Trina Schart Hyman’s retelling of “Little Red Riding Hood” is a familiar one. This was Hyman’s favorite fairy tale, and as a child, she spent a whole year wearing the red cape her mother made for her. On the verso of the title page, Little Red is reading her own story featuring the cover of Hyman’s book, sucking her thumb, just as Hyman did in childhood.
The universal appeal of fairy tales is documented by the similarities of stories across countries, cultures and centuries. The “Cinderella” story alone is over 1000 years old with over 1000 varients. What makes an individual picture book version of a fairy tale unique? The illustrations. Jane Yolen (2004) states, “Many of the picture-book retellings of folktales are more about the art than the story” (p.
Eliza Wheeler is the fascinating illustrator of many books, including John Ronald’s Dragons: The Story of J.R.R. Tolkien, The Pomegranate Witch, and Tell Me a Tattoo Story. You can read about her work on her Wheeler Studio blog. For this interview, we are focusing on a series she has illustrated for Candlewick Press, the Cody books by Tricia Springstubb.… more
Sometimes, a book comes across my desk that sparkles like a gem, attracting my attention, insisting that I stop what I’m doing and read it. This happened when With My Hands: Poems about Making Things arrived last week. I thought I’d take a peek. Next thing you know, I was closing the last page of the book, sighing with contentment. And then I knew I had to read the book all over again.… more
Traffic signals don’t require a single word to send a clear message. Even small children can learn how to “read” them. Red reads “stop.” Green reads “go.” Yellow reads either “slow down” or “speed up,” depending on the “character” of the driver. Even young students can also “read” wordless picture books. Because the artwork reveals its own narrative, young readers can follow the action, interpret the characters’ motivations, predict outcomes, and intuit the mood and emotions of the story.… more
I had a “Why in the world….?” moment the other day. It was unexpected and a little strange and it was this: When I imagine picture books that I am writing and/or thinking about writing, I imagine very specific illustrations. From a very specific illustrator. Even though I admire the work of many illustrators. (I admire this one, too, of course.)… more
For this interview, we turn to the illustrator of a new book, all ears, all eyes, whose work I’ve long admired. This is a very special book. Open it and you’ll be captivated by the forest at night. Such unusual art! But, then, her prior books have also been distinctive, each in their own way. I hope you enjoy this visit with Katherine as much as I did.… more
While taking a closer look at Creekfinding: A True Story, it is impossible to separate the narrative and the illustrations because together they make the book whole. And yet two different artists created the words and the illustrations that guide the reader toward an understanding of the Brook Creek restoration project. Claudia McGehee notices the details, the encompassing emotions and the nuances of the landscape that encourage to walk alongside Team Brook Creek while they explore this restored ecosystem.… more
Betsy Bowen’s book, Antler Bear Canoe: a Northwoods Alphabet, has been a favorite alphabet book for the last 25 years, reminding every reader about the things they love in their unique environment. Now, a counting book will sit alluringly on the bookshelf next to that title. One North Star: a Counting Book (University of Minnesota Press) has been written by Phyllis Root, and illustrated with woodcuts by Betsy Bowen and Beckie Prange.… more
You probably know John Burningham best for Mr. Gumpy’s Outing but illustrators, book creators, are so much more than what we see between the covers of their books. Their lives are often illustrated. They record things on paper visually. They put what they’ve observed into drawers and portfolios and notebooks so they have that once-seen image to call upon for their work.… more
interview by Vicki Palmquist and Marsha Qualey The illustrations in The Firekeeper's Son are all double-page spreads. How did that design decision affect your choices and work? I decided on the format because the landscape is an important part of the story. The original dummy I made had fewer pages so I split many spreads into smaller images.… more
by Vicki Palmquist I’ve been savoring Quentin Blake: Beyond the Page (Tate Publishing, 2012), a book that is replete with photos, illustrative art, and all the many ways Mr. Blake’s art has adorned many aspects of life “beyond the page.” In his own voice, we hear of the places illustration has taken him. With something near a state of wonder, Mr.… more