Every book that Melissa Sweet does seems to be just up my alley. There was Carmine, a Little More Red. Fabulous: reds galore, hot pinks, a fairy tale send up with an alphabet soup flavor. It was my favorite book, until....then she illustrated A Boy Who Drew Birds. Audubon and birds, what's not to like? Then, Tupelo Rides the Rails....trains, lonely hounds, the stars, a hobo. A book to tug at your heart and want to visit a shelter. So then, that was my favorite book. She just topped herself with A River of Words, a book of poetic leaps and collage symphonies.
It won a Caldecott Award! Bravo, Melissa!
I made this collage in her honor, in a nod to her inimitable style and the cover design.
She was celebrated at a recent soiree at Zero Station in Portland, complete with sweets and a display of her original art for the book.
All manner of notable folks turned out, librarians, illustrators, writers, fans, readers, muralists, photographers, musicians, kids, and of course, lovers of anything Melissa is involved in. My kind of crowd.
There were fun party hats and towers of cupcakes.
Fellow book artist Jamie Harper made cupcakes with bits of Melissa's illustrations on top (not edible, but divine...) here offered by our rockabilly hostess with the mostess, Kirsten Cappy.
There were also breads by Spelt Right. I had never had spelt, but Beth George happily toasted me the best bagel I've ever had. Spelt is an ancient grain with great flavor. She said, "I'm a baker on a mission!"
With a full belly, I found my way to the Collage Room. I wish I had a collage room to party in every day!
Melissa's illustrations take on the life of William Carlos Williams with lyrical juxtapositions, poetic whimsy, and colorful serendipity.
Congratulations to a Caldecott winner, so Sweet!