Here’s a quick post, given that work is giving me the skunk eye, and it’s filled with art from Quentin Blake. (This post, that is. Not my work, unfortunately.)
If you’re a fan of Blake’s work, there were at least (heaven knows there may be more I’ve missed this year) three book releases in 2012 that will make you happy, and I’m here today to share art from them.
Pictured above is Blake’s Ebenezer Scrooge, post-epiphany and just before telling Bob Cratchit that he’s going to raise his salary. More on that below.
First up: In August, Candlewick released Michael Rosen’s Bananas in My Ears: A Collection of Nonsense Stories, Poems, Riddles & Rhymes. These poems were first published in the U.K. in different years under different titles—Smelly Jelly Fish and Under the Bed in 1986 and Hard-boiled Legs and Spollyollydiddlytiddlyitis in ’87—but are now compiled here for this U.S. release. These are poems divided into four categories, the names following the original book titles, with the exception of the section called “Smelly Jelly Smelly Fish.” The first section is sub-titled “The Breakfast Book,” and it’s followed by “The Seaside Book,” “The Doctor Book,” and “The Bedtime Book.”
The poems are, at turns, contemplative (in “Feeling Ill,” a child describes the sad ennui of a sick day) and silly, quirky fun (the titular poem, a moment of entertaining absurdity). There are several “What If …” poems (bed-flying, for one) and “Things We Say” poems (or, in one case, “Things You Say”), communicated via speech bubbles in Blake’s artwork. There are also several poems in each section about siblings Nat and Anna. It’s a handsomely-designed collection and perfect for that school librarian or teacher or parent wanting to start the classroom or day with a moment of poetry. (While you’re at it, you can read these poetry-sharing tips from Rosen’s site, which I just stumbled upon, read, and very much enjoyed.)
If the table moves … / If the parrot … / If the man up the ladder … /
OH, NO! OH, NO! OH, NO!”
– From “Hard-boiled Legs: The Breakfast Book”
(Click to enlarge slightly)
that no one knew about, hidden in the trees. / And wherever I went /
and whatever I saw, / all the time I was in my bed.”
(Click to enlarge slightly)
Also released this year in the U.S. and originally released in the U.K. in 2011 is Quentin Blake’s Animal Stories (Pavilion Books). This a collection of fourteen short animal stories from John Yeoman, stories you should approach without expecting tidy, or even necessarily happy, endings and stories that are, as the School Library Journal review noted, told in the “wry voice of traditional folktales.” (Also do not expect source notes or info about the author, as they’re not included. If you want to know story origins, you’re on your own.) “[Blake's] expressive cartoon ink-and-wash illustrations,” added the SLJ review, “are characteristically endearing and work well with the text, which is a combination of deadpan humor and sheer ruthlessness.”
expecting everyone to treat him like a king.”
there was a king who had twin sons, and a very big problem.”
and I don’t think he’ll be so easily fooled a second time.’”
at the richness of her attire. But nobody recognized her.”
Finally, given that the holiday season is upon us, I’ll include some of Blake’s illustrations from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Blake did these illustrations years ago (1995, I believe), but Pavilion Books also re-released this here in the U.S. in September. (Here’s a link.)
Enjoy the art.
a bright clear jet of light, by which all this was visible …”
BANANAS IN MY EARS.. Text copyright © 1986, 1987 by Michael Rosen. Illustrations copyright © 1986, 1987 by Quentin Blake. Spreads reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA on behalf of Walker Books, London.
QUENTIN BLAKE’S AMAZING ANIMAL STORIES. Copyright © Pavilion Children’s Books 2011. Text © John Yeoman. Illustrations © Quentin Blake. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Pavilion Books.
QUENTIN BLAKE’S A CHRISTMAS CAROL. First published (Pavilion Classics edition) in Great Britain in 1997. This edition published in 2012 by Pavilion Children’s Books. Illustrations copyright © Quentin Blake 1995. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Pavilion Books.