Some illustrators have 1 or 2 recognizable styles, which is generally recommended so that the publisher knows what they'll be getting. But then there are people like Paul O. Zelinksy, who you might call a Renaissance man because of his different styles and facility with using different materials.
When I had the good fortune of interviewing Paul for our Craft and Business of Illustrating Children's Books course, I asked him about this and he basically said that he lets the story dictate the style and materials. I imagine that because he's a best-selling multi Caldecott honoree as well as a Caldecott winner (the highest award for children's book illustration) Paul can pretty much do whatever he wants because whoever hires him knows that he'll go above and beyond to do something extraordinary (hence the Caldecotts).
A spectacular example of this is The Wheels on the Bus, which Paul adapted and illustrated 25 years ago and which is being reissued with a new cover for it's 25th anniversary. I LOVE this book so much that I made a little video review of it. I hope that you'll share it so that others can learn about this great mentor text where Paul visually shares not only his craft but also his multi-layered super smart, culturally pluralistic visual storytelling above and beyond the words. It's quite extraordinary (I keep using that word).
I also wanted to give a shout out to a couple of other books by Paul so you can get a glimpse at his virtuousity:
Comments are always welcome!
So here's my start:
1. Scour the web for other people's recommendations.
2. Compile list on blog post.
3. Create bulletin board at school.
4. Help kids locate these books.
5. Hope kids find additional new favorites.
6. Create and practice secret evil laugh for moment when another bookhater turns into a reader: Waa Haa Haa!!!
A Few Other Lists...
A GoodReads List
Anchorage Public Library's List
Read Alikes from Blog.Scholastic.com
Kidspace List from Thelibrary.org
Tasman District Libraries' List
I think I may start with the following new ones:
I have been so busy preparing for tonight's extraordinary FREE webinar with Macmillan's Kristie Radwilowics about 10 Things Every Picture Book Writer or Illustrator Should Know at 5.30PM Pacific (registration right here) that I've left it to the last minute to make and upload my video review of Lane Smith's book John, Paul, George and Ben, with a little shout out to his new illustrated middle grade Return to Augie Hobble. So to make up for being late, I'm going to do a double feature with a golden oldie but goodie video of another one of Lane's books, one of my all time favorite quiet books - Big Pets.
But first I want to tell you a little about why I love Lane Smith. It's not just because he contributed a really generous and helpful interview sharing his techniques and all sorts of other goodies for our Craft and Business of Illustrating Children's Books interactive e-course starting next Monday the 21st - wow ( quickie heads up Early Bird specials are ending tomorrow)! Or because he's one of the greatest illustrators of all time helping to usher in the contemporary postmodern approach to children's book illustrating with The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by A. Wolff (written by Jon Sczieska) that has helped open the field wide open, but because the man is both brilliant and absolutely lovely. When you see some of his books, you'll get a sense of why he's so easy to love. Here's a sweet pic of him with his frequent collaborator Jon Szcieska although he is doing much more of his own writing these days.
So now for our double feature! First up is John, Paul, George and Ben, followed by the radically different The Big Pets!
And lastly I wanted to give a shout out to Lane's brilliant middle grade debut Return to Augie Hobble, which is so funny, and deep, and soulful, and magical that it was just too much to do well in a quickie shout out so am referring you all to this page on Lane's website with more info about this extraordinary book.
One of the things that I love to do for course contributors is make them a little pressie by finding out what their favorite animal is and then make them a wee quirky painting of that animal. Lane shared about how he and his wife, the equally brilliant Molly Leach, love feeding birds and listed a bunch that he especially likes so here's the one that I chose because of it's graphic nature. I hope he likes it. It was a little intimidating making art for one of the world's greatest illustrators but I was terribly brave and he's terribly kind.
Love that Lane Smith. Hope that you do too!
Mira Reisberg has helped MANY authors and illustrators get published. She has worn just about every hat in the industry including art director, editor, illustrator and author, and literary agent. Mira holds a PhD in Education and Cultural Studies with a focus on children's literature. She is also an award-winning children's book illustrator and writer. And most of all she loves nurturing her own and others creativity.
We are so excited to be mixing things up at CBA, beginning with some delicious additions to the Blogfish. Meet our awesome new bloggers!!
Here's our lineup:
1st Mondays begin with Clear Fork/Spork editor/art director, former agent and former kidlit professor Mira Reisberg PhD who is also the Director of the Children's Book Academy.
2nd Mondays will feature super smart Melissa Stoller whose career is taking off with several new books.
3rd Mondays will feature Bryan Patrick Avery, published writer, man of mystery, and professional magician among other things.
4th Mondays feature funny Aussie author Sharon Giltrow sharing awesome Aussie books.
And 5th Mondays will feature Libyan American author Koloud Tarapolsi sharing wonderful diverse books.