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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: William Steig, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. Five Family Favorites with Pat Zietlow Miller, Author of Sharing the Bread: An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving Story

Pat Zietlow Miller, author of Sharing the Bread: An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving Story, selected these five family favorites.

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2. 10 Strange Reasons for Banning a Book

For Banned Books Week this year, we combed through hundreds of records of challenged materials reported by Oregon schools and libraries over the past 35 years. In the process, we came across some surprising, amusing, and, at times, weirdly specific arguments for banning books. Here are 10 particularly strange reasons that demonstrate how absurd it [...]

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3. Lisa Brown – Illustrator Interview

I invited Lisa onto Miss Marple’s Musings because I fell in love with her art for her latest collaboration—MUMMY CAT, written by Marcus Ewert! As a feline-fanatic, I this memorable story within a story set in Ancient Egypt is one … Continue reading

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4. Way Back Wednesday Essential Classic

When Everybody Wore a Hat

By William Steig


I confess I had never heard of this title by one of my favorite picture book authors. William Steig, former illustrator for the “New Yorker” who did not start his picture book career till he was in his sixties, is a sure reminder for all those second career, “Chapter two” people dreaming out there, that it is never too late to dream. What is that saying? ”There is one book in EVERYONE.

And Bill Steig had a slew of them in him from his Caldecott medal winning, “Sylvester and the Magic Pebble” to “The Amazing Bone”, also a Caldecott Honor book, and from “Amos and Boris” to “Dr. De Soto”, and “Abel’s Island”, BOTH Newbery Honor books. Quite a haul for someone that wrote such stories of imaginative adventure and characters of cunning, ingenuity, daring, along with a knowing acceptance of life. Coupled with wonderful vocabulary using words such as phosphorescent and odoriferous to describe the sea with the first word and a villain with the second, and it’s easy to see why young readers still love his books. Ever hear of a kindly ogre named Shrek? That’s Bill Steig’s book too!

I love books that connect generations. Kids want to know what life was like in mom and dad’s day, and better still, gram and pop pop’s day! And here, Bill Steig serves it up to this generation from HIS generation, in the story of when he was a boy, .”…almost a hundred years ago, when fire engines were pulled by horses, boys did not play with girls, kids went to libraries for books, there was no TV, you could see a movie for a nickel and everybody wore a hat,” as he tells it.

Bill gives a clear, but vividly cartoonish take in art and a wonderfully descriptive feel for his parents from the Old Country. I chuckled at his depiction of a typical mom/pop quarrel in which they spoke one of the four languages they spoke; German, Polish, Yiddish and English. Thankfully, the kids didn’t quite know what caused the ruckus, but the radiator also came in for a bit of dad’s ire for letting off steam as well.

Caruso and the opera were favorites of his parents, as they listened to a phonograph you wound up with a crank. Hey, I have one of those too, and the sound is great! Chess also was a favorite game played with a neighbor named Mr. Hoffman.

Hats were worn – sometimes with fruit on it – by ladies. Hey, I even remember wearing hats to church on Sunday! If you watch old news footage of baseball games in the 40’s and 50’s, EVERYBODY is mostly wearing a hat, even on a weekday! You’re right, Bill!

And, boy were things inexpensive as Bill points out. For instance, young readers will be agog at the fact that a hot dog could be bought for a NICKEL, as well as a pound of fruit and a seat at a movie.

They’ll also marvel at the number of times Bill moved and he was impressed at how strong those movers hauling huge pieces of furniture down flights of stairs were. Bill Steig lets us meet lots of interesting people that came in and out of his life when he was eight years old. Here are but a few worth meeting; foibles and all: Esther Haberman had a big mouth, a beefy butcher named Barney, Prince the janitor’s dog that scared the local kids, the elegant Mrs. Kingman who was just passing through the neighborhood with her pooch, and kindly Dr. Wager who actually came to the HOUSE! Yup, doctors made house calls then. I may be dating myself, but our family, too, had a fine man named Dr. Modrys that visited us when my youngest brother had the measles. It really wasn’t very unusual then.

Bill Steig’s trip down the memory lane of his young life is worth the reading journey for your young reader. It’s a fine peek into a window in time that has closed. Then, boys like Bill had haircuts in barber chairs and listened to stories filtering through the air at Ditchick’s Barbershop. And sitting on a horse like a real cowboy and having your picture taken was a treat.

All of these simple pleasures and interesting characters fed Bill’s very active artistic imagination with lots of material for his books. All the drawings in this book will make you feel as if you have taken a stroll through Bill’s neighborhood with him and know these people too.

But his closing lines are very telling. He says he wanted to be either a seaman or an artist. He DID become the artist, but you can’t tell me he hasn’t sailed to some pretty interesting places aboard those books he wrote!

And the best part of it all is that WE get to go along for the ride in all of them. Thanks for the ride, Bill! We get to see the past through your eyes and art. A time it was and what a time it was.


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5. Illustration Inspiration: Christopher Weyant

Christopher Weyant’s work has been published worldwide in books, newspapers, magazines, and online. His cartoons are in permanent collection at The Whitney Museum of American Art and The Morgan Library & Museum in New York City. YOU ARE (NOT) SMALL is his first children’s book.

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6. The Bad Speller

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7. Fusenews: On Beyond Flummoxed

In a weird way, Twitter sort of made my Fusenews posts this side of obsolete.  If you want cool things to see online it’s often just a case of knowing whom to follow.  And yet I love my little Fusenews.  Pressed as I am for time today, let’s pretend that these are little tweets:

Pinterest continues to remain a strange elusive creation that I have a hard time wrapping my head around.  Fortunately sometimes it will do something like post images from William Steig’s Agony in the Kindergarten (circa 195o) and all at once everything is clear. Thanks to Alex Penfold for the link.

And while you’re looking at vast numbers of images, why not look at this collection of international children’s art.  Purdy.  Thanks to Warren Truitt for the link.

Adrienne says, “I Can’t Imagine There Was Ever a Time in Which This Version of Little Red Riding Hood Wasn’t Creepy.” I don’t quite know what she means since I haven’t yet seen the . . . GAAAAAHHHHH!!!

  • I want a new Leslie Connor middle grade novel for kids and I want it now now now now now. (This is called “baiting the universe” and should only be attempted under the strictest of circumstances.)
  • Was anyone else aware that Thomas Locker died this year, or just BookMoot?  First I’ve heard of it.  Shoot.
  • As per usual, the best round-up of the year is happening at Chicken Spaghetti.  If you want to see every last Best Of list printed for 2012 books, seek ye no further.
  • Speaking of Best Of lists, I am not usually flummoxed by the books folks pick.  I like to think that on the children’s side I see almost everything.  So imagine my flummoxing when I check out the 100 Scope Notes Top 20 Children’s Books of 2012 and find that #20 is a book I have NEVER heard of before!?!  I am tongue-tied, stopped, and otherwise befuddled.  You win this round, Jonker, but I shall have my revenge!!
  • The Bookbug children’s bookstore in Kalamazoo, Michigan does many things right.  But most recently they managed to make this remarkable little fellow:

Don’t try to buy him for your holiday shopping, though.  Apparently to make it you need to get “many different packages of legos from several different vendors.”  Worth it.

  • You know how weird it was when they redid Spiderman with an all-new cast?  Yup.  Well, hold onto your hats, folks.  A children’s book is getting yet another reworking as well. From Cynopsis Kids:

Columbia looks to Zach Helm (Stranger Than Fiction, Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, which he also directed, and the upcoming The Secret Life of Walter Mitty) to write a new big screen adaptation of Jumanji, based on Chris van Allsburg’s 1981 book of the same name, per THRMatt Tolmach (The Amazing Spider-Man) will produce the new Jumanji movie. Joe Johnston directed the 1995 feature film incarnation of Jumanji, which starred Robin Williams and Kirsten Dunst.

  • Daily Image:

There is a giant swing installation somewhere in New York City right now.  You walk in, you sit, and you swing.

I may have missed the Columbus Circle installation but by gum I am finding this one!  Thanks to Crooked House for the heads up.

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8. Top 100 Picture Books #55: Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig

#55 Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig (1969)
32 points

I know a little girl who cried when she thought Sylvester would be a rock forever. I’m not sure what it says about me, but that made me love the book even more. The best books are a little scary, aren’t they? – Jessalynn Gale

Overwhelming anguish and transcending joy. Not common fare for picture books. A book in need of an Amber alert. - DaNae Leu

I’ve talked about the psychology at work behind loving one children’s book or another.  And no author better represents a person’s individual personality than William Steig.  When I print the full list of all the nominations that didn’t quite make it onto the Top 100, you’re going to be shocked by sheer amount of Steig on that list.  Everyone has their favorite.  Sometimes it’s The Amazing Bone (that’s my personal love).  Sometimes it’s Doctor De Soto (though not as often as you might think).  But nine times out of ten the title that came up the most was Sylvester.  That strange little story of magic, loss, and recovery strikes a deep chord in the hearts and minds of children and parents everywhere.

From the publisher: “One rainy day, Sylvester finds a magic pebble that can make wishes come true. But when a lion frightens him on his way home, Sylvester makes a wish that brings unexpected results. How Sylvester is eventually reunited with his loving family and restored to his own donkey self makes a story that is beautifully tender and perfectly joyful.”

I mean, just look at that cover image!  Name me one other picture book where the defining shot of the book is two parents desperately searching and querying their neighbors about the disappearance of their son.  It’s heartbreaking.

Now the reissue of this book did a rather wonderful thing that I’ve not seen repeated in any other picture book. When a “deluxe edition” of the book came out the publisher placed in the back the reprinted Caldecott acceptance speech Steig gave for Sylvester.  This strikes me as a brilliant idea.  Would that every Caldecott and Newbery Award and Honor winner had this reprinted in their future editions.  For just a little bit of ink you get a pretty cool concept.

The Weston Woods video features the voice of John Lithgow, so I was a little disappointed that I couldn’t find a clip of it.  Here instead is a glimpse of a cool looking stage production of the same book:

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9. Top 100 Picture Books #57: Doctor De Soto by William Steig

#57 Doctor De Soto by William Steig (1982)
31 points

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble is brilliant, but in this one, William Steig uses just the right amount of words and tells a wonderfully clever tale. - Sondra Eklund

“Frank you berry mush” - Celia Lee

Took me a second to get what Celia’s comment was saying.  Well played, madame.  It’s nice to see Mr. Steig finally make an appearance on this list, and it’s particularly funny to consider that the last time we counting down 100 this book, shockingly, was NOT included!  It was one of those gaps you gape at.  A gaping gap.  Fortunately all seems to be right on track this time around.  Phew!  Onward and upward then.

The description from the publisher reads, ” ‘Doctor De Soto, the dentist, did very good work.’ With the aid of his able assistant, Mrs. De Soto, he copes with the toothaches of animals large and small. His expertise is so great that his fortunate patients never feel any pain. Since he’s a mouse, Doctor De Soto refuses to treat ‘dangerous’ animals–that is, animals who have a taste for mice. But one day a fox shows up and begs for relief from the tooth that’s killing him. How can the kindhearted De Sotos turn him away? But how can they make sure that the fox doesn’t give in to his baser instincts once his tooth is fixed? Those clever De Sotos will find a way.”

In her 100 Best Books for Children, Anita Silvey gives a little background on Steig that offers a hint as to the beginnings of this book. She writes, “…his children’s book career didn’t begin until he was sixty, when his fellow New Yorker artist Robert Kraus asked him for a submission for Windmill Books.  Many fine books later, Steig got the idea for this book by asking himself, What if you were a mouse dentist, and a fox came to you as a patient?”

See that shiny award on its cover?  Funny thing . . . it’s not a Caldecott.  Nope, that would be a Newbery Honor, one of the few relatively recent titles awarded a picture book.  The book was also a 1982 New York Times Book Review Notable Children’s Book of the Year and Outstanding Book of the Year, as well as a 1983 Boston Globe – Horn Book Awards Honor Book for Picture Books.

It had a sequel, by the way.  Doctor De Soto Goes to Africa, most notably.  I wasn’t familiar with it so I looked it up and found this description, “A telegram from an elephant desperately in need of dental attention is the impetus for Dr. and Mrs. De Soto’s journey to Africa. But not all is smooth sailing for the couple, as a rhesus monkey bears a grudge against the elephant for a previous insult, and kidnaps the diminutive dentist as revenge.” SLJ was seriously unimpressed saying that, “There are some situations here that are ripe for Steig’s standard brand of humor, but the text is missing his inventive, playful language and his subtle word choices. It’s a bland telling, with some of the lines more like captions than integrated storytelling.” Kirkus and PW (for the most part) felt differently but I think time and fading memories have proven that if there are any De Soto’s to remember, it should be the first. Still, it’s probably worth noting that #2

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10. See a Steig Slide Show


(From today's NY Times)

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11. WILLIAM STEIG: Y R U A Writer? Because You Want To Create Deep, Funny Stories Just Like He Did

A fascinating essay in today's New York Times reinforces my love for children's books and children's authors. A must read: a true fan piece spotlighting William Steig's world and the current exhibition of his work on display at The Jewish Museum here in New York. Better get thee to the exhibit soon as it ends March 16th. (Why do I feel as if I am the last to know all the good stuff?)

Things I didn't know: Steig was Brooklyn boy. (Instant rapport.) A Brooklyn Jewish boy. (Who knew?) That he sold his first cartoon to THE NEW YORKER magazine when he was 23 to help support his family. That he began publishing his children's books when he was 61 years old. (Okay. I am not giving away my age. All I am saying: there's hope, there's time, there's time! I feel better now.) ;}

Things I did know: some of his books have been my best friends as both a writer and children's book aficionado. The less-talked about, less seemingly impossible BRAVE IRENE was a story I read over and over again to my children-- and to myself. Irene was the girl I never thought I was, the girl who never gave up, despite the obstacles of the wind, the snowstorm, the darkness, the impossibilities...

If I couldn't be that girl when I was little, I am determined to be her now. {}

From the William Steig website:

double click to enlarge

From ART KNOWLEDGE NEWS: “I often ask myself, ‘What would be an ideal life?’ – I think an ideal life would be just drawing,” William Steig said in 1992. He died in 2003 at the age of 95.

website tracking

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12. William Steig, "We Clean 'Em" 1944

and a doll named Poor Pitiful Pearl at pinestreetartworks.com.

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13. My Banned Book Reading Report

All right. I took my own challenge. I have finally managed to read a book I hadn't read before that has been banned or contested somewhere. Before I tell you which one, I would like to point out that I've read a bunch of new books that I think will get contested or that I'm surprised haven't been contested.

So, here's my book. Drum roll, please.

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble
by William Steig.

I know what you're thinking. You haven't read this before? And it's true. I hadn't. I wasn't read to much as a kid, and once I could read not at all. I missed the whole picture book part of youth, which is probably why I don't have a lot of interest in them today. There just isn't a whole cache of fond picture book memories floating around my brain.

However, I broke away from my usual comfort zone and read a picture book. And I enjoyed it. It's a classic, award winner for a reason.

Now the text is too long for a modern picture book. Picture books are still trending to the minimal word to wordless picture book with long stories like Sylvester becoming rare. However, that doesn't make Sylvester any less charming.

I also enjoyed the change in point of view in the story. Flipping back and forth between Sylvester the stone and his parents gives added depth to the plot. After all, it wouldn't be all that interesting to follow Sylvester's month as a rock. Nowadays, though, books are more rigid in their viewpoints.

In fact, Sylvester reads more like a fairy tale than a modern picture book. I loved reading it, and I recommend it to others.

And if you were wondering why it was banned, police associations in 12 states asked librarians to remove the book because the police in it were drawn as pigs. Now, all the characters are animals, and the police are not portrayed negatively, but on the page they appear, they are drawn as pigs.

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William Steig’s Creationist Fable?
(See Jeanne Steig's reply)

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15. Steig inspired lighting

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16. austinkleon: Roz Chast on William Steig Steig’s drawings seem...


Roz Chast on William Steig

Steig’s drawings seem to flow effortlessly from his mind to his pen and onto the paper. I doubt he ever looked at a blank sheet and thought, “I have nothing worthwhile to say today,” or “I can’t draw a car as well as Joe Shmoe, so why don’t I crawl back into bed and wait for the day to be over.” Steig gave himself permission to be playful and experimental. One of the many wonderful things about looking at his drawings is their message, especially to his fellow artists: Draw what you love and what interests you. Draw it how you want to draw it. When we are children we do this instinctively. But somewhere in our passage from childhood to adulthood, the ability to be truly and fearlessly creative is often lost. To quote Pablo Picasso, Steig’s favorite artist, “All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”

Steig is one of my favorites—Chast’s essay is from a new book on his work, Cats, Dogs, Men, Women, Ninnies & Clowns: The Lost Art of William Steig

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17. The Eric Carle Honors 2011

For the past six years now the Eric Carle Museum has hosted an annual event in New York City where authors, illustrators, editors, and more have met and mingled with the chance of bidding on great works of art, honored folks in the field, and generally supported the museum and all it entails.  And for at least five of those years I have had the pleasure of attending in 2007 (here and here), 2008, 2009, 2010, and now I have a 2011 notch on my bedpost as well (so to speak).  Each year came with its own memories too. In 2007 I watched the wife of Mo Willems goose her husband (who had to take the freight elevator up to the event because he was wearing jeans) to show how the new Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus stuffed animal would work if you wanted to make it speak.  In 2008 I stumbled into a vast room that was filled from wall to wall with desserts, akin to a Room of Requirement (though I was searching for the loo at the time).  Upon returning to my table I watched Tony DiTerlizzi  (or was it Mo Willems again?) lob spitballs at the adjoining table.  2009 consisted of the Very Hungry Caterpillar cake . . . a cake that returns in my dreams sometimes urging me to eat it (adjust its book to read “And she wasn’t a little librarian anymore. She was a big fat librarian!).  And of course in 2010 I had just returned from a lovely jaunt to Chicago’s SCBWI chapter to discover that I was pregnant.  Immediately after this discovery I ran over to the Carle Honors where I spent the entire time drinking loads of water, staring morosely at the glasses of wine going around.

Which brings us up to speed.  Here we are in 2011 and things have changed a little.  I’m less intimidated by the big names.  I know a nifty spot near this year’s event space (the restaurant Guastavino’s) where I could change from comfy shoes to high heeled bits of painful ridiculousness.  I’m no longer pregnant.  And . . .

Okay, so I lied to you just now.  Fact of the matter is that I’m still intimidated by the big names.  Take Lois Ehlert.  She was amongst the various folks being honored alongside Karen Nelson Hoyle, Jeanne Steig and Michael di Capua.  If her name rings no bells then surely old Chicka Chicka Boom Boom does.  She created the art for that one, amongst her many other titles.  So when it was suggested that I hop on over and give her a howdy, I clung to my security blanket/best buddy Lori Ess of Scholastic Book Group and made my way over. And yes, I was terrified.

Cleverly checking my bag that evening I managed to also check my camera, so it is to Leah Goodman that I thank for many of the images shown in t

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18. The Agony in the Kindergarten

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19. Brave Irene - William Steig, Narration by Meryl Streep

"An extroadinarily eloquent story about love andcourage"
- The New Yorker

The Duchess eagerly awaits the delivery of her ball gown by Irene'smother, Mrs. Bobbin, but the seamstress is sick in bed and can't possiblydeliver the gown in time.
Enter Brave Irene! Through a ferocioussnowstorm and deliberately treacherous winds, Irene sets out to save the dayfor her dear mother (who always smells like fresh-baked bread to Irene).
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20. Shrek

Redonkulous is one of my favorite words, it’s silly but it will always get a smile out of me. If you have seen Shrek (or have seen it a dozen times like me) than you’ll understand why redonkulous warms my heart and tickles my funny bone. Keep reading… Before Shrek hit the silver screen and [...]

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21. Good, Clean Fun: ANOTHER BROTHER Book Trailer

I first learned of Matthew Cordell when he was hired to illustrate my picture book, MIGHTY CASEY. Despite Matt’s great artwork, the book never really found an audience, and I guess it sort of died on the vine, as they say. But there are two great things that came out of that book. First,  my ongoing friendship with Matthew and his amazingly talented wife, Julie Halpern. Someday I hope we’re all in the same room! In my opinion, Matt is a hugely gifted illustrator, and a true artist, and an heir in his approach and dedication to Arnold Lobel, who is one of my all-time heroes. He’s also got a touch of William Steig.

Look, I’ll say it. A lot of children’s book illustration, while technically spectacular, isn’t very appealing to kids. Matt’s work, on the other hand, is loose and inviting and draws readers into the story. Like Lobel, and Steig, and James Marshall, and all the best. I really think Matt is that good, and he’s just scratching the surface.

Secondly, I’m gladdened by the consistent pleasure I experience when on odd times I pull out MIGHTY CASEY and read it aloud to large groups of students. I’m telling you, it works every time. We laugh, we have fun, and by the end these kids are right there, leaning in, eager for the play at the plate. Sales or not, those experiences tell me that Matt and I did good together — we made something, you know, put it out into the world. It’s all we can do.

Anyway, Matt created a homemade trailer for his new picture book, ANOTHER BROTHER. Now on sale on every street corner, car trunk, haberdashery — and independent bookstore, too!

Enjoy . . .

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22. Wonderful Winter Books for Kids

By Bianca Schulze, The Children’s Book Review
Published: February 7, 2012

Over and Under the Snow

By Kate Messner; illustrated by Christpher Silas Neal

As a child skis down a mountain with her dad and spots a red squirrel disappearing down a crack, she asks the question: “Where did he go?” To which her dad responds: “Under the snow.” The little girls world suddenly expands as her mind is opened to a whole new natural world. Messner’s text appeals to the senses and her author’s note is educational and encourages children to take in their surrounding on their next snowy adventure. Neal’s mixed media illustrations have retro appeal and capture the wintery scenery well with the combination of cool colors and earthy tones. Animal, nature and science entusiasts will love this book—especially the facts provided in the back of the book about all of the animals featured in the story. (Ages 5-8. Publisher: Chronicle Books LLC)

Razzle-Dazzle Ruby

By Masha D’yans

Masha D’yans’ fantastical debut book Razzle-Dazzle Ruby is charmingly artistic. The illustrations are moving—literally. Every page of this novelty picture book offers a playful and enticing wintery wonderland for young readers to lose themselves in. Visit: www.razzledazzleruby.com (Ages 4-8. Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.)

I Am Small

By Emma Dodd

With an icy cold backdrop and splashes of shimmery silver on every second page, a little penguin manages to cope with the big obstacles in life—deep ocean and steep mountains—because of his mother’s warm love. Sweet with its repetitive text, I Am Small is a delightful little tale for mothers to share with their young ones. (Ages 0-3. Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.)

The Tree House

By Marije Tolman and Ronald Tolman

The Tree House is a wordless and imaginative wonder that enchants readers with its wide array of characters (Bears, pandas, rhinos, and birds of many feathers) that visit a tree house located in what seems to be the middle of nowhere.  Each characte

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23. Re-Seussification Project: The Results

It was kind of a kooky idea, I admit it.  I’ve seen plenty of sites where artists will reinterpret someone like Maurice Sendak in their own styles.  What I wanted was something a little different.  I wanted to see what would happen if great children’s book illustrators illustrated one another.  If a Lobel illustrated a Bemelmans.  If a Carle illustrated a Silverstein.  Trouble is, famous folk have a way of not bothering to illustrate one another (to say nothing of the fact that a bunch of them are dead as doornails).  The solution?  To offer a silly fun challenge.  And so the Re-Seussification Project was offered: To re-illustrate any Dr. Seuss book in the style of another illustrator.

Now there was some question at first about revealing the identities of the people making the mash-ups.  Some folks thought this fun contest was unfortunate because I wasn’t celebrating the great talents of up-and-coming artists.  So as a compromise, I’ll present the art first and then the names of the artists at the bottom of the page.  Makes it a little more streamlined anyway.

And now . . . the moment you’ve all been waiting for . . . in the order of the faux artists, here’s the lot!

So, we’re all friends here, right?  Right off the bat I’m going to make a confession.  In offering this contest all I really wanted was for someone somewhere to do an Eric Carle.  It was a lot to ask since we’re talking about an artist dealing in the medium of cut paper.  It looked like it wasn’t going to happen.  Then, last night, the final submission was sent in and it was . . .


A brilliant way to start us off!

Next up, I’ve fond memories of this book.  As a child of Kalamazoo I was slightly obsessed with any and every mention of my hometown, no matter where it might be.  Dr. Seuss was one of the few authors to understand the true glory of my hometown’s name and for that I shall forever be grateful.  It lifts my heart a little then to see him memorialized in the form of . . .


I particularly like how worried Babar appears.  One thing’s for certain.  That elephant bird is gonna be one snappy dresser.

This next image didn’t go the easy route, no sir.  Some illustrators have styles that are easier to imitate than others.  For this next one I was incredibly impressed by the sheer details at work.  From the border to the font to the colors to the fact that this looks like an honest-to-gosh watercolor.  Hold onto your hats folks, for you are now in the presence of . . .


The best part is that his name is signed with dePaola’s customary little heart.  THAT is the attention to detail I crave.

10 Comments on Re-Seussification Project: The Results, last added: 3/1/2012
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24. Five Family Favorites with Catherine Newman

Five Family Favorites: Leading Bloggers Share their Family Favorite Books, #1

By Nicki Richesin, The Children’s Book Review
Published: April 8, 2012

We’re very happy at TCBR to unveil our first installment of a new monthly column called Five Family Favorites by leading family, parenting, and book savvy bloggers. To kick-off our first FFF, we give you the lovely Catherine Newman of Ben and Birdy fame. Catherine is author of the award-winning memoir Waiting for Birdy and a frequent contributor to many anthologies including Crush and Because I Love Her. She is also editor of ChopChop, The Fun Cooking Magazine for Families. We’re thrilled to share her family’s all-time favorite books. Enjoy!

Amos and Boris

By William Steig

I actually wanted to name our son Boris—but, sadly, my partner did not share my enthusiasm. “Bwo-ris,” I said emphatically, with my grandmother’s Russian accent. “No?” No. Nonetheless, the book, a favorite from my own childhood, became and has remained a favorite in our household as well. If you know Sylvester and the Magic Pebble or The Amazing Bone, then you’re already familiar with William Steig’s delightfully watery illustrations and refreshingly literate text. This book is no exception, and it is a joy in every way. Amos, a seaside mouse filled with an explorer’s curiosity, builds a boat, loads it with provisions (this catalogue of goods—including biscuits, acorns, honey, and a yo-yo—is the children’s favorite part) and sails away. All goes swimmingly, until:

One night, in a phosphorescent sea, he marveled at the sight of some whales spouting luminous water; and later, lying on the deck of his boat, gazing at the immense, starry sky, the tiny mouse Amos, a little speck of a living thing in the vast living universe, felt thoroughly akin to it all. Overwhelmed by the beauty and mystery of everything, he rolled over and over and right off the deck of his boat and into the sea.

Holy clam and cuttlefish! But just as Amos is wondering what it would feel like to drown (I have always loved the existential candor of this part, though other parents may want to edit) along comes Boris the whale. What follows is a touchingly profound story about unlikely friendship and lifelong loyalty, with an excellent powerful-things-come-in-small-packages message to boot: while Amos cannot reciprocate in strength, he has the intelligence to help Boris in turn, when the big, big-hearted whale needs it most. (Ages 5-8. Publisher: Square Fish)

Owl Moon

By Jane Yolen


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25. One More Story: On-line Library of Children’s Picture Books One Week Trial Offer

This morning I got an e-mail from SCBWI member and children’s book writer Naomi Kojima about an on-line library of children’s picture books called One More Story.  This site is offering a free week’s trial of stories from their on-line library.  Their sample book is Pete’s Pizza by William Steig whom I just wrote a post on so I checked it out.  A very funny book and well presented indeed.  For those of you entering the world of reading to your children on-line and/or on the IPad or IPhone or other kind of tablets, this might be a good time to try this library out.  Naomi Kojima’s work is also available — check it out on the Orange Shelf; her title is Singing Shijimi Clams (Kane/Miller, 2006.)

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