• Posted on July 01, 2011

Picks & Tweets from the Illustrated Word

HRH William Shatner, famous Canadian

Happy CANADA Day! As befits such a celebratory occasion, the Duke and Duchess of something or other are visiting our lovely country for the first time, or at least the first official time. Welcome HRH William and HRH Kate. Next time, come to Edmonton, eh?

And now, in true Canadian fashion, a little self-deprecation:

Hilarious and local. The Daily Show does some business in Canada, specifically Alberta. Thank you Oil Sands for your comic possibilities.

L O V E this! Darryl Cunningham Investigates-Evolution. It’s in comic book style so maybe the Creationists will finally get it. Maybe. Nah…

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  • Posted on June 09, 2011

Picks & Tweets from the Illustrated Word

New blog, old news. Or oldish news, that is, and the blog isn’t new, it just looks like it’s been on holiday and come back refreshed and ready to upload a bunch of new and exciting reviews…that I have yet to write. Sorry blog….I promise I’ll work harder now that you look so pretty. In the meantime, here are a few recent treats from my truly hardworking blogosphere colleagues~  

Chris Van Allsburg in the news again. This week Chris talks about his new book Queen of the Falls (thanks Achockablog), and from Anita Silvey at the fab Children’s Book a Day Almanac Blog, the story behind Jumanji.

From the I’m glad someone said it files, NYT’s Pamela Paul on that Go the F*** To Sleep book causing all the controversy…and probably more than a few tired nods of sympathy. Please oh please oh please let someone hire me to write the f***ing sequel.

The Daily Heller always has great design/illustration-related stuff. Here’s a wistful look back at Mad Magazine: “Look Ma, No Teeth.” A madvertisement for Crust Gum Paste.” Blecch! I hope there are more MAD posts like this in the future.

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  • Posted on May 23, 2011

Picks & Tweets from the Illustrated Word

What, me worry?

Once again I failed to get raptured. Guess I’ll have to wait for 2012, and fingers crossed, I’ll be spending the End of Days with John Cusack on a giant sea pod. Of course, I’m not expecting to rise up with the righteous. All that High School stuff probably pooched my chances of being picked for the Celestial Dodgeball Team. I’m not even sure I’d want to share my personal space with the True Believers as I suspect they are a rather rigid lot, and probably not at all interested in collecting children’s picture books, especially those reviewed in 32 Pages. Having said that, I do have a kick-ass version of the Bible illustrated by Barry Moser, which I’ve yet to review because I would have to read it, and well, life is short and there may be only 19 months until we all pop our collective clogs. So, while we wait to be smited upside the head, here are some rapture-worthy items from the corporeal world.

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  • Posted on April 27, 2011

Picks & Tweets from the Illustrated Word

The King's Crow

Spring has sprung, the grass is green(ish), and the air is full of birdsong and…what’s that? Oh yeah, the almost constant hum of Royal Wedding coverage. I have no opinion, really, about the monarchy, but I do enjoy a little princely entertainment now and then. Not so much the younger generation (sorry Wills & Kate), but those great English Kings and Queens of yore: Colin Firth, Jonathan Rhys Myers, and of course, our current monarch, Helen Mirren. I’ll keep this post short as I am off to bed in the somewhat futile hope that a sleep surplus will help me get up at 3:00 a.m. Friday morning to watch the Show. Please enjoy these crowning moments from Royal Web~

On April 26th, Google celebrated the birthday of John James Audubon with a Google doodle. Oh no. Now everyone will know about him. Happy Birthday Mr Birdman, your illustrations are gobsmackingly gorgeous! Other than his ubiquitous collections of art (and field guides), may I recommend a couple of novels~Creation by Katherine Govier (Random House), about his rather harrowing adventures in Labrador, Canada, and a new children’s book, which I’ve yet to read but looks very promising~Okay For Now by Gary D Schmidt (Clarion). Maybe this Audubon-related book will usher in a new cultural obsession~birds. Beats vampires (but not zombies, nothing beats zombies.)

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  • Posted on April 10, 2011

Picks & Tweets from the Illustrated Word

A Posthumous Publication

Feeling under the weather of late. Something less than death, but more than a hangnail. Eustachian Tube Dysfunction, which is the fancy word for nausea, and the distinct and terribly unpleasant feeling that a weasel has crawled into my right ear and is slowly exiting on the left. Enough whining (if that’s possible.) After all, not everything viral is bad. To wit~

Signs of the apocalypse ~ ‘My Beautiful Mommy: How a Picture Book Explains Liposuction to Kids.’ Wow. In my book-selling days, I used to scoff at the affliction/lifestyle-specific picture books, but this is cutting-edge (or sucking edge) pseudo-counseling at it’s most idiotic. The review is hilarious.

Shaun Tan wins the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Prize, announced in Bologna. Largest prize in children’s books. First an Oscar, and now this? What’s next, Sexiest Man Alive? For additional fun, here is a slideshow of Eric, a chapter in Outer Tale of Suburbia. Love this guy.

Random House to publish new Dr. Seuss book collecting stories previously published in magazines. From the truly awesome (and newly discovered) Where the Best Books Are blog, here’s a sneak-peek.

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  • Posted on March 24, 2011

Picks & Tweets from the Illustrated Word

Da Man (otherwise known as Chris Van Allsburg)

Hmm…nothing much has changed since my last Picks & Tweets post two weeks ago. It’s still winter here in the great white north, with no discernable signs of spring, other than the few unfortunate Canada Geese I’ve spotted dipping their feathery nether regions into the frozen North Saskatchewan River. However, in spite of winter’s frigid hold on this city, I refuse to use this blog to whine! It’s immature, unsavoury, exceptionally futile, and more to the point, it’s what my other blog is for…

So, without further delay, here are a few signs of hope, rebirth, and whatever else spring supposedly promises~

From School Library Journal, via the Andersen Press (UK), Chris Van Allsburg (Polar Express) talks about his new book QUEEN OF THE FALLS. More CVA, as well as a little Patrick McDonnell (and Jane Goodall), courtesy of Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast.

Carl Hiaasen on Florida, crime, and writing children’s books. I love this guy so much I’d read his comments on bicycle repair, wound management, and dryer lint, if I had to, but I’m glad it’s mostly book-related stuff.

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  • Posted on March 01, 2011

Picks & Tweets from the Illustrated Word


Month seven of the winter of 2010/11, and the third month of a raging case of Seasonal Affective Disorder. I’m experiencing all the usual symptoms: shivering thumbs, poker face, chapped brain, random acts of obesity, Criminal Minds marathon-induced paranoia, and of course, mange.

Normally I feel rather jolly about winter, but here in the frozen north it’s been exceptionally snowy and monumentally cold. I’m exhausted. Still, it’s not all about weather reports and opening veins. Here are a few moments of hope and warmth from the interwebs~

And the Oscar goes to...

A great big CONGRATULATIONS to illustrator Shaun Tan, who picked up an Oscar for his short animated film, The Lost Thing on Sunday night. Other than seeing Colin Firth’s face on a 55 inch TV screen, this was the highlight of the evening. The film is absolutely charming, and the stupidly gifted Tan is well-deserving of this honour. Rather conveniently, The Lost Thing is also downloadable from iTunes. For additional Tanian diversions, may I suggest these two posts: The Rabbits and Tales From Outer Suburbia.

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  • Posted on January 30, 2011

Picks & Tweets from the Illustrated Word

Too much of a good thing...maybe

Around these parts, no one can stop talking about the snow (65cm+), both the falling of and the removal of. It’s been quite a challenging couple of weeks, but so far, I’ve managed to stay upright, when I’m not curled up in my blanky, reading Scandinavian mysteries and writing about snow-based children’s books. What’s wrong with me? It is possible to get too much of a good thing (or an inevitable thing.) I have got to get a new armchair travel-agent.

Enough about the white stuff…here’s a few treats from around the series of tubes:

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  • Posted on January 12, 2011

Picks & Tweets from the Illustrated Word

Not feeling so sick now are ya, hmmm??

Happy New Year! I always look forward to Christmas, but by mid-December, after the 98th playing of Santa Baby (second only to River as the worst Christmas song ever) on the radio, and the 99th shortbread cookie, I’m ready to kick an elf. Perhaps it’s the hyperglycemia, or maybe it’s just elves, but whatever the reason, I’m always glad to unravel the tree and make a few half-hearted resolutions for a new and improved me as the year comes to a close. One thing that won’t change: my devotion to all things illustration, and the TV show Hoarders. And now, a few interesting tidbits from the last two weeks:

A Sick Day for Amos McGee wins the Caldecott! Congrats to illustrator Erin Stead. Also announced, the Newbery honours. Surprised that City Dog, Country Frog (reviewed in this blog) didn’t make the cut, but I respect the difficulty of choosing the best of the best. Still, poor doggy (and froggy), and a big thanks to all the illustrators and authors who entertained, inspired, and drained my pockets this year.

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  • Posted on December 24, 2010

Picks & Tweets from The Illustrated Word

Molly and bell

It’s the day before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, except for my cat shredding the wrapping paper and dive bombing my meticulously decorated packages. Ah well. She’s got a bad case of seasonally festive disorder, as do I, except that I have thus far refrained from destructive outbursts. I’m saving it for Boxing Day at the Mall. And now, a few last Christmassy tweets from the around the online corner~

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