PPBF: Playdate + Interview!

86EBD916-ED38-433B-BBCA-A0560652D8C9Author: Maryann Macdonald
Illustrator: 
Rahele Jomepour Bell
Publisher: 
Albert Whitman, 2019
Age: 
3-5
Themes: opposites, rhyming stories
Opening: Me. You. One. Two.

Summary: (from the publishers) A picture book with minimal text and maximum impact, as portrayed through both the well-chosen words and the fun-filled, evocative illustrations.

I like this book because: this is a perfect read for storytime with a simple rhythm and delightfully engaging, bright, and cheerful illustrations. Young children love seeing familiar scenes like finding a friend to play with, and listening to the back and forth of words and concepts they already know.

4D5360BC-C144-44C9-9334-9B50F2983DF3Resources/activities: give children a musical instrument to hold while reading and allow them to add to the melodious nature of the story; read more books featuring opposites, like Karen’s Opposites, or Double Take; make a playdate, read the story, and act out the fun featured in the book! 

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

5C1ACE67-37AB-4CBB-9D5C-2269C3498306Rahele was gracious enough to send me the book herself, including the promotional cards (above) AND to answer a few questions (with sketches!) for the post!

What is your favorite task in the book-making process?

For me the most exciting and favorite part of the book making is coming with the ideas for the cover! It is that moment you are sure that your book is coming together, and it feels like a real book!

For Playdate we (Me, Art director, the editor) worked on the cover before starting to make illustrations for the interior pages! It was great because it helped me to understand the story concept a little bit more. So the characters of the book came out when I made the final cover for the PLAYDATE book!

Rick DeMonico sent me the mock up for the cover and I put my sketch on it and sent it back to him! After discussing with the editor, we came with this critic that the children look a little bit older than what we want them be!

Here is the first sketch for the PLAYDATE cover (the book title still was not finalized)

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Then again, I came with another sketch-idea for the book cover and it’s this one:

6A1A5AB2-03AC-4221-B25F-0B112173C51BThen Rick wrote back to me and said “ Rahele, We like the direction of the dress up sketch. Our comments are as follows. Delete the surrounding details like the banner, the car, butterfly. We want the book to be all about the kids. If they are outside the grass should be simplified. Please keep the dog though! We would like to switch out one of the girls for a boy.

So, This is what I came with these two sketches for the cover, following their comments. And BANG!!! The one with 1 boy, 1 girl and the dog which is leading the parade was confirmed and I went right to the color stage and did a little bit changes for the final and the one that now is the the cover of the PLAYDATE was approved by the publisher!

Rick is a wonderful art director and I would love to thank him for all I have learned from him!

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1D131621-35D1-4CF2-906A-0F4EEF1C67A8940EC50D-EEF3-4D46-AE00-8C7D41195BD1This photo is a screen shot from @booksfordiversity page on Instagram.

One tip on keeping organized or on-task with illustration work?

For me putting the sketches up on the wall helps me to stay focused on the project and this helps me to keep also organized! And knowing what the next step is to go feels good too. I can also see how much work I have done and how many more I have to do and get them done on time!

What do you do when you feel your creativity-tank is running low?

I make ugly work when I feel I am not creative enough to make art I can show people! But the good thing about making ugly art is I always find new things in it! Like finding new texture, new color pallet or pattern I can use in my better work! So basically, making an ugly work is playing with color and texture without thinking of making something beautiful!?

Name an un-related skill you have that in some way helps with your work making picture books.

Collecting my favorite items that later on I bring them into illustrations unconsciously like seeing some specific leaves with interesting form that I had been collecting them from long time ago!

One-for-fun: a favorite scent?

I have a lot of favorite scent but one of my most favorite one is geranium and the scent coming out when the leaves are touched! It reminds me of my grandma’s house and the little fountain in the middle of the yard with geranium flowers around of it!

Thank you, Rahele for sharing a bit about your process – I especially like that geraniums remind you of your grandmother. I never got to meet either of mine, so details like these are special, even if it’s not bout my own. Discover more about Rahele’s artwork on her website – HERE; follow her on Instagram – HERE or twitter – HERE

Women’s History Month Illustration Challenge

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Lois Lenski, The Little Airplane

Not sure I should be calling it a challenge, as I am the only one who participated (ha!), but it IS a challenge to replicate another person’s artwork and add a character of your own (#alligatorinserted) into the image. Every day for a month! A great exercise, but more importantly it’s been a real pleasure introducing others to the work of female illustrators in children’s literature. I am posting each of the pieces this year, including links to help you learn more about each of these fabulous creators in kidlit! Thanks for coming along for the ride! You can see them all on my instagram page, and even quicker in an album on my fb-artist-page.

 

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Jill McElmurry, Pirate Princess

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Anne Wilsdorf, Charlotte

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Jan Brett, The Mitten

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Elsa Beskow, Thumbelina

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Trina Schart Hyman, Little Red Riding Hood

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Molly Bang, Ten, Nine, Eight

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Wanda Gag, Millions of Cats

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Esphyr Slobodkina, Caps For Sale

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Cecily Mary Barker, Flower Fairies

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Margaret Bloy Graham, Harry the Dirty Dog

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Barbara Lehman, The Secret Box ?

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Britta Teckentrup, Little Mouse and the Red Wall

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Sara Varon, Odd Duck

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Sarah Bowie, We’re Going to the Zoo

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Rashin Kheiriyeh, The Two Parrots

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Peggy Rathmann, Bootsie Barker Bites

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Judith Kerr, The Tiger Who Came to Tea

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Eva Eriksson, Max’s Wagon

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Cyd Moore, I Love You, Stinkyface

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Yuyi Morales, Nino Wrestles the World

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Églantine Ceulemans, Lasco de la grote

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Molly Idle, Flora and the Flamingo

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Julie Flett, We All Count

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Magdalena Matoso, Clap, Clap!

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Dorothée de Monfried, Shh! I’m Sleeping

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Tor Freeman, Showtime for Billie and Coco

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Jen Corace, Telephone

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Mini Grey, Bad Bunnies’ Magic Show

More links to some of my favorite female children’s literature illustrators (slides featured on my instagram page!) to follow – just click on their name below:

Marie La France, Lillian HobanCarson Ellis, Judy Schachner, Melissa Sweet,

Wendy Wahman, Alison Friend, Iza Trapani, Sang Miao, Shadra Strickland,

Jessixa Bagley, Qin Leng, Laura James, Caitriona Sweeney, Sheena Dempsey,

Robyn Kahukiwa, Eva Muggenthaler, Briony May Smith, Esther Gomez Madrid,

Evangelina Prieto López, Maria Wernicke, Gunnella, Catherine Zarip, Helen Hancocks,

Maria Jönsson, Dorothea Warren Fox, Wendy Wahman, Anne Hunter

 

 

 

 

PPBF: Steadfast Tin Soldier

BF4E6FA6-4C03-493F-B876-7639EF42B552Author: Hans Christian Andersen/Joohee Yoon
Illustrator: 
Joohee Yoon
Publisher:
Enchanted Lion Books, 2016
Age: 4
-8
Themes: Toys, fairytales
OpeningOnce there were five and twenty tin soldiers, all of them brothers, being made from the same tin spoon.

40DC6820-6B08-4358-AD9C-58B4394C3A66Summary: (from my library catalog) The perilous adventure of a toy soldier who loves a paper dancing girl culminates in tragedy for both of them.

50418E2F-E08A-4019-BA19-EFC8A307EE0CI like this book because: I love fairytales, especially around the holidays – nostalgia? – and this is such a beautiful version! The text is also more palatable for younger ears, but together with the illustrations this is a book that multiple ages can enjoy together.

F61D2F46-EC28-46A3-8466-4601A17ACBD0Resources/Activities: create art using just two colors, or one color and black; read more fairytales together! I find that winter-break was always a good time to bake, read, drink tea or hot cocoa, and just enjoy being together.

F18CF510-F6D6-44C1-B511-02C4BA7FDDF4For more Perfect Picture Book Friday picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE

A17B5289-630C-4DCB-BCAF-19C4592BE6C4

PPBF: Do Not Open

665553D9-D668-49FC-ABAF-68AF614A75E9Author/Illustrator: Brinton Turkle
Publisher: Penguin, 1981
Age: 4-8
Themes: cats, seashore, magic
Opening: Miss Moody lived at land’s end with Captain Kidd. Captain Kidd wasn’t the famous pirate; he was a cat.

262F8ADD-9EB8-412E-85B5-BF026A2B4163Summary: (from my library’s catalog) Following a storm Miss Moody and her cat find an intriguing bottle washed up on the beach. Should they ignore its “Do not open” warning?

300DC470-5B1F-4F67-8082-663099AD57A3I like this book because: Drawn to the illustrations on a another one of Jama Kim Rattigan’s facebook posts, I placed several of Brinton Turkle’s books on hold, and this is one I had enjoyed before with my children. It’s a His use of dramatic pencil lines and efficient yet bold compositions is food for my soul! (I would have preferred not to have the text boxes set in the middle of these lovely images though!) It’s a dramatic little story too!

8FB4948D-1FF9-486C-9B43-061FC3B2C19EResources/Activities: Brinton Turkle’s started making picture books before I was born, and one title, Thy Friend, Obadiah, won a Caldecott Honor Medal in 1970. Look for a pile of his books, ones he wrote and ones he illustrated for others, and enjoy!

DB8CD5D4-F72D-47DF-81ED-20CACF89A89DFor more Perfect Picture Book Friday picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE

PPBF: Penguinaut!

D7D3E475-0EB7-4C28-B11F-9BB049AAC583Author: Marcie Collen
Illustrator: 
Emma Yarlett
Publisher:
Orchard, 2018
Age:
3-7
Themes: penguins, zoo, moon
OpeningOrville was small. His friends were big. And their adventures were bigger

073BC828-75E1-495C-9443-F1BC7BF6EDC9Summary: (from my library catalog) Orville is a little penguin who lives in a zoo and dreams of big adventures, like going to the Moon; the other animals are skeptical, but Orville is determined, so he builds a spaceship and sets out all by himself–and discovers that real adventures are best when they are shared with friends.

34B1586C-2709-43B4-8741-F19801D94552I like this book because: full disclosure: I am biased! This is a BA-BOING brand new picture book from one of my critique partners, and it IS fabulous! Great rhythm and readaloudablity, oodles of onomatopoeia and lots of alliteration! AND I love the mixed media illustrations and adorable KA-BOOM character designs! BLAST OFF to your library and enjoy it yourself!

Nightsky kid's artResources/Activities: create your own milk-carton rockets; make a volcano-styled blast-off with recyclable water bottles, instructions HERE; make night sky art on dark paper, like the one above which I found HERE

EE4BCBB8-FF0D-449E-95E7-8DB218F46B2CFor more Perfect Picture Book Friday picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.

PPBF: The Mediterranean

79225BCA-E2F4-4E87-918F-85444F57B380Author/Illustrator: Armin Greder
Publisher: Allen & Unwin, 2017, originally publ. in Italy
Age: 8+
Themes: refugees, shipwrecks, Mediterranean region
Opening: After he had finished drowning, his body sank slowly to the bottom, where the fish were waiting.

BE720432-243B-4E89-94B9-B68D37B4226ESummary: (from my library’s catalog) A lifeless body. One of many in the waters of the Mediterranean. Precarious boats navigate the waters of the sea, from south to north. And more often than not, it is not only hope that drowns. The author and illustrator uses his distinctive charcoal drawings to depict a dark world with a global dimension. The only words in the story are a single sentence indicating what is happening to the body in the water in the first picture. From there on the reader needs to examine the pictures to draw conclusions about how that body came to be in the sea. An afterword by Alessandro Leogrande, an Italian journalist who writes about social, political and environmental issues, fills in thebackground about the ‘food chain’ portrayed in this disturbing picture book which demands discussion.

F540E815-8E99-4787-A5C5-2786C5340836I like this book because: It is so powerful! Migration has always been an important issue, but especially now in it’s forced impact, and of our time on earth, and, I believe, one we will have to deal with on a myriad of levels and layers all over the world at least for the rest of my lifetime. And a wordless picture book may be the perfect vehicle for discussion. The execution makes the very best use of strong yet simple composition and contrast, limited palette, and loose rendering to deliver equally on an emotional and thought-provoking level. Pow!

6EEC960E-95FF-44A9-9726-4F170A97F644Resources/Activities: Make this a weekly discussion, where new ideas and thoughts may be brought up to ponder over and over.

3D934AD2-FE41-4445-A713-393EEA208A68For more Perfect Picture Book Friday picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.

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PPBF: Dark Night

DarkNightcoverAuthor/Illustrator: Dorothée De Monfreid
Publisher: Random House, 2009
Age: 3-7
Opening: It was a dark night.
Summary: (via Amazon) Little Felix is all alone, walking home through the forest when he hears a spooky howling and spots a wolf approaching! His luck turns from bad to worse when a tiger scares away the wolf and a crocodile scares away the tiger! Can something as small as a rabbit help Felix scare away the wild things prowling the woods? This empowering picture book is perfect for any child who’s ever wanted to turn the tables on scary beasts lurking at night.

DarkNight1Themes: dark, fear, courage

DarkNight2I like this book because: Nothing like jumping right into a dark forest in the middle of the night to get a story started! I am a big fan of picture books with simple use of color and silhouette to keep the reader focussed on the bare essentials of a good story (if you haven’t already noticed!).

DarkNight3aResources: read other books about confronting fear of the dark, like The Dark, Handler and Klassen (see trailer below), or It Was a Dark and Stormy Night, by Janet and Allan Ahlberg – review here; check out more of Dorothée De Monfreid’s delightful work here and here.

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

DarkNight3

PPBF: Double Take!

D8988505-AE17-46BC-95EA-1D99DE13B388Author: Susan Hood
Illustrator: Jay Fleck
Publisher: Candlewick, 2017
Age: 2-5
Themes: opposites, elephants, friendship

CC4FED82-2BE4-4E1E-9294-F7D6150454E9Summary: (from my library catalog) Lively text and retro-style artwork combine in a lively picture book about opposites that invites children to learn new perspectives on spreads depicting a topsy-turvy funhouse journey.

I like this book because: it’s just right for the kids in my storytime group, ages 6mths-3. The rhyme will keep the attention of younger ears and the older children can help me find and compare the opposites in and out of the book. You might think this a simple reason, but it really is difficult to find one just right for everyone without being too ‘easy’. And it’s quite adorable!

FAFB8DD2-A22A-4B06-822F-0DB503BFF814.jpegResources/Activities: Look for opposites in your home, in your classroom, or while you stroll outside; this book is also excellent for identifying clear shapes – read a shape book along with this and finsd all the circles and squares on each page.

75F2A816-165A-41F7-83B3-ED763DC34FB8For more Perfect Picture Book picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.

Merry Christmas, one and all!

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PPBF: King of the Sky

KingOfTheSkycoverAuthor: Nicola Davies
Illustrator: Laura Carlin
Publisher:  Candlewick, 2017
Age: 4-8
Themes: immigrants, moving house, racing pigeons

KingOfTheSkyendpapersSummary: (from my library catalog) When a young boy moves from his home in Italy to Wales, the only thing that cheers him up are the racing pigeons that Mr. Evans keeps in a loft behind his house.

KingOfTheSky1Resources/Activities: find an atlas and plot out the journey for King of the Sky; research racing pigeons; read other migration oriented stories like, Migrant by Maxine Trottier.

KingOfTheSky3.jpgFor more Perfect Picture Book picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.

 

PPBF: 2 Cinderella Tales

RoughfacedGirlcover.pngAuthor: Rafe Martin
Illustrator: David Shannon
Publisher: G.P.Putnam’s Sons, 1992
Age: 5-9
Themes: Algonquin Indians, Cinderella
Opening: Once, long ago, there was a village by the shores of Lake Ontario.

roughfacedgirl1.jpgSummary: (from my library catalog) In this Algonquin Indian version of the Cinderella story, the Rough-Face Girl and her two beautiful but heartless sisters compete for the affections of the Invisible Being.

RoughfacedGirl2.jpgWhy I like this book: After reading a collection of tales illustrated by Edmund Dulac, and being interested in the Cinderella illustration (see below), I sought out other versions, and wanted to share two of the most stunning I found.

Yeh-Shencover.jpgAuthor: Ai-Ling Louie
Illustrator: Ed Young
Publisher:  Philomel, 1982
Age: 5-9
Themes: Chinese tales, Cinderella, Stepchildren
Opening: Once, long ago, there was a village by the shores of Lake Ontario.

Yeh-Shen1.jpgSummary: (from my library catalog) This version of the Cinderella story, in which a young girl overcomes the wickedness of her stepsister and stepmother to become the bride of a prince, is based on ancient Chinese manuscripts written 1000 years before the earliest European version.

Yeh-Shen2.jpgResources/Activities: Find more versions, of this tale and others. Compare and contrast what you like, or don’t like, about each one.

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from Edmund Dulac’s picture-book for the French Red Cross

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