Tag Archive | non-US artist

Mystery wind again for Pablo and Birdy, by Alison McGhee & Ana Juan (book review)

book cover of Pablo and Birdy, by Alison McGhee, illustrated by Ana Juan. Published by Atheneum  | recommended on BooksYALove.comA boy who arrived from nowhere,
a parrot who won’t talk or fly,
a shadow lurking in their town.

An unusual tropical wind brought baby Pablo to Isla, securely netted into an inflatable swimming pool and accompanied by Birdy who took care of him.

Ten years later, the wind is predicted again, but Pablo wants only to know where he came from – and why his parents abandoned him to the sea.

Ask for this August 2017 release at your local library or independent bookstore to find out how the “winds of change” affect Isla and its residents.

Is knowing the past more important than living in the present?
**kmm

Book info: Pablo and Birdy / Alison McGhee; illustrated by Ana Juan. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2017. [author site]  [illustrator site] [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Washed onto the island as a baby, Pablo wonders where he came from, wonders why parrot Birdy never talks, wonders why this flightless friend arrived on the raft with him in the storm ten years ago (well, an inflated kiddie pool, not a real raft).

With storm season coming soon, his adoptive dad Emmanuel and the town of Isla prepare to celebrate Pablo’s tenth birthday (well, his tenth arrival-here-day), the many wondrous birds of the tropical island continue to show off for tourists, and the annual rumors about a Seafaring Parrot who flies thousands of miles begin again.

Why is lavender-feathered Birdy suddenly fluttering about?
Who is stealing food from Pierre’s bakery and other shops?
Will the television reporter stop at Isla to search for the Seafaring Parrot?

As he hears a loud voice repeating conversations in the night and sees a shadow lurking on the streets, Pablo worries about the predicted “winds of change” and the future for constant companion Birdy and their past clouded in mystery.

Peril for refugees on The Journey, by Francesca Sanna (book review)

book cover of The Journey by Francesca Sanna published by Flying Eye Books | recommended on BooksYALove.comWar arrives,
we must flee –
Where is safety?

This powerful picture book by an Italian illustrator and author uses black and sunset-hued colors to chronicle the escape of a young girl, her younger brother, and their mother from the war-torn land “by the sea” where their father disappeared.

Ask for The Journey at your local library or independent bookstore.

How do we help others find safety?
**kmm

Book info: The Journey / Francesca Sanna. Flying Eye Books, 2016. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: As war takes her father, then makes home dangerous, a girl escapes with her mother and brother by night, seeking safety in a faraway place.

By car, on foot, by bicycle, boat, and train – the small family crosses borders as they travel onward and onward, their luggage growing smaller, their money dwindling, yet their hope growing as they get nearer and nearer their destination.

The girl sees her mother’s strength (but not her nightly hidden tears), tells her brother stories about imagined monsters beneath the rough seas and dreamed-of fairies in their new land who “give us magic spells to end the war” as their journey continues.

From dark forests where angry guards loom large to the bright shore where freedom beckons across the sea, The Journey picture book is artist/author Francesca Sanna’s tribute to all refugees and migrants.

Oh, such critters in this sketchbook! If Found Please Return to Elise Gravel (book review)

book cover of If Found Please Return to Elise Gravel, by Elise Gravel. Published by Drawn & Quarterly 2017  | recommended on BooksYALove.comWant to become an illustrator?
Ready to step up your drawing style?
Elise says “let out all the ideas” in your sketchbook!

Monsters and microbes and funny mushrooms are some of the “complete nonsense” that this Quebecoise author/illustrator allows herself to draw in her plain black notebook, only later revising them or adding funny stories or spinning them off into her many books for kids.

Her top advice for illustrators-in-training? “Draw all the time!”

Enjoy this sample of Elise’s unique creatures and drawing style here, courtesy of the publisher, then visit your local library or independent bookstore to get your own copy.

What creatures might your doodling reveal?
**kmm

Book info: If Found, Please Return to Elise Gravel / Elise Gravel, translated by Shira Adriance. Drawn & Quarterly, 2017. [author site]  [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Creatures large, small, and all whimsical fill this notebook by Canadian illustrator and children’s author Elise Gravel, as inspiration for us to draw, draw, draw!

Draw in spare moments, like Elise does – practice and more practice is the way to improve, as you find your own drawing style.
You can imitate illustrations for practice or create crazy ideas and doodles. Some may inspire a story, so write it.

Look at her Floofs and foxes, bunnies dressed in punk rock t-shirts, and “the Incredible Hulk presents his favourite recipes for a romantic dinner” – mashing up ideas can make really funny pictures!

To become a better illustrator, just grab your notebook (any color, says Elise) and keep on drawing!

Manga Classics : Emma, by Jane Austen (book review) – matchmaking & secrets

book cover of Emma by Jane Austen & Manga Classics published by Udon Entertainment | recommended on BooksYALove.comMatchmaking – so satisfying!
Seeing friends happy – so delightful!
Her own future so dull – oh, dear…

Emma is sure that her matchmaking will result in happy marriages for everyone in her social circle, but she will care for her elderly father instead of ever marrying. Of course, love has other plans, and secrets, too!

Enjoy the first chapter of this lively manga here free, courtesy of the publisher, then get your own copy at your favorite local library or independent bookstore.

Especially interesting are the information sections about adapting the classic text (available in full here) for use with this graphic format and creating these manga characters as reflections of each personality.

Another in Udon Entertainment’s great Manga Classics series, like Pride and Prejudice (my review here) and The Scarlet Letter (my review here), that will help first-time readers and long-time fans alike become more familiar with the characters and plots of classic stories while reading each author’s original words – back to front, of course.

So, what matchmaking have you witnessed lately?
**kmm

Book info: Emma / Jane Austen; adapted by Stacy King; art by Po Tse. Udon Entertainment, 2015.  [series Facebook page]  [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Ensuring the happiness of her friends through matchmaking leaves Emma Woodhouse little time for dreaming of her own future through marriage, but secrets and changes add to the complexities of her social circle in the English countryside.

Why is Mr. Fairfax so changeable around Emma?
Who sent Jane a piano as a gift?
What if Emma’s friends all marry and leave her alone?

Jane Austen’s 1815 tale of matchmaking and misunderstandings gains graphic form through Po Tse’s manga art, while Stacy King selects just the right passages from the classic text as each character speaks and thinks.

Birth of Kitaro, by Shigeru Mizuki (book review) – Japanese supernatural Yokai!

book cover of Birth of Kitaro by Shigeru Mizuki published by Drawn & Quarterly | recommended on BooksYALove.com Last of the ghost tribe yokai,
helped by his magic hair (and dead eyeball dad),
fighting evil beings in Japan!

While I didn’t meet any (obvious) supernatural beings during my recent trip to Japan, I am delighted to share this first volume in a new English translation of Shigeru Mizuki’s Kitaro series. The Japanese manga master died in December 2015, leaving a legacy of yokai tales and other graphic novels, which Drawn & Quarterly is bringing to western readers.

Visit the publisher’s page here to download a free excerpt of Kitaro’s adventures. Next book in the series arrives soon!

Any supernatural folk in your neck of the woods?
**kmm

Book info: The Birth of Kitaro (Shigeru Mizuki’s Kitaro) / Shigeru Mizuki; text translated by Zack Davisson. Drawn & Quarterly, 2016. [artist’s obituary]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Fighting evil creatures is Kitaro’s specialty, but the one-eyed spirit boy and his eyeball-father aren’t always sure that the people of Japan are worth battling monstrous beings of legend.

Single-eyed newborn Kitaro digs out of his mother’s grave and quickly finds himself embroiled in struggles with malicious yokai who want to overrun modern Japan.

Can half-cat, half-girl Neko Mutsume help him outwit greedy Nezumi Otoko?
How long will his late father’s spirit animate the eyeball?
What’s the best way to banish a frightful buru-buru haunting the mountain highway?

Kitaro’s wooden geta sandals clip-clop away from each supernatural encounter, and a letter in just the right forest postbox will always bring him back, as these 7 episodes from his earliest manga appearances show. First in a series, with new English text by Zack Davisson complementing manga master Shigeru Mizuki’s well-loved illustrations.

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Huck, by Mark Millar and Rafael Albuquerque (book review) – strong, brave, good…and hunted

book cover of Huck by Mark Millar, art by Rafael Albuquerque published by Image Comics | recommended on BooksYALove.comOrphan makes good,
loved by town,
hunted by desperate evil!

With super-human strength, unbelievable speed, and the ability to find anything or anyone, Huck is a quiet, unassuming man who is loved and shielded by his small town – until a new neighbor alerts the media!

Now sought out by those missing loved ones and pets, he’s also on the radar of an evil Russian scientist… who’s been searching for his ability a very, very long time.

Just on sale this week, if you don’t see Huck at your local library, ask for it at an independent bookstore or comic book shop.

A charming and humble superhero who does #onegooddeed daily, just as they taught him at the orphanage – join him in that challenge to fill the world with kindness, won’t you?
**kmm

Book info: Huck / Mike Millar, art by Rafael Albuquerque. Image Comics, 2016. [author site]  [artist site] [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: His superpower is being able to find anything or anyone, but Huck stays humble and helpful, doing a good deed every day in his small seaside town.

When a newcomer blows the protective anonymity that his neighbors have built around the young man since he was found at the orphanage as a baby, the gas station attendant is inundated with requests to find missing persons (and dogs).

While on these missions (with super-human strength), Huck also finds the brother he never knew! Tom knows their mother’s name and that enough for Huck to be able to find her – if the evil Russian scientist’s bad guys don’t get them all first…

Meow meets wow in photos – Men & Cats, by Marie-Eva Gatuingt and Alice Chaygneaud

book cover of Men & Cats by Marie-Eva Gatuingt and Alice Chaygneaud published by Perigee | recommended on BooksYALove.comIf kitty pix make you go “Awwww” and photos of gorgeous guys make you go “Rawr!” then this is your book!

Add it to your favorite indie bookstore wishlist (search here for a great bookstore near you: http://indiebound.org) or just go buy it now as a gift for the person who appreciates cat cute and masculine musculature.

And, yes, the French photographers are adding more fellow and feline picture-pairs to their tumblr!

**kmm

Book info: Men & Cats /Marie-Eva Gatuingt and Alice Chaygneaud. Perigee Books, 2015.  [authors’ tumblr]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Photos of men and cats in matching poses prove that no words are needed to communicate the concepts of “cute plus captivating” as the creators of the wildly popular Des Hommes et des Chatons tumblr have created 50 new combos for this book.

Whether shirtlessly lounging in the sunshine or dually dapper in bowties, each pair of pix has a particular shared visual element (the one with blue eyes!).

Praying and yawning, serene and playful – enjoy men, enjoy cats, enjoy this preview of the book:

750 Years in Paris, by Vincent Mahé (book review) – 1 city block seen over 8 centuries

book cover of 750 Years in Paris by Vincent Mahe published by NoBrow | reviewed on BooksYALove.com“If these walls could only talk…”
People change (or do they?) –
The City of Light remains, a beacon!

Noted magazine illustrator Mahé has distilled centuries of French history into this wordless graphic novel, detailing the changes in a single block of buildings through good times and bad from 1270 to recent times.

Ask for this October 2015 release at your local library or independent bookstore or favorite comics shop, and enjoy his full-length publishing debut with all its verve and humorous/tense details.

What changes have you seen in your own town’s buildings over the years?
**kmm

Book info: 750 Years in Paris / Vincent Mahé. Nobrow Books, 2015. [author’s Facebook page]  [publisher site]   Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Buildings rise and fall, as history’s parade of changes affects a single street in Paris over the centuries, as seen by a French illustrator with an eye for fascinating details.

Vincent Mahé four-color palette ably depicts military victories and invasions, celebrates society’s modernizations, and portrays the City of Light’s evolution from dirt-street hamlet to vibrant metropolis, all from the perspective of one short city block’s buildings.

As its narrow lens helps readers focus on history’s broad sweep, 750 Years in Paris uses human-scale details to wordlessly convey the gradual or abrupt changes that this single location has seen since the 13th century.

A timeline at the end of the book notes each of the 60 time-snapshots portrayed and what memorable event merited their inclusion. Enjoyable for all readers of all ages – especially good for fans of history, graphic design, and hidden pictures! (One of 8,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

MPH, by Mark Millar (book review) – street drug faster than speed

book cover of MPH by Mark Millar, art by Duncan Fegredo, published by Image ComicsTrapped in Detroit slum,
finding a magic pharmaceutical way out,
with a ticking clock to fuel their Robin Hood ways.

One bottle of MPH lets Roscoe, Rosa, Chevy, and Baseball run and rob faster than the human eye can see. Those 31 little pills help them ransack the banks that made millions by sending jobs overseas, give money to the downtrodden, and get the whole FBI on their trail.

Positive visualizations, a taste for the finer things of life, and a sense of duty to do some good for others while the MPH lasts – not your everyday thievery with these young folks who know their fast-running time is limited and that adding anything to this amazing drug could end it faster.

Phenomenal artwork, use of color, and panel placements (there’s this one I’m remembering – epic!) make MPH a must-read graphic novel; check out the alternate covers, too.

If you could slip between raindrops without getting wet, where would you go?

**kmm

Book info: MPH / Mark Millar; art by Duncan Fegredo. Image Comics, 2015.  [author site]   [illustrator site]   [publisher site]   Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher, via NetGalley.

My book talk: A mysterious drug gives super-speed powers to four friends who leave behind the drugs and guns of their Detroit neighborhood to rob big banks, give money to the needy, and grab the good stuff before that tiny bottle of MPH is gone – but where did it come from?

Learning that his boss set him up for a drug bust to get his girlfriend, Roscoe is finally desperate enough to take a pill from the prison pusher, a pill that freezes time so that the young man can escape and run miles before the next second ticks.

The young man easily convinces Rosa, her brother Baseball, and longtime pal Chevy that MPH will let them take what they want, share with those who need it, and still be richer than Roscoe’s vision board ever promised – as long as they can do it before those 31 pills are gone.

Robin Hoods on a nationwide robbery spree, the four are chased by the FBI who have an unlikely ally in a man who’s spent 30 years in solitary confinement.

No warning labels on this bottle, so adding drugs, alcohol, or jealousy could be deadly….  Graphic novel greatness.

 

Manga Classics: The Scarlet Letter (book review) – adultery, shaming & revenge!

book cover of Manga Classics  The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, adapted by Crystal S. Chan, script by Stacy King, art by SunNeko Lee. Published by Udon/ MorpheusA husband missing at sea ,
a forbidden relationship,
one parent punished, the other unknown…

As an error in judgment leads to years of being outcast, Hester must wear the scarlet A for adultery, yet refuses to unmask the father of her child.

Ask at your local library or independent bookstore for this clear retelling of the Hawthorne classic, whether you’re returning to a favorite tale or reading it for the first time.  And if The Scarlet Letter is a school assignment, read the complete original text here for free – getting the story and characters firmly in mind with this manga will make things much easier!

Yes, this book is in true manga format, like Manga Classics: Pride and Prejudice,  so start at the back (helpful refresher on format-reading there) and dive into this Puritan-era conflict between passion and society’s expectations.

How long can revenge brew without burning the soul?
**kmm

Book info: Manga Classics: The Scarlet Letter /  Nathaniel Hawthorne; adapted by Crystal S. Chan, English script by Stacy King; art by SunNeko Lee. Udon Entertainment/Morpheus, 2015.  [publisher site]  [series Facebook page] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: The red A for adultery blazes upon Hester Prynne’s dark clothes, but another has a burning coal in his chest as the unwed mother bears her shame in the Puritan village alone… for now.

Hester wasn’t in love with the older scholar she married at her parents’ insistence, but after his disappearance at sea, she found happiness with another man. Pregnant and judged as a sinner, she is scorned and shunned, especially when she won’t say who Pearl’s father is.

A learned man arrives in the New England village and begins keeping company with their inspiring young pastor. As Rev. Dimmesdale becomes ill, mysterious Dr. Chillingsworth seeks secrets.

Praised for her needlework through the years, Hester is still shunned.
Growing into a lovely and rambunctious child, Pearl is thought to be evil.
Is there any escape for the repentant?

With SunNeko’s art to enhance the carefully adapted text, this true manga (read from back to front) brings new life to Hawthorne’s classic tale of love, passion, and revenge.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)