A Thanksgiving Visit to Plimoth Plantation with Goody O’Grumpity

In 1993 my imagination was living in Plimoth Plantation.


I was illustrating a a poem by Carol Ryrie Brink. She is best known for her novel Caddie Woodlawn, which won the Newbery Medal in 1936. She also wrote a short, melodic poem called Goody O’Grumpity and I illustrated it as a picture book.


The communal beehive oven was at the center of the village and Goody bakes her “cake” among the nicely burned down coals.

I thought the strong, black lines of my linoleum cuts paired with the rich, autumnal watercolor, would compliment the linear quality of the mostly wooden and thatch built village of Plimoth Plantation. My neighbor, Marty, posed as Goody, in a homemade costume. Brennan and Rowan made appearances and so did a lovely Border Collie.

You can spot Rowan, then only 3, as the little curly head peeking over the fence and pointing. Boys and girls wore long dresses and caps until the boys were older and switched to breeches.


“And throughout the land went such a smell, of citron and spice~ no words can tell

How cinnamon bark and lemon rind, and round, brown nutmegs grated fine


A wonderful haunting perfume wove, together with allspice, ginger and clove,

When Goody but opened the door of her stove.”


If you want to try to make Goody’s cake, really a sweet bread, here is Plimoth Plantation’s own recipe, reprinted in the book.

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SkADaMo: working on setting

I’m living in the Grand Canyon, in my imagination.

I am walking the trail, noticing the birds, the cactus with the raspberry bloom, the towering agave, the light, the scents, the dust.

I am trying to dream myself into the canyon from top to bottom to make my viewer feel like they are there too.

The sketch is pencil, the color is slopped on in Photoshop.


SkADaMo: Circling my character

My new character is a girl, about 6, with dark hair and eyes, long braids, and just a little on the stocky side.

She has a hat covered with souvenir pins, a few from her adventures and more from her hiking grandma. She wears a couple of friendship bracelets, and has a keychain or two hanging from her backpack zippers.

When I “invent” a character, I use  elements of memory and imagination, then try to bring those into the real world of contemporary childhood.

Some aspects of childhood remain constant through history but every era adds its own overlay of style and technology. My struggle today is to create a character who is both timeless and today.


One who won’t look too quaint if this book is in print in 20 years–or 50, fingers crossed!girl_2:web

SkADaMo: struggling

When I am struggling with a book dummy I tend to draw a lot, and care very little about each drawing.  By throwing down a lot I may get one good bit.

The gist of this page is my attempt to simplify the face of a young model, drawn carefully at bottom. When I carve her face in linoleum it will need just a few marks to indicate eyes, nose, and mouth and I am trying to pare her down to the minimum needed.

The darn airplane has to be in there too. But they will each inhabit their own picture ‘plane’ in the finish!airplane&girl


The idea of daily sketching is so ingrained in order to stay loose and in practice that I thought posting a new sketch a day in November would be easy peasy.

But I woke up at 6, was on the road at 8, spoke and signed and traveled all day and didn’t draw anything but Baby Bear’s Head as I autographed. So, to be honest, this is all I have today.