And he huffed and he puffed, but he could not blow the house in.”
There are lots and lots of best-of lists that are generated around this time of year in the world of books. My very favorite, not surprisingly, is the New York Times’ list of the Best Illustrated Children’s Books of the year. (Ten titles are chosen.) The 2009 list is out. Sometimes, as an Illustration Junkie, I like to take those lists and see how I fared over the year. Turns out that I’ve featured some art here at 7-Imp from exactly one-half of the chosen titles — or four, really, but was sitting on art from one of them (pictured above) to show you just this week. Hey, not too bad. Right? When’re they gonna hire me as a judge? (I JEST. I’m not that disillusioned.)
Let’s take a look at the list . . . Shall we count down with art from Brian Floca (whom you’ll read more about below)?
Yummy: Eight Favorite Fairy Tales from Lucy Cousins (Candlewick, August 2009). I read a copy of this book just last week. It’s a library copy and so tremendously good that I don’t want to return it. Last week, I requested some of the illustrations from the publisher so that I could do a post about it some time in the near future. But, well, now’s the perfect time. Opening this post is a spread from “The Three Little Pigs,” and below we have “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.” (Wish you could see Goldilock’s ponytails, which made me laugh outloud. They’re spastic, if hair can be such a thing.)
Cousins breathes new life into these tails and kicks it all off in great style with a no-holds-barred version of “Little Red Riding Hood.” Squeamish parents need not bother. (Good for Cousins! She must know that children are ON TO YOU when you water down those tales.)
(Click to enlarge spread.)
Brian Floca’s Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 (Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books, April 2009). Brian stopped by in July to share some art and point us to the fabulous “Moonshot Notes” at his site. Click to enlarge all these images.
‘Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.’
Komako Sakai’s The Snow Day (Arthur A. Levine Books, January 2009). I read this and loved it, but I never got around to a post about it. Sakai wrote and illustrated Emily’s Balloon (Chronicle Books), which I posted about here in ’06. I said back then that Emily’s Balloon has the makings of a classic, and I’d say the same about The Snow Day. Sakai is immensely talented. I really need to make sure I’ve seen all of her titles; perhaps I’ve missed some others within the past couple of years.
Emily Gravett’s The Odd Egg (Simon & Schuster, January 2009). Emily was here in March of this year (The Time in Which the Fabulous Chocolate Guinness Cake Came Into My Life, O BLESS YOU, EMILY GRAVETT), and we were all treated to some spreads from the title at that time:
Jerry Pinkney’s The Lion and the Mouse (Little, Brown, September 2009). Still haven’t seen this one, and it’s. killing. me. Such great reviews on it, and so many folks with excellent taste—in the blogosphere and elsewhere—have raved about it. And how much do I love Jerry Pinkney’s art? O, there is not enough time to count the ways. Just look at the cover.
If Jerry Pinkney ever stopped by 7-Imp—somehow that seems unattainable in my mind and perhaps I should stop that stinkin’ thinkin’—I’d probably faint.
Alison McGhee’s Only a Witch Can Fly (Feiwel & Friends, August 2009), illustrated by Taeeun Yoo, who stopped by here last week to have breakfast with me. She shared one spread from the book and two studies, all pictured below:
Antoinette Portis’ A Penguin Story (HarperCollins. Must have been January ’09, though some online sources are telling me December ’08). I saw this earlier this year but didn’t post about it. Portis hasn’t made a misstep yet. Think I can get her to stop by 7-Imp one day?
All the World (Beach Lane Books, September 2009), written by Liz Garton Scanlon and illustrated by Marla Frazee. Liz and Marlee visited me in September for gingerbread pancakes, and Marla shared lots of art and sketches, pictured below. She also said this, which made me squealy-happy. You’ll probably see this again at 7-Imp, since I plan to post it as often as possible, ’cause it’s dead-on is what it is:
I assume that the child reading a picture book is not yet a reader of words, and so they still have the remarkable gift of being an expert picture-reader. This seems to me to be one of the few skills we possess as children and then lose as we age. It makes the picture book audience the most discerning, observant, critical, and appreciative group that we illustrators will ever have the privilege of serving. Imagine playing a violin in front of world-class violinists. When we illustrate a picture book, we are drawing pictures for an audience of picture-reading virtuosos. If it doesn’t scare and humble us as illustrators, then we aren’t paying enough attention to what these pre-readers are able to see.
You can click on most of these images below to enlarge:
White Noise: A Pop-Up Book for Children of All Ages by David A. Carter. This was published at the end of October, it seems, by Little Simon. I know nothing about it. Gasp! Come to think of it, I represent the pop-up folks of the world pretty poorly here at 7-Imp, don’t I? Must fix that.
The Crazy-Long but Necessary Copyright Info:
YUMMY. Copyright © 2009 by Lucy Cousins. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press on behalf of Walker Books, London.
MOONSHOT: THE FLIGHT OF APOLLO 11. Copyright © 2009 by Brian Floca. Published by Richard Jackson Books/Atheneum Books for Young Readers, New York, NY. Images are courtesy of Brian Floca © 2009. All rights reserved.
THE ODD EGG. Copyright © 2009 by Emily Gravett. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Simon & Schuster, New York, NY.
ONLY A WITCH. Text copyright © 2009 by Alison McGhee. Illustrations copyright © 2009 by Taeeun Yoo. Published by Feiwel & Friends, New York, NY. Spread and studies from the book are courtesy of Taeeun Yoo © 2009. All rights reserved.
ALL THE WORLD. Text copyright © 2009 by Liz Garton Scanlon. Illustrations copyright © 2009 by Marla Frazee. Published by Beach Lane Books/Simon & Schuster, New York, NY. Sketches and illustrations from ALL THE WORLD are courtesy of Marla Frazee © 2009. All rights reserved.