Gape Face

Here’s the pumpkin I picked out this weekend:


I call him Gape Face and though you might not be able to tell from the picture, he’s swarming with flies.  I figure I can’t make a scarier Jack-O-Lantern than that.  I found it when we went out to a farm/pumpkin patch for hayrides, pumpkin-hunting, and other fall festivities.  Being San Diego, it was in the upper 80s with sun that beat down on your bare head like hammer blows from Zeus.

Sadly, my wife picked a more “normal” pumpkin and Gape Face had to stay at the farm.  Fine.  He’ll look even scarier next year.

Sunday’s bread yield was bountiful.  Yea, lo was it.  Or something.  Here!  Bread!


The sourdough still isn’t sprouting the ears I want but is baking quite well.  The only snafu was that when I added water to my pre-heated skillet, the explosion of steam blew out the pilot light, which I discovered only after ten minutes.  Relighting a pilot in a hot oven is like playing Operation.  Don’t touch the sides or you’ll burn your arm.  Ouch!  Ha ha!

The wheat sandwich is very tasty, because of my secret ingredient:  toasted wheat germ.  Well, I guess it’s not secret any more. 

In the spirit of fall, my wife got five hundred autumn books from the library.  One of them has serious problems.  First off I’m going to say I’m no illustrator.  I can draw well and with enough time can make a fairly accurate color rendering, but children’s books are the brass ring of illustration.  So when I find a book with illustrations like this, I get a bit miffed.


Come on, can’t you even draw a truck correctly?  The basic of drawing include roughing out the shape first, and last time I checked, fire engines aren’t shaped like Jawa sand crawlers.  What the hell is going on with the front of that thing?  Is it in perspective or not?  If not, there’s seriously something wrong with those wheels.  And please note that the girl’s face was drawn on later with a different pen.  Maybe by the publisher who was terrified by the original attempt at a face.

Okay, one more. 


If you’re going to do loop-finger star-shaped hands, do it on BOTH hands.  Evidently the artist ran out of steam for the girl’s hand—it just ends without even a black outline.  I understand that some artists work in a more abstract look.  Fine, it can work great if you commit to it.  But this book is stuck in no-man’s-land, halfway realistic and halfway cutesy backwards ‘R’ kiddie style.  I mean no ill will towards this illustrator, but listen, if you’re going to enter the major leagues of illustration, you’d better bring your game.  Because this looks like an elementary school art show, and it disrespects all those people with real skills who aren’t lucky enough to get published.

This is only the second kids book I’ve found with bad illustrations.  The other is an airbrushed wreck about Kute Widdle Kitties that look like trussed-up turkeys.  If my readers can stomach it, I’ll scan in some pictures this week.  But be forewarned:  if you are a fan of animals or have any knowledge of anatomy, you’ll need to avert your eyes.

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Writer, architect, father, husband.

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2 comments on “Gape Face
  1. SRWood says:

    Somebody should write a Kute Widdle Stowy about trussed-up turkeys that bite their way across the floor try to Kuddle with Widdle Kids. Gobble-gobble! ew, slimy.Gape Face is the best jack-o-lantern I've ever seen. When did Halloween get so commoditized!? Kids shouldn't be dressing as Power Rangers and Sexy Vampires, they should be weeping in fetal positions under the covers as darkness falls, because on this night the soil shivers open and all the dead grey things sit up and walk. Can you hear them, children? Their voices sound like dry leaves and they're whispering YOUR NAME. Don't turn off the lights. Also, give me all your candy, I have to feed to to Gape Face.

  2. Babs says:

    Hey–how is it that the "strings" are going forward on the fire engine when it's racing forward?? Hmmmm. But is the story any good? And just give me the Milky Way Bars and hold those ridiculous peppermint candies! Who EVER eats those horrible things anyway??–especially not kids in Kute Widdle Kostwumes.

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  1. […] been reading to my kids for over five years now and have found some great books and some clunkers.  I’ve learned that while Child Harbat, previously Baby Harbat, would happily sit still for a […]

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