Tag Archives: Illustrated

New Picture Books Galore – January & February 2012

Here is a list of some picture books I am excited about that were released in the month of January and February! I will try to come out with this list on a monthly basis; since this is the first, both months are squished into one.

Plant A Kiss
by Amy Krouse Rosenthal: Little Miss planted a kiss . . . One small act of love blooms into something bigger and more dazzling than Little Miss could have ever imagined in this epic journey about life, kindness, and giving.

Maudie & Bear
by Jan Ormerod: Bear’s world revolves around Maudie. Maudie’s world also revolves around Maudie. This book is delightful!

One Cool Friend
by Tony Buzzeo: On a momentous visit to the aquarium, Elliot discovers his dream pet: a penguin. It’s just proper enough for a straight-laced boy like him. And when he asks his father if he may have one (please and thank you), his father says yes. Elliot should have realized that Dad probably thought he meant a stuffed penguin and not a real one . . . With illustrations from David Small, this picture book is utterly cool-dorable (Cool + Adorable).

Zoo Girl
by Rebecca Elliot: Zoo girl has no family. In the children’s home, she feels lost and alone. On a trip to the zoo, she is accidentally left behind. But the animals love her—and when she’s discovered snuggled in a cage with the tigers by the zoo keepers and brought back to the orphanage, she doesn’t want to go. Thankfully, the keepers know when they first see her that they have found a daughter at last, and return shortly with adoption papers to take her home with them. Zoo girl has found her family at last!

Extra Yarn
by Mac Barnett: This looks like an ordinary box full of ordinary yarn. But it turns out it isn’t. Illustrated by Jon Klassen, this picture book is truly lovely. A town turns from drab to colorful with knitted sweaters.

Another Brother
by Matthew Cordell: Life for Davy was glorious as long as he had his mother and father to himself. But then he got a brother, Petey. When Davy sang, Petey cried. When Davy created a masterpiece, Petey spat up on it. And then he got another brother, Mike! And another, Stu! And another, Gil! Until he had TWELVE LITTLE BROTHERS! And that was only the beginning!


Gideon & Otto
by Olivier Dunrea: Meet Gideon, the newest addition to Olivier Dunrea’s gaggle of adorable goslings! Gideon likes to splash with the ducklings, hop with the frogs, play chase-the-piglets, and scamper all over the farmyard. But one thing busy Gideon does not want to do is take his nap, no matter how many times his mother asks . . . until he gets tired, of course.

Duck for a Day
by Meg McKinlay: Abby’s class has a duck named Max who waddles and quacks and makes your feet all warm when he sits on them. Even though Max is a duck with demands – from an ideal aquatic environment to fresh strawberries – Abby might get to take him home overnight, if she can make everything perfect. And Abby is sure she can do it. The problem is, weird Noah from next door wants to take Max home, too. Abby can hear him digging on his side of the fence, but she knows he’ll never get Max. A duck needs calm, and what can Noah do about his chaotic backyard and noisy sisters?

What Color is My World? The Lost History of African-American Inventors
by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Raymond Obstfeld: Did you know that James West invented the microphone in your cell phone? That Fred Jones invented the refrigerated truck that makes supermarkets possible? Or that Dr. Percy Julian synthesized cortisone from soy, easing untold people’s pain? These are just some of the black inventors and innovators scoring big points in this dynamic look at several unsung heroes who shared a desire to improve people’s lives. Offering profiles with fast facts on flaps and framed by a funny contemporary story featuring two feisty twins, here is a nod to the minds behind the gamma electric cell and the ice-cream scoop, improvements to traffic lights, open-heart surgery, and more – inventors whose ingenuity and perseverance against great odds made our world safer, better, and brighter.


Leave a comment

Filed under Picture Books

Silly Rabbit Kids Books are for Adults Too, You Know

I received this photo from the amazing Penguin Rep., Nicole.  It is very true.

Not Just For Kids

Don’t forget about the Giveaway Schmiveaway –  SIGNED copy of Oliver Jeffers’ book, The Way Back Home!!!

Enter to win by subscribing to Read Schmead and by posting comments. Every current and new subscriber is entered into the contest automatically. If you happen to leave comments on posts then those will count as additional entries. Winners will be picked randomly.


Filed under Book-Related Stuff

Oliver Jeffers’ New Book, Stuck, & The Giveaway Schmiveaway

Have I mentioned that I love EVERYTHING JEFFERS!!  Well, I do.  Recently, Non and I got the chance to meet Oliver Jeffers at the SCIBA Author Feast and Trade Show in Long Beach, California.  It was fantastic! Jeffers spoke and presented a slide show about his life that was perfectly him and hilarious.  It read like one of his picture books and the audience was enthralled.  Afterward, Oliver Jeffers was kind enough to sign my iPhone case which has an image from another one of his books, Lost and Found.

Me, Oliver Jeffers, Non

My signed iPhone Case

We also received his newest book, Stuck!

Stuck is amazing!  The book is about a boy named Floyd who gets his kite stuck in a tree.  Well, naturally, Floyd throws his shoe into the tree to knock down the kite, then his other shoe to knock down his shoe, then Mitch the cat gets tossed up in order to get the shoe down, and, in proper Jeffers humor, Floyd fetches a ladder which he chucks into the tree to get Mitch out.  The result is, as you would imagine, a whole lot of stuff stuck in a tree.

My new Giveaway Schmiveaway is a SIGNED copy of Oliver Jeffers’ book, The Way Back Home!!!  It is a great book about two unlikely allies trying to find their way home.

Enter to win by subscribing to Read Schmead and by posting comments. Every current and new subscriber is entered into the contest automatically. If you happen to leave comments on posts then those will count as additional entries. Winners will be picked randomly.

All Jeffers Books:

Age Group: Embryo and up
Genre: Picture Book, Friendship, Home
Themes: Family, Friendship
Publisher: Philomel Books, Division of Penguin Young Readers Group


Filed under Giveaway Schmiveaway, Picture Books

Wonderstruck & The Giveaway

I read Brian Selznick’s newest book, Wonderstruck, in a matter of days.  I could have read it in a sitting but I happened to have a lot on my plate that weekend.  Selznick creates a wonderful new book.  This time he experiments with the idea of telling two different (but in many ways parallel) stories: one in text and one in pictures.  The story told in all words is set in 1977 and is about a young boy, Ben, searching for his father.  The story told in all illustrations follows a young deaf girl named Rose, set in 1927.  The two kids, at different times, runaway to The Museum of Natural History in search of meaning, answers, and most importantly, family.  The illustrations are amazing and captivating.  Reading/understanding a story in illustration about a deaf girl forced me to listen to the silence.  I don’t know if that makes sense so let me try to explain:

When I read I tend to listen to words being said in my head.  This might be why I read so slow, but I can’t help it – I just read that way.  When I look at images, specifically ones that come together to tell a story, I hear nothing in my head.  There is silence.  I discovered this to be the case with the amazing illustrative story The Arrival by Shaun Tan.  By reading a story through illustration, completely void of words, I was able to inhabit the mind and world of the deaf, specifically of one deaf girl, Rose.  I saw the museum and the city the way she did and it was quiet.

Rose and Ben’s stories merge together in an unforeseeable twist that speaks of family, redemption, and love.  I really enjoyed this book.  Brian Selznick is a gifted illustrator and his research into Deaf Culture created a realistic story.  I only have one concern when it comes to Brian Selznick and his storytelling, specifically in Wonderstruck, and that is with his text.  I love the parallel stories in this book, but I did gravitate towards the illustrative story.  I felt quite sympathetic towards Ben, but looking back I felt Ben and the characters (literally) written fell a little flat.  Just a little!  I wanted more character from these characters.  I already cared about their story and so I wanted Ben to have a bit more personality.  Sometimes I felt like I wanted to rush to Rose’s story and perhaps Selznick wanted to rush to her story as well.  I actually would have loved an entire book about her life and about Deaf Culture all told in illustrations.  I am being a little hard on Wonderstruck, but that is only because I did enjoy it so much and, therefore, I scrutinized the parts I wanted more from.

It could also have been because I was listening to an audiobook about two other museum runaway kids — From the Mixed-Up FIles of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg.  Oh, man, was this book fantastic!!  Konigsburg is a master storyteller and she creates some darn wonderful characters.  The kids in this book are smart, hilarious, and complicated.  The book came out in 1967 and, aside from some outdated references to the cost of goods, it has held the test of time.  I adored the brother, Jaime, and sister, Claudia, relationship.  The two were smarter beyond their years.  They run away and live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art where they sleep in antique beds and bathe in the fountain.  If you have not read this book yet, then you really, really must!!  You should also read Wonderstruck!  Other than that one, tiny minor critique, I adored Selznick’s newest book.  I also can’t wait to see the movie Hugo.

Speaking of the movie, Hugo, it is time for me to announce the winner of my first Giveaway Schmiveaway!!!  All contestants were placed in a hat and then one lucky individual was chosen at random.

And the winner is………

Erik!  The blogger of This Kid Reviews Books!

Erik, please email me at readschmead@yahoo.com with your address so that I can send you the signed Hugo poster.

Thank you so much to everyone who left comments and subscribed!  Don’t worry if you didn’t win because I have a bunch of other goodies to giveaway for the next few months.  Giveaways to come in no particular order: an Oliver Jeffers book, signed copy of Maggie Stiefvater’s book The Scorpio Races, signed books by Andrew Smith, and many more!!


Age Group: 9 and up
Genre: Middle Grade, Contemporary Fiction
Themes: Family, Friendship, Loss, Deaf Culture
Publisher: Scholastic

From The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler:

Age Group: 9 and up
Genre: Middle Grade, Contemporary Fiction
Themes: Family, Friendship, Discovery
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers


Filed under Giveaway Schmiveaway, Middle Grade Books

Brian Selznick and My First Giveaway Schmiveaway!

On Thursday, October 20th, I worked the Brian Selznick book event for A Whale of a Tale Children’s Bookshoppe.  Selznick was wonderful!  He gave a captivating presentation about his writing process, specifically in regards to his latest book Wonderstruck (review to come soon).  The entire event was loads of fun.  If Brian Selznick is EVER in your area and you have a chance to listen to him speak about books and writing then I INSIST you go!!  One audience member asked Selznick, “What is your favorite book?”  He answered, “Fortunately” by Remy Charlip.”  He then began quoting the book and the entire audience, including myself, could see why he loves this book — it sounds hilarious.  Here is an excerpt:

Fortunately, Ned was invited to a surprise party.

Unfortunately, the party was a thousand miles away.

Fortunately, a friend loaned Ned an airplane.

Unfortunately, the motor exploded.

Fortunately, there was a parachute in the airplane.

Unfortunately, there was a hole in the parachute.

Selznick also showed us a quick behind-the-scenes/trailer for the movie Hugo.  It looks so amazing.  It actually gives me chills.  I know.  I am a weirdo.  But just watch it and tell me you don’t get all tingly when that thematic song plays in the background and the images of Hugo Cabret come to life!  You are made of steel and cold-hearted if you don’t get chills.

I was able to have Brian Selznick sign both of my books along with a Hugo movie poster.  This leads me to my first GIVEAWAY!!!  I will be selecting one lucky individual to receive the Hugo movie poster signed by Brian Selznick!

I have already started accepting entries into the Giveaway.  You can enter by subscribing to Read Schmead and by posting comments.  Basically every subscriber is automatically entered into the contest.  For every comment you post I will enter your name into the contest again.

Here are some more photos from the event:

Most the seats were full at The Murray Center in Mission Viejo, CA

Myself, Brian Selznick, and Alex


Also, don’t forget you can buy signed copies of Brian Selznick’s books at A Whale of a Tale Children’s Bookshoppe!  Call us at 949-854-8288!!


Filed under Events, Giveaway Schmiveaway, Middle Grade Books

Just Plain Cute!

(Oliver) by Christopher Franceschelli is just plain C-U-T-E!  This incredibly simple board book about an egg made me force all of my co-workers to read it.  I “awwed” every time they or myself got to the end.  There are less than 50 words in the entire book and yet each word is just perfect.  You really should pick this up just to find out what is so dang cute.  I insist.

Age Group: 1 and up
Genre: Picture Book
Themes: Eggs, Miracles, Cuteness

1 Comment

Filed under Picture Books

The Super Awesome Illustrator Series: Emily Gravett

Emily Gravett is another one of my favorite illustrators and she’s a great author to boot!  With many books under her illustrator/author belt, Emily has created endearing and inventive stories like, Orange Pear Apple Bear, Spells, The Rabbit Problem and many more.

In Gravett’s newest book, Blue Chameleon, an endearing and lonely chameleon searches for a friend.  Finding the right friend can be hard, especially for a chameleon.  The chameleon goes through all kinds of colors and shapes, saying “howdy” to different objects and animals, hoping to find a friend.  This book does a great job at introducing colors and animal/objects.

Leave a comment

Filed under Picture Books, Super Awesome Illustrator Series