On Being Snowed In (with Amy Hest, Helen Oxenbury, Carin Berger, Eileen Spinelli, and Marjorie Priceman)

h1 December 5th, 2012 by jules

Illustration from Amy Hest’s Charley’s First Night,
illustrated by Helen Oxenbury


Early sketches from Carin Berger’s A Perfect Day
(Click to enlarge image)


“On Saturday, the icicle on General Toby’s nose reached down to the dimple on his chin. Ice glazed alleyways. Spoken words became puffballs in the frigid air. Page one of the Toby Mills Crier read: COLD SNAP! The Sullivan Sisters served steamy soup and bubbling stew at the Sullivan Diner. In between customers, they knitted mittens as big as flapjacks for all the kids in Toby Mills. Mrs. Moffat—the church soloist—
gargled with salt water every hour to avoid getting a sore throat.”
— From Eileen Spinelli’s
Cold Snap, illustrated by Marjorie Priceman
(Click to enlarge spread)


It might be near seventy degrees here in middle Tennessee (I wish I were making that up) here on the fifth day of December, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying—and maybe living vicariously through—good, new picture books that are snowy in nature. I’ve got three today, an image from each posted above with more images and final art below, as well as some sketches from Carin Berger. (Below and to the left is a Helen-Oxenbury puppy from Charley’s First Night.)

Last week at the Kirkus Book Blog Network, I wrote about Eileen Spinelli’s newest picture book, Cold Snap, illustrated by Marjorie Priceman (Knopf, October). That link is here, if you’d like to read all about the book.

I’ve also got here today some sketches and final art from Carin Berger’s A Perfect Day, released by Greenwillow in November. This is the story of a day of unbridled joy, as a group of children revel in new-fallen snow: “The whole world was white.” Berger enchants with her collage art, creating her illustrations atop graph paper, what look like old letters, and other lined paper; in the New York Times (here, where she also writes about Cold Snap), Susan Dominus wrote (and I love this), “Berger creates the backgrounds of her collages using faded old receipts and other ephemera. Children may not even notice the ghostly scrawlings, but for adults they serve as a reminder of the contrast between the concerns of grown-ups (bills, balances, investments) and those of the Finns and Sophies who populate this snowy world.” Berger captures the specific joys of a day of snow play—snow forts, “a wild flurry of snowballs,” sledding, snow angels, going home to “warm hugs and dry clothes and steaming hot chocolate”—with warmth. As mentioned, Carin shares some early sketches and final art below.

And I’ll start below with some illustrations from Amy Hest’s Charley’s First Night, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury (Candlewick, October), a story which captures—from the point-of-view of a young child—both the joys and apprehensions of having a new pet and anticipating how it will acclimate to a new home. A gentle story with an immediate and authentic voice, it’s matched by Oxenbury’s satiny, soft-focus artwork, each illustration captured in a border, showing restraint and subtlety.

You can see art from each book below. Enjoy.


* * *


“My mother (Mrs. Korn) and my father (Mr. Korn) were pretty clear about who would be in charge of walking Charley. (I would be in charge of walking Charley, they said, and I couldn’t wait to walk Charley every day forever.) There were pretty clear about who would be in charge of feeding Charley. (I would be in charge of feeding Charley, they said, and I couldn’t wait to feed Charley every day forever.)”
(Click to enlarge and see entire spread)

(Click to enlarge and see entire spread)


* * *


Cover sketch for A Perfect Day

Loose cover figures
(Click to enlarge)

(Click to enlarge)

Stencil with paint
(Click to enlarge)

Final spreads from book
(Click each one to enlarge)


* * *


“Franky Tornetta whooshed down T-Bone Hill—whomp!—right into Stix Hartman’s snowman. Millie twirled Chip round and round until they both toppled into a snowbank.”
(Click to enlarge)

“By nightfall, the kids of Toby Mills were dragging. And wet. And shivering. And so they trooped home—boots crunching on snowy streets—
ready for hot chocolate and flannel pajamas.”

(Click to enlarge)

“On Wednesday, the temperature plunged even lower, and so did General Toby’s icicle. A bitter wind nipped at noses. Tipped trash cans. Flipped Chip off the creaky schoolyard swing. Franky Tornetta stopped whining about
his itchy woolen socks and put on three pairs.”

(Click to enlarge)

“‘Winter surprise?’ groaned Miss Dove. ‘I was planning to cuddle in bed with a book.’ ‘Winter surprise?’ snorted Mr. Moffat. ‘I have a surprise for the mayor. By seven p.m., we’ll all be Popsicles.’ ‘Now, now,’ said Mrs. Moffat. ‘We ought to go. It’s our civic duty.’ And so they went—the citizens of Toby Mills—to T-Bone Hill. The sky was dark and clear. The moon was silver as sleet. But look! There, on the hilltop …”
(Click to enlarge)


* * * * * * *

CHARLEY’S FIRST NIGHT. Copyright © 2012 by Amy Hest. Illustrations copyright © 2012 by Helen Oxenbury. Spreads reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

A PERFECT DAY. Copyright © 2012 by Carin Berger. Published by Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollins, New York. Sketches and illustrations reproduced with permission of Carin Berger.

COLD SNAP. Copyright © 2012 by Eileen Spinelli. Illustrations copyright © 2012 by Marjorie Priceman. Spreads reproduced by permission of the publisher, Alfred A. Knopf, New York.

6 comments to “On Being Snowed In (with Amy Hest, Helen Oxenbury, Carin Berger, Eileen Spinelli, and Marjorie Priceman)”

  1. I would like to curl up and live inside of A PERFECT DAY. It’s just so…perfect.

  2. Oh, wow. looks like I need to get Perfect Day and crack open the cover of Cold Snap.

  3. Who could resist a single one of these books? Not me.

  4. […] is more snowy picture book art at 7 Imp, and I talk more about the above books at Books in Bloom.  Photos here on my photo […]

  5. […] by Helen Oxenbury, When Charley Met Grampa, to be released next week from Candlewick. (Remember last year’s book about Charley and Henry?) Next week here at 7-Imp, I’ll have some art from When Charley Met […]

  6. […] is the cover. (This book is a follow-up to last year’s Charley’s First Night, featured here at 7-Imp, if you want to see more art from […]

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