Thursday, March 15, 2012

FORGIVE ME... you can win!

Contest! Enter your name to win an absolutely free copy of FORGIVE ME, I MEANT TO DO IT, a collection of false apology poems by Gail Carson Levine, illustrated by yours truly. All you need do is head over to the blog of my lovely wife (and YA scribe), Julie Halpern, and leave a comment on this post to put your name into the hat. You have until the end of the day on Wednesday, March 21 to get yourself entered.

And now... I present to you the cover and sample spreads from within. Huzzah! (click on images to make bigger)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


I'm a bit behind in showing art from books that have been coming out this year. I'll start here by showing some favorite bits from ITSY-BITSY BABY MOUSE, a picture book I illustrated, written by Michelle Meadows, that came out last week from Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers. Click 'em to see 'em bigger.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Explode! v.2

Tomorrow will see the release of book #3 of the 2012 Matthew Cordell Children's Book Explosion! FORGIVE ME, I MEANT TO DO IT (from our friends at Harper), a first-time poetry collection by acclaimed author, Gail Carson Levine. It's a collection of "false apology poems" based upon the originally written one by William Carlos Williams that goes:

This Is Just To Say

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold
There's a lot of dark and wicked humor (much of it fairy tale infused) in FORGIVE ME, and I hope my drawings lend nicely to this wonderful witches brew of poems.

FORGIVE ME has gotten some very kind reviews, including two starred reviews in industry journals (Publishers Weekly and Booklist) as well as nice mentions and write-ups in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Atlantic. Here's a few clips that, I think, might go down nicely with the wonderfully sinister, but hilarious vibe of the book.

The prolific author of “Ella Enchanted” is determined here to strip poetry free of the high-mindedness with which schoolchildren often groaningly associate it.... Cordell’s cartoons are precisely attuned to the “I know you are, but what am I?” mind-set. –The New York Times 

Ms. Levine has devised verses written from the point of view of any number of unrepentant malefactors. Matthew Cordell's comic drawings leaven the mordant wit, as when Little Red Riding Hood's grandmother writes: "When you arrive / I will not be / lying / in my bed / where / you hungrily / hoped / to find me / Forgive me / tell my granddaughter / better one of us / should live." –The Wall Street Journal

True to form, many of her poems here riff off of fairy tails or nursery rhymes. Cows apologize for chewing through beanstalks; princesses apologize for leaving the dirty, smelly dwarves; the Beast apologizes for having Beauty to an unusual breakfast; and a girl apologizes for pushing Humpty-Dumpty off the wall ("Forgive me/all the king's horses/and all the king's men/ were bored")...The poems are complemented by Matthew Codell's dexterously messy line art, which nicely captures the rudeness of Levine's poem. –The Atlantic

Monday, March 5, 2012


Tomorrow marks the release of book #2 of the 2012 Matthew Cordell CHILDREN'S BOOK EXPLOSION!!! ITSY-BITSY BABY MOUSE written by Michelle Meadows, pictures by me (Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers). Keep an eye peeled for it, save this space, mark your calendar and that type of thing!