Lane Smith and Lulu Before Breakfast

h1 September 27th, 2012 by jules

Early Lulu sketch

“Now, Lulu was an only child, and her mom and her dad gave her everything she wanted. And guess what? Lulu wanted EVERYTHING.”


Last week at Kirkus, I chatted here with author Judith Viorst about her very funny new chapter book for children, Lulu Walks the Dogs, the follow-up to Lulu and the Brontosaurus (the illustration above comes from the latter), both released by Atheneum/Simon & Schuster. We also discussed the enduring popularity of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day and and her upcoming visit to Nashville’s Southern Festival of Books in October. In a few weeks, I’ll have the opportunity to meet Judith and introduce her at the Festival, so I’m looking forward to that.

This morning, I follow up here at 7-Imp with some art and sketches from the great Lane Smith, who illustrated both Lulu books. At the Q&A, here’s what Judith had to say about Lane:

I would like to talk worshipfully about Lane Smith, whose illustrations for the two Lulu books are beyond perfect. The girl leaps off the page in all her peevishness and outrageousness; the dinosaur is a model of elegant dignity; and the impossibly goody-good Fleischman and the three dogs in the second Lulu just crack me up.

Children’s book writers sometimes wish that they knew how to draw, so the pictures on the page could look exactly, exactly, how they wished they would look. Lane’s glorious drawings are beyond anything I was even capable of wishing for, and I am awash with gratitude.

Enjoy the art — first from Lulu Walks the Dogs and then a bit from Lulu and the Brontosaurus.

“By the time she had sung her song a few times she had come to the next house, where the doorbell was answered by someone who introduced herself to Lulu as Pookie’s mommy. (She wasn’t a dog, of course. She was a plump, pink human being with many curls. Did you really think that a dog had answered the doorbell,
opened the door, and introduced herself?)”

“…she was TRYING to head to Pookie’s house. Brutus was heading in a different direction. She pulled. He pulled. She pulled. He pulled. She pulled.
He pulled harder, making Lulu bang into a tree.”

“From that day on, Lulu and Fleischman were more than boss and assistant and more than teammates. They were, in fact, partners, with Lulu offering Fleischman (and making him take) exactly half of the money she earned walking dogs, and promising to teach him (for only ten dollars) how not to be scared of caterpillars and worms, plus whispering (in a voice he hardly could hear, but at least she said it) that although she had no wish to be the nicest girl in the world—boring! too boring!—
she would try her very best to be nicer to him.”


* * *


Early sketch

“The forest that Lulu was trudging through was overgrown with trees whose branches scratched her face and whose roots she tripped over. But Lulu hardly noticed, because she was thinking just one thought, and you know what that was. So on she went, swinging her suitcase and singing her song too loud and annoying all the creatures in the forest, and being the same big pain out there
that she was back home in her house, until …”

(Click to enlarge)

“She zigged and she zagged and she zigged and she zagged through those close-together trees while the brontosaurus looked for spaces to squeeze through.”

“And the tiger, happily wrapping the eye-matching scarf around her black-and-orange-striped neck, growled something that sounded like ‘Thank you,’ and slunk away.
And Lulu continued tromping through the forest.”

* * * * * * *

LULU WALKS THE DOGS. Copyright © 2012 by Judith Viorst. Illustrations copyright © 2012 by Lane Smith. LULU AND THE BRONTOSAURUS. Copyright © 2010 by Judith Viorst. Illustrations copyright © 2010 by Lane Smith. Both books published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, New York. All artwork and sketches used with permission of Lane Smith.

6 comments to “Lane Smith and Lulu Before Breakfast”

  1. well, that was a perfect way to start my day! It’s always so fascinating to see artists original sketches. I especially love that little sketch of LuLu kissing brontosaurus. I remember when you showed some sketches from Grandpa Green…on napkins!

  2. Inspired! Thanks, Jules, for this creative peek.

  3. Fun post Jules, thanks for sharing.

  4. Oh, I have to find these books, now. Looking at the early Lulu sketch reminds me of coming across my grandfather’s doodles at the kitchen table, by the telephone, etc. I have admiration for illustrators who can convey so much with just a few pen strokes.

  5. The brontosaurus zig-and-zagging through the trees could be a detail from a drawing by Seurat —

    I wonder if Seurat ever drew brontosauruses.

  6. I love both of these books so much I went and bought personal copies. Talk about an author’s words and an illustrator’s pictures being a perfect match–these are two fine examples. Thanks for this post, Jules.

Leave a Comment

Should you have trouble posting, please contact Thanks.