Friday, June 21, 2013

June is for JOONE!

JOONE, a picture book by author-illustrator Emily Kate Moon, celebrates creative spirits and life's simple joys. The book published last week (in June, of course) from Dial Books for Young Readers.

The story centers upon a little girl named Joone who loves the color orange and ice cream sandwiches...

Joone lives with her grandfather in a yurt and has a pet turtle named Dr. Chin, who often travels around on her purple hat.

According to Moon, Joone simply walked into her head one day and Moon knew she had to write about her. But while Joone's idiosyncracies and fun-loving lifestyle came easily, the best way to render Joone in illustration form was a little more challenging.

Moon first created JOONE in Flash, a computer animation program.  When Dial Books for Young Readers expressed interest, they requested "more organic" illustrations. So Moon experimented with several different styles until she hit upon the perfect one: pencil and gouache.  Read more of the story and see examples of Moon's experimentations on her website here.

Once the illustration style was decided upon, the deal was struck, and the agent-author-editor team became official! The three met up several months ago to strategize about the book. Moon is pictured in the middle with Dial editor Nancy Conescu on the left of the photo and agent Jennifer Weltz on the right.

After the deal was made, Moon's next steps included completing the full and final illustrations. On her website, Moon shows two of her illustrations in each stage of that process: from early pencil sketches and thumbnail sketches (which were shown to Dial for feedback, notes, and approval), to more detailed sketches, to the finalized illustrations in pencil and gouache. See the stages here.

Below, you can see Moon hard at work completing her illustrations.  Her son supervises from her lap.

In order to celebrate JOONE's publication last week, JVNLA held an office party complete with what else but orange dresses and ice cream sandwiches.  Multiple Dr. Chins made appearances, as well as Joone's shoes and one very large purple hat. Below, we present some of the photos from all of the fun!

Above, multiple Dr. Chins hang out with Joone's purple hat, her shoes, and the book itself.

You can never have too many Joones! In the top row, from left to right, are Moon's agent Jennifer Weltz, Assistant Ariana Philips, and Agent Laura Biagi. In the bottom row, from left to right, are Agent Jessica Regel, Intern Megan Mills, and Agent and Contracts Manager Tara Hart.

Above, Joone runs toward ice cream sandwiches.

And, lastly, above is a group shot of many orange dresses, ice cream sandwiches, and JOONE picture books.

JOONE has been on the road, too. For the Niagara Writers Retreat and Conference, JVNLA Agent Laura Biagi attended a costume dinner in Joone's orange dress with Dr. Chin on her head. There were several other picture-book-themed costume attendees as well:

From left to right: Agent Laura Biagi; Susan Rich, editor of THE DARK by Lemony Snicket and Jon Klassen; and Barbara Elizabeth Walsh, author of THE POPPY LADY

While JVNLA has clearly had a lot of fun with JOONE, so have reviewers!  Below is a sampling of the wonderful reviews that have come in so far for the book.

“The brisk and breezy depiction of a single summer day features familiar activities, unusual settings and a cheerfully childlike first-person narration...Moon’s bright and colorful illustrations provide additional details and amplify the gentle humor...Listeners will request repeat readings to pore over the details of Joone’s unusual home and enjoy her creative approach to life. Joone could be a contemporary, country-dwelling cousin to Eloise: another precocious, articulate and turtle-loving child with charm to spare.” --Kirkus

“With her idiosyncratically spelled name, openhearted precociousness, and ever-present pet turtle, Dr. Chin, five-year-old Joone makes a winning tour guide to life with her grandfather...With a one-of-a-kind home, a spectacular tree house, a nearby river for swimming, and the supportive presence of her grandfather, Joone’s life is an enviable one. Moon’s ability to convey her heroine’s self-assured contentment and love for her grandfather without resorting to the twee or overly literal is the mark of a real...talent.” --Publishers Weekly

"A sweet, gentle narrative about a child who is being raised by her grandfather. The text, which celebrates the small things in life that a child might appreciate, reads smoothly and is written with some flair...The bucolic setting, Joone’s home, and the mood are more central to the book than the action. Moon shows promise, not only as a picture-book writer, but as an illustrator as well. The gouache and pencil illustrations are bright, colorful, and full of interesting detail." --School Library Journal

1 comment:

  1. I love this. What a wonderful post! I especially love seeing all the lovely agents in Joone's huge purple hat! And I laughed out loud when I saw the book open to show Joone running toward six real-life ice-cream sandwiches! What a wonderful way to celebrate pubday!