Alex Deacon Profile

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Thanks to Achukablog for directing me to Joanna Carey’s Guardian article, “Brain Theatre” about the terrific British illustrator, Alex Deacon. He illustrated one of my favorite books of last year, Barbara Jean Hicks’ Jitterbug Jam. We selected it as one of the 2006 Notable Children’s Books in the Language Arts and here is my annotation for it ( from our “Spotlight on CLA Book Awards” in the Fall 2006 Journal of Children’s Literature).

Here’s a fresh take on the perennial themes of bedtime monsters and mean big brothers. Poor little monster Bobo; nobody believes that there is a boy under his bed, especially not his big brother Buster who calls him a fraidy-cat. After receiving some advice from his grandpa Boo-Dad, Bobo is able to confront the boy and discovers that all is not as it seems. Hick’s delicious language is gloriously enhanced by the art of comic-strip panels, speech bubbles, sequences of spot images moving down and across a page, arresting full-page spreads, and meandering ribbons of text. These are just some of the more describable techniques used by Alex Deacon that will bring young readers back to this book again and again. With its rollicking text and winsome story, Bobo’s story is equally perfect for a large group read-aloud as it is for a twosome of emergent readers as they happily follow the little monster’s story along its winding and creative path.

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One response to “Alex Deacon Profile

  1. Monica, Thanks for the Jitterbug Jam profile from the author! As a former teacher in the Language Arts, I was very pleased to be honored by CLA last year. I love using Jitterbug on school visits to talk about how much fun language can be. I also love to point out the details in Alexis Deacon’s wonderful artwork. (I’ve scanned the entire book and put it on PowerPoint so I can show the illustrations to a large assembly of kids as I read the text aloud.) I feel incredibly lucky to have had my first children’s book illustrated by Alexis. My manuscript was rejected by 22 American publishing houses before my agent sold it to Hutchinson Children’s Books (Random House) in England, who had already published Alexis’ first book, Slow Loris, and was working on Beegu (two wonderful books available in the U.S. through FSG, who eventually bought U.S. rights for Jitterbug as well). The connection with Alexis would have never been made without those 22 rejections! The latest news on Jitterbug is that our publisher is negotiating stage rights with a small production company in England (These Colours Productions) who are interested in producing it for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2008. A great excuse to visit Edinburgh. We’re keeping our fingers crossed…

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