Yesterday’s post covered the background and writing process of THE HAIR OF ZOE FLEEFENBACHER GOES TO SCHOOL. It took, um…. years to write the book and have it published. (I point this out to anyone who is just joining the field of children’s literature and thinks they have a great picture book idea that will make them eight million dollars in time for Christmas.)

In the critical scene of ZOE, the teacher is trying to demonstrate how the planets in our solar system revolve around the sun. In the early drafts of the book, there were nine planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.

Then – while Ard Hoyt was working on his preliminary sketches – Pluto was demoted.

Time for another revision!

I thought about making a scientific political statement, like asking Ard to draw in a poster in Ms. Trisk’s classroom that said something like "Bring back Pluto!", but wiser heads prevailed.


I’m not quite sure how JUMP! is in the lead in this contest because it is not supposed to be published until March 2010. Maybe Scott M. Fischer knows more people than I do. Maybe he has a secret league of great-aunties who have enlisted all of the women from their bridge clubs and canasta leagues and hair parlors do vote for his book.

Zoe only has you.

YOU can put ZOE in a cheerios cereal box. Here’s how:


1. Go to the voting page.

2. In the bottom right corner, click on MORE BOOKS twice. (Yes, this is the tricky part. No, I don’t know why Zoe is buried at the absolute back of the pack. Kind of makes you feel sorry for her, huh?) That will take you to ZOE.

3. Click on the yellow box that says VOTE!

4. Notify all of your friends, neighbors, family members, the folks at church or temple or mosque or other house of faith, the rest of the PTA, the people at the firehouse, everyone in your classroom, and tell them all pretty, pretty please with a headful of unruly red hair, PLEASE VOTE FOR ZOE.

5. Do this every day until the end of October.





  1. You might want to add that each person can vote once per day from each computer he or she has access to, since the “once per day” limit is linked to the specific computer casting the vote. So, if your public library has 20 computers… (Not that I’m advocating voter fraud, but I was born in NJ, so it’s in my blood.)

  2. “Bring Back Pluto!” That’d been great. There actually is a Pluto Petition. You can find it in the right sidebar of – a great site to check every so often to see what’s up in the sky. Subscribe to their free newsletter, and about once a month they’ll let you know of upcoming meteor showers, eclipses, conjunctions, and other cool stuff.

    Getting back to the voting, yeah, that is odd with Jump – it has the least attractive cover, and the author doesn’t seem to have a big catalog at Amazon. All the World has a great cover, and Chaucer’s First Winter is seasonal, so it’s easy to see why they’re doing well.

    What might be hurting Zoe’s votes are that she’s tucked away by herself on the third page and they don’t list the full title, where all the charm is. Plus, some might think it’s not for boys and go for the T-Rex instead.

    How is Cheerios promoting this to the public – is the contest mentioned on their current boxes?

  3. I just went through the link and voted for Zoe five times… I would have expected that if there was a limit, they would have a page telling you that you can’t vote again until tomorrow if you return to the voting page twice in a day. Which they don’t. So my curiosities are thus:
    -Are all 5 of my votes counted?
    -Is my computer/connection/whatever an anomoly, and other computers/connections/whatevers do have the aforementioned message?
    -Is “JUMP” winning because they have discovered this flaw and have hired a team of interns to do nothing but vote for “JUMP” full time?
    -Or is there some other, more likely solution, of which I cannot hope to concieve due to my lack of technical prowess?

  4. (And furthermore) If my observations prove accurate, oughtn’t we be encouraging everyone else to vote multiple times a day? If you have a decently fast connection, you can easily vote 5 times per minute.

  5. I don’t know about how they track computers, but you can find the official rules on this page, and they say only one vote per day.

    Also, the books won’t be in the boxes till a year from now, so that’s probably why they’ve included JUMP.

  6. The Wise Choice Is to Keep Pluto In

    I ask you very seriously to reconsider your choice, as there is strong scientific reason for stating that this is the choice of “wiser heads.” Please do not blindly accept the controversial demotion of Pluto, which was done by only four percent of the International Astronomical Union, most of whom are not planetary scientists. Their decision was immediately opposed in a formal petition by hundreds of professional astronomers led by Dr. Alan Stern, Principal Investigator of NASA’s New Horizons mission to Pluto. Stern and like-minded scientists favor a broader planet definition that includes any non-self-luminous spheroidal body in orbit around a star. The spherical part is important because objects become spherical when they attain a state known as hydrostatic equilibrium, meaning they are large enough for their own gravity to pull them into a round shape. This is a characteristic of planets and not of shapeless asteroids and Kuiper Belt Objects. Pluto meets this criterion and is therefore a planet. At the very least, you should note that there is an ongoing debate rather than portraying one side as fact when it is only one interpretation of fact.

    Petition of scientists opposing demotion of Pluto:

    Audio transcripts of the Great Planet Debate, a conference held at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab in Laurel, MD in August 2008 in response to Pluto’s demotion:

    I hope you will take the time to check out these sites and find out for yourself that this is still an ongoing debate, and that it is perfectly legitimate scientifically to consider Pluto a planet.

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