Thursday, February 28, 2008

This Is How We Do It

My first book with Candlewick (a quirky new picture book written by Phyllis Root) is now complete! Well, actually, a cover design is still being kicked around, but all 38 pages of interiors are done. There's gonna be printed endsheets, so that's what's with the 38. Feels good. Above's another sneak peek image from said picture book. A cast of animal characters--here a bit disheveled from a certain mishap in the latter half of the story. Anyhow, art is shipped and now comes the long inhale before the pub gets it.

In other news, one of my previous books, RIGHTY AND LEFTY has had some recent good favor. Rights were purchased to make the book into a video by Nutmeg Media. This is a first for me, so I had to ask my Scholastic editor, Jen Rees, what it all meant. Apparently, if a picture book catches the eye of one of the production companies, they'll make it into a short movie (perhaps with animation) for sale on the school/library markets. Sounds awesome!

RIGHTY AND LEFTY also garnered some more praise, this time from the Bulletin for the Center of Children's Books (BCCB). It received the next-to-highest review the pub gives, an R-starred review. For the absolute highest, they feature the best book of that issue on the cover ("The Big Picture") and give it an extra-lengthy great review. Interestingly enough, Julie's and my book, TOBY AND THE SNOWFLAKES, did get that honor back in 2004! Anyhow, here's how it all goes down for RIGHTY AND LEFTY via BCCB:

Deborah Stevenson (The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, December 2007 (Vol. 61, No. 4).)

Righty and Lefty are, as the subtitle indicates, two feet; they "don't always get along so well, but they are stuck with each other because they are two feet on one person." An average day requires them to negotiate their different temperaments (Righty likes to be moving, Lefty likes to hang in bed) and different tastes (Righty likes every shoe, while Lefty only likes galoshes), but they also enjoy playing together (though each foot has won its share of foot races, the finish "is always close"), a ultimately they're a team ("It is no fun to be Righty without Lefty"). It's a wonderfully weird story, filled with hilarious detail and deadpan humor, that clearly draws on sibling relationships for its model ("It's always fun until someone gets hurt," intones the narration after Righty chases Lefty into a door). Cordell's easygoing line-and-watercolor illustrations, vignettes floating amid white space, avoid contrived personification, simply keeping the feet so sustainedly in focus that they gain character through sheer persistence (Lefty, by the way, is the one with the band-aid). Giggling audiences won't be able to resist responding by putting their own best feet forward.

Review Code: R* -- Recommended. A book of special distinction. (c) Copyright 2006, The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. 2007, Scholastic, 32p.; Reviewed from galleys, $16.99. Ages 4-7 yrs.

AND... Last I checked over at, RIGHTY AND LEFTY is on wicked sale right now. Apparently they bit off more than they could chew and ordered way too many (my guess), so they've got it on deep discount to try and unload some copies. Get it SUPER cheap here!!


Esme Raji Codell said...

Congratulations, Matt! You deserve all success, you are a wonderful artist and I just love your stuff!

Matthew Cordell said...

Thanks, Esme! Hope to see you again soon--we missed you at the Anderson's Breakfast this year!

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Blog Teknologi said...

Thanks Matt for inspiring story post, love this one :)