• Posted on October 12, 2010

Nobs and Broomsticks

You many have been wondering why, in a blog that celebrates the work of great children’s book illustrators, I have waited until now to write about Chris Van Allsburg. He is, after all, one of the most brilliant illustrators of the 20th and 21st century. An illustrator whose work, like Lisbeth Zwerger, has become synonymous with classic children’s literature. The reasons are not mysterious. I have a lot of books, including most of Chris Van Allsburg’s titles, so the queue is long. Also, while most illustrators live in obscurity, Van Allsburg is a bona fide star, thanks to the Jumanji and The Polar Express films (5 second review~get the books.) There is no particular urgency to ‘lift the veil’ on an artist whose work is well known and well loved.

Simply put, I waited until October because The Widow’s Broom is Chris Van Allsburg’s one and only Halloween book, and it is second only to The Polar Express in my esteem. And now, finally, the time has come to say a few words about a fallen witch, a flying bull-terrier, and a dose of justice delivered by a crafty old lady and an enchanted broom.

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  • Posted on February 08, 2010

The Hibernators Dilemma

In my years as both a bookseller and as a reader, I have discovered a most interesting and delightful phenomenon. Books find us, not the other way around. It will call to you, like dark chocolate peanut M&M’s and HGTV.

I no longer work in a bookstore, and thus have fewer opportunities to flip through publisher catalogues and fondle freshly unpacked new releases in the shipping department, but I find the books I’m supposed to find. Or so I tell myself.

As for the books that are recommended by well-meaning friends and reviewers, well…I try to be nice. It’s that subjective thing. One person’s beautifully illustrated book is another person’s piece of sentimental shit. I am the first to admit I am a tough customer.

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