-thank-you letters” letter, but not always. Especially this time of year, or when I get overwhelmed with work and letters, time slips away and schools closes.

I realize how lucky I am, how fortunate, and I hope that readers understand how much I appreciate all of this great stuff that comes my way. Feeling blessed.

Anyway, I wanted to share a few highlights from a wonderful package sent from Minisink Valley. At the risk of sounding my own horn, here’s the (classy, handwritten) note from Trinke O’Connor that I found on top of the pile:

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This one from Sierra really caught my eye . . .

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Here, take a closer look at that joyous self portrait . . .

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She’s a writer, just like me. And while I realize that she was drawing a pair of glasses, they made her look like a superhero. And in case you missed this detail, Sierra had a suggestion . . .

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I loved this one from Kelsi for the energetic artwork . . . Jigsaw Jones and Mila Yeh!

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And I have to say, this simple mistake by a very kind lad named Kevin made me smile . . .

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“You are my biggest fan.”

Yes I am, Kevin. Yes, I am!

Here’s one from Skylar, who appears to be hooked on my “Scary Tales” books . . .


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And another “Scary Tales” fan in Elizabeth . . .


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Here’s a sweet illustration from Alyse, who likes Jigsaw Jones and Scary Tales. Note the smart thing she did, copying the style of the “Scary Tales” covers by drawing in black-and-white and then adding just a splash of color. Smart and perceptive, Alyse! To answer your question, yes, I just finished writing Scary Tales #6: Swamp Monster! Guess what? It’s in a swamp! And there’s a monster!

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Check out this killer, blown-up detail of the one-eyed doll . . .

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I don’t think it’s practical for me to share every letter — and I do feel badly by highlighting only a few — but the internet only has so much space. I’ll wrap this up with a cool illustration from Holden . . .

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Fan Mail Wednesday #62 (Thursday Edition)

Let’s pause a moment before the thrilling conclusion of “The Never-Ending Lewis Buzbee Interview” to answer some fan mail. Watch now as I reach my hand into the large barrel and select . . . a pickle? Hold on, wrong barrel. Ah, here we are!

Dear Mr. Preller,

Thanks for meeting me and Flat Brownie at Children’s Book Day at Sunnyside. I had a lot of fun even though the weather was a little wet and Bunnicula creeped me out. I was glad to get a picture with you since I really enjoyed your visit last spring to my school, Minisink Valley. I am making a scrapbook of my Flat Brownie with all the children’s authors and illustrators I can. So far I have quite a few.

Keep up the good work, and if you run out of ideas, let me know. I’ve got a pretty good imagination.

Your Pal, Molly

P.S. Here’s the picture of us. I think we both look pretty good, don’t you?

I replied:


Great letter — you’re a very good writer. I’m a little jealous. When I was your age, I was drawing in mud with a stick. But I think our picture is nice! Though, um, what’s going on with my face? My smile looks lopsided!

I don’t have too much trouble getting ideas, my struggle is usually a matter of sitting down and putting in THE WORK. And for that, I’m afraid, there’s no one who can help me. In a sentence, I guess that’s the hard thing about writing. It’s all on you.

Hey, can I put up your photo — our photo — on my blog? Let me know!


P.S. I so agree about Bunnicula. People walking around dressed up as giant costumed book characters always gives me the jibberwillies — Clifford the Big Red Dog, Curious George, Biscuit, very frightening!. Even worse, as a visiting author I get to go in the back room for refreshments. That’s where I’ll see some old bearded guy, red-faced, full of sweat, slumped in a chair, wearing a Clifford costume. On his lap, he’ll be resting Clifford’s enormous, vacant head. And here’s the thing: He’s miserable, this guy, wondering why in the world he took this job, dressed up like a giant red dog, wandering around the grounds, getting tackled around the knees by little kids. He’s thinking, “Eight bucks an hour just ain’t worth it.

Sort of loses the magic for me.


Molly’s mother wrote to me soon afterward, granting permission to use the photo. She added these charming details:

Molly is currently working on a series of books about a porcupine (named Porcupine) with a best friend who is a rat (named Sally). They like to have sleepovers and have a lot of snacks. Maybe one day she will be an author, too.

It would not surprise me in the least. I can’t wait to read Molly’s books!