Who Needs Donuts?

Who Needs Donuts? by Mark Allen Stamaty By Mark Alan Stamaty

Published 1973 by Dial Press, reprinted 2003 by Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books.

At first glance, the answer to this book’s title is pretty clear. Because, everybody.Who Needs Donuts? by Mark Allen Stamaty But do you know this book? When I mention it to someone, I either hear about their favorite jelly donut (the one with strawberry), or they lose their sprinkles over the magnificence of this screwy tale.

The simplicity of the setup:

Sam lived with his family in a nice house.

He had a big yard and lots of friends.

But he wanted donuts, not just a few but hundreds and thousands and millions — more donuts than his mother and father could ever buy him.

Finally one day he hopped on his tricycle and rode away to a big city to look for donuts.

The scattered spectacle of the scene, a commotion in black and white. On those initial pages alone:

A bird in swim trunks

A roof-mowing man

A chimney blowing ribbons

A man in the window reading a newspaper with the headline, Person Opens Picture Book Tries to Read the Fineprint

Two donuts

And a cinematic, get-ready-for-your-close-up page turn. (Be sure to look closely in the blades of grass.)Who Needs Donuts? by Mark Allen Stamaty There’s almost a calm in the chaos. It’s regular and rhythmic and pandemonium and patterned all at once. Perfect for a story that’s a little bit bonkers and a whole lot of comfort.

So. Then what?Who Needs Donuts? by Mark Allen Stamaty The relative calm of Sam’s neighborhood yields to an even madder and mayhem-ier sight.

Who Needs Donuts? by Mark Allen Stamaty Who Needs Donuts? by Mark Allen Stamaty Then Mr. Bikferd and his wagon of donuts shows up.

And a Sad Old Woman. And Pretzel Annie.

Sam continues to collect donuts. Stocks and piles of donuts.Who Needs Donuts? by Mark Allen Stamaty Who Needs Donuts? by Mark Allen Stamaty A wagon breaks. A repairman helps. A love story. Abandonment.

(A fried orange vendor. A bathing zebra. Rollerskates. A Sad Old Woman.)

Who needs donuts when you’ve got love?Who Needs Donuts? by Mark Allen Stamaty When Sam rides home, the words that began his story are on the sidewalk. I get the shivers about that.

The starts of stories are carved in concrete.

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P.S. – These pictures remind me a little of what I’m seeing for Steve Light’s new book, Have You Seen My Dragon? Check out this review where Betsy Bird notices the same, and this post at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast, because it’s always a treat. I also think of the hours I’d spend as a kid studying each square centimeter of The Ultimate Alphabet. Like Waldo, but weirder.

Sweet and Shorts: Sassy Board Books {giveaway!}

Baby_Loves_Colors Baby_Sees Baby's_World Who_Says

illustrated by Dave Aikins

{published 2013, by Grosset & Dunlap, an imprint of Penguin Books for Young Readers}

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Here’s a fabulous Friday celebration! If you have little ones, you might be familiar with Sassy toys. They are designed to foster learning and engage the growing brain of our teensiest family members. And they are adorable!

So just look how spectacular their first leap into books is! This bundle of four is bright and begs to be touched (and gnawed on.) Beyond these eye-grabbing covers, the insides are a stunning display of rhythm, repetition, and pattern. Perfect for high-contrast-loving little brains!

This set debuts at the end of this month, but thanks to the kind tuxedoes at Penguin Young Readers Group, I have TWO sets of these board books for YOU! Sneak peek and nanny-nanny-boo-boo to the rest of the moms on the block. (Just kidding about that last part. But seriously, these are super books.)

To enter, just leave a comment on this post before midnight on Thursday, August 29th. Good luck!

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Don’t Squish The Sasquatch

words by Kent Redeker, pictures by Bob Staake

This book came in the mail in a box from my beau.

I tweeted this the other day: Some boys buy their girls flowers, chocolate, or fancy purses. Mine buys picture books.

Coolest endpapers ever? That’s saying a lot, since I’m a bit kookoo for them, but just look at that sasquatch. His spindly legs and arms, a dapper bow tie, and that hat especially…that hat kills me. Cool that he’s looking towards the right, right? Since that’s the direction we read and move through the book? Cool.

And the setup. All this suave sasquatch wants is to ride Mr. Blobule’s bus. Without being squished.

And after his introduction on the endpapers, and the spread with the setup…then we get to the title page. So unusual! So interesting.

Have you ever taken a photo of the horizon at sunset or sunrise? Maybe you even get all fancy with your composition and use the rule of thirds? Horizontal lines are calming, stable, restful.

But diagonal lines?

They suggest movement and action, and the frantic call of DON’T SQUISH THE SASQUATCH has a lot of extra oomph in these illustrations.

His arms are flailing and his teeth are tilting and the buildings are slanted. All of those diagonal lines add depth and interest to the picture. And below, even Mr. Blobule’s bus is bouncing towards one side. Action and movement, packed into pictures, wrapped in the battle cry of DON’T SQUISH THE SASQUATCH!

I love this book. So will there be squishing? Or something else?

Henri’s Walk To Paris

So Saul Bass {1920-1996} illustrated this. You know him, even if you think you don’t.

Recognize any of these?

Saul Bass undoubtedly has a powerful legacy of corporate logo design, but he is also considered the father of the title sequence. I can’t say that I was well aware of him before I was a motion graphics designer, but as an animator, I am very influenced by his strong use of line and his bold color palettes.

{You can see a roundup of his title sequences at Art of the Title.}

And that’s fancy and whatnot, but then he created this sparkling kids’ book.

Henri is just a little French garçon who dreams of Paris, but lives in Reboul. He packs up some cheese, a carrot, and a piece of bread and walks himself there. But {SPOILER ALERT!} he doesn’t make it. A little bird disrupts his navigation, and he ends up right back in Reboul. But Henri? Thinks he made it, and thinks Paris is quite like home. And we love him for that.

In graphic design, unity is the quality that ties individual elements into a beautiful whole. Me talking about Saul Bass is like a dirty sock puppet oozing with glue and googly eyes having an opinion on Jim Henson. He’s a master craftsman, and so let me just show you some moments I love.

Check out these consecutive spreads. The typographic element that reflects the title IS Henri. And from one page to another, there he goes, walking off to Paris. This graphic drives your eye forward and invites you to dive into this book. And of course it tiptoes left to right. It’s how we read, and it simply signifies forward motion. Smart is an understatement.

He doesn’t clutter this illustration with a window sill, curtains, or many details of the room inside. It doesn’t matter. The story is outside. This is a brilliant use of negative space.

Henri’s tiny house, contrasted with the vast world beyond. And color…green and red are direct opposites on the color wheel, so the tiny pop of red is a perfect choice to offset the mass of green.

Soothing pattern repeats in those thousands of trees and the zoo full of animals.

A reminder of the cover, a peek into Henri’s walk. And below, a shift in perspective and point of view.

So Henri leaves home and returns again. Likewise, Saul Bass’ pictures ramp up to the climax of the story, and repeat again as Henri heads home. That same window repeats, that same wide shot of the tiny white house sits still again, only with different text for a different time in the story. It’s a detail that’s hard to show in pictures, but on an overall visual read of the story…it’s magnificent.

Henri’s Walk To Paris in reprint is a gift I didn’t even know I was was on my wish list. It’s joining this monster on my coffee table-slash-corner of my desk.

Snow White in New York

I took a field trip this week, and had a flashback to 5th grade, when my brave father chaperoned our trip to Washington, D.C. Because he was a MAN, he got the boy group. And me. Andy Duggan brought a whoopee cushion and Brec Carson tried to pick up a moon rock from its pedestal. My dad is probably still trying to forget that day. I loved it.

But this week, I got to take 16 bright and budding motion graphic designers to The Getty as part of my Color Theory class. Such a treat. Despite the gray day, the color inside exploded.

In a wild and unexpected twist, MY art was hanging on the wall of the Getty! Seriously!

Ok, so I’m no Van Gogh or Monet, but a video for which I created motion graphics was playing as part of the introduction to the amazing Pacific Standard Time exhibit. I like to think that I can honestly say that I am an artist who has exhibited at the Getty…right?

The Pacific Standard Time exhibit was incredible. It’s a good thing my students were off on their own, because I’m sure I stood in multiple rooms with an awkward gaping mouth, walking around in circles cause I couldn’t decide what to look at first. At least I didn’t have a whoopee cushion.

This piece was my absolute favorite. I couldn’t stop looking at it.

MAGICAL SPACE FORMS by Lorser Feitelson, 1948

From the exhibit’s website, “Feitelson’s tightly fitted forms seem both flat and three-dimensional, and their highly contrasting colors and orthogonal outlines create a sense of dynamic thrust and movement across the surface of the painting. Magical Space Forms reduces color and line to essential expressive elements, creating a harmonious balance of form and space that evokes both rationality and emotion.”

The colors and shapes and movement bore a striking resemblance to a gorgeous picture book on my ever growing stack, Snow White in New York.

Fiona French’s retelling of the classic fairy tale is set in the funky, art deco, jazz world of 1920’s New York. It is also the 1986 recipient of the Kate Greenaway Award, an honor given by librarians to remarkably illustrated books published in the UK. I love a librarian with good style.

ELEMENT OF DESIGN: MOVEMENT AND RHYTHM

In any composition, the goal of the designer is to create movement in order to guide your eye in, around, through, and even out of the image. Movement has a certain rhythm to it, depending on the various elements within the composition. In both Snow White in New York and Magical Space Forms, the rhythm is punchy and staccato, (much like the jazz era in Snow White) because it is punctuated by the strong diagonal lines and bold, solid colors.

The diagonal lines disappear on the spread where Snow White is pronounced dead. Rather than speeding through the compositions because of the quick and magnetic rhythm, the pace slows down with stable and serene horizontal and verticals. They create a grid that feels a bit suffocating, enhancing the distressing news of Snow White’s demise.

But we all know how this story ends.