Good-Bye, Baby Max | Book Review

By heather at 5:24 pm on Friday, February 29, 2008

Hilary Williamson (BookLoons.com)reviews Good-Bye, Baby Max

“It’s springtime in a busy kindergarten classroom, when Mrs. B., brings in a box - ‘The children are thrilled, / for soon they will greet / Three baby chicks, / so soft and so sweet.’ In advance of their hatching, the children name the small fluffballs Dora, Spiderman and Max.

One morning, the chicks start to hatch - Dora and Spiderman quickly emerge, but Max ‘pecks and pecks, / trying to crack open his shell’. The kids worry and Chris asks, ‘Is Max gonna die?’ The next morning, they sadly learn that Max didn’t make it (the blue tinge to the illustration emphasizes how the children feel about the news).

At Mrs. B,’s urging, they decide to ‘find a way to say good-bye.’ This wise teacher organizes an outdoor funeral for the little chick - the children sing and each takes their turn for a ‘last good-bye’. They craft memorial projects and watch Dora and Spiderman cheep and play, ‘Knowing that soon / they’ll have happier days.’

Diane Cantrell, who was a kindergarten teacher and is now a Licensed Professional Counselor, does a nice job of handling this delicate subject, while Heather Castles draws settings and children’s (happy and sad) faces beautifully. I recommend Good-bye, Baby Max as an excellent vehicle to communicate what the loss of a loved one means to little ones.”

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Good-Bye, Baby Max | Detroit Free Press Book Review

By heather at 5:12 pm on Friday, February 29, 2008

MICHELE SIUDA JACQUES (Copy Editor, Detroit Free Press)

Good-Bye, Baby Max by Diane Cantrell with illustrations by Heather Castles (Bridgeway Books, $16.95) is a tender story about death, a tough topic for young children. Kindergarteners eagerly await spring and the hatching of the class’ three chick eggs. But one chick, Max, dies. What ensues is a gentle exploration of grief and its many expressions — from tears to songs to artwork. At the end, the surviving chicks’ peeps encourage the children to embrace the living without forgetting the dead.”

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Good-bye, Baby Max | Review

By heather at 8:37 pm on Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I came across a kind review by S.V. Swamy in India, reviewing our book, Good-bye, Baby Max : “Good-bye, Baby Max is a beautifully written and equally (or more importantly) beautifully illustrated book for children in the suggested age group of 4 to 8 years. For the children in the younger part of this age group, the parents or elder children and other care givers can help in reading and also deal with the emotions that may arise…. The illustrations are beautiful and help to invoke the right feelings. The book tells children some important things about life: Life is a struggle and everyone doesn’t make it. It is OK to cry and mourn those who fail and fall down. But life is about accepting the loss and moving on and seeing the emergence of new life. The children can be encouraged to read, explore and analyze the emotions that well up….”

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Goodbye, Baby Max | Book Review

By heather at 2:29 pm on Friday, February 15, 2008

Diane & Rich Cantrell just passed this review by Ernest Dempsey onto me for our book, “Good-bye, Baby Max:”

“Many children books are printed each month to amuse kids of varying ages. This colorful, hardcover children’s title Good-bye, Baby Max (Bridgeway Books, Texas, 2007) by Diane Cantrell & Heather Castles is special in its purpose of teaching an invaluable lesson: that of properly saying the final farewell to a loved one who is no more. The book tells the story of the unfortunate baby chick Max who doesn’t make it into life while his twins Dora and Spiderman appear healthy out of their shells. The kids, eagerly awaiting the birth of the chicks, are heartbroken over the death of Baby Max and so their teacher uses her wisdom and care to lead them toward the appropriate way of showing their love and expressing their grief.

The importance of involving children in mourning is increasingly being acknowledged by developmental psychologists since children do sense the loss no matter how much they are coaxed into believing that ‘everything is ok.’ By being left out with the ‘mystery’, their wee minds are inclined to conclude that something terribly wrong has happened; something that is not worth speaking. This sows the seeds of fear and detachment in their mental development. Being a Licensed Professional Counselor and former KG teacher, Diane Cantrell has created a very purposeful book for children-one that is at once a story, a poem, and a healthy course of helping children get over grief. The book’s illustrations by Heather Castles are very appealing to a child’s imagination. There is a good deal here in Good-bye, Baby Max to learn for children ages 4 to 8 years and the 32-pages book is a must read for all kids of this age category.”

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The Little Boy’s Smile | All done!

By heather at 9:49 pm on Thursday, February 14, 2008

little boy's smile illustrations acrylic roses characature

I just finished painting the last of the illustrations for Tom Krause’s “The Little Boy’s Smile” Not a day too soon as I’m taking some time off for maternity leave tomorrow! I will to leave you in suspense as to how the rest of the illustrations turned out until they are all approved & sent to the printer… but in the mean time, here are a couple of my favourites from the book  :)

little boy's smile illustrations acrylic roses characature

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Hazy Jean | Happy Valentine’s Day!

By heather at 1:07 am on Thursday, February 14, 2008

valentine's greeting card fairytale castle whimsical

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! I illustrated this card last July for Hazy Jean’s 2008 Valentine’s line. I always like illustrating whimsical fairy tale castles… could have something to do with my last name, who knows. I used mainly watercolour with a smidge of coloured pencil, then added the linework in Illustrator afterwards to tie in with the font Hazy had chosen.

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Join the Design Police

By heather at 1:21 am on Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Came across the Design Police website (though How Design Blog) and got a kick out of their Visual Enforcement Kit. Really it’s the perfect office accessory for any designer… download the kit for free and print a set of stickers to help “bring bad design to justice.”

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The paperless home… and art studio!

By heather at 2:35 pm on Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The New Yorker has an interesting article on how homes have adopted the “paperless” mentality much faster than businesses have. I know this is true for me at home, which includes my art studio… I use an online phonebook, don’t print out my emails, download my bills as PDFs, do my banking online, create backups for digital files online rather than printing them out…
But the article reports that while homes have adopted a paperless mentality, they are also starting to use more energy with the increasing use of their electronic devices (computers, scanners, printers, digital cameras…) It brings up a good point to consider for the home-based art studio… while you have gone paperless, have you increased your energy use as a result? Are there ways you can reduce your increased energy use? (Such as unplugging electrical equipment when it’s not in use.) I’ve posted some ideas in my Green Tips for Designers & Illustrators… if you have any more ideas let me know!!!

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Artist Quotes | Claude Monet

By heather at 10:27 pm on Monday, February 11, 2008

Colour is my day-long obsession, joy and torment.” – Claude Monet

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Is your artwork on Facebook copyright safe?

By heather at 1:56 pm on Monday, February 11, 2008

Yipes! My colleague Crystal Driedger did a little digging into Facebook’s terms for uploaded User Content (photos, illustrations, videos, text, etc.) and what she found wasn’t encouraging for creatives who post their work on Facebook! While I love Facebook for keeping in touch with friends & colleagues, I was pretty dissappointed to read in their Terms that they can use any of the content I’ve uploaded for their own purposes (commercial, advertising, derivative works…) without owing me a dime. Check out Crystal’s post on Faceboook & Proprietary Property.

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