My Entry – Susanna’s Illustrator Contest

Susanna Hill is putting on her First Ever Pretty Much World Famous Illustration Contest for Children’s Illustrators! Rules to follow: draw/paint/create a children’s picture book cover illustration (no text required – art only) for one of the top finishers in the March Madness Fractured Fairy Tale Writing Contest- read them HERE. Because it took a while to decide on an entry, I thought I might as well delve into some of my process, as I do so enjoy it when other artists share. I had good visual reactions to both the Three Wiggly Worms Bluff and The Jackrabbit Who Cried Gilamonster, so I sketched… 3WWBworms And sketched – a lot more than I am showing here.Jack rabbit Who Cried Gllamonster_08(3) (1) I came up with one cover for the The Three Wiggly Worms Bluff, but it didn’t float my boat… 3 wiggly worms_03(5) So I continued with The Jackrabbit — and got into a more graphic look… JRgraphic1blue JackRabbitGrahic2 Which also didn’t do it for me! So I am glad I stuck with it because I do like what happened next. So here is my entry… Please go to Susanna’s blo to check out the others – HERE

PPBF: The Fly



Author/Illustrator: Elise Gravel
Publisher: Tundra Books, 2014 (Originally published as La mouche by Les Éditions de la Court Échelle Inc)
Ages: 6-9yrs
Themes: non-fiction, flies, insects
Opening: Let me introduce you to a very special guy. Here’s the fly. Hi there!
Summary: (from my library catalogue) Focuses on the common housefly and its fondness for all things revolting. The author takes obvious joy in detailing the housefly’s typical meals, which include such savoury delights as garbage-juice soup, dirty diapers, and ‘doggie doo’. The Muscidae family (to which thehousefly belongs) is depicted with Mom, Dad, a younger sibling, and a slouchy adolescent fly. Includes graphic illustrations and fact-filled text that traces its extensive history as well as its habitats, anatomy, and behaviors.


I like this book because: it is non-fiction fun: the texts include plenty of jokes and the silly illustrations are presented in a lovely color palette. What’s NOT to like?


lovely endpapers


Resources/activities: ask students to find dead flies – check the windowsills – and examine them with a magnifying glass; draw or collage your own flies – make up new species; create a fly swatting fly-swatter – or purchase a fun one, like these below, HERE; read another book in the series: The Worm.

For more Perfect Picture Book picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.


2014 HCA Award for Illustration – Part 4/6: François Place

Next on the short list for the 2014 Hans Christian Andersen Award for Illustration is François Place (click on his name to go to his website). He debuted in 1993 as an author-illustrator with Les derniers géants (English trans., The Last Giants), an early 18thcentury story of an expedition in an unknown territory inhabited by fascinating giants.

He has become known for his incorporation of maps, and is best known for his epic L’atlas des géographes d’Orbae (The Orbae Geographers’ Atlas). In three volumes he created a world, Orbae. For each, he wrote a tale exposing the traditions of the place, and illustrated some of the fauna, flora and folkloric costumes.

In an interview (here), Place said he is careful about using the word artist to describe himself, “I see myself rather as a storyteller, through text and image.” Amazing artwork, none the less!

Check out his page of books on his agency’s site HERE

Part 1 – Rotraut Susanne Berner

Part 2 – John Burningham

Part 3 – Eva Lindström

PPBF: ¿Entonces?/Then?

Author/Illustrator: Kitty Crowther
Publisher: Corimbo, 2007
Ages: 2-5yrs
Themes: Spanish language, toys
Opening: ¿Entonces? ¿Esta? No. (in English: Then? This one? No.)

Crowther,KittySummary: (From my library catalog) A blue teddy bear, a pink rabbit, and other toys gather in the playroom to await the arrival of the child.  (in Spanish) Un oso de peluche azul, un conejo rosa, y otros juguetes se reúnen en la sala de juegos para esperar la llegada del niño. I like this book because: I was looking for books illustrated by Kitty Crowler and found this one, but only in Spanish. The story is one of few words, and only 12 spreads, plus endpapers, and in a very small format, approx. 6×7.25″. Ionly wish it were a little softer so I could hug it a little longer. I did not need to translate the book to understand it – even if I did I would be left with the same amount of suspense as each figure enters the room asking, “Then?” It is delightful, just the thought of a small child’s stuffed animals waiting for him so they can all climb into bed together! Crowther’s illustrations are darling but not too sweet – perfect! – which led me to do a little more research, and I found that she was the recipient of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award in 2010 – read more HERE; or listen to the video interview below:

Resources/activities: Feeling creative? Make a special bedtime buddy from a child’s own drawing, or have one custom made HERE, or give it a go with simple step-by-step instructions HERE; talk about getting ready for bed and personal rituals. Read another Crowther bedtime book in French: Scritch Scratch dip clapote! – or wiggle your way through like I did, having fun deciphering the words and enjoying the pictures!

For more Perfect Picture Book picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.

PPBF: Superworm

Author: Julie Donaldson
Illustrator: Axel Scheffler
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine, 2012.
Ages: 4-8yrs
Themes: stories in rhyme, worms, heroes
Opening: Superworm is super-long. Superworm is super-strong. Watch him wiggle! See him squirm! Hip, hip, hooray for SUPERWORM!
Summary: (from Amazon) Toad in trouble? Beetle in a jam? Never fear — Superworm is here! And he’s wiggling to the rescue! But when Superworm is captured by a wicked Wizard Lizard, will his friends find a way to help their favorite superhero escape?

I like this book because: I would have picked this up based on the author-illustrator team alone. Loved every one I have gotten my hands on yet. But a super-hero worm? Come on! How could I not? And this one does not disappoint! Perfect rhythm and rhyme makes you want to get up and sing for this new kind of hero and his gang of insect cohorts. The best is, all his super powers are his own super but natural qualities, stretched just a little for this adventure tale.

Resources/activities: This is all a teacher would need to get a first or second grade class excited about an insect unit; make your own Superworm with pipe cleaners, or from Dad’s knee socks – even grandma’s old stockings and a marker; go on an earthworm discovery tour in a garden – lift rocks, leaf piles or fallen branches; download a coloring page from Scholastic – HERE


For more Perfect Picture Book picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.

2014 HCA Award for Illustration – Part 3/6: Eva Lindström

May I introduce Swedish author/illustrator Eva Lindström, third on the IBBY short list – Part 1 HERE, Part 2 HERE.

“The way I see it, if my story’s going to be the way I want it, I have to be my own target audience. I’m afraid that what I want to say will get diluted if I start thinking about the way anyone else, adult or child, might conceivably want to read my book” – Eva Lindström

Eva Lindström has illustrated for many other Swedish authors for decades, but writes and illustrates her own, and debuted in 1988 with Katmössan – The Cat’s Hat. Her books often deal with heavier subject matter, and she is well known for her expressive use of color.

Eva Lindström, From the book ‘Jag rymmer’, 2006

Olli and Mo, 2012

Lucky you if you understand Swedish – here is a video interview (1hour?, with plenty of her art depicted), the description of which I give you from GoogleTranslate in undiluted form: ‘On November 19 2013 she talked about its authorship and artistry with Asa Warnqvist, Sbi. The program is part of Swedish children’s institution series with author and illustrator encounters.’ Gotta love them for trying!


Interesting tidbit: back in art school, Eva Lindström was a member of an activist group, ‘Svarta hämnarna (The Black Avengers), which made political statements through poster art.


PPBF: Journey Cake, Ho!

JCHcover Heading for the hills this weekend – will reply later!

Author: Ruth Sawyer Illustrator: Robert McCloskey Publisher: The Viking Press, 1953 Ages: 3+ Themes: farm/farmers, animals, run-away food Opening: There were three of them: the old woman, Merry; the old man, Grumble: and Johnny, the bound-out boy. They lived in a log cabin, t’other side of Tip Top Mountain. Summary: (from my library catalogue) Johnny is leaving the farm because of hard times when his Journey Cake leads him on a merry chase that results in a farm yard full of animals and the family all together again. JCHtitlepage I like this book because: I adore the flavor of dialect in this classic’s rhythmic text from Ruth Sawyer, with words like ‘this-wise’, ‘nettlesome’, and ‘all of a tucker’. The very simple use of just two contrasting tones from master book maker Robert McCloskey, of Make Way for Ducklings fame, make the pictures pop, but I really appreciate the bold line strokes used to create texture and infuse energy in these traditional illustrations (pssst -I plan to post more McCloskey favorites this year). JCHrunawayfood Resources/activities: Read about the history of America’s first pancakes, and make the recipe – HERE ; put on a play, like the kids from the Atlanta School – with music! – in the video below (17:30mins – play is over after 13 )

For more Perfect Picture Book picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.

2014 HCA Award for Illustration – Part 2/6

Missed Part 1 with Rotraut Susanne Berner? Click HERE. You caught it? Good! On to the next on the shortlist: John Burningham

In 1964, my birth year, he made some smart moves: to marry Helen Oxenbury (another brilliant kid-lit author illustrator), AND to illustrate Ian Fleming’s Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang (published in 3 volumes in ’64-65) which surely launched the book’s international success and his own. My proof? At least 60 more books and multiple awards. Told ya.

I haven’t read enough to proclaim a favorite, but one I feel particularly drawn to is Come Away from the Water, Shirley, about Shirley and her parents who take a trip to the beach. Her parents settle in their beach chairs with knitting and newspapers, while Shirley is off fighting pirates and retrieving treasure. I adore the contrast!

Another I have had to read to my kids over and over, and gladly, is Mr. Gumpy’s Outing, which won Burningham his second Greenaway Medal in 1970.

Publisher: Jonathon Cope, 1970
Ages: 4 and up
Themes: boats, boating, animals
Opening: This is Mr. Gumpy. Mr. Gumpy owned a boat and his house was by a river.One day Mr. Gumpy went out in his boat. “May we come with you?” said the children. “Yes,” said Mr. Gumpy, “if you don’t squabble.”
Summary: (from B&N) One sunny day Mr. Gumpy decides to take a ride in his small boat. It’s a perfect idea for a lovely summer day, and soon he is joined by children, a rabbit, a cat, a pig, and a host of other friends. But when the goat kicks, the chickens flap, the dog teases the cat and the children squabble — the boat tips into the water and everyone tumbles out. No one minds getting wet on such a nice day, though, especially since Mr. Gumpy invites everyone to his house for tea.

Burningham at an exhibition celebrating 50 years of his work

Check out a slide show of some picture book art – HERE.; his wikipedia page HERE; some ‘Vintage” love for his debut as an author-illustrator in 1963 which, wouldn’t you know it, won the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal – his first (comment to let them know to fix the date!) HERE; read more in an interview with Burningham and Oxenbury about their recent collaboration HERE