Tuesday, June 13, 2017

What My Kid is Reading- Spy School

Spy School
Written by Stuart Gibbs
Age range: 8-12
Released: 2012

What's this book about?
It's about a kid named Ben who gets enrolled in a school focused on training kids to be spies for the U.S.

Does he know what he's getting himself into?
Yes, however there's more to the school than he thinks and he starts to figure it out throughout the book.

Is the story told by Ben?
It's told in the first person from Ben's perspective.

Who are the main characters besides Ben?
Throughout the story, Ben finds many accomplices, friends and enemies. Most characters you meet become main or strong supporting characters.

Who was your favorite?
It's tough to decide who was my favorite, but one of them was Zoe. The writer (Stuart Gibbs) developed her personality very well. Also, she has a tendency to give nicknames to every students in spy school, based on their first appearance, skills or anything about them.

Why did you enjoy this book so much?
It was brilliantly written. A lot of the plot twists were completely unexpected and went really well with the story. The characters were well developed and there was always something new added to the story.

I also really loved how at the start of every chapter you would find the chapter title, Ben's location, the date, and the time (army style). It made it feel like I was reading a top secret file.

Are there any illustrations in the book?
There are no illustrations but everything is described so well that the pictures pop up in your brain as if you (the reader) was in the book yourself. The book really makes you lose track of reality!

Why did you decide to read this book?
It was recommended by my friend, Owen. As I started reading it, I got sucked into it for days, it was so good.

Is this a funny book?
It's incredibly funny, with some slightly immature humor.

Who would you recommend this book to?
Anybody. The grammar isn't that complex, but when it's on the trickier side, Ben will always ask what it means, and one of his friends will always explain.

Is this book part of a series?
Yes. It's made up of 4 books so far and I've read them all! Spy School, Spy Camp, Evil Spy School, and Spy Ski School in that order.

How would you rate this book?
4.8 stars (out of 5)

Thanks Leo!

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More book reviews from Leo

Friday, April 28, 2017

Tintin Car Chase Book Cover

Another Tintin book cover commission (this is the 4th for my client) and this time it's a car chase in Spain. 

Their son is getting older, they have a new dog, and their grandmother has joined in the fun. In fact, that's her home in the background!



Some work in progress images:

Constructing the house:


Monday, April 10, 2017

Spring Animals

It's finally feeling a bit more like Spring!
This is a version of an illustration I created for my long-time client, Groovy Baby Music, a school of music for kids, to advertise their Spring semester.

Spring is all about COLOR! FUN! And finding animals in your backyard playing musical instruments!

And this is what Groovy Baby Music's version looked like:

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Yoga for Kids Video

I created a video for my Yoga for Kids poster on Etsy. Check it out below and then if you have a kid who loves yoga, you can pick up a print HERE.


The poster on a wall, enjoying some sunlight.

Detail of the poster

The poses are also available as single prints


Thursday, March 23, 2017

Mr. Morally Corrupt


Roger Hargreaves began creating his Mr. Men and Little Miss series in 1971 with characters whittled down to their most basic traits. 

There was Mr. Tickle (the first character created) and Little Miss Bossy, Mr. Good, Little Miss Helpful, Mr. Sneeze, Little Miss Curious, and so on.

If we were to whittle down our current president to his most basic trait, what would be the name of his character?

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Groundhog Day 2017

Happy Groundhog Day!
Welcome to another installment of the groundhog's quest to see/not see his shadow!

This year, the illustration is connected to a chapter book I've begun writing. 

In this story, the groundhog has banded together with other buck-toothed creatures of the forest to travel to the Shadowlands and get back his shadow.




I currently have a 200-page manuscript for a middle grade book getting shopped around with my literary agent, Rick Richter of Aevitas Creative Management and I'm excited to see which publishing house picks it up!

There are MANY more Groundhog Day illustrations on this blog.

I have a collection of my favorite Groundhog Day illustrations on Behance.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

New Illustrated Books for Sports Illustrated Kids

I illustrated a couple of Starting Line Readers for Capstone Publishing and Sports Illustrated Kids and they're out now! 
Plus we got a new puppy- her name is Rogue.


Below are some sample illustrations from both books.
If you're interested in purchasing these books, please consider supporting your local bookstore.

Baseball Buzz



Gymnastics Jump