Mr. Gumpy's Outing by John Burningham, 1970
Joyous illustrations and a surprising storyline make this a true classic.
I expected Mr. Gumpy to get, well, grumpy, since his name looks and sounds so like the word. I was waiting for him to tell one of the animals, “No! I’m all full!” but even when the overloaded boat tipped, he kept his smile (mostly) and invited everyone back for more fun.
What a contrast to what a child typically encounters with adults. She hears, “Don’t fuss” and when the fussing happens (it always happens) it’s scolding or impatience. The story drew me in, but ultimately the illustrations captivated me.
Free and happy crosshatch and spatter, mix of crayon, water color, pastel, pen and ink ... delightfully messy and resounding with mood and true artistic merit. An absolute favorite.
And then there were three ... books by me! It is with supreme delight that I announce Eerdmans Books for Young Readers will be publishing my picture book, Mama Earth's New Year. Yay!
Poetry Month is coming to a close, and with it I'll share five Zolotow picture book classics. Books like these are "out of style" in current publishing, which is a shame. I'd much rather read Flock of Birds over and over than books about crazy hair or farting dogs.
I started the first semester of graduate school knowing just a little more about picture books than I do about worms. Children love them, they come out on rainy days, and if you cut them in half, they really do die.
As we continue to celebrate poetry, I continue to study picture books. I don't think I could count how many I've absorbed in the past years. Oodles? Oodles of oodles? A lot.
In honor of National Poetry Month, I'll be sharing some of my favorite poetic picture books. Beautiful, vivid, delightful reads. Here are five by Cynthia Rylant, an amazingly prolific author with an insane diversity of titles to her name.
Alicia’s Best Friends and Simon and Molly Plus Hester by Lisa Jahn-Clough are two of my favorite picture books and here's why...
The 3 Act structure provides a perfect framework for any genre of picture book, about any subject. Plus thinking of it in terms of the grid we drew together, it can help immeasurable with pacing and troubleshooting a story that just isn’t working.
I am so full of exclamation points! See, just this morning I was showing Maggie the cover art pdf. She, always attentive, noticed the little square on the back cover where the bar code will go. "What's that?"
A round-up of recent favorite Halloween picture books!
I believe four key elements unite the best of the best rhyming picture book texts: Structure, Speech, Surprise, and Story. Books that fail will be lacking in one (or more) of these key areas; those that succeed will demonstrate at least passing-grade competence in all four. Now to examine these elements more closely.