Everything You Need for a Celebration

Mimi

It’s been a busy few weeks around here. I’m still trying to figure out where the summer part of summer is!

But.

It’s all been fantastic things.

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The Baby Tree

The Baby Tree by Sophie Blackallby Sophie Blackall

published 2014 by Nancy Paulsen Books, at Penguin KidsThe Baby Tree by Sophie BlackallAbout a year ago, I heard Sophie Blackall give a keynote at SCBWI Western Washington. She wears great tights and shoes and is a total riot. She had this effervescent spirit that had the whole room in stitches. It felt like watching one of her illustrations bounce right off the page and into the room.

See, I’m a big fan. Ivy and Bean are soul sisters. I gushed about The Crows of Pearblossom and The Mighty Lalouche over at Design Mom, and still stand by this tweet from the end of 2013.

Her work has sprinkles of fairy dust or something in it – something enchanting and mysterious and compelling and darn beautiful.

And this, her latest offering, is both calming and humorous, sweet and sassy. It’s a bound and beautiful answer to the dreaded where do babies come from?

breaker She’s so in tune with the vast (and sometimes creepy!) imagination of a youngster, and look at how that plays out in this art. Real life is a spot illustration, surrounded by white space and unknowns. But the what if bleeds to the edge of the page, filling every millimeter with color and wonder and possibility. Not only is it stunning to see, it’s intentional storytelling. The Baby Tree by Sophie Blackall The Baby Tree by Sophie BlackallHat tip, always, to Jules at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast for the interview that revealed that delicious tidbit. Check out her interview (and more art!) with Sophie here.

Sophie works in Brooklyn with other illustrators Brian Floca, Ed Hemingway, John Bemelmans Marciano, and Sergio Ruzzier. Can you even imagine spending an hour in that studio, soaking it all up and trying not to faint and fall in it? Dream field trip, for sure. Their kinship and support of one another has always been so apparent. Look here, and here, and here to see what I mean.

But also, look inside The Baby Tree for a glimpse at their love and support of one another. What’s our pajama-clad wonderer reading with Mom and Dad, all cozied up in bed? I won’t spoil it for you, cause it was a gasp-moment for me. If you’ll bust without knowing, check out Danielle’s post over at This Picture Book Life about allusions in picture books. (And stay there a while even once you see what I’m talking about, cause how brilliant is that?!)

You’d like a copy, right? Penguin has two to give away to you! (And you!) Just leave a comment on this post by Monday at noon PST, June 2nd. I’ll pick two, and have the stork deliver The Baby Tree right to your doorstep. Good luck!

ch

Review copy provided by the publisher, all thoughts and love my own.

 

Sweet and Shorts: Sassy Board Books {giveaway!}

Baby_Loves_Colors Baby_Sees Baby's_World Who_Says

illustrated by Dave Aikins

{published 2013, by Grosset & Dunlap, an imprint of Penguin Books for Young Readers}

breaker

Here’s a fabulous Friday celebration! If you have little ones, you might be familiar with Sassy toys. They are designed to foster learning and engage the growing brain of our teensiest family members. And they are adorable!

So just look how spectacular their first leap into books is! This bundle of four is bright and begs to be touched (and gnawed on.) Beyond these eye-grabbing covers, the insides are a stunning display of rhythm, repetition, and pattern. Perfect for high-contrast-loving little brains!

This set debuts at the end of this month, but thanks to the kind tuxedoes at Penguin Young Readers Group, I have TWO sets of these board books for YOU! Sneak peek and nanny-nanny-boo-boo to the rest of the moms on the block. (Just kidding about that last part. But seriously, these are super books.)

To enter, just leave a comment on this post before midnight on Thursday, August 29th. Good luck!

ch

Zoobean {and a giveaway!}

ZoobeanLogo

Things have been short and sweet (and silent!) around these parts for a bit, but I am thrilled to bring you something short and sweet (and stupendous!) today!

Have you heard the buzz about Zoobean?! Let me tell you!

Zoobean

You know that kooky clown prank where you open a can and bouncy worms pop out? That’s what I think Zoobean did when it launched recently. Their launch felt so exciting! And fresh! And new! And surprise! Not to mention, chief mom Jordan Bookey is as delightful as the belly laugh from that kooky clown prank.

And so here’s the deal. Zoobean is a parent-curated database of all the best books for kids. Any and all that are important to parents are loved by Zoobean and tagged in their catalog. Need a book with Pacific Islanders at the core? This page is perfect. Or books on adoption? Bullying? The filters are fantastic.

But database and catalog are kinda nerdy words, right? And you’re picturing old school librarians shushing you and an impossible to navigate card catalog. (And I won’t even judge you, even though I am bananas for that kind of stuff!)

But Zoobean is visually stunning, gorgeous even! And in book discovery, I’m obviously a huge fan of design. Zoobean makes it beautiful and easy, and Jordan reminds you that it’s the best thing ever to drool over books all day. (You do, don’t you?)

henriswalktopariscover

I was lucky enough to blurb one of my very favorites recently, Saul Bass’ Henri’s Walk to Paris. I wrote about it on this blog here, and since Jordan knows I’m crazy for it, Zoobean wants to share a copy with you! (You need it, seriously.)

How?!

Connect with Zoobean on Facebook or Twitter, and use the hashtag #ZoobeanLoved. Tell them I sent you, or tell them you love their site, or share your most loved book. Anything goes! We’ll pick a winner once the weekend is up.

Have a happy one!

ch

Boy + Bot {giveaway!}

It’s no super big secret that I love this book. And I adore Ame Dyckman. (She tweets about squirrels! And blanket forts! And puns!)

So when she had an item up for bids at Jen Malone’s Hurricane Sandy auction, I raised my paddle a few times. Poor Ame will have to muddle her way through one of my PB manuscripts, but some goodies came along with her critique.

And the thing is, I already have a copy of Boy + Bot because it’s amazing. So I figured one of you might want this? That’s it above, signed by the sparkly Ame herself.

Also! Some other Boy + Bot swag…I am tempted to open this little goodie bag, but I see a bookmark, a frisbee, a sticker and a bracelet!

Just comment here sometime before Turkey Day at noon PST, and I’ll pick a winner.

Am I thankful for you? AFFIRMATIVE!

PS: Kate Messner and Joanne Levy have been running another amazing auction to raise funds for Sandy Relief. Some auctions are still open over at Joanne’s corner of the internet, so check it out! (Just don’t bid against me!)

A Thank You and a Congratulations!

Danny! Email me your address, and I’ll send PANTONE COLORS your way!

And everyone else? Thank you for reading. It’s been fun. How about another year?

Stuck {WINNER!}

So that SOMEONE NICE?

ANNA! 

Congratulations, Anna! Email me at carterhiggins@gmail.com with an address where you want your very own STUCK to land!

 

Extra Yarn WINNER!

Drum roll {of extra yarn} please…..

Congratulations to TINA CHO!

Yay, Tina! Email me at carterhiggins@gmail.com with an address, and this treat will be on its way!

Extra Yarn

Saturday. Burbank. Unwind Yarn. A genius author/artist combo in my neighborhood? One that I have proclaimed love for on multiple occasions? It was perfect.

{Cake pops wrapped in yarn. Adorable!}

And the dynamic duo: illustrator Jon Klassen, and author Mac Barnett.

{I have been to Mac’s website plenty of times, and only now realize the dapper man holding up the piano is HIM. Click over, am I right??}

I even met my Twitter buddy, Alyson Beecher!

…And heard Mac read Extra Yarn to the crowd. I mean, wow…his own words in his own voice…magical, really.

So…what the heck is up with this awesome book?

On a cold afternoon, in a cold little town,

where everywhere you looked was either the white of snow

or the black soot from chimneys,

Annabelle found a box filled with yarn of every color.

And she goes knit-crazy, wrapping her town with the color and warmth of this magic yarn. Remember the knit covered house in the picture above? Yeah. That happens.

I tried SO HARD to keep my cool while talking to Jon Klassen about design, really I did. He explained to me his reasonings for using white space and the puzzle of leaving room for the reader to create their own stories in the space left behind by both the words AND the pictures. We talked about texture and trailers and the differences in animating for the screen and designing for the book page. I managed to not faint and fall in it, thank-you-very-much. It was unreal.

But a notable design consideration in Extra Yarn is of course, color. Annabelle’s creations bring life to a drab, cold town.

Jon told us that he bought a $5 sweater from Goodwill, photographed it over a light table, and digitally colored over the photo-real stitches to get the look of the knits in Extra Yarn. Straight from the illustrator’s mouth: “Everything else I tried just looked stupid.”

Recognize that bear?

The archduke: the bad guy, out to get Annabelle’s yarn. Hearing Mac’s voice for the archduke? Also amazing.

What a day, what an event, what a book. See that?

Want it? Your own author AND illustrator signed copy of Extra Yarn?

Duh.

Leave a comment here by Sunday, April 22 at midnight PST to win it! I’ll announce a winner on Monday, April 23rd. Good luck!

Book Trailer Winner!

Congratulations to…

REBECCA FYFE!

Rebecca, I will be in touch and we can work together WHENEVER you are ready!

Thanks to all who entered, and I look forward to working with you at some point!