• Posted on August 19, 2011

Picks & Tweets from the Illustrated Word

OK. I’ve been slack in the review department, and I promise that once things calm down in my life (moving), and as of the two days ago, my mouth (stupid tooth), I will ramp up the output on my little blog. Until then, please enjoy these lovely confections from the WWWeberville~ 

 From the New York Times, an all-time favourite: The Snowy Day Celebrates 50 Years. What’s not to love about this sweet, and highly influential little book about the pleasures of winter precipitation?
 
Another great interview from the impossibly good Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast~this time with with author/illustrator Jon Klassen (Cat’s Night Out, I Want My Hat Back.) Note: I will be reviewing I Want My Hat Back in September.
 
The London riots-Victorian style~thanks to The Age of Uncertainty blog for consistently bringing the funny to antiquarian bookselling.
 
Via Brainpicker~NPR’s Top 100 Sci-Fi, Fantasy Books  Great list, and suprisingly I’ve read quite a few of them, but where’s EIFELHEIM by Michael Flynn? It’s quite possibly the best book I’ve read in the last five years, and I would not call myself a major Sci Fi reader. However, I do like books set in Germany, especially medieval Germany. The aliens are just a bonus. 
 
Another great post from the New York Times: And a Frog Shall Lead Them: The legacy of Jim Henson . At the risk of aging myself, anyone remember the great muppets TV movie from the 70′s called The Frog Prince? I still recall the line ‘Break the ball in the handle of her cane!‘, and the song, ‘Sweetums lay your ugly head, down upon your wretched bed’  (I’ve been known to sing that to my cat on occasion.) Wonderful show, and I wish it would be released in a remastered DVD.

  • Posted on August 11, 2011

Picks & Tweets from the Illustrated Word

Oh, the dog days of summer, which for me translates into a whiny sort of sluggishness precluding any activity more strenous than hoisting fruity beverages to my mouth and bending over to turn the fan onto maximum velocity. My heat-induced indolence is compounded by the fact that I am moving at the end of the month, so my posts have become sparse as I attempt to pack away decades worth of bibliophyllic overconsumption. Sure, they look pretty on the shelves, but they are a bitch to pack, and you might as well take out shares in Boxes-R-Us for all the stacks of neatly-packed product lining my hallways. Nevertheless, I do seem to find the time to check in with my favourite Twitter-folk and fellow bloggerists, and here are a few gems from the last couple of weeks~      

The Story of Charlotte’s Web by Michael Sims – review via @guardian. This sounds like a very interesting book, about an interesting man, and some pig. Can’t wait to read it! And speaking of Wilbur, I might have mentioned in a previous post one of my favourite passages about this beloved porker. It’s early in the book and Wilbur is explaining to Templeton his typical day, but it seems to me that Wilbur is practicing a kind of philosophy of life that sounds less porcine and more Zen. The procurement of food (middlings, warm water, apple parings, meat gravy, etc.,) and naps plays a significant role in Wilbur’s daily routine, but so does stillness, and allocating time to watch “flies on the boards, watch bees in the clover, and watch swallows in the air…and to think about “what it was like to be alive…” I aspire to live my life according to the Tao of Wilbur, minus the ‘middlings’, whatever they are.

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  • Posted on August 01, 2011
Fox and Hen Together

Chicken Love

A perfect picture book is a rare thing. So much of what gets published is forgettable; poorly illustrated, drearily unoriginal productions that pander  to popular tastes, however fleeting. Not to despair. There are children’s picture book illustrators, writers and publishers hell-bent on bringing excellence to the table with original stories, inventive language, gut-busting humour, and as I’ve said many times before, the most beautiful art to be found anywhere, in any venue. The current purveyer of picture book perfection is French illustrator Béatrice Rodriguez and her crew of animal adventurists, including a determined hen and the fox who sweeps her off her claws, a loyal but easily fatigued bear, his rabbit companion, and one mightily ticked-off rooster. Characters such as these cannot be contained to one book, and I am happy to report that Rodriguez has extended their adventures to two more rollicking tales, and the result is a trilogy of wordless picture books amongst the best to be published this, or any year. The Chicken Thief arrived first in 2010, followed by Fox and Hen Together in spring 2011 and finally, Rooster’s Revenge, to be hatched this September. I haven’t been this excited about a trilogy of books since Philip Pullman put armour on polar bears.

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