Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Cece Bell

Cece Bell lives in an old church in Virginia and works in a new-ish barn right next door. She is an author and illustrator of books for children. Her books include Bee-Wigged, Itty Bitty, and the Sock Monkey series for Candlewick Press; stuff coming out soon includes Rabbit and Robot: The Sleepover (also for Candlewick Press), illustrations for Crankee Doodle (written with her husband, Tom Angleberger, for Clarion Press) and for Bug Patrol (by Denise Mortensen, also for Clarion Press). She is currently working on a graphic novel for Amulet.

Last month I asked her what she was reading.  Her reply:
I am not a voracious reader because I am a slow reader. But when I recently finished Robertson Davies' The Salterton Trilogy (which was given to my husband by his editor, but stolen by me, and which very well may be the thickest book I've ever read), I was almost ready to re-read it immediately. Tempest-Tost (1951), Leaven of Malice (1954), and A Mixture of Frailties (1958) are Davies' first three novels (packaged together as The Salterton Trilogy), and all three are about the residents of the fictional university town of Salterton, Ontario. Funny as heck. Complicated, sometimes absurd, often bawdy, Davies, like Dickens, surprises you in the middle of the action by making sweeping statements about society and its institutions that stick with you for a long time. Highly, highly recommended. I loved this trilogy so much that I have since read Davies' The Cunning Man (also excellent), and am just now starting on The Deptford Trilogy. Good stuff!

In the mid-grade category, I recently read Katherine Paterson's 1978 novel, The Great Gilly Hopkins. She really nailed the voice of a tough, sad, frustrated, and frustrating girl who clings to the hope that her real mother will be her salvation as she adjusts to life in yet another foster home. Gilly's gradual transformation into a kinder person is beautifully drawn out, and, more importantly, it's believable. It's been a while since I got so caught up in a character's quest for happiness.

And finally... have you seen Extra Yarn??? It's written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen. If that book doesn't get the Caldecott, I'll be filling up the Well of Sorrow with my own fat tears. And that's only a slight exaggeration. The story is so right-on, so magical. And the illustrations! I get jealous of other people's work all the time. But these are so good that my jealousy meter just quit working as I basked in the awesome that is Jon Klassen.
Visit Cece Bell's website.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Cece Bell and Tuna, O.D., and Sue Bee.

--Marshal Zeringue