105 Ways to Give a Book

Robert’s Snow: Denise Fleming

Mama Cat Has Three KittensWow, Denise Fleming. I’ve loved her books since I first read Mama Cat Has Three Kittens to my daughters. That silly, sleepy kitten Boris cracked us up. Then I discovered the wonderful Time to Sleep, which doubles as both a seasonal and a bedtime story. Afterward, I was hooked on a Fleming and high on believing in her amazing work. I’ve read her books to my daughters. I’ve used them in storytimes at the library. I’ve urged my library to include them in summer reading lists.

Time To SleepFleming images are so vibrant and vivid. Her illustrations are the visual equivalent of running across a wide green grass field on a bright summer day with a blue sky overhead dotted with white puffy clouds. Well, before I got old and overweight and running made me short of breath and slightly nauseous, but you get my point.

Beetle BopHer newest book, Beetle Bop, came out earlier this year and takes readers into the world of brightly colored bugs with a rocking reading rhythm. Beetle Bop is Fleming's fifteenth — fifteenth! — book, sticking with her basic book-a-year plan, starting with the publication of In the Tall, Tall Grass in 1991.

All of her books are listed at her fantastic website. Along with that list of all of her books — with their various accolades — she also has activities related to each of her titles and information on papermaking. I had planned on asking her about her process, but couldn’t do any better than the question-and-answer section she had on her site. (And, ahem, couldn't get around to writing her.) So if you were curious as to how long it takes her to make a book — and, by the way, what’s involved in that — you might find this helpful:
I work on a book for about a year. Now, I don’t work each and every day and at certain points I may put the book away for a week or two so that I can look at what I have done with fresh eyes, but from start to finish a year passes. Some pictures I do quite quickly — 3 or 4 days, other pictures may take longer. Making a picture requires quite a few steps: design the page, transfer the design to foam board for the stencils, cut the stencils, dye the cotton fiber, pour the picture using cotton fiber, flip off the finished picture, sponge excess moisture from the picture, put picture in vacuum table to get out even more moisture, then put the picture in the drying press for 3–5 days, once a day I change the blotter paper in the drying press…WHEW, I am exhausted just thinking about it!
 P. S. and of course I have to write the book… that comes first :-)
Now I have the great fortune to profile her snowflake for Robert Snow. Isn't it lovely? (Click on the picture to make it larger.)

Denise Fleming's SnowflakeAs has been mentioned all through the kidlit blogs, artists from all over the children’s book illustrating community have created special snowflakes to be auctioned off, with the proceeds benefiting sarcoma research at Dana-Farber. These snowflake auctions became known as the event “Robert’s Snow.”

This year, more than 200 well-known children’s book illustrators from around the world have been given a five-inch wooden snowflake to decorate at will. The 2007 online auctions for bidding on these hand-painted snowflakes will take place in three separate auctions, open to everyone, from November 19–23, November 26–30 (this is when you'll find the Fleming snowflake!), and December 3–7. You can go to the event site for more information and to participate in the auction.

Many, but not all, of the snowflake-making illustrators will be featured across sixty-five blogs. An updated list of snowflake and illustrator features is available at Seven Impossible Things, along with more information about the push behind the bloggers’ involvement in the project and the original call to action. The past week of snowflake features follows:

Monday, October 15
Tuesday, October 16
Wednesday, October 17
Thursday, October 18
Friday, October 19
Saturday, October 20
Sunday, October 21
Please take time out to visit these blogs, and read about these fabulous illustrators. And, if you’re so inclined, think about bidding for a snowflake in the Robert’s Snow auction. Each snowflake makes a unique gift (for yourself or for someone else), and supports an important cause.

6 comments:

jules said...

Thanks, MotherReader! We, too, love her books here in the Danielson household.

Man, that snowflake is so great. Look at all those textures -- and her BOOTS!

Anonymous said...

I've seen her books, but I didn't realize that she had written so many. I've got to find the Mama Cat book now that you've reminded me of it.

-Suz

Sara said...

Ooh, wordy art. I love art with words woven in.

Beckyb said...

Yep - BIG Denise Fleming fan over here too - in fact, I asked for her too - but glad you got her - you did a WONDERFUL post!!!

Camille said...

I heard Denise Fleming at TLA. She reminded me of Beverly Sills, full of humor and warmth and a kind chuckle when the lights would not dim for her slideshow. Her website is a tremendous resource. This is a great feature, MR.

Library Lady said...

Denise Fleming is one of the people on my "Artists So Good They'll Never Win a Caldecott" right up there with Lois Ehlert and Eric Carle!

Love her books. And more importantly, the kids love her books. "Beetle Bop" was a big hit at story time last week!