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Julie Fromme Fortenberry is a children's book illustrator. She has a Master of Fine Arts from Hunter College in New York. Julie has exhibited her abstract paintings in New York galleries, and museums including the Whitney Museum of American Art. Her work has been reviewed in The Christian Science Monitor, and the New York Times. Her clients include Highlights, and Harcourt Education.
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Sadie and Ori and the Blue Blanket is a 2016 Sydney Taylor Notable Book!
martin klasch: Klippdockan: David Bowie: David Bowie (8 January 1947 – 10 January 2016) ---
“The Dog That Nino Didn’t Have” is unsettling and odd. Nino (a boy of about seven) has an imaginary dog, depicted in sketchy lines over the landscape. The pet crawls alongside Nino as they stalk a scruffy cat, then he leaps on Great-Grandma’s lap. When Nino takes a rowboat out on the lake, the dog dives into the deep water.
Nino’s father (a pilot) phones from faraway, and the dog hears what Nino hears, and loves “the taste of salt water,” in the boy's tears. The mother and great-grandmother are pictured, but you don’t see their faces. This enforces the disquieting feel of the book, as does the untidy, retro, lakeside yard. The A-frame house, 1960s station wagon, toys, and tent are drawn with impressionistic looseness. The illustration style resembles silkscreen with its limited earth toned pallet. The world is handsome, mysterious and unanchored.
Nino is shown digging a muddy hole with his imaginary friend, and the text reads, “Sometimes the dog acted so crazy and dumb that people started to notice.” His mother’s back is turned. But presumably she notices Nino’s feelings, for on the following page there is a big gift box—Nino has been given a real dog (a lively terrier).
But this is not the end. Rather it’s the beginning of a new and bigger fantasy life. A make-believe deer, giraffe, hippo, rhino, bear, zebra, and “a few more dogs!” ward off loneliness and add richness not found in reality. Closing with a powerfully atmospheric night scene of the boy dreaming under a full moon, “The Dog That Nino Didn’t Have” is not your typical happy ending story.
HARDCOVER; Published: 10/8/2015
Ages 4 to 8
Jonathan Bentley has written and illustrated a playful picture book about a toddler who wishes to be big, like his older brother. The boy imagines what it might be like to have "big legs like a giraffe," "big hands like a gorilla," and a "big mouth like a crocodile," and finds that there are advantages to being little.
The images of the large animals are both dramatic and comic. The pictures, created with “watercolors, pencils, and scanned textures” are loose and lively. This is a fast, fun read aloud.
ISBN-13:9780802854629Publisher:Eerdmans, William B. Publishing CompanyPublication date:09/01/2015Pages:32Age Range:3 - 7
Originally published in Dutch, MIKIS AND THE DONKEY takes place on the Greek island of Corfu. Mikis, a boy of about eight, often visits his grandparents on the hill.
One day his grandfather surprises him with a donkey. To Mikis, Tsaki the donkey is a friend. But to his grandfather she is a “tractor with four legs.”
The grandfather piles firewood so high in Tsaki's baskets, that her belly is cut by the weight. Mikis and the village doctor force the grandfather to change the cold-hearted way in which he thinks about the donkey.
When Mikis and his friend Elena take Tsaki to meet another donkey, the two donkeys get along “really, really well.”
Mikis spends his summer vacation making a new stable for Tsaki. But the donkey refuses to enter her new home until (spoiler alert) her foal is placed inside.
Sketchy brown on ivory drawings depict the countryside, village square, classroom, and funny old faces. The loopy, loose lines are both detailed and airy.
Short chapters and colorful characters make this an easy read. The relationships—between family members, between the sweet/vulnerable teacher and her students, and between village locals—are distinctive and ring true. Love and understanding win out.
HARDCOVER; Published: 10/6/2014
Ages 8 to 12
from MIKIS AND THE DONKEY
What's hot in the publishing world this minute? Coloring books for all ages, and here are a few fun ones from Free Period Press. Full of patterns, scrummy flowers (by Caty Zocco) and animals ('Creative Creatures' by illustrator Melanie Mikecz).
and they've also created sets of colorable prints, produced on thicker paper. Teachers can download a free PDF for the classroom, too…
Illustrator Sydney Smith
's delightful alphabet. See my previous post on his wonderful new book, 'Sidewalk Flowers' here
Spanish author Daniel Nesquens has written a goofy short chapter book about a talking hippo's quest to return to his home in the jungles of Africa. Mr. H, the hippopotamus, asks a young zoo visitor to open the gate to his cage so that he can leave his unfulfilling life in captivity.
The path to the jungle is an urban one filled with traffic, a mysteriously acquired suit and tie, fun in the park, and dining in a fancy pizza restaurant. The hippo and the plot meander (in a good, Syd Hoff kind of way) and the story comes to an open-ended/existential ending.
The confident, airy and stylish paintings by Luciano Lozano are reminiscent of Roger Duvoisin and Miroslav Šašek, with a little James Marshall in there too, and add to the breezy feel of the story.
- ISBN-13: 9780802854407
- Publisher: Eerdmans, William B. Publishing Company
- Publication date: 2/1/2015
- Pages: 61
- Age range: 7 - 10 Years
Thank you to Eerdmans for the review copy.
Belgian writer/illustrator Jan De Kinder has written a story about a young girl who stands by, watching a friend suffer—not an easy topic for a picture book. But it's something that I'm sure many six- and seven-year-olds can relate to, though they might not be able to put their experience into words.
The book shows both the pain of the boy who is bullied (because he blushes) and the pain of his friend watching and doing nothing.
The character's emotions are easy to read. The dominant colors in the illustrations are red, cream, and black, and are created with ink, pencil, charcoal, aquarelle, acrylic, and collage. They have a clear, graphic style that adds drama, especially to the wordless spread depicting the girl when she finally musters the courage to stand up for her shy friend.
For such a loaded subject this book has a light touch. Red is an elegant story about the bravery of everyday life on the playground.
Thanks to Eerdmans for the the review copy.
Jan De Kinder, trans. from the Dutch by Laura Watkinson.
Release date: 03/01/2015
I love the work of children's illustrator Victoria Semykina Antolini
, and now she has a superb project which needs a little help getting off the ground. She has a Kickstarter project
and charming video for 'The Real Boat
' a story about a little boat who dreams of the sea. The finished product will be a gorgeous, collaged and interactive, animated delight and it's just waiting to be launched, so please help her out!