I wanted to share with you
some of the behind the scenes art that went into this new children's book!
Once I read through the story that Troy Howell wrote I knew that I wanted to try something new and different from my usually black and white silhouettes. I decided to cut my images from white paper and then set them up in a diorama with lights. I took a photo of the scenes and used that image as the illustrations.
From Booklist, May 1, 2016:
Lizbeth Lou is playing outside when a pesky pebble lodges in her shoe. She tosses it carelessly away, unwittingly setting off a sequence of events in which the offending rock inconveniences an entire neighborhood of creatures, one after another. To the cricket, the rock is a boulder that will sink its delicate leaf boat. A duck is perplexed by the solid raindrop landing on her umbrella, while a trout is disappointed when its dinner turns out to be inedible. These small, interconnected encounters speak to the random nature of chance in a way that will delight young children. The rhyming narrative has an easy cadence that moves the story forward in a light, playful tone. Carr uses delicate cut-paper silhouettes that are layered and illuminated to give depth and complexity. Rendered in a rich, golden brown palette and with a decidedly vintage style, the whimsical images suggest nostalgia for classic children’s books. Gorgeous in its simplicity and unique visual style, this provides a welcome respite from the busy modern world. — Summer Hayes
From Midwest Book Review, April 2016:
"Lizbeth Lou Got a Rock in Her Shoe" is a charming, singsong verse story that is entirely illuminated by hand-cut paper silhouettes scenes in shades of sepia, brown, and ivory. The dancing lyrical narrative traces the trajectory of a rock, which is flung by Lizbeth Lou, when found in her shoe, where it just would not do, to where it crashed into a cricket's canoe! The exciting odyssey of the stone becomes the exciting matter of the verse song, and the haunting sepia silhouettes chorus and echo the refrains until the ending comes full circle, with a familiar twist that is both surprising and inevitable. "Lizbeth Lou Got a Rock in Her Shoe" is loosely based on the revolutionary notion that what goes around comes around. This message is subtly reinforced by the creative cut paper silhouette scenes in serene sepia shades.
From Kirkus Reviews, March 2, 2016:
A stone in a child’s shoe triggers an avalanche of small misfortunes.
From a canoe-paddling cricket to a disgruntled trout to a hungry but thwarted bird—all have had a perfectly fine day ruined by the pebble’s erratic trajectory. It’s unfortunate that Howell’s narrative poem also meanders erratically. The meter ricochets from stanza to stanza as it collides with a rhyming pattern that hiccups and stumbles its way through this circular tale. “ ‘Whoa!’ said the cricket. ‘A boulder—I’m sunk!’ / He dumped it, it dropped… // on a trout with a clunk. / ‘Ugh!’ said the trout. ‘This is too tough to chew!’ // He spat it, it soared… // toward a duck’s good-as-new flowered / umbrella she’d brought to the zoo.” These and other sentence constructions defy most read-aloud attempts. It’s unfortunate that they distract from Carr’s layered, cut-paper dioramas. The sepia-toned silhouettes convey remarkable depth of field, as in one double-page spread in which an ant pushes the boulder-sized pebble across a meadow, the field grasses in the foreground blurred while the ant and pebble in the rear of the image stand out crisply.
Despite the issues with the limping narrative, the illustrations successfully hold the story together while conjuring a wistful air of yesteryear.
From Publishers Weekly, February 22, 2106:
Howell ( The Dragon of Cripple Creek) and newcomer Carr trace the elaborate journey of a rock after it gets stuck in a girl’s shoe: “ ‘Ow!’ Lizzy said. ‘This just will not do!’/ She flung it, it crashed... in a cricket’s canoe.” Playful details pop up throughout Howell’s rhymes (a trout spits the rock onto a duck’s umbrella, and a bird with a spyglass later spots it balanced on a woman’s hat pin), but it’s Carr’s elegant cut-paper dioramas that command attention. Rendered in warm browns and lit by fiery golden light, their whimsy dovetails nicely with Howell’s verse, while out-of-focus trees and grasses create a lovely sense of three-dimensionality. Carr’s trees feel inspired by the art nouveau movement and, along with characters’ formal attire, seem to plant the story in the early 20th century (a wide-angle view of the park reveals an angel fountain and nearby buildings, suggesting New York City’s Central Park as a possible setting). An ending that brings the rock full circle may leave readers considering the unknowable effects of small, spontaneous actions. Author’s agent: Sara Crowe, Harvey Klinger.