Sunday, October 04, 2009

Booklist Starred Review for LIPS TOUCH that compares Laini's writing to Neil Gaiman and Charles de Lint!

*Lips Touch: Three Times*
Taylor, Laini (Author) , Di Bartolo, Jim (Illustrator)
Oct 2009. 272 p. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine, hardcover, $16.99. (9780545055857).
"...Taylor’s three novellas form a triptych of beautiful fantasy writing reminiscent of Charles de Lint and Neil Gaiman. Kisses are the unifying theme, with each story offering a different sort of locking lips, from giddy seduction to harsh power play. In “Goblin Fruit,” misfit Kizzy meets a fascinating new student, an unbelievably gorgeous young man who ignores the popular girls to seek her out. Taylor tantalizingly foreshadows the ambiguous ending, teasing and enticing the reader much as Jack Husk entices Kizzy. “Spicy Little Curses Such as These” is set in India and offers intriguing and culturally respectful glimpses of both Indian religion and British colonialism. “Hatchling” reveals a fully- realized world of sometimes malevolent immortals who steal and raise human babies as their pets. Present-day teen sensibilities blend with artful allusions to mythology and magic, pulling the reader into rich fantasy realms. The cover’s close-up of a lovely woman’s red lips, with red-orange flames licking at the super-imposed title, lacks the powerful, delicately structured, and subtle poetry of Taylor’s stories. But Di Bartolo, Taylor’s husband, provides skillfully detailed pen-and-ink illustrations that are a fine match for the lyrical, romantic text."

— Debbie Carton

Congrats Laini (and LIPS TOUCH!! (well, OK, and to me too) That makes TWO starred reviews so far!!

So in honor of the comparison (or "honour" as Mr. Gaiman might write) this morning I read Clementine one of Mr. Gaiman's more age-appropriate books. Plus it's a great early introduction to the amazing work of Dave McKean for her!! You can see that she enjoyed it! (Now I'll need to see if Mr. de Lint also has picture books, or if she'll need to wait until she's older to delve into his creations).


Anonymous said...

I love these photos with the two of you reading together! She looks too beautiful and blissed out! I was also thinking, btw, that in addition to the Thomas Friedman books she might also enjoy some lighter reading like Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot by Al Franken.

Heather said...

I love both Charles de Lint and Neil Gaiman! Looks like Lips Touch has finally made it here, but not Silksinger yet (?) Guess I'll have to special order it, sigh.

The Daddy and Clementine photos are ADORABLE!

Jim Di Bartolo said...

Thanks Heather :) And sorry to hear SILKSINGER hasn't made it's way there yet. That's weird? I hope you get one soon!

And we're CONSTANTLY thinking of you and thanking you around our house for all of the MANY MANY helpful and cute things you created for little Clementine. Thank you SO much! :)


Jake said...

One of my favorite books when I was younger was The True Story of The Three Little Pigs. I don't remember the illustrator's name, but the pictures are really great.

Did you use only pen-and-ink for lips touch, or watercolors too?

Jim Di Bartolo said...

Hi Jake and thanks SO much for attending the signing with such enthusiasm! And your art is very impressive! Don't stop drawing!!

As for the LIPS TOUCH interiors, they're all hand-drawn in pencil, then painted with watercolors, inks, and gouache. Some had some touch-ups in acrylics. But all the hand-painting was done with very little color -- just going for drama and contrast. Then they were scanned in and brought to grayscale (but the textures & such remain) and then the red was added in digitally in "Channels."

Jake said...

Thanks very much, I love your work as well, and I liked meeting you!

Ah, thanks for the clarification. I like the effect of the paints and how the shadows look slightly blurred and foggy.

Katie said...

Okay - those might be the cutest pics of Clementine ever!
I'm sure Laini has told you, but I think y'all's new book is a complete and utter masterpiece! I can't wait for my friend and blogging partner SF to read it!

I am posting about it NEXT :-)

Jim Di Bartolo said...

-Thanks Jake -- and you're welcome :)

- Hi Katie -- and WOW (!) thanks SO much for the incredibly kind words! We're SO happy that you enjoyed the book so much! We'll look forward to your post and we thank you (!!!!!) in advance :) (and I adore those Clementine pics too -- thanks!)

Stephanie Perkins said...

Two of my very favorite books — Lips Touch and The Wolves in the Walls!!

And my most sincere congratulations. Those reviews are EARNED.

(Oh, and your daughter is really really frigging cute. I love the little tuft of hair! And that smile!)

Jim Di Bartolo said...

Hey thanks Stephanie! Yeah, anything Laini writes goes in my "absolute fave" list too. And whenever Gaiman and McKean get together, you know it's going to be a thing of beauty.

And thanks & thanks again (re: the reviews and teeny Clementine-y, we have a hard time NOT staring at her, especially when she's smiling (which is OFTEN! :)

Matt Camp said...

I can't figure out which one is cuter, I think Clementine wins by a nose.