I find connections among books, art, music, libraries, travel, crafts and food.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Half Magic: Making a Hard Cover from a Paperback

Half Magic
by Edward Eager
Ill. by N.M. Bodecker

I read Half Magic as a kid and loved it. When I had my own kids and would read to them at night, I found my husband's childhood paperback copy at his parents' house. Half Magic is a story about four bored siblings who find a coin-like talisman that grants them half of whatever wish they happen to make when holding it. For instance, when they wish they were home, they are suddenly half-way home. The kids find a way around the half-magic and controlling their wishes and have a marvelous time.

Part of why I liked this book was for the line art by N. M. Bodecker. I always feel a little bad for those paperbacks from the 1960's and '70's. The paper was so cheap and turned brittle, but the cover art and internal art was still cool. So I decided to preserve a couple of old paperbacks, at least for a little longer, by turning them into hard covers.

Since I found three of the other books from Eager's Magic series at the Friends of the Rochester Public Library Bookstore that were library bound discards (thank you, Friends!), I wanted hubby's paperback to (kind of) match.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Lois Lenski

  Lois Lenski (a little bio here) was a prolific writer and illustrator of mostly children's and young adult books. She illustrated at least 50 books by different authors, and wrote and illustrated at least 100 more of her own. Lois won a Newbery award for Strawberry Girl, one book in a collection of stories about children in different parts of the United States.
  Here's the fun connection. You might recognize her art if you are a fan of the Betsy-Tacy series, written by Maud Hart Lovelace. Betsy-Tacy books have a huge cult following, and my favorite thing about them is they are set in Mankato, Minnesota, which is near where I lived during my high school days.

 I collect vintage school readers and children's picture books, choosing mostly by what illustrations attract me. I didn't realize until recently that I had quite a few Lois Lenski books because the illustrations are irresistible. They are charming, of course, but they also portray a sense of adventure and playfulness. They are wonderful as simple line drawings, and delightful in color.

Here is the first book I found:

Then I spied this at a Salvation Army:

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Illustrator Jon Klassen

Jon Klassen is a Canadian writer and illustrator, who you may have heard of from his fantastic book, I Want My Hat Back, which one the Caldecott Medal for illustration in 2013. Working in a public library gives me immediate access to what people are reading, and this book attracted my attention by the simple cover and intriguing title. It's satisfying right to the surprising and hilarious end, but fun to find clever clues in the middle. I love that the the rabbit's words are in red, matching the red hat, but also indicating that he is lying.

I loved this book so much, and as I do when I love something, I dug around for more info. I found that there have been several adorable adaptations of the book. My favorite is the Dr. Who version which you can find here: http://doctorwho.tumblr.com/post/12891889415/i-want-my-hat-back-the-doctor-edition

Then what I found is some self-plagiarism by Mr. Klassen in another wonderful book that he illustrated called Extra Yarn, by Mac Barnett.
Annabelle, the main character in Extra Yarn, knits sweaters for everyone she knows. Then she goes on to knit sweaters for all the animals, and here, Klassen illustrates his animals from I Want My Hat Back wearing Annabelle's sweaters.

These are clever, fun books with fantastic illustrations. Find these and more at your local library!