Saturday, December 26, 2009

PlanetEsme: "Dramatic in story and distinctive in style, this book is a stand-out."

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This original and haunting treatment of Aesop's fable is really two simultaneous stories that converge at rhythmic intervals, like a well-choreographed quadrille. Double-page spreads with upper and lower levels reveal the cats roaming a castle while a mouse lives in squalor. After a series of failed attempts by Mouse and his friend Bat, the resident princess shows them a kindness, inspiring the clever mouse to use the princess's birthday as the perfect diplomatic opportunity to bell the cats once and for all. A unique technique of placing illustrated cut-outs in sets of actual miniatures and then photographing them creates scenes of surprising depth and perspective. Dramatic in story and distinctive in style, this book is a stand-out. (7 and up) - Esme Codell, PlanetEsme Blog

Curled Up With A Good Kid's Book - "This is a book to buy and read over and over again."

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Cynthia Von Buhler provides a clever and witty take on the age-old question from Aesop’s fables - “But who will bell the cats?” - in the book of the same name.

In a dark, beautiful castle high upon a hill lives a princess with her eight pampered and not-so-nice cats; in the dingy cellar below live Mouse and his dear friend Brown Bat. While the cats dine at banquets and sleep in soft, perfumed beds, Mouse and Brown Bat make do with crumbs that fall through the floorboard and makeshift beds devised from matchboxes and smelly old socks. Some of the pages show the contrasting lives of the denizens of the upstairs and that of the cellar in two split images, which makes for an interesting and even amusing counterpoint.

Mouse is determined to make his way upstairs to avail himself of the luxurious life enjoyed by the cats. To do that, he must attach bells around the cats’ collars to serve as a warning of their proximity. This proves to be a perilous task (requiring frequent rescuing by Brown Bat) until Mouse finally hits upon an ingenious way to bell the cats.

Von Buhler has created an elegant, richly textured and detailed rendering of the interior of the castle. The unusual depth and layering to the artwork was achieved by creating original 3-D sets that were populated with paper cutout figures and photographed to achieve the desired visual effect. The multimedia collage art, edged in gilt and crafted with incredible attention to detail, makes for a strikingly gorgeous fairy tale book. The simple text does its job - which is to say, to move the story forward while not detracting from the artwork that is the real star here.

No detail is missed in the making of this book: in case the dust jacket gets lost or mangled as often happens with children’s books, the inside cover of the book features beautiful art so that the book can be displayed even without the dust jacket. This is a book to buy and read over and over again. - Curled Up With A Good Kid's Book

Monday, December 14, 2009

Cynthia von Buhler Signs With Eddie Gamarra & Hollywood Management Agency, The Gotham Group

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The author and artist plans to create concepts for animated films and children's television programs.

Cynthia von Buhler created this snow globe featuring characters from her children's book But Who Will Bell the Cats? for The Gotham Group's holiday card. The city in the background is their logo.

But Who Will Bell the Cats? Is Nominated For A Cybil Award, 2009

The book is nominated in the Fiction Picture Books category. Visit the Cybil's site for more information.

Grand Rapids Living: "Truly the cat’s meow."

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Royal cats no match for clever mouse in 'But Who Will Bell the Cats?'

“But Who Will Bell the Cats?” written and illustrated by Cynthia von Buhler, is truly the cat’s meow and my idea of a fantastic picture book. (Houghton Mifflin, $16, ages 4-9)

Everything is here — exciting art, an engaging story, even a happy ending. Based on Aesop’s fables, this is a story of cats and mice, of have and have-nots and of a clever, determined mouse that solves an age-old problem.

The tale begins with the princess and her eight pampered cats living upstairs in style, taking bubble baths and sleeping on perfumed pillows, while Mouse and his friend Brown Bat live in the dingy downstairs fending for themselves. Mouse wants more; he wants to live the good life with the cats.

Mouse figures he needs to find a way to put a collar of bells around the royal cats, so he can be easily warned when his greatest enemy approaches.

Readers see a palace split into two worlds — upstairs and downstairs. A little storybook magic, combined with three-dimensional scenes, capture imaginations.

Kids will enjoy discovering how Mouse figures out a creative plan that work. - Gina Gilligan Read the article HERE: HERE.

Toledo Blade: "Her use of detail is amazing. A delightful experience!"

Kids books: Magic for the holidays and everyday

Count on these books to be welcome holiday gifts that will last long past their giving. Memorable characters, original plots, and vivid settings make these books fine choices.

The story is based on Aesop's familiar fable: who will bell the cats? The illustrations, however, are unique. In the dark basement of the castle, Mouse and his friend Brown Bat exist on leftover crumbs. Upstairs the Princess and her cats enjoy lavish meals. Mouse is convinced that the roles would be reversed if only the cats had bells on their collars. Finally he comes up with the perfect solution. The illustrations were constructed by hand as theater sets. Cynthia von Buhler's work has been displayed in several museums. Her use of detail is amazing. A delightful experience! (BSJ) Read the full article HERE.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast: "This is one stylin’ book, and it’s like nothing I’ve seen this year."

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This is author/illustrator Cynthia von Buhler’s self-portrait-slash-doll. I invited Cynthia to 7-Imp this morning to share some art from her latest title, the downright luxurious But Who Will Bell the Cats? (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children; September 2009). This title has been met with such lavish reviews as: “Dark, complicated mixed-media illustrations bring a humorously creepy feel to the tale…this story of an indefatigable mouse should find a welcome place on the shelves of any castle…or library” (Horn Book); “Children will find a lot to discover in the details, even after repeated readings” (School Library Journal); “Beautiful and haunting with the kinds of images kids will pore over, there ain’t nothing like it out there today. A new fable in an all-new style” (Betsy Bird at A Fuse #8 Production); “Young readers will pore over this one again and again” (Kirkus)…Oh, I could go on.

You all know the old Aesop fable, The Mice in Council, about the discussion of belling the cat by those poor mice. Cynthia has embellished this tale with inimitable style, rendered in detailed multimedia collage, adding a stately castle, a princess, an impoverished mouse and his sidekick friend, the Bat, and much more to the tale.

Including gilt. Lots of it. “(W)ouldn’t it be nice to give a princess-obsessed child something gorgeous to the eye with a truly original concept, story, and look, but without the standard pretty pretty princess conceit?” wrote Betsy Bird. Enter Cynthia. This is one stylin’ book, and it’s like nothing I’ve seen this year.

I’ve gotten to where I don’t even like to post about picture books anymore unless I can in some way show some art from it. The added extra benefit of that is I can shut my trap and let the art speak for itself. Or, in this morning’s case, let the artist, as well, tell you in her own words all about the book — and her creative process in bringing it to us. So, without further ado, here’s Cynthia, and I thank her for visiting. - Jules, Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. Read the whole article HERE.