Monday, November 15, 2010

Jennifer's Book Picks

I look forward to the Children's Book Illustrator Show & Signing every year, not only because I get to see such beautiful art firsthand, but also because I have an excuse to read the books! We have an extraordinary selection this year, so our book choice is tougher than ever. But, I guess if I have to pick just one from each illustrator, these are my choices...

Me, Frida
Written by Amy Novesky
Illustrated by David Diaz

Frida in Gold, Mixed Media on Canvas

If you're like me and love the work of artist Frida Kahlo and the City by the Bay, Me, Frida is a great book for you. Frida and Diego Rivera travel to San Francisco so Diego can work. This is Frida's first time out of her native homeland, and she finds the ways of America strange and intimidating. She is left alone much of the time while Diego is painting, and she soon discovers a love for the city as well as her own artistic voice. David's inspired paintings set the mood for this journey to self discovery.

Written & Illustrated by Patrick O'Brien
Cat Face in Tall Grass, Watercolor & Gouache

Patrick O'Brien's books are just oh-so-BOY, but the science-minded girl can get into them, too! Sabertooth explores the physiology and biology of the prehistoric big cats with great illustrations of skeletons, teeth and fur. Packed with fun facts and explanations, Patrick presents a wonderfully readable lesson in prehistoric schooling. Perhaps my favorite thing about this book is the details, like 2 smilodons hiding in the tall grass stalking a mammoth, or even a modern-day paleontologist that looks suspiciously like Patrick!

Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal: A Worldwide Cinderella
Written by Paul Fleischman
Illustrated by Julie Paschkis

Rooster, Gouache

I've always loved fairy tales, the weirder the better, so when I saw this version of Cinderella I was delighted! Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal seamlessly combines different versions of the Cinderella story from cultures all over the world. We travel from Mexico to Korea, Iraq to Zimbabwe and further afield as we yearn to go to the king's ball, dance the night away with the prince and foil the stepmother and stepsisters. Julie's magical illustrations were inspired by the traditional textiles of the countries and work together to flawlessly blend one page into another.

The Curious Adventures of the Abandoned Toys
Written by Julian Fellowes
Illustrated by S.D. Schindler

Doc at Home, Watercolor, Pen & Ink

This book really got me, from the title to the sweet illustrations. It reminded me of books I had when I was little, and the well-loved stuffed animals that I still have to this day. Poor Doc the teddy bear is thrown out when the children's hospital he lives in has a re-vamp. He finds himself tied to the front of a garbage truck hurtling towards his new home, the city dump. He quickly befriends the rest of the abandoned toys, and that's when his adventures truly begin. Steve's pen and ink and watercolor illustrations tell Doc's story with such charm that your heart can't help but melt.

The Tale of the Firebird
Written and Illustrated by Gennady Spirin
In the Forest Lake, Watercolor

What a great year for fairy tale books! Russian artist, Gennady Spirin, adapted The Tale of the Firebird from three traditional Russian fairy tales from his childhood. The son of the Tsar must travel from kingdom to kingdom with the help of a magical wolf to retrieve the gifts desired by his father and his father's friends. Gennady's stunning illustrations give the feel of an illuminated manuscript, and his exquisite attention to detail lends a magical feel to every page.

Don't forget to pre-order your signed and dedicated books by November 27th -
that's 12 days from now!

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