Archive for the 'Intermediate' Category

What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Matt Phelan

h1 Friday, July 18th, 2014


Anyone else remember Loretta Mason Potts, written by Mary Chase and originally published in 1958? That’s (mostly) the subject of my Kirkus column today, as the book was just reissued by The New York Review Children’s Collection. That link is here.

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Last week, I chatted (here) with author-illustrator Matt Phelan about his 2014 projects, Burleigh Mutén’s Miss Emily (Candlewick), released back in March, and his own picture book, Druthers (also from Candlewick), coming in September. (Pictured above is an early sketch from Druthers.)

Today, we’ll look at a bit of art from each book, as well as some sketches from Matt. I thank him for sharing.

Enjoy.

Read the rest of this entry �

TOONs Thursday: Some Art from
Frédéric Othon Théodore Aristidès,
Lorenzo Mattotti, and Yvan Pommaux

h1 Thursday, July 3rd, 2014


“And then, one morning, their father announced he was taking them with him to work.”
– From Neil Gaiman’s
Hansel & Gretel, illustrated by Lorenzo Mattotti
(Click to enlarge)


 

From Yvan Pommaux’s Theseus and the Minotaur
(Click to see spread in its entirety)


 

From Fred’s Cast Away on the Letter A: A Philemon Adventure
(Click to enlarge)


 
Last week over at Kirkus, I chatted with designer and editor Françoise Mouly about TOON Graphics, the new imprint from TOON Books. That conversation is here, and today I follow up with some art from the imprint’s three debut titles — Neil Gaiman’s Hansel & Gretel, illustrated by Lorenzo Mattotti; Yvan Pommaux’s Theseus and the Minotaur; and Cast Away on the Letter A: A Philemon Adventure from Frédéric Othon Théodore Aristidès, who went simply by Fred.

Enjoy.

Read the rest of this entry �

What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week,
Featuring Edwin Fotheringham and … well, the Wyeths

h1 Friday, June 13th, 2014


“In college, he still dreamed of fields and woods and home. But by his junior year in 1820, he also found new things to love: reading stacks of books, discussing them with friends, and recording ‘new thoughts’ in a journal. He named his journal The Wide World. His thoughts took him everywhere. And when he finished school and set out on his own, he wondered: Could he build a life around these things he loved?”
– Art from Barbara Kerley’s
A Home for Mr. Emerson, illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham
(Click image to enlarge)


“Ann loved dolls but Andrew’s favorites were trains, a hook and ladder that pumped real water, and his toy soldiers. When he was six, N.C. painted his portrait.
Andrew wouldn’t hold still. N.C. gave him the toy fire engine to hold, but he kept moving, so N.C. left the hands unfinished.”
– From Susan Goldman Rubin’s
Everybody Paints!:
The Lives and Art of the Wyeth Family
(Click to enlarge spread)


 
This morning over at Kirkus, since Father’s Day is upon us, I write about some of my favorite picture books featuring fathers. That link is here.

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Last week, I wrote here about two new biographies, Barbara Kerley’s A Home for Mr. Emerson (Scholastic, February 2014), illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham, and Susan Goldman Rubin’s Everybody Paints!: The Lives and Art of the Wyeth Family (Chronicle, February 2014).

Today, I’ve got a bit of art from the Emerson book, and Edwin is also sharing a few sketches and a few words below.

I’ve also got some spreads from the Wyeth biography. It turns out that (legally-speaking), I can post some art from the Wyeth book, if I include the spreads in their entirety. No problem. I’ll share them here. I’ve been a long-time fan of the art that has come from the Wyeth clan—my bookshelves groan under my collection of Wyeth books—and I hope you enjoy the spreads here today.

Until Sunday … Read the rest of this entry �

A Bit of Absurdity Before Breakfast

h1 Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

The beginning of my week has been busier than usual, which means I’m stragglin’ here, folks, so I’ll be brief today.

I have some art this morning from James Kochalka’s The Glorkian Warrior Delivers a Pizza (First Second, March 2014). It features a rather dim-witted, three-eyed pink alien with three teeth; his companion, Super Backpack; and their dangerous journey to deliver a pizza. Throw in a Magic Robot, a Gonk that likes to bonk, a Glorkian supercar, some Glorkian kung fu, some self-directed punching in the face, some space and time disruptions, and lots of banter and bright colors, sure to please lovers of both comics and graphic novels — especially fans of the absurd. The Kirkus review calls it “vibrantly weird and wonderful,” and School Library Journal calls it “interestingly subversive.” Ah, you had me at subversive. (And weird.)

I’ve heard/read discussions lately about the intense, heavy subject matter of many books for children today. For one, I’m currently reading this with own daughters. This is a conversation that never seems to go away. Swings like a pendulum, that one. Rest assured, there are no, say, deceased parents, natural disasters, or crippling class issues in The Glorkian Warrior Delivers a Pizza. Yes, we need all kinds of books (and, thus far, my girls are riveted by Lamana’s book), but sometimes you just need the straight-up madcap ones, the ones good for a hearty laugh.

Did I mention my eyes are crossing from fatigue today? That’s all I’ve got, and let’s hope I was mildly to moderately articulate. Here’s some more art (the first four pages of the book, actually).

Enjoy! Read the rest of this entry �

My Zita Tribute, During Which
the Eight-Year-Old Momentarily Takes Over the Blog

h1 Thursday, May 1st, 2014


(Click to enlarge)


 
First Second Books has a really fun blog tour going on, called “My Favorite Thing About Zita the Spacegirl.” You can read about it here and see the long line-up of Zita’s fans. (Yesterday, Mark Siegel wrote about the many reasons he likes this character, one of those being “that Zita is like The Little Prince. Only female and kicks some ass and has a bunch of alien friends she makes along the way.”)

The Zita books were created by writer, artist, and graphic novelist Ben Hatke, and this May readers will see the last of the Zita trilogy, The Return of Zita the Spacegirl. Before that came 2011′s Zita the Spacegirl and 2012′s Legends of Zita the Spacegirl.

I’m happy to be a part of this blog tour, because I love these graphic novels. In fact, you can read why here (2011) and here (2012). Those are 7-Imp visits with Ben in which he shares art and even such things as early sketches (and even some of his other, non-Zita art).

Today, however, I’m handing my site over to my eight-year-old. I don’t normally do this, but she was super eager to contribute, as both she and her sister are HUGELY HUGE fans of the Zita books. I couldn’t possibly count the number of times they’ve read each book. The only reason her older sister isn’t contributing today is ’cause she’s more private, and I think she feels a bit shy about it. But the eight-year-old, after I asked her why she loves Zita, ran off with pen and paper and drew some tributes (and freely gave me permission to post them). Read the rest of this entry �

What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Maira Kalman

h1 Friday, April 25th, 2014


“Meet me on the lawn, I want to take a picture of you.”
(Click image to enlarge)


 


“Perhaps she stood there so that she could stand still.”
(Click image to enlarge)


 

Last week I wrote here about Maira Kalman and Daniel Handler’s Girls Standing on Lawns, to be published by the Museum of Modern Art in early May.

Pictured above are two paintings from the book.

Ah. Kalman.

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This morning over at Kirkus, I have a tribute to the one. the only. Viola Swamp.

That link is here.

Until Sunday …

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GIRLS STANDING ON LAWNS. Illustrations by Maira Kalman © 2014. Text by Daniel Handler © 2014. Published by The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Paintings used by permission of the publisher.

My Morning Chat with Laurie Keller
(Where’s My Doughnut Anyway?)

h1 Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

It’s tricky to try to guess what kids will think is funny, so I usually just write what I think is funny and hope that they’ll think so, too. Sometimes silly lines will come to me right away, but other times it takes me weeks to get the right ‘angle’ or ‘voice’ that I’m looking for. Watching movies that make me laugh helps — like Monty Python and the Holy Grail (talk about slapstick!), Strictly Ballroom, The Jerk, Airplane!, Young Frankenstein and anything by Christopher Guest. If there are parts I’ve written that aren’t as funny as I would like, I can’t always pinpoint what isn’t working right away, but eventually the right mood hits and I can usually figure out how to fix it.”

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This morning over at Kirkus, I chat with author-illustrator Laurie Keller. I do that annoying thing people do where they ask what it’s like to write humor, but hey, she was up for answering.

That link is here. Next week, I’ll follow up with some illustrations from her new Arnie the Doughnut chapter books.

Until tomorrow …

Loïc Dauvillier on the Duty of Remembrance

h1 Thursday, March 20th, 2014

Marc Lizano and I were wondering about our roles as fathers in the duty of remembrance. We are fathers and we are also authors. Soon enough, we wondered about our roles as authors in passing on the memory of things. We started from a principle that knowing past events can help to avoid repeating them.”

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This morning over at Kirkus, I chat briefly with author and comics writer Loïc Dauvillier.

Dauvillier’s latest graphic novel for children, illustrated by Marc Lizano and Greg Salsedo, is called Hidden (First Second). Subtitled A Child’s Story of the Holocaust, it’s the story of a young Jewish girl living in Paris during the Holocaust, and it will be released in April.

That chat is here this morning.

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Image of Loïc Dauvillier used by permission of First Second.

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #373:
Featuring Sophie Benini Pietromarchi

h1 Sunday, March 16th, 2014


(Click to enlarge)

In The Color Book, to be released by Tara Books next month, Sophie Benini Pietromarchi explores color with child readers in a multitude of ways. “If you ask me,” she writes on page one, “I would have preferred to color quietly, instead of talking. I’m marking this great white page with blue ink, but ideally, I would rather not have written any words at all. Color speaks for itself better than words can — you can ‘feel’ color, and it goes straight to your heart.” But despite this, she notes, she wrote the book to invite children to “get to know colors” — by playing with them, contemplating their subtleties and meanings, considering the emotions that they evoke. It’s what she calls a color dance.

It’s a book both poetic and practical. She opens by relaying the feelings she remembers from her childhood — all based on colors. She then explores what colors are capable of by creating a character for each one (the Red Dragon, Mrs. Brown Snail, etc.), and she further discusses colors and moods by devoting an entire chapter to them. In the book’s second section, “The Basics,” she discusses such things as primary colors, complementary colors, and contrasting colors. And she closes the book by suggesting readers create their own books that explore color; her suggestions for readers’ color books are detailed, and child readers could easily follow along.

Pietromarchi, who both wrote and illustrated the book, uses collages, photos, and found objects in nature to lay it all out, and with an infectious passion for art, she invites readers to make connections and create art meaningful to them.

Here are a few more spreads … Read the rest of this entry �

What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Jeff Kulak

h1 Friday, February 28th, 2014


“What Makes Different Cuisines Different?”
(Click to enlarge and see entire spread)

This morning at Kirkus, I write about two brand-new picture books (one from Groundwood Books and one from Albert Whitman & Company) about what one of the authors calls gender-nonconforming children — in both cases, these are about boys who, in particular, like to wear dresses. That link is here, and next week I’ll have art from each book.

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Last week, I wrote here about Sarah Elton’s Starting from Scratch: What You Should Know About Food and Cooking (Owlkids Books, March 2014), illustrated by graphic designer and artist Jeff Kulak. I’ve got a bit of his art from that book here today.

Enjoy. Read the rest of this entry �