Debatables: Frith Fails!

It’s official: despite Michael Frith achieving a kind of Muppety perfection in The Perils of Penelope, the Debatables commenters decided that Barbara McClintock is more deserving of the coveted Caldecott Medal.

Normally, I’d deliver a “FOR SHAME!” to those who voted against my pick, but I can’t muster it, because McClintock is very much deserving of the honor.


On a sort-of related note… illustrators are awesome, aren’t they?

Below are three of my all-time favorites:

Elizabeth Zechel!


Claire Almon!


And David Gardner!

I’m sure you have a few favorites, too.

So do me a favor. If you see some picture books that make you say “Yowza!”, don’t sit by passively and hope the illustrators will get Caldecotts.

Seek them out. Give them your love. Let them know that their artistic efforts left an impression.

Because, let’s face it, a great illustrator deserves all the kudos he or she can handle.


Profiles In Awesomeness: David Gardner

Illustrator extraordinaire David Gardner and I have been pals ever since our book Sarah Gives Thanks was first published in 2012.

Remember her?

He and I live about 1,000 miles apart, so we’ve never met face to face, but we are friends nonetheless—often emailing, occasionally phoning, and annually exchanging Christmas cards.

Perhaps most awesomely, we send each other our latest children’s books.

One of David’s more recent efforts is a picture book biography of the great songwriter Irving Berlin. I highly recommend it. Leslie Kimmelman’s story is fantastic and, as always, David’s illustrations are a sight to behold.

Take a look!

Berlin as a young man singing in a saloon…

Berlin composing songs to improve wartime morale…

And look at this amazing page depicting the exhilarating hubbub of the Lower East Side!

Isn’t it cool?

Wait. Hold on.

That last illustration…

I think I…

I think I saw something…


I have been immortalized!

Thank you so much, David!

And keep your eyes peeled, my friend. Someday, when you least expect it, I shall return the favor!