Where’s Walrus?
Where’s Walrus? The Cover Shot

So… I fell off the blogger wagon. Pretty hard. But I’ve got more free time now, and finally decided I should start this up again. I had a lot of fun doing this and stopped because I stopped being around kids books all the time, and I really miss it. So I’m going to make a conscious effort to visit my bookstore friends more often and get on this again.

A week or two ago, (I mean, May of 2011, obviously…) I was at the Kids’ Desk on a Sunday, when I noticed tons of brand new picture books on display. Naturally, I was excited. I grabbed a stack of the most promising ones, and brought them back to the desk. These are the best of the lot, that day anyway.

#1

Where’s Walrus, by New York Times (among others) illustrator Stephen Savage, is a wordless picture book about an escaped walrus, and a zookeeper who won’t give up the search. It is, of course, the reader’s duty (and pleasure) to find walrus in every spread. Though s/he isn’t hard to find. This book was very fun to look through.

walrus dancing cancan cabaret

Walrus Spread

Walrus in a fountain

Walrus Winks
Walrus Winks

It is wordless, so there is only a little bit of typography in this book. That being said, I was impressed by what there was, even the copyright page was pretty (it was set in Gotham, so that helped). It made me think about how important it is to make your type nice, especially if there is little of it.

This Plus That

This Plus That

This Plus That, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, with illustrations by Jen Corace, is a really fun one. It is full of “little equations” very nicely put together by Rosenthal. Such as “chalk + sitting = school” &“chalk + jumping = hopscotch.”smell of pancakes - alarm clock = weekend

Oh, Amy, I only wish that were true…

Birthdays & Sprinkles

Birthdays & Sprinkles

Yes, Amy. Anything is better with sprinkles. Life’s little truths summed up perfectly for the rest of us.

Purple Little Bird

Purple Little Bird

#3Bird & Vase!

Lightbulb Bird!

Lightbulb Bird!

Find out what Purple Little Bird (by the multi-talented Greg Foley) learns, and how he implements it. (PS: This is a great color learning book, with an actual story and a sweet message to go along with it.)

Amanda & Her Alligator

Amanda & Her Alligator

#4I gave you a little sneak preview of this one last week. It’s Mo Willems, doing what he does a lot… Writing funny picture books. This one, Hooray for Amanda & her Alligator!, is no exception. It’s got stories, like George & Martha, like Sylvie & True, short stories that together, tell a story. Just a story about a girl and her gator. And it’s funny. And the illustrations, like Amanda lying on her back reading, they’re great.Amanda lying on her back reading

More Amanda being a normal kid

I love the way that it looks so silly, and you think, “what a weird kid!” until you remember reading, completely draped over the furniture, in the strangest positions, and you realize that it’s just too familiar. This is REAL, guys.It’s full of funny little instances of surprise, jealousy, failure, triumph, friendship, you name it—you got it. This book has it all. Much like life.

So, I know it’s been a long time. I’m sorry. I’ve been working on tweaking/reworking all of my work for this. It’s been hard. And will continue to be so. But I have a super post I’m working on right now. It’s even got a Mo Willems picture book,

Amanda & Her Alligator—detail, girl reading upside down, mo willems

Amanda & Her Alligator—detail

when I (SHOCK AND AWE) don’t always love Mo Willems! Unless he writes about dinosaurs or works with Jon Muth. I know, sacriligious for a bookseller, but what can I say? I think he can be funny, and even is funny (and sweet and charming). But the pigeon books annoy the crap outta me. There, I said it. Sorry, Mo. Hope you’re not reading, and if you are, you can see that I do like many of your books. The new one, Amanda & Her Alligator is one of those. A lot. But I’m getting way ahead of myself, because I wasn’t going to write about that today.

Fake Book Store Collateral

Fake Book Store Collateral

I was going to talk about what I’m doing now. That’s right, I want to talk about me. Me, me, me.

So here’s the list: adding new pieces to old projects, updating logos, perfecting identity pieces, printing so many signatures for the book I redesigned…

Book Redesign Detail

Book Redesign Detail

Even more:  designing two covers for another book, working on a portfolio website, thinking about any pieces I may have missed that should be a part of my portfolio… and working and eating and sleeping.

So later this week, when I have access to all the photos that were going to be in this promised “super post,” I will finish it and you will understand the meaning of the word “super.” Now that I have put large shoes in front of me on the ground, I will try to fill them soon.

This is my new favorite thing. Herve Tullet, author/illustrator, has found a new way to be interactive. Or, to be fair, has rediscovered the way in which books are interactive. They just are. Also, use your imagination. In this world of interactive design: UIUX/ipads/iphones/web saturation, he has poked a little fun, not to take the wind out of anyone’s air balloon, but to remind us that print IS interactive.

Thank you, Chronicle Books, for publishing this beauty.

Slipcase! Two books in one!

The book (or, books) in their slipcase

That’s right. The Lego Book. It’s chock full of information on the different sets, collectibles, theme parks, contests, the list goes on. And, I know. THEME PARKS? There are lego theme parks? Wait, I’ve been to that huge Lego store in the Mall of America in Minneapolis, MN. Does that count? This book can tell you. It would tell you so much more, if you’d only let it. I didn’t. I just took pictures, geeking out on the Robin Hood set of my youth, the Spanish Armada my brothers lusted over and finally got. We sank those ships over and over again. By sank, I mean destroyed—methodically or chaotically—either way was fun. What was not fun was stepping on stray pieces left on the floor. Know what I’m talking about? The endpapers of this book do.

Endpapers

Endpapers: That’s What’s Up.

Two books together

Two glorious books together

I loved playing legos with my brothers. And though it was partially about creating things and then destroying them—which we did a lot—it was also about the figurines. They were like dolls. And I had Barbies (well, I did until I gave them to my best friend Morgan in 4th grade to shoot up with his BB gun) to play with, I had baby dolls and teddy bears and whatnot, but I didn’t have little astronauts and knights and pirate captains. And there was something about their little faces, the expressions plastered to their faces, which I loved. There was something about being able to switch out heads and bodies, choosing outfits, choosing genders, choosing professions and even places in time that these little yellow people could exist. Some days, that was better than a damn teddy bear.

Standing Small

This one's about the figurines!

Endpapers

Endpapers are so very pretty

Look at that smirking train engineer! Look at that chef’s perfectly curled ‘stache! Look how the knight and the … is that a lady? Or a male rock star from the ‘70’s? Hard to tell. But look how they have the same face and it’s so charming and perfect! Oh I do love Legos.

The Lego Book, DK, Oct. 2009.

When I was Born by Isabel Minhos Martins & Madalena Matoso

Coworker Caitlin holds the most beautiful baby book made this year.

Booksellers like myself get excited about a book when it looks pretty, then if the insides end up being awesome, too, we get really uppity. Sometimes we end up foisting it on everyone we see and people start to get tired of it. When it’s a new baby book, it’s hard to be optimistic. So many of them are kind of cliche and syrupy. But when this one came out, “When I was Born,” by Isabel Minhos and illustrated by Madalena Matoso we all gathered around to flip through it. Not only are the pictures beautiful: simple paper cut like shapes, minimal, bright colors and a sense of humor, but the words are wonderful. Which can be woefully rare.

When I was BornThis is what the cover looks like. I recently gave this to a pregnant co-worker, I don’t know, a mere week or two after discovery. That usually doesn’t happen. New baby books are carefully chosen from my vast list. But recently, two of my favorites (Carry Me, by Rosemary Wells and Bittle, by Patricia MacLachlan) have gone out of print.

When I was BornHere are some more pictures. I truly love the way this has been translated; the author speaks Portuguese, I believe.

When I was Born

See that text? That there is gorgeous!

Beautiful Endpapers

Beautiful Endpapers

In other news, I FINISHED MY QUARTER! I’m so excited: to get some sleep (I’ve slept like 2 hours in the last 60), to catch up on my reading and work on all those freelance projects I managed to secure. Accidentally.

KNOW HOW SHOP

A poster for the KnowHow Shop in Los Angeles

I’ve still got 3 finals to go, and have a ton to do. But in the meantime, here’s my final poster for my poster design class (not all the posters are up yet, and none of mine are). KnowHow Shop is a cool shared workspace owned by the guys at Popup Design (one of whom is my older brother), a design + build firm. KnowHow decided to go with another design (that I’ll put up soon).

The Real Joe Brokken

The Real Joe Brokken: we sometimes step away from the desk.

UCDS identity!!!

UCDS Identity: I've been working on this ALL QUARTER!

Inside Spread #1

Inside Spread from the Graphics Standards Manual I created

Inside Spread #4

Collateral. I didn't realize I took so many pictures of this thing...

Breakfast for Dinner!

We literally had cereal 2 out of 3 meals today.

From The King's Speech

My friend made this for his boyfriend in like 3 seconds.

Calendar

Calendar: SPRING BREAK AAAAAAAAAGH!

TOM SAYS

TOM SAYS jump and we say HOW HIGH?

Nigh on done (with one final)! Here are some images from my night. And week. More to come at a less crazy time.

Inside Spread #2

Another spread

Inside Spread #2

Some UNACCEPTABLE logo configuration examples.

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