Wednesday, December 12, 2012


by Tim Jessell, Random House, 2012.
ISBN: 9780375868665

Breathtaking vistas and views greet the reader as an imagined flight of a falcon  sweeps them from the plains through mountain heights, over oceans and cliffs to a city-scape where a skyscraper becomes the falcon's eyrie.  Jessell's landscapes spread over two pages and evoke wind and sky and majesty from the falcon's point of view.  The child's imagination takes the falcon to the city where it dives towards people on the sidewalk and swoops away.  Jessell's landscapes and realism is fresh and welcome. 

His website gives an overview of his work and a look at his process for sketching and painting. 

Tim Jessell website

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

TED Talk -- Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Jarrett J. Krosoczka writes books that kids connect with on so many levels, through his artwork, his humor, his understanding of childhood.  When I am asked for a recommendation from a parent going in to a classroom to read, I want to give them a sure fire hit. I give them a Krosoczka picture book. 

I did not think I could be a bigger fan girl but now I've viewed his TED talk.

Krosoczka's TED talk should be a must view for everyone.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Sadness: Thomas Locker

I just learned that the wonderful Thomas Locker died this year in March, 2012.  This is the Publishers Weekly obit for him.  I feel as if I've lost a friend.   At some point over all these years, I should have written him and let him know how much I admired his artwork.

I love Locker's books.  For years I've marked his books at "required" for library start-up collections and added his titles to  acquisitions lists for established libraries.  I realize now that I own very few in my personal library.

His landscapes showed such a reverence for the majesty of the natural world. PW likened his work to 19th-century Hudson River School of painting. His work also evoked the English painter, John Constable and the great Dutch painter,  Jacob van Ruisdael.  His brooding Dutch skies in The Boy Who Held Back the Sea are a direct homage to van Ruidael.

For science connections his Cloud Dance is an exquisite rendering of the hydrological cycle (water cycle) as is Mountain Dance which depicts the rock cycle.

 His pairing with Jean-Craighead-George produced the lovely To Climb a Waterfall taking the reader on a climb up the Hudson River Valley's Kaaterskill Falls.

I always add Sky Tree to lists of books for my art teachers.  Each page is a study of the same tree during all seasons and at different times of the day.  It is breathtaking.

I feel a little poorer today and I have a new set of books to start collecting for my personal library.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

I Like Old Clothes

With the pending arrival of the first grand-entling, I am once again regarding picture books with an eye to snuggle-up reading and inclusion in the best library a grand-entling could dream of.  I've put down the knitting needles here to look at some that delight me.

I Like Old Clothes
by Mary Ann Hoberman, illustrations by Patrice Barton, Knopf, 2012. ISBN: 9780375869518

Hoberrman's words exult the hand-me-down and rejoice at the charity thrift store find.

"Clothes with a history, Clothes with a mystery"

Patrice Barton has re-imagined Hoberman's original 1976 version of this book with softly washed pictures "using pencil sketches and mixed media, assembled and painted digitally." The illustrations seem to appear on a background of "old clothes."  Fabric textures, prints, plaids and buttons serve as a backdrop for children who are playing dress-up and using old socks for hand puppets. There is no stigma to used sweaters or shirts here. Old clothes upgrade to  "vintage' in the hands of these junior fashion-istas.  Lovely.

Patrice Barton, illustrator website