Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Wednesday, December 03, 2014


Thank you to deniskitchen.com

In the 1930s Dorothea Lange photographed the town I live in. The main street looks pretty much they way it did then, but I'm fascinated with the people and cars on the street. Old photos of places you know can give your brain a little jolt and a deeper frame of reference.

I love those pictures of old cow paths that are now busy avenues, like R. Crumb's A SHORT HISTORY of AMERICA (above).

"...this poster shows the gradual metamorphosis of a single plot of land from virgin wilderness to urban decay in 12 panels. ... After the popular but depressing 12-panel poster went out of print, Crumb added three panels to answer the "What next?" question posed in his original final 12th panel." — http://www.deniskitchen.com/

G. Brian Karas has created a children's book version of A SHORT HISTORY in AS AN OAK TREE GROWS. 

AS AN OAK TREE GROWS is a look at the changing population and modernization surrounding a tree rooted in place for over 200 years while the world crowds in around it. The language is simple description and the reasons for the changing landscape are not addressed. (It made me wince a little when I read about the Native American boy who grew up and "moved away.") 

The illustrations have a charming Grandma Moses type perspective that inspires careful study of the people and buildings. (I have long been a fan of Karas's wobbly line and sweet characters.) From spread to spread the reader sees the changes that each 25 year interval brings—from 1775 (when the tree is planted by the Native American boy) to 2000, when lightening destroys the tree. An acorn survives to grow where the great oak once stood. 

Review copy from Penguin 

Friday, November 28, 2014

My new favorite book

Adorable and so funny for both kids and adults. (Adults who love Haven Kimmel, this book is for you.)


Read about Abby Hanlon at Seven Impossible Things & Read about Dory at 2014 Seven Impossible Things

review copy from Penguin

Ilonka Karasz

Ilonka Karasz created this lovely artwork in 1938. We're trying to find out what it was made for. Does anyone know? 

...thanks for sharing your images, Jeff!... 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Saturday, November 01, 2014

The Baby Tree

A little boy is about to become a brother and he's asking that tricky question 'Where do babies come from?' to all the people around him. Their assorted answers confuse him even more, so he finally asks Mum and Dad, who give him all the information he needs. Written and illustrated by Sophie Blackall, 'The Baby Tree', is a delight to read and look at, approaching the subject with wit and charm...

…published by Nancy Paulsen Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group...

Monday, October 27, 2014

Thanks for the lovely book signing!

Thank you to Alazar Press and Flyleaf Books. And thank you to the parents and kids who attended. You can read about the event and a bookstore tradition that you can start with your children here: Princesses & Art: A Signing with Julie Fortenberry

Help the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression

Dear ABFFE Supporters,
 We have received some beautiful artwork and are now ready to start promoting our holiday children's book art auction. Would you please help us spread the word?  We have some promotional cards: one is a business card (front/back) and the other is a postcard (front/back).   The postcard size works well as a counter display with the business cards beside it for customers to take. Non-booksellers might enjoy the business card size since it fits well into wallets.  Please email me at inessa@abffe.org and let me know how many of each you would like as well as your shipping address.
If you are an artist and would still like to donate, there is still time! Click here for the donation form. 
Thanks so much for your help,

American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression 19 Fulton Street, Suite 407New York, NY 10038 (212) 587-4025 www.abffe.org

The Bed Book

Sylvia Plath's children’s book, illustrated by Quentin Blake: 


Sunday, October 26, 2014

The hour the animals talk

Illustration by Helen Cann from MANGER, jpeg found at eerdword.wordpress.com


Lee Bennett Hopkins has compiled fifteen poems by thirteen poets about the magical hour on Christmas Eve when all animals can talk. 

After an introductory poem written by Hopkins, thirteen species—including fish and a spider—tell their story about seeing the Baby Jesus for the first time. The horse is so moved he can’t speak, the cow moos a lullaby, the spider weaves a gift of a cobweb crown. The last poem is the second stanza of The Friendly Beasts, a folk song. 

Helen Cann’s lovingly detailed artwork (watercolor and mixed media) add to the warm traditional feel of the collection, and create, with the sound of the poems, a book to carefully relish. Endpapers depicting characters from the text—like so many Eerdmans titles—add something extra to pore over after reading the book. 

MANGER is a picture book that looks, sounds and feels like a Christmas classic.

Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
HARDCOVER; Published: 9/1/2014
ISBN: 978-0-8028-5419-3
34 Pages
Ages 4 to 8
Trim Size, in inches: 8.54 X 10.43

See more of Helen Cann's work here: http://www.helencann.co.uk

Celebrating the Harvest Season

An equinox occurs when the center of the sun appears directly over the equator and shines equally on both the northern and southern parts of the earth.

We Gather Together: Celebrating the Harvest Season

I am a fan of Linda Bleck's warm and colorful illustration. In We Gather Together: Celebrating the Harvest Season, Bleck depicts a cozy world reminiscent of that in Little Golden Books and books by Lois Lenski. The book opens with adorable fox pups and a cute black bear. The illustrations of farm workers have a childlike simplicity.

Very young children will be drawn to the pictures. But the amount of information makes this introduction to the fall equinox a picture book for first grade and above. 

We Gather Together is a nice blend of science and culture, with an "Equinox" corn muffin recipe, simple cultural and science activities, and a list of harvest festivals from around the world included.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


I love the easy way Maira Kalman moves from goofy to profound. Her paintings are both childlike and realistic. And she never hedges her bets with color. Some of the landscapes in her picture book biography of Thomas Jefferson remind me of a Candy Land board game—in a good way. Thomas Jefferson: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Everything channels the curiosity and intelligence of Jefferson himself. 

Her newest books, Ah-ha to Zig Zag  and My Favorite Things are timed to coincide with the December 12th opening of the renovated Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum and the exhibit Maira Kalman Selects

"Kalman was free to choose any random pieces from the museum’s rich and varied collection, and then paint, draw, and riff on each one from a personal perspective," writes Steven Heller about the upcoming exhibit. See Mr. Heller's article here: www.theatlantic.com/entertainment.

Hardcover40 pages
Published January 7th 2014, Nancy Paulsen Books
  • ISBN-10: 0399240403
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399240409

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


Ruth Paul's soft pencil and water-color pictures tell the story of a lovable troublemaker, Flash—a character kids will identify with. Throughout, illustrations show the pointing fingers of unsympathetic adults. It's only in the last few pages that you see a human face—the friendly face of a little girl. 

With simple rhyme and rhythm, BAD DOG FLASH works beautifully as both a beginning reader and a storytime book. And kudos to the designer who came up with the fun endpapers and dust jacket.

To see more of Ruth Paul's charming artwork visit http://ruthpaul.co.nz

  • ISBN-13: 9781492601531
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/7/2014
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 3 - 8 Years

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Claudia Marie Lenart

I'm a huge fan of dioramas. I love those 3-D illustrations in the Hans Christian Andersen Golden Books with the lenticular covers.

Recently I received a letter from artist Claudia Marie Lenart about her latest book written by Jewel Kats and released to coincide with Down Syndrome Awareness Month.

Claudia's felt sculpture just blew me away.

Below are a couple of her illustrations. Claudia also has an Etsy page full of enchanting felt animals.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Once In A Lifetime

A generous witch is repaid for her kindness

Get on! There's plenty of room!

Recently I received a copy of ROOM ON THE BROOM by Julia Donaldson, pictures by Axel Scheffler. (First published in 2001.) Donaldson is an expert storyteller. Her website states that she really enjoys writing in verse, and her enjoyment shows.

ROOM ON THE BROOM is a musical romp, perfect for story time or quiet inspection. Scheffler's illustrations are simple and rich at the same time. I loved the details in the landscapes, and the bug-eyed characters, especially the not-too-scary red dragon. Great fun.

  • ISBN-13: 9780803726574
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years

Visit theguardian.com to see a nice collection of illustration (by David Roberts, Lydia Monks, Emily GravettAnna Currey and Axel Sheffler) from some of Julia Donaldson's books.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Charlotte Voake

Three delightfully illustrated books by English artist Charlotte Voake

see our previous post on Charlotte here...