Monday, June 8, 2015

Stanley at School - a bookwrap

Unwrapping ...

Authored by Linda Bailey

Illustrated by Bill Slavin

Ages 4-8

Unwrapping some of the illustrations for you to ogle...

The illustrations are just amazing.  They are so full of detail and energy and fun.  Look at the expressions on the animal's faces and the antics they are pulling off.  You can't help but step into the illustration and share their adventure with them, laughing all the way.  They are picture perfect and add so much richness and character to the text.   I am impressed....he's hired!

Stanley watches the kids go by each morning with their backpacks  slung on their backs and head off to a place called school.  He watches them return each night and he starts to wonder what in the world those kids do all day in that place.  Stanley asks his friends about it at the dog park. His dog friends, Alice, Nustsy and Gassy Jack do not know.  So the next day they band together, ascend the high staircase at the entrance of the school, and venture inside even, though they know they are not allowed to do so.  

Once inside they discover first hand why kids love school.  

"All the dogs took deep sniffs.  The air in that school was thick with great smells.  Socks. Hamster poop. Chalk. And something else.....Something that made the dogs drool."  

Can you guess what that might be?  Yes! LUNCH!  Guess what those naughty little doggies did? They munched and crunched and nearly blew up at the good feasting event.  Then enter the kids looking for their lunches as it was their lunchtime. Were they upset?  Were they devastated that their lunches met such a fate? No!  The children had a blast discovering those mishchievious canines and they too joined in the frivolity. Madness ensued.

 But all good things must come to an end.  Order must be restored.  Someone must take responsibility of the wild, fun-loving beasts (and kids) that are romping happily and freely throughout the school.  

Who could possibility put a stop to this mayhem?  What would the consequences be to the dogs for such insubordination to the school rules?  Do you think the dogs will surrender peacefully or put up a fight?  Is that where the story ends? spoilers from me, but when you find out the ending it will bring a big smile to your face...guaranteed.  I highly recommend this book, it is a winner indeed.

About the author...

I was born and grew up in Winnipeg.  In my twenties, I traveled around the world, mostly by ship, working in England and Australia. Then I moved to Vancouver, where I earned a B.A. and an M.Ed. at the University of British Columbia.  Vancouver is really beautiful.  I still live here, a five-minute walk from the ocean. I'm an ex-college teacher, an ex-editor, an ex-travel agent and . . . 
Now I'm the author of more than twenty books for kids.  Best known are the Stevie Diamond mystery series, the Good Times Travel Agency adventures, and the picture books about Stanley the dog, illustrated by Bill Slavin.  Many of my books have now travelled around the world — just like me. 

I was born February 12, 1959 in Belleville, Ontario. I was the second youngest in a family of eight, four boys and four girls. As most of my elder brothers and sisters had achieved some sort of academic success, I was allowed to become an artist.

I have been drawing since I can remember, and have wanted to illustrate books for just about as long. My first commercial success was an anti-smoking in bed poster I did in grade three, which won first prize and paid me $25. Grade three was an important year, because it was also when I produced my first illustrated book, called Zok the Caveman. This was such a success that I promptly followed it up with a sequel, The Adventures of Black Cloud, Son of Zok. I continued to write and illustrate books throughout public school as well as draw profusely. I graduated to pen and ink at a fairly early age, a medium which is still my favourite (fortunately, my mother was a tolerant person and did not object too much to the many bottles of ink which I spilt on the living room carpet). In high school I became interested in comic book art, and wrote and illustrated countless numbers of these, as well as producing a short-lived comic strip called Rat Fink for our local village weekly.

After high school I attended Sheridan College in Oakville where I studied Cartooning and Graphic Story Illustration. A year and a half later events flushed me out into the real world and I went to work for the Yellow Pages, a job undemanding enough to let me churn out countless more unsolicited and unpublished comics, stories and illustrations in between jobs.

I have worked in and around the publishing industry since 1979, working for many years as art director/illustrator/layout artist  for a small publishing house in the Ottawa Valley. After moving back to Toronto, I became involved with doing illustrations for educational computer software programs, while continuing to try to get a job doing what I have really always wanted to do, illustrate kids’ books. I eventually contracted with Kids Can Press to illustrate Paulette Bourgeois’ book, Too Many Chickens!. Since then I have illustrated a number of children’s books, and that is now my primary source of income. It is work which I love, and I consider myself a most fortunate person to be working in this industry.

Today I am living in paradise in an old farmhouse on the edge of the village of Millbrook. I live with my wife, Esperança Melo, who is also an artist and is an integral part of all I do, and our cat Merlin. We have formed a company called Kinder Box and from 1995 to 2002 were both members of the Millbrook Gallery, a gallery collective of nineteen local artists.

I primarily work in acrylics, or water colour and inks. I tend to work quickly and impetuously at my art, but am learning to slow down and smell the resins.

In regards to my fiction work, until recently I have had very little contact with the authors whose books I am illustrating, and feel that in most cases this allows the written and visual narrative to reach it’s full potential. Generally the author is quite willing to give the illustrator free reign; needless to say, a great act of trust on the part of the writer. More recently, I have been working in closer collaboration with the author on some projects right from the outset, and am finding this sort of collaboration an exciting and interesting development in my work.

I occasionally put my hand to writing, something I enjoy doing, although my primary focus is illustration. In 1996 I wrote my own story, The Stone Lion, which was published by Red Deer College Press, and in 2005 co-wrote and illustrated Transformed: How Everyday Things are Made.

Although my first love is and always will be the story book, non-fiction illustration makes up a significant part of my work and poses its own challenges. My real lack of interest in things scientific seems to have made me uniquely qualified to illustrate this genre. I believe it is the desire to make my work interesting to me that defines how I embrace these subjects, and the result is an approach to the illustrations that is not overly ponderous or didactic. Having said this, I have a real love for history, and am thrilled by books or the parts thereof that have an historical slant. And coming full circle, I believe my love for the narrative found in picture book illustration is reflected in my non-fiction illustration.

Read on and read always!

It's a wrap.

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