Zoobean {and a giveaway!}


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!


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?)


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.)


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!


Henri’s Walk To Paris

So Saul Bass {1920-1996} illustrated this. You know him, even if you think you don’t.

Recognize any of these?

Saul Bass undoubtedly has a powerful legacy of corporate logo design, but he is also considered the father of the title sequence. I can’t say that I was well aware of him before I was a motion graphics designer, but as an animator, I am very influenced by his strong use of line and his bold color palettes.

{You can see a roundup of his title sequences at Art of the Title.}

And that’s fancy and whatnot, but then he created this sparkling kids’ book.

Henri is just a little French garçon who dreams of Paris, but lives in Reboul. He packs up some cheese, a carrot, and a piece of bread and walks himself there. But {SPOILER ALERT!} he doesn’t make it. A little bird disrupts his navigation, and he ends up right back in Reboul. But Henri? Thinks he made it, and thinks Paris is quite like home. And we love him for that.

In graphic design, unity is the quality that ties individual elements into a beautiful whole. Me talking about Saul Bass is like a dirty sock puppet oozing with glue and googly eyes having an opinion on Jim Henson. He’s a master craftsman, and so let me just show you some moments I love.

Check out these consecutive spreads. The typographic element that reflects the title IS Henri. And from one page to another, there he goes, walking off to Paris. This graphic drives your eye forward and invites you to dive into this book. And of course it tiptoes left to right. It’s how we read, and it simply signifies forward motion. Smart is an understatement.

He doesn’t clutter this illustration with a window sill, curtains, or many details of the room inside. It doesn’t matter. The story is outside. This is a brilliant use of negative space.

Henri’s tiny house, contrasted with the vast world beyond. And color…green and red are direct opposites on the color wheel, so the tiny pop of red is a perfect choice to offset the mass of green.

Soothing pattern repeats in those thousands of trees and the zoo full of animals.

A reminder of the cover, a peek into Henri’s walk. And below, a shift in perspective and point of view.

So Henri leaves home and returns again. Likewise, Saul Bass’ pictures ramp up to the climax of the story, and repeat again as Henri heads home. That same window repeats, that same wide shot of the tiny white house sits still again, only with different text for a different time in the story. It’s a detail that’s hard to show in pictures, but on an overall visual read of the story…it’s magnificent.

Henri’s Walk To Paris in reprint is a gift I didn’t even know I was was on my wish list. It’s joining this monster on my coffee table-slash-corner of my desk.