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1. Where is Meddybemps?
2. Do jellybeans really grow on vines like grapes?
3. Do tooth fairies really mess up your hair at night?
4. Where did the names Tippity Witchet and Frogwart come from?
5. Where do you get the ideas?
6. Are your stories available in books?
7. Do you ever visit schools or libraries?
8. How do you make money?
9. Why did you build this site?

1. Where is Meddybemps?

The Island of Meddybemps lies only in the imagination. The inspiration for its name came from a small town in Maine named Meddybemps. I found it one day while I was looking for interesting names on state maps. Meddybemps had a memorable sound to it and I knew that I would find a use for it one day. Though its origin is reported to be Native American, it sounds mysterious and a little humorous at the same time. Perhaps it should mean, "muddy bumps," in make-believe French.

2. Do jellybeans really grow on vines like grapes?

They do on Meddybemps. To learn more about them, read The Legend of Chateau Meddybemps and visit the Bean Cellar.

Once upon a time, we sold gourmet jelly beans in our Gift Shop, but they were heavy and expensive to ship. Tippity Witchet still grows them in her garden and gives some to children when she's telling stories.

3. Do tooth fairies really mess up your hair at night?

It must be tooth fairies. You don't mess it up before you go to sleep. It's pretty unlikely that other family members sneak into your room every night to do it. So, that leaves....?

Read Frogwart and the Tooth Fairies for the shocking story.

4. Where did the names Tippity Witchet and Frogwart come from?

18th-century American botanist, John Bartram used the name, "Tipitiwitchet," to describe the Venus's-flytrap specimens he collected in Carolina swamps. I couldn't think of a better name for a character who appreciates the beauty, magic, and whimsy in nature. A search on the Internet for Tippity Witchet will also find a famous race horse with that name.

If you study the illustrations of Frogwart, you'll see a frog-shaped mark on her skin. Watch closely, because the mark seldom appears in the same place. She was named before any of the books were published about the boy wizard who attends a school with a similar sounding name.

5. Where do you get the ideas?

A. Some ideas pop right out of the air, ready to go. Some take years to work out. I began to think of Meddybemps around 1973. It wasn't called Meddybemps then, but it was the same place. I still have sketches from that time. I wanted a location for characters to live, a place where things would happen that could be told about in stories. Over time, people and their stories came to life in my imagination. In 1991, I drew scenes and maps of Meddybemps and began to write. The first stories were rough, but they led to more ideas and more writing. Now there are so many stories to tell, I can't find the time to write them all.

The thought of jelly beans growing on vines led to having some fun with imagined similarities to grapes and wine. That led to "bean tasting" and "estate-bottled" jelly beans. Somehow, that lead to the idea of people turning into jelly beans if they ate too many. See the Bean Spotter's Guide. It's easier to imagine things if you don't completely grow up.

The idea for But That Wasn't The Best Part came from the Banana Festival Parade we attended several years ago in the small town of Fulton, Kentucky. The parade seemed to go on forever and was great fun, but there it was the big surprise at the end that made the parade unforgettable and perfect for storytelling.

Pay attention to the world around you. It's full of wonderful stories waiting to be told.

6. Are your stories available in books?

We have produced a small run of But That Wasn't The Best Part to test the Lulu online on-demand publishing service. We will publish others as time and money permit. Educational publishers in Austria, Germany, India and Portugal have published stories as parts of English language reading programs. Reading Rhino, in the U.S.A. published interactive iPhone and iPad apps of But That Wasn't The Best Part, which is available through Apple's App Store.

Before I built this site, I submitted stories to several picture book publishers over a two-year period. The process was so slow that I grew very impatient. Publishers prefer that you submit to only one publishing house at a time. Their readers have to go through thousands of submissions each year. It often takes months for a manuscript to be read and returned with a polite rejection slip.

When I realized that I could self-publish on the Internet and bypass readers, editors, art directors and publishers to see for myself if anyone would actually like my stories, I jumped at the chance. I don't make any money by making them available for free this way, but I know my work is being enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of children around the world and my writing and illustrations keep getting better.

I may submit some work to other picture book publishers again eventually, but for now, I will be exploring the new opportunities to create and market eBooks.

7. Do you ever visit schools or libraries?

We do now and then. Would you like for us to visit your school or library? What would your children like to see and learn about Meddybemps.com?

We did present a standing-room-only workshop on "Creative and Playful Paths to Literacy" with the very popular Mary Jo Huff at the National Association for the Education of Young Children's annual conference in 2004. We presented a workshop on our site at the International Reading Association national conference in Chicago in 2006. We frequently present at the Fall conferences of the Evansville Area Early Chidhood Association.

8. How do you make money?

We didn't until recently. All along we've been interested in creating something of value for teachers and families with young children instead of worrying about the return on investment of each hour and dollar we've invested. Today we earn a little each month from the Google ads that appear on some of our pages, a little from Zazzle.com and CafePress.com whenever someone orders one of our mugs, shirts or clocks, and a little on the 101 Story Starters CD-ROM and downloadable learning materials. With your help, the income from these items is finally making Meddybemps.com self-sufficient.

9. Why did you build this site?

Because there was a need and because we could. See Our Mission.

See also this Personal Note and an email message a parent sent to us.





2015, Jerry Jindrich. All rights reserved.