Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tomie DePaola Award Submission

Here is my submission for the 2012 Tomie DePaola award. 

The challenge was to illustrate, in one image, the following excerpt from “Chicken Licken,” by P.C. Asbj√∂rnsen:

So they went along and went along until they met Turkey Lurkey.
“Good morning, Goosey Loosey, Ducky Daddles, Cocky Locky, Henny Penny, and Chicken Licken,” said Turkey Lurkey, “where are you going?”
“Oh, Turkey Lurkey, the sky is falling and we are going to tell the King!”
“How do you know the sky is falling?” asked Turkey Lurkey.
“Ducky Daddles told me,” said Goosey Loosey.
“Cocky Locky told me,” said Ducky Daddles.
“Henny Penny told me,” said Cocky Locky.
“Chicken Licken told me,” said Henny Penny 
“I saw it with my own eyes, I heard it with my own ears, and a piece of it fell on my tail!” said Chicken Licken.
“Then I will go with you,” said Turkey Lurkey, “and we will tell the King!”

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

NYT Notable Children's Picture Books of 2011

The list of picture books is below. Here is the entire New York Times list of notable 2011 children's books, including young adult and middle grade.

BLACKOUT. Written and illustrated by John Rocco. (Disney/Hyperion, $16.99.) There’s no place like New York in a blackout, at least as it’s depicted in this gorgeously dreamy landscape of deep midnight blues. The city comes alive after dark at the same time a family becomes aware of the comforts of home in a story about how a community and a family come together when the lights go out. 
GOODNIGHT, GOODNIGHT, CONSTRUCTION SITE. By Sherri Duskey Rinker. Illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld. (Chronicle, $16.99.) A debut author and an accomplished illustrator team up in a meeting of bedtime tale and construction book. This lullaby in rhyming couplets will also be loved by girls, with its images of vehicles clasping stars and cradling teddy bears. 
I WANT MY HAT BACK. Written and illustrated by Jon Klassen. (Candlewick, $15.99.) A bear has lost his hat. A rabbit has stolen it. The bear finds out. From this premise, Klassen has created an inventive book that will have children scratching their heads and then laughing with glee once they “get it.” Both story and bear have bite. 
I MUST HAVE BOBO! By Eileen Rosenthal. Illustrated by Marc Rosenthal. (Atheneum, $14.99.) A melodramatic boy, Willy, and a cat, Earl, both lay claim to a sock monkey. With adorable illustrations and sharp but spare text. 
ME ... JANE. Written and illustrated by Patrick McDonnell. (Little, Brown, $15.99.) Jane Goodall, the subject of this pictorial biography, and Patrick McDonnell, author and illustrator, are splendidly matched. Careful scenes captured in watercolors show how Goodall’s childhood shaped her adult life. 
MEADOWLANDS: A Wetlands Survival Story. Written and illustrated by Thomas F. Yezerski. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $17.99.) Meticulously researched and expertly drawn, “Meadowlands” is impassioned without being preachy. A fine introduction to our role in environmental devastation and ­protection. 
MY NAME IS ELIZABETH! By Annika Dunklee. Illustrated by Matthew Forsythe. (Kids Can Press, $14.95.) The indignity and aggravation of the mispronounced and mistakenly abbreviated name! Elizabeth, a feisty and outspoken girl, addresses those who misaddress her in this artfully drawn tale. 
OVER AND UNDER THE SNOW. By Kate Messner. Illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal. (Chronicle, $16.99.) A girl and her father are skiing when a red squirrel darts below the snow. Quiet, gentle and incomparably lovely, this book reveals a wintertime world under the surface. 
POMELO BEGINS TO GROW. By Ramona Bodescu. Illustrated by Benjamin Chaud. Translated by Claudia Bedrick. (Enchanted Lion, $16.95.) A baby elephant’s growth spurt also spurs worries. “Funny, smart and idiosyncratic, graceful and intuitive in a way that feels as much dreamed as written,” our reviewer, Bruce Handy, said. 
SAMANTHA ON A ROLL. By Linda Ashman. Illustrated by Christine Davenier. (Margaret Ferguson Books/Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $16.99.) A girl, a pair of new roller skates, a preoccupied parent. This ode to the glorious adventures — if also perils — of benign neglect pairs Ashman’s perfectly rhymed text with Davenier’s animated, humorous drawings.

Edward Sorel Video

Via Mark Mitchell, who found this on Drawn: a great video with Edward Sorel discussing his work. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Sendak and Weisgard

More great vintage children's book finds from Maria Popova at The Atlantic:


The the 1960 volume Best in Children's Books #35, hidden wherein is a version of The Velveteen Rabbit illustrated by none other than Maurice Sendak, he of Where The Wild Things Are fame. The charming duotone illustrations bring Sendak's signature style of simple whimsy to one of the most beloved children's stories of all time -- a priceless combination.

...and here!

Spotted on the lovely Vintage Kids' Books My Kids Love, here's a beautiful 1949 edition of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, illustrated by Leonard Weisgard -- only the second version of the Lewis Carroll classic, and the first with color illustrations. The vibrant, textured artwork exudes a certain mid-century boldness that makes it as much a timeless celebration of the beloved children's book as it is a time-capsule of bygone aesthetic from the golden age of illustration and graphic design.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

NYT 2011 Best Illustrated Children’s Books

Here is the announcement! 

Artwork will appear in their special children's book section in the November 13 issue.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Edward Sorel

Here is an excellent post by Peter de Seve on Edward Sorel

As an art student fresh out of high school in the late '70's, I was slowly becoming more and more aware of artwork outside of comic books and paperback covers. Before too long, I found myself introduced to the work of Ed Sorel and began a long and successful campaign of studying and stealing from him. There was an energy and fearlessness in his line work that was irresistible to me. How could anyone draw so loosely and yet so sculpturally at the same time? His pictures looked as if Giacometti had discovered spectacles and a sense of humor.

I love this:

... his illustrations were always a reminder to me of the beauty in errant lines; the ones you have to put down on the page while you search for your subject.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Andy Warhol's Children's Illustration

What a find! We had The Little Red Hen as kids, but it wasn't Andy Warhol's version. 

The vibrant technicolor artwork, an outlier in the warm pastel color schemes of 1950s children's illustration, offers a fascinating prequel to Warhol's budding pop art aesthetic -- one you can acquire for under $5, not a bad deal for rare, limited-edition work by one of only seven artists in the world to have ever sold a canvas for $100 million.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm

This looks like a must-have! (forwarded by my Uncle.) The Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm:

The Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm is an astounding new volume from Taschen editor Noel Daniel bringing together the best illustrations from 130 years of The Brothers Grimm with 27 of the most beloved Grimm stories, including Cinderella, Snow White, The Little Red Riding Hood, and Sleeping Beauty, amidst artwork by some of the most celebrated illustrators from Germany, Britain, Sweden, Austria, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, and the United States working between the 1820s and 1950s.

The new translation is based on the final 1857 edition of the tales, and stunning silhouettes from original publications from the 1870s and 1920s grace the tome's pages, alongside brand new silhouettes created bespoke for this remarkable new volume.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Google's Reverse Image Search

Thanks to Cedric Hohnstadt for posting about the new Search By Image service of Google's: "simply drag an image into the search box and it will find everywhere on the web that your image appears."


Monday, September 26, 2011

The Children's Authors Who Broke the Rules

From The New York Times, The Children's Authors Who Broke the Rules

The stylistic eccentricities of Maurice Sendak, Shel Silverstein and Theodor Geisel, a k a Dr. Seuss, are so much a part of the childhood vernacular today that it’s hard to imagine their books were once considered by some to be wholly inappropriate for children.

Yet these three authors — who each have a new book coming out this month in what can only be described as a Seussian coincidence (“But, see! We are as good as you. Look! Now we have new books, too!”) — challenged the conception of what a children’s book should be. And children’s literature, happily, has never been the same.

Judging by the reactions to Bumble-Ardy, some people STILL regard these books to be inappropriate for children!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Little Golden Books

A piece from Mental Floss on the history of Little Golden Books

I still have my old stuffed Poky Little Puppy toy! 

There’s a good chance you grew up reading the adventures of The Poky Little Puppy, Tootle, or Scuffy the Tugboat in the pages of Little Golden Books. Come along as we look at the history of these tiny tomes with the gold foil spine that have helped generations of kids learn to appreciate the printed word.

Before the introduction of Little Golden Books in 1942, children’s books were not really made for children. They were usually large volumes that were too difficult for young readers to handle or comprehend, and were awfully expensive at $2 to $3 each (about $28 – $42 today). But George Duplaix of the Artist’s and Writer’s Guild, in partnership with Simon & Schuster Publications and Western Printing, wanted to change all that.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

So Sleepy Story

Another favorite book of mine for Joseph's bedtime reading is So Sleepy Story by Uri Shulevitz. It is short, sweet, and without a preachy message. Just a nice, sleepy book to finish off a baby's day.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


A good piece from The Atlantic on Maurice Sendak's new book, Bumble-Ardy. I like the defense of subject matter in his books that some parents deem inappropriate for kids.

This month marks the end of a long, strange silence: For the first time in 30 years, Maurice Sendak has published a book that he both wrote and drew. 

...' books—the best ones—can challenge and edify children the same way we expect adult literature to challenge and edify us. By dumbing down or censoring their libraries we deprive children of the crucial means of confronting, then mastering, their fears. We take away their hope of finally letting go.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Happy Birthday, Roald Dahl

Today would have been Roald Dahl’s 95th birthday had he not died at the age of 74 in 1990. This year also marks the birthday of one of his most beloved books, “James and the Giant Peach,” which was published in the United States 50 years ago.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Joan Kiddell-Monroe

Another great forward from my uncle via 50 Watts (a site I will be linking to), Forgotten Illustrator: Joan Kiddell-Monroe. Such, beautiful, free-flowing work. Mine feels so tight and restrained and blah by comparison. 

Joan Kiddell-Monroe (1908–1972) was a British-born author and illustrator of children's books. I've been collecting her work from the 50s and 60s for the Oxford Myths series. Read more about her at wikipedia. Maybe someday I'll visit her papers.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Two Days Late

Happy 83rd birthday, Maurice Sendak!

I'll be looking forward to his new book coming out this fall, Bumble-Ardy.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Quiet Book

My latest bedtime book for Joseph: The Quiet Book. I love it. Renata Liwska's soft illustrations are perfect for this cozy little story. I'm happy to have this in his library.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Sendak, Picturing Mortality

A great little interview with Maurice Sendak forwarded to me by an uncle. My favorite part:

He knows kids respond to this darkness. "I take kids seriously," he says. "They have a lot of things wrong. They protect their parents. Children are brave little creatures."

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

How to Steal Like an Artist

A good, inspiring post by Austin Kleon (via Mark Mitchell). I especially like 8 and 9:

Kurt Vonnegut said it best: “There’s only one rule I know of: goddamn it, you’ve got to be kind.”


As Flaubert said, “Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.”

Saturday, April 02, 2011


Happy Children's Book Day!

Since 1967, on or around Hans Christian Andersen's birthday, 2 April, International Children's Book Day (ICBD) is celebrated to inspire a love of reading and to call attention to children's books.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

New Baby

I have been happily busy since my son Joseph Cesar was born on January 17. I've certainly spent a lot of time looking at his wonderful hands and feet over the last six weeks (don't worry, he doesn't look like the old man).

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Scholastic Book Clubs Launches Monthly Children's Books Bestsellers List

Scholastic Book Clubs today announced the launch of a monthly bestsellers list designed to inform parents, teachers, librarians, book sellers and book lovers about which children's books are most popular with kids.

Accessible online on Book Talk, the official Scholastic Book Clubs blog, the Scholastic Book Clubs bestsellers list will be issued on the second Tuesday of each month, starting January 2011, and lists the five most popular children's books based on books purchased through Scholastic Book Clubs in each of the following categories: Picture Books, Transitional Readers, Early Chapter Books, Chapter Books, Middle Grade, Young Adult, and Nonfiction.