Herman and Rosie by Gus Gordon. 2013.
This might be my favorite picture book of 2014. Herman and Rosie are almost neighbors both have unique tastes and likes but they share a common passion for films about the ocean and music. They each lead quiet lives and try connecting with others via their passions but unexpected events leave them lonely and sad. But one morning the city feels alive again and almost by accident they meet and ever since their beloved city has never been the same. There is a spread towards the end of the book that will have grown ups remembering a very special movie "You Have Got Mail". The illustrations are a mix of media, crayons, watercolors, and black outlined characters full of details. A must read.
The Man with the Violin by Kathy Stinson, illustrated by Dusan Petricic. 2013.
This book is based on the amazing story of Joshua Bell, a truly gifted violinist that on Jan. 12, 2007 took his priceless violin to a Washington train station and played for 43 minutes, thousands of people went by but only seven stopped for a few seconds. He noted that those who wanted to stop and listen were children but couldn't because of hurried parents. While the boy in our story is not a real boy we want to think that it is inspired by one of those children that wanted to stop and be moved by his music. Petricic's illustrations are the perfect combination of movement and color to support the emotions we feel when we connect with music.
The First Drawing by Mordicai Gerstein. 2013.
The first thing that attracted me to this book was the illustration on the cover page- the movement, the depth, the color, the intensity of the little boy drawing a woolly-mammoth- it just grabbed me. This fictional story is told from the perspective of this little eight year old boy (our reader) living thirty thousand years ago. How would you show others the shapes you find when you look at the clouds or when you are gathering rocks? How can you convince them that the fire shadows come alive with animals from the land? No one believes him until one night he decides to trace the shadows he sees and all of the sudden everyone can see them. They come alive as if he has magic! And ever since then people have been drawing and creating magic. The illustrations were created using acrylics, colored pencils, and pens.