Thursday, September 26, 2013

Throwback Thursday: King Bidgood's in the Bathtub


This is a question I've been asking myself a lot lately. An existential quandary usually accompanied by me bursting into the room and flinging myself on the floor or a suitably drape-y bit of furniture. I don't know what is going to happen to me "career"-wise, or what I even should be pursuing at the moment, let alone how to make that gel with the current job market. My book release party for Frank the Gentle Viking is Saturday, I've got three job interviews and a school-book reading lined up and am being pulled in a million directions at once, and somehow the bills still aren't all paid.

Oh who know's what to do, indeed.

This phrase is actually one that springs to mind because it is a repeated chorus in one of my favorite children's books: King Bidgood's in the Bathtub. The story follows a hapless page who cannot manage to pry the King out of his marvelous bath to actually do daily King business. Kingy-things. The whole court joins the effort and somehow everyone ends up in the tub. Written and illustrated by veteran children's book creators Don & Audrey Wood, the text is genius in its repetitive simplicity, while the illustrations are equal parts sumptuous and ridiculous, with the whole court in its Elizabethan frippery.

The more I think of splashing and bubbles, the more I think the idea of not leaving the bathroom to face the day is one I could totally get behind. If you need me, I'll be in the tub. With a book.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Banned Book Week! Dun dun DUHHHHH!

Hey everybody! Don't forget it's BANNED BOOK WEEK! Go read something intellectually scandalous. I can't really explain it, but there's part of me that's geeking out over the fact that a week like this exists. It's like Halloween for librarians. I feel like I should have a party or a parade. Seriously, we should have book parades. And literary cos-play. Where's Levar Burton when you need him?

I'm having trouble finding a comprehensive list for this year, but if I do, I'll post it. This is the list from 2005, which somehow manages to contain both The Little House on the Prairie and Mein Kampf. And virtually every other book that was required reading from when I was in grade school. What do teachers even teach any more? Please post a comment, what are kids allowed to read these days?

Anyway, I think I'll take this week to dust off my personal favorite Huckleberry Finn. Or finally get around to reading The Catcher in the Rye. And Atlas Shrugged. At the same time. And see if my head explodes.

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Waiting Place

Sigh...I'm definitely feeling stuck in the proverbial Waiting Place. Also wishing my mother wasn't holding all the Dr. Seuss books hostage. I could really use a dose of the man's off-kilter wisdom.

I'm waiting for call backs from 2 or 3 different jobs, waiting for marketing materials to come in the mail, waiting for a measly paycheck. Trying to stay busy, trying to stay motivated and keep painting. But really mostly just waiting. I feel like I've been here a lot over the past 5 years, and somehow I've yet to figure out what the magical escape key is.

No Art Supplies Till Tuesday

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Color study for my next book. Trying to will autumn to hurry up and get here already.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Tim Burton Outfit

The Phantom Tollbooth

Check it out: They're making a documentary about the children's classic The Phantom Tollbooth.

This looks absolutely delightful! I can't wait to see it.

I have to say, I read The Phantom Tollbooth as an adult, rather than as a kid, and kind of feel like I missed my window to really fall in love with this book. Which is odd, because I adored Roal Dahl's books, and as an adult, I'm a huge Terry Pratchett fan. This story is right up that alley, yet somehow I just did't connect with it.

I felt somehow that it would make a better cartoon than a book, which is something I usually never think. But it just so happens that my hero Chuck Jones thought so too, because he made a cartoon version in 1970. It looks just like his Rikki Tikki Tavi feature. See it on YouTube here:

Thursday, September 5, 2013

I suppose it's an appropriate Throw-back Thursday sort of thing to have stumbled over a forgotten gem from my childhood. I have owned several copies of Hilary Knight's Where's Wallace? in my life, and true to the habits of the book's main character, the book itself frequently went missing. I think I left one at the airport when I was five.

It's premise is similar to Where's Waldo?, but concerning a delightful orange orangutan who is a bit easier for younger audiences to locate. But every page is still teaming with dozens of quirky characters.

I remember just pouring over the pages, taking in all the minute details of all the actions and expressions. I still have huge respect for artists capable of such compositions. While I was good at finding the monkey (excuse me, ape), in all my grown-upness, I've become far too impatient to sit and actually draw all those gajillions of people.

Most of you would recognize the art style of Hilary Knight, the artist responsible for the wildly popular Eloise books.  He also did illustrations for the more endearingly dated Miss Piggle-Wiggle series, a collection of cautionary tales for independent readers.

His whimsical style has stuck with me for years, and I just keep coming back to it. He illustrated over 50 children's books in his career, but many of them are now out of print. Guess I should snap up an Eloise box set while I have the chance.