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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Picture Books, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1,326 - 1,350 of 6,666
1326. review#400 – Carnivores by Aaron Reynolds

.. Carnivores by Aaron Reynolds Dan Santat, illustrator Chronicle Books 6 Stars Inside Jacket:  The lion is the king of the jungle! The great white shark is sovereign of the seas! The timber wolf is emperor of the forests! But . . . it’s lonely at the top of the food chain.  It’s difficult to …

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1327. Author Kim T. Griswell Discusses the Inspiration for “Rufus Goes to School”

Kim T. Griswell is a developmental editor for Uncle John's Bathroom Readers and the former coordinating editor of Highlights for Kids. Today, she discusses the inspiration behind new picture book Rufus Goes to School

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1328. Set Aside Back-to-School Fears with Froggy!

Froggy Goes to School

By Jonathan London; illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz



For those of the Baby Boomer generation, there was a jingle on the radio that signaled the end of all things summer. It presaged school, schedules, earlier bedtimes and butterflies in the tummy time, as all manner of imaginings emerged before the first day of school. The jingle was sponsored by a clothing store long since defunct, having gone the way of chain stores such as E.J. Korvettes and Alexanders. It’s still on YouTube.  The popular, but ominous jingle went:


School bells ring and children sing,


Mother knows for better clothes,


You’ll save more on clothes for school,



To quote the anvil salesman from “The Music Man”, “Not on your life, girly, girl!” We did not shop at Robert Hall because as do many public and private school students of today, we wore a UNIFORM – that great leveler of individuality and competition in school attire. Come to think of it, does the antsy amphibian, Froggy, wear a uniform to school?

Find out from that famous frog, as he is a GREAT go to read aloud for parents and kids facing their very first day of school or their 3rd!

Can you parents remember sometimes having had dreams preceding the first day of school about being late via missed buses because of alarm clocks that don’t ring? Froggy’s nightmare is a bit more extreme. Though awakening late, he does make the bus, BUT forgets to don school clothes of ANY KIND save undies!! Thank goodness, he wakes up to his father’s bright “Rise and shine,” (my dear mom used the SAME line), to discover his worst fears were a DREAM.

Young readers can fully identify with the green goggle-eyed young frog that is an easy stand in for them and their concerns. Froggy shares them and lives them – first.

Kids will feel a calm settling over their pre-school nervousness as Froggy joins in the school days activities with relish, getting some things right, like his name printed on the desk, while other skills need a bit more work such as paying attention, speaking softly and not falling out of his seat!

Young back-to-schoolers who find themselves drawing comparisons to Froggy, will find similarities and a few relieved, “Hey, I never did that!”

The youngsters are having a fine time with their teacher, Miss Witherspoon, sharing their summer adventures, when Mr. Mugwort, the Croc enters with a glare on his face just as Froggy is singing the song he learned when he was taught to swim. Is Froggy in trouble on his very FIRST day? No way! Mr. Mugwort is a singer of songs too!

Please join Froggy and your young reader in allaying all fears about the first day of school. If Froggy and family can happily navigate the return to school, so can you and your young scholars!




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1329. Picture Book Monday - A review of Dog Loves Counting

I have often thought that it would be wonderful to own and run a book shop. Dog is of the same mind and in Dog Loves Books we see what happens when he opens his own book-filled shop. In Dog Loves Drawing  Dog discovers that a blank book can be the starting point for a wonderful art adventure. Now Dog is back and this time he learns that counting numbers can also lead to adventures in far off places.

Louise Yates
Picture Book
For ages 4 to 7
Random House, 2013, 978-0449813423
Dog loves books and he loves to read book so much that he often reads late into the night, even though he knows that he needs to get his beauty sleep. Eventually Dog decides that it is time to set his book aside. He puts on his sleeping mask and prepares to doze off. The problem is that he cannot seem to fall asleep.
   Dog tries counting sheep but the sheep are not at all helpful. Maybe what Dog needs to do it to count some other kind of animal. Dog opens a book about animals and the first thing he encounters in the book is an egg. He counts “One,” and then watches as the egg cracks open. A funny looking baby dodo steps of the egg and into the world. Dog is Number One, and the dodo is Number Two, and now they have to find Number Three.
   Dog and the dodo walk through the book looking for Number Three, and eventually they find a sloth sitting in a tree. The sloth has three claws on each paw and so he becomes Number Three. Counting from one to three as they go, Dog, the dodo, and the three-toed sloth wander through the book looking for Number Four.
   By sheer good luck the three animals meet a desert camel. Since it has four legs, it is perfectly suited to be their Number Four. Not only that, but the camel assures Dog that his home in the desert is full of things that they can count.
   Learning how to count can be fun, if you are a little creative, and in this book Louise Yates has found a wonderfully creative way to make counting interesting. She combines tools for learning with a story that pulls the reader into Dog’s book world. As we read we cannot help wondering what is waiting for us on the next page. What new animal is Dog going to encounter, and what new adventure is he going to have?

   This is the third book in a series of picture books that feature Dog.

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1330. How to Train a Train (2013)

How To Train a Train. Jason Carter Eaton. Illustrated by John Rocco. 2013. Candlewick Press. 48 pages. [Source: Review Copy]

Sometimes a picture book deserves its own post. Such is the case with the oh-so-clever How To Train a Train. Here's how it starts:
So you want a pet train? Well, of course you do! Trains make awesome pets--they're fun, playful, and extremely useful. Lucky for you, this handy guidebook contains everything you need to know to choose, track, and train your very own pet train. Ready? Then let's head out and find some trains!
Are you hooked yet? Curious to see just how far this book goes?!

This book will help you choose the right kind of pet train. It tells you the types of trains available, where they live, what they're like, etc. Then readers learn how to go about obtaining their pet train. My absolute favorite part of this picture book involves the "best way" to catch a train...
First, get up really early in the morning and find a good hiding spot close to some trains. Now the hard part: sit quietly and wait and wait and wait some more. As the sun rises, the trains will begin to stir and start their engines. Watch them work and play...Take your time and choose one that's right for you. Got one? Time to make your move: send a puff of smoke high into the air. Perfect! You've got the train's attention! If you brought any coal with you, now would be the time to offer it... Next make the call of the wild train: Chugga-Chugga, Chugga-Chugga!
Once you own a train, readers will need to name it and learn how to care for it properly! This book is just too much fun! So silly and yet so clever! It's just a joyous book!

I loved, loved, loved the text! And the illustrations are great too!!! One of my favorite illustrations is of the little girl--in dress up (a fairy?)--painting the name "Sparkles" on her train. This isn't the story of one child and his or her own train. It is a story about children everywhere loving trains. I liked that!

Text: 5 out of 5
Illustrations: 4 out of 5
Total: 9 out of 10

© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

1 Comments on How to Train a Train (2013), last added: 9/8/2013
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1331. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #347: Featuring Jamie Hogan

Happy Sunday to all. Illustrator Jamie Hogan is visiting today to talk about her latest illustrated book, written by April Pulley Sayre and released back at the beginning of this year. It’s called Here Come the Humpbacks! (Charlesbridge, February 2013), and it tells the story of a humpback whale calf and its mother, as well as the dangers they face during migration.

The image above is from one of Jamie’s sketchbooks. It has nothing to do with April’s book (way more on that below); I just like it.

Let’s get to it, since Jamie talks a bit about creating the illustrations for this book and what’s next for her. (I wish we were chatting in person on the beautiful island where she lives in Maine.)

* * *

Jamie: I have a thing for seven. Is it cosmic or coincidental that my last 7-imp [visit] was in July of 2007?

It so happens I’ve now illustrated seven books. A couple of them have been published in other countries, too. No small thrill for one who lives on a rock about three miles around.

(Click to enlarge)

The main thing is, I live on an island in Maine. Three miles out to sea, in fact. I began drawing pastels of seascapes and boats after moving here 21 years ago. Getting to the ferry on time punctuates my life.

I was ecstatic to be asked to illustrate April Pulley Sayre’s story about a humpback whale and her calf, Here Come the Humpbacks!. I learned so much doing research for the book. It also meant using a lot of blue pastel — and dreaming about whales right out in the water beyond my cluttered studio.

(Click to enlarge)

When I take the ferry to Portland, there are always tankers in Casco Bay.

I drew them for the story, since shipping lanes are one of the hazards for humpback whale migration.

(Click to enlarge)

Here’s one of the sketches I provided. I typically draw around the text areas in pencil. I waited almost two months for approval of sketches, because they needed to be verified by marine scientists for accuracy. That’s non-fiction for you!

(Click to enlarge)

I transferred my sketches to a sanded pastel paper –in this case, a deep red. I let some of the red show through in order to create a color vibrancy with all the blue.

(Click to enlarge)

With soft pastels I’m able to layer over colors, like painting with pigment.

(Click to enlarge)

I left the jelly fish for last! Here’s the final illustration, in which the humpbacks travel many miles — over trash and turtles.

(Click to enlarge)

I worked on the cover illustration absolutely last. I showed seven sketches, of course! This was my favorite. I liked the whale being too big for the book jacket.

(Click to enlarge)

The publishers liked this one best:

(Click to enlarge)

They asked that both the mother and calf appear on the cover, so I did this revision and added a lobster boat on the back.

(Click to enlarge)

Here’s the final book jacket cover, designed by Martha Sikemma at Charlesbridge:

(Click to enlarge)

All during this time, which was about six months, I also was drawing in a sketchbook for the Sketchbook Project 2013 as a fun alternative to my deadline. I drew people and places in Portland, such as Kirsten Cappy, below, sitting pretty in front of a Portland restaurant, Bresca.

She’s also the whiz behind Curious City, who helped me plan a really fun book launch that included a 40-foot inflatable humpback whale, named Istar. Istar just barely fit in the Portland Public Library’s auditorium. This is Curious City intern, Delany Honda, making sure everything is ready.

(Photo by Greta Rybus)

It was truly awesome.

(Photo by Greta Rybus)

I illustrated cards for a migration game that went all around the room, in which kids pretend to be a baby whale going on the journey that happens in the book.

Should I be surprised that kids really like blowing bubbles like baby whales do?

(Photo by Greta Rybus)

The highlight of my summer was finally going on a whale watch in Nova Scotia. And we saw humpback whales! I gave a copy of my book to Petit Passage’s friendly nature guide, Suzanne, who immediately shared it with this family on board for the ride back to port. Absolutely made my entire YEAR.

Now that I’m back in my studio, I’m just starting on another book for Charlesbridge, this one titled John Muir Wrestles a Waterfall by Julie Danneberg. It takes place in Yosemite. All I’ve done so far are preliminary thumbnail sketches, enough to need more reference. I’ve gotten twelve books from the library about him and, yesterday, watched John Muir in the New World, a pretty cool documentary. I had my neighbor, Peter, pose for me out in my daughter’s little pine clubhouse in the backyard.

She’s sixteen now and has no use for it, but it suddenly felt to me like just the right spot to be unplugged. Maybe I’ll do my sketches out there!

I grew up in the White Mountains and visited Yosemite during my years living in San Francisco. I’ve worked before with the designer for this book, Whitney Leader-Picone (a California native), on Nest, Nook & Cranny (Charlesbridge, 2010) by Susan Blackaby and A Warmer World (Charlesbridge, 2012) by Caroline Arnold. We have fun together, and I am eager to draw tall pines and waterfalls!

HERE COME THE HUMPBACKS! Copyright © 2013 by April Pulley Sayre. Illustrations copyright © 2013 by Jamie Hogan. Published by Charlesbridge, Watertown, MA. All images here used with permission of Jamie Hogan.

* * * * * * *

Note for any new readers: 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you. New kickers are always welcome.

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

Sorry to be brief, but my seven kicks today are wrapped up in the fact that it’s my husband’s birthday this weekend, and we’ve been celebrating. I was so busy celebrating I almost didn’t get to this post. (Blogging should never get in the way of life, mind you, so I made sure to celebrate first, but I’d also never let my kickers down. So, here I am. In the nick of time.)

What are YOUR kicks this week?

Quick note: Here’s a Publishers Weekly article about the fundraiser author/illustrator Joe McKendry and his wife, Susan, put together shortly after the Boston Marathon bombing. Many artists have signed on to participate. In case anyone is interested in contributing, all the info is at that link.

10 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #347: Featuring Jamie Hogan, last added: 9/9/2013
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1332. Here's what a fox says...but more importantly, what's that children's book in the video?

I've been hearing the song in the above video in my head ever since my husband told me about it. The music video by Norwegian duo Ylvis went viral a few days ago. I love the wonky humor and tongue-in-cheek emo. 

Popular Science followed up with a "What Sound Does A Fox Really Make" post that could be enlightening for kids (and grown-ups!) wondering what sounds a fox DOES make. :-)

But what *I* want to know: what's that children's book featured in the video? Here's a screenshot:

A blurrier close-up of the front cover:

Here's the back cover, though doesn't it look as if part of the cover beneath the man's hand  has been torn?

If anyone can identify the children's book in this video, I'd appreciate it if you'd post in the comments.


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1333. review#397 – The Wizard of Oz by Beth Bracken

.. The Wizard of Oz by Beth Bracken Capstone Young Readers 4 Stars .. Back Cover:  Film stills and original dialogue from the beloved movie The Wizard of Oz tell the tale of a young girl named Dorothy, who flew over the rainbow with her dog, Toto, befriends a Tin Man, a Scarecrow, and a …

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1334. Happy Children's Poetry Blog Hop, Happy New Year, and Happy Poetry Friday!

Howdy, Campers! You have just a few more hours to enter our latest book giveaway (details below)!  AND today we celebrate not one, not two, but three things! Rosh Hashanah, the new Children's Poetry Blog Hop, and Poetry Friday (hosted today by Laura Shovan at Author Amok)!

My PF poem is below.

Thanks, Laura!
*   *   * 
1) Let's start with Rosh Hashanah.  Happy New Year (both the Jewish New Year and the New School Year) to all!  After I put the finishing touches on this post, I going to walk to the end of our pier and toss bits of bread to seagulls and fish as part of a Jewish New Year ritual called tashlich.

My picture book,
New Year at the Pier--a Rosh Hashanah Story
is beautifully illustrated by multi-award-winning illustrator,
Stéphane Jorisch.
We're both thrilled that our book won the
Sydney Taylor Gold Medal for Young Readers

(essentially the best Jewish picture book of the year)

2) And now on to the Children's Poetry Blog Hop.  Having heard of other blog hops, poet Janet Wong and other kidlitosphere poets have decided to start a Children's Poetry Blog Hop (CPBH) for...who else? Children's poets.

I nominate Mortimer as CPBH's meme:
Mortimer, from morguefile.com

To participate in the Poetry Blog Hop, simply:
1) Make up three questions you've always wanted to be asked in an interview about children's poetry and then answer them on your own blog;
2) Invite one, two or three other bloggers who write poetry (preferably children's poetry, but we're broad-minded) to answer any three questions that they make up on their own blogs (they can copy someone else's questions if they'd like)
3) In your post, let us know who your invitees are and when they're are going to be posting their own Poetry Blog Hop questions and answers...if you know the dates.
4) You do not have to use Mortimer, the CPBH meme. 

That's it!

I've invited author, poet, and web mistress extraordinaire Carmela Martino to the Children's Poetry Blog Hop (it sounds like a sock hop, doesn't it?) Carmela will be posting right here at TeachingAuthors.com on September 20th.

On the same day, the marvelously creative author, poet and poetry supporter Janet Wong promises a surprise twist on the blog hop theme.  Find her guest post at PoetryFridayAnthology.blogspot.com and PoetryForChildren.blogspot.com on September 20th!

Okay...here are my three questions:

1) What children's poem do you wish you had written?  Include the poem or link to it.
2) What's your process?  How do you begin writing a poem?
3) Please share one of your poems with us.

And here are my answers:

1) What children's poem do you wish you had written?  Include the poem or link to it.
There are so many!  The first that pops into my mind is Deborah Chandra's "Cotton Candy" from her book, Rich Lizard and Other Poems (FSG)

I met Deborah years ago in Myra Cohn Livingston's master class in writing poetry for children.  Deborah's a stunning craftswoman and looks at the world in madly original ways.  And, as you're about to read, her metaphors are spectacular.  

by Deborah Chandra

like a sweet
it spins itself
A storm
caught on a paper cone.
I hold it up,
the air grows
thick and
with the smell of it.
A pink wind
made of sugar
and smoke,
earth crust,
delicious dust!
poem © Deborah Chandra. All rights reserved

2) What's your process?  How do you begin writing a poem?
Sometimes my process is to start with a word and I spin out from there.  Sometimes I find a poem I admire and imitate its rhythm, meter and form.  Sometimes it's a feeling.  I ask myself, what are you feeling today?  What is true?  What is authentic? And sometimes it's just, you have ten minutes.  Write the damn poem.  (I don't actually use the word damn because, as I'm sure you know, children's authors and poets don't swear.)

3) Please share one of your poems with us.

Here's a Rosh Hashanah/tashlich poem
first published in Jeanette Larson's book,
El dia de los ninos/El dia de los libros: Building a Culture of Literacy in Your Community

by April Halprin Wayland

Shalom to slowly sinking sun
I sing in salty seagull tongue.

But who're these people on my pier?
I sail, I swoop and then fly near.

They're singing, marching up the pier
I think they did the same last year.

A father gives his girl some bread
she scans the waves then tosses crumbs.

I dive, I catch, I taste

I like this ritual at the pier.
I think I'll meet them every year.

I screech my thanks, and then I hear
"L’shanah Tovah!  Good New Year!"

note: Shalom can mean hello, good-bye and peace.
Copyright © 2013 April Halprin Wayland

 Walking up the pier for tashlich in my hometown.
photo by Rachel Gilman

Thanks for stopping by TeachingAuthors today--but wait! Before you head off,  be sure to enter for a chance to win a copy of Lisa Morlock's terrific rhyming picture book, Track that Scat! (Sleeping Bear Press). 

posted by April Halprin Wayland

14 Comments on Happy Children's Poetry Blog Hop, Happy New Year, and Happy Poetry Friday!, last added: 9/8/2013
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1335. Ike's Incredible Ink by Brianne Farley

<!-- START INTERCHANGE - IKE'S INCREDIBLE INK -->if(!window.igic__){window.igic__={};var d=document;var s=d.createElement("script");s.src="http://iangilman.com/interchange/js/widget.js";d.body.appendChild(s);} <!-- END INTERCHANGE --> Ike's Incredible Ink is the debut picture book from author/illustrator Brianne Farley. A story of epic procrastination - or is it inspiration? - Farley's

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1336. Little Red Writing by Joan Holub, illustrated by Melissa Stewart

<!-- START INTERCHANGE - LITTLE RED WRITING -->if(!window.igic__){window.igic__={};var d=document;var s=d.createElement("script");s.src="http://iangilman.com/interchange/js/widget.js";d.body.appendChild(s);} <!-- END INTERCHANGE --> Little Red Writing, written by Joan Holub and illustrated by Melissa Sweet, who has illustrated nearly 100 children's book and won a Caldecott Honor and a

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1337. Twenty Big Trucks in the Middle of the Street, by Mark Lee & Kurt Cyrus (ages 3-5)

When I look for a great counting book, I am looking for a book that pulls young readers back to read it again and again. It has to have clear, dynamic illustrations and text that invites the adult to interact with the child while they read together. Mark Lee's debut picture book Twenty Big Trucks in the Middle of the Street is a fantastic new counting book, perfect for little kids wowed by huge, towering trucks.

Twenty Big Trucks
in the Middle of the Street
by Mark Lee
illustrated by Kurt Cyrus
Candlewick, 2013
available at
your local library
ages 3-5
*best new book*
A little boy watches as an ice-cream truck rumbles down the street. When the ice-cream truck breaks down, it blocks middle of the street. This leads to a chain-reaction traffic jam, with truck after truck getting stuck in the street. Lee's rhyming text is wonderful to read aloud, adding interest for parents and children. He uses the page turns perfectly, building suspense along the way.
"A mail truck stops, so now there are two.
Their drivers don't know what to do.

Watch out! Two trucks are in the way.
They stop a third truck carrying hay."
We start realizing the pattern just as the little guy on his bike starts counting the trucks. Kurt Cyrus, veteran picture book author and illustrator, captures our attention with bold digital illustrations.

I love how Lee and Cyrus each layer in many aspects to this counting book, inviting repeated readings. Some kids will spend hours naming each type of truck, while others will notice all of the different items the trucks carry.

Cyrus keeps the little kid on the bike as part of each picture, helping kids see themselves in this busy traffic jam, but he switches up the perspective throughout, zooming in and out of the scene. My favorite spread is near the end, looking down at the whole big mess, when you can count each truck that's piled up waiting for the ice cream truck to move.

Best of all: the little kid comes up with the final solution!

The review copy was kindly sent by the publishers, Candlewick Press. The illustrations are copyright ©2013 Kurt Cyrus, share with permission of the publisher. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.

20 BIG TRUCKS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STREET. Text copyright © 2013 by Mark Lee. Illustrations copyright © 2013 by Kurt Cyrus. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

©2013 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

1 Comments on Twenty Big Trucks in the Middle of the Street, by Mark Lee & Kurt Cyrus (ages 3-5), last added: 9/7/2013
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1338. Lifetime: The Amazing Numbers in Animals' Lives by Lola M. Schaefer, illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal

<!-- START INTERCHANGE - LIFETIME -->if(!window.igic__){window.igic__={};var d=document;var s=d.createElement("script");s.src="http://iangilman.com/interchange/js/widget.js";d.body.appendChild(s);} <!-- END INTERCHANGE --> Lifetime, written by Lola M. Schaefer and illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal has to be one of the best non-fiction picture books I have read in a while. Schaefer's

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1339. Alphablock by Chrisopher Franceschelli, art by Peskimo

<!-- START INTERCHANGE - ALPHABLOCK -->if(!window.igic__){window.igic__={};var d=document;var s=d.createElement("script");s.src="http://iangilman.com/interchange/js/widget.js";d.body.appendChild(s);} <!-- END INTERCHANGE --> ALPHABLOCK, by Christopher Franceschelli with art by Peskimo is such a fantastic book it almost makes me want to have one more kid so that I can have the pleasure of

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1340. Illustrator Interview – Elizabeth Rose Stanton

By popular request, they’re back! Every Wednesday, I shall be interviewing illustrators from the world of children’s literature, those you know well and also introducing you to pre-published future Caldecott potentials! Today’s guest is my go to pig-me-up on FB when I need a smile and a bit of whimsy to brighten my day. Welcome to Elizabeth Rose Stanton, whose debut picture book, HENNY, will be published next January by Simon & Schuster.

[JM Illustrator or author/illustrator? 

[ERS] Author/illustrator

[JM] What’s your nationality and which and how have certain cultures/regions influenced your work?   

[ERS] I am “all” American. Multiple lines of my family go back to the early 1600s in North America, and I have a touch of Native American.  It’s probably more accurate to say that my work has been influenced more by children’s literature, in general, than any specific culture or region. That said, I admire the work of many artists and illustrators, including:  Beatrix Potter, Lisbeth Zwerger, John R. Neill, John Tenniel, Edward Gorey, James Thurber. 

I could go on and on . . . 

[JM] Tell us a little of your beginnings as an artist.

[ERS] I studied art history in college, and then went on to get a graduate degree in architecture.   After I got married and had children, I decided to set aside my career as an architect to be a full-time parent.  I began to work as an artist, as time permitted, when my youngest child started kindergarten.  I did portraits, fine art (was represented by a gallery here in Seattle), some graphic design, and became a certified scientific illustrator.  It is only recently, now that the nest is empty, that I have been able to dive full-time into writing and illustrating for children.   

[JM] Do you have a preferred medium to work in? 

[ERS] I work mostly with pencil and watercolor, and sometimes with pen and ink and/or colored pencils. 

[JM] What does your workspace look like?        

Studio_ERStanton[ERS] It Usually looks messy! :-)   I have a cove in the basement lined on one side with bookshelves, and a desk at the end.  I call it “The Trench.”

[JM] Can you share a piece or two with us, maybe of a WIP, and the process of creating them?

[ERS] My process varies a little, depending on where the final image(s) end up. For my books, I work completely on paper.  HENNY was rendered in pencil and watercolor, and the final art was packed up and physically sent to Simon & Schuster in New York.    For posting on-line (such as my Facebook “daily” sketches or for blog posts), I always begin with pencil/paint on paper, scan it, then often do some touch up.  I have a very old graphics program that I use that is quite adequate for what I usually need to do—cleaning up stray lines or enhancing color here and there.  But the short of it is, I prefer to work old-school.  


Begins with a simple pencil sketch

Then I begin to paint, using a variety of watercolor, and sometimes gouache.

Then I begin to paint, using a variety of watercolor, and sometimes gouache.

I go back and forth with color and pencil until I feel the picture is balanced

I go back and forth with color and pencil until I feel the picture is balanced


Then, in this case, I scan it in, clean it up a little, and send it on its way.

Then, in this case, I scan it in, clean it up a little, and send it on its way.

[JM] I know you have your debut picture book coming out in January of 2014. Can you tell us a little about the inspiration and development of HENNY? 

[ERS] Most of my ideas pop out spontaneously by way of the characters. A couple of years ago, I drew a fanciful bird with arms. He morphed into a chicken.  Then I started to think about all the challenges, and fun, a little chicken with arms might have, and Henny’s story unfolded from there.

Armed Chicks

Armed Chicks


Jacket cover for HENNY (Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books)

 [JM] What’s with all the pigs? :-)  

[ERS] The book I’m working on now is about a pig.

EPSON scanner image

[JM] How do you approach the marketing/business side of the picture book world?

[ERS] Having a fabulous agent, Joanna Volpe of New Leaf Literary & Media, helps.  I couldn’t have asked for a better person to represent me. She is helpful, responsive, and she really knows the business. I also have the benefit of the expertise of the talented team at Paula Wiseman Books. Meanwhile, I’ve been working to build up my social network platform. I try and keep my blog current, as well as post sketches and little paintings on Facebook as frequently as I can.  I use Twitter occasionally, too.  Specifically for HENNY, I will be having the book launch here in Seattle the first week of January, and will then be working hard to make the rounds, so to speak, singing her praises! :-)

EPSON scanner image[JM] What has been your greatest professional challenge?

[ERS] Staying focused. I always want to do other things (I have a pretty long bucket list).

Five Fun Ones to Finish?

[JM] What word best sums you up? 

[ERS] Quirky.

EPSON scanner image

[JM] If you could live anywhere for a season, where would you go? 

[ERS] Paris–because I’ve never been.

[JM] What’s your go-to snack or drink to keep the creative juices flowing?

[ERS] Strong tea and the darkest of dark chocolate.

[JM] Cats or dogs? 

[ERS] Both!  I have an ancient one-eyed dog and two Scottish Fold cats.

[JM] If you could spend a day with one children’s book illustrator, with whom would that be? 

[ERS] Current: Lisbeth Zwerger    Past: Beatrix Potter

[JM] Where can we find/follow you and your work, Elizabeth?





[ERS]  Thank you for the interview, Joanna!  It’s been fun!

[JM] Thank YOU for being on Miss Marple’s Musings, Beth. To your continued success. I am looking forward to seeing HENNY when she comes out!

EPSON scanner image 

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1341. Peck, Peck, Peck by Lucy Cousins

<!-- START INTERCHANGE - PECK PECK PECK -->if(!window.igic__){window.igic__={};var d=document;var s=d.createElement("script");s.src="http://iangilman.com/interchange/js/widget.js";d.body.appendChild(s);} <!-- END INTERCHANGE --> Peck, Peck, Peck by Lucy Cousins is a book I guarantee you little kids will love. Cousins combines subtle humor that build over the course of the story along with

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1342. Jazzy in the Jungle by Lucy Cousins

<!-- START INTERCHANGE - JAZZY IN THE JUNGLE -->if(!window.igic__){window.igic__={};var d=document;var s=d.createElement("script");s.src="http://iangilman.com/interchange/js/widget.js";d.body.appendChild(s);} <!-- END INTERCHANGE --> Jazzy in the Jungle is the newest book from Lucy Cousins. I feel about Lucy Cousins the way I'm sure my mom must have felt about Richard Scarry when I

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1343. Animal Opposites : A Pop-Up Book by Petr Horáček

<!-- START INTERCHANGE - ANIMAL OPPOSITES -->if(!window.igic__){window.igic__={};var d=document;var s=d.createElement("script");s.src="http://iangilman.com/interchange/js/widget.js";d.body.appendChild(s);} <!-- END INTERCHANGE --> Animal Opposites : A Pop-Up Book written and illustrated by Petr Horáček is an absolute delight to read, which is exactly what a pop-up book has to be to get

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1344. Tap the Magic Tree by Christie Matheson

I might as well get this out of the way now, since every other review of Tap the Magic Tree by Christie Matheson has done the same: there are distinct similarities between the amazing Press Here by Hervé Tullet that came out in March of 2011 and was reviewed here shortly thereafter. Like Press Here, in Tap the Magic Tree an unseen narrator gives the reader directions to follow. This

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1345. Digger Dozer Dumper by Hope Vestergaard, illustrated by David Slonim

<!-- START INTERCHANGE - DIGGER DOZER DUMPER -->if(!window.igic__){window.igic__={};var d=document;var s=d.createElement("script");s.src="http://iangilman.com/interchange/js/widget.js";d.body.appendChild(s);} Digger Dozer Dumper written by Hope Vestergaard and illustrated by David Slonim is and isn't your typical truck book. While there are the familiar hard-hat-construction-truck shades of

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1346. Tug-of-War by John Burningham

<!-- START INTERCHANGE - TUG OF WAR -->if(!window.igic__){window.igic__={};var d=document;var s=d.createElement("script");s.src="http://iangilman.com/interchange/js/widget.js";d.body.appendChild(s);} <!-- END INTERCHANGE --> Tug-of-War is the newest book from John Burningham, author of over 60 picture books. Burningham is sort of the Maurice Sendak of the UK. His career as a picture

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1347. I Can See Just Fine by Eric Barclay

<!-- START INTERCHANGE - I CAN SEE JUST FINE -->if(!window.igic__){window.igic__={};var d=document;var s=d.createElement("script");s.src="http://iangilman.com/interchange/js/widget.js";d.body.appendChild(s);} <!-- END INTERCHANGE --> I Can See Just Fine by Eric Barclay, although it is a fantastic book to read to a child who needs, is getting or has gotten glasses, is also just a really

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1348. Maude : The Not So Noticeable Shrimpton, written by Lauren Child, illustrated by Trisha Krauss

<!-- START INTERCHANGE - MAUDE THE NOT SO NOTICEABLE SHRIMPTON -->if(!window.igic__){window.igic__={};var d=document;var s=d.createElement("script");s.src="http://iangilman.com/interchange/js/widget.js";d.body.appendChild(s);} <!-- END INTERCHANGE --> I was very intrigued when I learned that Lauren Child, Lauren Child, creator of Clarice Bean and the charming Charlie and Lola had written

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1349. Liz’s Summer Reading Pick #3

This Monster Needs a Haircut

by Bethany Barton

Do you have a child who balks at barbershops, cringes at clippers and generally howls pre-haircut? Well I have the book for you. Every parent has gone through that rite of passage-the first haircut. It can be preceded by foot dragging, multiple and myriad excuses, tantrums, tears and all out war. Well, at the beginning and end of summer, haircuts are usually the order of the day, whether before camp or before school reopens

This Monster Needs a Haircut is the perfect picture book to ease the snipping. Kids will identify with Stuart the monster and his elaborate defense tactics against haircuts. His father is understanding and patient as he relates to Stuart his own bouts with haircut issues in his youth. Kids and parents will howl at the evolution of Stuart’s hair and the interesting objects that begin to inhabit it such as growing flowers, half eaten apples, lollipops and baseballs to name a few. How Stuart and family solve this haircut hiatus is laugh filled and the tactics to overcome the stubborn monster are illustrated to perfection. This is a book a child could bring to the cutting event and even share with the scissor wielder aka barber.

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1350. review#393 – When Edgar Met Cecil by Kevin Luthardt

.. . .   .    .     .  . PEACHTREE BOOK BLOG TOUR When Edgar Met Cecil by Kevin Luthardt Peachtree Publishers 5 Stars .. Inside Jacket:  When Edgar’s family moves to a new town, everything seems strange and scary.  The kids look funny.  They dress weird.  They listen to bizarre music.  They …

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