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MY BIG LIST OF FAVORITE CHILDREN’S BOOK ILLUSTRATORS IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER: PART 2

09.07.13

Here is the second installment of my favorite picture book illustrators. Click on the link to check out PART 1.

Emma Dodd

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Richard Scarry

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Tove Jansson

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Maurice Sendak

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Gustaf Tengren

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Peggy Rathmann

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Bob Shea

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Stephen Savage

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Istvan Banyai

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Aurelius Battaglia

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Jeff Newman

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MY BIG LIST OF FAVORITE CHILDREN’S BOOK ILLUSTRATORS IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER: PART 1

08.17.13

I love children’s book art and have a large collection of picture books from my favorite artists. I keep them in my studio and look through them often. I was recently asked what my favorite children’s book artists were, and like most times when I’m put on the spot, I froze. My mind went blank. So, I created a list of over fifty children’s book artists that I love, and this is the first part of a five part blog post.

Mary Blair

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Yara Kono

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Bob Staake

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Dan Krall

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Crockett Johnson

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Bernard Most

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Valeri Gorbachev

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Leo Timmers

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Neal Layton

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Antoinette Portis

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Who are your favorite children’s book artists?

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SUMMERTIME PHOTO FUN! Libraries, Bookstores, and Trolleys! Oh, My! SLIDESHOW!

07.30.13

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Early in the Summer I had a wonderful time visiting Shoreview Public Library. I just received this fabulous Thank You card from Librarian extraodinaire, Angela Miller

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Here are some photos of the event!

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WOW!

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There were even dinosaur lollipops!

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I went down to Virginia to see my niece graduate from high school and did an event at the crazy-awesome Givens Books. This is me and my brother outside Givens Books. He was super helpful in getting in contact with Mr. Givens.

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Here’s the check-out counter at Givens Books!

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The Three Triceratops felt right at home!

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Awesome Jack and the Beanstalk!

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Kazoo along!

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Signing books with two awesome kids!

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Passing out bookmarks and stickers.

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Signing.

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Me and my fabulous wife Trisha Speed Shaskan, who is responsible for all these great photos at Givens Books. We both fell in love with the store.

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Me, Mr. Givens, and his daughter.

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I visited Chapter 2 Books in Hudson WI.

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Reading A DOG IS A DOG.

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Reading A DOG IS A DOG.

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A lot of family came out to see me. Thanks to the Jacot clan that stormed the bookstore!

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Best action photo! Once again thanks to Trisha for taking great photos!

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Check out the new slippers! A big thank you to Kari Pearson for taking all these awesome photos. It was 93 degrees out and I was there for over three hours doing three different readings.

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Stomp like a dinosaur!

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Reading THE THREE TRICERATOPS TUFF.

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Singing songs!

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Playing kazoos!

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It’s always great to see friends on board!

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Thanks Monica, Harlo, and Levi!

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Playing some toddler tunes.

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Reading THE THREE TRICERATOPS TUFF.

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Reading THE THREE TRICERATOPS TUFF!

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The fabulous Pamela Klinger-Horn showed up with her mother in-law!







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NEXT BIG THING: BLOG TOUR

04.11.13

Last week I was tagged by the fantastically funny Erin Soderberg whose latest book THE QUIRKS: Welcome to Normal comes out June 4,2013!

1. What is the working title of your next book?

The Three Triceratops Tuff. It’s out now!

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

I’m an early childhood educator. Kids are always giving me ideas for books. Most of then publishers wouldn’t touch. Kids would love them, but not parents. The Three Triceratops Tuff was an exception.

Three four year-old boys in my class loved hearing the story of the The Three Billy Goats Gruff. We had been reading the Paul Galdone picture book in class a lot. These same three kids loved dinosaurs. Put two and two together. The kids started pretending to be different dinosaurs while playing out the story of the three goats. I thought that was pure genius!

I quickly figured out how that idea could work as a picture book. A triceratops would make a great goat because of its horns, a T-rex would make a great troll, and a valley would replace the bridge. The first draft of the story was a very close retelling of the original tale but with dinosaurs. Several drafts and dummies later, with the help of my fabulous editor, Andrea Welch, I was able push the personalities of the individual dinosaurs and shape the story to have a different meaning.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

The Three Triceratops Tuff is a picture book for 3 – 8 year-olds. It is also a retelling of a classic folk tale. Most importantly it falls under the “dinosaur” genre.

4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Stanley Tuff (the youngest Tuff brother) would be played by Eddie Deezen. Rufus Tuff (the middle Tuff brother) would be played by Bradley Bolke, the voice of Chumley on Tennessee Tuxedo. Bob Tuff (the largest Tuff brother) would be played by Clint Eastwood (before the empty chair incident). And the T-rex would be played by John Waters. I actually had John Waters in mind the entire time I was writing The Three Triceratops Tuff. I almost gave the T-rex a little mustache.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

The Three Triceratops Tuff is a cretaceous retelling of the Three Billy Goats Gruff.

6. Who is publishing your book?

The wonderfully fabulous Beach Lane Books!

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

I had this idea mulling around for at least 5 years before I sat down to write the story. The first draft only took me a couple of weeks to actually write.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Of course there are the numerous retellings of The Three Billy Goats Gruff. Paul Galdone’s version is one of my favorites. There are also several dinosaur retellings of fairytales like Dinorella by Pamela Duncan Edwards and more recently Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Those three four year-olds.

10. What else about the book might piqué the reader’s interest?

As I started revisions of the story a new story popped up. This was the story of the dinosaurs in the background. The story became more global and less focused purely on the brother Tuff’s problem with the T-rex. I started to think of the T-rex as a horrible dictator who was starving the people and killing them. The herbivores (all the dinosaurs in the background are herbivores) became the oppressed 99% and the T-rex was the cruel 1% hoarding all the food/wealth. The whole time I was working on these revisions the Arab Spring was happening, Occupy had begun, and there were protests in Wisconsin. These events played heavily into the development of the final story.

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Now I’ll tag a couple of my favorite authors (and friends) who have books coming out soon — check their blogs next week for their answers!:

Trisha Speed Shaskan’s Truly, We Both Loved Beauty Dearly! The Story of Sleeping Beauty as Told By the Good and Bad Fairies illustrated by Amit Tayal, published by Picture Window Books comes out this Fall!

No Lie, I Acted Like a Beast!: The Story of Beauty and the Beast

Jamie A Swenson’s BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! illustrated by David Walker, publish by Farrar, Straus & Giroux comes out May 28th, 2013!
boom-boom-boom-

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Illustrator Day at Greenwood Elementary in Plymouth, MN

02.28.13

I had a fantastic time on Tuesday, February 26th at Greenwood Elementary School in Plymouth, MN. A BIG thanks to Linda Gibbons (Media Specialist), Lauren Ingwaldson (Super Tech Person STP), and Pam Christensen (PTA) for making my visit so welcoming.

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Talking about books I’ve illustrated.

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From the start of A DOG IS A DOG to the finish, I used eleven sketch books.

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I always have a sketch book with me. Showing kids my sketches.

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Working on a group doodle with the students.

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5 different students draw squiggly lines on the paper and then I connect the lines and we figure out what it is.

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This one turned out to be an octopus. That day we also had a crocodile fish, a crazy elephant, a guy in a snow hat, and a princess sniffing a flower.

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Coming up with new rhymes to DOWN BY THE BAY.

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My personal favorite was, “Have you ever seen a rabbit with a bad habit.” I chose to make the bad habit biting fingernails.

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Singing DOWN BY THE BAY with the new rhymes.

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Ending the talk.

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Finishing off with some jumping and dancing!

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Loose Ends

12.01.12

First, I would like to thank everyone for all your support.

Second, I am now a part of a glog (group blog) called WORD DISCO. Here is the link to my first post on Word Disco.

Third, I am now being represented by the fabulous Teresa Kietlinski at Prospect Agency. Here’s the link to my portfolio on their site.

Fourth, NEW ART!

©Stephen Shaskan 2012 from Rat and Mouse and early chapter book series I am working on with my wife Trisha Speed Shaskan.

©Stephen Shaskan 2012 Another piece from Rat and Mouse’s first big adventure.

©Stephen Shaskan 2012 Revising Little Choo.

And fifth, a sneak peek at some art from the upcoming Three Triceratops Tuff (Simon&Schuster Spring 2013).

The Three Triceratops Tuff

The Three Triceratops Tuff

The Three Triceratops Tuff

Sixth, I have a cafepress site Rhymes With Trashcan

Tate shows off his stylin’ new Dog is a Dog Tee!

A Dog is a Dog Tee as modeled by Tate!

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Thanks!

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September!

10.01.12

It’s been a crazy busy month. I hope to be uploading some new art soon, but in the meantime I thought I’d show some photos from my awesome September.

September 3rd, Labor Day! I spent Labor Day at the Minnesota State Fair at the Alphabet Forest, a fabulous area of the fair set up for families to enjoy free activities and meet local “home grown” authors and illustrators. This area was created by the super powered Debra Frasier!

Here’s a link to the Alphabet Forest.

Here’s a link to Debra Frasier’s website.

There’s even a great blurb about the event on Publisher’s Weekly’s site!

September 8th, I had a blast at the wonderful Princeton Children’s Book Festival in New Jersey. I got to meet so many fantastic authors and illustrators, librarians, teachers, and families.

Rockin’ out The Itsy Bitsy Spider.

Here’s a link to the Princeton Children’s Book Festival.

September 9th. Entertaining families at jaZams, a great independent toy/bookstore in Princeton, NJ!

Here’s a link to jaZams!

September 13th, My wife and I met Dav Pilkey! He was signing books at The Bookcase in Wayzata, MN.

Here’s a link to the Bookcase!

September 15th, I was at the Redwing Children’s Book Festival in Redwing, MN. These kids are comparing my original dummy for A Dog is a Dog to the finish product.

My wife, Trisha Speed Shaskan, read her book Seriously, Cinderella is so Annoying up in a tower at the Redwing festival.

Here’s a link to the Redwing festival at the Anderson Center.

Here’s a link to Seriously, Cinderella is so Annoying, by Trisha Speed Shaskan.

September 24th, I presented at Turtle Lake Elementary’s Family Fun Night in Shoreview, MN.

Here’s the link to School Librarian Extraordinaire Julie Reimer’s blog post about the Turtle Lake Elementary event.

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Red Rock Elementary ROCKS!

08.31.12

A BIG thanks to Carla Larsen, Media Specialist extraordinaire! I had such a warm welcome at Red Rock Elementary! The kids had made dozens of posters, and even had colored dog masks from my Kids’ Stuff page! We sang songs, came up with new rhymes for Down By the Bay, and shared lots of questions. One classroom gave me a stack of awesome compliments and questions. I’ll be working hard on answering all of them. One student showed me her drawing of a person coming out of a snowman costume!

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My Crazy Summer (so far)

07.30.12

Here’s what’s been happening.

I had a great time reading some of my favorite books and singing songs at the awesome independent bookstore Red Balloon Bookshop.

Playing songs at the Red Balloon Bookshop!

Reading HOW I BECAME A PIRATE! by Melinda Long and David Shannon

I read before the St. Paul Saints (our local minor league team) game. We sang take me out to the ballgame and even did an instrumental version with all the kids playing kazoos! A big thank you to MACKIN Educational Resources and the Saint Paul Saints (especially Annie) for working together and making such a great event!

Trisha and I with my name up in lights!

TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALLGAME kazoo style!

Mudonna even sat in for the reading!

I even got some great Saints gear!

I read at Barnes and Noble in Roseville, MN. 4 year old Ingrid (no photo) belted out “You Are My Sunshine!”

A As my mom said, “Barnes and Noble that’s the Big Time.”

Last but not least, I celebrated a birthday, and a good friend gave me this amazing crazy fantastic vintage children’s book about the planets!

Ski-Hi by Terry!

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Excelsior Bay Books Story Time Trolley!

06.14.12

I had an awesome time riding the trolley (which is really a Street Car), reading my book, and singing songs out at Excelsior Bay on Tuesday June 12th! A big thanks to Ann at Excelsior Bay Books for helping out, and to all the awesome conductors!

Here I am with all those awesome conductors!

Singing BINGO!

Reading A DOG IS A DOG!

And for the finale a kazoo-a-long to TWINKLE LITTLE STAR! I brought kazoos for all the kids!

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