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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.

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.

The assignment: to improve on an existing poster. The poster I found was plastered all over Pine Street, and was solely typographic with some bad typeface choices… So I fixed it (with invaluable input from my friends Kevin Cox, Matt Sowecke, Courtney Comfort and Nevena Stoeva. Sometimes you need a lot of help.)

A friend and classmate, Druscilla Santiago, asked: “Wouldn’t you just love it if that were your job, just designing posters?” Which got Kevin and I talking about how awesome it would be to only REdesign posters. And when I think about it, that’s really one of the reasons we’re all here. We all see these things out in the world and think: I could do that better. And so I’m thankful that our teacher saw fit to let us have the chance.
Super busy right now, and my home computer is on the outs. I don’t know how frequently I can post for the next couple weeks, but I’ll do what I can!

Bad News for Outlaws

Bad News for Outlaws

Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy US Marshal, by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson with illustrations by R. Gregory Christie.

This book is AWESOME. For many reasons. First of all, the content is great. I never heard of Bass Reeves until I was arrested by Christie’s gorgeous illustration of his face on that stark white cover. And what a cover! Look at that badass cover! Pure beauty! I love the interior illustrations as well. R. Gregory Christie, I will be looking at more of your books.

Endsheets are hot.

Endsheets are hot.

Born a slave in 1838, Bass Reeves became “the most feared deputy US marshal that was every heard of.” He was a fast draw, expert marksman, made over 3,000 arrests but killed only 14 people. For the 30 or so years he served, he was the most respected and feared lawman in the territories.

Expert Marksman

The Man Himself

The Man Himself

I love looking through the sections I don’t spend as time with as others, like fiction or picture books, for reasons just like this one. You see something new and are introduced to an historical figure you never heard of before, or a new to you author or illustrator.

In this case, I have to be honest and tell you that this one was on display (and it’s been on display before): it’s Black History Month after all. Maybe you noticed the little sticker on the front of the book? This won the 2010 Coretta Scott King Award. Well deserved, I say.

Where's Waldo?

Where's Waldo?

Ok, yeah. So this exists.I have not shared my intense love of postcard books or postcard collections with you yet. But I’m gonna start now. With this. The brand new Where’s Waldo Postcard Book. I saw it on display when I arrived at work yesterday and got super excited.

The bold type! The rounded corners! LOVE THAT RED!

The cover is, unfortunately, the best part. The insides are a little shiny for my taste…Shiny insidesBut I’m still probably gonna buy it. On a different note, have you tried to find Waldo recently? It is pretty easy now that I’m grown. I always spent forever pouring over those pages when I was a wee one, but now it’s over in a flash. One of the many aspects of growing up.

The End

The End

That’s all for now; I will have to share some more from my postcard book collection some other time.

Against the Odds, by Marjolijn Hof

Against the Odds, by Marjolijn Hof

Against the Odds, by Marjolijn Arsenault, pub. March 2011, Groundwood Books. Review by Anna Minard on The Shelf Life, University Book Store’s excellent blog.

Cover illustration by Isabelle Arsenault.