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Picture Book Month

by abby on October 28, 2011 | Comment

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November is Picture Book Month! That’s right, those beautifully, illustrated printed children’s books are still important for literacy and still needed in our lives. I bet you can name your own treasured picture book from your own childhood without hesitation. These books need our support!

This international movement to mark November as Picture Book Month was founded by a group of motivated authors and illustrators: Dianne de Las Cases (author & storyteller), Katie Davis (author/illustrator), Elizabeth O. Dulemba (author/illustrator), Tara Lazar (author), and Wendy Martin (author/illustrator).

The plan of November is to highlight a daily post from a picture book champion to explain why he/she thinks picture books are a vital part of our society. The founders are doing this because a world where solely digital children’s books are available isn’t the right solution. Printed picture books offer their own unique benefits to early literacy education and cognitive development. Don’t believe me? Try sitting with a young child and reading a printed picture book. I bet you the early reader will ask you questions and pose comments beyond the narrative. Why? Because a printed book allows them to pause, reflect, and think for themselves. The early reader becomes the active component to the book. Sitting together reading a well crafted, printed picture book can truly be a magical experience.
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Join the celebration and enjoy an old favorite book or see what’s new and exciting in the land of printed picture books.

Spring Picture book Finds

by abby on May 13, 2011 | Comment

By chance I squeezed in some time this week to visit a children’s book department from a larger book store chain. I always get a little giddy walking through the children’s books. Maybe it’s the large colorful covers? Or because I always feel like I’m an insider, having worked in a publishing house? In any case, it’s such fun to see what’s popular now and to revisit old favorites.

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I first want to share with you the last Dutton Children’s Book I designed as a full time designer. The book is called Gabby & Grandma Go Green and it’s written and illustrated by Monica Wellington. Showcasing a lovely spring palette of soft pastels with an array of greens it’s a story geared for preschoolers to start “thinking green”. Gabby and her Grandma create bags out of scrap fabrics and then use those bags on an outing together. The great feature about Monica’s books is that they always have an activity at the end. In this case, an adult and a child can make their OWN fabric tote bag.

The next few books I discovered just while strolling around the displays in the book store. What I adore about these 3 books is the high quality illustration paired with a simple, but very humorous storyline.

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Say Hello to Zorro! is the first find. Any dog owners in the house?—you will laugh out loud while reading this book. It’s speaks the truth about who’s scheduling your day and how  dogs might find friendship. Carter Goodrich wrote and illustrated this book. As an character designer for such animation films as Finding Nemo and Shrek, his two dogs’ expressions and body language tell far more of the story than the short text. A must read.

The next book is A Pet for Petunia by Paul Schimd.  Featuring expressive black and purple illustrations Petunia shares her love of shunks and the trials of trying to convince her parents that she NEEDS a pet skunk. The expressive type paired with the highly animated drawings keeps the art fresh and delightful.

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Finally, there is the large picture book, Itsy Mitsy Runs Away. Once more, the illustrator, Elanna Allen, is a character designer for animation studios and it shows! Mitsy is spunky and down right adorable in her green dinosaur pajamas. To avoid bedtime Mitsy decides to run away, but Dad keeps suggesting things she will need to pack.  First, her stuffed animal, Mister Roar, then snacks, then a lamp…and the list gets bigger. The illustrations make this book so much fun to read. Between the scale changes of the art and Mitsy’s facial and body expressions this is another laugh out loud funny book.

I would highly recommend picking up all four of these books and reading them for yourself!