A couple of months ago I drove up to Marin County (California) for the author signing of "Baby Me" which was illustrated by our own Alicia Padron. While I was waiting for the festivities to begin, I began browsing through the picture book section, which is very dangerous for my bank account, as I tend to buy too many books.....I tried to limit myself and chose just a couple. The minute I laid eyes on "Brontorina," I knew I had to have it. Written by James Howe and illustrated by Randy Cecil, this book is all about dreams and obstacles and believing it can happen....with a little help from your friends.
It's always the art that attracts me to a picture book and Bronterina just popped off the shelf with it's graphic flair and adorable character. Not only is Bronterina (who wants to be a ballerina in the worst way) too large for the dance studio, but her character can barely be contained in the pages of the book. Randy Cecil has used the contrast of the tiny children and the elegantly cropped images of the dinasour to really give the reader the feel of how incredibly large this dinasour is. The book was painted in oils and there is a fine texture to the paintings that give the pages a soft, atmospheric feel.
Randy Cecil knew as a very young boy that writing and illustrating children's books was what he wanted to do. At the age of four he began writing letters with pictures to some of his favorite illustrators telling them that he loved their work and that this was what he wanted to do. Uri Shulevitz and Joel Schick wrote really nice letters including pictures back to him, which he said helped reinforce the feeling that this was something that he could do. He has illustrated many picture books and is the author and illustrator of "Duck" and "Gator."
You can see more of his art on his website.