Illustrator of the Week

Tony DiTerlizzi

Dragons, space monsters, goblins and insects: the characters that inhabit storyteller Tony DiTerlizzi’s world haven’t changed since he was a kid growing up in South Florida.

Born in Los Angeles, California in 1969, DiTerlizzi is the oldest of three siblings raised in an artistically rich household. He started drawing at a very young age including a crayon mural of Winnie-the-Pooh on his freshly painted bedroom walls.

One of his first hand-made books was on his favorite subject; dinosaurs, and was done for a Boy Scout merit badge. Fascinated by nature’s endless designs, Tony made another book, this time on insects, carefully drawn from his own collection.

In 1981, after seeing Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal and playing Dungeons & Dragons, the 12 year-old Tony spent the summer writing and illustrating an entire field guide on fantastic creatures. He would return to this premise many years later as the genesis for The Spiderwick Chronicles.

By the time he graduated high school, DiTerlizzi had dreams of becoming a children’s book creator. He attended several art schools including, Florida School of the Arts and the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, receiving his degree in graphic design in 1992.

After graduating, the 23 year-old DiTerlizzi began working freelance for TSR, publisher of Dungeons & Dragons - the game that had inspired him so much as a child. He illustrated many fantastical images of warriors, wizards and monsters over the next 6 years, and also contributed to the collectible card game Magic the Gathering.

A move to New York City in 1996 brought Tony to the center of the publishing world. At last, his dream of writing and illustrating outstanding imaginative books for children could be realized. And he did it at Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.

In 2000, his first picture book, Jimmy Zangwow’s Out-of-this-World Moon Pie Adventure debuted. Inspired by Windsor McKay’s Little Nemo in Slumberland and Norman Rockwell, the story of a young space adventurer in search of his favorite snack garnered positive reviews. Kirkus compared Tony’s work to that of David Wiesner and William Joyce. More importantly, children loved the book.

The next year, he followed up with Ted, the story of a workaholic single parent trying to find time for his son and his mischievous imaginary friend. Once again, the book was well received, and it won several state awards including the University of Chicago’s Zena Sutherland Book Award.

His third picture book, The Spider and The Fly, was based on Mary Howitt’s famous 1829 poem. Here, DiTerlizzi exhibited his love of insects and arachnids as he rendered Chaz Addams-esque paintings of the intrepid spider and the guileless fly. The result was a critically acclaimed, New York Times bestseller. It won a Caldecott Honor, an award for high artistic achievement in children’s publishing, in 2003. Tony’s career as a creator of children’s books was on its way.
During a magazine interview on his work for Dungeons & Dragons, DiTerlizzi met up-and-coming writer Holly Black. A fellow fantasy and folklore lover, the two became fast friends and Tony showed her sketches he was working on for a field guide to fantastic creatures. Black began helping him, and the two created the chapter book series The Spiderwick Chronicles.
Spiderwick followed the adventures of three New England children who unearth an old John James Audubon-styled field guide to fairies, trolls and goblins. No sooner do they find the tome, they then discover that all of its subjects are real and want the book. The Spiderwick Chronicles are loved by children and adults alike, and was published in over 30 countries, selling over 6 million copies in the US alone.

Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies released a live action adaptation of The Spiderwick Chronicles in 2008 starring Freddie Highmore, Mary Louise-Parker and Nick Nolte. The film was well received by critics and the public alike, remaining in the top 3 at the box office for a number of weeks.

In 2006, Tony took a break from Spiderwick, returning to the picture book format with his nonsense alphabet book, G is For One Gzonk! Next, he and Holly continued the Spiderwick saga in the new series, Beyond the Spiderwick Chronicles. The latest Spiderwick story arc follows a new set of kids dealing with giants, mermaids and nixies in the hot, humid tropics of South Florida.

DiTerlizzi’s latest project, Kenny and The Dragon, exhibits the creator’s debut as a chapter book writer. Inspired by The Reluctant Dragon, it tells the story of a young, bookish rabbit who becomes friends with a happy-go-lucky drake. As the two become best friends, the king orders the town dragon-slayer to execute the beast – and it is up to the rabbit, Kenny, to stop him.
“I think a story like this still has significance today as it did when Kenneth Grahame first told it over a century ago,” Tony says, “As a society we still judge and act first, then think about the consequences afterwards.”

Tony continues to work on new stories for children with his wife and daughter in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

Natalie Babbitt is a champion at descriptions, bringing in seemingly inoccuos information into the story that has such deep significance as the story progresses. The constant repetition of the toad in the story, plays well in the end, being the thread that loosely keeps the story going from beginning to end. The whole story rolls in a sing song fashion, ambling away on three hot summer days. The beautiful descriptions of objects such as blank white dawns, smeared sunsets, peculiar house, gurgling water, crumpled dress, mindlessly hot, catholic mixture of houses, and even the rattling pick-up truck in the end. Each detail paints such a vivid picture of the small town, Winnie’s life, and the Tucks, that if the reader stumbled across such a town or such people, we would be able to recognize them in an instant.

Forgotten Author of the Week

Felice Holman

Felice Holman was born October 24, 1919 in New York City. She graduated from Syracuse University in 1941 and later worked as an advertising copywriter. Felice Holman married Herbert Valen in 1941 and some of the experiences of their daughter Nanine Elisabeth Valen would serve as the model for her first book Elisabeth, The Bird Watcher published in 1963. During the 1960s, she published two more "Elisabeth" stories and wrote some humorous books for children. In 1970, she published her first book for poetry for children At the Top of My Voice. Critics praised the poems for their "originality, humor and point." She continued to write humorous stories for young readers including The Escape of the Giant Hogstalk (1974) that critics called filled "with giggles interspersed with horse laughs all the way." In the 1970s, she also began writing realistic fiction for young adults. Her book Slake's Limbo (1974), the story of a boy who lives in a cave below Grand Central Station was lauded for its "authenticity of detail" and as "remarkably taut" and "convincing." In 1975, she co-wrote The Drac: French Tales of Dragons and Demons, a collection of French legends with her daughter Nanine Valen. My favorite book that I thoroughly enjoyed was The Wild Children, written in 1983. Throughout her long and prolific career, Felice Holman has received several honors including a Lewis Carroll Shelf Award best book for young adult's citation and an American Library Association notable book citation for Slake's Limbo in 1978.
Who Am I?
The trees ask me,
And the sky,
And the sea asks me
Who am I?
The grass asks me,
And the sand,
And the rocks ask me
Who am I?
The wind tells me
At nightfall,
And the rain tells me
Someone small.
Someone small
Someone small
But a piece

Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans

With its childlike simplicity and exaggerated lines, Bemelmans creates a mood for his little book that has become such a childhood staple. He creates a story of a strong little heroin, a rarity in stories from that time period, and at the same time introduces young readers to Paris. Today, publishers must take into consideration the use of rhyme, as it is hard to market a rhyming picture book to a foreign market, but Madeline is a different animal altogether. Beemelmans’ bouncing rhymes are done with hardly an effort and he isn’t afraid to even use words that aren’t even words.
“To the tiger in the zoo
Madeline just said, “Pooh, Pooh.”

Illustrator of the Week - Lisa Jahn-Clough

Born in Rhode Island, Lisa Jahn-Clough lived on a farm until she was ten. When she was ten her family moved to maine. Much of Jahn-Clough's stories stem from her own life, her personal experiences through moving, divoce, death, and diabetes. She was inspired by books like Eloise, Ramons, Harriet the Spy, The Secret Garden, Little Women, and many biographies.

The development of her art was a entirely different journey. Art was something Jahn-Clough had always done, as her mother was also an artist. Her childhood was full of arts & crafts, pasting & coloring, and drawing. In high school she won a couple of awards. In 1990 she wrote and illustrated Alicia Has a Bad Day. Since then she has written and illustrated four other books with the Alicia Character. Today Lisa Jahn-Clough teaches at Hamline University, sharing her love of picture books, writing, and illustrations to all who will listen. I have been very excited to have her as one of my professors.

'Twilight' time: Fans will party till the 'Breaking Dawn'

By Jeanné McCartin
July 27, 2008 6:00 AM

It's the hottest book series you've probably never heard of. That is, unless your life puts you in close proximity to a tween, teen or 20-something female. But it's bound to penetrate the world of the unacquainted soon.

The "Twilight" series by Stephenie Meyer will release the fourth and final installment Aug. 2, with midnight release parties nationally — including on the Seacoast. And if that doesn't burst through, the "Twilight" movie in late '08 likely will.

"Twilight," the film, hits in December. The current standing on Yahoo Movies has "Twilight" teaser No. 2 at 411,902 views, the original at 121,284. Coming in at number 3 is "The Dark Knight: You Wanna Play" at 115,689 clicks. Get the picture now?

So what is "Twilight" and why the incredible loyalty? First an explanation, then the fans.
The book's core is a romance between everyday teen Bella and her classmate Edward — a vampire. Then there's Jacob her best friend who also loves her, a Native American — oh yeah, and a werewolf, the vampire's natural enemy. It's romance and paranormal fiction with tension galore; from early Bella and Edward encounters, to the later ones with some very bad vampires.
So what grabs the reader? "It's because every girl can relate to Bella," says Bridget Swift, 18, of Stratham and a mega fan. "Also because it gives normal girls that hope of the one true love that's been lost in fairy tales over the years. ...; Now everyone dies, or cheats. ...; You can't find a real good happy ending. I haven't found a good one since 'Jane Austen' and that was a couple of centuries ago."

Swift tracks info on the movie daily "sometimes hourly," and sends alerts out to a dozen equally interested friends. She stays abreast of news as a member of a fan Web site. She's also helping to arrange the Exeter's Water Street Bookstore release party.

Till a friend gave Swift a copy of "Twilight" in February '08, when she was a high school senior, she'd never heard of it. "As soon as I read it I started seeing other people carrying around the book everywhere I went. I'd stumbled into the underground movement."
Maybe not everyone. But a check with a few bookstores, fans, and fan sites verifies some adult women and boys are fans.

Swift's hopes for the conclusion? "A happy ending for everyone. ...; The way it's written you want every one to be happy, you care for them, feel like you know them on a personal level," she says.

The best possible outcome is Bella and Edward marry and she becomes a vampire. "She wants to go with him wherever he goes." Note: vampires never die or age.

As for Jacob, "I want him to imprint on somebody other than Bella." If you don't know the term, we won't ruin your read by explaining.

And of course there must be tension — as with the previous three. All those asked, starting with Swift, believe the struggle will be with the Voltari, a very nasty lot of Italian vampires.
And what are her thoughts on the movie? Swift likes the casting. "I think they're perfect. In my head I first put Bella's voice as naive, almost too girly. But when I heard Kristen Stewart talk, it really fit the voice of the character, not girly — smart and extremely strong."

Edward is played by Robert Pattinson. "From the beginning I loved him, ever since I saw him in Harry Potter, (as Cedric Diggory). I think they really got the Greek god, hard jaw, classical looking." She thinks Taylor Lautner as Jacob should work as well.

Emily Braile, 18, Durham, is another series latecomer. Today her circle of friends, which includes Swift, is hooked.

Her book expectations? The same as the above, Edward and Bella together and both vampires. Jacob happy with someone else. "All my friends are for Edward, probably because he's impossibly perfect," says Braile. "He's what every girl hopes they can end up with."
And the movie? She's not following it too closely. She wants to be surprised. But she's fine with the casting. "I don't know any of them ...; but the one playing Edward," says Braile. "I'm excited to see if they can actually act."

Braile weighs in on the recent Entertainment Weekly photo "controversy." The cover shot depicts Edward and Bella in romance novel style and dress — open shirt and all. Related Web sites were stormed with pro and con comments. Braile liked the photo. "I thought it looked like them, the characters. They made him look really pale and her normal tone. ...; It's like the Hollywood version, it's what they do. They could do a lot worse."

Kristen Ladua, 20, of North Hampton attends the University of New Hampshire. While college isn't the target audience, she knows quite a few classmates who have read the series.
"I feel like a lot of people are turned off to the whole plot of it. ...; You think it's going to be a creepy vampire book. But once you get into it and once you get to know the characters you get totally absorbed. ...; It's like Harry (Potter). He's a wizard 'get over it.' In this Edward's a vampire, 'so move on.' It's more about his personality and less of what he is."

And oddly enough he is relatable, as is Bella. And there lies the draw. "Even though it's mythical creatures it feels like it's something that could happen. And it's so romantic and funny and nice you wish it could."

Book four wishes? "I don't want her to lose who she is as a human when she becomes a vampire and the biggest part of that is Jacob. I do feel it's inevitable she's with Edward, but I hope Stephenie (Meyer) is more imaginative and finds a way to make her part of everyone's world."
Macy Howarth, 14, Portsmouth, resisted reading "Twilight." That vampire thing was a bit much. "But my friend said 'you have to read it.' ...; I've read it six times now probably," she says. "I thought it would be on the horror side. It was more in the romantic; not gory."

She preferred books one and three, a common theme with fans. She didn't like the morose Bella, or her reference to Jacob as her sun. "It bugged me." But the series works overall because it's fast-paced, has numerous twists and strong characters. "You know them."

The series' publisher recently released a special edition of "Eclipse," which included the first chapter of "Breaking Dawn." Nice marketing ploy. Howarth's friend bought it and passed it around. "We were fighting over it," she says laughing. "It sounds like they're getting married, but (Meyer) might throw a twist into the plot. ...; I kind of want them to get married. I really hope she doesn't go for Jacob. I think Edward has picked his love."

As for the movie, the cast isn't her dream team. Edward is OK, she says. But she's not wild about Stewart as Bella and she's no fan of the teaser trailers either; "Too dramatic." Furthermore it shows Edward flying; "Doesn't happen." "I don't think they're going to get it right. I think when you go to the movie you have to forget the book. If you compare it, it will be an awful movie."
That said, she wouldn't miss it for anything.

Coming Soon: 7/27 - 8/2

Madam President by Lane Smith
A little girl imagines what her day would be like if she were Madam President. There would be executive orders to give, babies to kiss, tuna casseroles to veto (or VETO!)...and so much more! Not to mention that recess would definitely require more security.

Cinderella's Fairy-Tale Wedding by Lisa Ann Marsoli
Cinderella's wedding day promises to be the happiest, most enchanting day of her life. if she can only get all the planning done! Little girls will have no such problems with their own pretend weddings, however-since this handy 24-page book and kit comes complete with white gloves, a wedding ring, and a veil fit for a princess. Terrific add-ins and a beautiful storybook make this deluxe package an incredible deal at $15.99.

Disney Fairies: Tinker Bell's Tea Party by Lara Bergen
No one throws a better tea party than the fairies of Pixie Hollow! Join Tinker Bell and her friends as they set about preparing for the perfect fairy tea party. All of Pixie Hollow pitches in: from the garden-talent fairies to the baking-talent fairies, every talent group has lots to do to make this the best tea party the fairies have ever had!

Baby Einstein: Touch and Feel Neighborhood Animals by Julie Aigner-Clark
Curious babies will love this new Baby Einstein board book, featuring stunning full-color photos ofneighborhood animals with touch and feel panels. Babies will be introduced to animals that live in their neighborhood through endearing text and delightful illustrations.

Can You See What I See? On a Scary Scary Night by Walter Wick
Co-creator of the popular I SPY series,Walter Wick is at it again. Mr. Wick dazzles the senses with spooky scenes that achieve new levels of aesthetic excellence! This book offers readers lots of search and find fun as they peer through pages and pages of brilliant photographic compositions looking for fascinating toys and objects.

Babar's USA by Laurent de Brunhoff
Celebrate Babar as he celebrates America! An all-new Babar book featuring photos of the USA collaged with original Babar illustrations for an exciting tour of modern America. In a new picture book featuring the internationally beloved and bestselling Babar, the lovable elephant and his family travel across the United States. Using collage—watercolor illustrations were pasted onto digital photographs—to put the characters directly into real-life scenes, Laurent de Brunhoff takes Babar and his family around the country to see the sights, from New York, where they see such icons as the Brooklyn Bridge and FAO Schwarz; to Memphis, Tennessee, where they see Graceland; to Key West, Florida, where they enjoy the beach; to Wyoming, where they see Yellowstone National Park; and to California, where they see the La Brea Tar Pits, the Golden Gate Bridge, and more; and to everywhere in between.

Goosebumps HorrorLand #4: The Scream of the Haunted Mask by R.L. Stine
After the worst Halloween ever, Carly Beth assumed that nothing could be scarier than a drooling rubber mask with a mind of its own. The Haunted Mask is its name. Don't wear it out. One year later, the ugly, green mask mysteriously calls out to her again, and ugly, green masks don't like to be ignored. If Carly Beth can survive the night, even a terrifying amusement park like HorrorLand might seem like a vacation. Then again, maybe not . . .

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein

The Hobbit has a unique narrative voice in which Tolkein speaks directly to the reader, making the reader feel like they are a part of the story. Although the story is undoubtably that of Bilbo, Tolkein doesn’t flinch in giving us information that Bilbo does not know or hasn’t learned yet. Tolkein will follow Bilbo for as long as he is able, but eventually we must know what happened to Smaug and the Goblins. With the narrative style, these changes in perspective don’t seem the least bit jarring. A few examples of this are:

“It was a turning point in his career and he did not know it.”

“Now certainly Bilbo was in what is called a tight place. But you must remember it was not quite so tight for him as it would have been for me or you.”

“I imagine you know the answer.”

This is empowering as a reader, and gives the narrator a voice of his own, and in turn allows the author to take liberties with perspectives and future information.

Illustrator of the Week

I thought this week, we would try something a little different for a change. I just finished reading J.R.R. Tolkein's The Hobbit, and I thought that perhaps we could look at the different people who have illustrated the book over the years. We will begin with Tolkein of course.

Tolkeins Editor didn't actually believe Tolkein could draw, having only seen his maps, but Tolkein proved that although he wasn't a master painter, he was more than capable of showing his images to his readers.

Alan Lee of course is famous for his artwork, having done art for the Lord of the Rings Trilogy as well as for calendars, and even his own amusement. Alan Lee once said about art, "To draw a tree, to pay such close attention to every aspect of a tree, is an act of reverence not only toward the tree, and toward the earth itself, but also our human connection to it. This is one of the magical things about drawing -- it gives us almost visionary moments of connectedness."

John Howe illustrated a version of the Hobbit by Holland press. Both he and Alan Lee are working together on the concept art for the new film to be released in 2011. Howe also did the art for the pop-up 3D version of the book. Michael Hague is a fun illustrator, who seems to look on the brighter side when doing illustrations but that isn't to say he can't be dark. Hague has illustrated numerous books on dragons, fairies, and even a book on Peter Pan. His depiction of Smaug is one of the most well known paintings for the Hobbit.

Not even Maurice Sendak wanted to be left out of the fun and he penned this illustration in 1967. Sendak drew some sketches for an illustrated edition of The Hobbit, and even met with Tolkien about it. Unfortunately, the book was never published (never finished?), apparently because Sendak suffered a heart attack.

In 1977 Arthur Rankin and Jules Bass did an animated made-for-television movie of the Hobbit. It was terrible, but it goes to show that the book has been a visual inspiration for many people.

David Wenzel did the art for The Hobbit: the comic book. It may sound silly, but the greatest surprise to me upon reading this adaptation of The Hobbit was that Dixon and Deming were able to fit everything in. So many comic adaptations have shortened or glossed over major parts of the work they were turning into sequential art, but this was clearly a labor of love in getting every last part of the story there. Dixon and Deming wisely choose when to use narration and when to express the story in dialogue; with only 144 pages, one’s space is limited, and they found a nice balance.

Lastly, the Hobbit has spawned numerous fan art depictions. Some, like the ones below are beautifully done.

Michelle GorskiMike MaihackTodd Zalewski

Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo

Since Kate DiCamillo has taught and is a benefactress of my University I am hesitant to analyze this book too deeply. That said, I will say that this is my least favorite of her books. Perhaps it is my clear dislike for strange animals with weird powers, I can do a talking mouse in Brian Jacques fashion, but a dog who might or might nor have magical powers along with strange candy, was a little much for me.

This book holds a strange dichotomy between a melancholy tone and that of a very hopeful and magical one. The main character deals with many hard things, but I think it is wrong to think that middle readers wouldn’t understand. In an age where more and more children are having to deal with divorce, abandonment, love, and bullies, this book is a perfect book about reality with a dash of magic. DiCamillo is great at weaving the characters together using a single factor, Winn-Dixie, and although the book may seem a bit preachy at times, it’s lessons are what makes the book so endearing to children. It is my hope that DiCamillo's readers will continue to read more of her books, particulary the Tale of Despereaux because I found that character far more enthralling than Winn-Dixie.

Forgotten Author of the Week

Victor Kelleher

Victor Kelleher (born 1939) is an Australian author. Victor was born in London and moved to Africa with his parents, at the age of fifteen. He spent the next twenty years travelling and studying in Africa, before moving to New Zealand. Kelleher received a teaching degree in Africa and has taught in Africa, New Zealand and Australia. While in New Zealand, he began writing part time, prompted by homesickness for Africa. He moved to Australia in 1976, with his South African wife, Allison, and taught at the University of New England, in Armidale, New South Wales, before moving to Sydney to write full time. Many of the books he has written have been based on his childhood and his travellings in Africa.

In 1992 he won Children's book of the Year for his book Del-Del and in 1983 the same honor for Master of the Grove. Many more of his books have been nominated for honored for various awards.

Kelleher has written 43 books, 3 of which are a series and 2 are picture books. And 2 of which were written under the psuedonym, Veronica Hart. His most recent book, Dogboy, was released in 2006.

In 1993 a student at St. Stephens school like Kelleher's books so much that he and a friend even wrote a rap/poem for the author. He readily admits it wasn't his moment of glory but it is fun none the less.

Born In England, in London to be exact
Now he lives in Glebe 'cos that's where it's at
Victor Kelleher
Born on 19th July '39And he moved to Natal Uni '59
Victor Kelleher
South Africa's his pad in 1963
He hung out (in) Africa 'til 1973
I bet you're thinking right now "
I wish he'd shut his trap
"Everybody join in, sing the Kelleher Rap

Victor KelleherObsessed with the trends of the 90's age
Can't stand the bomb and the European way
Victor Kelleher
His favourite food:
He's snackin' on chips
He models clay pots and he's joggin' to get fit
Victor Kelleher

All through his teens he never read a book
But his books are still good, why don't you take a look
I bet you're really glad my singing's out of key
Everybody join in, you'll sing the rap with me
Victor KelleherIn '74 he began to write
When he was a kid he stayed up all night
Victor Kelleher

His parents were violent, they often had rows
But they were nice to him and they made him like now
Victor Kelleher
Up 'til now's written at least ten books
While his rough upbringing's made him nothing like a sook
I bet you're thinking right now
"His dancing's pretty bad"
Everybody join in, sing the Kelleher rap!

Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crocket Johnson

Crockett creates an interesting and very simplistic modern fairy tale that builds on a child’s delight in make-believe. Instead of creating a magical world or a fairy like character, Crockett just gives us a purple crayon. By using this subject matter, the young reader can directly relate, understand, and emulate the main character. This is probably the greatest challenge for a picture book author, to have a book that a child can relate to, enjoy, and understand, and to make sure that book has a lasting subject that will stand the test of time. Crockett understands how to do this.

Writers' Union Writing for Children award winner announced

The Writers' Union of Canada has announced that Ottawa writer M. Alicia Fraser has won the 12th annual Writing for Children Competition, for the best story under 1,500 words, with her piece “Tracks.” The winner receives a $1,500 cash prize, and the union will submit the winning story and the other 11 finalists' stories to three Canadian publishers of children's literature for their consideration.

This year, 17 union members read over 929 submissions to select a longlist of 97 stories. The shortlist was selected by another panel of 18 readers before the winner was chosen by a jury made up of writers Damien Fière, Jacqueline Guest, and Tim Wynne-Jones.

Coming Soon: 7/20 - 7/26

What's Your Red Rubber Ball?! by Kevin Carroll
In a boldly designed, highly energetic book, Kevin Carroll leads readers through a series of exercises designed to help them discover their Red Rubber Ball--a dream to chase for a lifetime. With a cardboard box to be decorated, punch-out inspiration cards, a removable dream statement, and gatefold pages that can be written on, this engaging new book offers tweens and teens a fun, accessible way to think about their hopes and dreams.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The Battle Begins by Rob Valois

Star Wars: Clone Wars Visual Guide

The Thief by Megan Turner

This is a beautiful example of a first person narrative that can still surprise the reader. Turner creates a contest of wits between a number of very different, very deadly, and very talented people. The narrative reads like a fireworks display of daring plans, brilliant ideas, sleight of hand, and astonishing courage. Hidden motives abound. Even the narrator lies to the reader. What an ingenous way to engage your reader. But I cannot tell you about this book, without mentioning her other two, Queen of Attolia and King of Attolia, books 2 & 3 in the series. Although The Thief could be considered stand alone, it is the trio that rounds out the character of Jen. Turner is brilliant by the thirs book by not making the first person perspective be that of Jen but rather a soldier who thinks Jen is a bumbling fool. The thing is, we know Jen so well after two books, that the entire books you are saying to the little soldier man, "You just wait, Jen is amazing." What a great way to write a book. Still rooting for a character that is being portrayed as a horrible person. Brilliant.

Illustrator of the Week

John Jude Palencar

Artist and illustrator, John Jude Palencar, is known throughout the world for his distinctive, ethereal style and unique conceptualization. For more than 20 years he has received honors for his contributions to the field of illustration including Gold and Silver Medals from the Society of Illustrators, two Gold Book Awards from Spectrum, and Best Hardcover and two best Paperback Awards from the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists for three consecutive years. Besides being an active artist and illustrator, he has served on the juried of several international art competitions.

His work has appeared on hundreds of book covers in over thirty countries. Renowned authors, H.P. Lovecraft, Ursula LeGuin, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Octavia Butler, Stephen King, Charles deLint and Christopher Paloini are but a few. TIME Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine, National Geographic Magazine and Television, and the Philadelphia Opera have employed his artistic talents for their publications and productions. Most recently, his cover paintings for Eragon and Eldest, by Christopher Paolini, has appeared on the New York Time Children’s Best Seller List for the past year. An influence on the young Eragon’s birthplace, “Palancar Valley” after John Jude. The newest book in the Inheritance Trilogy releases this fall. His recent work can also be seen on the cover of The Black Tattoo by Sam Enthoven.

He has been a featured artist in IDEA Magazine in Japan and enjoys an on-going artist-in-residence program in County Kerry, Ireland. There, his paintings were included in a special exhibit entitled, “Images of Ireland”, held at the National Museum in Dublin. He also donated his work to raise money for Cill Rialaig Project at the 6th Annual Ambassador’s Golf Classic held in Waterville, County Kerry, Ireland.

His work was featured in an exhibition entitles, “As Seen Ohio: Nine Illustrators”, at the Centro Cultural Recoleta in Argentina as well as The Spectrum Retrospective Exhibition held at The Society of Illustrators Museum of American Illustration in New York City. John Jude also has participated in dozens of group exhibitions at colleges and universities throughout the country.

His paintings are in numerous corporate and private collections in the United States and abroad.

A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park

This story required some serious research on the part of the author. It made me wonder if everything was completely accurate or if the author was making up some of it. As I saw in the author’s note, it was a little of both. Yet, I would never have known it. I was told once that a good author can make anything sound convincing even if they don’t know what they are talking about. Park does this well. Not to say she didn’t know what she was talking about, but she mixed the fact with the fiction so seamlessly that one would not be able to distinguish between the two. Park also does a fabulous job of taking a traditional Korean story model and developing a tale of triumph. Placing the story in 12th century Korea was a shrewd move, as it was an era for high art and allows the reader to really explore the beauty of that culture. It’s a tribute to Park that she doesn’t over sentamentalize or orientalize the world that she depicts. Although I am a little curious about the choice of the boys name ‘Tree-ear’, which did not read very well, but one got used to it in the end. It is a common story structure, but it works unfailingly through Park’s convincing and inspired narrative and the backdrop of a previously uncharted terrain of 12th century Korea.

Forgotten Author of the Week

Wende and Harry Devlin (1918-2001)

Harry Devlin
The author of 21 children's books, three films, and countless cartoons for Collier's magazine, Harry has spent a lifetime illustrating and illuminating the world around him." - Taken from NJ Governor Thomas H. Kean's introductory speech of Harry as Chairman of the 1989 Book Awards Committee.
Harry was born on March 22, 1918 in Jersey City, NJ, the second of two sons of Amelia Crawford Devlin and Harry G. Devlin. Harry's artistic talent first came to light in the 3rd grade and continued to flourish through junior high school, where he became the sole illustrator for the school's main publication, The Marquis.

In high school, he worked part-time at Newark Airport painting insignia on US Army mail planes. This sparked his interest in building model airplanes and credits this hobby with teaching him patience, precision, structure and balance - skills which served him well during his long art career. Harry pursued a fine arts degree at Syracuse University, where he met his future wife, Dorothy Wende. They married on August 30, 1941. The Devlins moved to Elizabeth, NJ in 1946 with their two children - Harry Noel and Wende Elizabeth - in tow.

The following year, Harry was offered the opportunity to illustrate for Collier's Weekly, where he honed his draftsman and perspective skills. His ability to effectively capture the personalities of the figures he drew landed him the position of lead editorial cartoonist at Collier's. This led to numerous freelance assignments including Saturday Home Magazine and the book, Innocents at Home. The Devlins moved their growing family, which now included Jeffrey Anthony and Alexandra Gail, to a sprawling 1875 Colonial in Mountainside, NJ.

In a touch of irony, Harry was elected President of the National Cartoonists Society in 1956, just as the Golden Age of Illustration was ending. Television quickly replaced print media as the main source of advertising and both Collier's and Saturday Home Magazine folded. Harry then combined his illustrative skills with that of his wife, Wende - who was an accomplished painter and writer - and developed a comic strip entitled "Fullhouse" based on the antics of their seven children, which now included Brion Phillip, Nicholas Kirk and David Matthew. The popular strip was later named "Raggmopp" and became syndicated in newspapers throughout the country.
This successful collaboration spawned a series of children's literature, beginning with Old Black Witch in 1963. Old Black Witch and its two sequels have sold over one and a half million copies.
Among his greatest accomplishments are the stunning paintings of examples of American architectural styles such as Victorian, Greek Revival, and American streetscapes. Seventy-five of these paintings have been immortalized in his book, Portraits of American Architecture: Monuments to a Romantic Mood, 1830 - 1900.

Harry was a skilled painter, a highly talented illustrator and accomplished photographer. He gave back to the community through his service on the New Jersey State Council from 1970 to 1979, the New Jersey Committee for the Humanities from 1984 to 1990 and in the library he helped create in Mountainside, NJ. He was a loving father of seven and devoted husband to Wende. But the legacy that Harry will probably be best remembered for was his ability to never stop challenging the depths of his imagination and effectively capture it on paper and canvas for the world to view.

Wende Devlin
Dorothy Wende was born on April 27, 1918 in Buffalo, New York to Dr. Bernhardt Phillip Wende and Elizabeth May Buffington. She was known to her family and friends as "Wende". Wende was a frequent visitor to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and took private art lessons as a child. She became the art editor of the yearbook. Wende met Harry at the Crouse College of Art in Syracuse in 1938.
Harry graduated a year before Wende and his promising career took off. After being hired by Life Magazine to prepare Army manuals, along with other freelance work, Harry felt financially secure enough to propose to Wende. They were married on August 30, 1941.
The couple initially settled in Manhattan, but soon left the bustling city for a quiet thatched-roof home in the tiny town of Valley Cottage, NY, in Rockland County. There they developed friendships with well-known writers, artists, singers and painters such as Maxwell Anderson and Lotte Lenya. Their idyllic lifestyle was shattered by the entry of the United States into World War II. On October 30, 1942 as Harry prepared for his first day of military service, Wende gave birth to the first of the couple's seven children, Harry Noel (later known as "Herke").

Between feedings and diaper changes, Wende continued to paint extraordinary portraits and still lifes. In 1946, first daughter Wende Elizabeth arrived. The growing Devlin family relocated to Elizabeth, NJ. Harry went through a prosperous time with steady employment as the lead editorial cartoonist at Collier's, numerous freelance assignments including Saturday Home Magazine and the book, Innocents at Home. The Devlins summered on Cape Cod with their children, now numbering four with the addition of Jeffrey Anthony and Alexandra Gail.
In 1950, the family moved to a magical, three acre hilltop property in Mountainside, NJ with a large Victorian farmhouse and a carriage house they converted into an artist's studio. Harry and Wende collaborated on a cartoon strip called "Fullhouse" and later called "Raggmopp" based on the fun and chaos of their growing family.
The Golden Age of Illustration came to an end and in 1956, Wende started a humorous column for Good Housekeeping magazine using elegant lyricism and comedy to describe domestic ironies. She managed to find time to write two new comic strips - "Amy" and "Margie" while raising her seven young children.
In 1963, Wende and Harry combined their unique talents to produce their first children's book, Old Black Witch! Wende wrote the book and Harry illustrated. This led to other "Old Witch" books and in 1971, they started a new series with the publication of "Cranberry Thanksgiving".
Wende's gifted words will continue to enthall future generations as they get tucked under the covers and fall asleep listening to her delightful stories, just as her own children probably did when she first spun these tales. Her timeless words, brought alive by Harry's vivid illustrations, leave a amazing testimony to the talents of Wende Devlin.