Apples and Robins

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by Lucie Félix (Chronicle Books, 2016)

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Here’s a book that is also a puzzle, an optical illusion, and a little bit toy-like all at once. Here’s what I mean.

So, then, a birdhouse: one small circle, two parallelograms, and a die-cut triangle.

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Or walls and a roof and a string, of course. Isn’t that what shapes are? Real, living, breathing things?

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But then wind blows and the sky rumbles, and . . .

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This book isn’t only clever cuts and shapes transforming into magic. It’s also a gentle arc of a pulsing spring. An apple, a reach, a bite, a worm.

A robin, a song, a home, a storm.

A mess, a basket, a watch, a wait.

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A winter, a spring.


Flashlight and an interview with Lizi Boyd

Flashlight by Lizi Boyd

by Lizi Boyd (Chronicle Books, 2014.)

I really love Lizi Boyd’s work. It’s this perfect mix of oh, of course and oh, I never. Once upon a time I wrote about Inside Outside over on Design Mom, and I’ve been looking forward to this new book for a good while. It’s a great thing to have room for more.

And can you stop looking at that cover? I can’t. It’s beckoning, it’s comforting, it’s hurry-up-and-get-adventuring.

So I was lucky enough to have a chat with Lizi Boyd about creating books, the sound of picture books, her process, and her dogs. Thanks for welcoming your book to the world with us this way, Lizi.



Alphablock by Christopher Franceschelli, art by Peskimo

published 2013, by Abrams Appleseed

Alphablock Alphablock This book. Swoon city. Hefty chunk of graphic design. Just as fascinating and fantastic for adults as well as the stubby fingers of the littles. “You’re never too old for picture books” is my constant battle cry at school. Let’s amend that a bit to “you’re never too old for board books.”

Because wow. Alphablock Alphablock Can you see what’s happening here? Each letter of the alphabet is given two thick spreads for the hint and the reveal. It’s a visual puzzle, linked by a die-cut of the hero letter. For real. Alphablock Alphablock Figuring it out is a satisfying read, and physically flipping the letterform for the answer is brilliant. Alphablock Alphablock Not only does the design feel fresh, but the alphabet choices are newfangled, too. I love S is for SCISSORS and the cut-out arts and crafts that accompany it. P is for PENCILS gets the lined paper treatment, scattered with sharpened pencil shavings. And thank goodness F is for FISH gives us a glimpse into an aquarium with its kooky accoutrements, and not the obvious deep blue sea scene. Alphablock

Image courtesy of Abrams Appleseed

Image courtesy of Abrams Appleseed

Image courtesy of Abrams Appleseed

Image courtesy of Abrams Appleseed

(And any book that uses U is for UNDERWEAR is obviously a hands down favorite, too.)

Add this to your gift-list. Perfect for babes and art buffs alike. (And pretty much anyone who loves the alphabet.)


Review copy provided by Abrams Appleseed.

In My Tree

by Sara Gillingham and Lorena Siminovich

Board books always scream texture to me. I imagine that is because by their very nature they are tactile…grubby little hands paw all over them. And maybe chomp on, too – but isn’t that a whole different story?

And this one is darling.

A curvy, concentric die cut is one thing. (It’s awesome.) A curvy, concentric die cut hiding a goggly-eyed orange owl? (More awesome.)

Each page turn reveals a bright color palette, contrasted with the colors of the previous page. That’s what makes those concentric circles especially dynamic.

And the collage of textures…whoa. The pages feature cut paper or fabric-like overlays which frame that felted owl with a beautiful connection.

Lovely little book. Surely you know someone HOO needs it?! (Couldn’t resist. So sorry.)

Huff & Puff

Some girls love Ryan Gosling, I crush on Abrams Books. (Hippopposites?…Abrams!)

When I read this post, all I could muster in the comments section was, “WOW.” Seriously. Scroll down, that’s all I could say.

{Fun fact: Chad Beckerman, who wrote that post and designed Huff & Puff, also designed another favorite, Iggy Peck: Architect. And his blog is fascinating, so definitely have a look at his spot online.}

Colombian author and illustrator Claudia Rueda created Huff & Puff, and her work is so vivid and sweet.

These aren’t the three little pigs you’ve heard about before. Without being too spoiler-y, you learn a lot about them on this page prior to the title page.

Intrigued? Good.

In addition to the satisfying twist on these three little pigs, Huff & Puff is entirely interactive. Its design helps quite a bit with that, and your role is hinted at on the cover itself.

{Side note: my current circle obsession is CLEARLY seen in the trailer I recently created for Gwendolyn Heasley‘s A Long Way From You.}

Anyway. YOU get to be the wolf, huffing and puffing through circular cutouts in the pages.

Those poor pigs. Especially the first two. You know the story. But not this one:

Even their snouts are cute little circles! Such a clever way to use shape as a unifying element throughout the design of the book, right?