Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Bookworms Unite

Library Advocacy Day

Did you know that was today (in the US)? I didn't. But now, thanks to children's illustration blog, I do!

These images were found via children's illustration, but originated at St Paul Public Library.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Is it really like a writing desk at all?

I'm not sure just how much stock can be put in this website, but it seemed a good, reasonable answer. I like the response "they both have inky quills" best.

"Raven" by John James Audubon. Have you
seen his illustrations? Gorgeous. Definitely encouraging
my creeping birder tendency. Found HERE.

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From wikipedia. Please click to enlarge. It's worth it.

I'm thinking about ravens. Or rather, of one raven in particular.

A few years ago I went camping somewhere north of Montreal with my love and we met a raven. I know I'd seen them before (I am from British Columbia after all, where they grow on trees) (ha) and had certainly heard them before, on walks in the woods, but this was a very up-close encounter.

Did you know that ravens are the size of turkeys? I wonder if the raven has swollen in my rememberings. Maybe it was the size of a very large chicken? No, I'm sure it was bigger than that.

He was so brazen, so cheeky. He almost seemed able to grin. Or wink. Or both.

(I only assume it was a he... could just as easily have been a she)

It was morning, and we'd just come out of our tent. The forest was mostly still, although you could hear the mist-muted sounds of other campers making breakfast, off in the distance. We heard a percussive noise in the trees above our site and looked up, all groggy and bed-headed, to see a feathery black giant. His head was twisted to the side, the better to see us. 

He hopped down to ground level, having decided that we were about as threatning as kittens, and strutted around for a while. We were totally enchanted. 

The campers next to us were either not up yet, or had already left to do some early morning activity, so our raven friend wandered around their site looking for snacks. Or trouble. Or both. 

He poked around a woodpile ("Look how BIG he is!" we exclaimed, "He must be as big as a turkey!"). He snooped in their stove ("Look how CLEVER he is!"). He scratched in the rubble under their picnic table ("Look how BEAUTIFUL he is!"). He clicked his beak and made throaty noises ("Listen to how WONDERFUL he sounds!"). He catalogued their garbage and found little of interest ("See how endearingly CHOOSY he is!"). He moved here and there, sometimes quite near to us ("See how his black feathers gleam PURPLE and BLUE!").

I remember being struck, not just by his size, but also by his shape. I sort of had in mind the image of ravens as big crows. But they aren't at all. Crows are much sleeker birds. Ravens have heft, and also shaggy throat feathers. They both have crafty, intelligent eyes.

We were crushed when he moved on, about twenty minutes later, to cause trouble elsewhere. How wrong would it be, really, to have a raven for a pet?

This stunning photo was found, through a google hunt, at this curious spot.
As far as I can see, no credit is given to the photographer.
It appears to be a book proposal by one Boria Sax. I don't know if it ever got published.
Boria Sax is a delightful name, don't you think?
Now I want to read The Mythical Zoo.
Dear Mr. Boria Sax, you seem so interesting (and are possibly a fanatstic raven photographer),will you be my friend?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Three Things of Note

One: Emily Martin's Paper Doll Primer

One of my serious creativity crushes is on the Black Apple, Emily Martin. I'm very excited to hear that she's got a book coming out this fall called The Black Apple's Paper Doll Primer: Activities & Amusements for the Curious Paper Artist. It appears to contain not only the paper dolls themselves, but also some very nifty backdrops and paper theaters and other neat stuff. Quite conveniently it comes out just before Christmas! So if anyone named Adrien is out there reading, he may want to jot that down as a possible under-the-tree type item.

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I've mentioned him on here before, but I thought I would tell you that his two completed comic strips Bruno and Little Dee are being re-run from the beginning with annotations. Bruno originally ran for eleven years and is such an interesting and thoughtful work. Little Dee was created to eventually go in newspapers but never got picked up (for shame newspaper land, for SHAME). It's really sweet and also very thoughtful (I've always thought that Dee is secretly a much younger version of Bruno... but this is not confirmed). Christopher's current project is a sci-fi strip that runs Mondays and Wednesdays in full colour! Very exciting. It's certainly a departure from the first two but is also really entertaining and fun. If you liked Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (I'm looking at you Terry!) then I think it's a good bet that you will enjoy Spacetrawler.

(click to make this a readable size)

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Some smarty-pants artists decided to do their own illustrations of favourite childhood classics and the pictures they're making are gorgeous! It's a lot of fun to see a well-loved tale through the eyes of a new picture-maker and I'm really enjoying seeing this project unfold. I came upon it through Lucy Knisley's blog, who is doing Lois Lowry's The Giver (I'd never read that one... but since I'm doing a young adult services course for school I read it for class and quite liked it! Nice and creepy!).

Take a look at this little sampling of pictures:

Meg Hunt, the project dreamer-uper, is doing Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, which we all know and love.

Laura Park is doing Geek Love by Katherine Dunn, which I've not yet read but have heard such interesting things about that I went ahead and bought it for the library so I can read it later this summer.

As I mentioned above, Lucy Knisley is doing The Giver, and this is her perfect cover:

Who doesn't love Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy? Terry does. I sure do too! And I also love the fun illustrations that John Martz is doing from it:

Michael Ende's wonderful The Never Ending Story is being illustrated by Chuck Groenink whose portfolio is extremely lovely.

I think perhaps my favourites are the Sabriel (written by Garth Nix) illustrations being done by Kali Ceisemier. It could be because that Abhorsen trilogy is a long time favourite of mine, but it could also be because Kali's work is so beautiful and striking. It really suits the story too.

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I have a few more things I want to share (including some handmade jewelry from my mom!) but I still have to photograph them and then find a little slice of time to write about them. Soon! Maybe even later this week.

Monday, June 14, 2010

In between assignments...

Lately I've been doing a lot of young adult reading for school. I like having this excuse to get caught up with the world of YA writing. I used to read a lot more of it than I do now. This is because I work at a library that doesn't have a YA  section and also because I used to read it as a sort of balm. What ailed me was being a student midwife, and there was much intelligent escapism to be had in the land of young adult fiction. I still have ailments but I guess I treat them with something else these days.

Anyway. I am discovering a lot of new authors and finding a lot that is worth reading. I've been posting my reviews (which I have to write for class) to my goodreads account, but maybe at the end of the semester I will do a sort of recap of what I read. So far my new favourites have been Susan Juby (already mentioned) and Jaclyn Moriarty. They both write such clever, quirky young women (and young men, for that matter).Their stories have a good mix of humour and depth. 


This past weekend I had a challenge. This challenge was: find a dress to wear to a wedding. I have comletely ambivalent feelings about finding dresses for things. On the one hand - new dress! That's always nice. On the other hand - I have try on twelve thousand horrible poorly fitting dresses before I find one passable one! Not so nice. Part of the problem is that I seem to fall into some weird catagory of petite (but not quite), plus size (but not quite). And so I am on the fringe of normal dress sizes and can't find much that actually works for my figure. The other problem is that everything in the world of dress making is so ugly lately! 

(Uh oh.. I believe that I just allowed my age to show.)

But really. So many fake fabrics and appalling patterns. Who on earth wants to wear such repulsive colours? Where are the pretty vintage-inspired dresses? Where are the simple lines and rich tones? Where are the neat little details? Where is the artistry? Oh right, not at the mall. Curse you budget.

In the end I found a dress I am mostly happy with. I should take a picture of it, but probably not with me in it (I am not sure that I'm ready to start style-blogging).

Now I'm on the hunt for an appropriate necklace.

This is pretty gripping stuff, huh?


At lunch time today I went out to run some errands and grab lunch. The errands were halfway successful. I found a bunch of not bad looking fake flowers for a display at the library. My preference for purple is completely transparent. I did not find a new fancy necklace to wear to the wedding next weekend. Ah well. And then lunch was also a bit of a disappointment. Tofu and veg in a weak, watery peanut sauce. Pretty unsatisfying.

On my way back to the office, walking along the sidewalk, clutching my bouquet of fake (mostly purple) flowers, my sorry lunch, and holding up my purple umbrella, I stepped in front of a white van as it pulled out of a driveway. It didn't see me, and I didn't see it, until the last minute. Luckily it wasn't going fast at all, and so I was not in as much danger as my rat-a-tat-tat heart may have implied. I was on the verge of being really rather irritated with this devil may care white van for pulling out of a blind driveway like that when I noticed that there was an ancient white cat curled up on the dash. She gave me a sleepy blink and I wasn't quite so irritated afterall.