Hodder Children’s Books will next year publish the first picture book by Watership Down author Richard Adams, with illustrations by Alex T Smith.
The book, The Adventures of Egg Box Dragon, is about a mischievous homemade dragon who loves solving mysteries. Hodder Children’s picture book publisher Emma Layfield acquired world rights to the text from Laura West at David Higham Associates. The deal with Smith was struck with his agent Alison Eldred of Arena Illustration.
The news that Adams was hoping to publish a picture book broke earlier this year when Adams told the Independent that The Adventures of Egg Box Dragon was inspired a craft project one of his daughters took part in at school in the 1960s.
His agent, Veronique Baxter at David Higham Associates, had earlier sent the text of the book to Juliet Mabey, editorial director at Oneworld, which published an illustrated edition of Watership Down in 2014. However, Mabey said the story had now found the right home with Hachette.
Every year since 1952, the [New York Times] Book Review has convened an independent panel of judges to select the New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books. Judged purely on artistic merit, it’s the only annual award of its kind.
This year’s judges were G. Brian Karas, Cynthia Weill and Cheryl Wolf.
G. Brian Karas is the illustrator of over 70 books for children, including “Are You Going to Be Good?,” a Best Illustrated Books winner in 2005. Cynthia Weill is the director of the Center for Children’s Literature at Bank Street College of Education and the author of the First Concepts in Mexican Folk Art series; she holds a doctorate of education from Teachers College at Columbia University. Cheryl Wolf is the librarian for two New York City public elementary schools, the Neighborhood School and S.T.A.R. Academy.
The 2016 New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books are, in alphabetical order:
The Cat From Hunger Mountain
Written and illustrated by Ed Young
The wealthy, selfish Lord Cat lives in wasteful luxury high on a mountain and treats his servants with contempt, until a drought brings hunger and he is forced to change his ways. With complex collages that mix photographs, torn paper, string and other materials, Young creates a stunning visual symphony with a surprising and unsettling emotional power.
32 pp. Philomel Books. $17.99.
The Dead Bird
By Margaret Wise Brown. Illustrated by Christian Robinson.
Brown’s quiet 1938 story of children who find a dead bird in the woods and give it a proper burial gets an exuberant, emotionally resonant update from Robinson, who moves the setting to an urban park and gives one child fairy wings, another a fox costume. Our reviewer, Mark Levine, praised Robinson’s “bold and angular visual style,” which features deceptively simple brushwork and masterly compositions.
32 pp. Harper/HarperCollins Publishers. $17.99.
Freedom in Congo Square
By Carole Boston Weatherford. Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie.
Sweet and powerful rhymes count down the days from Monday to Sunday, when the enslaved people of New Orleans were allowed to join free blacks for a day of music, socializing and commerce. “Christie’s art is, as always, breathtaking, uniting folk art and sleek modern gestures with a graceful dynamism that calls to mind Jacob Lawrence and Benny Andrews,” our reviewer, Maria Russo, said.
36 pp. Little Bee Books. $17.99.
Written and illustrated by Bethan Woollvin
This reboot of the classic “Little Red Riding Hood” gives us a heroine who’s wised up from the start to the wolf’s trickster ways. Woollvin’s ingeniously minimalist illustrations use bold shapes and a palette of blacks, whites and grays with strategic pops of bright red, creating a jaunty and confident trip to the dark side and back.
32 pp. Peachtree. $16.95.
The Polar Bear
Written and illustrated by Jenni Desmond
This factual account of polar bears’ biology and habitat also features the story of a curious little girl who gets lost in reading a book about polar bears and visits one in her imagination. Desmond’s varied illustrations combine watercolors, acrylic paint, pencil, crayon and printmaking techniques to create ever-changing moods and spectacular scenes of Arctic life.
40 pp. Enchanted Lion Books. $17.95.
Preaching to the Chickens
The Story of Young John Lewis
By Jabari Asim. Illustrated by E. B. Lewis.
Before John Lewis, the African-American civil rights leader and congressman, began his illustrious career, he was a boy growing up on an Alabama farm, practicing his oratorical skills on his family’s flock of chickens. The poignant, observant watercolors by the illustrator E. B. Lewis (no relation) are bathed in subtly changing light, making homespun scenes of country life seem celestial and exalted.
32 pp. Nancy Paulsen Books. $17.99.
The Princess and the Warrior
A Tale of Two Volcanoes
Written and illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh
Tonatiuh presents his version of the legend of two volcanoes near Mexico City, in which Izta, the most beautiful princess in the land, falls in love with Popoca, a brave warrior of modest means. The book’s highly original style draws on images from traditional Mixtec art to create layered, mixed-texture collages that are both sweet and majestic in their timeless vision of love, war and eternity.
40 pp. Abrams. $16.95.
The Tree in the Courtyard
Looking Through Anne Frank’s Window
By Jeff Gottesfeld. Illustrated by Peter McCarty.
The famous tree that stood in the courtyard outside Anne Frank’s window bears witness to the Frank family’s long hiding and Anne’s capture by the Nazis during World War II. Using only brown ink and tiny, patient strokes, McCarty juxtaposes the tree’s growth with the somber realities and flashes of joy in Anne’s constrained young life, creating pages of devastating intensity and heartbreaking detail.
32 pp. Alfred A. Knopf. $17.99.
A Voyage in the Clouds
The (Mostly) True Story of the First International Flight by Balloon in 1785
By Matthew Olshan. Illustrated by Sophie Blackall.
A British doctor named Jeffries and a French balloonist named Blanchard undertake a daring balloon flight — accompanied by their dogs, an English and a French bulldog, of course. Blackall’s exquisite watercolor and pencil illustrations of well-dressed people, dangerous waters and soaring balloons, done in creamy pastels and moody grays, have a winking vintage look, both witty and elegant.
32 pp. Margaret Ferguson Books/Farrar, Straus & Giroux. $17.99.
The White Cat and the Monk
A Retelling of the Poem “Pangur Ban”
By Jo Ellen Bogart. Illustrated by Sydney Smith.
This book retells the ninth-century Old Irish poem “Pangur Ban,” a monk’s simple reflections on his companionship with his cat and the parallels between his scholarly pursuit of knowledge and the cat’s playful hunting. Smith’s “distinctive art . . . falls partway between modernist fairy tale and graphic novel, opening an inviting portal between past and present as the ancient story comes to life in a decidedly contemporary aesthetic,” our reviewer, Maria Popova, wrote.
32 pp. Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press. $18.95.
Walker Books UK has acquired two books by David Almond – a middle-grade novel that will be illustrated by Alex T Smith, and a picture book illustrated by Levi Pinfold.
Publishing director Jane Winterbotham negotiated a two-book deal for world rights with Almond’s agent, Catherine Clarke at Felicity Bryan Associates.
The middle-grade novel, The Tale of Angelino Brown, is the story of a tiny angel who appears one day in a bus driver’s pocket, going on to touch the lives of everyone in the town and the school. The picture book, entitled The Dam, is set in a flooded valley in Northumberland and is a “lyrical and poetic evocation of the power of music and community”.
Publication is set for 2017.
Every year since 1952, the Book Review has convened an independent panel of judges to select the New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books. Judged purely on artistic merit, it’s the only annual award of its kind.
This year’s judges were Frank Viva, Monica Edinger and Marjorie Ingall. Viva has written and illustrated several acclaimed books for children, including “Along a Long Road” — a previous Times Best Illustrated winner — “Outstanding in the Rain” and “Young Frank, Architect.” He is a frequent cover artist for The New Yorker and the managing director of the design firm Viva & Co. Edinger has been an elementary- and middle-school educator for more than 25 years and currently teaches fourth grade at the Dalton School in New York City. She is also the author of the picture book “Africa Is My Home” and blogs about children’s books at Educating Alice. Ingall is a columnist for Tablet and a frequent contributor of children’s book reviews to The Times and other publications. Her book “Mamaleh Knows Best: What Jewish Mothers Do to Raise Successful, Creative, Empathetic, Independent Children” will be published next year.
Laurence King Publishing is launching a children’s list of illustrated non-fiction and activity books (at Foyles tomorrow, Sep 30th).
The list launches with Pierre the Maze Detective: The Search for the Stolen Maze Stone (h/b, £14.95), an illustrated book of mazes for children aged eight and over.
Elizabeth Jenner, children’s commissioning editor, told The Bookseller: “Every book we publish should feel special and unique for all the family, perhaps treating a familiar subject in an exciting, fresh way, encouraging creative activities, or simply taking the reader on a journey into new and entrancing worlds created by the talented illustrators on our list.”
Rachel Williams, publisher at Templar for Big Picture Press a list that included MAPS by Daniel and Ola Mizieilinska, is moving to Aurum to establish a new list of illustrated non-fiction books:
Aurum Publishing Group has appointed Rachel Williams as publisher of a new non-fiction imprint, which will sit alongside the Frances Lincoln children’s books imprint.
The new imprint, which Aurum describes as “design-led”, will start publishing in 2015, and release up to 16 books per year.
Williams comes to Aurum from Templar, where she was publisher of titles including Maps by Daniel and Ola Mizieilinska and Walk this World by Lotta Nieminen, under the Big Picture Press imprint.
Last year, Williams was named as one of The Bookseller‘s Rising Stars.
The second Oliver and the Seawigs book is going to be set in Space, Sarah McIntyre revealed on her blog yesterday:
This retelling of a little-known northern legend brought to Britain by the Vikings is one of the most beautiful books to land on my doormat in the last few weeks.
says Rebecca Davies, on The Independent’s Children’s Books Blog
In the past I have been a fan of Tony Mitton’s work and have received a copy of the book for review, and can agree that it is beautifully produced.
Lindsey Dawson speaks to book blogger, reviewer and award judge Graeme Beattie on Lets Talk at Face Television.
via ▶ Lets Talk – Lindsey & Graeme Beattie 14Aug – YouTube.
Here are some picture books published back in the spring that are still deserving of notice, including
Penguin In Peril by Helen Hancocks
Troll Swap by Leigh Hodgkinson &
Troll Wood by Kathryn Cave & Paul Hess