July 30, 2012
This early reader by Rita Golden Gelman has been a favorite in our family. More Spaghetti, I Say! (1993) is a silly, laugh out-loud story, with superb rhyme and with fun, positively exuberant illustrations.
“Play with me, Minnie.
Play with me, please.
We can stand on our heads.
We can hang by our knees.”
I can’t play.
I can’t play with you, Freddy.
Can’t you see?
I am eating spaghetti.”
I did a double take when I came across this earlier edition from 1987 which notes an original copyright from 1977. Same story, but…
pictures by Jack Kent! The Kent of Just Only John, Joey Runs Away, There’s No Such Thing as a Dragon? I love his books. But…well…take a look and compare a page from both editions.
Here’s the first page by Kent:
And here’s Gerberg’s.
Gerberg expands the image to a double spread and shows Minnie with her back to us. There’s only a hint of what’s in the bowl in her lap, saving the big surprise for the next page. The last image in his edition beautifully harks back to this one.
There are subtle improvements on every page, with the text layout and image variation. Really, it’s a night and day improvement. I guess even the greats have their disappointments.
The Gelman and Gerberg pairing is awesome. Check out another of theirs, Stop Those Painters! (1989).
Painters painting grass and trees.
Painters painting birds and bees.
Stop those painters.
Please! Please! Please!
Similarly silly and fantastic.
Now just who is Mort Gerberg? Well, turns out he’s been a contributor to the The New Yorker since 1965! Wow, I even remember some of these cartoons. Ha, maybe I just couldn’t read his signature! I love this guy.
And Rita Golden Gelman? What an unusual life. Since 1987 she’s had no permanent home, travelling the world as a “modern day nomad.” She also sponsors an organization called Let’s Get Global that encourages graduating high school kids to explore other countries before going off to college.
July 21, 2012
Finally, it’s begun to feel like summer down here in Southern California. We’ve had such mild weather (global warming hasn’t come our way yet, it seems), I was wondering if we would get any hot days before school started up again. Now there’s a topic you think there would be a lot of books on — the heat, the summer, escaping to the beach…the need to get cool. Got to be a plethora of that in picture books, right? Well, not so much. At least I can only come up with two in my home! I love these two, but I’m wondering what I’m missing…
Here are my two hot day reads, great to look at when you’re cold in the winter or when you’re hot and irritable and need something to distract the little ones from beating each other up…
1. A recent purchase, The Hot Day by Sheila Greenwald (The Bobbs-Merrill Company – 1972).
Funny and old-world charming. Only three colors in this book. A schoolbus yellow for the hot, some grey for neutral, and light blue for the cool. Blue comes from a fan. It’s the only one in the house and belongs to the boarder who has a room in the family’s home. On that hot, hot day, that fan and its room become a source of envy by all those youngsters. When evening comes and Momma and Poppa go out to dinner and the boarder goes out to the theater, you can guess where all those youngsters go. Yes, they delightfully and wickedly get their cool.
2.Hotter Than a Hot Dog by Stephanie Calmenson, illustrated by Elivia (Little, Brown & Company – 1994)
This one uses lots of yellow and pink to make you feel hot and sticky and blues and white when you finally get the cool. Grandma and her granddaughter flee to the beach to escape the city’s heat. Great back and forth playing with words between the grandma and child. ”I’m hotter than a salamander in the sun,” says Grandma. The child responds with, “I’m hotter than a turkey in the oven!” All the sensory details and descriptions – the iron dragon of the hot train, the ouch of the hot sand, the ouch of the cold water — like “jumping into a bowl of ice cubes,” she says — allow you to feel it all and return with them happily at night when it’s cool.
July 20, 2012
My submission for this week’s Blown Covers Contest.
I struggled with a couple sketches of a kid asking their parents for a dog (in a household of cats) or another pet (in a house with a multitude of animals). No one else went that route, so in hindsight, maybe I should have gone with it!
However, like I said, it wasn’t working — so the day before the deadline I scrapped it for my other idea of a cat on a shelf blending in with the decorative wallpaper behind it. As I searched for some art nouveau patterns to help inspire a swirling cat tail-like floral imagery, I came upon this painting by my beloved Gustav Klimt.
Bingo! Cat tails and cat eyes galore! Even a bird to entice the kitty. Who else, I ask you, could have painted this but a cat lover?
July 7, 2012
My submission for this week.
I find it easy to get wistful at watching a youngster just starting out on their school journey. While the fruit vendor looks on thoughtfully, the child’s whole focus is on the apple in his hands. As young as the boy is, he already knows that the little apple represents something grand to come.
Funny how last week’s theme, which I missed out on, was food, and here I am drawing a fruitstand.
It is always a joy to view the entries. The gallery is here, winners here. Runner Up #8 by Klaas Verplancke is a real nostalgic beauty.