Monday, August 3, 2009

So This is Love

I am a happily married woman... but I think I may be in love.

And love, thy name is... Chicken Dance.

This is no puppy love, either. Sure, it's everything I'm initially attracted to on a surface level... Funny, check. Heart and gumption, check. Generally pleasing appearance, check. But what really moves this book beyond the level of mere infatuation for me is this:

Much like a good relationship, this book makes me want to up my game.

The characters and books I write tend to (attempt to be) funny. Dan Santat's illustrations are that, and more... he also manages to make each page beautiful. And strikingly composed. With interesting & engaging light sources. And a real sense of setting and atmosphere for this story. In short, he didn't stop at making each picture simply funny- he made each one a pretty stunning work of art. And oddly enough, the fact that the illustrations are beautiful only seem to make them even MORE FUNNY.

These images are screen shots from Dan Santat's Flickr portfolio. Or see his website here.

As an illustrator, I am usually drawn to the artwork in a picture book first. But Tammi Sauer's text is top-notch. I may be biased, though, because I love nothing more than a good pun, and her text is full of them. When the chickens run out of time & have to "wing it" at the talent show... well, consider me chuffed.

Oh, and there's even a website! Besides being a fantastic book, Chicken Dance is a fantastic example of a thoroughly modern picture book. By that I mean, it reaches beyond the rectangular corners of the book form. The book has a website. The website has music videos & dance lessons. The author photos take the form of CD covers, complete with playlists. For authors & illustrators looking for publicity venues for their books, Chicken Dance is a great source of inspiration in thinking outside the coop.

Alright, my love-fest is over. Time to hit the hay and dream of Elvis Poultry...


Mary Uhles said...

great review. looks pretty cool, you've convinced me i'll have to put it on the library card.

Kristin said...

I HEART this book! I put it on my blog, too. Your illos are breathtaking, and I just got an email saying Bea Rocks the Flock is available for me to pick up! YAY! :) Best of luck to you!

Nina Crittenden said...

It is SUCH a great book- Dan and Tammi are rock stars! I love that the book has a website and a life of it's own! Brilliant!

Vicki said...

Uh oh- I can see we're going to have to fight over Elvis Poultry! Feathers will fly, mark my words.

Dan Santat said...

Wow, Such kind words! I am humbled and honored!

Vicki said...

Oh. Now I'm slightly embarrassed that my art crush has discovered my true feelings! I always forget that this web is "world wide"! Like the time I made fun of my coworkers' singing abilities on this blog, and it came back to bite me hard. Musically.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by, Dan!