A Great Nephew and a Great Aunt, Guests-Maria Gianferrari and Daughter, Anya

Ants may rule the hill, but they don’t rule here! Art by Landon (Click to Enlarge)
Ants may rule the hill, but they don’t rule here! Art by Landon (Click to Enlarge)

Hello, Great Readers of our series! Just In case you haven’t visited before, let me tell you a little about A Great Nephew and A Great Aunt. My great nephew, Landon (a sixth-grader) and I (his great aunt) collaborate. I write a poem which he illustrates. We started this collaboration in the fall of 2014 and have had so much fun with it that we decided to invite others along. Landon and I will continue to have a new episode on the second Friday of each month. The other Fridays are filling up quickly with guests.

I have created a page on my website to view all the episodes of A Great Nephew and a Great Aunt. Click HERE to visit the page and enjoy past episodes.

Today it’s my pleasure to share a creative collaboration from . . .

Maria Gianferrari and her daughter, Anya

From Maria: Anya made me these polymer clay figurines for Christmas for my upcoming book, Officer Katz and Houndini: A Tale of Two Tails. It was by far my favorite present! I love the way she teases the characters’s shapes from the clay. She has an uncanny way of making the two dimensional, three dimensional in clay—their expressions, the textural details such as the braid in Katz’s lasso, and the stripes in Houndini’s vest. She’s also made a bunch of other figurines, some of which are based on characters for my as yet unpublished picture books, Rose-bot and Hermit Crab.

Anya’s Figurines

K&Hfigures+cover copy
Clay Figurines by Anya

Maria’s PoemSlide1

Many thanks to Maria and Anya for sharing their talents with us today 🙂




Meet Anya: Anya’s a German-speaking artist, animal-lover, hair stylist and baker/decorator/eater of cupcakes, currently in 8th grade.



Meet Maria: Maria’s not an artist, but she is an animal lover and an occasional eater of cupcakes. Sehr lecker. And a speaker of German too. Maria has three titles releasing this year, a second Penny & Jelly book, Penny & Jelly Slumber Under the Stars, illustrated by Thyra Heder (HMH/June); her nonfiction debut, Coyote Moon, illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline (Roaring Brook/July) andOfficer Katz and Houndini: A Tale of Two Tales, illustrated by Danny Chatzikonstantinou (Aladdin/October). To learn more about Maria, please visit her website: mariagianferrari.com, or say hello on Facebook or Instagram #pennyandjelly.

Thanks to Linda for hosting the Poetry Friday Roundup at Teacher Dance. If you’d like to know more about Poetry Friday, click HERE for an explanation by Renee LaTulippe.poetry friday button


62 thoughts on “A Great Nephew and a Great Aunt, Guests-Maria Gianferrari and Daughter, Anya

  1. I think that everyone with a picture book would love Anya to create for them, too. Wonderful figures, and the poem’s wordplay shouts out for the book beautifully. Thanks, Penny, Maria and Anya for a post full of smiles.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. So nice of you to say, Jama–thank you!

      Where in Virginia are you? I’m in Leesburg.And I’m originally from NH 🙂


        1. I saw that he was from NH–I grew up in Keene! Small world!!

          I’m sure we’ll meet one day soon at a VA event :).


  2. What a wonderful Christmas gift. Anya is very talented! I loved the detail in her work. And, I love to see a mother and daughter collaborating! Clever poem by Maria. I love her play on words. So much talent in one family.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It was by far my favorite git, Patricia! I wish we could collaborate more–my dream would be to one day do a picture book together!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I have no idea, Carrie–she didn’t get it from me! She uses polymer clay. It comes in many different colors, and then it gets baked, and can also be glazed. Anya has actually been meaning to glaze these, but has just been too busy. It gives the figures a bit more stability.

      And thanks for your very kind words too! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m loving all of these purrfect puns today! Thanks, Robyn!! I fell in love with them from the moment I opened the package 🙂


  3. Anya has a bright future ahead as a sculptor. Love her whimsical clay figures – they are a perfect complement to your words. Looks like she’s great a sculpting great hair styles, too. She is a beauty! And what a gift to have a teenager who is (still) nice to her mama. Congrats to you both, Maria!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much for saying so, Carole!! A teenager who is still nice–yes–we have moments of that ;)! Missing Emu’s Debuts too!


  4. Awesome, Maria and Anya! I LOVE LOVE LOVE those figurines! Time to mass produce them? In preparation for Katz and Houndini fever? This was such a fun post.

    Liked by 1 person

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