Monday, April 30, 2012

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Fantastic Drawings

Barbara McClintock is fantastic.  That is an appopriate word for her work.  The Fantastic Drawings of Danielle is certainly one of my favorites, but Ms. McClintock's superb draftsmanship and emotional appeal make it difficult to choose a favorite among her published works.
Coming in a close second on my must-have list is the lovely series about a brother and sister with a penchant for travel, maps, and for losing things.  If you haven't discovered siblings Adele and Simon, then it's time to head to your local library or bookstore.

Adele & Simon

Adele & Simon in America

Upcoming Adele & Simon in China
book dummy courtesy Barbara McClintock

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Mailing May

Mailing May by Michael O. Tunnel and Ted Rand
Mailing May is based on the true story of a little girl growing up in 1914.  She wants to visit her grandmother, but times are tough and money is tight.  What can her father possibly do to get May to her grandmother's house?

They'll send her by post, of course!

Ted Rand's detailed watercolor illustrations perfectly set the scene as May travels seventy-five miles in the mail car of a train.  My copy has great historical details and photos in the back. Ted Rand's illustration style varies, but always shows masterful technique. Check out some of his other books: Here Are My Hands, My ShadowIf Not For The Cat, and the classic, Knots on a Counting Rope.

Michael O'Grady Tunnell is both author and teacher.  His love of children's literature spans all genres.  I enjoy his books, like Wishing Moon, but his work really shines when he writes non-fiction.  I love The Candy Bomber.  If you don't know the story of Col. Gail Halvorsen, this is a recommended read.

The real May,
age five.
My Shadow, by Robert Louis Stevenson,
Illustrated by Ted Rand

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Bookish Dolls

I love bookish things.  Below are three dolls by artist Wendy Lawton.  These characters are heroines in some of my favorite picture books.


Can you recognize the girls?  Click here to find the answers and learn more.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Impossible Things

Yesterday's quote by Lewis Carroll can be found in the first chapter of Alice in Wonderland. I considered a post regarding that peerless work, but that would be nonsense.  In the future I will undoubtedly highlight a few outstanding versions of Alice's adventures by illustrators who have done her justice.  Instead, however, I thought I would call to your attention a few impossible things . . . seven to be exact.

At the risk of dispersing my readership to a far more interesting book blog, I present
Art by John Tenniel, compiled by Julie Danielson
Seven Impossible Things changed its focus to picture books and their art in 2009.  It offers some of the best illustrators' interviews on the web.  Jules's passion for picture book illustration is difficult to surpass.  Her taste in art parallels my own.  Her blog format keeps the content interesting.  She has gotten some fabulous illustrators to contribute additional masthead's.  The blog uses a Wonderland theme.

So there are seven wonderful things about her blog.  Seem impossible?  Check it out for yourself, but don't forget to come back here once in a while when you're feeling a bit bookish.  Thanks!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Sunday, April 22, 2012

World Book Night Comes to America

Tomorrow is World Book Night.  Join book lovers in the U.K., Ireland, and the U.S.!  Sponsored by the leading library and book associations in the world and supported by many major publishing houses, the second annual World Book Night is designed to spread a love of the printed page and to promote libraries and booksellers around the globe by giving away one million books.  The volunteers get books into the hands of people who wouldn't normally read - - 'simple as that.  Although the event was originally intended for adults, this year the giveaway includes YA.  Hooray!  Even if you're not involved this year, why not pick up a copy one of these outstanding novels?  Happy reading!
The Book Thief,
by Markus Zusak

Because of Winn-Dixie,
by Kate DiCamillo

The Absolutely True Diary
of a Part-Time Indian
by Sherman Alexie
The Hunger Games,
by Suzanne Collins

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Raccoons at Night, Rebecca Evans

Courtesy Rebecca Evans

 I'm planning to post random art on weekends:  illustrations that catch my attention,  by less famous or unpublished artists.  Sound good?  I welcome your suggestions.  Join me.

Friday, April 20, 2012

A Knot of Toads

I have hardly mentioned chapter books in any previous post, so I thought it time to highlight a few.
Newberry Award winner,
Frog and Toad Together
by Arnold Lobel

No childhood would be complete without the Frog and Toad series by Arnold Lobel.  Days With Frog and Toad is the first in this lyrical series of adventures.  In simple but engaging language, Lobel gets us to smile as these two friends  fight and laugh their way through everyday activities:  planting a garden, taking a ride, flying a kite.  These books are an absolute must for the illustrations alone.  Especially geared to readers grade 1-3, but appropriate for toddlers to adults.

Garden State
Children's Book Award
winner, by
Jane Yolen
Master storyteller Jane Yolen is better known for her picture books or middle grade novels, than for her easy to read chapter books.  Nonetheless, the Commander Toad series for readers 6-9, has equal appeal. Bruce Degen's humorous characterizations of the crew of the Star Warts and the galactic oddities they encounter are the perfect compliment to the writing.  Commander Toad books are a sure-fire way to turn reluctant readers into bookworms.

On an interesting aside, Bruce Degen lists Arnold Lobel as an early influence on his work.

For more amphibian adventures, check out Tuesday by David Wiesner.

And for a challenging quiz, test your knowledge at FunTrivia: Animal groupings with a twist.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Orphan in a Coat

character sketch
by Joanne Roberts
Here is a little character sketch I did at work the other night.  This poor orphan is wearing all the clothes she owns as she travels.

On a technical note, my scans are usually a poor quality, but I had a lot less trouble getting this image to scan. It must have had something to do with the cream colored paper I used.  Interesting.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Bookish Wedding

Themed weddings have been a fad for decades, but the ones I'm familiar with have always been a costumed affair.  Who grew up in the 70's and didn't hear about a Luke and Leia couple?  When I started seeing the trend to design a wedding that captures the essence of the bride and groom, I wondered why I'd never thought of that.  Lately I've been seeing book themed weddings for librarians, writers, and the average book lover.  I ran across these splendidly bookish invitations from the Mismikado Creations on Etsy.  Sebrina will customize the color and design as well as the titles whenever possible.

Designed by Mismikado Creations
for Chocostudio
vintage book invitation with map
designed by Sebrina Parker Schultz
of Mismikado Creations

You can even include a pocket card with the RSVP "due" date. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Cricket, The Magazine for Children

Cricket's Choice
Cover Illustration by Trina Schart Hyman
There were many influences on my literary and artistic sensibilities, but few with more impact than Cricket, the magazine for children, which I first encountered in the form of Cricket's Choice.  Published in 1974, this
collection marked the magazine's one-year anniversary.  It was filled with stories, poems, plays, riddles, and pictures . . . lots of pictures.  It was a year before I thought to look for Cricket at the library, but there it was on the magazine rack.  The subscription card went home with me that day, and in April 1979, I received my very first issue.

Cricket Magazine was begun in September of 1973.  For the full story, I highly recommend the 30th anniversary book Celebrate Cricket.

 It was in the pages of Cricket that I discovered the buggies of Cricket Country along with many of my favorite authors and illustrators.  The magazine went through changes in size, color, and format.  Eventually the subtitle "the magazine for children" was dropped, because as Clifton Fadiman so wisely reminded us, it was just as coveted by "those grown-ups who are still children at heart."  It is still going strong nearly forty years later.  Over the years the original has been joined by a whole family of magazines, covering a range of interests and age groups, including those from Cobblestone Publishing.

So thank-you to Marianne, Cliff, Lloyd, Trina, and the many others who shaped the destiny of Cricket.  Thank-you for an enduring legacy of "the rarest kind of best."

Monday, April 16, 2012

Cultivating Our Minds

"If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need."

-Marcus Tullius Cicero

 Engraved  bookplate
by Andy English
Commissioned 2006 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Drawing On the Walls

Courtesy Elliot Ward

As I was cleaning up my files, I found this great illustration by Elliot Ward.  I can't find much about his art except his abandoned blog.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Pirates and Pre-production Art

video game concept art
origin unknown

I found this pre-production art in a file on my computer, but can't remember whose work it is.  I thought it had a great quality to it and liked the style.  It might be from "Monkey Island".  I need to research it to see if I can discover the artist.  I hope you find it inspiring.

Friday, April 13, 2012

All Things Bookish

I am adding a poll today.  I would like to know what you as the readers find interesting or valuable in this blog.  Please take a moment to cast your vote.  I will continue to publish posts on all aspects of children's books and publishing, but I would be happy to feature items which you, the readers, find interesting.  If there are any of you out there . . .?
Thanks for your time.  As always. I love hearing from you.

Writing Letters by Kecky 
AKA Kristin Kemper on Etsy

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Attention Adult Harry Potter Fans

Little Brown has just announced details of J. K. Rowling's new adult novel due later this year.  According to Hachette Book Group, the new dark comedy,  The Casual Vacancy is due September 27, 2012.  This news follows the announcement Rowling would be signing with a new publisher back in February.  We look forward to more great characterizations and a bewitching sense of place. (Pun intended.)

We wish her much success, and hope afterwards that she will grace us with another venture into the world of YA.

J. K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series and . . .

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Hilary Knight's Circus

The Circus Is Coming, by Hilary Knight was originally published in 1978.  Nearly thirty years later it was reissued and included a new spread.  This picture book is as fresh as if it had rolled off the artist's brush yesterday.  The Circus contains all the elements one would expect from a Hilary Knight production:  outstanding drawing, inventiveness, amazing color, adorable animals, exotic people, beautiful design, and a host of children following devotedly.  In short, the same things one would expect from the circus itself.  I highly recommend you buy your ticket before the show moves on.           


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Seeking My Next Book

Glenn Robert Gray said he spent the time he wasn't reading, looking for something to read!  In case you are seeking the same, I thought I'd list my current reads in several categories.  At the bottom you'll find some links for other booklists.

The Moonstone, by Wilkie Collins
In My Father's House,
by Corrie Ten Boom

A Series of Unfortunate Events #12
The Penultimate Peril,
by Lemony Snicket

Frankie Pickle
and The Closet of Doom
by Eric Wight
The Treausre of Savage Island,
by Lenore Hart

Monday, April 9, 2012

Spare Moments

"The spare moments of my life are a constant seeking out of my next reading material."

-Glenn Robert Gray

From Zookyshirts at cafepress

Okay, not really a bookplate, but you can request one from this seller.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Resurrection Day

"And one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto Him, Art thou a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days? . . . Concerning Jesus of Nazareth . . . how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and have crucified Him.  But we trusted that it had been He which should have redeemed Israel:  and beside all this today is the third day since these things were done. . . . and certain women also . . . said that He was alive. . . The Lord is risen indeed."

-Luke 24:18-34