Monday, October 29, 2012

Day 29: Apparently I have a thing for graph paper

There's just something about graph paper that makes me weak in the knees.  Especially when it's juxtaposed with a loose sketchy illustration.  I'm sure my architectural background plays in, but whatever the reason, I'm helpless to its pull.

Exhibit A:  The Chicken Problem  
by Jennifer Oxley (of Wonder Pet fame) and Billy Aronson

Nolan and I just found The Chicken Problem today at the bookstore, when I became acutely aware of my propensity toward gridded paper.  

Peg just wants to have a nice little picnic with her pals.  When they have one extra slice of cake, she feels the need to find someone else to join in their feast, to keep things even.  All goes awry when the chicken coop gets left open while trying to invite a baby chick to join them for cake.

It become a numbers game to get all the chicks back where they belong.  I love books that incorporate math.  Especially ones that manage to do so with such hilarious abandon.  

I read a rumor that a related show may be coming to Nickelodeon with math themes and Peg as the main character.  I think we'd watch.

Exhibit B:  Iggy Peck, Architect
by Andrea Beatty and David Roberts

I first discovered Iggy Peck, Architect while I was vetting out a book idea I had.  Mine was, Ollie Quidd, Architect Kid.  While I was severely bummed out to find Iggy with such a similar title, the quality of my rival soon soothed my disappointment.  This rhyme-y tale of creative genius Iggy Peck is clever, funny and wonderfully absurd.  And then there's the graph paper.  Maybe it's cliche, but I can't help but love it.  (Since the actual story lines, and writing styles, are quite different, maybe I'll luck out and Ollie Quidd will be more than just an idea one day.  Iggy can be his architectural mentor or something.) 


Exhibit C:  Ernest, the Moose Who Doesn't Fit  
by Catherine Raynor

Ernest, the Moose Who Doesn't Fit  is filled with artwork that I wish was my own. Catherine Rayner's illustrations are loose, textural, and endearing. She inspires me to loosen up and have fun.

Ernest is the story of a "rather large" moose who just can't seem to fit into the format of the book. He and his cute little chipmunk friend work and work and finally come up with a solution. A wonderful scrappy solution that I won't give away here.

If I wasn't already enamored, the whole book is laid out on fabulous robin's egg blue graph paper. (It's difficult to detect in these images - but it's there and awesome, trust me).  I love the juxtaposition of the whimsical drawings within structure of the graph paper; I love the obvious nod to scale and fit; I love almost anything robin's egg blue.

If a simple, artistic problem-solving story sounds like a fit for your family, I highly recommend making the acquaintance of Ernest the Moose and his little rodent friend.

(Now that I think about it, there is a strong possibility that I might also have a crush on moose in general.  I'm in love with Looking for a Moose If You Give a Moose a Muffin , and This Moose Belongs to Me .  But the graph paper certainly doesn't hurt).  

For what it's worth as my series winds down this week, if I had more time, I'd devote a whole post to the awesome art of Catherine Raynor.

Check these images out:

Is she children's book perfection or what?

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