small graces september auction!

          Lightwing McFrog, Manager of the New York Echoes

It’s Small Graces time again, and look at the beauty that’s up for bidding this week, September 13-17th: an original acrylic painting by author/illustrator Brian Lies, based on his latest picture book, Bats at the Ballgame (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010)!

This is the third book in the New York Times Bestselling Bats
series — official pub date was September 6th, and this week it’s listed at #7! The 4" x 6 " painting is one of several baseball card profiles; I must say I’m quite fond of McFrog’s long whiskers and that NY cap (shhh . . . don’t tell my NH Red Sox relatives)!

As before, 100% of the proceeds of this FCB auction will provide support for author/illustrator visits and residencies in under-served urban schools. Don’t miss your chance to own this one-of-a-kind, signed, unpublished piece of art at an affordable price, while helping a good cause. Just click through to Ebay to place your bid!

Check out the Bats at the Ballgame trailer:

♥ To find out more about Small Graces, click here.

♥ The Foundation for Children’s Books is here.

♥ Visit Brian Lies’s official website.

Copyright © 2010 Jama Rattigan of jama rattigan’s alphabet soup. All rights reserved.

june small graces auction


Alrighty then. It’s time for Small Graces, and this week you can bid on this soothing blue beauty by author/illustrator Leo Landry!

The quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson is new to me: "The sky is the ultimate art gallery just above us." Quite perfect for the Foundation for Children’s Books (FCB) benefit auction, which offers an original, unpublished, signed painting by a different children’s author/illustrator each month. Pretty cool that Leo, a native of Massachusetts, selected a quote from Boston-born Emerson, in support of author/illustrator visits and residencies in Boston-area urban schools.


In case you don’t recognize that lucky fellow floating about in all that gorgeous blueness, he’s from Leo’s most recent self-illustrated picture book, Space Boy (Houghton Mifflin, 2007). It’s a sweet story of a little boy who’s trying to sleep, but finds it much too noisy in his house, so he decides to take a little trip to the moon (naturally he has the foresight to pack lunch). After a lovely picnic up there, he returns home to find all is peaceful once again, and he’s ready for bed.

Leo’s painting, rendered in watercolor, is approximately 5" x 5", with an estimated value of $450. As before, 100% of the proceeds will benefit the FCB, and you can place your bid at Ebay all this week, June 7 – 11, 2010. Don’t miss this chance to own an original piece of art while supporting a good cause! 

To find out more about Small Graces, click here. And click here to bid on Ebay!

Have a lovely week!

may small graces auction

     Approximately 5" x 5", original, unpublished, signed watercolor.

It’s Small Graces time again!

And look, it’s Gilbert!

In case you don’t recognize him, he’s the star of Diane deGroat’s highly popular picture book series. This endearing opossum first captured our hearts in Roses are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink (William and Morrow, 1996), and eleven books later, he’s still going strong with his most recent adventure, April Fool! Watch Out at School! (HarperCollins, 2009). Gilbert even has his own I Can Read books now — have you seen Gilbert, the Surfer Dude (HarperCollins, 2009)? Let’s just say, interesting things happen when you go to the beach and forget your bathing suit. ☺


Looks like Gilbert is in a bit of a funk with that rain coming down. I’m sure he’ll feel much better if you place a bid! All proceeds from the Small Graces auctions benefit The Foundation for Children’s Books, a small non-profit that sponsors author and illustrator visits and residencies for under-served schools in the greater Boston area. Quite a win-win situation — your money goes to a good cause, and you have a chance to own some original art by one of the country’s premier, award-winning children’s book author/illustrators!

Besides creating the Gilbert series, Diane has illustrated well over a hundred books in her long, illustrious career. She was the very first person I ever interviewed for alphabet soup, and you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone warmer or more generous. We love you, Diane!

The auction runs all this week — so click on over to Ebay and place your bid! Gilbert told me he wants to go home with you! ♥

P.S. Here’s the perfect book to read this week for Mother’s Day:


Hope you’re having a good week!!

Copyright © 2010 Jama Rattigan of jama rattigan’s alphabet soup. All rights reserved.

march small graces auction!

I’ve always had a "thing" for monkeys.

Whenever we went to the zoo, my dad would point to them and say, "Look, your cousins!" I admit to having an inordinate fondness for bananas, and if I do say so myself, my imitation of Zira from "Planet of the Apes" is top notch.

Click here to bid on this original, unpublished watercolor painting!

That’s why I’m tickled yellow with this month’s Small Graces painting by David Hyde Costello. It features two animals from his brand new book, I Can Help (FSG, February 2010), where a little yellow duck gets lost in the tall grass, and a monkey helps him find his way. This sweet watercolor is approximately 5" x 5", and comes with a signed certificate of authenticity. As before, 100% of auction proceeds will support author/illustrator visits and residencies in urban schools. What better way to encourage empathy and promote friendship than with the simple words, "I can help"?

If you’d like to help the Foundation for Children’s Books, and perhaps own this charming piece of art, click here to place your bid! The auction runs all week, through Friday, March 5th.

Visit David Hyde Costello’s official website to learn more about him and his books!

P.S. I won the January Small Graces soup painting by Melissa Sweet!

Copyright © 2010 Jama Rattigan of jama rattigan’s alphabet soup. All rights reserved.

january 2010 small graces auction


It’s Small Graces time again!

And would you just look at who’s kicking things off this year? Only one of my absolute favorite children’s illustrators of all time, Melissa Sweet! *swoon*

You may remember that Newbery Honor winner, Grace Lin, donated eleven original paintings last year, each with a proverb or "small grace," to benefit the Foundation for Children’s Books. For 2010, twelve different illustrators will be donating paintings, and I’m really looking forward to seeing each and every one.

But back to Melissa. I’ve always loved and believed in Beethoven’s quote, and when I first saw this painting (thanks, Jules), I near fainted dead away. Soup! Painted by Melissa! What a perfect way to celebrate National Soup Month! In case you’re not familiar with Melissa’s work, she won a Caldecott Honor Medal in 2009 for illustrating A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams, written by Jen Bryant (Eerdman’s BFYR, 2008). She also self-illustrated my all-time favorite alphabet book, Carmine: A Little More Red (HMH, 2005), illustrated a whole slew of books by other authors, and her art has graced cookbooks and greeting cards as well as toys. 

So yes, I would love to own this original, unpublished, 8-1/2" x 6-1/2" watercolor gem that comes with a signed certificate of authenticity. But I would also like to see you bid on it, because the FCB sponsors author/illustrator visits and residencies in urban schools in the greater Boston area. A good cause, a win-win situation, a chance for you to own a winsome piece of art created by a Caldecott winning illustrator!

Click here to place a bid on Ebay. The auction runs all this week, January 25-29, 2010.
For more about Melissa Sweet and her work, visit her official website. If you haven’t yet seen this fabulous interview at 7-Imp, full of gorgeous, glorious, color-popping Melissa art, you simply MUST. Her studio is beautiful and I want to live there. 

More Melissa goodness right here at alphabet soup:

My 2009 interview with her.
Review of Day is Done, her latest release.

Review of The Sleepy Little Alphabet.
Review/chat with Melissa and Joan MacPhail Knight on the Charlotte series.

*skips off in a Melissa Sweet happy trance*

Copyright © 2010 Jama Rattigan of jama rattigan’s alphabet soup. All rights reserved.