Sunday, December 13, 2009

The reluctant blogger

It's been a long, long, long time. (The Beatles said this. What did the Beatles NOT say?) Well, it has been too long. I apologize, dear readers. Why do I resist?

I meant to share the experience I had at the Hunter Elementary School book fair lecture. Sean Qualls and Carin Berger came in, both picture book illustrators, and both so talented. They showed pictures/slides of themselves as children and talked about their influences. Carin came from a designer background. She does collage. She showed us the first book she wrote when she was little and then we saw her work and realized how little many of her concepts had changed. Sean Qualls was terrific. He explained how he ran out of money during art school and had to quit--taking a full-time job at the Brooklyn museum, where he first learned about off-beat artistic folks like Ben Shahn, Romare Beardon, Jacob Lawrence--and other self taught artists.
He is married to the illustrator Selina Alko.
I will post their book jackets here soon.

I have discovered a few Hanukkah books and some nice Christmas books, as well.
The Runaway Dreidel by Leslea Newman and Moishe's Miracle by Laura Krauss Melmed both looked hip and current with gorgeous illustrations. I also ordered Mrs. Greenberg's Hanukkah by Linda Glasser. I will report back with reviews. My all-time favorite is When Mindy Saved Hanukkah by Barbara McClintock. You will love this book.

Two more books I found on several sites and heard folks talking about are: a reissue of the 1959 picture book The Blueberry Pie Elf by Jane Thayer. This is so adorable and the look will remind you of Garth Williams.

Another book being talked about is by Eden Ross Lipson, who recently passed away. She was in charge of the children's section at the NYT Book Review. She finished a book before she died called Applesauce Season, illustrated by the great Mordecai Gerstein. The woman in charge of Henry's afterschool program told me about the book with tears in her eyes. That's how much she adored it!

These days, in order to get Henry to read I have to literally shut of the television and say: "It's time to read." Tonight we read a translation of a French book--a Stepping Stone easy-to-read called The Ink Drinker by Eric Sanvoisin, illustrated by Martin Maatje. It was the story of a boy who hates books, but whose dad owns a book store. He notices a client drinking the ink out of books one day, and goes off to solve the mystery of why. Henry liked it, but it wasn't the most satisfying experience, I am sad to report. But it's a great introduction to creepier books meant for older kids! The cover really got me, and the art is pretty spectacular!

For the first night of Hanukkah, Gus got ABC-3D--also an import from France by Marion Bataille. If you haven't seen this video on youtube, it's very quaint and lots of fun.
But the next night he got The Book of Totally Irresponsible Science Experiments by Sean Connolly. He loved it!

He is finishing up a chess tournament, and when he comes home, I hope we can do some of the experiments...

Happy Holidays, and I will be back soon to post book jackets to go with this post.