I ran across Picture Book Report, courtesy of Natascha Rosenberg (have I mentioned how great her links are? She always has interesting recommendations). Picture Book Report celebrates stories, storytelling and illustrations by engaging 15 illustrators to draw original art depicting scenes from their favorite books. As Meg Hunt, the “chief ringleader” of the project, explains, “It’s an extended love song to books.”
The one that caught my eye was Phil McAndrew‘s choice, “The Coast Was Clear,” which is an excerpt from one of my favorite childhood books: From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. If you’re not familiar with it, the story tells the adventure of Claudia and Jamie, a sister and brother team who ditch school and hide out at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for several days to solve an art provenance mystery. It’s a wonderful book, full of imagination and fun details about the resourceful duo’s daily routine: how they eat, how they wash up, how they evade security, etc.
Here’s Phil’s illustration and chosen excerpt, courtesy Picture Book Report:
“The Coast Was Clear”
The next morning Claudia and Jamie boarded the school bus as usual, according to plan. They sat together in the back and continued sitting there when they arrived at school and everyone got out of the bus. No one was supposed to notice this, and no one did. There was so much jostling and searching for homework papers and mittens that no one paid any attention to anything except personal possessions until they were well up the walk to school. Claudia instructed Jamie to pull his feet up and crouch his head down so that Herbert, the driver, couldn’t see him. He did, and she did the same.
Claudia and Jamie begin their great adventure by stowing away on the school bus after it’s dropped all the kids off at school. They hide in the back of the bus while Herbert drives the bus to the lot on Boston Post Road, where all the school buses are parked.
The bus bounced along like an empty cracker box on wheels- almost empty. Fortunately, the bumps made it noisy. Otherwise, Claudia would have worried for fear the driver could hear her heart, for it sounded to her like the electric percolator brewing the morning’s coffee. She didn’t like keeping her head down so long. Perspiration was causing her cheek to stick to the plastic seat; she was convinced that she would develop a medium-serious skin disease within five minutes after she got off the bus.
And so, according to plan, they stay hidden until well after Herbert parks and leaves.
When they got up, both were grinning. They peeked out the window of the bus, and saw that the coast was clear.
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Makes you want more, right? I love the idea of Picture Book Report and I look forward to reading more. You can see the schedule and check the main page for info about each of the 15 illustrators, who include the wonderfully inventive S. Britt. (Read this zany interview with him on grain edit to get a sense of how fun he is, and if you’re a design fan, you will love his website.)