Now, earlier today I was reading up on our different local picture book authors trying to decide which one to feature on the blog this week. Would I choose the author whose book recently won a Caldecott Honor? Would I feature a prolific author or someone publishing his/her first book? And then I came across Chris Barton’s website, and there was a small piece of trivia on it that made him a shoo-in for this week’s feature.
Yes, my decision-making process came down to that one simple fact.
But, Madeline, you’re thinking, you didn’t grow up in Sulphur Springs. And you would be right. But I do have family there, and my mother lived there at one point while she was ill necessitating a commute between Sulphur Springs and Dallas where I was in college. Also, my brother did go to high school there for a while where the campus has — I kid you not — a giant cow statue. For a city girl like me, this was as rural as it got.
But enough about Texas’ dairy capitol (where they have a yearly dairy festival, where they crown the Dairy Queen). Obviously Chris has left that behind to be a member of our prolific Austin children’s book writing scene. And he has put out some fascinating picture books.
The first one was a non-fiction picture book about the invention of day-glo colors — you know, those bright glowing highlighter shades of color that give you a headache if you stare at them for too long. In a highly accessible book for kids 6 & up, The Day-Glo Brothers, Chris tells us all about the pair of brothers that developed the right chemical formula for those colors.
In his most recent book, Chris gives us the very humorous story of two little boys playing with a shark and a train. They decide to pit the two in a variety of contests to see which of them would come out victorious. The result, Shark VS Train, is hilarious and wonderful to read. The illustrations (not done by Chris) are also fabulous and help give the book such a whimsical character. A great book for little boys, I’ve had a lot of luck selling this book to grandparents as a birthday gift.
Both books are great and are some of my favorite picture books. I’ve got staff selection shelf talkers for both, and we often have signed copies in the store. We’re lucky to have Chris as part of our local writing community.