We're getting very excited about the new book...not too long now.
My brilliant son Euan has put together this little teaser trailer to celebrate.
Available to pre-order at:
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We're getting very excited about the new book...not too long now.
My brilliant son Euan has put together this little teaser trailer to celebrate.
BirdCatDog [Three-Story Books]
by Lee Nordling; illus. by Meritxell Bosch
Primary Graphic Universe/Lerner 32 pp.
11/14 Library ed. 978-1-4677-4522-2 $25.26
Paper ed. 978-1-4677-4523-9 $6.95
e-book ed. 978-1-4677-4524-6 $25.32
In this innovative wordless picture book told entirely through cartoon panels, three pets escape the ennui of domestication for brief, interconnected adventures in the wild. An introduction explains that readers may read across the six-by-three distribution of rectangular panels for the protagonists’ parallel plot lines — the Tweety-like yellow bird in the blue-saturated top row of panels; the orange tabby in the green-toned middle row; and the bluish-gray guard dog in the yellow-hued bottom row—or read from top to bottom to “get the whole story.” Expressive, accessible art wordlessly follows the pets’ adventures, during which each animal not only interacts (badly) with the other two pets but also comes snout-to-snout (or beak-to-beak) with a wild version of itself: a hawk, a lynx, a wolf. While the consistent panel grid sacrifices the more dynamic layout and pacing afforded by a variety of panel sizes and shapes, this structure (with its protagonist-color-complementing rows) unobtrusively guides readers along. And it’s that much more effective when that structure breaks into a dizzying and hilarious double-page spread of all six creatures in a high-speed chase through the pets’ backyard, a bemused squirrel looking on. Once they have chased off the interlopers, the triumphant pets settle down for well-deserved naps on their well-defended home turf.
From the January/February 2015 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.Add a Comment
There are so many approaches to this picture book, I honestly don’t know where to start reviewing them.
First, I thought I’d take the friendship angle of the yin and yang. Hey, it IS the beginning of the Chinese year of the goat. Friends are often not mirror images of one another. But often they do complement each other. After all, we are all not alike in personality and tastes; that’s why we have chocolate and vanilla ice cream!
And, in the case of Rabbit and Pig, I was reminded of the divergent friendship of Wally Cleaver, in TV’s “Leave It To Beaver” and his pal, Eddie Haskell. Does your child have a friend that they fully embrace and you, as a parent, scratch you head and wonder why? Wally’s parents did. But they sagely figured there was something about their super kind and considerate son Wally, that he needed in the “all about me” Eddie.
Here, Pig is bent on writing a series of thank-you notes, only to be constantly interrupted by Rabbit for paper, stamps and who knows what all.
Pig is nothing if not task-based and very methodical in his pursuit of same. Rabbit is, well, shall we say, more of a spontaneous spur of the moment type. Rabbit is constantly prompted by the ideas of Pig, and he too sets his own into motion. There’s one glitch. Rabbit lacks the physical things to put make them happen! Enter his friend Pig. He is only too obliging, kind and willing to provide the needed apparatus of pencil, paper, stamps, and envelopes for Rabbit’s just thought of thank-you notes.
As Rabbit thinks of MORE people to write letters to, Pig’s letter to his grandma is constantly put on hold amid a flurry of interrupts.
Here’s another take on this picture book that is a great angle to bring up for kids. And that is the writing of a thank-you note. Does anyone even do this any more?
I remember at Christmas; first, came the thank-you notes to aunts and uncles that sent us presents, and then, and only then, were we allowed to play with said toys.
Let’s face it, some kids are natural procrastinators. “Later, mom.” or “I promise I’ll do it later.” And sometimes later never arrives. “Ten Thank-You Notes” is a fine vehicle for reminding young readers there are so many people in their lives deserving of thanks. It’s not only provides a fine read, but a teachable moment. Everyone, from Madame President to the crossing guard is worthy, in Rabbit’s book, and on paper, of a thank-you note!
I fully realize Pig and Rabbit are very young, and therefore they have only learned to print letters in their notes. And that is so wonderful in and of itself. They are so neatly written and very well expressed. But, I can’t let this picture book go by without another plug for the teaching of handwriting.
Finally, what if Pig’s grandma writes a reply to Pig in her own handwriting? Might he be unable to read it? Just some food for thought, parents, as the teaching of cursive sinks from view in some schools.
We have letters that family members wrote by hand on the day of our daughters’ christenings. They were put aside until the girls were old enough to read them. The letters were filled with the feelings of family members on that day. They are rare and revert to a time filled with members of our family that are no longer with us. Please don’t deny your young reader the ability to actually read letters like these.
In the meantime, have your young ones read along with Pig and Rabbit as they both model behaviors and a friendship that not only allows for differences, but would make both Martha Stewart and Emily Post proud!
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This month our best selling picture book from our affiliate store continues to be the lively board book Peek-a-Zoo!, by Nina Laden.Add a Comment
Juna's Jar, a lovely new picture book by debut San Francisco author Jane Bahk, and talk with your children about how Juna's imagination helps her when she misses her friend Hector.
Juna's JarJuna and Hector always loved collecting things together and putting them in Juna's kimchi jar, but Juna is at a loss when Hector moves away. It's especially sad that she hasn't had a chance to say goodbye.
by Jane Bahk
illustrated by Felicia Hoshino
Lee & Low, 2015
Your local library
|"Juna loved to take the jar and go on adventures with her best friend, Hector."|
Juna's Jar "asks readers to think about friendship, family and the potential of imagination. It's not about looking at life as a glass half full or not but what can happen when we fill the glass."Jane Bahk won the 2010 Lee & Low New Voices Award for an unpublished author of color, with the manuscript for Juna's Jar. I look forward to more stories from her! I also want to honor and thank Lee & Low for this important award.
Wow! This is a great month for picture books—amazing picture book authors and sensational illustrators star in this month's new release kids books. Plus, The Penderwicks in Spring is here!Add a Comment
It’s the first Sunday of the month, which means I normally feature the work of a student or debut illustrator. I’m breaking my own 7-Imp rules today, however, to … well, not do that — simply because I like this book and want to show you all some spreads from it. This won’t be on shelves till mid-April. Forgive me for posting about it so early, but to be honest, I’m just not that organized this week. But I had read and enjoyed this book and knew I had some spreads from it to share, so there ya go.
Trombone Shorty (Abrams) is the picture book autobiography from Grammy-nominated musician Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews. Illustrated by Bryan Collier, Andrews kicks the book off with “”Where Y’at?”, explaining that the folks in New Orleans have their own way of living and their own way of talking. Young Andrews grew up in Tremé, where “you could hear music floating in the air.” His older brother played the trumpet, and Andrews would watch and pretend to play his own. Andrews and his family would delight in the Mardi Gras parades, which “made everyone forget about their troubles for a little while.”
Andrews and his friends made their own instruments until the day Troy himself found an old, beaten up trombone. He joined a parade, his brother shouting, “TROMBONE SHORTY! WHERE Y’AT?” Thus a nickname was born.
Andrews goes on to describe the moment Bo Diddley called him out in a crowd at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Before he knows it, Andrews is on stage, playing with Diddley watching. The moment is illustrated, and in the backmatter readers are shown the actual photograph of this moment (two things I could show you today, but I’ll leave that for you to discover when you find a copy of this in April). “After I played with Bo Diddley,” Andrews writes, “I knew I was ready to have my own band.” Towards the book’s close, Andrews switches to present tense:
And now I have my own band, called Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, named after a street in Tremé. I’ve played all around the world, but I always come back to New Orleans. …
I don’t think it’d be possible for there to be a better illustrator for this book than Collier. And he’s on fire here. “Collier portrays the story of this living legend with energy and style,” writes the Kirkus review, “making visible the swirling sounds of jazz.” It’s a feast for one’s eyes. Below are some spreads from the book.
(If you purchase this book, come April, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Trombone Shorty Foundation.)
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.
1) Being a part of Book ‘Em’s Read Me Day this week at Warner Elementary School in Nashville.
2) I’ll be speaking at Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe in Asheville, NC, this weekend. Here’s the low-down.
3) The girls got another Snow Day this week.
4) House concert for a friend (though not at my own home). It was lovely to hear her play some new songs.
5) Lunch with an out-of-town friend, who actually served on the Caldecott committee this past year. She positively glows from the experience.
6) My nine-year-old made up another song on the piano, and my musician friend has a music program that allowed him to print out the sheet music for the song she made up. And he also put it onto CD. That was a nice surprise.
7) Giving good children’s books as gifts. Gotta share the love, don’t you know.
What are YOUR kicks this week?Display Comments Add a Comment
I don't like to brag and I don't like to boast,Premise/Plot: Peter T. Hooper is bragging to a girl, presumably his sister? presumably named Liz? that he is the best cook ever, and that he recently made the best scrambled eggs ever. Of course, his scrambled eggs weren't ordinary. His eggs didn't come from ordinary hens. His eggs didn't come from a store. He sought out extraordinary birds--both big and small--and spared no expense or effort. He even recruited helpers to help him collect the most exotic bird eggs.
Said Peter T. Hooper, but speaking of toast
And speaking of kitchens and ketchup and cake
And kettles and stoves and the stuff people bake...
Well, I don't like to brag, but I'm telling you, Liz,
That speaking of cooks, I'm the best that there is!
Why, only last Tuesday, when mother was out
I really cooked something worth talking about!
Then I went for some Ziffs. They're exactly like Zuffs,The book is definitely silly and over-the-top. And Seuss is definitely beginning to develop his style. Is it my favorite? Far from it.
But the Ziffs live on cliffs and the Zuffs live on bluffs.
And, seeing how bluffs are exactly like cliffs,
It's mighty hard telling the Zuffs from the Ziffs.
But I know that the egg that I got from the bluffs,
if it wasn't a Ziff's from the cliffs, was a Zuff's.
Title: A Boy And A Jaguar Written by: Alan Rabinowitz Illustrated by: Catia Chien Published by: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014 Themes/Topics: jaguars, conservation, stuttering, big cats Suitable for ages: 3-7 Awards: Schneider Family Book Award for Children (2015) Autobiographical Opening: I’m standing in … Continue readingAdd a Comment
Seeds of Freedom: The Peaceful Integration of Huntsville, Alabama is the newest book by Hester Bass, illustrated by E.B. Lewis. Seeds of Freedom: The Peaceful Integration of Huntsville, Alabama is a superb addition to the genre of narrative non-fiction, and a welcome addition to books about the Civil Rights Movement. Beginning in January of 1962, Bass sets the scene, telling readers thatAdd a Comment
Last week, I wrote here about the three picture books above. I have art (and covers) from each book below.
ROSARIO’S FIG TREE. Text copyright © 2015 by Charis Wahl. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Luc Melanson. Published in Canada and the USA in 2015 by Groundwood Books. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher.
SUCH A LITTLE MOUSE. Text copyright © 2015 by Alice Schertle. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Stephanie Yue. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Orchard Books, an imprint of Scholastic, Inc., New York.
UP IN THE GARDEN AND DOWN IN THE DIRT. Text copyright © 2015 by Kate Messner. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Christopher Silas Neal. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Chronicle Books, San Francisco.Add a Comment
Last week, I talked over at Kirkus with poet and author A. F. Harrold about his children’s novel, The Imaginary, released overseas last year but coming to American shelves in early March from Bloomsbury. That conversation is here. Today, I’m following up with some of Emily Gravett’s art from the book, as well as some peeks into her sketchbook for this one. (That’s an early sketch pictured above.)
I thank her for sharing. Enjoy the art.
THE IMAGINARY. Text copyright © 2014 by A. F. Harrold. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Emily Gravett. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Bloomsbury, New York. Sketches reproduced by permission of Emily Gravett and Bloomsbury.Display Comments Add a Comment
We are coming to the end of something this month, and the beginning of something else. It’s almost the end of February which is traditionally referred to as African American History month and we are on the cusp of the beginning of Spring Training for the All American sport of baseball.
Brad Meltzer’s picture book from the series entitled, “Ordinary People Change the World” is a “hit out of the park” on both counts!
Chronicling the amazing journey of an incredibly talented and courageous African American baseball player named Jackie Robinson, this picture book enables a new crop of picture book readers a window into a world with a very different baseball roster than the one they see now.
Incredibly, at one time, there were NO African American players in Major League baseball!
C C Sabathia, Jason Heyward, Dominic Brown, Ryan Howard and B.J. Upton are but five players today that stand metaphorically on the shoulders of Jackie Robinson. And, I think many of them know this. In fact, there is a link at the bottom of this post to interviews with some of these players, as regards to Jackie Robinson.
Today, there are many players of race that stand on the shoulders of the courage, conviction and calm of Jackie Robinson as he broke the so-called “color line” in Major League Baseball.
I have always believed that “Example is the strongest teacher.” In the end, it is not so much what we say, but the values we hold, and how those values define our lives, that our character is formed. Never was that more true than today. Never was it more important for young readers to have picture books like this one in their hands.
And that is why a book like “I Am Jackie Robinson” is a great picture book read this month OR any other. It arranges the arc of Jackie’s life, and the experiences, example and ethos that drove it.
Perseverance, courage, determination, fearlessness and an incredible talent that could not be denied, are but a small semblance of the values and attitudes that formed Jackie Robinson.
Brad Meltzer’s picture book allows your reader a very vital and vibrant glimpse into a far different world than the one they are growing up in. Some injustices never change fast enough. They are part of the fabric of a nation for a very long time.
For Jackie it was a long road to change – but one he travelled alone, and with a quiet strength. He let his talent do the talking. And it commanded respect – eventually.
In baseball, it took the impetus provided by a manager named Branch Rickey, President of the then Brooklyn Dodgers to hire an all but unknown player named Jackie Robinson.
Athletic abilities, at that time, unlike today, had little to do with being hired by a Major League Baseball team – if you were a man of color.
Jackie, born the youngest of five children was named after the “Rough Rider” hero and President, Theodore Roosevelt. He was named Jackie Theodore Robinson. Quite a name to live up to – and he did!
Bravery was something that did not come immediately to Jackie. But, at the age of eight, he found his voice when a young girl called him a name – AND the girl’s father got into the fray. A fight began – yet that is never a solution; at least not a rock fight!
Told in the first person, sports and winning were what fueled Jackie’s passion for achievement. And it was here, at least initially, where the color of his skin did not wholly define him.
But it’s a huge leap from the sandlot to the floodlights of a Major League Baseball field.
Living in a mixed neighborhood, his mother gave Jackie a phrase that would carry him through many an angry confrontation on the field – “When you do something good, it brings out the good in others.”
At UCLA he was the first student EVER to win letter in four sports – football, baseball, basketball and track.
Then the call came – from Branch Rickey.
Jackie had guts and what we used to call “gumption”, as he embarked on being a historic first in the world of professional baseball. He did it with grace, style and a first home run of 340 feet! Scoring and stealing home became his trademarks with a professionalism that stood the test of racial epithets.
It’s hard to go first in any field against opposition, but it IS essential to lead by example. Jackie Robinson did both.
So as Spring Training starts, and African American History Month closes out for 2015, it’s batter up for this great picture book called, “I Am Jackie Robinson.” It’s both a “hit out of the park” for Jackie, and for your young reader.
Jackie Robinson defined what is possible if one has the talent, timing, technique and tenacity to reach a goal. It can be done!
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My Three Best Friends and Me, ZulayAdults might first notice the cane that Zulay is holding, but kids first noticed the braille alphabet on the back of the book. After they all felt the back cover, we talked about why Zulay might need to use this alphabet, so everyone started with a little background knowledge. Zulay has a huge smile on her face as she comes to school, arm in arm with her three best friends.
by Cari Best
illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton
Farrar, Straus and Giroux / Macmillan, 2015
Your local library
"We link our arms and skip our legs and sing like the stereo till Ms. Perkins, the hall lady, tells us to stop. 'You have a new perfume!' I say, and she says back, 'Zulay doesn't miss a thing.'"Zulay loves her teacher, writing on her Brailler and helping her friend figure out a math problem. But when Ms. Turner, an aide, comes to help her practice using her "fold-ing hold-ing cold-ing" white cane, Zulay is reluctant. She doesn't want to be left behind or different from everyone else.
|"Then we practice together in the big outside with no walls or desks or friends."|
|"'Run, Zulay, run!' my friends all shout, like I shouted for them."|
Spending time together. A grandmother and her grandson. That love and friendship is what life's all about.
Last Stop on Market StreetWhen CJ and his grandmother finish church, they head to the bus stop together. CJ doesn't want to wait for the bus, stand in the rain, or go places after church. "Nana, how come we don't got a car?" Nana gently chides him, really just planting seeds for how she sees the world. "Boy, what do we need a car for? We got a bus that breathes fire and old Mr. Dennis, who always has a trick for you."
by Matt de la Peña
illustrated by Christian Robinson
G.P.Putnam's Sons / Penguin, 2015
Your local library
*best new book*
|"Boy, what do we need a car for? We got a bus that breathes fire and old Mr. Dennis, who always has a trick for you."|
|"Some people watch the world with their ears."|
"Sometimes when you're surrounded by dirt, C.J., you're a better witness for what's beautiful."
Today’s Diversity Read/Review falls into categories #1 and #2. The author Matt de la Peña is half Mexican/half white and the illustrator Christian Robinson is African-American. Title: Last Stop Market Street Written by: Matt de la Peña Illustrated by: Christian Robinson Published by: G. … Continue readingAdd a Comment
by Doreen Cronin; illus. by Juana Medina
Preschool, Primary Viking 32 pp.
2/15 978-0-670-78578-0 $16.99 g
With minimal text, a clever use of sight words and word families, and a bounty of playfulness, Cronin introduces preschoolers (and early readers) to their new best friend: good-natured, tail-wagging, droopy-eared dog Smick. A game of fetch between dog and offstage narrator (“Stick?”) gives way to the discovery of a new friend when Smick is distracted by a “Cluck!” in the distance. Smick, stick, and the newly introduced chick, who is now comfortably situated on Smick’s head, attempt to resume the game, with mixed results (“Slow, Smick, slow!”). All ends in joyful doggy friendship: “Sidekick… / Sidechick. / Side lick! ick.” Digitally rendered art incorporates photo images of a flower petal (transformed into the chick by the addition of a few added black lines for wings, legs, eyes, and beak) and a wooden stick. However, it mostly consists of simple black lines, stark against the expansive white space, that communicate Smick’s constant motion and boundless energy with economy, verve, and apt detail (i.e., one ear lifted in the direction of a new sound). The handful of words per page play with meaning via order and context à la Gravett’s Apple Pear Orange Bear (rev. 7/07), allowing readers to flesh out the story themselves and encouraging independent reading. “Go, Smick, go!” cheers the narrator, in homage to the classic Eastman easy reader. Readers will cheer along.
From the January/February 2015 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.Add a Comment
Most people are afraid of things that they are not familiar with, and they are willing to believe the frightening stories that they hear about those things. All too often the fears that we have can be confronted, if only we have the courage to do so. In today's picture book you will meet a little mouse girl who is afraid of a cat. but who still wants to see what it is like.
Jenny and Lorenzo
Illustrated by Eve Tharlet
Translated by Kathryn Bishop
For ages 5 to 7
Minedition, 2013, 978-988-8240-76-0
High up in the clouds, “close to nowhere in particular,” is the land of Howodo. In this land, behind a big duck pond and in a small house, lives a curious and very sweet little girl mouse called Jenny. Jenny constantly asks her parents’ questions, and she delights them with her funny ways.
Jenny’s mother tells Jenny all about Lorenzo, the cat who likes to eat “mouse on toast.” Not surprisingly, Jenny decides that she simply must go and see this cat for herself. Jenny is scared, but “since she always faced her fears and followed her curiosity,” Jenny sets off to find Lorenzo.
As she walks through the countryside Jenny encounters some ducks and three piglets. They all warn her about Lorenzo and tell her to go back home before it is too late, but Jenny will not give up and on she goes, until she comes face to face with Lorenzo himself.
The author of this delightful book builds up the suspense in a masterful way, making us worry on Jenny’s behalf, and making us think that perhaps Jenny should follow the pigs’ advice and go home. It turns out that Jenny has a secret weapon that, in the end, brings her adventure to a surprising close.
Throughout the book the text is written in both prose and in verse. It is accompanied by Eve Tharlet’s deliciously lovely illustrations, which capture the emotions of the characters perfectly and give the tale a whimsical feel.
The Walrus and the Baseball Player by Ben Loory and illustrated by Alex Latimer is such a perfect book! Perfectly paced, perfectly mirrored and perfectly kind of weird - in the best way possible that kids are sure to love. At its most basic, The Walrus and the Baseball Player is a story about the responsibilities that come with having a pet. But it's also about discovering what you love,Add a Comment
Author-illustrator Ethan Long likes a good breakfast, such as Belgian waffles with strawberries and whipped cream and lots of bacon. But overall, he tells me, “these days, since I am a 46 year old man and I can get chubby pretty easily, I make it a point to consume a bowl of oatmeal with walnuts and raisins and a glass of orange juice every morning.”
I’m going to say we splurge this morning during our breakfast interview and have some of those Belgian waffles. One must always splurge.
Plus coffee. Gotta have coffee.
As you can see, if you scroll down to the bibliography at the very end of this post, Ethan is a prolific children’s book author and illustrator. He received the 2013 Geisel Award for Up, Tall and High, released by Putnam. This is an interview I intended to post at the end of last year, but things got busy. Better late than never. At least now, we can hear about which new books are on the horizon for Ethan in 2015.
Without further ado …
Jules: Are you an illustrator or author/illustrator?
Ethan: I am an Author/Illustrator, trained as an illustrator and self-taught as an author. That answer seems too short, but my goal is always to stay as succinct as possible with my writing.
Jules: Can you list your books-to-date? (If there are too many books to list here, please list your five most recent illustrated titles or the ones that are most prominent in your mind, for whatever reason.)
Ethan: [See Ethan’s complete bibliography at bottom of post.]
Jules: What is your usual medium?
Ethan: Everything I do ends up digital in the end, but I try to stay flexible on how I want the story/art to look in print. I may have vintage postcards on my mind, or classic cartoons, or wet ink splatters.
Jules: If you have illustrated for various age ranges (such as, both picture books and early reader books OR, say, picture books and chapter books), can you briefly discuss the differences, if any, in illustrating for one age group to another?
Ethan: The difference? The difference is in the amount of sarcasm and anger I show. Chapter books can show characters being angry with each other, or annoyed, or jealous, but for board books, happiness and safety is key.
Jules: Where are your stompin’ grounds?
Ethan My wife, Heather, and I live in Orlando, Florida. We’ve got three kids and do a lot of stompin’ the grounds. Orlando is the home of the Valencia orange, a beautiful downtown area (which is close to where we live), and some red-shorted mouse character who Must-Not-Be-Named.
Jules: Can you briefly tell me about your road to publication?
Ethan: I snail-mailed illustration promo cards for nine years until I got my first book in the year 2000. Was that brief enough?
Jules: Can you please point readers to your web site and/or blog?
Ethan: http://www.ethanlong.com. It’s the only website you will ever need to visit.
Jules: If you do school visits, tell me what they’re like.
Ethan: They are wonderful, and inspiring, and exhausting. The kids are usually great. The adults are amazing and supportive. The traveling takes me away from the family and the studio, but I spend too much time at home anyway, so it’s a good thing, always.
Jules: If you teach illustration, by chance, tell me how that influences your work as an illustrator.
Ethan: I teach here and there, and it never fails: When I’m helping a student work something out, it dawns on me that I should be taking that advice myself. Also, it’s nice when you’re lucky enough to get a student whose eyes light up at something you’ve said or done. There’s usually one of them in every class.
Jules: Any new titles/projects you might be working on now that you can tell me about?
Ethan: I have a few books coming out by the end of the summer: HI!, a board book published with Abrams/Appleseed; In, Over and On the Farm, the follow-up to the Theodor Seuss Geisel-winning Up, Tall and High; and a Halloween book with Bloomsbury called Fright Club. I am also developing some animated projects, based on my books, with productions companies. We recently pitched some original properties, and my partner will be taking them to Kidscreen at the end of February. Always something going on.
Okay, we’ve got more coffee, and it’s time to get a bit more detailed with seven questions over breakfast. I thank Ethan for visiting 7-Imp.
1. Jules: What exactly is your process when you are illustrating a book? You can start wherever you’d like when answering: getting initial ideas, starting to illustrate, or even what it’s like under deadline, etc. Do you outline a great deal of the book before you illustrate or just let your muse lead you on and see where you end up?
Ethan: For the writing, the ideas come in all shapes and sizes, but overall, for it to be a good idea my wife has to say “that’s cute.” I try to just go with the flow. The harder I try to make something work, the worse it gets. When I just sit down and spit something out and put on some music and just sit and play with it and see where it takes me, those are the best things.
But for the craft of writing and illustrating, there is the rough draft or sketches, the revised draft or sketches, and the final draft or sketches. Then the real work comes of making things fit into dimensions and layouts. Consistency is key with illustration. If a character is wearing a green shirt on one page, he should be wearing that same shirt on the next page. And his finger count should match throughout. Always.
2. Jules: Describe your studio or usual work space.
Ethan: I work in a very small space and try to keep everything contained. Despite my ability to juggle enormous amounts of projects, I actually work on one thing at a time. I work until it looks good, then send it out for review, then while I am waiting for that to come back, I pick up and work on something else. It all happens on my small desk on my laptop. I have tried many set-ups over the years, but the smaller the better for me. Less to maintain and clean.
3. Jules: As a book-lover, it interests me: What books or authors and/or illustrators influenced you as an early reader?
Ethan: I was heavily influenced by TV and comics as a kid. Books were still apart of my life, but more when I was really young. Curious George, Harold and the Purple Crayon, anything by Dr. Seuss — except Yertle the Turtle. Not a fan of Yertle.
4. Jules: If you could have three (living) authors or illustrators—whom you have not yet met—over for coffee or a glass of rich, red wine, whom would you choose? (Some people cheat and list deceased authors/illustrators. I won’t tell.)
Ethan: I would love to chat with Mo Willems about the craft of writing and how he handles his big-time, off-the-charts fame, but his agent keeps me away from him.
If I weren’t married, I’d go for beers with Gary Baseman, then head out to pick up chicks.
As for the red wine, I’d pick Eric Carle, because he seems to have led a full life, and I would want to hear his stories.
5. Jules: What is currently in rotation on your iPod or loaded in your CD player? Do you listen to music while you create books?
Ethan: I listen to everything. But I do have a playlist called “Ethan’s Bumpin’ Grinds,” which has all my favorite rap and hip-hop, including Destiny’s Child, Dr. Dre, Snoop, Beastie Boys, and a song by Blackstreet, called “No Diggity.”
Yes, I listen to music all the time. I have a playlist called “Rock out Jams,” “Jazzy Beats,” and “Calmer Favorites,” depending on my mood. I also listen to a lot of alternative, because there’s always something new. My three new favorite bands are Arctic Monkeys, Vampire Weekend, and Milky Chance.
6. Jules: What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?
Ethan: I used to write a column called “College Nark” for my local paper, The College Park Community Paper. We live in College Park, Orlando, and my column tattled on people who ran stop signs, left dog poo in people’s yards, and drove too fast, as well as many, many other things.
7. Jules: Is there something you wish interviewers would ask you — but never do? Feel free to ask and respond here.
Ethan: I wish more interviewers would ask to arm wrestle. Especially the females, because then I could win easier. BOOM! Yeah, I said it, females.
Jules: What is your favorite word?
Ethan: It’s a swear word that starts with the letter “f.” Sorry, kids.
Jules: What is your least favorite word?
Ethan: Sucks, as in that “sucks.” Especially when my kids say it.
Jules: What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
Ethan: A day off, but I take too few of them.
My wife’s smile.
Jules: What turns you off?
Jules: What is your favorite curse word? (optional)
Ethan: Same as my favorite word. But I’ll throw around the “c” word now and again, believe it or not.
Jules: What sound or noise do you love?
Ethan: A cat’s purr.
Jules: What sound or noise do you hate?
Ethan: A dog licking itself.
Jules: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Ethan: Disc jockey.
Jules: What profession would you not like to do?
Ethan: Daycare manager.
Jules: If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
Ethan: “You did good.”
All images are used by permission of Ethan Long.
The spiffy and slightly sinister gentleman introducing the Pivot Questionnaire is Alfred, copyright © 2009 Matt Phelan.Display Comments Add a Comment
I don't know how I missed this new series from one of my new favorite author/illustrators, William Bee, but Stanley, the machine-loving, job-exploring hamster made his debut last year in these brilliant, bright, big format books from Peachtree Publishers. Stanley the Builder and Stanley's Garage were the first two books in the series and now Stanley the Farmer joins the series withAdd a Comment