Don't pigeonhole me! Two decades of the Mo Willems sketchbook

Mo Willems

Book - 2013

Readers are given a rare glimpse into the mind of the man the New York Times described as "The biggest new talent to emerge thus far in the '00s." Since he was a teenager, Mo has been creating characters and scribbling ideas in the pages of sketchbooks. In the early 1990s, he started self-publishing collections of his drawings, and The Mo Willems Sketchbook was created. What began as a calling card for his work has morphed over the years from a form of therapy, to an opportunity t...o explore and experiment, to a gift for friends and loved ones. But these sketchbooks have always been (and continue to be) the well from which Mo draws ideas and inspiration.

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Subjects
Published
New York, N.Y. : Disney Editions 2013.
Language
English
Physical Description
279 p. : col. ill. ; 31 cm
ISBN
9781423144366
1423144368
Main Author
Mo Willems (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

In the foreword to this impressive coffee-table-size art book, Eric Carle calls Mo Willems "the master of the doodle." Carle provides a doodle of his own: the iconic hungry caterpillar, waving a heart flag and proclaiming, "Mo Willems rocks!" A compilation of Mo's sketchbooks from the past two decades, this offers a fly-on-the-wall look at where the illustrator's ideas originate. Fun fact: Pigeon, of Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, appeared in a sketchbook long before his 2003 debut; he was "born in the corner of a notebook, complaining about how he was better than other doodles I was making." That sounds like Pigeon alright. In addition to Mo's general introduction, he briefly introduces each of the 20 sketchbooks. For instance, Mo tells us that Sketchbook 5, called "I'm Fine," was inspired by William Steig's The Lonely Ones (1970). Other entries include "Lazy Day Doodles," "Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs" (now a picture book), and the hysterical "Olive Hue Show Mutts," in which a drunk, slurring rabbit reminds adults just how hard it is to learn to read. The clean design and pastel background colors echo Mo's picture books, and the volume will delight his numerous fans—his adult fans (but let's not pigeonhole)—from beginning to end. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

In this collection of sketches, adult fans of the award-winning Pigeon, KnuffleBunny, and Elephant and Piggie books are treated to a peek inside the mind of one of the most critically acclaimed and best-selling children's book creators of our time. Complied from volumes of The Mo Willems Sketchbook, an annual gift presented to friends, family, and potential clients, many of the drawings predate Willems's success as a picture-book author/illustrator. The early sketchbooks feature single cartoon-style panels and clever visual gags in the manner of the New Yorker. They crack wise about such topics as City Life, The Creative Process, and Couples. Some of the sketchbooks are deeply personal, such as I'm Fine, a darkly comic journey through self-doubt and fear. Later sketchbooks reveal Willems's early experiments with the slightly longer narratives and dynamic page turns that became the springboard for his first picture books. Adults will appreciate many of the grown-ups-only read-alouds such as the hilarious and "intoxicatingly hard reader" Olive Hue Show Mutts. Educators in the fields of children's literature and art will find interest in seeing the genesis of characters like The Pigeon and enjoy this rare glimpse into the often-private world of artist doodles.—Kiera Parrott, Darien Library, CT [Page 146]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Presents a collection of the illustrator's twenty sketchbooks, containing collections of his drawings, ideas, and experimentations with characters.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Young readers first met the Pigeon, a beleaguered bird desperate for a shot behind the wheel of a bus, in 2003. Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! went on to sell millions of copies, receive a Caldecott Honor, and spawn additional picture books, apps, games, and even silly bands. But did you know the Pigeon was born many years earlier in the pages of a sketchbook?In Don't Pigeonhole Me! Two Decades of the Mo Willems Sketchbook, readers are given a rare glimpse into the mind of the man the New York Times described as "The biggest new talent to emerge thus far in the '00s." Since he was a teenager, Mo has been creating characters and scribbling ideas in the pages of sketchbooks. In the early 1990s, he started self-publishing collections of his drawings, and The Mo Willems Sketchbook was created. What began as a calling card for his work has morphed over the years from a form of therapy, to an opportunity to explore and experiment, to a gift for friends and loved ones. But these sketchbooks have always been (and continue to be) the well from which Mo draws ideas and inspiration.Featuring a foreword by Eric Carle and an introduction by Mo, this volume includes all twenty sketchbooks from the last two decades. Don't Pigeonhole Me! reveals the author/illustrator at his most truthful, most experimental, most grown-up. Most Mo. Want to know where ideas come from? Look inside.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Young readers first met the Pigeon, a beleaguered bird desperate for a shot behind the wheel of a bus, in 2003. Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! went on to sell millions of copies, receive a Caldecott Honor, and spawn additional picture books, apps, games, and even silly bands. But did you know the Pigeon was born many years earlier in the pages of a sketchbook?In Don't Pigeonhole Me! Two Decades of the Mo Willems Sketchbook, readers are given a rare glimpse into the mind of the man the New York Times described as "The biggest new talent to emerge thus far in the '00s." Since he was a teenager, Mo has been creating characters and scribbling ideas in the pages of sketchbooks. In the early 1990s, he started self-publishing collections of his drawings, and The Mo Willems Sketchbook was created. What began as a calling card for his work has morphed over the years from a form of therapy, to an opportunity to explore and experiment, to a gift for friends and loved ones. But these sketchbooks have always been (and continue to be) the well from which Mo draws ideas and inspiration.Featuring a foreword by Eric Carle and an introduction by Mo, this volume includes all twenty sketchbooks from the last two decades. Don't Pigeonhole Me! reveals the author/illustrator at his most truthful, most experimental, most grown-up. Most Mo. Want to know where ideas come from? Look inside.