Welcome Back Sun with a sweater

Since it is the season of darkness, or the Murketiden, I thought I’d revisit my most wintery book, Welcome Back Sun, now out of print. It’s all about the darkness of winter and waiting for the sun to come back. It’s based in Norway where winter takes on a whole new meaning. This new sweater based on an illustration of mine was designed by Marilyn van Keppel.

From the website Feral Knitters:

Dear Knitters, As it becomes more and more difficult to pretend that the days are not shortening, I am reminded of a touching children’s book, Welcome Back Sun, written and illustrated by Michael Emberley (Little, Brown,1993). Thinking of the seemingly endless sunless months that people in far northern climes endure makes our short mid-winter days positively cheering. I love the book very much, and the beautiful watercolors of numerous Norwegian sweaters gave me a reason to stock the title until it went out of print. Marilyn van Keppel was equally enchanted by the illustrated sweaters; particularly the painting in the frontispiece. She knitted it again and again and, with Michael Emberley’s permission, we have reproduced his painting to accompany Marilyn’s instructions for the Welcome Back Sun Sweater (SPP#22); a yoke-style cardigan in 3 sizes, knitted in Shetland Jumper Weight wool. When I went to pick up copies at the printers yesterday, they thought an artist had been inspired by the photograph of Eli to produce the painting. Actually, Eli had studied the painting carefully and practiced getting just the right expression to match it closely. Good job, huh?”

Sweater design by Marilyn Van Keppel based on an illustration from Welcome Back Sun by Michael Emberley

Schoolhouse Press

Welcome Back Sun (SPP 22)

Marilyn van Keppel

Marilyn’s sweater design was inspired by a painting in the frontispiece of the touching children’s book, Welcome Back Sun, by Michael Emberley (Little, Brown,1993), sadly now out of print. With Michael Emberley’s permission, we have reproduced his painting (see at left) to accompany Marilyn’s knitted version; a yoke-style cardigan in 3 sizes, knitted in Shetland Jumper Weight wool. 4 pages. $10

Discount Until January 6, 2013, $8


Multi Lingual Blog review of Maybe A Bear Ate It!

This is from a blog by Mônica Carnesi, originally from Brazil, her blog is called “Blogging about Art and Books.”  it’s worth a look as is her website.
This is her website : http://www.monicacarnesi.com/Monica_Carnesi/Welcome.html
It’s nice to be talked about in three languages for a change. The US is far behind in reaching out to the rest of the world with other languages besides English. Unless you grew up multi-lingual, that is, like in San Diego, CA, where I used to live, or  San Antonio, TX. If demographics are correct, the residents of these cities will be ahead of most Americans when the USA starts officially speaking a lot more Spanish in the near future. Change is a good thing in this case. Shake things up…

Spotlight on Books and Illustrators

I’m going to start posting weekly recommendations of picture books that have made an impression on me. The fun part about working as a selector of children’s materials is that I get to see some really wonderful stuff! But I’ll also be mentioning some older books that I’ve added to my collection and that I really love. I’ve always loved picture books and children’s literature in general, even prior to becoming a librarian.
Here’s the pick of this week: “Maybe a bear ate it” by
Robie H. Harris, and illustrated by Michael Emberley.

This is a lovely story with very simple text and loose and expressive illustrations — a perfect combination of words and images. A little cat (in full-body stripped pajamas!) gets ready for bed by gathering his favorite stuffed animals and book. And then, in a moment of distraction, he realizes his book is missing! He proceeds to imagine all sorts of tragic scenarios regarding what might have happened to his book (all of the accounts include one of his stuffed toys, very clever…) After searching for a while he finds his beloved book and can finally go to sleep. Adorable! This book is funny and tender, perfect for storytelling or bedtime reading. Check it out! And coming up next week, suggestions of some neat wordless books.

Vou recomendar semanalmente livros infantis que eu gostei de ler. Uma das coisas divertidas de selecionar materiais infantis é a chance de ver muitos trabalhos maravilhosos. Mas também pretendo mencionar livros antigos que eu amo, e que acrescentei a minha biblioteca pessoal. Sempre gostei de livros e de literatura infantil, mesmo antes de me tornar bibliotecária.
Aqui está o livro escolhido desta semana: “Maybe a bear ate it” de Robie H. Harris, e ilustrado porMichael Emberley.

É uma estória adorável, com um texto simples e ilustrações bem soltas e expressivas — uma combinação perfeita de palavras e imagens. Um gatinho (vestido de um pijama listrado de corpo inteiro!) prepara-se para dormir pegando seus animais de brinquedo e livro favoritos. Quando, num momento de distração, ele percebe que o livro desapareceu. Ele então imagina cenários trágicos do que poderia ter acontecido com seu livro (todos incluem um dos seus animais de brinquedo, muito bem feito…) Depois de procurar por algum tempo ele encontra o seu querido livro e pode finalmente ir dormir. Uma graça! Este livro é divertido e terno, perfeito para ler em grupo ou na hora de dormir. Procure-o! E na próxima semana. sugestões de alguns livros sem palavras bem interessantes.

The Emberleys join Draw-A-Thon!

When home in the USA for Thanksgiving, my family and I contributed to the OGY “Draw Food” event. My drawing is below. See the rest of the drawings, and read more about the cause on the OGY site:



Photo above: Ed Emberley and Michael Emberley drawing by candlelight. 🙂

Photo above:  Rebecca Emberley and Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick.

Arroz con pollo / Michael Emberley * *As a super secret special surprise the entire Emberley family had a will-draw-a-thon of their own on thanksgiving and did 4 of our supporter’s requests!  See all 4 drawings. 

Above is the drawing I did.I had to draw “Pollo con Arroz”. Or, chicken and rice.

The rice is going off the paper to the right…

(Text below from OYG DRAW blog) http://oygdraw.tumblr.com/post/36668031122/the-emberleys

“In case you were wondering how an entire family of fantastic (and generous) illustrators spends their Thanksgiving, we’ve got the answer.  We were very lucky and extremely thankful to have the ENTIRE FAMILY OF EMBERLEY artists contribute drawings for the draw-a-thon. We randomly selected 4 drawings and sent them off to Massachusetts for a little family style Thanksgiving draw-a-thon.  Check out the drawings (oh, you lucky ducks who get these!)

We can’t thank them enough for contributing their time and talents to the event!

I’m feeling !

TAGS Emberley drawing ed ed emberley emberley food marie-louise fitzpatrick michael michael emberleyphoto rebecca emberley thansgiving fitzpatrick

Painting with kids at the Ark

Last Saturday the 3rd of November here in Dublin, Marie-Louise and I went in and did a “GiganticIllustration” workshop at the Ark with 40 kids age 4-6. there was another workshop after us for 7-12 done by Irish illustrators Steve Simpson and Niamh Sharkey. The studio space is lovely with a small garden outdoor area and views of the rooftops of Dublin.I will have more pictures when the paintings are mounted and hung, but for now these are images from the day. The far right is one I did with the kids on “birds”, and the far left, you can just see a lobster claw…, is one of undersea creatures, mostly fish.

Each of us worked with 10 kids at a time on four canvas paintings, about 4 by 8 foot. We used poster paint and acrylics. I have done many events with kids over the years but never an art workshop like this. It was a challenge to get 10 kids to paint these giant canvases, on the floor, with pots of open paint, brushes, and sponges, without making it all look like a dog’s dinner. Some were more than eager to have a go but others were shy to even touch it.

As you can see from M-L’s painting in the middle of mice and hedgehogs, she had more control over her kids than I did…This (left) is Steve working with the kids. Below is the painting Steve worked on.

The Ark is an amazing building/organization somewhere between a children’s theatre art center and a children’s museum. It’s not full of permanent displays to play with but it has lots of events relating to the arts involving children with complete art studios upstairs, interactive exhibits involving art or books, and a huge theatre space that can be used indoors…or the back of the stage/building opens up to the market space behind it so they can give outdoor performances as well. www.Ark.ie

This (left) is the entrance of the building from the Temple Bar street side. On ht far right of the shot is another Dublin arts resource organization called the Button Factory, specializing in music. They have recording studios and stages for performance. ww2.buttonfactory.ie

Below (right) is what the other side looks like facing the Temple Bar market square behind it. This is the location of the Temple Bar food market, surprisingly enough, held each Saturday. There are lots of good eating stalls, mainly for hot food as opposed to many produce vendors. It’s a fantastic use of the area which is better known as a tourist haven and drunken delight on weekend nights. It’s a bit like Faniul Hall area in Boston.

When the stage opens up, the aluminum ‘curtain’ folds like a paper cut-out (below left).

Huge mechanical umbrellas open and close to cover the space in rain and let the sun in…when it shines. that make the outdoor space more ‘weather friendly'(see below right).

Awards and deleted scenes for Forget-Me-Nots

Forget-Me-Nots won an Parent’s Choice Award for children’s books recently. Silver medal.

“The poems in this well-rounded children’s collection are chosen as“poems to learn by heart,” but they make for excellent read-alouds or silent reading as well. Editor Mary Ann Hoberman, a former Children’s Poet Laureate, groups modern and classic poetry into categories such as Delicious Dishes, Beautiful Beasts, and Happiness Is. There are poems for many moods and in many styles; some of them are from the genre of children’s poetry, while others are poems that appeal to children and adults alike. Each page is cheerfully illustrated by Michael Emberley in watercolors, pencil, and pastels. This is a great addition to a home or classroom library.”

Below are a few deletedscenes from this  book. These would have been early dummy sketches sent to publisher and never used.
This is an early idea for the sinister poem about death being dealt by the narrator. The final idea is an archer aiming at the witch on the opposite page. It links the twopages in a nice way. But this idea, with the victim reflected in the sward I still like. I would have been happy with both. (all text – copyrighted by the listed author)
Below is a deleted idea for the  so called “front matter” of Forget-Me-Nots. I wanted to play a bit more with the idea of the poems leaving the book and entering your brain. I still like it.

Below is a deleted selection of dancing animals from a chapter opening. Cute but rejected anyway. Can you spot the Numbat? (all text the copyright of the authors)

Below is the one idea I still think was better than the one chosen. I argued and lost. I have no proper defense other than I feel it is better. It makes no sense. But time makes no sense. Times running out for King Kong? A silent observer duck? Just a gut instinct. (all text copyright of the authors listed)

This ones different because it was still playing around with type and memory and the words having a life of their own –  but the idea was strongly objected to. I still like it.

And this one was completely ridiculous but the poem was so conventional… in the end we could not put art on the left page at all due to copyright holder restrictions. Those are little Robots walking around a landscape, a bit like a Japanese scroll with the same character appearing left to right.

“Emberley offers cozy mixed-media cartoons, which warmly evoke the poems’ themes and images. A multidimensional and thoughtful cross section of verse with keepers on nearly every page.” — Publisher’s Weekly starred review