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Archive for January 10th, 2015

HYSMD_cover HI-RES

by Sam Juliano

New York City provides writers and artists with a reservoir of creative possibilities.  A steaming mass of people going about their business, working, traveling in all directions on all modes of transportation, engaging, reading books, eating ice cream cones, strolling in parks, feeding pigeons, cycling and making repairs are just part of Steve Light’s breathless and breathtaking Have You Seen My Dragon?, a counting book boasting a most original concept.  After the dragon of the title is given center stage in the first double-spread drawing, its inexplicable disappearance is marvelously upstaged by the various subjects of the places frequented and traversed by this most child friendly of all mythological creatures, one whose playful immersion in this cityscape is purely benign.  This dragon can’t always help itself – after all it is a dragon, and as such it breathes fire and bellows smoke, but on the other hand it is a voracious reader, an invaluable assistant to elevator repairmen, and a lover of children.  At the end it is left open ended as to whether or not this dragon is imaginary, but either way it is an active participant in a child’s eye tour through the ultimate center of round the clock activities. (more…)

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cover

by Sam Juliano

Bob Staake’s Bluebird was one of last year’s most beautiful picture books in message and design, and by consensus it pushed exceedingly close to Caldecott recognition.  A veteran illustrator of over fifty-five children’s books, and a celebrated New Yorker cover artist, Staake is widely known as a technological innovator, and masterful negotiator of the adobe photoshop method.  His phantasmagorical design and florescent colors have made each and every release a feast for the eyes, and his spirited street scenes, exaggerated figures and decor are suffused with more dynamic color than just about any other picture books in circulation.  Staake is a satirist and a promulgator of mayhem, a defiant disciple of the theory that more is more whose books have fully validated his unbridled vision.  His latest work, My Pet Book is a carnival of images, facial expressions, and abstraction all engineered at break neck speed, and imbued with jubilation.

Staake announces in his opening end papers that he is taking no prisoners.  Our spirited young marauder’s entire life is visually chronicled in a celebratory array of vivid diamond shaped graphics, showing just how central his new pet is in each and every one of his daily activities.  The story is set in “Smartytown,” an urban metropolis which gives opportunity for any interest to take flight, and concerns a boy’s adoption of a red book as pet, and constant companion.  Says Staake in some delightfully bouncy rhyming couplets: (more…)

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