Spotlight on Alison Jay

To say that I’m a fan of Alison Jay’s work would be an understatement.  It’s more like I squeal with joy every time I see that she’s coming out with something new.  My co-workers make fun of me, and friends at baby showers have come to expect the Alison Jay board book library from me.  I can’t help it; I think she’s a genius.  I love her work and the fun she has with it.  Every time I read a book that she has either written or illustrated, I find new things in the artwork to gush over (much to the annoyance of said co-workers and friends).  So as I was thinking about what I should blog on today, it hit me.  Why not share my love of Alison Jay with all of you?!  Here are some of my absolute favorites and below you’ll find a fuller bibliography of her books.  Enjoy!!

Let me begin with the Alison Jay baby board book library I was talking about earlier.  Whenever a family member or a friend has a baby, these three titles always make it in the gift basket.

123: A Child’s First Counting Book. (2009 board book version)

Alison Jay mixes counting with fairytales as a child dreams that she travels on a golden goose to different nursery rhyme and fairytale scenes.  Each new spread features a number starting with 1 and going to 10, and then counting back down again.  Observant readers will notice that on every spread, Jay includes multiple sets of the featured number.  For example, the number 3 features 3 little pigs, 3 teacups, 3 cupcakes, 3 cushions, etc.  Jay also leaves clues foreshadowing the next spread.

ABC: A Child’s First Alphabet Book. (2005 board book version)

This book is very similar to Jay’s counting book.  Each spread includes the upper and lower case form of the letter, and the featured object is surrounded by other objects also beginning with the same letter.  Jay also uses foreshadowing so observant readers can try to guess what will be on the next page.

Picture This… (2002 board book version)

This book differs slightly from the first two and features random objects such as a clock or a ball.  The book spans a 24 hour day, but the seasons shift throughout the book as well.  I love how each page only features one word and readers can make up their own story of what’s happening on the page.  Jay also uses foreshadowing in this book so children and adults alike will have fun trying to guess what will be featured on the next page.

Alison Jay has also written and illustrated Red, Green, Blue: A First Book of Colors (2010), and while I personally own this one, I don’t include in the baby library collection because it hasn’t come out in board book yet.  I hope that someday it will, because it is a wonderful concept book too.  Much like 123 and ABC, the book weaves through fariytales and nursery rhymes while looking at a new color every page.  One thing I love about it is that Jay includes some non-traditional colors like turquoise, gold, and silver.

Jay has also done some great books for the holiday season.

The Nutcracker (2010)

Jay brings the nutcracker to life with her whimsical illustrations as the main character Clara is whisked off to adventure with her nutcracker.  The text is an abbreviated version of the story so it makes a great read-a-loud.  This book is a must for the holidays.

Song of the Stars: A Christmas Story.  Written by Sally Lloyd-Jones and illustrated by Alison Jay.  (2011).

Lloyd-Jones brings the animal kingdom to life in this unique retelling of the nativity, and how not only the sheep and cows, but whales, salmon, lions, and more make their way toward the manger.  This sweet nativity story is made all the better by Jay’s beautiful illustrations.  Another must-have for Christmas.

Christmastime (November, 2012)

This one doesn’t come out until November, but I’m already excited about it.  Alison Jay takes a brother and sister through the joys of the holidays featuring Santa Claus, the North Pole, reindeer, carolers and more.  Like Picture This… Jay only features one item per page, giving readers more time to pour over her illustrations.  And in true Alison Jay fashion, she hides a reference to a Christmas song in every illustration and includes a key in the back of the book.  This book will definitely be joining my Alison Jay collection in November!

Here’s a fuller Alison Jay bibliography.

Works written and illustrated by Alison Jay:

123: A Child’s First Counting Book. (2009 board book version)

ABC: A Child’s First Alphabet Book. (2005 board book version)

Animal Parade (2011 board book version)

Christmastime (November, 2012)

The Nutcracker (2010)

Picture This… (2002 board book version)

Red, Green, Blue: A First Book of Colors (2010)

Welcome to the Zoo (2008)

Works written by other authors and illustrated by Alison Jay:

Alice in Wonderland written by Lewis Carroll.  (2006)

A Child’s First Book of Prayers written by Lois Rock.  (2002).

Cloud Spinner written by Michael Catchpool.  (2012)

I Took the Moon for a Walk written by Carolyn Curtis.  (2008)

If Kisses Were Colors written by Janet Lawler.  (2003)

Listen, Listen written by Phillis Gershator.  (2007)

Lindsey L.