French Kids Eat Everything

Guess what I got in the mail on friday! I went to my door step to find one big box of my new fabric collection (more on that later...) and a box full of the book that I illustrated just a few months ago! Talk about good mail days lately:)

I've mentioned French Kids Eat Everything before, and now it's finally time to introduce you to it. It will be your new best friend. Seriously. It's Karen's story of moving to her husband's native France, in a small town, and adapting (albeit unwillingly) to the culture of food in relation to parents teaching children how to eat. It's amazing. This is really aimed at parents and how to see family eating in an entirely new light. I got a copy of the manuscript for me to review, and I almost had to remind myself to stop reading and start drawing cause I loved it so much.

Here are some pics from the book that are my favorites.


It's such a charming and witty story Karen has: adapting and learning how to change her parenting based on all the good she sees in children there, and the way they think about food.

Things like no snacking (it spoils your appetite for the main meal!)  No upsetting pressures to "eat all your food" at the dinner table. No bribing with food, and how to really enjoy a family meal...most nights of the week.

We've implemented most of the rules now for a while. The children are so much more aware of what they eat, how they eat and are so much more respectful of what they eat.

When the design team decided to put this inside illustration onto the back cover, I kinda freaked out. Only because this is exactly how I write things at own list making handwriting. So it was a bit shocking to see my own "undesigned" handwriting on the back cover of a book. I don't know...kinda like seeing yourself on TV or just feels weird :)

I hope you enjoy reading it. I'd love to know your thoughts! Karen has a blog, and is very passionate about giving information to parents on how to make changes in the American culture that we live in.

And did I mention that there are recipes in the back?

Um. Yes. There are recipes. Simple, flavorful, perfect for kids, meant to be savored recipes.

(But I have to insert an EDIT HERE: The book very strongly encourages healthy, whole food eating for families. And while this recipe is a dessert, most of the recipes and information in the book suggest that the French eat a wide variety of foods and focus on quality ingredients. This recipe has 3 ingredients: Fresh eggs, semi-sweet chocolate pieces and orange zest. While it's a treat, it's served in very small quantities and is meant to represent the idea that even deserts use whole food ingredients, rather than processed and overly sweet. I must add this disclaimer, as I'm not going to review the entire book for you, and don't want you to think that this is some kind of "eat what you want" book. Rather it's meant to encourage real cooking and whole, unprocessed foods in schools and at home.)

The book is full of experiences and information about feeding your children "real" ingredients, real food, and how children learn to appreciate food and ingredients. And I have a certain new favorite recipe now.

Kenneth is always coming up with amazing food around here, and I'm rather spoiled. Like, as I'm writing this, he just came down to the studio with a slice of a new bread he tried out: his own variation of the Amish Friendship bread. But honestly...sorry Ken.  The Mousse au Chocolate recipe in the book that is honestly my favorite dessert now. Hands down.

The kids agree.

It takes maybe 10 minutes to make, so simple and outright sinful.

Anyways...I was so lucky to illustrate a book that I was completely in support of. I'd be writing about it even if I wasn't ask to illustrate it...just not this early...cause it comes out next week.

(And I need to say too, that I don't get a cent more if you buy it. I am just really happy to have come across this book!)

I'm just so grateful to have been part of this experience. I'm not always proud of things I do...I'm really critical of my work, and I take great thought into what I choose to spend my time on. So opening that box of printed pages on friday was a real treat. I really hope that this helps parents find new ways to have genuinely happy eating as a family.

Bon Appetite and Enjoy!!

Book Giveaway #4

I'm saving the best for last folks.


Every boy wants to be a Super Hero. It's true. No way getting around it.

You'd never believe me if I told you this book is a 5 year old boys dream book. My 5 year old loves being read to, but would rather climb trees and save the world than sit down for 15 with his own book to read out loud. The Astonishing Secrets of Awesome Man is the first book I've seen him with in bed, in the bathroom, in his hideouts, and reading after school for reading homework. He loves a good book..but this is the first one I've found him wanting to READ himself. It has power, I'm telling you!

Awesome Man is written by the Pulitzer prize winning Michael Chabon

Illustrated by a new friend of mine Jake Parker, we actually have a signed copy...which Ian proudly shows any friend who comes over. It says "You're Awesome, MAN!"

Why do I love this book?

It's a classic Super Hero book told from the perspective of a 5 year old boy. Complete with words that every boy wants to use... but in the realize that Awesome Man is really just a boy, and you see him hugging his mom in the kitchen. It's absolutely Awesome.

Here's a trailor of the author talking about and reading the book.


You get get the book here.

For the giveaway, USA and International Entries welcome!

To enter:

1) Leave a comment below

For extra entries:

2) Like this post on Facebook

3) Tweet #awesomeman  My twitter is here.

4) Leave a comment below with a link to your own individual blog, or facebook post (DO NOT comment with your Facebook Likes or Tweets. I'll tally those up on their respective pages)



Book Giveaway #3




OK. So, this isn't exactly a picture book. I am stretching the lines here...BUT...this has got to be my favorite little sewing project book from this year.

Liesl Gibson...genius behind Oliver & S... has become a dear friend and she has done such amazing good for the world of sewing. Especially Children's crafts. In fact, most of the clothing I see up in my FLICKR GROUP is a pattern from Oliver & S. And I don't blame you. I love her designs.

This book is fantastic. Her projects are so well laid out, and since I'm shipping this will most likely have time to make a quickie project by Christmas!




You can purchase Little Things to Sew here.


I'll be shipping this book off tomorrow! International and domestic welcome....

To enter:

1) Leave a comment below

For extra entries:

2) Like this post on Facebook

3) Tweet #oliver&s  My twitter is here.

4) Leave a comment below with a link to your own individual blog, or facebook post (DO NOT leave a comment with notices of your twitter or facebook likes. Posts only. I'll tally the tweets and facebook likes separate. Thanks!)

5) Visit the Oliver & S blog and say hello!



Congrats to #79 Shiying for winning!


Today, I am so excited to giveaway one of my all time favorite books.

Penguin. Not a book from this year, but a classic in our house!

Polly Dunbar is one of my favorite illustrators...and brings SUCH a fresh whimsical style to her picture book making. She's from the UK and the daughter Joyce Dunbar, another very well known Children's book Author.

So, without further ado....

PENGUIN is the story of a little boy who gets a penguin for a present. The penguin won't speak to the little boy....until.... (well, I can't exactly spoil the ending, can I?)

Perfect read.

I'll be shipping this book off tomorrow! International and domestic welcome....

To enter:

1) Leave a comment below

2) Like this post on Facebook

3) Tweet #penguinbook  My twitter is here.

4) Leave a comment below with a link to your own individual blog, or facebook post


I”ll tally up the entries at the end of each night…so only 1 day to enter for each book!



Congrats to Christel Nolle in the Netherlands for winning! #106



*Each day this week, I'll be giving away a new favorite book of mine! Entries are for one day only, and I'll ship them out, brand new, to hopefully add to your gift giving this year!

So we have a lot of books at our house. But not enough either! We're big readers, and I'm constantly gathering up new favorites...mostly picture books...but also how-to's, novels and non-fictions. I have too many that I love...and I've been wanting to giveaway some of my favorites for a long time!

These are all brand new, never been read, and are gifts from moi to hopefully add to your christmas giving this year!

I've been wanting to share with you some of this year's favorites, and I thought a really fun way to do that would be to offer a giveaway every day this week of some of my best loved reads. Picture books are a favorite gift of mine to give, and so I thought I'd give some here too! We have a brand new nephew this year, and the new parents were asking me what my favorite books were since they had no idea where to start! I was so excited to really think about the books that I've loved! start off..

I'm giving away a copy of A PERFECT SQUARE.

I absolutely adore this book. Simple, bright, and playful...but will make you, the reader, contemplate how you handle change.

It's the story of a perfect square (made of colored paper) and every day, he gets torn, ripped or cut and is transformed into various images. Perfectly inspiring both artistically and emotionally...a wonderful read for children and adults!


To enter:

1) Leave a comment below

For additional entries:

2) Like this post on Facebook

3) Tweet #aperfectsquare  My twitter is here.

4) Leave a comment with a link to your own individual blog, or facebook post


I''ll tally up the entries at the end of each only 1 day to enter for each book!



Yay! Gina F. #73 for winning!


Peek into A Christmas Goodnight

I've made a book trailer that I think really gets to the core of what this book is about. Creating activity pages for children to play with goes right along with the themes of children interacting with the Christmas Story, and so I hope you enjoy!

You can purchase the book here.

More information on the book here.

You can download FREE PDF printables that go with the book in tomorrow's post.

I'm feeling more like Christmas than ever before. This book was so, so special to make, and finally enjoying the book with children has sealed the deal. I love this work.



Forgotten books of poetry: Granfa Grig

I have so many books that have influenced myself as an illustrator, as well as influenced my mothering. I have been wanting to share them for a while, and I was SO happy when I found this favorite of mine at a used bookstore in Downtown Salt Lake City. Granfa Grig Had a Pig is a collection of mostly forgotten nursery rhymes, mixed with a few favorites, and illustrated by the amazing Wallace Tripp, who won the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Picture Books for this book. And rightly so! It's full of illustration after illustration that completely take you right into the poems. My children can't take their eyes off the pictures, and it's sweet to see...because I would study this for hours as a child. I can really see how  this book has influenced my art as an illustrator. It's really fun to see that now as I look back.

In addition to the illustrations being completely gorgeous, there is a lot of humor in this compilation too. Even adult humor, which I appreciate since adults are ultimately the ones reading it! The choice of nursery rhymes are just wonderful (a good 80% of them I can't say I've seen in any other compilation) and my children have loved memorizing them.

It  makes for an increased vocabulary too, especially when they are so easy to memorize:

Peter White will ne'er go right

Would you like to know the reason why?

He follows his nose wherever he goes

And that stands all awry.

Memorization. Is it just me, or is that a lost art? Memorizing poetry? I think I have a blog post on just that.

My kids have shown trememdous growth in their reading and speaking skills since I've been offering them more poetry this summer. I could talk for hours on that subject...but 'tis summer and I must get outside!

If you haven't seen this book, you really need to. Ask your local library, or search through used and new listings here. It's out of print, and so far Amazon is the only online place I could find copies here.

I will be reviewing more of my favorite illustrated books (it's been a while!) and for more reviews, visit here.

{Winners from the Giveaway gave been announced and are at the bottom of the giveaway post. Thank you so much...this was so fun!}

Julian Hector: Book Review and Giveaway

{EDIT: I'm extending this giveaway through Monday! Good luck!}

Are you loving these picture book reviews & giveaways? I am.

Today is another special, special treat.

Julian Hector, illustrator of The Gentleman Bug, The Little Matador and This is the Firefighter (and one of our family's favorite new illustrators) has just release a new book: Monday is One Day.

Before I tell you a little about the book, let me introduce the illustrator a bit.

I first discovered Julian's work shortly after The Little Matador came out. There is such an innocence in his characters (which I appreciate so much!) and his pages seemed so reminiscent of the original Curious George a good way. His characters are so simple, yet alive and very well thought out. That, and I love a picture book with really great line work (since that is what I lean towards myself!). But he draws you in with his really endearing characters, and just enough going on in the page to keep you looking, but never overwhelms you. It's always fun to see the books that I appreciate artistically be a hit with the little readers: sign of a truly great artist!

And get this: When he shipped me the autographed book I'm giving away, he also sent me some original illustrations! Ahhhh! Can you believe it? These are definitely getting framed and put up in my playroom.

This one of his sketches for Little Matador (about a little boy who doesn't want to be a bull fighter like all his fathers before him...he just really wants to be an artist).

And this is a sketch is from Monday is One Day.

So.....Here's the synopsis: A short and sweet picture book about working parents counting down the days until the weekend....when parent and children are together. But it's more than's about the moments that are cherished EACH day even though there is separation during the week from school and work. So sweet.

It starts out:

"The hardest part of going to work is being apart from you.

Let's count the days until till we're both at home with special things to do."

And then it goes on:

"Monday is one day: One safe snuggly cuddle.

Tuesday's blue shoes day:

Two stomps in a puddle."

And so on.

Don't you love that setting sun?

This is a great "I love you" book for the working family...which is all of us! My kids just don't like it at all when Dad goes to work. It's a perfect Father's Day Book!

So, you want to win a SIGNED copy?

Here’s how you enter:

  • Leave a comment below
  • Make sure to enter in your email where it promts you so that I can send you a note when you win
  • Giveaway ends MONDAY April 18th at 10pm EST
  • Winner will be sent this signed copy of MONDAY IS ONE DAY.

Good luck!

{Comments closed. Congratulations to ERICA for winning}