Fuse #8

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Greenwillow Books - Spring 2007 Preview Party

Each publisher preview is like a snowflake. No two are exactly alike and if you cross your eyes ever-so-slightly they all blur together. Spring 2007 parties have already been held by Random House and Little, Brown and Company (with Simon & Schuster putting in an appearance), so it was time to wrap the season up with a bit of Greenwillow Books and their classy charm.

Where some publishers sit you down for a Powerpoint presentation or individual one-on-ones with editors, Greenwillow has their own way of going about things. You first enter a lovely little conference room where art for the upcoming 2007 year is on display for your perusal. I'm not talking a picture book here and a picture book there. I'm talking a good eleven books, their galleys nearby for closer inspection, their editors hovering about ready to answer whatever questions you might have.

What looks good for the coming year? Let's see...

The Wizard by Jack Prelutsky, illustrated by Brandon Dorman immediately springs to mind. The poem is not a new one (though I saw they wasted no time in putting Child Poet Laureate after the author's name on the cover) but it appeared previously in a larger collection. Dorman is a relative newcomer to the world of picture book illustration, but you've seen his work before. Do you remember the cover of The Pinhoe Egg? How about The Palace of Laughter? Now apply that to a wizard that will have all the magic-loving kiddies agog and you've got yourself a hit on your hands.

Pictures From Our Vacation by Lynne Rae Perkins.
I had to actually physically keep myself from stuffing three or four of Perkins' prints under my sweater before I left. The woman can not only write (as her Newbery will attest) but her images that accompany this tale of a summer vacation in a cabin are shocking in their beauty. No one should be able to write AND draw. Totally unfair. Apart from the fabulous image of a man seeing the ghosts of summers past, there's a picture of kids playing with warped badminton racquets that seemed almost too familiar to me. I'm still having flashbacks to my own Northern Michigan summers (though the book seems to be set in Ohio).

Alpha-Bottoms by Lola M. Schaefer and Heather Miller.
Animal butts in an alphabetic fashion. Classier than it sounds. Factual to boot. You'll be impressed with what they did with the letter "X".

Clancy: The Courageous Cow by Lachie Hume.
I fell in love with this instantly. Love the story. Love the message (and I hate messages as a rule). Great pictures. How to best sell it to you? Imagine cows wrestling. Nuff said.

Terrible Storm by Carol Otis Hurst.
It may fall into the category of what they call "special" books, but I'm absolutely entranced with this title. I can't help it. I'll be the first to admit that my deep and abiding love is perhaps unwarranted, but I just loved the art with this puppy, to say nothing of the words. Fabuloso.

Then we all moseyed into a large office where cheese and fruit and Shiraz were about and abundant. Someone had taken the time to bake these itty-bitty pumpkin desserts and they were simply divine. My favorite part? On one wall was a showing of upcoming young and middle reader covers. On the other was a big board going well into 2009 and showing upcoming titles. Upcoming paperback titles too. Want to see some reprints of the Chrestomanci series with covers by the aforementioned Brandon Dorman? They're on the list. There was other stuff as well, but you'll have to ply me with tasty treats at the upcoming kidlit drink night on Monday to get the nitty gritty.

So basically, it was great. All kinds of goodies are coming and best of all I got an ARC of The New Policeman AND The Secret History of Tom Trueheart that I cannot wait to read .... in '07. I shall have to learn to be patient.

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