Earlier this week I had the opportunity to get a sneak peek at the spring and summer books coming from LB-Kids, aka Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. At the event was a gallery of original artwork from their new picture books. Varied in style, each artist’s work made me eager to read the book it’s featured in.
The first thing that caught my eye when I walked in the door were prints of amazing dinosaur-truck hybrids wreaking havoc on the city. These came from Chris Gall’s follow-up to his book, Dinotrux, called Revenge of the Dinotrux. Spoiler: the dinotrux were none to happy to be left in a museum at the end of the last book, so they break free. Can’t you just hear the roar of Tyrannosaurus Trux atop the Empire State Building?
The next thing that caught my eye were these charming collage paintings on wood by newcomer Naoko Stoop. Here’s where it’s fun to get the back story of these things from the people who brought them to life. Apparently, publisher Megan Tingley was off on a quest to buy a roast chicken. On her way, she passed a pop-up gallery in Brooklyn with these lovely paintings of a little girl in a red knit hat. She tracked down the artist to find out if there was a story associated with this little girl, and, as you can guess by the existence of the book, Red Knit Cap Girl, the answer is yes. One fine detail about the art: Stoop heads to the lumber store and tests the workers’ patience by looking at every piece of wood to find one with a grain that will work with her painting.
My favorite illustrations of the night were these lively collages, full of wonderful energy. If you had paid to name the famous author/illustrator who made them, I would have never come up with Marc Brown.
Yes, Arthur Marc Brown! Look, you can even see an Arthur cameo in this book, If All the Animals Came Inside.
Marc Brown gave a delightful talk about how he considers himself an illustrator much more than an author, and has now freed himself to illustrate the books of others (If All the Animals Came Inside was written by Eric Pinder). I was recently thinking about how one of the first interactive books I ever saw, loooooong before all these ebook apps, was an Arthur version of a Living Book on CD-ROM. In light of Maurice Sendak telling Stephen Colbert earlier this week about how horrible ebooks are, I asked Marc Brown what he thought of the trend. In the spirit of the early adopter that he is, he said that not only does he love the trend, he looks at all of his projects now for their digital potential. To this I blow raspberries at Maurice Sendak and say hurrah, Marc Brown!
Look for more detailed reviews of these books as they’re released in the spring and summer. Good times ahead!