Archives for posts with tag: children’s books

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.


From top left: George & Martha: Marshall // Caps for Sale: Slobodkina // Fables: Lobel // Sam, Bangs & Moonshine: Ness // Burt Dow, Deep Water Man: McCloskey // The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by A. Wolf: Sciezska // One Morning in Maine: McCloskey // Each Peach, Pear, Plum: Ahlberg // Chicken Soup with Rice: Sendak // Tim & Charlotte: Ardizzone //A Chair for my Mother: Williams

There’s a lot of text in that caption. And this is certainly not all the books I feel nostalgic about. In fact, my favorite book as a child was an “issue book” about new siblings called “Katy Did” in which a little girl blames all the bad things she did to her little brother (by trying to help out her exhausted mother) on her doll Katy. I’m a middle child; guess that one hit the mark. It’s so out of print and obscure I can’t even find a link. But I didn’t try that hard.
I want to talk about these books. It’s still Valentine’s Day, even though WordPress has already decided it is now February 15th. There are still 44 minutes in this day, and this is my Valentine both to my past and books in general.
George & Martha. I cannot look at these books without thinking of my best friend from elementary school, Ashton E. I don’t know her anymore, but on the yellow school bus of my memory she was a brilliant (no, really, she had a super high IQ), funny, artistic, dislexic, colorful, creative, beautiful, awkward, confident creature and I remember her reading this in 2nd grade or something and I was surprised but I didn’t tell her. We used to take sailing together and we capsized the boat two summers in a row. She wanted hair that was dark and curly on top, straight in the middle, and curly at the bottom.
Caps for Sale. I read this book thinking of my mom, shaking her fist like the peddler did, and then the monkeys after him. Monkey see, monkey do!

Fishy Dinner

Fishy Dinner

Fables. My very favorite collection of Aesop’s fables. For some reason, the illustrations have stayed with me all this time. Particularly this one. Whenever I am reminded of this one, I think of the cat dreaming of his fish dinner with butter, lemon and dill (and then it reminds me of a gluttonous friend of mine who manages to stay trim despite her butter addiction).

Sam, Bangs & Moonshine

Sam, Bangs & Moonshine

Sam, Bangs & Moonshine. In my application for school, I was asked to talk about someone who has influenced my work. Here is an excerpt from my essay. “Recently, I rediscovered a book from my childhood: Sam, Bangs, and Moonshine, by Evaline Ness. I remembered every page. Every line and color was as sharp in my memory as it was on the page. The way she used line—looping, thick-thin lines, intersecting not entirely neatly and almost, but not quite, tangling unintelligibly—the unexpected quality of the print—the accidental splot or absence of ink, the hurried frazzled energy of each overlaying image—these have directly inspired my work.”

  Burt Dow, Deep Water Man

Burt Dow, Deep Water Man

Burt Dow, Deep Water Man. I think of my brothers without a doubt. We loved this book. It’s a sweet story, but it has a craggy old sailor in it. So, obviously, it’s awesome.

  One Morning in Maine

One Morning in Maine

For some reason, I loved the sparkplug more than any other part of this book, and remember this illustration the most. I still don’t know what a sparkplug is.

The others:

Each Peach, Pear, Plum and Chicken Soup with Rice: I can still recite almost the whole thing.

The True Story of the Three Little Pigs: I totally met Jon Sciezska while wearing an octopus costume. I was 24. And when I was eight, I bought this book from a Scholastic book fair in my elementary school’s library.

Tim & Charlotte and A Chair for my Mother: possibly the two sweetest books ever.
All these books are still in print. So the best thing of all I learned from working in a bookstore? My mom has excellent taste in books. But I could have told you that anyway.
Happy Valentine’s Day!

Lemony & Lisa, sitting in a tree.


My excellent friend Anna made this awesome display about authors and illustrators who are in love. It reminded me how much I love this book, to the left here. Not the one on the left, but the one on the right in the picture to the left. Who’s on first? Lisa Brown is married to Daniel Handler, AKA: Lemony Snicket. And it’s no surprise. They both have a strange sense of humor. I prefer Brown’s brand over Handler’s. That’s just me.

How to Be, by Lisa Brown is wonderful. It is sweet, funny and has a good message, but it’s not saccharine or stupid. Here’s a closeup, with a chipmunk puppet, as well as some interior shots.CoverInside, it's so pretty!
How to be a BearHow to be a SnakeAnd last but not least (and the advice on this one is like this: take the best aspects of all the animals I just talked about. Be charming like a snake, loyal like a dog, curious like a monkey—playful like a monkey? But most of all? Be yourself.): How to be a Person.How to be a Person

Beware the Frog, by William Bee

Front Cover...

Beware of the Frog, Back Cover

... Back Cover

Beware of the Frog, by William Bee is a fun book. I LOVE the dual covers: the minimalist design, the crazed glint in the eye of the frog, the colors. I love the backwards type. This story is a little … well, it’s like many of the picture books I love, in that it’s a little dark and someone perishes in a humorous fashion. I love the wide-eyed silliness that this book possesses.

More pictures from inside:

The ProblemThe SolutionI’ve been AWOL because I have had a ton of homework to do, plus I was really sick. So I’ve been busy. But I’ve got some great books to write about coming up, so we can all look forward to that!

The Red Shoes, by Gloria Fowler, illustrations by Sun Young Yoo

Detail of the cover

It’s the lack of color that makes this book.

That’s a lie; the illustrations are gorgeous, and would be equally gorgeous with a little color. But why gild the lily? The fact that they are illustrations for an adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’sThe Red Shoes” and that there is NO RED anywhere in the book except for the book cloth (hidden by the matte white dust jacket) is what makes the whole operation a little cheeky. Not too cheeky, just enough so you think you might find a splash of it somewhere, as startling as blood. And when you don’t, you find you are not disappointed.

The Red Shoes: under the dust jacket

On a really beautiful book, I always peek under the DJ, just in case. This time, I was totally rewarded!

Or I did, anyway. I looked at the cover, and thought, “ooh, I bet there’s like one page of red, or a bit of red on each page.” I got so immersed in the gorgeous lines of Sun Young Yoo‘s illustrations and the absolutely beautiful typography that I forgot to check, and by the time I was done, I realized a trick had been played on me. And I loved it. How important is the color red to this story? Answer: really not at all.

ENDPAPERS! Beautiful.

You can't ignore endpapers this pretty.

Look at the type!


More and more beautyThe Red Shoes was published by AMMO Books in November 2008.

This book features a little blond girl with a huge grin doing truly progressively worse things on each page. Such as filling her mouth with hair. Combing her hair with the toilet brush. Sculpting with cat litter.

That's Disgusting, by Franceso Pittau and Bernadette Gervais

The illustrations are simple, expressive and hilarious. The book is hard to sell. Sometimes you get one of those families, where you get an idea of their sense of humor, and you know: this is one of those rare families who might just like it. But many times, pooping in the bathtub is just too much for even the people who say they’re looking for “something weird” and “funny.”

smelling a sockI have two brothers, and I’ve always gotten a kick out of more, shall we say, sophomoric humor. I always will. So watching this little whippersnapper smiling her face off while throwing up at the dinner table makes me laugh.

throwing up at the tableThat’s Disgusting (I won’t link to Amazon or B&N, but there are no good links for this book), by Francesco Pittau and Bernadette Gervais came out in February 2004, from Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers.