Monday, November 16, 2009

Can you ROBOT ZOT?

Ambassador Scieszka and his Vice Ambassador Shannon presided over the National Book Festival in Washington, DC. From their resplendent Library of Congress headquarters, the Ambassador and the Vice wondered if any of the honored guests could do the Robot Zot.
They asked. They filmed.
And this is what they discovered:

Can you ROBOT ZOT? from Chrissy Noh on Vimeo.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Two out of Four Guys still going strong.
Still going so strong that they seem to have grown incredible extra muscles.

The Texas Bluebonnet Award folks asked me and Mac to announce the 2010-2011 Master List of books at the TEXAS BOOK FESTIVAL in Austin this weekend.

And since it was Halloween, Mac and I decided we should introduce the list with a little extra something.

The kids in the audience were absolutely dumbfounded.
The adults seemed mostly amused.
Mac and I enjoyed ourselves immensely.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Animal Act 2

More combination animals. Once again, these were drawn on tour on big pads of paper with Sharpies, based on animal suggestions taken from the audience. Then the kids usually named their creature, and I usually suggested it should be their new school mascot.
Reaction to this suggestion of mine was varied. Some kids embraced the idea (probably understanding that it was a joke and that in a day or two everyone would forget all about it), other kids folded their arms and essentially said, "No, we're satisfied being the Wildcats actually, thanks."

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Animal Act

Adam here. I've jumped ship and am no longer on tour, but I thought I'd share some drawings I made throughout California and Arizona.

It's become a regular shtick of mine to ask audiences of kids for animal suggestions and then combine said animals into a hideous chimera for their amusement. Then I frequently invite the kids to name it. Here are a few. I'll show more later.

A girl named the fellow below "Chow Chow." It's on the tag.

No name for the last one, but notable for being the only time I've been asked to draw a bearded dragon. Mac had to pull up a little jpeg of one on his iPhone for reference.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Mac here. Adam and I did a great signing at a Barnes & Noble in Tucson, but it started off a little weird. When we got to the table, a man in sweatpants was standing there, eating a cookie. He told us about the University of Arizona game: Apparently a football had bounced off a guy's foot. Then he nibbled his cookie and told us about the University of Arizona game again. This is when Adam left me and pretended to inspect the easel.


SWEATPANTS: Where are you going next?

MAC: New York.

SWEATPANTS: How's the weather been in New York?

MAC: I'm not sure. I'm actually not from New York--I live on the west coast. I'm heading there to keep touring.

SWEATPANTS: Where are you touring?

MAC: Connecticut, New Jersey, New York,

SWEATPANTS: How's the weather been in New York?

MAC: Oh, I don't know. I don't live there.

SWEATPANTS: Where are you from?

MAC: The west coast.

SWEATPANTS: Like Florida?

MAC: California.


He did not buy a book.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Tucson Appearances

Just a quick note to warn anyone who was planning to come to Adam and Mac's UofA appearance this morning that it's been cancelled. But Mac and Adam will still be at the Borders on Broadway at 2pm.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

You Say It's Your Birthday

It's Mr. Shannon's birthday! Lots of people are nice to him. They sing happy birthday. They give him cakes.

We think he needs more. He needs a birthday surprise. And we are just the guys to give it to him. Because we have done about 342 presentations together, we have pretty much memorized what each guy says. So Mac and Adam and I decide to surprise Mr. Shannon by giving his entire presentation . . . without him.

Adam shows the kids how to draw David while Mac and I explain why David's left nostril is bigger than his right nostril ("he's left handed"), how Mr. Shannon broke his nose ("the sliding glass door was shut"), and what Mr. Shannon's dad used to call a buzz haircut ("a pig shave").

Mr. Shannon is definitely surprised. Mr. Shannon is even flabbergasted. But he gets to take the morning off. And the K-2 kids love both the presentation and the special Adam Rex birthday version of David.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Gentlemen Farmers

Three of the Four Guys have spent the past few days in the San Francisco Bay Area. We've been reading at a bunch of terrific schools, but today we want to talk about Ohlone Elementary, the first and so far only school to have a Steven Wright quotation on its welcome sign in the parking lot. After a great reading and signing, someone told us there was a farm attached to the school, and that this farm had animals. Ever eager to expand our audience, the guys leaped into action.

There's Mac reading Guess Again! to Emma, who is a sheep, and who was more interested in eating hay.

This chicken was more attentive for Adam's reading. What you see here is a special moment. Adam realized his lifelong dream of holding a chicken, and this chicken realized her lifelong dream of being held by Adam Rex.

And finally, here's Rainbow the Goat reading Robot Zot!. Rainbow was unquestionably the most interested in our books. And although it might seem like Jon wants to eat Rainbow in this picture, we assure you, the goat was the hungry one. Shortly after we took this photo, Rainbow took a bite out of Guess Again!:

That's life on the Guys With Books Tour--one minute you're reading in an elementary school library, the next you're wandering around in the Pet Sounds album cover.

Inexplicable Tour Moment #1

Adam here. So we're doing a 4 Guys event at a school which will remain nameless, and right before things get underway we find a pair of glasses on the stage. As the only bespectacled Guy on the tour I am especially concerned.

After our presentation I approach a teacher as he leads his class out of the auditorium. This teacher looks as if he's changing very slowly from Antonio Banderas into Keith Richards, and I've caught him at a sort uncomfortable middle stage where he hasn't the charms of either. But I tell him I've found a pair of lost glasses, and he looks at me for a good long moment. Then he looks at the glasses, and back to me again.

"Do you want me to crush them?" he asks.

Under different circumstances a question like this might have thrown me, but I've already completed a few school visits and am already in the sort of headspace required to roll with the often Dadaist questions of six and seven year-olds.

"No, actually," I answer, "I thought there might be some sort of lost and found."

Antonio Richards grunts and nods, as if reluctantly acknowledging this mysterious troubadour and his unfamiliar but equally valid non-glasses-crushing ways. He thanks me and takes the glasses, and ten minutes later I'm wondering if the whole episode really happened, and whether it might make for a decent blog post.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Pilgrims' Progress

4 Guys Tour from Adam Rex on Vimeo.


We've blitzed through LA . . . and made it to San Francisco. With the help of hundreds of kids, Dave has been drawing versions of ZOT'S PERFECT ENEMY.

Adam has been constructing demented 3-Animal mash-ups.

Jon has been maintaining a dignified Ambassador presence.

And Mac has been eating bananas.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Oh Really?

While a certain 2 Guys on the 4 Guy Tour were lolling around in a fat guy's chair, the other 2 guys were working the room at the Library of Congress. Hard. This is a picture of Ambassador Scieszka and Vice Ambassador Shannon in the hallowed halls of the LOC, just before they were whisked away by helicopter.

Crazy bunch of book lovers at the National Book Festival this year. Well over 100,000 of them. And they were there to see a great line-up of Judy Blume, Rick Riordan, Kate DiCamillo, Jeff Kinney, James Patterson, Jackie Woodson, Mo Willems, Tony DiTerlizzi, Holly Black, Kadir Nelson, Shannon Hale, Stephen Kellog, Jerry Pinkney . . . and Scieszka/Shannon.

We managed to pester everyone.
Stand by for video proof.

This could be the big day.
All 4 guys are scheduled to be at a school here in LA in a couple hours.
We'll see.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Brixton Brother(s)

On this tour Mac and Adam have started talking about Mac's forthcoming mystery novel, which Adam illustrated: The Brixton Brothers #1: The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity. It's officially released on October 6.

But yesterday we got word of a great review posted by Betsy Bird at her School Library Journal blog, Fuse#8. She really gets the book, and she posts a cavalcade of videos and supporting links, too. You know, the sort of thing we'd do ourselves if we weren't so lazy.

Anyway, here's the novel's cover, sans type. Click to make big.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Mission Accomplished

Mac and Adam, the hardest working two guys in the four guys tour, just had a really nice time in Riverside, CA. Have you ever been there? They have this hotel called the Mission Inn that looks like three Spanish churches and that castle from El Cid pushed together. It's the sort of place that has oil paintings of all the Presidents who've stayed there, and they have a surprising number of oil paintings. Look how pretty.

What a fantastic place to begin our Two I mean Four Guys Tour.

Finally, here is a picture of us sitting in a chair that belonged to William Howard Taft, our nation's fattest president. How fat was Taft? Adam and Mac are each about a half Taft.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Yes, Really.

To: Scieszka and Shannon

I want to affirm that I AM going to be a part of this 4 Guys tour. Here's a picture with an airport behind me and everything, so maybe stop being such jerks about it.


This One Is For Max

Here is another reason why Anderson's in Naperville is one of the best book stores in the world:

We were just getting ready to start the Tour when Anderson's called us to say they had a special request from a school near them. This past summer, a little kindergarden guy named Max had died of a brain tumor. They wondered if we could stop by to help celebrate Max's life.

Mr. Shannon kicked things off for 500 first, second, and third graders saying, "We are here to turn a sad thing into a good thing." And then we were off storytelling, drawing, and Robot Dancing.

Max's mom and dad and neighbors and friends are building a library of Max-Approved books, and helping fund more brain cancer research. You can check it out, and help out at their MAX website.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Oh Really?

I don't want to get all controversial right at the beginning of the Tour . . . but what kind of 4 Guy Tour is this?

We are in a hotel in the middle of a Chicago suburb mall parking lot, getting ready to take off for a very early morning school presentation, and I only count 2 Guys – Jon Scieszka and Dave Shannon.

I'm not saying a certain 2 Guys are already working harder and stronger, I'm just saying I only count 2 Guys.

So Mr. Shannon and Ambassador Scieszka are off for one crazy long day today. From Winnetka to Naperville and back again. But don't worry about us. We have plans to get everyone doing the ROBOT ZOT dance.

"Robot Zot never fall! Robot Zot conquer all!"

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

4 Guys, 4 Books...1 TOUR!

Welcome to the GUYS WITH BOOKS blog!

We'll be posting tales from the road, pictures and movies...stay tuned!
If you live near by one of our stops, come say HELLO!