Big Illustration News

Pardon the post interruption—I have some big news. I have recently signed to illustrate my first picture book!

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I am so thrilled and honored to get this project! It is written by Shelley Kinder and due to arrive September of 2017 with Clear Fork Publishing. I’ve got a lot of work set out before me, so bear with me as posts will likely be even more intermittent than usual. Thanks for your support and encouragement as I work towards this goal! If you miss me and want to see what I’m working on in my sketchbook, check out smellingoranges.blogspot.com.

Stay tuned for a revised version of my yearly picture book Christmas countdown!

Book Review: Each Kindness By Woodson & Lewis

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Friday has finally arrived in a week that has seemed extremely long and exhausting emotionally. Kindness is something our family talks about on a daily basis, but these past few days, it has become an even stronger topic. Defining it. Giving examples. Complimenting on kind actions. And gently pointing out missed chances to show kindness. It is not a surprise that this book has been weighing heavily on my thoughts. When I pulled it off the shelf again this morning, a lump began to form in my throat. This is a heavy book, but not in size. It is a hard book. It does not have a tidy ending. It is deep and challenging. And it is beautiful in story and in pictures. Please come talk about Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by E. B. Lewis, 2012. Read the full post…

Book Review: The Journey By Francesca Sanna

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It has been too long since a review here, and my review pile is dangerously tall as always. This book has been calling my attention for months and today feels like the perfect day to remind us about empathy. To read books that are challenging and, most likely, a window about something we may hopefully never experience ourselves. This book is beautiful, heartbreaking, hopeful, and necessary. Join me in admiring and pondering The Journey by Francesca Sanna, 2016. Read the full post…

Book Review: Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn By Kenard Pak

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Happy fall everyone! (at least for those of us in the Western Hemisphere.) I was hoping to get this book up yesterday, for the actual first day of fall, but time escaped me. Regardless, it still feels incredibly appropriate as the weather around here hasn’t decided to move completely into cooler fall days quite yet. Summer is trying to give a last, weak hurrah while fall begins to show its colors. This book is lovely and a perfect fit for closing out the summer season and stepping into autumn. Take a walk from summer to fall with this inviting conversation between a little child and the participants of nature. Here’s Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn by Kenard Pak, 2016. Read the full post…

Book Review: The King of the Birds By Macam & Nelson

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Happy Monday everyone! I have such an amazing book to share today, I can hardly contain myself. And, tomorrow is actually the book’s publication birthday for the U.S.! Lucky Canada friends have had it on their shelves for a week or so. But as of Tuesday the 13th, we can all snap up a copy.

This book is an excellent read – clever, interesting, and humorous. And the illustrations are fantastic. The story is based on Flannery O’Connor’s life and writings, and tells the story of her addition of a peacock to her already amazing collection of many various types of birds. Be delighted by The King of the Birds by Acree Graham Macam, pictures by Natalie Nelson, 2016. Read the full post…

Book Review: Mad Scientist Academy: The Dinosaur Disaster By Matthew McElligott

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Continuing with my reviews of some of our favorite books off of my daughter’s school summer reading list, count me surprised that this is a solid winner in our home. Dinosaurs, clever monsters, graphic novel format, disasters, and more dinosaurs… this book has won my kids’ hearts. Check out Mad Scientist Academy: The Dinosaur Disaster by Matthew McElligott, 2015. Read the full post…

Brian Wildsmith Tribute

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from A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Brian Wildsmith, 1966

A few days ago I heard the sad news that picture book creator Brian Wildsmith had passed away. He is one of my many favorite illustrators, whose work I am continually amazed and inspired by. He lived a long, full life (great interview on Independent) and made some of the most colorful picture books I have ever seen. Since I have yet to post about any of his works, I think it is fitting today to share a few of my favorite illustrations from him. I have been slowly collecting his books as I discover them and find favorites. This will be the most images I have ever overloaded you with (click on any of the photos to see them larger); but I hope you are moved and enjoy the vibrant, awe-inspiring work of Brian Wildsmith. Read the full post…

Book Review: Papillon, The Very Fluffy Kitty By A. N. Kang + Giveaway!

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I’m so excited to share this adorable book about a very fluffy kitty today. Papillon is so incredibly light and fluffy, he can float and fly in the air – a delightful trick that annoys his owner and creates the greatest adventure of his life. It is a silly story, full of darling illustrations, ending on a note of  friendship. Allow me to introduce you to Papillon: The Very Fluffy Kitty by A. N. Kang, 2016. And check out the end of the post for a fun giveaway sponsored by Disney-Hyperion! Read the full post…