claude claude's classroom

Of course Claude Claude isn’t there because he’s out celebrating the fact that Claude Claude the Vampire Moth just won first place in the Smart Writers 2006 Write It Now! Competition in the Dummy Book category (scroll down to the bottom). My thanks to Scott, Lauren, and Iris—and Roxyanne for all their feedback. They gave good advice in their review of things that could be improved with the story.

Another thing they noted about my illustrations was my attention to details. How true. I’ll now bore you with all of them.

First, you’ll notice Mrs. Yellowjacket. She is, of course, wearing a yellow jacket. Her hairstyle is a ridiculous beehive. The students are also an interesting collection of characters. They only appear on one page in the story, but I like to know who I’m drawing.

The students are in alphabetical order. We see Bol first. He’s a weevil. Weevils are known for getting into the biscuits (called hardtack) that sailors would eat. The sailors would have to knock the weevils out before taking a bite. There’s a scene in the movie Master and Commander when Capt. Jack Aubrey is talking about choosing “the lesser of two weevils”. This naval connection is why Bol is wearing a sailor suit.

Behind Bol is Luminaria Bulb. She’s a lightning bug. To her right is Katie Did. Also you’ll notice Leif, who is a Walking Leaf insect. Leaf insects are insects that resemble leaves so they aren’t picked off by predators. Leif is sporting a beret that makes her head look like an acorn. The most popular girl in class is a yellow roach. Webb is a spider, next to him ia a woolybear.

Cereal aficionados will recognize that I’ve snuck a tribute to Jay Ward with an insect that looks similar to Quisp.

No cast of bugs would be compleat without a beetle. Notice the lad named Starr with the drumsticks.

Hooper is a grasshopper and Zee is a bee.

Let’s get literary. The little blue butterfly’s last name is Nabokov based on the famous author’s hobby, lepidoptery. As an amateur lepidopterist, he discovered a new species of butterfly which are now known as Nabokov’s Blues.

Here’s another: The book outside the door that forms the wall of their hallway is The Myrmidons which is a Greek myth about ants which are transformed into people by Zeus. They later become the army that fights along side Achilles during the Trojan War.

On the back wall, there is a poster of a compound “i”.

That’s a lot of inside jokes and obscure references! But not knowing any of this doesn’t detract from the story. They’re just little things that can entertain parents as they’re reading the story for the umpteenth time.

Also, for those who want to know, here’s Claude.