The Children’s Book Review | December 7, 2017
Matt Tavares’s Selfie with Red & Lulu
Here’s my selfie. It’s me in my studio with a copy of Red & Lulu, which tells the story of a pair of cardinals who live happily in a big, beautiful evergreen until one day, when their tree is chopped down and taken away, causing Red and Lulu to become separated. It’s a love story, a Christmas story, and a story about what happens when your world turns upside down unexpectedly and you need to focus on what’s really important.
As you can tell from this picture, there are a lot of bookshelves in my studio. The original owners of this house referred to this room as “the library”, a fitting place for me to spend my days making books! It’s on the back corner of the house. The two exterior walls have walls nice big windows, so there’s great light for drawing and painting, and the other two walls are covered with great built-in bookshelves. For the bookshelves you see in this picture, the ones right behind my drawing table, I have the top shelf divided into 4 sections, where I store research materials for the 4 books I’m working on. The second shelf is for art supplies for my current project, including pencils, extra paint brushes, reference photos, paper towels, etc. And the bottom three shelves are filled with books.
Matt Tavares’s Shelfie
This is my picture book wall, the only bookshelf that I added to my studio (the others were all here when we moved in), and one of my favorite thing about my studio. I stole this idea from my friend, author-illustrator Scott Magoon, who has an awesome picture book wall in his studio. I use this space as a rotating display of some of my favorite books, for inspiration as I’m working. Occasionally I’ll put one of my books up there. It’s fun to see Red & Lulu surrounded by some of my favorite books.
Written and Illustrated by Matt Tavares
Publisher’s Synopsis: Separation and miles cannot keep a determined cardinal from his loved one in an ode to serendipity and belief that is destined to be a new Christmas classic.
Red and Lulu make their nest in a particularly beautiful evergreen tree. It shades them in the hot months and keeps them cozy in the cold months, and once a year the people who live nearby string lights on their tree and sing a special song: O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree. But one day, something unthinkable happens, and Red and Lulu are separated. It will take a miracle for them to find each other again. Luckily, it’s just the season for miracles. . . . From Matt Tavares comes a heart-tugging story combining the cheer of Christmas, the magic of New York City, and the real meaning of the holiday season: how important it is to be surrounded by love.
Ages 3-7 | Publisher: Candlewick | 2017 | ISBN-13: 9780763677336
About the Author-Illustrator
Since then, Matt has published eighteen more books and has won several awards, including three Parents’ Choice Gold Awards, an Orbis Pictus Honor, and two ALA Notable books. His artwork has been exhibited at the Museum of American Illustration, the Brandywine River Museum, The Eric Carle Museum, and the Mazza Museum of Picture Book Art.When Matt’s not working in his studio on his latest book project, he travels the country speaking and drawing at schools, libraries, conferences, and bookstores. He has presented at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the White House Easter Egg Roll, and he’s even done a few book signings at Fenway Park.
Matt lives in Maine with his wife, Sarah, and their two daughters.
For more information, visit: http://matttavares.com
Discover more books like “Red & Lulu,” by Matt Tavares, by checking out our reviews and articles tagged with Aliens, Health, Illness, and Picture Books; and be sure to follow along with our Selfie and a Shelfie series.