Thursday, February 25, 2010


Due to the project I am in the middle of (30 papers down, 20 to go), I have a love hate relationship going on with picturebooks and their illustrators. I loath them on principle, but there are some that despite having written or having to write nitty-gritty-pick-apart-their-pictures analyses about their works I just can't quite hate. And in due procrastinating fashion I thought I had better share them with you all. Lucky ducks.

Perennial favorites (ie I have enjoyed them for years)
  1. Kevin Henkes. I love the mice stories, even if after Crit I'll never read Chester's Way quite the same, and his other works are great too.
  2. Chris Van Allsburg. I think Allsburg perfected his style. Seriously, coming from an experienced analyst here, his pictures are spot on.
  3. David Weisner. I was very familiar with Tuesday, but his Sector 7 was new to me and so fun and whimsical (though I did think of the "Up" short).
  4. Lane Smith. He and Jon Scieszka make a compelling team of crazy (True Story of the Three Little Pigs, Stinky Cheeseman, Cowboy and Octopus), but even without Jon I enjoy his work (John, Paul, George & Ben). Plus he does every book with his wife who is his designer and that's just cute.
New to me (dating to the beginning of my program)
  1. Marla Frazee. There's something familiar and fresh about her work at the same time. All I know is if I had to pick an illustrator for Oliver's Odd Obsession (henceforward OOO) she'd be shortlisted. Her figures have so much energy and character.
  2. Emily Gravett. Granted I only read two of her books, but another great, lively figurest. And Wolves alone was filled with so much metafictional goodness that she's also on my OOO shortlist.
  3. Mini Grey. Maybe it's because she was named after a Mini Cooper (apparently she was born in one), but I was charmed by both Ginger Bear and Traction Man. If the two above can't do OOO, Mini's on my list. I love quirkiness.
  4. Jon Muth. I read Zen Ties and The Three Questions, which are very different from one another. One has lovable pandas and the other was just captivating. He definitely intrigued me.
  5. Bagram Ibatoulline. If you need a recommendation, he did Lois Lowry's picturebook. Ordinarily authors have very little say over who illustrates their works and how they do so, but I bet Lowry got to give some "suggestions." His Hana in the Time of the Tulips was gorgeous Dutch painting-esque and Animal Hedge was also beautiful. Plus there's something about the name. . .
  6. David Macaulay. He likes to mess about with things and make his stories twisty mental exercises. I can get down with that.
  7. Angela Barrett. I read two of her biographies: Anne Frank and Joan of Arc. The Anne Frank, which is such a familiar story, was haunting. I'd say her style is very suited to biographies.
  8. Rachel Isadora. For those looking for a little more ethnic diversity, I preferred Isadora to Brian Pinkney (though he was interesting), Christopher Myers, and Brian Collier.
  9. David Shannon. Now he surprised me, I had read his No, David and didn't care for creepy pointed teeth and disobedient children. That said, I picked up his A Bad Case of Stripes and was entranced. So cool.
  10. Shaun Tan. Now if you're looking for trippy yet flawlessly executed stuff, look no further. Tan's your man. There really are no words (at least in The Arrival that is very literally true).
Okay people you're now set for your children's shopping this year. I'm glad someone can benefit from my pain (besides Charlestown library branch's circulation stats).

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Fancy That

Hey I'm actually posting about something I've done that does not relate to school. In case you were worried that the construction paper artistry was soon to become a blog theme, you may rest at ease. I am fairly certain that "Truffle Hunt" was my final paper project and good riddance. That took far too long. Anyway, as I was saying . . .

For those of you who know me, I'm not exactly like a hardcore boogier. Yes there is the odd impulse to groove along to a song (particularly within the privacy of my own room), but a dancer I am not. So when I heard about the "Pajama Prom" being thrown by two of the singles wards here I instantly dismissed it. I would not be attending that. I avoid dances whenever possible (while I did submit to going to a couple of BYU dances with friends, I did not attend any ward or stake dances during my entire undergraduate career). And then when I learned it was a ladies choice dance I knew I wasn't going. My roommate seemed excited about the idea, however. Well not necessarily the asking a date part, but the dancing (or maybe it was just the dressing up). She began to wheedle as did one of my other roommates and then my visiting teachers. And then February, aka the month of Picturebook madness, began in earnest and I decided I could definitely use a break from all that. So long story short, too late, I told Roomie 1 I would ask a guy if she would. She agreed. I asked a guy and he said yes (by ask I mean I sent an email, in my defense it was midweek). She felt pressured, a little tit for tat, and asked a guy. And the four of us went. We had a good time, hope the dates did too. And now for some picturey fun.

Some people embraced the pajama theme
(The girl on the right is one of my visiting teachers and her date is my co-teacher for the Member missionary sunday school class that may eventually actually happen. I blew their minds yesterday when I told them about the fifth Ninja Turtle.)

And then some forgot to take any pictures until after the whole shebang.

Darren, Alex's date, was wearing traditional "old man" pajamas from Japan

Chris and I were wearing traditional pajamas from, well, nowhere in particular. Though I realize you really can't tell what kind of pajamas we were wearing, as the fun designs were on the pj bottoms. Sad day for you.

On the ride home the guys were discussing how they thought the Pajama Prom idea was weird (which is true) and they would have rather it had just been a formal. Alex and I could not agree. Finding cute pajamas was way easier than finding a dress would have been.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Careers in which I would not be successful

Nurse - I am so glad that there are people who can do this very worthy job, but I do not think that I have the compassion necessary to do some of the truly gross things their work requires for absolute strangers.

Librarian - I do enjoy making things orderly, alphabetizing, and reading. I do not enjoy it when people undo my organizing.

CEO - I am not competitive enough in/at times where it really counts. If we were being graded, maybe.

Public School Teacher - I never understood why my peers didn't do their homework. Sure it wasn't always fun, was sometimes boring, and did take effort, but it's just what you do. If you're a student that's your job. In other words: zero sympathy.

President of the United States - There are many reasons why I believe I would be a poor candidate for this job. None of them have to do with my being born outside the continental US. Nor am I entirely adverse to manipulating people, that can be good fun. But I am often apathetic about politics, I would be too tempted to tell everyone when/that they're being ridiculous, and really who needs the bother and public love/hate.

Meteorologist/Weather Person - I dislike being wrong.

How about you?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Construction paper pigs are haunting my thoughts

I have another picturebook project due on Wednesday.

The assignment? Write a story (preferably a retelling) and create five pictures with five different emotions using only 4 colors (black and white were required).

I've spent over 20 hours on this project so I figured I might as well post pictures. It's too bad I drew way cuter pigs in my concept images than I could really manage with scissors and an exacto. Oh well, this is the best it's going to get.

Roscoe loved almost everything about being a pig. He loved to hunt truffles with his keen piggy nose, he loved to wallow in his splashy mud puddle, and he loved to snuggle down in his soft straw bed.

But Roscoe did not love being alone.

He tried to make friends with the other animals, but the rooster woke up too early, the mud made the sheep too messy, and the cow deemed the straw too itchy. Worst of all, nobody could tell a truffle from a turtle!

“If only finding a friend was as easy as finding a truffle,” cried Roscoe.

As rain began to beat down from the sky, Roscoe sought shelter in the barn. Suddenly a flash of lightning revealed a shadowy figure looming in the door. It was splattered with mud and did not look like any animal Roscoe had seen on his farm.

“Don’t you just love storms?” the figure asked him. “The downpour makes the most marvelous mud. Oh, is that straw? I do enjoy a nice straw bed. What a sweet place this is. My name is Rosie, by the way.”

Roscoe blinked. The figure was not shadowy after all, but covered in the must unusual black and white splotches. And she loved mud and straw. But could she hunt truffles?
“You can sleep in the straw if you’d like,” Roscoe told her.
“Oh that would be lovely,” Rosie said.

Roscoe slipped straight off to sleep, but Rosie lay awake for a long time.

The most wonderful smell kept tickling her nose. Finally she could not stand it. She rooted to the bottom of the straw pile until she uncovered . . .

Roscoe’s truffles.

They made a most satisfying midnight snack.

“How did you sleep, Rosie?” Roscoe asked the next morning.

“Not very well,” she yawned. “Did you know some silly left their truffles right at the bottom of the straw pile?”

“What a silly indeed,” Roscoe answered. “Though I know where we can find some more . . .”

And so Rosie stayed with Roscoe and together they loved everything about being pigs.

Monday, February 8, 2010

It had to be

I jotted down to NYC the last weekend of January to see Erin, Ali, and Jooj.

We ate at the Cafe where they filmed part of You've Got Mail, but I can't remember exactly what it was called.
It was mighty cold, but a good time was had by all.

The end.

No MFA skills were used in writing this post