Her name is Elizabeth, thank you very much.
And Elizabeth is the star of a delightful new picture book from author Annika Dunklee (born in Sweden but now residing in Canada) and Canadian illustrator and comic book artist Matthew Forsythe. It’s called none other than My Name Is Elizabeth! (Kids Can Press, September 2011), and Kirkus has called it “wonderful,” adding: “This…is close enough to perfect in its tone, pacing and interplay between words and pictures.” They’re right, you know. Oh, and “close to perfect” Pamela Paul called it in the New York Times in August. Not bad for the picture book debut from both author and illustrator.
Elizabeth Alfreda Roxanne Carmelita Bluebell Jones really loves her first name. She likes that it is nine letters long. She likes all the neat things her mouth does when she says it. She likes that there is a queen named after her. “But I don’t like it when people call me names other than ELIZABETH.” Lizzy? Liz? Beth? Betsy? Stop it already. Please. (As the Kirkus reviewer also notes, she isn’t bratty in her requests. She’s polite, please and thank you very much.) She’d just love for you to call her by her beloved name. It’s really that simple. It’s Elizabeth, and she’d like you to stick to it.
And the artwork? Where do I begin? They’re the cool side of satin, Forsythe’s retro illustrations. Working with pen and ink, gouache, his computer, and a primarily blue and orange palette, he brings Ms. Elizabeth to life with great charm. Throw in a silent duck companion and bumbling baby brother for great humor, not to mention the many faces of Elizabeth (see below) and the joy that radiates from her abundant self-composure and aplomb. (“This isn’t just a book about one particular name,” wrote Betsy Bird in her July review. “It’s about making it clear to the world who you really are.”)
But I’ll let the art speak for itself here. Enjoy.
Note: Matthew has contributed a comic to the recently-released Nursery Rhyme Comics from First Second Books, but I’ll have more on that wonderful collection this Friday.
MY NAME IS ELIZABETH. Copyright © 2011 Annika Dunklee. Illustrations © 2011 Matthew Forsythe. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Kids Can Press, Tonawanda, New York.