Saturday, May 26, 2012

Elisa Kwon

Elisa Kwon is a designer living in Brazil.  She has worked in many fields, including animation, video games, and comics.  Her illustrations have a strong element of storytelling.

Image courtesy Elisa Kwon

More images by Elisa Kwon

Tiger Year, by Elisa Kwon
dog-walking, by Elisa Kwon
Please note, there may be a few images on this artist's website which are not suitable for all ages.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Abe Lincoln's Hat

Abe Lincoln's Hat,
Written by Martha Brenner,
Illustrated by Donald Cook
"A book which is well and thoughtfully illustrated provides a richer experience for a child by supporting the words of the printed text with concrete images which communicate action, express emotion, and satisfy a child's need to engage his / her senses. With love and magic, an illustration transforms a story into a living, tangible world which a child can explore and revisit as often as he or she wishes."
- Donald Cook, artist/educator

interior art by Donald Cook

Abe Lincoln's Hat is a chapter book written by Martha Brenner and illustrated by Donald Cook.

Abe Lincoln's Hat was published by Random House in 1994 as part of their Step Into Reading program.  This book is a Step 3, which means it is recommended for readers in grades first through third who are just beginning to read on their own.  The sentences are very simple, though some of the vocabulary is more challenging.  It reads like a reader, rather than a chapter book story.  This book uses the detail of Abraham Lincoln's stovepipe hat to relate important events in his career.  I like the way the author introduced lesser known elements from his life and focuses on his time as a lawyer.  This book appeals to my author side because it is these kinds of unusual details that are able to get a manuscript out of the slush pile.  The illustrations by Donald Cook are very appropriate to this book.  He has skill in varying the layout and point of view to give interest to the subject matter.  Cook's soft pencil-and-wash art lends a vintage air.

From Abe Lincoln's Hat, courtesy Donald Cook

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Vinnie Ream and Lincoln

Vinnie and Abraham was written by Dawn FitzGerald  and illustrated by Catherine Stock.  It details the true story of sculptor Vinnie Reams.  Reams was a prodigy and had a rare opportunity to sculpt a bust of Abraham Lincoln.  This picture book chronicles their meetings and the subsequent commissions.

Vinnie and Abraham,Written by Dawn FitzGerald
Illustrated by Catherine Stock

Published by Charlesbridge in 2007,  Vinnie and Abraham is a picture storybook which includes biographical data on the actual historical figures.  Although recommended for readers 7 and up, the text is quite long, with a word count of 2377.  Don't let that deter you from reading this great story.  It deserves the accolades it has received.

Courtesy Susan M. Sherman
and 7 Impossible Things
I know I'm partial to historical characters, but Vinnie and Abraham is a great story.  The art of Catherine Stock is an additional blessing.  Her versatile style means every book she illustrates is full of surprises. She is represented in the US by Red Fox Literary.  

As fine artist as well illustrator, she sets the bar very high.  The vibrancy and skillful handling of her watercolors combined with her solid knowledge of page design, make each of Ms. Stock's children's books a treat.

Lavinia Ream Hoxie (1847-1914)

Abraham Lincoln,
by Vinnie Ream, 1871
US Capital

interior illustration by Catherine Stock

Monday, May 21, 2012

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Beth Ann Bogert

Copyright Beth Bogert

Beth Ann Bogert is the newest illustrator to be added to my gallery of fresh talent.  Beth's energetic line work and sensitive coloration deserve attention from the publishing industry.

 She has been honored in exhibits and competitions, as well as illustrating for children's magazines.
I expect it will not be long before we see her spirited illustrations in picture book format.

Pandas by Beth Bogert

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Alice Ink, Miss Muffet

Miss Muffet
Copyright Alice Ratterree
I am pleased to present my latest illustrator find.  Alice Ratterree has been illustrating for 15 years.  She is currently revamping her website and portfolio, but her muted palette and character-driven illustrations are worth a look.  Find her at Alice Ink.

Please follow the link to view this stunning nouveau inspired piece in detail.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Illustrator of the Year, Brian Selznick

by Brian Selznick
Scholastic, 2011
Congratulations to CBC Illustrator of the Year, Brian Selznick for Wonderstruck!

Brian Selznick has had an amazing career, and he has been pushing the boundaries of children's books for some time.
Brian has written or illustrated dozens of books, including The Invention of Hugo Cabret.
If you aren't familiar with Brian's latest work, you'll have to see it to experience it.  His last three books include graphic sections which do more than illustrate the text.  As in a picture book, the art carries the story.  What's most exciting is these books are middle grade / YA.  These works are reminiscent of a graphic novel, but are something more. In an age when many young readers are being pressured to forego picture story books too soon, these 600-page picture books will bring readers back and, I hope, remove the pb stigma for elementary students as well.

Wonderstruck was chosen as the best illustrated publication of 2012 by over 900,000 students.  That's the largest turnout to date.  Brian beat out some stiff competition, including the legendary Eric Carle.  You can find the other CBC finalists and winners for 2012 at the Book Week page of the Children's Book Council.  There's more information about Children's Book Week at the 3/21 post on Bookish Ambition.

Artwork by Brian Selznick
from Wonderstruck

Just a few weeks ago, we were discussing the feasibility of a black and white portfolio at kidlitart.  Here again, Brian Selznick proves that it isn't the trend in art that interests readers, it's art and stories that speak to the viewer.

Artwork by Brian Selznick
from Wonderstruck

You can find great insights into Brian's career at Indie Bound and a thoughtful interview at Reading Rockets.

Visit Wonderstruck at Scholastic to learn more about sign language, constellations, and the making of the book.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Bookish Bench

In Istanbul they have launched an ad campaign using public benches to promote poetry.  Eighteen works by native poets have been represented as benches around the city.   Thanks to Nihal of Crossroads: Istanbul, Olga of Bibliophile's Corner, and Steph from Web Urbanist.


What a fantastic way to promote literacy, the arts, and to make the utilitarian more appealing!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Cricket Covers

Cricket Magazine
Vol. 1, No. 1
Sept. 1973
Cricket Magazine, back cover
Pilot issue: Vol. 1, No. 1
Jan. 1973

As promised, I want to clear up a few questions regarding Cricket Magazine and it's inaugural covers.

I mentioned in the post on April 17, 2012, that Cricket: The Magazine for Children was launched in September of 1973.  Volume one was scheduled to run nine issues, through May, 1974.  Pictured above left and in my previous post, is the very first issue sent to subscribers.  The art is by Trina Schart Hyman, who accepted the position of Art Director.  At right is the lovely back cover art, also by Trina.  This scan is from my pilot copy.

Celebrate Cricket,
30 Years of
Stories and Art, ed. by Marianne Carus
Cricket Books, 2003
According to Marianne Carus, a pilot issue was printed and distributed in January of 1973.  The purpose of this issue was to bring it before a test audience of  librarians, teachers, publishers, and so forth. To my knowledge, the content remained the same after launching the actual magazine, though there may have been some typographical changes.  I personally own only the pilot copy, so I've never been able to compare the two for content.  Instead of the volume number appearing on the front cover, the pilot issue has the words "January 1973".
Cricket's Choice
Cover Illustration
 by Trina Schart Hyma

Just for fun, I've posted the cover for Cricket's Choice again.  It was a compilation of articles from the magazine's first nine issues.  Trina painted a new cover for this book, recalling the one on the magazine.  

Cricket, The Magazine for Children
vol. 2, no. 1
Sept. 1974
In September 1974, when volume two was issued, Trina's artwork again graced the cover.  Years later, the art for the front and back cover was reused on slipcases which could be ordered to hold your back issues.

Cricket, The Magazine for Children
vol. 9, no. 7
March 1982
Lastly, I've included a scan of the cover of Cricket's 100th issue.  Trina actually repainted part of the scene from the inaugural cover.  A tiny reproduction of the first issue appears inside the "g" on the front and back as well.

For more information, I again recommend Celebrate Cricket, a book detailing the creation of the magazine and reminiscences from the first thirty years of publication.  Check the Carus Publishing website for available back issues or a subscription to any of their worthwhile magazines.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Oops 5/15/12

So sorry everyone.  The post for Ben and Me is now up and running correctly.  Please feel free to contact me if there is ever a problem with the site.  Thanks!

Ben and Me

I finally got around to reading Ben and Me, by Robert Lawson.

Let me start by saying I love Roberts Lawson's illustrations; I always have.  He excels at black and white drawing, of placement of lights and darks on the page.  He illustrated for St Nicholas, and for adult magazines of his day.  Most people know his artwork from Munro Leaf's Ferdinand the Bull or Mr. Popper's Penguins, by the Atwaters.  During his career he was called on to illustrate the writings of Dickens, Twain, Coatsworth, as well as classics like One Foot in Fairyland, by Eleanor Farjeon and The Sword in the Stone, by T H White.

If you are only familiar with the Disney version of this historical fantasy, you'll be greatly surprised by the differences.


Monday, May 14, 2012

Sparking An Undying Glow

"No one can possibly tell what tiny detail of a drawing or what seemingly trivial phrase in a story will be the spark that sets off a great flash in the mind of some child, a flash that will leave a glow there until the day he dies."

-Robert Lawson

Design courtesy Bloomfield & Rolfe

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Are You My Mother?

Happy Mother's Day!

P. D. Eastman was a remarkable man as artist, author, creator.  His talent was recognized and nurtured by Theo Geisel himself.  As I look over his list of published work, I count many of my childhood favorites among them.  But his books stand the test of sentimentality, for I have read them to my children.  They love them, and read them to their younger siblings.  That they will read them to their children, I have no doubt.  My thirteen-year-old cleaned her bookshelf yesterday, and saved two of P. D. Eastman's books:  they were not put in the charity pile, nor even the home library pile, but the keep-it-in-my-room-a-little-longer pile.  Are You My Mother? was one of those books.


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mike Lawrence

Ogre Serenade
Copyright Mike Lawrence
Three Red Head Studios

Happy Saturday!  Mike Lawrence is not an unknown, but to my knowledge he hasn't published any children's books.  I'd love to see him break into the chapter and picture book markets.  

Find his work for sale on Etsy or his graphic novel, The Salamander King printed to order.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Chicken Soup

From Chicken Soup With Rice,
 by Maurice Sendak
Courtesy HarperCollins
In May
I truly think it best 
to be a robin 
lightly dressed
concocting soup
inside my nest.
Mix it once
mix it twice
mix that chicken soup 
with rice.

Is anyone disturbed that this bird is making CHICKEN soup?


Thursday, May 10, 2012

What Do You Say, Dear?

What Do You Say, Dear?
Written by Sesyle Joslin
Illustrated by Maurice Sendak
This was my first and favorite encounter with Maurice Sendak.  Sad perhaps, but true that I did not venture into the land of the Wild Things until I was quite grown, nor travel to the moon with Little Bear until I had little bears of my own.  I had never visited the Night Kitchen.  I had never been outside, over there.  But I knew what to say to a crocodile in the street, how to end a dance with a bear, and thanks to What Do You Do, Dear?, I knew how to exit a library under dangerous circumstances.  If you need a little help with etiquette, or a Sendak fix, why not uncover these treasures at your local library?



Wednesday, May 9, 2012

In Memory of Maurice Sendak

Illustration copyright 2012
by Charles Santoso

Author, illustrator, legend Maurice Sendak passed into eternity on Tuesday, May 8.  No matter your personal opinion or connection to his books, you cannot deny the extraordinary influence he had on a generation of readers and picture book makers.  Thanks to Australian illustrator Charles Santoso for his outstanding tribute pictured above.

Maurice Sendak

Making Mischief
A Maurice Sendak Appreciation
By Gregory Maguire
A Hole Is To Dig,
By Ruth Krauss

Here are some additional links to learn more about Sendak's life and work:
Rosenbach Museum tribute
The Worlds of Maurice Sendak
Philadelphia Daily News article regarding death and the Rosenbach
PBS interview
Bookish Ambition highlight
Wiki Bibliography

The Art of Maurice Sendak,
By Selma G. Lanes

The Art of Maurice Sendak
1980 to Present,
By Tony Kushner

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Terry Brooks, Lessons

Just a quick post to follow up on Monday's quote.  Fantasy readers are probably familiar with author Terry Brooks whom I will highly recommend to our older readers.  But to all aspiring authors, make time to read Sometimes the Magic Works: Lessons from a Writing Life.

I found ample quotes and advice.  Besides, sometimes it's just enjoyable to read about someone who loves words as much as you do.  Follow Brooks's Cinderella career and be inspired.

And if you haven't read them yet, try the books below:

The Sword of Shannara,
by Terry Brooks,
published in 1977
Magic Kingdom For Sale, Sold!
by Terry Brooks,
published 1986

Monday, May 7, 2012

Life Without Books

"I cannot imagine life without books any more than I can imagine life without breathing."

-Terry Brooks

Art courtesy Sue Woollatt

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Children's Book Week

Tomorrow is the start of Children's Book Week sponsored by the Children's book council.  May 7 - 13, 2012 celebrates the literacy, and the power of the printed word to influence the lives of young people.

Get on board by attending a local event or just getting involved at your local schools and libraries.
Download great bookmarks and book lists.  See the winner for author of the year and other awards.

Get creative and get reading!

 Thanks to Book Character Costume blog