Archive for the ‘ Picture Books ’ Category

Kit Chase’s New Book, Her Etsy Shop and Free Printable Paper Dolls!

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

Kit Chase! One of the sweetest Etsy artists ever writes about her new children’s book that Publisher’s Weekly loves and also about her awesome Etsy shop. She even created exclusive paper dolls for all of us to print at home at the end of this post. (See a special offer as well.)

“My husband, Adam, and I own and operate the Etsy shop, Trafalgar’s Square, where we sell my hand-painted designs as prints, wall decals, and, soon-to-be-released greeting cards. Adam does all the operating (printing, packaging, shipping and communication), and I get the fun job of coming up with new designs and illustrations. My work on Etsy caught the attention of both my agent and editor—both of whom reached out to me separately through the site—and ultimately led to my first picture book contract.

Oliver’s Tree is my first picture book (it will be in stores March 20 of this year!). When I first started work on the story idea, we had two little girls with a third baby girl getting ready to join the party. We had just moved from a teeny, cramped apartment into a little house with an enormous yard and a tree. What a tree! With gnarled, low-hanging branches and big, shady leaves, that tree became the children’s favorite friend. As I watched my girls trying to climb it “all by themselfs,” it reminded me of my own childhood of thwarted tree-climbing attempts. Standing on tip-toe at the foot of the tree, hugging the trunk, and waiting expectantly for something magical to happen that would send me high up into the branches.  Or just waiting there with arms stretched, looking expectantly up. And waiting. Or, the inevitable, actual tree-climbing attempt, that ended with me sliding down the rough bark on scraping hands and knees. That tree brought it all back to me. So, when it came time to write a children’s story, it of course had to be about three friends, and what better play-thing for them to have than a tree?

With three little girls all under 7 (and as I write this, yet another baby girl on the way—maybe we should start a water polo team?), and writing and illustrating books, all on top of dreaming up new illustrations for the shop, things have a tendency to range on the side of um…shall we say crazy-fun? Most of the time, it feels like we’re running something like Alice in Wonderland’s Mad Tea Party in Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle’s upside down house. The wee hours of the morning are my greatest ally. Laundry is my nemesis. I do a lot of brainstorming for my books and illustrations while watching my children play and interact with one another, and I do most of my sketching in the car when we go on family outings. Not exactly a traditional lifestyle, but it’s definitely stimulating. And jolly.     
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the past few years, it’s: Save the spotless-house-look for Pinterest and photo shoots. As a parent, you’re in the middle of the biggest creative process of your life, creating and shaping a real, live person and helping them reach their potential. Real life is pretty messy, and as any artist will tell you, creating a work of art is never a pretty sight. But the end result of creating art or children makes the creative chaos so worth it. Besides, you can always tidy up once your little art project is asleep.”
Parents.com readers get an exclusive discount code for 15 percent off entire purchase from trafalgarssquare.etsy.com   Enter coupon code PARENTS at checkout to receive the discount.  The code expires April 21, 2014.
 
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Author Dallas Clayton Writes a Terrific Kid’s Book for Adults: ‘It’s Never Too Late’

Friday, November 8th, 2013

Author and illustrator Dallas Clayton might be best known for his sweet and inspirational children’s books such as Make Magic! Do Good! and An Awesome Book of Love! 

But this playful and creative guy thinks adults need kid’s books, too. I totally agree. Where are our pretty pictures, perfect rhymes and straightforward messages? They are in his latest work called It’s Never Too Late: A Kid’s Book for AdultsThis fast and fun read brightened my day–and it only took a few minutes. Dallas shopped this book around to traditional publishers who all turned him down. So he printed it online–and it went nuts. Finally, Penguin snapped it up, and it hit bookshelves yesterday.

Check out this excerpt and some artwork. Then see Dallas talk about his book in the video below:

“Because it’s never too late,
too late to begin,
and today is the day
the world might end.

And today is the day
the world might start,
so live it and love it
with all of your heart.”

(more…)

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Perfect Kids’ Book for Columbus Day (and I Really Enjoyed It, Too)

Monday, October 14th, 2013

I love this new kids’ book that’s perfect for Columbus Day. Christopher Columbus and the Age of Exploration for Kids by Ronald A. Reis doesn’t sugar coat everything that happened. But it marks an important part of our history with fascinating details, fun history and beautiful art and maps.

I’m just saying that this book will get my kids into the spirit of this adventure-inducing day better than me lecturing them about it. It’s also chock-full of crafty activities like Make a Model Canoe and Create Your Own Quadrant.

This book is great for elementary kids, and little ones will enjoy the pictures and activities. I’ll keep it around long after because it’s an excellent resource for middle school Christopher Columbus reports one day.

So check it out on this holiday–it can keep the kids busy on this day off. 

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American Horror Story’s Jessica Lange Talks About Her Sweet (Not Scary) Children’s Book, ‘It’s About a Little Bird’

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

American Horror Story: Asylum scared me so badly last season that I couldn’t even go into my dark basement (still can’t). And forget walking the dogs at night–they had to fend for themselves because I was afraid Bloody Face was outside plotting to murder me.

No matter how chicken I am, I can’t wait to watch the new season one week from today. It’s mostly because I will follow Jessica Lange anywhere–from her role in King Kong to her new foray into children’s book publishing. In AHS: Coven, she’ll play the glamorous witch Fiona Goode. But I have a feeling Fiona might be really, really bad.

Beautiful Jessica Lange, of course, is best known for her award-winning acting. But she’s also an avid photographer who loves the technique of old-fashioned hand tinting. Add her hand-tinted photos to a partly-true story, and she has produced a uniquely satisfying children’s book called It’s About a Little Bird. This book sat in my pile to review, and I loved it even before I noticed the byline that reads, “Story and pictures by Jessica Lange.” The artwork and story are bright, fresh and different. And all of them are handmade by Jessica–nothing is digital! Even my 7-year-old twins fell hard for this book–the girls, the grandma, the farm and the bird. They ask for it every night.

I love to read It’s About a Little Bird and introduce them to Jessica Lange. I tell them how I got to interview her on the phone recently. Jessica Lange talked to me about her sweet (and not scary) new book. See what she had to say about it–and AHS–below.

KK: How did this book come about?
JL: ”I’ve done photography for quite a while. Really it was just for myself, but it became more than that. From that, I became very interested in the old colored postcards, the hand-tinted photographs. I started hand tinting my black and white photographs and created a story around some of these images. It was meant as just a little family thing. But it spiraled out of control, and now it’s a book. This is a story I made up for my granddaughters.”

KK: In the story, two little sisters, Adah and Ilse, stay at their grandmother Mem’s farm. Of course, they explore everything and then ask Mem to tell them about a birdcage they found. It turns out that Mem once lived in Rome and had a special canary named Uccellino. This bird went with her everywhere and sang gorgeous songs. One day, when Mem had to return to the U.S., she couldn’t bear to go without her bird. So she snuck Uccellino onto the plane in her pocket. The two landed safely and lived happily ever after. I hear some of this is true!
JL: “There is an element of make believe, but a lot of it is true. The whole thing with the little bird happened. It’s true where I got the bird, how I got it back and about the birdcage… Putting together a book is brand new territory for me. I don’t know how it’s going to be perceived. It’s good to do things that mix it up a little bit.”

KK: Yes! You definitely mix it up each season on American Horror Story. Can you give us any hints on what will happen next?
JL: “It takes place in New Orleans which has a very rich element to add to the story. It deals with witchcraft and broader themes, too. I think he’s (Ryan Murphy) thinking in terms of using witches as metaphors for any minority that is persecuted. There are things that go back to the Salem witch trials. This season, sometimes I’m wondering, ‘What the hell are we all doing?’ I think it should be interesting. And it will be scary. It’s always scary.”

So get your fill of Jessica Lange this week–check out her enchanting and emotional new book and then watch her scene-stealing acting on FX next Wednesday, October 9, at 10 p.m. EST.

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Get a Behind-the-Scenes Look at the New Book, ‘Llama Llama and the Bully Goat’

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

Get ready for more Llama Llama! The seventh book in the bestselling series comes out today. Llama Llama and the Bully Goat promises kids the drama and fun they expect from this beloved, childlike character. Problems arise when school starts and Gilroy Goat teases Llama. What should he do? Fight back? Tell someone? Can the two animals ever become friends again?

Prolific author and illustrator Anna Dewdney answers these questions and more in ways that will delight parents and children–as usual. After all of these years doing her job, she knows what makes her readers happy. To celebrate today’s release, Anna wanted to give you a behind-the-scenes look at her creative process. Check out the images below to see how Llama llama and the Bully Goat came to fruition. Then go to your local bookstore. This book is great for kids ages 3 to 5, but my 7-year-olds are begging for a copy, too.

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