Island_magic-330
ISBN 0-689-80588-8
ABA “Pick-of-the-List” fall 1999.
Grandad has sold his dairy farm and come to live with David and David’s parents on the Detroit River’s Grosse Île. Trouble is, Grandad didn’t want to move, and it’s up to David to make him glad he did.
Island Magic is set on Grosse Ile, MI, where my U. of Michigan professor husband and I sometimes went birdwatching, courtesy of residents Karl and Kathy Schroeder. One time, such thick fog settled in that we couldn’t see a bush, let alone a bird in a bush. The foghorns on the Detroit River sounded like bulls, and I thought, Carl Sandburg might be right about Chicago fog being a cat, but Grosse Ile fog’s a cow.
For a joke, I essayed an After Sandburg poem, dedicated to the cats of Chicago.FOG ON GROSSE ILE

The fog settles,
A cow in calf,
Sides spilling over,
Not to be hurried.
River horns bellow–bulls.
The fog grazes,
Breath beading our windows–
After her time, lumbers on,
Followed by twins.

You can see why I left it stuffed in a drawer for 30 years. One day I thought, ‘You never wrote a good poem in your life, but you could write a fog story.’

Island Magic contains one joke–the cow IOU. Lots of cows have been named IO, after that legendary maiden whom Hera turned into a cow, but this cow belongs to a farmer, so she is IOU. Many readers will miss that, but no farmers.

My first picture book was Dougal Looks For Birds. The artist was a smart, charming Israeli; the only American birds she’d ever seen were New York City pigeons. Her great blue heron was an anomaly.
The same editor bought Island Magic and said, “I’m going to get you a prize-winning artist this time.” Daniel San Souci’s great blue herons are just lovely.