Jules: Welcome to 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.
This week we welcome illustrator Dan Santat, pictured here in first grade, just ’cause I freakin’ love that picture. Dan is—one day out of the year—Santa Claus, but he’s a children’s book writer and commercial illustrator on the other three-hundred-and-sixty-four days. And he fights crime on the side. That’s what he’ll tell you at his web site/blog (where you also learn that, in no time at all, he’ll have an addition to his family. Oh my, that’s an exciting time! We wish him and his family the best) . . . That swingin’ illustration which opens this post is a teaser: It’s from a forthcoming title Dan has illustrated, Chicken Dance (Sterling Publishing), written by Tammi Sauer and to be released next year.
Dan graduated from Art Center College of Design in 2001, setting out to be an animator. Soon after, he got a job working as an artist in the video game industry and, the very next year, sold his first book manuscript, The Guild of Geniuses (pictured below), to Arthur A. Levine Books after Arthur saw Dan’s dummy book and portfolio and offered him a two-book deal. Guild of Geniuses was released in 2004, and it won both a Bronze Medal in book illustration from the Society of Illustrators and the Marion Vannett Ridgeway Honor Award for best debut author/illustrator.
Dan is also the creator of an animated series called “The Replacements” for the Disney Channel. “It was originally based on a children’s book proposal that I was working on that ended up finding its way to Disney,” he said. “I was heavily involved in development. I’m hoping I can some day do the book, but now it’s all tied up in the Disney Legal Dept.”
The show’s debut was in 2006, and it is currently in its second season. Meet Agent K and Dick Daring (you know, I dress like Agent K during my off hours, too) . . .
What else? Let’s see. Dan also created the 2006 Macy’s Day poster. And his forthcoming books will be The Ghosts of Luckless Gulch by Anne Isaacs (Atheneum), coming this November; Always Lots of Heinies at the Zoo by Ayun Halliday (Disney Hyperion), coming in 2009 (hey, I read and lurved her book on motherhood, which I reviewed in something like my FIRST POST EVER at 7-Imp. Wild. But I digress); the aforementioned Chicken Dance; and The Calendar Club by Nancy Star (Scholastic), which is out now, but only through Scholastic Book Club, according to Dan.
Currently, Dan is working on a chapter book series with author Lisa Yee. “I’m writing/illustrating my own graphic novel, The Domesticated Four,” he told me. “The story is about four superhero house pets who compete for the affections of their owner, world famous superhero Captain Amazing, by entering his sidekick auditions.”
Fortunately, Dan sent some art work from each upcoming title. Kickin’, I say. Here’s a preview of The Domesticated Four, and the rest follow:
coming in 2009
Kelly Fineman, don’t ya think?
And three spreads from The Ghosts of Luckless Gulch by Anne Isaacs (Atheneum), coming this November:
Man, I know it took a while to get to kicks, but I LOVE IT when illustrators deliver like Dan did today. Many, many thanks to him for sharing all this art work with us, and once again, we wish him the best of luck with the upcoming, new, wee babe!
1* Okay, well, obviously the art. And the author photograph.
2* The fact that my husband made it safe to Seoul. And sounds like he’s having a pretty good time.
3* I just saw Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, and while it isn’t the best movie ever, it may totally have the best soundtrack ever.
4* I got a dress for $15 at Old Navy, and got tons of compliments when I wore it to work. Probably because I wore it with the scarf that Jules gave me last Christmas.
And… that’s prolly it. It was kind of a low-key week, kicks-wise. How ’bout you, Jules?
I have to say thanks again to Dan. WOOT! I’m looking forward to those new books . . .
1). Author/illustrator Annette Simon sent me the loveliest, most thoughtful gift, and I thank her again.
2). My local public library, whose story times I frequent with my girls, has a new, energetic, terrifically nice children’s librarian.
3). That same librarian sent my girls off this week from story time with little treasure bags they made themselves, and we took a nice walk on Friday in the cool, gorgeous Fall weather and tried to fill those treasure bags with things like flowers, rocks, leaves, etc. We didn’t find much, but the journey was fun. And we’re loving the cool autumn weather. We even had some hot chocolate this week.
4). Speaking of the girls, my youngest turned three this week, which is a kick in and of itself. But also some of my long-distance friends sent her the loveliest little gifts and cards and such, which was also kickin’ and terrifically sweet. They are too kind, and—just in case they’re reading—I thank them again.
6). We’ll be trick-or-treating at the zoo today, and—given my post from Wednesday—I thought I’d share that Dorothy and Toto will be joining us (pictured above).
7). The McCain/Obama roast. McCain zinging Obama and Obama zinging McCain at the recent Alfred E. Smith Dinner. Of course, I enjoyed the latter more, but it’s fun to see them light-heartedly tease each other and self-deprecate. Two weeks before the election. Only in America. I laughed out loud when Obama said (and I partly paraphrase): My greatest strength? My humility. My biggest weakness? “It’s possible that I’m a little too awesome.”
Two quick mentions our readers might be interested in:
* To celebrate the release of Something Wicked, Alan Gratz’s second Horatio Wilkes mystery (which officially was released this past Thursday, I believe), Dial Books is offering a special promotion: They’re letting folks read the first Horatio Wilkes mystery, Something Rotten, for free. “You read that right. Free. Gratis. Complimentary. No charge,” says Alan. You don’t have to register, you don’t have to give your e-mail address, and you don’t have to buy something else to read it. All you have to do is click here. I think this promotion ends on November 30th, so hop to it, if interested!
* Chronicle Books is having a promotional sale from now through 10/23 on a selection of children’s/YA Halloween titles, which you can find out more about here. I know this seems rather commercial-y, but I told them I’d pass it on, since a lot of our readers are (duh) book-lovers and might be interested in book sales for their own children, their libraries, their classrooms, etc.
What are YOUR kicks this week?