April 26, 2016

Trim Size Matters

What does the size of the book say about the story inside? Trim size is the size of the physical book, and books come in all different shapes and sizes.

Let's start with big books. Big books are designed to showcase big ideas. A big book literally gives an illustrator more space on which to show his or her story, so chances are you'll see some extra large characters along the way.

     


April 19, 2016

This Is Not a Post

Today I want to explore the concept of a "book." The illustrators I'm going to talk about use their own books to challenge the notion of what a book is and what a story means. These books provide creative outlets for children to think about the world around them and their preconceived notions of what it means to open a book and read a story. I think in this case, it's best to just dive right in.

Jean Jullien's 2016 This Is Not a Book is a fun place to start because Jullien uses the design of the book itself to get readers thinking about everyday objects in their lives. This isn't a book, it's a monster.

April 12, 2016

Stepping out of the Shadows

Happy Tuesday, everyone! Today we're talking about shadows in picturebooks. While picturebook illustrations are generally known for being inviting and colorful, shadows make the illustrations more mysterious and serve to show readers the dark side of the world they live in. Shadows are reserved for the nighttime and the unknown, so a picturebook that visually focuses on shadows is a great place for characters to have dark adventures and explore things they wouldn't normally do in the light of day. In these books the shadows becomes their own characters, representing our dark sides, the parts that remain hidden and tucked away.

You can't write about shadows and not talk about Suzy Lee's wordless masterpiece Shadow.



April 8, 2016

Mel on All the Wonders

I'm thrilled and honored to announce that I am now a contributor on the amazing children's book site All the Wonders!


All the Wonders is a collective of working writers, podcasters, filmmakers, musicians, and visual artists who feel that great books deserve a life beyond the shelf. We believe that children make a more lasting connection with a story when they can experience it in various forms. Therefore, our goal is to expand the universe of the books we love by offering up podcasts, videos, songs, crafts, and much more, all centered on those great works of literature and the people who make them. This content, we hope, will inspire not just a new generation of bookworms, but a new generation of book creators as well.

Right now we're celebrating All the Wonders of Swap!, a picture book from author/illustrator Steve Light about a broken down ship, a pirate captain overcome with sadness, and how a peg-legged boy saves the day through some inventive swapping. Be sure to stop by to experience the book from every creative angle, and stay tuned for some fun articles coming soon from yours truly!

April 5, 2016

The Wonder of Wonderland

Few stories have been illustrated in such creative ways than Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. John Tenniel's illustrations are classic and timeless (I consider them to be the best), but it's always fun to look at how other illustrators interpret the famous story of a girl whose boredom leads to the adventure of a lifetime. Carroll's text lends itself well to quirky, vibrant, and nonsensical illustrations, and I am excited to share my list of favorites.