jane massey’s pictures make me want to hug myself

Why, hello!

There’s nothing like seeing the world through a child’s eyes.

Position your Cheerios and take a look at these adorable illustrations by UK author/illustrator Jane Massey.

 

 

You may know her from the dozens of children’s books she’s illustrated — books she’s written herself and by many others (Alexandra Penfold, Joyce Dunbar, Dawn Richards, Claire Freedman, et. al.).

 

 

I confess I first noticed her work on Pinterest and Instagram, where she regularly posts THE CUTEST drawings and sketches. I marvel at her childlike instinct. We would expect her art to speak directly to children, but I was also struck by how deeply her pictures spoke to the child in me. I discovered recently that I certainly was not alone in my reaction.

 

 

Not too long ago, I posted the above drawing, called “New Shoes,” on Facebook. People LOVED and identified with it, recalling their own childhood experiences. Comments ranged from “simple and beautiful,” to “I adore this!” to “awwwwwww. . . ” Some of these people had never commented or “liked” any of my posts before. Jane’s art had grabbed them, and for a fleeting moment, they remembered what it was like to be two or three again.

 

 

Isn’t it amazing how something so simple could elicit such a strong emotional response? And that’s what characterizes Massey’s work: a posture, an expression, a nuance of emotion — all the feelings and heart of a child are ever present.

 

 

There are many artists who can draw children well, but not all are able to capture such believable emotion in just a few masterful strokes. This is especially evident in the drawings she posts on Instagram — not necessarily part of a specific book project, yet each subscribes to the “less is more” philosophy — where character is instantly established, and a larger narrative is implied. Brilliant!

 

 

 

 

Look at the Cheerios girl at the top of this post. Don’t you already know her? Can’t you already imagine the trouble she could get into?

 

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nine cool things on a tuesday

1. Here’s something to make National Poetry Month even more fabulous: a new activity book by London-based illustrator, designer and cut-paper collage queen Clover Robin!

Origami and Poetry: Inspired by Nature (Nosy Crow, 2019), was just released in mid March, and is a wonderful way for kids to extend their enjoyment of poetry with hands-on fun.

This stunning book features nature-inspired poems and origami. For each animal or object, children will be able to read a poem and then make a corresponding origami figure! With clear, simple directions and links to helpful videos for how to make thirteen animals or objects and fifty sheets of origami paper, this is the perfect introduction to the art of paper folding.

You may remember we featured Clover Robin’s work not too long ago; she is brilliant and her love of nature shines through in all her projects. Snip snip snip!

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2. Look what’s coming out later this year: Sesame Street postage stamps! In honor of Sesame Street’s 50th Anniversary, the U.S. Postal Service is issuing 16 Forever stamps featuring some of the beloved characters from the show, including Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Bert, Ernie, Oscar the Grouch, Elmo and Grover. Nice to see that Julia, a new character with autism who was introduced in 2017, is also part of the line-up.

My favorite has always been Elmo, though when I get some of these stamps I will use Oscar the Grouch to mail all my bills. 🙂

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surprise book giveaway!

 

Just because it’s Poetry Month, Mr Cornelius and Blue Bear have decided to do a surprise, drive-by giveaway!

If you’d like to win a copy of THERE WAS AN OLD GATOR WHO SWALLOWED A MOTH by B.J. Lee and David Opie, just leave a comment here by next Wednesday, April 17, 2019!! If you prefer, send an email with GATOR in the subject line to: readermail (at) jamakimrattigan (dot) com. Giveaway open to U.S. residents only, please.

In case you missed it and want to learn more about the book, check out B.J. Lee’s recent Author Chat.

Good Luck!!


Copyright © 2019 Cornelius and Blue Bear Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

monica wellington on pastries and pirouettes

So pleased to welcome author, illustrator and teacher Monica Wellington to the blog today. I’m sure you’ve shared many of her 40+ children’s books in your classroom, library, or with your own kids or grandkids at home. She has a knack for creating kid friendly books that make learning fun and interesting, books that beg rereading and soon become beloved favorites.

I confess I first learned about Monica from her foodie books (no surprise). Who would not love Apple Farmer Annie, Pizza at Sally’s, Mr. Cookie Baker, or Crêpes by Suzette? Naturally all of these picture books include delicious recipes. The simple lines and bright cheery colors in her art are pure, mouthwatering joy. And have you seen her Color and Cook series (Cookies, Cupcakes, Snacks, Tea Party!)? 🙂

Our focus today is on Crêpes by Suzette (newly back in print), and Dear Ballerina, Monica’s latest picture book, just released by Holiday House on March 19, 2019. These two books represent enduring threads in Monica’s life. She’s a devoted Francophile, has loved the ballet since childhood, and her daughter Lydia figures in both stories (Lydia currently dances with the New York City Ballet, and her childhood pictures pop up in Crêpes by Suzette ).

You may know that besides the new paperback edition, Crêpes by Suzette is also available as an interactive App – a veritable feast of French culture (art, language, music, food, travel) presented as a multimedia experience (formidable!).

Dear Ballerina, with its soft pastel palette, is not only a nice introduction to ballet basics, but also a touching story of mentorship that will inspire young dancers everywhere.

Monica lives and works in New York, where she teaches children’s book illustration at the School of Visual Arts. If, like me, you’re a longtime fan of her books, you’ll enjoy our conversation, which is flavored with a delectable taste of Paris and some lovely personal photos.

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[mouthwatering review] Pancakes to Parathas by Alice B. McGinty and Tomoko Suzuki

 

Good Morning! Buenos Días! Ohayōgozaimasu!

Have you eaten yet?

If you’re hungry, you’ve come to the right place.

Thanks to this delectable new picture book, you’ll be able to enjoy not one, but twelve different breakfasts in twelve different countries!

In Pancakes to Parathas: Breakfast Around the World (little bee books, 2019), author Alice B. McGinty and illustrator Tomoko Suzuki serve up a sweet and savory multiethnic feast that’ll tantalize taste buds and stir up a little wanderlust. Who could resist a charming invitation to tag along with such a delicious itinerary?

It’s breakfast time around the world,
in countries near and far.
Wake up, world! It’s time to eat,
no matter where you are!

McGinty features each of the twelve breakfasts with a short poem and engaging note, while Suzuki’s bold and colorful double page spreads not only spotlight the foods, but provide cultural context with architectural landmarks, flora and fauna, and sensory rich side dishes.

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