happy thanksgiving!

“Thanksgiving” by Doris Lee (1935)

Wishing you a delicious day of family, friends, fun, feasting, and extra PIE! 

❤️ Love from Mr Cornelius, Ms. Dumpling, and 70-something Paddingtons

clover robin’s charming paper collages

Brush, dab, paint. Snip, snip, trim. Arrange, layer, rearrange.

It’s fun imagining collage artist, designer and illustrator Clover Robin creating another stunning piece in her Greenwich, London home. With her cat Winnie as companion and muse, she indulges her love of nature and all things botanical “inspired by a childhood of woodland walks and countryside rambles.”

Clover grew up in Devon and studied at Leeds College of Art and Design and Central Saint Martins. Home studio aside, she particularly enjoys being on location:

I’m pretty much at my happiest when I’m working in my sketchbook and looking directly at the scene or subject I’m creating.

She recently traveled up and down the west coast of America, documenting the beautiful vistas she viewed from the passenger side of the front seat. Where most artists would do pencil or ink sketches in their notebooks, Clover collaged as she went. Pretty amazing!

She hopes to tour the Nordic countries on her next road trip. 🙂

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fanciful beauty: caitlin mcgauley’s watercolor paintings

If you’re a fan of fashion and/or interior design you may have seen some of Caitlin McGauley’s work in the pages of Vogue, Better Homes and Gardens, or Elle Decor.

The bright, bold colors and whimsical details in her watercolors are hard to miss.  Whether she’s painting a pretty interior, a spray of flowers, a lovely table setting, or a pastry shop, there’s a distinctive charm and élan that I find irresistible.

It’s fun to see the interesting characters, city scenes, and everyday objects that bear her cheery, chic and uplifting style. I am reminded of Emma Block and Maira Kalman with a touch of Raoul Dufy.  A breath of fresh air!

Caitlin studied at the Syracuse University College of Visual and Performing Arts, first majoring in illustration before switching to advertising. She experimented with a variety of mediums before discovering her love of watercolor via a “paint every day” project on her blog.

After college, she started working for Ralph Lauren Home as a textile designer, then went on to pursue freelance projects.

As the story goes, years ago Caitlin happened to comment on the Lonny magazine blog, which prompted the editor to visit Caitlin’s illustration blog. The editor liked Caitlin’s watercolors, so she asked her to do a weekly series for Lonny called Watercolor Wednesday. This led to a commission with Kate Spade, New York, and Caitlin hasn’t looked back since.

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ooh la-la giveaway winners!

Monsieur Random Integer Generator has just handed me the names of three lucky Alphabet Soup readers who have won picture books in our recent giveaways. 🙂

M. Generator is in top form this week, having just returned from a three month cruise around the world. He had a whopping good fine time being his usual ever reliable, erudite, dapper, connoisseur self, stopping in the Land of Fairy Tales, South Korea, and Egypt, where he devoured 542 pumpkin pies, 1,254 kimchi pancakes, and 384 bowls of kushari. He was especially enamored with the fresh kraken sushi he was served during a side trip to Oslo.

He was happy to be picking three winners this time around, and wanted me to remind everyone that he is always open to bribes (mostly notably cases of champagne, free yoga classes, and a complete set of Jacques Pépin cookbooks).

Without further doodle-ee-doo, the winners are:

for NO KIMCHI FOR ME! by Aram Kim:

⇒ 🇰🇷 Sylvia Dodge 🍚 ⇐

for A COOKED-UP FAIRY TALE by Penny Parker Klostermann and Ben Mantle:

⇒ 🍎 Tina Hoggatt 👠 ⇐

and for FLASHLIGHT NIGHT by Matt Forrest Esenwine and Fred Koehler:

⇒ 🔦 Linda Mitchell!! 🔦⇐



Please contact me (readermail (at) jamakimrattigan (dot) com) with your snail mail addresses so we can get your books out to you lickety split.

Thanks to everyone for entering. Have no fear, we will have more giveaways soon. 🙂

Meanwhile, you’d be wise to follow M. Generator’s advice:

Never go anywhere without your flashlight, eat more spicy foods, and keep believing in magic (and pie)!

*mic drop*

Copyright © 2017 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

nine cool things on a tuesday

“Baby Bear Counts 1 Nuthatch” © 2017 Ashley Wolff

1. The perfect way to welcome Fall is with a beautiful giclée archival print by Vermont-based author/illustrator Ashley Wolff. Part of a small series based on the linocut illustrations from her Baby Bear Counts One picture book, this print has hand-applied gold accents, making it look like a gouache original. It’s 13″ x 19″ and comes signed, titled, and numbered (Limited Edition of 100 pieces).

Here’s another charmer from the same series:

“Baby Bear Counts 4 Bees” © 2017 Ashley Wolff

Shop for these and other goodies at Ashley’s Etsy Shop!


2. New Book Alert!!  Look what’s coming out on September 26! A new middle grade novel by Sara Lewis Holmes! Isn’t the cover gorgeous?

I first “met” Sara between the pages of her prize-winning debut novel, Letters from Rapunzel (HarperCollins, 2007), which revealed her penchant for fairy tales, quests, and happy endings. The Wolf Hour (Arthur A. Levine Books. 2017) sounds positively magical and compelling:

A girl. A wolf. A red cape. And . . . pigs? In the vein of A Tale Dark and Grimm, this gorgeously written, endlessly surprising retelling explores the stories and wildness that define us. Welcome, my little lambs, to the Puszcza. It’s an ancient forest, a keeper of the deepest magic, where even the darkest fairy tales are real. Here, a Girl is not supposed to be a woodcutter. Or be brave enough to walk alone. Here, a Wolf is not supposed to love to read. Or be curious enough to meet a human. And here, a Story is nothing like the ones you read in books, for the Witch can make the most startling tales come alive. All she needs is a Girl from the village, a Wolf from the forest, and a woodcutter with a nice, sharp axe. So take care, little lambs, if you step into these woods. For in the Puszcza, it is always as dark as the hour between night and dawn — the time old folk call the Wolf Hour. If you lose your way here, you will be lost forever, your Story no longer your own. You can bet your bones.


Prepare to be enchanted. I can’t wait! Congratulations, Sara!!


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