Archive for September, 2009

When Images Are Food: The Secrets of Walter Anderson — With a Visit from E.B. Lewis
and Hester Bass

h1 Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

“There once was a man whose love of nature was as wide as the world. There once was an artist who needed to paint as much as he needed to breathe. There once was an islander who lived in a cottage at the edge of Mississippi, where the sea meets the earth and the sky. His name was Walter Anderson. He may be the most famous American artist you’ve never heard of.”
(Click to enlarge spread.)

Several weeks ago, I blogged about a few new picture book biographies that made me happy. I was eager then to tell you about the title I’m featuring today, but I wanted to wait a bit to secure some spreads from it to share with you. This is, hands down, one of my favorite picture books from this year, and it seems to have come out of nowhere and surprised me. It’s called The Secret World of Walter Anderson (Candlewick, September 2009), it’s by an author with whom I was not previously familiar, Hester Bass, and it’s about “the most famous American artist you’ve never heard of,” as Bass puts it. The book was illustrated by the one and only E.B. Lewis, whose work I’ve long adored.

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Seven Questions Over Breakfast
with Bonnie Christensen

h1 Monday, September 28th, 2009

As many sites around the kidlitosphere today celebrate nonfiction titles (as they do every Monday), I am having a cyber-breakfast with author/illustrator Bonnie Christensen, pictured here, who has brought us a handful of engaging nonfiction titles over the years — either illustrating them or both writing and illustrating them herself. Perhaps best known for Woody Guthrie: Poet of the People (Alfred A. Knopf), for which she was given the Horn Book-Boston Globe Honor Award in 2002, she has illustrated fifteen beautiful books for young readers, her primary media being oils and wood engraving or dry point engravings, though she seems to have no fear and has also attempted such artistic adventures as old-skool fresco. (More on that below.)

You do remember the Woody-Guthrie title (rendered in mixed media) from 2001, right? I do. It blew me away. It was a dramatic and powerful tribute to someone whose music most of us know, whether we realize Woody was behind it or not:

(Click to enlarge.)

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #134: Featuring Ted!

h1 Sunday, September 27th, 2009

“‘A parade!’ shouted Firefighter Ted. ‘Firefighters always lead parades!’ Firefighter Ted led the parade down the hall. ‘Whoooooo-whoooooo-whooooo!’ All the other classes came out to watch. ‘Everyone loves a parade,’ said Firefighter Ted,
and he waved to the crowd.”
(Click to enlarge.)

Jules: Welcome to 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks, our weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you.

Featured this Sunday morning is Firefighter Ted, who sprung from the mind of one of my favorite picture book authors, Andrea Beaty (who, as I’ve said before, has this keen ability to get smack-dab into the center of a child’s way of thinking), and who is illustrated by Pascal Lemaitre, who stopped by and had breakfast with me last month, you may remember. You also may remember that, during April of ’08, our imaginative protagonist, Ted, decided to be a doctor:

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Poetry Thursday-Slash-Friday: Drawing the Moon

h1 Thursday, September 24th, 2009

Welcome to my hybrid Poetry Friday (A Bit Early) and Picture Book post. I’ve got a poem to share, and because I find it tragic to post without art, I’m going to include a couple of spreads from a picture book, to be released soon, with art that makes me happy — and with art I think is fitting for this post.

This is from debut author/illustrator Susan Gal’s picture book, Night Lights:

(Click to enlarge the spread and see its wonderful details.)

More on the book below. But, first, my Poetry Friday contribution this week:

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Uncle Art and Aunt Françoise Bring the Coolest Things

h1 Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

Harvey Kurtzman breaking the fourth wall, circa 1948,
with “Hey Look!”, the one-page comic that led to
MAD Magazine
(Click to enlarge.)

If we needed even more validation that comic books are once again vogue and that librarians and teachers these days aren’t as shouty at kids as they used to be about reading the things, well, here we go…

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7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #133: Featuring Elizabeth O. Dulemba

h1 Sunday, September 20th, 2009

“Hugo didn’t hear the rest. He wriggled free and took off running. But now he had, ‘I’m out, so you are in’ stuck in his cabeza. And he still could not remember what his mother wanted him to buy at el mercado.”
(Click to enlarge.)

Jules: Blogger, illustrator, and first-time author/illustrator Elizabeth O. Dulemba is here this morning to tell us about the picture book she’s just written and illustrated, a bilingual title called Soap, Soap, Soap ~ Jabón, Jabón, Jabón. She’s very psyched about this and has embarked on a blog tour to talk about her excitement. The book, available as all-English or bilingual, takes this classic Appalachian Jack tale and gives it a new, contemporary, Spanish twist. The story now takes place in a small town with a protagonist named Hugo. I’ve got a bilingual copy and some spreads to share from it today. If these colors don’t wake you all up this morning, I don’t know what will.

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Poetry Friday: Ex Libris

h1 Friday, September 18th, 2009

“Fall Stream” by dkelly - click for link. Happy Fall, ya’ll. This is my very favorite time of year, and I just want to revel in it. So I’m not going to say much here, I’m just going to share a lovely little jewel of a poem with you that evokes the beauty of the season, with just a wee tinge of melancholy over the winter to come. It’s “Ex Libris” by Eleanor Wilner:

By the stream, where the ground is soft
and gives, under the slightest pressure—even
the fly would leave its footprint here
and the paw of the shrew the crescent
of its claws like the strokes of a chisel
in clay; where the lightest chill, lighter
than the least rumor of winter, sets the reeds
to a kind of speaking, and a single drop of rain
leaves a crater to catch the first silver
glint of sun when the clouds slide away
from each other like two tired lovers,
and the light returns, pale, though brightened
by the last chapter of late autumn:
copper, rusted oak, gold aspen, and the red
pages of maple…

Click here to read the rest. Enjoy.

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Looking for more? Becky’s Book Reviews is hosting this week’s Poetry Friday round-up.

Two Good Things About Today,
One Including a Ninja, a Cowboy, and a Bear

h1 Thursday, September 17th, 2009

Here are my two good things about today:

First, I get to hear Mary Oliver do a reading tonight at Belmont University. An exclamation mark here would hardly contain my happiness about this.

Secondly, I’ve got some art to share with you from Hilary Leung. This is, evidently, his picture book debut, though he’s a graphic designer and illustrator whose work has been published all over the world. This is from a little book from Kids Can Press (September ’09) called The Legend of Ninja Cowboy Bear by David Bruins, first-time author. The book’s charms and dry humor won me over. It’s about three friends—you guessed it: a ninja, a cowboy, and a bear—whose unique talents come between them one day. They very simply start to wonder who is better than the other, and all kinds of competitions are arranged to see who will excel. The book closes with a statement about how we each have our special talents; I think, without that, kids will have figured this out from the engaging tale itself, but the book is so winning in every other way that even that heavy-handed ending starts to look sort of old-skool adorable to me. And, really, the book had me at its premise: That a bear, a cowboy, and a ninja hang out every day. In the opening spread, they’re reading together, painting, playing board games, rockin’ out, flying kites, and looking for shapes in the clouds, the ninja all decked out in his black ninja gear and the cowboy kickin’ it with his best Lank Thompson smile.

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Terrible Yellow Envy

h1 Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

You all know I’ve mentioned Terrible Yellow Eyes (TYE) here before, right? It is the brainchild of Cory Godbey, and it is the spot in cyberspace where various artists are contributing their own works created as a tribute to Where the Wild Things Are.

I featured one of Bill Carman’s contributions to TYE a while back. Turns out he’s contributed another piece, which I secured permission to share today.

And, if you live in the L.A. area, note that Gallery Nucleus will be having a Terrible Yellow Eyes exhibition (with Cory as guest curator) from September 19 to October 6. Here’s all the info on that.

How much do I wish I could go to that? A lot. Think the exhibit will make its way to little ‘ol Smyrna, Tennessee? Doubt it. (Hence, my post title.) But those of you in L.A. can go and report back. Yes? Yes!

Here is Bill’s new piece, all framed for you: Read the rest of this entry �

Two Announcements Before Breakfast

h1 Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

Good morning, all! I have two kickin’ announcements for my fellow Illustration Junkies of the world:

1. Matt Phelan is stopping by this morning for a breakfast chat! See the post below. He is sharing lots of beautiful art work to wake you up this morning. As well as strong, non-negotiable coffee.

2. Author/illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka has this to share this morning:

Mr. Tomie dePaola is turning 75! My wife, Gina, and I wanted to do something special for him, let him know just how much he is loved. We reached out to our children’s book illustrator friends and asked if they would make an image to honor Tomie. On September 15th, on his actual birthday, we are launching Three Kisses for Tomie with the first round of art. Many artists have promised art later in the year, and we will continue to update the site throughout the year, as we get new art in. Here is a sneak preview of what you will see:

Jarrett’s contribution
(Click to enlarge.)

Mo Willems’ contribution
(Click to enlarge.)

Erin Eitter Kono’s contribution
(Click to enlarge.)

This is seven kinds of fabulous is what it is. You can see even more over at Three Kisses for Tomie: An All-Star Tribue to Tomie dePaola, launched today. Enjoy!

And: Happy birthday, Tomie!

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{Illustrations used with permission of Jarrett J. Krosoczka.}