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1326. How Do Dinosaurs Stay Safe (2015)

How Do Dinosaurs Stay Safe? Jane Yolen. Illustrated by Mark Teague. 2015. [February 2015] Scholastic. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: How does a dinosaur stay safe all day? Whether at home or at school or at play? Does he climb up too high? Or jump on his bed? Does he race on his bike with no helmet on head? Is he rough with the cat? Does he stand up on chairs? When Mama says "No!" does he run down the stairs?

I can't say that I liked How Do Dinosaurs Stay Safe? Then again, I'm not sure that I have "liked" any of this dinosaur series by Jane Yolen. If you're looking for a book written in rhyme about safety for a dinosaur-obsessed child, then this is the book for you. Especially if you can embrace the idea of a dinosaur having a human mom and dad and living in the modern day world. Wearing helmets, being warned of stranger danger, and knowing to call 9-1-1 in an emergency are all good things technically speaking. But the book is far from entertaining. Should picture books tell a story or teach a lesson? Can they ever do both? Should they do both? Do they have to do both? For those looking more for a book about safety than an actual story this one may be of some use.

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 6 out of 10


© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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1327. What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Michael Hall


“He was red.”
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This morning over at Kirkus, I write about Sean Taylor’s Hoot Owl, Master of Disguise, illustrated by Jean Jullien, a book that makes me laugh. That link will be here soon.

* * *

Since last week (here), I wrote about Michael Hall’s Red: A Crayon’s Story, I’ve got some art from it today.

Enjoy.


“But he wasn’t very good at it.”
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“Everyone seemed to have something to say. …”
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“… he just couldn’t get the hang of it.”
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* * * * * * *

RED: A CRAYON’S STORY. Copyright © 2015 by Michael Hall. Published by Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollins, New York. Illustrations reproduced by permission of Michael Hall and HarperCollins.

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1328. Nana in the City – Perfect Picture Book Friday

Don’t you just love the serendipitous discovery that one of your favorite picture books of the previous year that you already have scheduled for this Friday’s Perfect Picture Books just happens to have won a well deserved Caldecott Honor Award … Continue reading

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1329. 2015 Coretta Scott King Awards: celebrating African American culture and universal human values (ages 4-15)

Coretta Scott King Award
The Coretta Scott King Book Awards are a continued source of inspiration for me and the schools I serve. Each year, these awards are given to authors and illustrators for books that honor African American culture and universal human values. Today, I would like to share the winning books with you. As the award website states,
"The award commemorates the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and honors his wife, Mrs. Coretta Scott King, for her courage and determination to continue the work for peace and world brotherhood."
2015 CSK Illustrator Award
Firebird, illustrated by Christopher Myers and written by Misty Copeland. In this stirring, beautiful picture book, Copeland creates a conversation between a young girl who dreams of dancing and herself as a professional ballerina (my full review) Myers illustrations are full of vibrant, saturated colors and help children visualize a story as they listen to Copeland's poetic text.

I read Firebird today with 2nd graders -- Jeehyun said, "It's like it was showing the young girl's life cycle," as she grew up and followed her dreams. I smiled, as we thought back to Jeehyun in kindergarten and wondered what advice she would have to herself as she was just starting school. It was a magical moment to share.  Inspiring, for ages 6-10.

2015 CSK Illustrator Honor Awards:

Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Joesphine Baker, illustrated by Christian Robinson and written by Patricia Hruby Powell. I adore this beautiful biography that Patricia Hruby Powell & Christian Robinson created celebrating Baker's life and work (see my full review).  Christian Robinson captures Josephine's movement and playfulness with his gorgeous acrylic illustrations. Savor this long picture book biography over several sittings -- and notice how the pictures and words play off each other. For ages 8-12.

Little Melba and Her Big Trombone, illustrated by Frank Morrison and written by Katheryn Russell-Brown. As Kirkus writes, "Bewitched by the rhythms of jazz all around her in Depression-era Kansas City, little Melba Doretta Liston longs to make music in this fictional account of a little-known jazz great." Kids love the exaggerated illustrations that brim with humor, sass and verve--just like I imagine Melba's trombone playing did. A great picture book biography, for ages 4-8.

2015 CSK Author Award:
Brown Girl Dreaming, by Jacqueline Woodson, is a moving, evocative memoir in verse that paints a picture of what it was like to grow up black and female in the 1960s and 1970s (see my full review). This book was especially meaningful to several of my African American students, especially girls, who could relate to Jackie's experiences. This powerful book will now be decorated with four medals: the National Book Award, the Newbery Honor, the Coretta Scott King Award, and the Sibert Award for nonfiction. Excellent and outstanding in so many ways, best suited for ages 10-14.

2015 CSK Author Honor Awards:

The Crossover, by Kwame Alexander, was recognized for its portrayal of a close-knit African American family, loving and supportive but also rife with tension between the brothers. As you know, my students are **huge** fans of The Crossover. As I said to a friend when I first read it, I love how the characters' African American identity is an important part of the book, but not an issue in the story -- it's just part of who they are. Don't BOTH of those medals look fantastic on this cover? Fantastic for ages 9-14.

How I Discovered Poetry, by Marilyn Nelson, is memoir in verse that is based on Nelson's experiences growing up as a daughter of one of the first African-American career officers in the Air Force during the 1950s. Publisher's Weekly calls this "an intimate perspective on a tumultuous era and an homage to the power of language." To learn more, listen to this NPR interview with Nelson. I have not read this or shared it with students, so I'm not quite sure if it's best suited for ages 12 and up, or would be a good fit for our 5th graders.

How It Went Down, by Kekla Magoon, is a gripping novel for teens that is undeniably relevant to issues our society is grappling with around the country. As Publisher Weekly writes, Magoon "offers multiple, contradictory perspectives on the shooting of an African-American youth. No one disputes that 16-year-old Tariq Johnson was shot on the street by Jack Franklin, a white gang member, but the motives of both killer and victim remain fuzzy, as do the circumstances surrounding the shooting." While I have not read this, I am a big fan of Magoon's previous work and know this will be an intense and full of raw emotions, for ages 14 and up.

2015 John Steptoe Award for New Talent:
When I Was the Greatest, by Jason Reynolds. I have not read this, but friends are raving about this engaging story of urban teens Ali, Noodles and Needles. As the award committee writes, "In an authentic contemporary voice, Reynolds focuses on the importance of family, the acceptance of responsibility and the obligations of friendship and portrays a likeable teenager learning how to be a good man." Recommended for ages 12 and up.

Please seek out and share these books with kids in your life. They are each truly special. Early review copies were kindly sent by the publishers Penguin, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Lee & Low, and Chronicle Books. We have purchased additional copies for our school library and classrooms, and we will continue purchasing more for gifts. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2015 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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1330. Carson Ellis on Home

The more I worked on this book, the closer I felt to it. It’s about homes: the ways they’re different and the ways they’re the same; the questions we ask about the residents of an evocative home and the stories we’re prompted to invent. It’s also, because I’m in the book myself, about being an artist and celebrating the things that artists are attracted to and inspired by — all the worlds that we can’t stop thinking about, reading about, conjuring up, visiting, and inhabiting.”

* * *

This morning over at Kirkus, I talk to author-illustrator Carson Ellis about her newest picture book, Home, out on shelves this month.

That link will be here soon.

(Also, given that the ALA Youth Media Awards were announced this week, I just had to ask her about how Mac Barnett’s and Jon Klassen’s Sam and Dave Dig a Hole, now a 2015 Caldecott Honor book, is dedicated to her.)

* * * * * * *

Photo of Carson taken by Autumn de Wilde and used by her permission.

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1331. Illustrator Interview – Roxie Munro

Roxie was one of the very first kid lit people to welcome me to New York in 2012. I have visited her in her home and lovely studio here in New York City. Roxie is the author/illustrator of more than 35 … Continue reading

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1332. 2015 Caldecott Awards: a terrific range & selection of books!!! (ages 4-14, yes really!!)

This year's Caldecott Committee broke boundaries by including a graphic novel for young teens among their seven (7!!) books awarded honors. This selection of picture books, meaning books told with and through pictures, serves a wide range of children -- from preschoolers who will adore Dan Santat's Beekle, to teens who are the perfect audience for Jillian and Mariko Tamaki's graphic novel This One Summer.

Before I get any further, if you're considering This One Summer for your child, please learn about it before you order it. I genuinely recommend this for kids who are 13 and 14, but not for elementary students. Skip down to the end if you're specifically looking for information about this book.

The 2015 Caldecott Award for the most distinguished American picture book goes to:

Dan Santat, the author and illustrator of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend. This delightful story has charmed our young students at Emerson, with Santat's special message about loneliness, imagination and finding your own special, true friend.

My students are huge fans of Dan Santat's and will be thrilled to see this picture book, which comes so much from Dan's heart, honored and celebrated. Dan truly captures so much of what children value in this world -- playfulness, fun and friendship with an incredible eye and vivid imagination. Perfect for preschoolers, but enjoyed by older kids as well (ages 3-9).

Six (!!) Caldecott Honor Awards were given:

Nana in the City, by Lauren Castillo, captures the relationship between a young boy and his grandmother, as she helps him overcome his fears by listening, understanding and helping him. I especially love how his nana never scolds him, but rather emotionally comes to where this little guy is. Another truly special book, perfect for kids ages 3-6.

The Noisy Paint Box, illustrated by Mary GrandPré and written by Barb Rosenstock, conveys the way abstract artist Vasily Kandinsky experienced colors as sounds and sounds as colors. It's fascinating--this picture book biography didn't appeal to me right away (I brought too many grown-up questions to it), but my 5th grader found it fascinating and the art captivating. Kandinsky listens as “swirling colors trill…like an orchestra tuning up,” and GrandPré shows him lifting his paintbrush much like a conductor. A fascinating intersection of art and music, for ages 6-10.


Sam and Dave Dig a Hole, illustrated by Jon Klassen and written by Mac Barnett, is another huge kid favorite at Emerson precisely because it makes kids laugh and wonder at the same time. Sam and Dave are indeed digging a whole, as you can see on the cover, and they are determined not to stop until they find "something spectacular." What I love best about it is the respect Klassen and Barnett have for kids who love to puzzle over things and think about questions that don't have easy answers, or necessarily ANY answers. They're totally comfortable with that uncertainty, something grownups often forget. Kids from 4 to 10 have loved this.

Viva Frida, by Yuyi Morales, made me gasp in wonder the very first time I saw it -- and it's had the same effect on children and adults alike. Just look at the colors on the cover -- but then open, and you enter the dreamlike world that Morales creates, combining handmade puppets and carefully crafted stage sets. Morales conveys a sense of an artists' world, and how one artist infuses another artists' dreams and spirit. While this isn't a biography at all, it is an incredible testament to the artistic spirit that appeals to the very young as well as older readers who can put it into more context (ages 3-12).

The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus, illustrated by Melissa Sweet and written by Jen Bryant. I adore this utterly splendid book that tells the life of Peter Roget and the creation of his thesaurus. Sweet uses playful illustrations to draw children into young Peter's life, showing them how he loved lists of words and discovered that words had power, especially when gathered together and organized in interesting ways. This is a book children will enjoy pouring over again and again, noticing more details each time. I particularly love showing kids (ages 6-10) the ways science, language and art intersect.

This One Summer, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki and written by Mariko Tamaki. This fantastic graphic novel eloquently captures young teens on the cusp of adolescence, as they spend the summer together. For the first time, the Caldecott Committee said, YES, the illustrations in a graphic novel is a true form of art, one that is vitally essential to the story. It is utterly ground-breaking and I am so happy.

This book speaks to young teens about the way friendships change as they enter the murky waters of adolescence. Rose is so happy to spend the summer once again with her friend Windy, but she rejects many of their past activities as too childish and yearns to mimic the older teens in this beach town. I like the way Kirkus sums it up: "The realistic dialogue and sensitive first-person narration convey Rose’s naïveté and confusion, and Windy’s comfort in her own skin contrasts with Rose’s uncertainty." Teen pregnancy, gossip and a parent's depression all wind their way through this story. I've found it speaks well to young teens, ages 13-15.

Please seek out and share these books with kids in your life. They are each truly special. Early review copies were kindly sent by the publishers Little, Brown, Random House, Candlewick, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Macmillan and Eerdmans. We have purchased additional copies for our school library and classrooms, and we will continue purchasing more for gifts. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2015 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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1333. Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Jeff Mack



 

Author-illustrator Jeff Mack has been a busy guy the past couple of years. He has illustrated a handful of picture books and chapter books; in 2008 he published the first picture book he both wrote and illustrated; and he’s even written and illustrated his own graphic novel/fiction hybrid, the cartoon-illustrated Clueless McGee series, all about an enterprising fifth-grade private eye.

Jeff is visiting this morning to talk about his work, share lots of art, and talk about what’s on his plate this year. For breakfast, he’s opting for French toast with cream cheese, jelly, and fake maple syrup. It’s the breakfast of champions, he tells me, which he sometimes also has for dinner. I’m all for that, as long as we have some coffee too.

Let’s get the basics while we set the table for seven questions over breakfast. I thank Jeff for visiting.

* * * * * * *

Jules: Are you an illustrator or author/illustrator?

Jeff: I’m both.

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.)

Jeff: Books I wrote and illustrated:

Books I illustrated:

Jules: What is your usual medium?

Jeff: I illustrated my earliest books, like Hurry! Hurry! and Rub-a-Dub Sub, with acrylic paint on watercolor paper.

I would make lots of sketches first and then tape the paintings to the wall while I worked on them.


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When I started to illustrate my comic-style stories, like Hippo and Rabbit and Frog and Flys, I “auditioned” several different types of media for the job: acrylic paint, cut paper, pastel, etc. I knew they had to have a different appearance than my other books. The stories were meant to be read quickly, like old Sunday comic strips, so the pictures couldn’t have too much detail in them.


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In the end, I decided to draw the outlines with pen and ink on paper.

 



 

Then I scanned pieces of cardboard and changed their colors with my computer.

 



 

Using Photoshop, I cut the shapes of the characters out of the cardboard and put them together like a collage.

 



 

Finally, I combined them with scans of the line drawings to make the final images.

 



 

Working this way gave me the opportunity to draw several different versions of the characters and use the ones I liked the best without having to re-do the entire picture.

 




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When I created books like Good News Bad News and Ah Ha!, I wanted multi-colored outlines instead of just black. So I skipped the pen and ink, scanned my sketches, and drew in color directly on top of them with a drawing tablet and my computer.



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I also started to use the computer to develop my sketches and plan out the various values.




I always try to choose a medium that compliments or adds to the book’s theme. My favorite medium is collage. It’s a medium that offers lots of surprises and interesting accidents. I love writing stories that call for a collage style.

For example, The Things I Can Do is about a five-year-old kid who makes his own picture book. In fact, it’s the book that you are reading.

So, I made pictures the way a kid might, with anything I could find: crayons, shoelaces, popsicle sticks, a two-by-four, you name it.

This book had infinite possibilities, so I had to set up some rules for myself. For instance, I wanted it to look messy …

 



 

… but not too messy.

 



 

For all of the “kid’s drawings,” I drew with crayon, using my non-drawing hand. But anytime I included something that looked like a “store-bought” item, such as all the various stickers throughout the book, I had to switch styles.

 



 

The book looks sloppy, but it actually took a ton of careful planning. It was a fun challenge. I even got bubble gum stuck in my scanner when I was making this book.

 




 

I illustrated my latest book, Look!, in a similar way, using a combination of pencil, watercolor, and old book covers.

 


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First I painted the characters by hand.

 



 

Then I scanned some old book covers.

 



 

Then I used the computer to put them together like I did with The Things I Can Do Can Do.

 


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I created the type with crayons and also with letters that I cut out of magazines (like a ransom note).

 



 


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On one level, this book is about a boy and a gorilla. But on another, it’s about a battle between old and new technology. So I used both to illustrate it.

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?

Jeff: Yes, I have illustrated my own picture books, early readers, and chapter books. The differences have more to do with the individual books and less to do with the age groups. I try to illustrate each one in a style that contributes to the book’s concept.

For instance, my Clueless McGee chapter books are collections of letters, written and illustrated by a bumbling ten-year-old private eye. Even though he claims to be a great artist, his illustrations are clunky, black-and-white pencil drawings that show you he’s not exactly a genius. Hopefully, his clumsy drawings tell readers as much about his personality as his words do.


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Meanwhile, my picture book, Hush Little Polar Bear, is a lullaby, so I made lush, softly-textured paintings to suggest a peaceful dream-like mood.



 

And Good News Bad News is a slapstick adventure, so I used a cartoonish style to exaggerate the silliness and keep any violence from looking too realistic.


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Jules: Where are your stompin’ grounds?

Jeff: I live in Western Massachusetts, near the city of Northampton. I love it here. The colleges bring in lots of cultural events, and the mountains provide hiking trails for wandering and daydreaming.

Jules: Can you tell me about your road to publication?

Jeff: My first skilled job was to copy 19th-century oil portraits for a museum in upstate New York.



 

I learned some traditional painting techniques doing this, and I applied them to my early illustration style.

 





 

I also painted murals in homes and restaurants around the region while I worked on my own book in the evenings.

 


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Eventually, I rented an apartment in NYC, where I went door-to-door to publishers with my fully-illustrated book dummy. My paintings received lots of positive attention.

 


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I was hired to illustrate other authors’ books, including James Howe’s Bunnicula and Friends

… and Eve Bunting’s Hurry Hurry.

Eve’s minimalist text was especially helpful in teaching me to tell a story effectively with pictures.


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After a few years, in 2008, I published my first book, Hush Little Polar Bear, with Neal Porter at Roaring Brook.

 


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It was recently reissued as a board book.

 



 

In 2010, I published a pair of graphic novel-style early readers called Hippo and Rabbit with Scholastic.

 



 

By then, I had written so many different types of books for various ages that I had to reach out to more editors. So I hired my agent, Rubin Pfeffer, who has helped me place my work with a range of publishers ever since. These days, I average two or three published books per year.

Jules: Can you please point readers to your web site and/or blog?

Jeff: www.jeffmack.com.

Jules: If you do school visits, tell me what they’re like.

Jeff: Yes, I do. I offer multimedia presentations, covering the A to Zs about how I make my books.

I show examples of my earliest elementary school artwork and how I progressed into a working author/illustrator.

 



 

I emphasize how artists must be patient with themselves as they practice, persist, and maintain a positive attitude throughout the entire creative process. All of my programs are interactive. I include lots of videos and demonstrations.

 



 

The video that shows me creating a painting from start to finish tends to be a hit with both students and their teachers. And my favorite part is doing live drawing demos.

The kids offer me suggestions as I draw. They get the chance to collaborate and let their imaginations run wild. Meanwhile, they also work on their own drawings. Working together like this, we always come up with something hilarious and unique by the end.

 



Jules: If you teach illustration, by chance, tell me how that influences your work as an illustrator.

Jeff: Years ago, I taught painting to kids during summer and after-school art camps. I would encourage them to take chances and explore different ways to use their materials. Then I’d go home and ask myself, “Am I taking enough chances with my own work?”

Through teaching, I realized the kind of artist I wanted to be: one who experiments and finds new and interesting ways to make images and tell stories. Sometimes that means playing with materials and voice, like in The Things I Can Do.

 



 

Sometimes it means taking chances with language, such as telling a story with only three words as in Good News Bad News.

 


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Or with only two letters like I did with Ah Ha!

 



 

And sometimes it’s both, as in Look!

 


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I still teach a few writing and illustration workshops each year. Creating art with kids is fun for me, so I make time for it!

Jules: Any new titles/projects you might be working on now that you can tell me about?

Jeff: I have two picture books planned for release in 2015 and three for 2016. One of them is called Who Wants a Hug?

 



 

It’s written almost entirely in dialogue between a bear and a very smelly skunk. Bear loves to hug. Skunk, not so much. Skunk has a whole briefcase full of stinky tricks that he hopes will stop Bear from hugging every single forest animal. They have a troubled relationship, to say the least. They eventually find a way to work things out — but not the way you might expect. It’s not your typical Valentine’s Day book.

 


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The other one for 2015 is Look! That’s the story about the boy, the gorilla, the TV, and the books that uses just two words. Kirkus just called it “an energetic invitation to the joys of books.”

Then, for 2016, I’ve created a second book with Bear and Skunk, called Who Needs A Bath? Guess which one needs the bath?

And right now, I’m working on the illustrations for a book by Leslie Staub about an alien named Dewey, who goes to kindergarten.

 



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I also spent some time this Fall painting a dozen new animal portraits based on the Chinese Zodiac. Many of them are combinations of plein air paintings that I made around Western MA and then combined with figments from my imagination. Every now and then, it’s nice to go low-tech and work outside with just my paints, brushes, and canvases.

 







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And lastly, I have a few new titles in the works with both Chronicle and Philomel, due to be released in 2016 and 2017. Each one is unlike anything I’ve tried before. So stay tuned!

Mmm. Coffee.Okay, we’ve got more coffee, and it’s time to get a bit more detailed with seven questions over breakfast. I thank Jeff again 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?

Jeff

: When I work, I make lists and outlines to help me stay focused. So I’ll do that here too.



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1. Ideas

Many of my ideas spring from real-life conversations or things I see happen. I may substitute different characters and situations, but the heart of the story is often based on personal experience.

For example, I was having lunch with some kids, and one of them was eating clam chowder. Twenty minutes later, he was still chewing. His teacher thought he had gum in his mouth and told him to spit it out. He insisted it wasn’t gum, but the teacher was adamant. Finally, he opened his mouth to prove it. He was right. It wasn’t gum. It was just a very chewy clam. We all found the misunderstanding funny, so it became the basis for a calamitous scene in Clueless McGee Gets Famous!

 



 

2. Sketches

Other ideas for stories come from random sketches or doodles. I constantly scribble down notes and character studies when I’m in hotels, restaurants, trains, airplanes, etc. When I get home, I usually toss them into one pile or another and forget about them.

 


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Later, if I feel stuck on a project, I sift through my papers and randomly pull out a sketch. Sometimes the sketch helps me solve the problem by steering me in a new direction.

Having a messy room can be a little like the I Ching or Oblique Strategies; pick something up at random and see where the new idea takes you. It can be an excellent way to get unstuck.

 



 

3. Dummies

Usually, when I write a picture book I make a list of the plot points first. Then I divide a sheet of paper into 32 squares (3 vertical lines, 7 horizontal), one for each page in the book. I fill in the sections with the plot points.

Then I make tiny thumbnail sketches for each section.

 




 

At a certain point, I have to see how it looks when I turn the pages so I cut out the squares …

 



 

tape them together …

 



 

and fold them into a tiny book dummy.

 



 

The story almost never works the first time. With a physical dummy, I can swap sections around, take pages out, replace them with new pages, and so on.

 



 

In this way, I write and illustrate simultaneously. It’s a very visual process for me. Once the dummy looks right to me, I send my work to one of my editors to find out if they agree. They often make helpful suggestions that I try out as I continue to revise the story.

I write my chapter books in a very similar way, planning out each spread carefully. Except they have about 250 pages instead of 32!

4. Editing (Picture Books)

Much of my writing process involves getting rid of sections that don’t add enough overall value to the story. They may be some of my favorite parts, but if the whole book works better without them, I take them out.

 



 

For example, in an early draft of Good News Bad News, I included several pages where the mouse and rabbit follow a trail of crumbs into a cave as they search for their stolen picnic basket.

 




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I really liked this sequence. It added to the characters’ personalities, and it had some jokes that I thought were funny.

But it also slowed the pace of the story by adding an unnecessary plot about the bear being a thief.

At first, it was hard to imagine the story without it. But when I finally took this scene out, I discovered that I didn’t actually miss it. Overall, the book was more entertaining because it kept the focus on the central theme: the chain reaction of positive and negative events. Now, the bear was just the bad news part of the cave.

For me, editing takes the most time, and it’s the most difficult part. But it’s also the part where most of the discovery happens.

 



(Click second image to enlarge)


 

Plot aside, I still felt unsettled reading my early drafts of Good News Bad News. But why?

Then it dawned on me: most of my text simply repeated what I already showed in the pictures.

 


(Click to enlarge)


 

So I decided to edit out every redundant word. When I did, the only words left were “good news” and “bad news”. But those were the only words that were necessary. They added meaning to the pictures and allowed the pictures themselves to tell the story. To me, it suddenly became a much more interesting book.

 



 

I tried to do the same thing for Ah Ha!, but it didn’t work the same way.

 




 

I ended up getting rid of all the words.

 



 

The book is too action-packed to be quiet and wordless. I wanted kids to have something to say outloud so they could express their emotions as they read. So I replaced the words with expressions made from the letters “a” and “h.” The pictures show the action, and the words let the readers know how the characters are feeling.

 


(Click to enlarge)


 

It’s a nice way to teach inflection. Even though different words may be spelled the same way, kids figure out how to read them differently based on what they see in the pictures.

 


(Click to enlarge)


 

Meanwhile, Look! uses just two words, “look” and “out” …

 



 

… but their meanings change when read together or separately.

 


(Click to enlarge)


 

My earliest versions of this book were wordless …

 


(Click to enlarge)


 

but I decided it was funnier and more interesting to involve a word game.

 


(Click to enlarge)


 

My favorite picture books are ones where words and pictures work together to create powerful emotions in surprising ways. So editing this book actually meant adding words rather than removing them.

 





 

As for chapter books …

When I write my Clueless McGee books, I start each one with a general outline. Next, I outline each chapter. Then I outline each individual scene. I make a list of the important changes that occur in each scene. And lastly, I write the individual jokes that make those changes happen. Since these are mysteries, it’s important that I plan out all of the clues and red herrings in advance.

 



 

In book #3, this moment sets PJ up to discover a critical clue about his missing father, lose valuable screen time, annoy his mom, and accidentally trash the library’s entire music collection all at the same time.

Creating outlines helps me manage a longer format, one cartoon at a time. The process is less overwhelming and much more enjoyable for me.

 




 

Clueless McGee actually began as a letter I wrote to a publisher in the voice of a nine-year-old boy. My original idea was to make a hand-written notebook with tiny scribbled drawings in the margins.

But I had so much fun making the drawings that they started to take over entire pages by the second draft.

 


(Click to enlarge)


 

Each book ends with an eight-page comic, written and illustrated by the main character. I made the first one, because otherwise I would have had eight blank pages at the end of the book.

 


(Click to enlarge)


 

After that, it turned out to be one of my favorite parts of making the books. I’m dying to write an entire book of just Clueless McGee’s comics.

5. Final Art

My illustration process varies from book to book, depending on the methods and materials I’m using. These days, if I work with paint on paper, I create one spread at a time, often lying or sitting on the floor. I hang them on the walls around me so that I can be sure the details stay consistent from page to page. Then at the end, I go back and re-work everything.

 


(Click to enlarge)


 

Sometimes when it suits the story, I illustrate using a Wacom Cintiq. It’s like a computer monitor that I can draw on with an electronic pen.

 



 

Instead of printing and hanging up each image, I make a digital storyboard out of tiny finished images.

 


(Click to enlarge)


 

Most of my recent work combines digital and traditional materials, so I’m often hopping back and forth between my computer and my paints.

2. Jules: Describe your studio or usual work space.

Jeff

: My studio is usually a complete mess with papers and prints piled everywhere. I’ve found that don’t prefer a fancy studio — just a room where I can freely make a mess. Every now and then, I’m forced to clean up in order to make room for more projects.

 




 

I also find that I get a lot of writing done at coffee shops and restaurants. I wrote and illustrated three Clueless McGee books sitting in a bakery, drinking lots of coffee.

 

3. Jules: As a book-lover, it interests me: What books or authors and/or illustrators influenced you as an early reader?

Jeff

: When I was a kid, these were my favorite books:

Big Max. It’s about a detective who travels by flying umbrella.

 



 

Be Nice to Spiders. I’m still afraid of spiders.

 



 

Dr. Seuss’ On Beyond Zebra. It’s a list of some bizarre animals whose names start with the letters that come after z. A few ’70s collections of Peanuts comics. And the Ed Emberley drawing books, because they showed me step-by-step how to create complex scenes using simple shapes. That gave me confidence to draw my own pictures. I now show kids a similar process during my school visits.

 

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.)

Jeff: Most of my favorite kids’ authors have passed away, and many of them seem like they were genuinely nice people, who would have been fun to talk with. William Steig and Arnold Lobel are heroes to me. As for living authors, I haven’t met Jon Agee, Calef Brown, or Maira Kalman yet. I love their clever ideas and their senses of humor. I also love Michael Sowa’s illustrations. And I’m a big fan of Sue Townsend’s Secret Diary of Adrian Mole books. Her first book was a huge inspiration to me. I would have loved to meet her too, but I just found out she passed away in April.

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?

Jeff: Lately, I’ve been listening to Karen Mantler and Bill Callahan. Karen sings about things like the flu, her cat, and her stove. Bill sings about his angst. I’m also fascinated by the incredible range of John Zorn’s music, everything from classical to jazz to surf-rock to metal. I love almost everything on the Daptone neo-soul label. And pretty much anything by the late pianist, Horace Silver, puts me in a good mood.

 



 

That said, I usually only listen to music when I walk my dog. I actually spend most of my day working in silence. Sometimes I forget to put music on, but more often I turn it off, because I can’t concentrate otherwise. When I was in college, I thought my teachers were crazy when they told me they loved to paint for hours in silence. But now … I guess I’m crazy too.

6. Jules: What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?

Jeff: I’m terrible at picking out my wardrobe. I find it a totally boring chore. If I could, I’d wear the same clothes every day. I dream of buying a mechanic’s jumper that I could hop into each morning without a second thought. Maybe I’d shave my head while I was at it. But I’m afraid someone would call the police if they saw me walking around like that. So I make an effort to look respectable in public.

 


7. Jules: Is there something you wish interviewers would ask you — but never do? Feel free to ask and respond here.

Jeff: Yes. Here’s the question:

Why, as someone with adult interests, adult tastes, adult responsibilities, and an adult perspective of the world, would you want to spend so much time thinking and working so hard to make books that appeal mainly to children?

Only, I’m not sure what the answer is. Writing and illustrating are often difficult and even painful for me sometimes. But I’ve always loved obsessing over projects.

 



 

When I was a kid, I drove myself and everyone around me crazy trying to build pinball machines out of cardboard boxes.

 






 

Then, in second grade, I won a Halloween short story contest by making my own elaborate monster comic book.

Today, I feel like I’m still making stuff for the same second-grade audience. I get a burst of joy when a story or picture turns out better than I had hoped. The feeling doesn’t last long, but the hope for new discoveries keeps me going. Plus, I really like kids. They’re sincere. The real deal. Sometimes they send me encouraging letters. Those help a lot.

 



 

* * * The Pivot Questionnaire * * *

Jules: What is your favorite word?

Jeff: “Frank” is a good one. It’s a name, a silly-looking food, and, frankly, it’s a darn good way to say what you mean.


Jules: What is your least favorite word?

Jeff: “Classic.” When it’s used to describe anything less than 50 years old. As in: “It’s a new classic!” For example, I love monster movies, but I have a hard time calling any of them made after 1968 a “classic.”

Second least favorite word: “Artisan.”

Jules: What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

Jeff: Traveling. Trying new things.


 

And pet portraits.

 



Jules: What turns you off?

Jeff: Ads.

Jules: What sound or noise do you love?

Jeff: It’s a little groaning sound that my dog, McGee, makes when he’s thinking too hard.



 

Or any of the sounds that animals make when they’re having fun.

 

Jules: What sound or noise do you hate?

Jeff: The sound of someone eating oatmeal in the dark.

Jules: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

Jeff: I’d like to write music and learn to play more musical instruments, so I could collaborate with other musicians.

I’d also like to write plays.

And sometimes I think I would like to be a vet. But only if I don’t have to treat spiders.

Jules: What profession would you not like to do?

Jeff: How about volcanic sulfur-mining? Anything done in a mine, really. I’m not very tough. Check out a fascinating documentary called Workingman’s Death for a scary look at many of the world’s most dangerous jobs. Children’s book author is not in the movie.

Jules: If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

Jeff: “Woof!”



 

All images are used by permission of Jeff Mack.

The spiffy and slightly sinister gentleman introducing the Pivot Questionnaire is Alfred, copyright © 2009 Matt Phelan.

 

8 Comments on Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Jeff Mack, last added: 2/5/2015
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1334. KidLit Author Illustrator Events Feb. 3-7

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I had a great time talking with SCBWI-Houston last night about one of my favorite subjects, the SCBWI Blueboards. I hope to see many of our members there soon!

SUPER STRUCTURE: THE KEY TO UNLEASHING THE POWER OF STORY by James Scott BellWhile revising my current work-in-progress this week, I’m going to try out the advice in a new craft book from James Scott Bell. I’ve heard him speak twice at the Northwest Houston RWA Lonestar Conference, and found his advice to be insightful and inspiring both times. His new book is SUPER STRUCTURE: THE KEY TO UNLEASHING THE POWER OF STORY. I can’t wait to see what exciting tips  this book has in store!

Here’s what’s going on around Houston this week. As always, please check the bookshops’ websites for the latest, most accurate information, or better yet, go in and say hello!

February 4, Wednesday, 5:00 PM TOMBQUEST: BOOK OF THE DEAD
Blue Willow Bookshop
Michael Northrop, MG Author

Michael Northrop will discuss and sign TOMBQUEST: BOOK OF THE DEAD, the first book in his new series for middle graders. Nothing can save Alex Sennefer’s life. That’s what all the doctors say, but his mother knows it’s not true. She knows that the Lost Spells of the Egyptian Book of the Dead can crack open a door to the afterlife and pull her son back from the brink. But when she uses the spells the Death Walkers are also brought back to life, and an ancient evil has been unleashed. Mummies are awakening. New York is overrun with scorpions. And worst of all for Alex, his mom and the Lost Spells have both disappeared. He and his best friend, Ren, will do anything to find his mom and save the world…even if that means going head-to-head with a Death Walker who has been plotting his revenge for 3,000 years.

February 7, Saturday, 5:00 PM LOVE YOU FOREVER by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Sheila McGraw
Archway Gallery
Sheila McGraw & Barbara Farnsworth, Children’s Authors

February 7 through March 5, Archway Gallery presents an exhibition, Love You Forever and Beyond: The Children’s Book Art of Sheila McGraw. A reception and artist’s talk will be held on Saturday, February 7. There will be complimentary valet parking and catered refreshments. Illustrator Sheila McGraw will be signing many of her popular books along with Indie author Barbara Farnsworth who wrote WHERE THE LOST THINGS GO, illustrated by Sheila McGraw. Farnsworth and McGraw will be available at the reception to discuss their publishing experiences with guests. Books will be on sale throughout the show.

February 7, Saturday, 7:00 PM THE SCUPLTOR by Scott McCloud
Brazos Bookstore
Scott McCloud, YA Author/Illustrator

Meet author/illustrator Scott McCloud. He wrote the book on how comics work; now he vaults into great fiction with a breathtaking, funny, and unforgettable new work. In THE SCULPTOR (First Second), David Smith is giving his life for his art—literally. Thanks to a deal with Death, the young sculptor gets his childhood wish: to sculpt anything he can imagine with his bare hands. But now that he only has 200 days to live, deciding what to create is harder than he thought, and discovering the love of his life at the 11th hour isn’t making it any easier!

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1335. Red: A Crayon's Story by Michael Hall

Before I write anything else, I need to say thank you to Michael Hall. Thank you for giving this amazing gift of a book to children and to adults: for those of us who need to  retool (or, even better, drop altogether) our expectations and especially for those of those of us who struggle under those expectations. Red: A Crayon's Story by Michael Hall is his best yet, and that's saying a

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1336. Caldecott Award: Randolph Caldecott Medal Winner | 2015

Randolph Caldecott Medal Winner The most distinguished American picture book for children, announced by the American Library Association.

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1337. Picture Book Monday with a review of Madame Martine

Every so often I come across a picture book that lifts my heart because of the quality of the book's story, and because of the message it conveys. Today's review title is just such a picture book.

Madame MartineMadame Martine
Sarah S. Brannen
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Albert Whitman, 2014, 978-0-8075-4905-6
Madame Martine lives in Paris, in an apartment not far from the Eiffel Tower. Every day she walks the same route, and she does her shopping in the same shops. Every week her schedule is the same and this is how she likes things to be. Madame Martine has never been to the top of the Eiffel Tower, because she thinks that doing so would be a waste of time.
   Then one Saturday, when she is out, she finds a small miserable looking dog hiding under a bush. When she offers the dog her hand it licks her and Madame Martine begins to think that maybe the dog “might be nice.” Then Madame Martine does something that is quite out of character. She picks up the dog and takes it home where she bathes it, feeds it, and gives is a name. The next day Madame Martine buys Max a collar, a leash, dog food, and a bowl and she takes him shopping with her.
   One Saturday Madame Martine and Max are out walking near the Eiffel Tower when Max sees a squirrel. He pulls the leash out of Madame Martine’s hands and takes off up the stairs of the Eiffel Tower. Desperate to retrieve her dog, Madame Martine buys a ticket and starts climbing the stairs.
   Many of us fall into a routine because it is easy and comfortable. We don’t like to do new things that will disrupt our schedule, and yet when we restrict ourselves by doing this we lose something. We don’t have the kinds of adventures that make our lives richer.
   In this wonderful picture book we see how Madame Martine’s new companion teaches her a valuable lesson about the importance of having adventures and trying new things. Throughout the book gorgeous illustrations are perfectly paired with a timeless story to give readers a tale that is powerful and heartwarming.


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1338. Best Selling Picture Books | February 2015

This month our best selling picture book from our affiliate store is the lively board book Peek-a-Zoo!, by Nina Laden.

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1339. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #417: FeaturingUp-and-Coming Illustrator, Molly Walsh

It’s the first Sunday of the month, which means I invite a student illustrator or recent grad to visit 7-Imp, and today I’ve got the latter. Molly Walsh graduated in 2013 from RISD, and she’s here today to share art and tell us a bit about herself.

Without further ado …

Molly: Hello! My name is Molly Walsh, and I am an illustrator living on Cape Cod. I graduated in 2013 with a degree in Illustration from Rhode Island School of Design.

 




 

I work by day as a designer at a gift company in Cape Cod and, by night, as a freelance illustrator. I love creating art for decoration, but my first love is telling stories, large or small, through my illustration. Inspiration for my illustrations could come from something as small as a little detail from a friend’s story to something as large as trying to sum up an entire concept or emotion in one image. My love of nature and goofy characters also have a way of creeping into the images I make.

 




 

I started working in my current style toward the end of my time at RISD. I had been making 3D sculptures as a way to compensate for my lack of confidence in my drawing skills. Sculpting somehow gave me a better understanding of shapes and lighting, and I began drawing and painting again to save time. (Funny how that works!)

 



 

One of my professors, Fred Lynch, was of great help to me settling into a style that suited my voice as an illustrator. I do most of my work in watercolor and gouache, though my surface design job has taught me a great deal about digital media, which I’ve started incorporating into my work.

 




 

My current sketchbook is full of doodles and sloppily-written ideas for future projects, both somewhat formed idea for series and comics, as well as notes about “great ideas” I’ve written myself while half asleep. (The other day I found the words “Gastronaut — astronaut with gas” written on one page.) Looking forward, I hope to find more opportunities to tell both my own stories, as well as the stories and ideas of others through freelance work for books and magazines. Illustration is a wonderful, exciting thing, and I hope to use this power for good!

 












 

All artwork here is reproduced by permission of Molly Walsh.

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 * * *

1) I love the characters in Molly’s work. Also I love: “Illustration is a wonderful, exciting thing, and I hope to use this power for good!” (P.S. The last illustration up there is from Ray Bradbury’s “All Summer in a Day,” which is something like the third or fourth illustration I’ve shared at 7-Imp from that story, which used to HAUNT me as a child. I’m starting a 7-Imp trend.)

2) Yesterday, we saw a stage adaptation at the Nashville Children’s Theatre of Mo Willems’ Elephant & Piggie stories. It was fun. Here’s a bit of what it was like:

3) I talked to a big group of second-graders at a school in Nashville this week about favorite 2014 picture books and Caldecott contenders, and it was a thing of beauty to hear their strong opinions. Those lucky kids have some great teachers and librarians.

4) Oh, and the Twitter chat this week with Metro Nashville School librarians was fun too.

5) Author-illustrator Lori Nichols is going to come have breakfast at 7-Imp when life slows down and sent this preview of us in the meantime:

6) It’s neat to see friends’ photos on Facebook from ALA Midwinter.

7) Speaking of kick #2, my New Year’s resolution (though I don’t usually do resolutions) was to see more live theatre, so hey, I’m not doing too badly.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

10 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #417: FeaturingUp-and-Coming Illustrator, Molly Walsh, last added: 2/2/2015
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1340. Seuss on Saturday #5

McElligot's Pool. Dr. Seuss. 1947/1974. Random House. 64 pages. [Source: Library]

 First sentence:
"Young man," laughed the farmer, "You're sort of a fool! You'll never catch fish in McElligot's Pool!"
Premise/Plot. Marco, the young boy in the story, is fishing at McElligot's Pool. Though the farmer warns him that the pool is just where people throw junk, the young boy claims he's not foolish or wasting his time fishing there. He tells how the pool could be--might be--connected to the sea itself. And how right this minute even all sorts of fish might be making their way to the pool for him to catch. He describes hundreds of fish, giving his imagination room to shine. But is the farmer convinced? Are readers?

My thoughts: It is nice to see Marco again. (I'm assuming that this Marco is the Marco of And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street, which was published ten years previously.) Marco's imagination is going strong.

Even though I don't like fishing. I liked this book about fishing. I liked it more than I thought I would.
I might catch a thin fish,
I might catch a stout fish.
I might catch a short
or a long, long, drawn-out fish.
Any kind! Any shape! Any color or size!
I might catch some fish that would open your eyes!
and
Oh, the sea is so full of a number of fish
If a fellow is patient, he might get his wish!
This one won a Caldecott Honor. Half the illustrations are in black and white. Half the illustrations are in color.

Have you read McElligot's Pool? Did you like it? love it? hate it? I would love to hear what you thought of it!

If you'd like to join me in reading or rereading Dr. Seuss' picture books (chronologically) I'd love to have you join me! The next book I'll be reviewing is Thidwick The Big-Hearted Moose.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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1341. Little Red's Riding 'Hood (2015)

Little Red's Riding 'Hood. Peter Stein. Illustrated by Chris Gall. 2015. [February 2015] Scholastic. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Here and there, up and down, in and out, Little Red loved riding around his 'hood. One day, Big Blue Mama gave Little Red an important job. "Poor Granny Putt Putt is feeling run-down," she said. "Her oil is muddy, her exhaust pipe's exhausted, and her wiper fluid is wiped out. Please take her this basket of goodies right away."

Well. I almost don't know what to say about it. It's unusual and original all in one, I suppose. I'd never have thought about retelling the tale of Little Red Riding Hood in this way. The book is set in Vroomville, and all the characters are machines. Little Red is a scooter; Granny Put-Put is a golf cart; and the Big Bad Wolf, well, he's a very mean monster truck. The story is familiar enough, I suppose, in the end, yet it has an original feel to it. That doesn't mean that I personally love it.

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 6 out of 10

© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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1342. this ORQ – Perfect Picture Book Friday

Title: this ORQ (he cave boy.) Written by: David Elliott Illustrated by: Lori Nichols Published by: Boyds Mills Press, 2014 Themes/Topics: pets, cave boys, cave moms, wooly mammoths Suitable for ages: preschoolers Opening:  This Orq. He live in cave. He carry club. He cave boy. … Continue reading

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1343. Gingerbread for Liberty! How a German Baker Helped Win the American Revolution by Mara Rockliff, pictures by Vincent x. Kirsch

Gingerbread for Liberty! How a German Baker Helped Win the American Revolution by Mara Rockliff and illustrated by Vincent X. Kirsch is a fantastic new non-fiction picture book that is sure to appeal to kids. As always with the best narrative non-fiction, I am impressed by the author's ability to take an aspect of history or science and make it palatable and comprehensible for young

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1344. Freddy the Frogcaster and the Big Blizzard, by Janice Dean | Book Review

Freddy the Frogcaster and the Big Blizzard does an excellent job of creating a creative way to get kids interested in learning about the science of weather.

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1345. Sleeping Cinderella and Other Princess Mix-Ups by Stephanie Clarkson & Brigette Barrager

Rare is the princess picture book that I find worth reviewing here. In fact, I even find the "anti-princess" picture books not worth mentioning. However, I LOVE fairy tales and I couldn't resist  reading Sleeping Cinderella and Other Princess Mix-Ups by Stephanie Clarkson, with illustrations by Brigette Barrager. Clarkson takes four well known fairy tale princesses and imagines them fed up

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1346. Illustrator Interview – Maral Sassouni

I connected with Maral on Facebook because I swoon at her artwork and because she is a huge Francophile like me. She is relatively new to children’s books, but her work has been well received: selected in Society of Illustrators (Illustrators … Continue reading

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1347. Margaret Bloy Graham Has Died

9780060268657Children’s books illustrator Margaret Bloy Graham has died. She was 94 years old.

Graham became well-known for collaborating with Gene Zion, a writer and her husband, on the Harry the Dirty Dog picture book series. She went on to work on projects with other writers and author her own books. Altogether, she earned two Caldecott Honors for All Falling Down and The Storm Book.

Here’s more from School Library Journal: “Though Harry remains Graham’s most well-known collaboration, it was far from her only one. Her illustrations for legendary children’s book author Charlotte Zolotow’s The Storm Book (Harper, 1951), a gentle look at a child’s first thunderstorm, won her a Caldecott Honor. A versatile artist, she also provided the illustrations for renowned poet Jack Prelutsky’s humor collection Pack Rat’s Day (Macmillan, 1974), while in the 1980s, she collaborated with longtime friend and Little Bear author Else Holmelund Minarik on What If? (1987) and It’s Spring (1989, both Greenwillow).”

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1348. If This Had Happened This Week, We Wouldn't Have Been Dancing In The Road

John Rocco has a picture book out called Blizzard that's been getting a lot of attention the last couple of months. It would have been terrific if I read that this past week and could write about it now after the events of the last couple of days here in New England. Yeah, well, that didn't happen.

I did pick up Rocco's earlier book, Blackout, from the library a while back. It would have been terrific if we'd had a power outage this week, a threat that was hanging over our heads this past weekend, and could write about it after reading Blackout. Yeah, well, that didn't happen, either.

But I'm still going to tell you about Blackout because it is beautiful. I am not the only person who thinks so, because it was a Caldecott Honor Book in 2012. It is beautiful looking with a lovely, simple story of people having a great time when the lights go out. That simple story is told without a lot of text, something that doesn't happen as often as you'd think with picture books.

By the way, Rocco also illustrated How to Train a Train by Jason Carter Eaton, which happens to be a big hit with a member of my family.

0 Comments on If This Had Happened This Week, We Wouldn't Have Been Dancing In The Road as of 1/28/2015 10:19:00 PM
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1349. Half Past Winter, by Ginger Nielson | Book Review

Half Past Winter is an adorable tale of two bear cubs and their adventure to find winter’s first snow. They grow impatient in their den when no snow comes and decide to explore until they find snow.

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1350. Seeing Carin Berger’sBox of Art Supplies Makes Me Happy



In-progress image and final spread: “‘I wish it was spring right now,’
Maurice told Mama. ‘Waiting is hard,’ she said. ‘Right now it is time to sleep.'”

(Click each to enlarge)

Last week, I chatted over at Kirkus (here) with author-illustrator Carin Berger about her new picture book, Finding Spring (Greenwillow, January 2015). Today, as always, I’m following up with some in-progress images from Carin, as well as a few spreads from the book. Those are below.

BUT she also visited 7-Imp over a year ago, while working on this book, to talk about it in detail waaaay before its publication. If you like Finding Spring and like Carin’s art and her books, I highly encourage you to check it out, if you haven’t seen it already. Lucky for us all, it is an art-filled post. It is here.

And I thank Carin for sending the additional images below. Enjoy.


Two more in-progress images
(Click each to enlarge)


“Back in the den, Maurice snuggled happily against Mama.
He slept and slept and slept.”

(Click to enlarge)


“And at last, there it was. Maurice had finally found S P R I N G!”
(Click to enlarge)



 

* * * * * * *

FINDING SPRING. Copyright © 2015 by Carin Berger. Published by Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollins, New York. All images here are reproduced by permission of Carin Berger.

5 Comments on Seeing Carin Berger’sBox of Art Supplies Makes Me Happy, last added: 1/29/2015
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