As I peruse the new picture books at my local bookstore, I’m impressed with the number of author/illustrator titles out there right now. If you’re an illustrator with writing skills, this is good news! But if you’re a writer without art skills, this can be a little discouraging-or at least a bit mystifying.
One book that I’ve read recently that pulls off an “author/illustrator style” through teamwork is WOLFIE THE BUNNY, written by Ame Dyckman and illustrated by Zachariah OHora. These two have worked together flawlessly to create a really funny, seamless read-aloud. Bunny Dot and her parents find a baby wolf on their doorstep, and her parents are gaga over the adorable little guy. But Dot is convinced he’ll eat them all up – until a dramatic incident at the grocery store where Wolfie proves his love for Dot, and she in turn proves her love for him.
Another recent read that has really cracked me and my girls up is MR. TIGER GOES WILD, written and illustrated by Peter Brown. This is author/illustrator work at its finest! Mr. Tiger lives in his stuffy, Victorian world, but he longs to be his wild self. He ultimately finds the balance of getting along with others and being himself, while helping his friends to loosen up. The way the words leave room for the pictures is fantastic. As a writer without professional art skills, I would imagine needing at least a few illustrator notes to pull this off as a team….for example, when “Mr. Tiger went a little too far,” the picture shows him emerging from the town fountain buck naked. No words….the picture says it all!
One of my other recent favorites is HOME by Carson Ellis. The text is very sparse….this book is all about the art. I don’t think I learned anything as a writer, but as an art lover, I had a visual feast. In her unique style, Carson Ellis takes the reader on a virtual tour of all kinds of homes, all over the world and even out of this world, finishing up with her own home, and a picture of herself painting in it. This book is really special. Check it out!
I love Mr. Tiger Goes Wild!!!
I saw Ame at the New Jersey SCBWI summer event. She was conducting a seminar on picture book writing. She is as amazingly funny, animated and good natured as her books. Her seminar put together the most popular themes, characters, plots and so on, so that you could create your own popular mashups. It was done with good humor, but it was serious tool for idea generation.
Mr. Tiger Goes Wild is a great one! I got the chance to meet Peter Brown at the SCBWI winter conference in NYC this year, and I’ve been a huge fan of his books.
Thanks for the suggestions Lindsay, they all look like great reads, and um, looks?