Thursday, January 9, 2014

Flipping Pages: From Animation to Children's Books

I've always been fascinated with animation. I pursued it as a career for a while before switching to children's books. And although my name hasn't appeared on any rolling credits (...yet), there are many professional contemporary animators who have also slid into children's books. Here's a look at a few of them.

Jon Klassen
  Jon Klassen already has a handful of children's titles under his belt, in addition to work on Kung Fu Panda and Coraline, but it was his recent book I Want My Hat Back that rocketed him to the top of the booklists and made him a household name. I Want My Hat Back follows the drolly understated quest of a bear to recover a stolen hat. But with a surprise twist at the end! In addition to animation and children's books, he somehow finds time to do editorial work and teach an illustration intro class at CalArts. I would certainly trust a book about hats from a man who clearly wears a number of them.

Uli Meyer
   Uli Meyer self published his book Cuthbert Was Bored last summer. He even animated the trailer himself. Cuthbert Was Bored is the story of a little crow who is tired of being a crow. I haven't gotten a copy yet, but if it's anything like his animation, it's bound to be a hit!

Lorelay Bove
   One of the famed "Ladies of Animation" Lorelay can now add her No Slurping, No Burping! to her list of accomplishments, in addition to her other work on Disney features. This book gives us a lesson in manners, where in a role reversal, two children attempt to curb their father's terrible table behavior! Bove's illustrations remind me of the old mid-century titles Disney used to release illustrated by Mary Blaire.

Mike Yamada & Victoria Ying
    The power couple of animation have published a title of their own via their private art & production company, Extra Curricular Activities. The book is called Curiosities: An Illustrated History of an Ancestral Oddity. It explores a mysterious old mansion along with the two young siblings who have just inherited it. I can't figure out how these guys manage their own projects will also working for Dreamworks and Disney, respectively. They make it look easy and fun at the same time.
Frans Vischer
   I didn't hear about Fuddles until the sequel A Very Fuddles Christmas was out. Veteran animator Frans Vischer, who has worked on a slew of my favorite Dreamworks films, has written and illustrated these childrens books following the activities of an adorable pudgy cat. I wish I could order a book that came with a plus Fuddles for my very own! Guess I'll have to make do with my own cat.

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