Skip to main content

Spots in a Box by Helen Ward

I had no idea that Helen Ward, author of two of my favorite picture books: The Tin Forest & The Dragon Machine is also an illustrator! These books, along with two others, Finding Christmas, which is a very sweet sibling story, and Little Moon Dog, are illustrated by the magnificent Wayne Anderson.

I am so happy to make this discovery, especially with Ward's newest book, Spots in a Box. Ward's illustrations are painterly and playful, thoughtful and kinetic. Added to all this are the extras added to Spots in a Box - from die cuts to foil to sparkly texture. All this for a guinea fowl who feels odd because he has no spots and tries to remedy this by sending away for some.

Ward tells the story of this bird who sends off for spots with gentle rhymes and illustrations that get increasingly kooky as more and more kinds of spots arrive by post. Some spots are too tall or too long, too sneezy and too small. My favorite are the "Inky-font dots and i-topping spots" that features the guinea fowl in a whirl of Js, question marks, quotation marks and exclamation points.

By the end of Spots in a Box, our feathered friend finds just the right dots and his flock-mates find fun ways to make use of the leftovers! 

I love, love, love Spots in a Box and Helen Ward's illustration style! I can't wait to see what she does next! Until then, enjoy her other books and some illustrations from them below:

Varmints, illustrated by Marc Craste

Source: Review Copy


Popular posts from this blog

Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff - Projects You Can Build For (and With) Kids! by Scott Bedford

On his personal website, Scott Bedforddescribes himself as an "Award Winning Online Creative Professional" working within the advertising and design industry. What is more interesting (and applicable here) is how hisWhat I Made website came to be. While sitting in a Starbucks with his restless young sons, trying to enjoy his latte, Bedford created something out of coffee stir sticks that ended up keeping his boys entertained, finishing his coffee in peace and sparking (re-sparking, really) his creative drive and reminding him of the "enormous joy gained from making things, even simple things, and that this joy is not the complexity or quality of the finished project but in the process of making itself. On Bedford'sWhat I Made website, he even shares Six Cool Coffee Shop Crafts for Kidsthat you can try out next time you want to enjoy your coffee and your kids are making that difficult. I've shared two below - be sure to check out the website and see the rest!


POP-UP: Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book, paper engineering by Ruth Wickings, illustrations by Frances Castle RL: All ages

POP-UP:  Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book with paper engineering by Ruth Wickings and illustrations by Frances Castle is THE COOLEST BOOK EVER!!!  I know that I haven't dedicated much time to pop-up books here, but they have always held a special place in my heart, and the phrase "paper engineering" is a favorite of mine. Although I didn't know what it was at the time, I did go through a paper engineering phase when I was ten or so. I would sneak off to the back of the classroom during independent work periods and go to town on the construction paper and glue and make these little free-standing dioramas. A huge fan of The Muppet Show (the original), I reconstructed the all-baby orchestra from an episode, drawing and coloring each baby and his/her instrument then gluing them onto a 3D orchestra section I had crafted out of brown construction paper.  I also made a 3D version of Snidely Whiplash throwing Nell off a cliff with Dudley Do-Right wa…

The Seeing Stick, written by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Daniela J Terrazini

The Seeing Stick is an original Chinese fairy tale written by the prolific (and prolifically award winning) Jane Yolen. First published in 1977 with illustrations by Remy Charlip (author and illustrator of the brilliantly fun picture book Fortunately and friend and muse to Brian Selznick, who asked him to pose as George Méliès while he was working on the Caldecott winning The Invention of Hugo CabretThe Seeing Stick was reissued with new illustrations by Daniela J. Terrazini in 2009. I have not seen Charlip's version, but Terrazini's is a beautiful work of art and the book itself is yet another magnificently packaged book published by Running Press, the house that brought us Steven Arntson's The Wikkeling, yet another superbly and uniquely packaged children's book with artwork by Terrazini. Interestingly, both The Wikkeling and The Seeing Stick were designed by Frances J Soo Ping Chow.

The Seeing Stick begins, "Once in the ancient walled citadel of Peking there l…