Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cool Discovery


Dahl wrote the two-page story 28 years ago as part of a Finish-It-Yourself book, where authors would kick-start a story and children could make up the rest themselves. However, publishing stalled and the book never came out. Dahl's contribution, which garnered the author $200, told the story of two children and their creepy neighbor Mr. Croaker.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Children's Books in an iPad Age



After an illustrator asked how tech-savvy children’s book artists need to be, Wilson said Nosy Crow is “working with people with a range of technical ability,” but that the most important thing is to have “the spark of imagination. [Artists] have to understand what a truly interactive app is and does. Once they’ve done that, it’s possible to introduce other people... who can help make that process happen.”

Scholastic's Ten Trends in Children's Books 2010


A bit of a disappointing trend for picture books:

The shift in picture books: Publishers are publishing about 25 to 30 percent fewer picture book titles than they used to as some parents want their kids to read more challenging books at younger ages. The new trend is leading to popular picture book characters such as Pinkalicious, Splat Cat and Brown Bear, Brown Bear showing up in Beginning Reader books.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Sketch of the Day

Here I am angrily trying to get my pen nibs to work. It hasn't been going too well. 

I may return to Micron pens.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

NYT Best Selling Picture Books This Week

Here are the NYT best selling picture books this week:
  1. LLAMA LLAMA HOLIDAY DRAMA, written and illustrated by Anna Dewdney. (Viking, $16.99.) When the suspense is too much, Llama Llama turns to you-know-who for comfort. (Ages 2 and up)
  2.  FABULOUS FASHION BOUTIQUE, by Jane O’Connor. Illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser. (HarperCollins, $17.99.) Fancy Nancy takes an entrepreneurial approach to haute couture. (Ages 4 to 7)
  3. FABULOUS FASHION BOUTIQUE, by Jane O’Connor. Illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser. (HarperCollins, $17.99.) Fancy Nancy takes an entrepreneurial approach to haute couture. (Ages 4 to 7)
  4. KNUFFLE BUNNY FREE, written and illustrated by Mo Willems. (Balzer & Bray/HarperCollins, $17.99.) A little girl and her well-loved companion take a trip that leads to unexpected discoveries. (Ages 3 to 7)
  5. HEADS, written and illustrated by Matthew Van Fleet. (Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster, $17.99.) Animal noggins with tabs to make them move. (Ages 2 and up)
  6. LEGO STAR WARS, by Simon Beecroft. (DK, $21.99.) An annotated visual dictionary. (Ages 7 and up)
  7. OLIVIA GOES TO VENICE, written and illustrated by Ian Falconer. (Atheneum, $17.99.) A piglet prone to big ideas wants to live on the Grand Canal. (Ages 3 to 7)
  8. IT'S A BOOK, written and illustrated by Lane Smith. (Roaring Brook, $12.99.) It doesn’t tweet or need recharging. (Ages 6 and up)
  9. ART AND MAX, written and illustrated by David Wiesner. (Clarion, $17.99.) Two artists mix methods and media. (Ages 5 to 8)
  10. DC SUPER HEROES, THE ULTIMATE POP-UP BOOK, by the DC Comics staff and Matthew Reinhart. (Little, Brown, $29.99.) Comics, in 3-D. (Ages 3 and up)
  11. WHEREVER YOU ARE, MY LOVE WILL FIND YOU, written and illustrated by Nancy Tillman. (Feiwel & Friends, $16.99.) All about the tenderness a parent feels for a child. (Ages 4 to 8)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sketch of the Day


Another List

Here are Publishers Weekly's best children's books of 2010.

The picture books:

Shark vs. Train
Chris Barton, illus. by Tom Lichtenheld (Little, Brown)
This is one of those elementally brilliant ideas that evokes a "Why didn't I think of that?" response. By pitting a cartoon train and shark against each other in a series of increasingly ludicrous challenges (the train's heft is a liability in a hot air balloon race, but very effective on a seesaw), Barton and Lichtenheld tap into kids' innate ability to turn anything, anything into a competition.

There's Going to Be a Baby
John Burningham, illus. by Helen Oxenbury (Candlewick)
Though they're married, this is the first collaboration between these two children's book icons, and it's a marvelous one: a dynamic and realistic exchange between a mother and her son as they await the arrival of a new family member. The soon-to-be big brother's insecurities and nervousness emerge through their conversations, yet Oxenbury's crisp ink vignettes make it clear that their tender bond will be in no way threatened by the imminent addition.

Farm
Elisha Cooper (Scholastic/Orchard)
At a time when the farm-to-table movement has never been stronger, Cooper's understated and unromantic portrait of farm life is especially resonant. He pairs breathtaking watercolor panoramas, which portray endless expanses of farmland, with matter-of-fact prose that takes readers through a year of planting, caring for crops and animals, harvesting, and preparing to begin the cycle once again.

The Boss Baby
Marla Frazee (S&S/Beach Lane)
"From the moment the baby arrived, it was obvious he was the boss." Frazee takes a sublime metaphor for the havoc that a baby can wreak, and runs with it; new parents and siblings will be laughing every step of the way (most likely through exhausted tears). Those who question whether child care is a full-time job, "with no time off," will quickly have their answer.

Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring
Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan, illus. by Brian Floca (Roaring Brook/Flash Point/Porter)
An inspired vehicle to demonstrate the dividends that collaboration can pay, this story of the making of the classic American ballet, Appalachian Spring, is both accessible and fascinating. Greenberg, Jordan, and Floca are as in synch as were their subjects—Graham, Copland, and Noguchi—building on each other's contributions to craft a memorable tribute to creative power.

The Extraordinary Mark Twain (According to Susy)
Barbara Kerley, illus. by Edwin Fotheringham (Scholastic Press)
Based on the 130-page biography of Twain that his 13-year-old daughter Susy wrote, Kerley's superb study of Twain's life presents aspects of the writer seldom seen, as Susy describes his "fine" and "not-so-fine" qualities alike ("Papa uses very strong language"). Fotheringham's visual flourishes, as well as the inclusion of "journal" booklets of Susy's writing, complete this entertaining behind-the-scenes account.

Bunny Days
Tao Nyeu (Dial)
This trio of stories is as silly as it is subversive, as a group of hapless bunnies have unfortunate run-ins with mud, a vacuum cleaner, and a pair of scissors. Despite the shock of seeing "bunnies without tails and tails without bunnies," Nyeu's cartoon world is always comforting and warm. In each instance, Bear is able to set things right thanks to a washing machine, fan, and sewing machine, so that in the end, "Everyone is happy."  

Béatrice Rodriguez (Enchanted Lion)
Wordless books are all about the details, and so it is with Rodriguez's debut, a story that appears straightforward (fox steals chicken; rooster and co. give chase), yet is anything but. Rodriguez's cartoons convey much emotion, and in so doing reveal that the fox's intentions are in no way malicious. Unexpected moments of romance, humor, and heartbreak add to a story that could be told in 1,000 words, but doesn't even need one.

Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature's Survivors
Joyce Sidman, illus. by Beckie Prange (Harcourt)
While many animal books try to top each other by highlighting progressively obscure creatures, Sidman and Prange take another tack with this absorbing study of species that have stood the test of time (think millennia). Covering bacteria, mollusks, and (much) later humans, Sidman writes affectionate poems about the various animals; paired with factual information and Prange's graceful linocuts, it's an expert fusion of art and science.

Mirror, Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse
Marilyn Singer, illus. by Josée Masse (Dutton)
Singer and Masse are in perfect step with this clever and highly original collection of "reverso" poems (a form Singer developed), which can be read forward or backward—with significant impact on the fairy tale featured in each one. Masse plays with symmetry and dueling perspectives just as much as Singer does, giving the project a thematic cohesiveness and challenging readers to look at classic stories in an entirely new way.

It's a Book
Lane Smith (Roaring Brook)
Via a hilarious conversation between a technophile and a booklover, Smith delivers a pitch-perfect and timely ode to the tenuous relationship between printed words and those that appear on-screen. Smith's message is as much for parents as it is for kids, yet children will readily recognize the absurdity of, say, trying to translate Treasure Island to textspeak. And in case Smith's stance isn't clear: this one's not available as an e-book.

A Sick Day for Amos McGee
Philip C. Stead, illus. by Erin E. Stead (Roaring Brook/Porter)
What goes around comes around, in the best possible way, in this story of a zookeeper who gently tends to the animals in his care (playing chess with the elephant, reading stories to an owl), then gets similar treatment when he falls ill. As depicted in Erin Stead's delicate and precise illustrations, the friendship is made all the more poignant by inclusion of an elderly protagonist, an underrepresented demographic in picture books.

The Quiet Book
Deborah Underwood, illus. by Renata Liwska (Houghton Mifflin)
To turn a concept as intangible as "quiet" into a full-length picture book is ambitious, but Underwood and Liwska nail it with a collaboration that has an overall muted quality yet finds surprising depth in its nearly silent subject matter. From the solitary mystery of "swimming underwater quiet" to the uneasiness of "top of the roller coaster quiet," the book conveys a wealth of emotion in life's less in-your-face moments.

City Dog, Country Frog
Mo Willems, illus. by Jon J Muth (Hyperion)
Expectations are understandably high for a superstar pairing like this, and Willems and Muth more than deliver with an understated story of friendship between a dog and a frog that unfolds across the four seasons. The idea that the seasons (and life) inevitably end is counterbalanced by the subtle humor evident in both text and paintings, as well as the promise of a new friendship when spring returns.

Knuffle Bunny Free
Mo Willems (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray)
Willems's conclusion to his Knuffle Bunny trio is as heartfelt and emotionally true as its predecessors, bringing Trixie's relationship with her stuffed rabbit to a moving conclusion that feels inevitable in the best of ways. Willems writes with respect, honesty, and empathy for Trixie, as her inner confidence (very) gradually takes the place of the external comfort Knuffle Bunny has unfailingly provided.

Art and Max
David Wiesner (Clarion)
Although three-time Caldecott–winner Wiesner's latest can be read simply (and enjoyably) as the story of the Odd Couple–style friendship between two lizards, it's as much a meditation on the nature of art (aided in no small way by the fact that one lizard is named Art). Their adventure in painting takes turns both surreal and slapstick, matching plentiful laughs with contemplative insights about friendship, creativity, and identity.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

NYT Best Selling Picture Books This Week

NYT Best Selling Picture Books This Week:

  1. LLAMA LLAMA HOLIDAY DRAMA, written and illustrated by Anna Dewdney. (Viking, $16.99.) The suspense is too much, so Llama Llama turns to you-know-who for comfort. (Ages 2 and up)
  2. SCAREDY-CAT, SPLAT!, written and illustrated by Rob Scotton. (Harper/HarperCollins, $16.99.) Splat aims to scare his cat school pals on Halloween. (Ages 3 to 7)
  3. FABULOUS FASHION BOUTIQUE, by Jane O’Connor. Illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser. (HarperCollins, $17.99.) Fancy Nancy takes an entrepreneurial approach to haute couture. (Ages 4 to 7)
  4. ZEN GHOSTS, written and illustrated by Jon J Muth. (Scholastic Press, $17.99.) Stillwater the panda with a Halloween-themed tale of Eastern wisdom. (Ages 5 to 8)
  5. KNUFFLE BUNNY FREE, written and illustrated by Mo Willems. (Balzer & Bray/HarperCollins, $17.99.) A little girl and her well-loved companion take a trip that leads to unexpected discoveries. (Ages 3 to 7)
  6. IT'S A BOOK, written and illustrated by Lane Smith. (Roaring Brook, $12.99.) It doesn’t tweet or need recharging. (Ages 6 and up)
  7. OLIVIA GOES TO VENICE, written and illustrated by Ian Falconer. (Atheneum, $17.99.) A piglet prone to big ideas wants to live on the Grand Canal. (Ages 3 to 7)
  8. LEGO STAR WARS, by Simon Beecroft. (DK, $21.99.) An annotated visual dictionary. (Ages 7 and up)
  9. ART AND MAX, written and illustrated by David Wiesner. (Clarion, $17.99.) Two artists mix methods and media. (Ages 5 to 8)
  10. THE THREE LITTLE DASSIES, written and illustrated by Jan Brett. (Putnam, $17.99.) A retelling of "The Three Little Pigs," with Namibian flavor. (Ages 3 to 5)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

NYT Best Selling Picture Books This Week


  1. KNUFFLE BUNNY FREE, written and illustrated by Mo Willems. (Balzer & Bray/HarperCollins, $17.99.) A little girl and her well-loved companion take a trip that leads to unexpected discoveries. (Ages 3 to 7)
  2. FABULOUS FASHION BOUTIQUE, by Jane O’Connor. Illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser. (HarperCollins, $17.99.) Fancy Nancy takes an entrepreneurial approach to haute couture. (Ages 4 to 7)
  3. SCAREDY-CAT, SPLAT!, written and illustrated by Rob Scotton. (Harper/HarperCollins, $16.99.) Splat aims to scare his cat school pals on Halloween. (Ages 3 to 7)
  4. ZEN GHOSTS, written and illustrated by Jon J Muth. (Scholastic Press, $17.99.) Stillwater the panda with a Halloween-themed tale of Eastern wisdom. (Ages 5 to 8)
  5. ART AND MAX, written and illustrated by David Wiesner. (Clarion, $17.99.) Two artists mix methods and media. (Ages 5 to 8)
  6. OLIVIA GOES TO VENICE, written and illustrated by Ian Falconer. (Atheneum, $17.99.) A piglet prone to big ideas wants to live on the Grand Canal. (Ages 3 to 7)
  7. LEGO STAR WARS, by Simon Beecroft. (DK, $21.99.) An annotated visual dictionary. (Ages 7 and up)
  8. THE LION AND THE MOUSE, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney. (Little, Brown, $16.99.) A fable of reciprocal kindness, redrawn. (Ages 3 to 6)
  9. MY MOMMY HUNG THE MOON, by Jamie Lee Curtis. Illustrated by Laura Cornell. (Joanna Cotler/HarperCollins, $16.99.) A child waxes poetic about Mom’s amazing achievements. (Ages 4 to 8)
  10. THE THREE LITTLE DASSIES, written and illustrated by Jan Brett. (Putnam, $17.99.) A retelling of "The Three Little Pigs," with Namibian flavor. (Ages 3 to 5)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

SCBWI-C Fall Conference Update

As I expected, the SCBWI Carolinas Fall Conference this weekend was an informative, enriching, and inspiring experience. 

Most of the sessions I attended were lead by the incredibly talented, accomplished, friendly, and funny Laurent Linn, the art director for Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. His compliments and advice about my work during the workshops were invaluable.

I invested in a few books that have been on my wish list for some time: Illustrating Children's Books by Martin Salisbury, the 2011 Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market (I have the 2008 edition), and The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Children's Books by Harold Underdown. All worth it.

These conferences are well worth the investment in time and resources, and I plan to make many improvements and changes to my work based on what I learned this past weekend.

And I thank my dear husband for attending this conference with me and spending his time doing freelance web and graphics work from our hotel room while I was attending conference sessions.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

SCBWI-C Fall Conference Illustration Intensive

This weekend I will be attending the SCBWI - Carolinas fall conference in Charlotte, NC. I did this painting for an illustrators' workshop with the art director of Simon & Schuster. 


This should be a very informative weekend, and we're looking forward to visiting Charlotte for the first time since moving to North Carolina back in December.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010

Roald Dahl's Birthday

Today would be Roald Dahl's 94th birthday. Here is an interesting series of articles about him (forwarded to me by one of my uncles):


Monday, September 06, 2010

NY Times Children's Books This Week


1. LEGO STAR WARS, by Simon Beecroft. (DK, $21.99.) An annotated visual dictionary. (Ages 7 and up)

2. HEADS, written and illustrated by Matthew Van Fleet. (Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster, $17.99.) Animal noggins with tabs to make them move. (Ages 2 and up)

3. IT'S A BOOK, written and illustrated by Lane Smith. (Roaring Brook, $12.99.) It doesn’t tweet or need recharging. (Ages 6 and up)

4. STAR WARS, written and illustrated by Rufus Butler Seder. (Workman, $14.95.) Action scenes are set in motion when you turn a page. (Ages 8 and up)

5. HOW ROCKET LEARNED TO READ, written and illustrated by Tad Hills. (Schwartz & Wade, $17.99.) Reading is as much fun as chewing a stick. (Ages 3 to 7)

6. THE JUNKYARD WONDERS, written and illustrated by Patricia Polacco. (Philomel, $17.99.) A child with reading problems is placed in a special class. (Ages 6 to 9)

7. DOG LOVES BOOKS, written and illustrated by Louise Yates. (Knopf, $16.99.) Dog opens a bookstore, and when no one comes at first, devours the books himself. (Ages 4 to 8)

8. BATS AT THE BALLGAME, written and illustrated by Brian Lies. (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $16.99.) Bats, the mammals, swing bats, as in baseball. (Ages 3 to 6)

9. CITY DOG, COUNTRY FROG, by Mo Willems. Illustrated by Jon J Muth. (Hyperion/Disney, $17.99.) Friendships transcend seasons and city limits. (Ages 3 to 6)

10. LADYBUG GIRL AT THE BEACH, by David Soman and Jacky Davis. Illustrated by David Soman. (Dial, $16.99.) Lulu, a k a Ladybug Girl, is both enthralled and frightened by the sea. (Ages 3 to 5)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Missing Golden Ticket and Other Splendiferous Secrets


Miranda Mary Piker, described by author Roald Dahl as “a horrid little girl who was disgustingly rude to her parents and also thoroughly disobedient,” is one of several “nasty children” who didn’t make it into the final version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory when it was published in 1964. Fans can make her acquaintance at last in The Missing Golden Ticket and Other Splendiferous Secrets, which includes “Spotty Powder,” the deleted chapter featuring Miranda. Due from Puffin next month with a 75,000-copy first printing, the book also contains biographical and autobiographical tidbits about Dahl’s life and writing, as well as art by Quentin Blake.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ignatius Press Children's Books


Ignatius Press announced on Monday that they are launching a collection of illustrated Catholic books for children, with the first eight to be released in October 2010.


The company has partnered with Magnificat in publishing a series of Catholic books that will “capture the imagination of children of various ages through delightful full-color illustrations, exciting stories from the Bible and lives of the saints, and simple yet powerful prayers,” read a press release on Aug. 16.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Patricia Neal (wife of Roald Dahl) dies at 84

From the New York Times:

... During her affair with Cooper she became pregnant and had an abortion, according to the autobiography “As I Am” (1988), written with Richard DeNeut. “If I had only one thing to do over in my life,” she wrote, “I would have that baby.” Eager to have children, she married Dahl in 1953, even though she did not love him then, she wrote in her autobiography. A former R.A.F. fighter pilot who became a renowned writer of often darkly humorous children’s books (“James and the Giant Peach,” “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”), Dahl took control of Ms. Neal’s life. After their four-month-old son, Theo, was left brain-damaged when his pram was crushed between a taxicab and a bus on a New York street in December 1960, Dahl decided that they would move to the village of Great Missenden in England. Two years later, their eldest daughter, Olivia, who was 7, died of measles encephalitis, perhaps for want of sophisticated medical care that would have been available in a big city.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Gli Amici di Gesú

A children's book from Pope Benedict! It is only currently available in Italian though:

The book is composed of passages taken mainly from the Pope’s Wednesday general audiences, and tells the tale of Jesus’ first friends and disciples. Its 48 pages are illustrated by Italian artist Franco Vignazia, and it features a prologue by Spanish priest Father Julian Carron.

I also found Joseph and Chico a while back; a biography of the pope written for children.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Terrifying Children's Book Art of Japanese Monsters by Gojin Ishihara

Great work! Children's books don't always have to be happy tales about fuzzy, big-eyed creatures. 


"I came across a gallery of Ishihara's work today, mostly from the 1972 children's book "Illustrated Book of Japanese Monsters," in which the prolific artist drew pictures that I'm guessing were explicitly designed to scare the living hell out of the kids who read them."

Read the whole article here.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

"Things aren't the same, and they never will be."


Picture books have used artwork as a core part of their storytelling as long as the art form has existed, yet they have always evolved, too. "The printed book hasn't stayed static—look how popular graphic novels are with kids," says Eliza Dresang, the Beverly Cleary professor for children and youth services at the University of Washington and author of Radical Change: Books for Youth in a Digital Age. "Things aren't the same, and they never will be."

...

Publishers and authors typically say they want kids to be able to read (and interact with) a story in any form, including electronic devices. "They're not so much competitors as they are companions," says author Amy Krouse Rosenthal, whose Little Pea is the book of the month for Readeo.com, a subscription site that lets children and adults in different cities see live video of each other sharing digital picture books. "You might own it in both forms. One doesn't preclude the other."

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Children's Book

I've been curious about the novel The Children's Book by AS Byat since it came out:
Olive Wellwood lives an apparently perfect life; a successful writer of children's books, she lives in a beautiful old farmhouse in the Kentish countryside - Todefright, "tactfully extended and modernised in the Arts and Crafts style" - with her husband Humphry, her sister Violet and her brood of children. There they hold parties and mix with their friends and neighbours, well-known figures in the worlds of art, literature and politics; indeed, the novel begins in the run up to the Wellwoods' Midsummer party, with its Shakespearean themed costumes and a visiting puppet show.

...

Meanwhile Olive, pregnant again, continues to work not only on the children's books she writes for publication, but the individual, handwritten volumes she fills with stories for each of her own children, mysterious tales of secret worlds accessed through invisible doors, gaps in tree roots or cracks in tea-cups. Yet as with the Wellwoods' own lives, these beautiful fairy tales are filled with secrets and with danger, foreshadowing difficult times ahead as the children begin to grow out of their seemingly idyllic lives.

Read the whole review by Elizabeth Gregory here.

Maurice Sendak on what being an illustrator means



"When you hide another story in a story, that's the story I'm telling the children."

I found this via Mark Mitchell at How to be a Children's Book Illustrator.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Library of the Early Mind

From Publishers Weekly: New Film on Children's Book Authors and Illustrators:

Jean de Brunhoff’s Babar stories, or more specifically Adam Gopnik’s interpretation of them as part of the common language of childhood in the New Yorker in September 2008, serve as both title and inspiration for an upcoming film on children’s literature, Library of the Early Mind, directed and produced by Edward J. Delaney and co-produced by Steven Withrow.

...

“We wanted to do a film that would be interesting to people who may not have an interest in children’s literature,” says Withrow. “We wanted to describe how the writers and illustrators become artists and how these personal experiences really were the crucibles of the art they created.”

Here is the film's website.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Sketch of the Day

This was from our trip to Italy last July. We were looking at a lot of Hell paintings. Fra Angelico was one of my favorites.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Frank Frazetta, 1928-2010

Frank Frazetta died May 10 at the age of 82. Here is a post for him at Drawn.

We have this Leaping Lizards print above our living room couch.

May he rest in peace.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Best Sellers

This week's best-selling picture books from the New York Times. I think The Quiet Book and Instructions look fantastic.
  1. THE SANDWICH SWAP, by Queen Rania of Jordan with Kelly DiPucchio. Illustrated by Tricia Tusa. (Disney-Hyperion, $16.99.) Sometimes breaking bread, no matter what’s between the slices, leads to understanding. (Ages 3 to 7).
  2. THE QUIET BOOK, by Deborah Underwood. Illustrated by Renata Liwska. (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $12.95.) Animal friends experience the surprisingly numerous shades of quiet. (Ages 3 to 5).
  3. THE LION AND THE MOUSE, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney. (Little, Brown, $16.99.) A fable of reciprocal kindness, redrawn. (Ages 3 to 6).
  4. INSTRUCTIONS, by Neil Gaiman. Illustrated by Charles Vess. (Harper/HarperCollins, $14.99.) Wisdom for surviving life’s journey. (All ages). 
  5. POET EXTRAORDINAIRE!, by Jane O’Connor. Illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser. (HarperCollins, $12.99.) Fancy Nancy turns to rhyme. (Ages 4 to 8). 
  6. WADDLE!, written and illustrated by Rufus Butler Seder. (Workman, $12.95.) Animals in motion, with color. (Ages 4 to 8). 
  7. LEGO STAR WARS, by Simon Beecroft. (DK, $21.99.) An annotated visual dictionary. (Ages 7 and up). 
  8. SKIPPYJON JONES, LOST IN SPICE, written and illustrated by Judy Schachner. (Dutton, $16.99.) The peppery red planet captures a cat’s fancy. (Ages 4 to 8). 
  9. THE EARTH BOOK, written and illustrated by Todd Parr. (Megan Tingley/Little, Brown, $9.99.) Ideas for saving the planet, plus a poster. (Ages 3 to 6). 
  10. GALLOP!, written and illustrated by Rufus Butler Seder. (Workman, $12.95.) Animals seem to move when you flip the page. (Ages 4 to 8)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Puffin

Puffin Books is celebrating its 70th anniversary

Check out the Puffin Handbook, where they list the 70 best books for children.

Sketch of the Day

Back to the land of old-fashioned pen and ink! (With water color tests underneath)

Monday, May 10, 2010

"A great nation is a reading nation."


Since 1919, Children's Book Week has been celebrated nationally in schools, libraries, bookstores, clubs, private homes -- any place where there are children and books. Educators, librarians, booksellers, and families have celebrated children's books and the love of reading with storytelling, parties, author and illustrator appearances, and other book-related events.

It all began with the idea that children's books can change lives. In 1913, Franklin K. Matthiews, the librarian of the Boy Scouts of America, began touring the country to promote higher standards in children's books. He proposed creating a Children's Book Week, which would be supported by all interested groups: publishers, booksellers, and librarians.

Read more about CBW here.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Mothers

Happy Mother's Day! 

This book really brings me back to my childhood, which was wonderful thanks to my great mother (and father).

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Free Comic Book Day

Today is Free Comic Book Day

Unfortunately for me, all the Mouse Guards were gone by the time we got there.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Monday, April 19, 2010

Best Sellers

This week's best sellings children's books from the New York Times:

1 THE EASTER EGG, written and illustrated by Jan Brett. (Putnam, $17.99.) A story of caring and the hatching of spring. (Ages 4 to 8)

2 LEGO STAR WARS, by Simon Beecroft. (DK, $21.99.) An annotated visual dictionary. (Ages 7 and up)

3 THE LION AND THE MOUSE, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney. (Little, Brown, $16.99.) A fable of reciprocal kindness, redrawn. (Ages 4 to 8)

4 DISNEY’S ALICE IN WONDERLAND: THE VISUAL GUIDE, by Jo Casey and Laura Gilbert. (DK, $16.99.) A movie tie-in. (Ages 8 and up)

5 POET EXTRAORDINAIRE!, by Jane O’Connor. Illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser. (HarperCollins, $12.99.) Fancy Nancy’s fancy turns to rhyme. (Ages 4 to 8)

6 MY GARDEN, written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes. (Greenwillow/HarperCollins, $17.99.) A little girl’s garden yields a bounty of magical variety. (Ages 4 to 8)

7 OLLIE'S EASTER EGGS, written and illustrated by Olivier Dunrea. (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $9.99.) Goslings separated from the eggs they decorated hunt for their missing booty. (Ages 4 to 8)

8 THE JELLYBEANS AND THE BIG BOOK BONANZA, by Laura Numeroff and Nate Evans. Illustrated by Lynn Munsinger. (Abrams, $15.95.) Friends work together in a quest for the perfect book. (Ages 4 to 8)

9 GALLOP!, written and illustrated by Rufus Butler Seder. (Workman, $12.95.) Animals seem to move when you flip the page. (Ages 4 to 8)

10 MISS BROOKS LOVES BOOKS! (AND I DON'T), by Barbara Bottner. Illustrated by Michael Emberley. (Knopf, $17.99.) A reluctant reader rejects every offering until she finds an unconventional idol. (Ages 4 to 8)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sketch of the Day

Nothing special -- a doodle on my notes from my last job interview.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The iPad Meets the Children's Book

On launch day last Saturday, Apple sold more than 300,000 iPads—and users downloaded more than one million apps and more than 250,000 ebooks from the iBookstore. Parents immediately started snapping up picture book apps from Apple's online store. In fact, children's stories held six of the top 10 paid iPad book-app sales spots as of press time.

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Publishers and app makers are taking widely different approaches to the burgeoning app market, with some instantly jumping on the iPad bandwagon and others waiting to see how many moms and dads let their kids read stories on a $499 device.

Read the whole thing at Publishers Weekly.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Toon Books iPhone App


Titles currently available are Jack and the Box by Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Art Spiegelman and Little Mouse Gets Ready, a Theodor Seuss Geisel Award Honor book, by Jeff Smith.

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This is a collaboration between TOON Books and iStoryTime, a publisher of children’s storybooks for the iPhone.

Electronic media are a big part of children's books' present and future, although I don't believe they can replace the physical books themselves. The pages of a book can be much easier on the eyes than a computer screen!

Children's Book Day

I am a day late because our internet was down, but happy Children's Book Day!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Bob Dylan

I bet this will be good!

Bob Dylan's "Man Gave Names to All the Animals," from his 1979 album Slow Train Coming, will serve as inspiration for a children's book.

Dylan approved the use of his song's title, which references a line from Genesis 2:20, for use as the book's title and agreed to the book featuring drawings inspired by his lyrics.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Saturday, January 16, 2010

One month later...

We have been happily getting settled into our new home after the big move, Christmas and New Years, and then going back to work at our day jobs.

Here is an article speculating on this year's potential Newbery and Caldecott award winners:

This year, children's-book experts agree that the winner should be "The Lion & the Mouse" (Little Brown, $16.99), an Aesop's fable masterfully illustrated by Jerry Pinkney, who has won five Caldecott Honors.

As Kellman put it: "... if 'Lion & Mouse' doesn't win, there is no justice."

Pinkney's watercolor illustrations offer wonderful new insights — sometimes humorous, other times dramatic — into the classic story. There's another factor (which, under the rules, can't be considered by the Caldecott committee): If he wins, Pinkney would be the first individual African-American illustrator to win the Caldecott since it was created in 1938. (An interracial couple, Leo and Diane Dillon, have won two Caldecott Medals).

Interestingly, Pinkney also illustrated one of this year's potential Newbery contenders, "Sweethearts of Rhythm" (Dial, $21.99), written by Marilyn Nelson.

Other Caldecott possibilities include:

"All the World" (Beach Lane, $17.99), written by Liz Garton Scanlon and illustrated by Marla Frazee, who won a Caldecott Honor last year for "A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever";

"Birds" (Greenwillow, $17.99), written by Caldecott Medalist Kevin Henkes and illustrated by his wife, Laura Dronzek;

"Crow Call" (Scholastic, $16.99), written by Newbery Medalist Lois Lowry and illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline;

"The Curious Garden" (Little Brown, $16.99), written and illustrated by Peter Brown;

"Duck! Rabbit!" (Chronicle Books, $16.99), written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld;

"Hello Baby!" (Beach Lane Books, $16.99), written by Mem Fox and illustrated by Steve Jenkins;

"Higher! Higher!" (Candlewick Press, $15.99), written and illustrated by Leslie Patricelli;

"Moonshot" (Atheneum, $17.99), written and illustrated by Brian Floca;

"Otis" (Philomel, $17.99), written and illustrated by Loren Long;

"Tsunami!" (Philomel, $16.99), written by Kimiko Kajikawa and illustrated by Caldecott Medalist Ed Young.

Happy New Year everyone!