"Today the greatest challenge in publishing is distribution and discoverability. As a result, sites like [PictureBooksReview] are more important than ever to discerning readers, new authors and independent publishers."
-Steve Floyd, chief executive officer of August House books

"The interview is so amazing! I appreciate you picking up on all these aspects of what I've been doing. It's always great to talk with someone who understands what goes into these things."

- Jose Lucio, self-published author of Heave Ho!


My Yellow Umbrella (2013)

Written and Illustrated by Chris Robertson

Xist Publishing

The story concerns a young girl and her yellow umbrella careening through San Francisco without a care in the world. It's an amalgam of images of the rosy-cheeked mistress, minimalistic illustrations which reminded me of those "I Can Read" books from my youth, but much more artful and self-aware. But the real star is the palette. I could tell Chris had a good time envisioning color contrasts, mostly yellow-on-blue. Really fun, and I could almost imagine a whole Singing In the Rain dance number on the verge of breaking out as she swings around the Fisherman's Wharf post.

The text also has a bit of Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds about it. For example:

"It is the color of a crayon so bright, it fills my mind with daffodils and canaries."

Yeah man, canaries. Totally.

At the end, Chris acknowledges inspiration from the french filmmaker Albert Lamorrise, who did the great film The Red Balloon, and the artist Christo, who once festooned the landscape with blue and yellow umbrellas of his own.

Hm. Blue and yellow. I think I'm on to something here.

He also mentions the artist Amy Krouse Rosenthal, and her Beckoning of Lovely project, neither of which I was familiar with, but now I'm glad I am. Here's a video:

And how will the crowds know her? Of course, she will be the one with the yellow umbrella.

We live in an amazing time, artistically. I think there is so much exciting stuff going on. Don't let anyone lie to you and tell you technology has hampered us. Pfft.

Picture books are exciting mediums for art, and they're still expanding and finding out new things to do. I really appreciate Chris acknowledging his sources of inspiration and turning me on to Christo and Amy Rosenthal. It all connected.

Anyways, back to the book, here's another picture:

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