Some manuscripts just seem to have some greased-lightning magic on them right from the start. When Kathy Duval sent me A BEAR'S YEAR, I just had a feeling this was one of those manuscripts. It was lyrical and lovely and perfect for young picture book readers, and I could just imagine what a great illustrator would do with it.
Granted, I'd seen an earlier version of A BEAR'S YEAR, back when it was one poem in a whole collection of poems that we hadn't successfully placed with a publisher. And granted, it was one of my favorites in that collection, one I'd encouraged Kathy to consider tinkering with to turn into a standalone picture book. But this read--well, I just KNEW it had found its perfect form, and I hoped like crazy that I was right and it would find a home quickly.
Boy howdy, did it! From the moment I finished my first read of A BEAR'S YEAR, I had Lee Wade of Schwartz & Wade in mind for it. I sent it to her the second week of May; by the end of the month, we knew she was interested; by this week, even with the hullabaloo of BEA, ALA, and a Wade family vacation in there, the offer was finalized and we were going to contract. Greased lightning!
Here's the official Publishers Lunch announcement:
CHILDREN'S: PICTURE BOOK
Author of TAKE ME TO YOUR BBQ and THE THREE BEARS' CHRISTMAS Kathy Duval's A BEAR'S YEAR, a gentle and lyrical portrayal of one year in the life of a mama bear and her two cubs, to Lee Wade at Schwartz & Wade, by Erin Murphy of Erin Murphy Literary Agency (world).
Hooray for Kathy! What an example of persistence and ingenuity paying off. I'm so glad this little poem didn't stay in a drawer!