Best Books Ever + Instagram

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Guess what?

I love many more books than I have blog posts here, so join me over at Instagram for more books, snaps, and snippets.

And! It’s time for another round of Best Books Ever! It’s always an honor to be invited to Matthew Winner’s Let’s Get Busy podcast with Julie Falatko, and this conversation is a fun one.

Meet me back here on Thursday for a slightly scary and slightly silly book, one that will make you rethink the nooks and crannies of your home.



Sweet and Shorts: Lucy and the Anvil

breaker Lucy and the Anvil, by Adam Kline and Brian Taylor

I backed this project on Kickstarter earlier this year, and am thrilled for these guys on their results. Top notch eye-candy. That purple and orange sunset? Swoonworthy.It’s offbeat. It’s kooky. Lucy loves this anvil, even though it’s not very good at seesawing or sledding. I mean, it’s…an anvil. This book is a friendship story, a love story, and a story about what you’re not very good at. Not being good at some things leaves you lots of room to be good at the most important things.

This interview with the guys is a fascinating read and shows a handful of images from the book. The cover more than hints at their similarities after all: check out Lucy’s pigtails, perfectly mirroring the anvil’s mighty arms. Thrilled with my copy!


Sweet and Shorts: The Lonely Beast 123


I haven’t spent a ton of time exploring apps, but when I stumble on one that gobsmacks me around, I take notice.

(Side note: my friend Koseli, Design Mom’s Discovery Editor, has reviewed a bunch, and she always finds the loveliest ones! You can find her reviews here.)

Watch this. It’s The Lonely Beast 123 by Irish publisher Pilcrow.

breaker 3coats_table Black_iPad_Birds Black_iPad_Fish I’m a sucker for this Beast, his hairy type, and his whimsical world of numbers. It’s road trip season, so if you’re looking for something beautiful and worthwhile for all of that backseat time, check this one out!

The Lonely Beast 123 was created by Chris, James and Simon in their little shed at the end of The Beast’s garden. Their first app, The Lonely Beast ABC, featured in an iPad TV commercial and on billboards around the world, was winner of the Editor’s Choice Award from Children’s Technology Review, and a finalist for the Bologna Ragazzi Digital Award at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair.


Sweet and Shorts: The White Marble

The White Marble by Charlotte Zolotow, illustrated by Deborah Kogan Ray

(published 1982, by Thomas Y. Crowell Junior Books)

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I am surrounded by stacks and stacks of books. My house is a maze of piles, and I work in a library. And I love each clump of them, everywhere. I order a ton, I get copies for review, and I love the flood of story.

But then this one showed up. The White Marble Looks like it originated in a library in Sutton, West Virginia. And then somehow it ended up at a library sale in Portland, Maine. That’s where Julie Falatko found it, and she knew. Because she knew, and because she’s a book kindred, she mailed it to Burbank, California.

It’s on top of the teetering tower. Always will be. You can’t check it out cause it’s a chunk of my heart. The White Marble

MoreToRead I love this series from Brian Won: Picture Book Sounds. What does illustrator Andy Musser listen to while he works?

This post at Design Mom where I mention both Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Riggins.

Pretty much everything at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast, but especially this magic from Melissa Sweet.

Charlotte Zolotow may sound familiar if you’ve heard of this award given in her name. Sleep Like a Tiger was an Honor book in 2013, and a Caldecott Honor as well!

Happy Picture Book Month!


Sweet and Shorts: A Librarian’s Halloween


Miss Viola Swamp made an appearance on Halloween. And I submitted this picture to my favorite new blog, which was a parade of bookish costumes this week!

MoreToRead On Design Mom: The Story of Fish and Snail, Warning: Do Not Open This Book, and Inside Outside



Sweet and Shorts: That Purple Bird

Screen Shot 2013-10-17 at 5.52.56 PMThis stained glass window lives in my library. I know. It changes color throughout the day and just makes me so happy. It reminds me that the dreary and dusty bits and cobwebbed corners won’t last forever.

Have you read Aaron Becker’s JourneyAfter a bunch of us read it together, a kid said, “I think that bird is in our library.”

If you’ve read it, please tell me you just gasped with delight. I did. Got goosebumps even! If you haven’t, let this trailer convince you.

breaker MoreToRead

Lately on Design Mom: Silence and The Story of Fish and Snail

Neil Gaiman on libraries and daydreaming.

A look at updated gender roles in Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever. I particulary love that ‘beautiful screaming lady’ changed to ‘cat in danger.’  (Kudos to Burgin at Vintage Kids’ Books My Kid Loves for the find!)

And this. Oh, man. The Re-Sendakify Sendak Project. My heart stopped at the Where the Wild Things Are in the style of Saul Bass, and it was all a bunch of oohs and ahhs from there. So good!


Sweet & Shorts: Skillshare


Have you heard of Skillshare? Virtual, project-based learning on a whole slew of subjects. I still have a Digital Illustration course I have yet to finish! Or start, for that matter. And that’s the beauty of Skillshare, that I can smoosh it into my schedule when there’s some free time. (Anyone have some to donate?!)

Illustrator Annie Patterson is teaching a course called Children’s Book Illustration: From Sketch to Final Art, and the image above is the illustration she demonstrates in the course.

If you’re interested, Annie graciously shared a discount code for $10 off the original course price of $25. You can use the code DRAWING, which is available through October 5th.

Have fun! breaker How cool is this tweet: Screen Shot 2013-09-26 at 1.44.44 PM

I shared Sophie and Matthew Olshan’s The Mighty Lalouche over at Design Mom this week. There’s a pop-up version of the Unofficial Sophie Blackall Fan Club over there. And Matthew chimed in, too! My reader heart swoons.

And then I shared this snippet of why I identify with Lalouche:

Here’s where art meets life. Next week (!) I start a new job as a librarian at an elementary school. It’s been a bunch of years since I’ve done that, and I’m thrilled to bits. 

In this book, Lalouche loves his simple life as a postman. Leaves for boxing fame and fortune, but (spoiler!) returns to his roots cause he just loved his postman days so, so much.

My story feels similar. I am Lalouche today!

Happy weekend! (I guess I should remove former from that bio up there! PINCH ME.)


Sweet and Shorts: The Phantom Tollbooth

Screen Shot 2013-09-05 at 9.27.59 PMA week ago, I scooped up a stack of books at the bookstore. One of those was a replacement for a long gone copy of The Phantom Tollbooth.

Yesterday, I saw this.

breakerCheck out the project’s Kickstarter if you’re as smitten as I am. A Norton Juster limerick personalized for you? Swoon.

Speaking of swoon, I mentioned on Facebook that I have taken to calling this illustrator Christian Robin-swoon. His art is breathtaking, and over at Design Mom this week I sang the praises of Harlem’s Little Blackbird.

Happy weekend!


Sweet and Shorts: Sassy Board Books {winners!}

Baby_Loves_Colors breaker Guys. I loved hearing from some of you oldies but goodies! You know who you are. Much love.

And who are the big winners?

Olivia De Hamilton

Sara Floyd

Big congrats, ladies! Sent me an email with your address!

breaker MoreToRead

This Picture Book Life: Pius Pelosi’s pebble, Steve Martin’s banjo, and the creative process.

A letter from 10-year-old Chief Librarian of the Knickerbocker Library. Straight from 1982 to today. (Well, you can’t stop a holiday, can you?)

What I read on my summer vacation.

Lately on Design Mom: The Story of Babar, Black Dog, and Little Tug. (Happy sigh, all of those.)


Hooray for Hat! {book trailer}

Do you know Brian Won? You should. You will.

Remember a while back when I made that Brian Regan/snowcone/more favorite reference? That’s what it’s like looking through Brian’s portfolio. Just when I think I’ve picked a favorite piece – BAM. There’s the next one.

When his picture book Hooray for Hat! comes out in the spring you can bet I will be first in line. (And hopefully doing as impressive a highstep as Zebra. Watch. You’ll see.)