What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Calef Brown

h1 June 17th, 2011 by jules

“The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea / In a beautiful pea green boat…”

This morning at Kirkus, I discuss two favorite summer picture book titles, Nina Crews’ The Neighborhood Sing-Along (Greenwillow, May 2011) and Meg Medina’s debut picture book title, Tía Isa Wants a Car (Candlewick, June 2011), illustrated by Claudio Muñoz. Nina Crews will be visiting 7-Imp next week for a breakfast interview, but first I take a look at her latest title (though her Jack and the Beanstalk comes out next month, and I’m looking forward to seeing that, too). The link is here this morning.

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Last week, I weighed in on Chronicle Books’ new picture book collection of Edward Lear’s nonsense poetry, as “masterminded” by Daniel Pinkwater (who visited 7-Imp here in 2009) and illustrated by Calef Brown (who visited with his elephant that same year).

That Kirkus link is here, if you missed it last week, and below are some spreads and early sketches from Calef. I thank him for sharing.

(Opening this post and pictured right are Brown’s renditions of Lear’s Owl and Pussycat. You may click on the illustration at the top of the post to see the entire spread from which each image comes, along with Lear’s poem, “The Owl and the Pussycat,” in its entirety.)


Early sketch of Owl and Pussycat

Calef: “{This} blue cover study with Mr. Lear was a first try. He looked too much like a big blueberry, though. And {below is} a first cover sketch of him walking.”

(Final cover)

“O! My agèd Uncle Arly! / Sitting on a heap of Barley / Thro’ the silent hours of night, / Close beside a leafy thicket: / On his nose there was a Cricket, /
In his hat a Railway Ticket; (But his shoes were far too tight.)”

— From “Some Incidents in the Life of my Uncle Arly”
(Click to enlarge image)

“They went to sea in a Sieve, they did, / In a Sieve they went to sea: /
In spite of all their friends could say, / On a winter’s morn, on a stormy day, /
In a Sieve they went to sea!”

— From “The Jumblies”
(Click to enlarge and see spread in its entirety, including poem)

“They sailed to the Western Sea, they did, / To a land all covered with trees, /
And they bought an Owl, and a useful Cart, / And a pound of Rice, /
and a Cranberry Tart, / And a hive of silvery Bees…”

— From “The Jumblies”
(Click to enlarge and see spread in its entirety, including poem)

“Mrs. Blue Dickey-bird, who went out a-walking with her six chickey birds; /
she carried a parasol and wore a bonnet of green silk…”

— From “Mrs. Blue Dickey Bird”

(Click to enlarge sketch)

“And the Quangle Wangle said / To himself on the Crumpetty Tree,— / ‘When all these creatures move / What a wonderful noise there’ll be!’ / And at night by the light of the Mulberry moon / They danced to the flute of the Blue Baboon, / On the broad green leaves of the Crumpetty Tree, / And all were as happy as happy could be, /
With the Quangle Wangle Quee.”

— From “The Quangle Wangle’s Hat”
(Click to enlarge spread)

(Click to enlarge sketch)

Book’s opening endpapers
(Click to enlarge)

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HIS SHOES WERE FAR TOO TIGHT. Introduction © 2011 by Daniel Pinkwater. Illustrations © by 2011 by Calef Brown. Published by Chronicle Books, San Francisco. All images reproduced with permission of the illustrator.

3 comments to “What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Calef Brown”

  1. I remember the Quangle Wangle from from when I was little, and these illustrations are perfect. I love the colors and patterns, and all the quirky characters. Thanks so much for featuring – must get!

  2. Wow! I love seeing the sketches come to life. Thanks for posting the process.

  3. Just as I would have imagined them…if I could draw. Fantastic!

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