Friday, July 28, 2017

Happy Birthday, David Hyde Costello - July 21

Happy Birthday, David Hyde Costello - July 21

Better late than never, right? Well...I am not really a fan of that saying. I always aim to be on time especially with our author birthday celebrations. However, the only way we were able to celebrate David Hyde Costello's birthday was to do it a little late. The middle of July is always crazy for me with my annual trip to the Mazza Museum in Findlay, Ohio for their summer conference. This year, I followed up the conference with a visit to Patricia Polacco's house with my family. After returning home for one day from that adventure to Union City, Michigan our family was off again. This time we were headed to New York to a great little place that managed to turn all of my children into musicians as fast as you can hum the theme song to Star Wars.

David Hyde Costello is the author and illustrator of four picture books plus another he illustrated, A Crow of His Own, written by Megan Dowd Lambert. He studied acting at Hartford Academy of Performing Arts and later graduated from Bard College in 1994 with a degree in theater and visual arts. (Mazza Museum, R. Michelson Galleries, and Simmons). After graduating, he got an apprenticeship as a scenic artist. He went on to paint scenery for theater productions and movies, but he didn't really like the job. He described it as "hard work" during his Mazza Museum keynote, but said that he picked up painting techniques he would later use as a children's book illustrator.

It took seven years of submitting to publishers for David Hyde Costello to be offered his first picture book contract. His first book, Here They Come!, was published in 2004. His second book,  I Can Help, would take five years to publish after the editor said "yes". Now in 2017, things are marching along for David. He has published three picture books in the last three years and he frequently wows audiences during school and library visits.  His latest book is Little Pig Saves the Ship.

The audience at the Mazza Museum was wowed by David's presentation during the Summer Conference 2015.
He demonstrated his Scribble game where he made a quick scribble and asked, "What can we turn it into?"  In this case, the scribble became a toreador. Click here to see a video of the drawing.
Later, he wore a "weird little contraption" he made called a Kazumpet, which is essentially a kazoo attached to a trumpet.
He rocked it out with his kazumpet and ukulele! Click here to see a video of his performance.
After he shared his book, Little Pig Joins the Band, I got to thinking about kazoos.
I snooped around on the internet and found that there was a Kazoo factory less than three hours from our house. I made a note in my journal so I wouldn't forget this idea. Last year, we weren't able to make the trek, but this year we found a way to make it work.
The Original Kazoo Company is in Eden, New York, about 30-45 minutes from Buffalo.
This is the first and only manufacturer of metal Kazoos in the United States.
The business started in 1907 as a sheet metal workshop. Kazoos were manufactured starting in 1916. 
Now, after all these years, kazoos are still being produced in the same building. Visitors can watch production while learning the history of kazoos.
It takes workers at The Original Kazoo Company eighteen steps to make a kazoo. 
However, with the help of the owner, Karen Smith, we were able to make our own in less than 10 steps! 
For only $2.99 you could make your own kazoo, too!
Karen assisted my children through each step.
All the steps to make the kazoo were done on this small machine.

The kazoos were made with pure muscle. No adhesives were necessary!
Here are photos of all my kiddos putting a little muscle into their kazoo.

Next, Karen said, "It is time to add the music." The small resonating membrane produces sound through vibrations when you hum into the kazoo.
The resonating membranes are made in bulk with cardboard and plastic mylar film.
Here is a roll of the mylar film.
The last step was to cap the kazoo.
It's time to play. Toot!
They had so much fun!
Karen challenged them to play the Star Wars theme.
After making the kazoos, we read Little Pig Joins the Band. I started by showing them a picture of David Hyde Costello playing his kazumpet.
Inside the display case at the factory there were many vintage kazumpets.
Little Pig Joins the Band is about Little Pig and his struggles with being little when his family gets out the marching-band instruments. He is just too small for all of the big instruments. He asks for a kazoo, but no one listens. As Little Pig watches his family struggle as a band he knows just what they need, a leader. Soon, Little Pig has his family marching to the same beat.
This was the perfect place to read this book!

My family waved good-bye from Eden, NY.
David, it was great to meet you at Mazza! Even though this celebration was a little bit late, my family hopes you had a great birthday. Thank you for making such fun books!
1. David Hyde Costello's website
2. David's Drawing Table
3. Interview - Hope and Feathers
4. David Hyde Costello, Where Do You Work? - YouTube
5. Follow David on Twitter

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