[We won’t go over this year’s nominees for the Ursa Major Awards — there are other sites that have done that better already — but we will say we are more than honored to once again be nominated in the category of Best Anthropomorphic Magazine for 2016. Our humble thanks to all of you, our readers!]
Author Douglas Wood’s most famous creation is Old Turtle, an elderly reptile who guides those with philosophical and religious questions towards enlightenment… in ways that help to heal our species and our planet. Now celebrating 25 years since the release of the original Old Turtle picture book, Mr. Wood and artist Greg Ruth have brought us Old Turtle: Questions of the Heart, a new and larger hardcover book from Scholastic Press. “Why are we here? What is the purpose of life? How do we find happiness? Once again, Old Turtle’s wise answers offer readers of all ages inspiration, solace, and the most important gift of all — hope.” Pre-order it now, or look for it at the end of March.
image c. 2017 Scholastic Press
So how’d we go and let this phenomenon pass us by? Animal Jam is an on-line MMORPG gaming environment, launched in 2010 by the National Geographic Society. It was designed to use a fantasy setting to teach young children about zoology, natural history, and ecology. According to Wikipedia, “Animal Jam takes place in a fictional area known as Jamaa, containing various biomes and cartoon player-created animals. Players can create an animal with an anonymous 3-part name, such as ‘Crashing Magicshark’, dress it up with virtual clothing, and control it in the gameplay environment. The original six virtual animals that could be created were the panda, rabbit, tiger, wolf, koala, and monkey. Many more animals have been added following the six, letting players have the possibility of seeing one of their favorite animals in the game.” Now, after years on line, Dynamite Entertainment have announced the premier of the first Animal Jam comic book series, coming later in 2017. There’s an article about it over at News-a-rama. The first appearance of the new comic will be part of Dynamite’s contribution to this year’s Free Comic Book Day in May.
image c. 2017 National Geographic
Another discovery from the recent Long Beach Comic Expo. On his web page, here’s how this artist describes himself: “Walter De Leon is an artist in the entertainment industry working on various video games and animated properties for clients such as Disney and Stan Lee. In his free time he would create and come up with various ideas for books in the hopes to inspire others to get out there with their own ideas.” To that end he started Voolah Voolah Press as a vehicle for his own illustrated stories and sketchbooks. He is also looking for other creative people to join the fold! His own books include titles like Bunny Chop!, Dear Mr. Bear, and drawing portfolios of birds, dragons, and monsters.
image c. 2017 Voolah Voolah Press
This May, IDW will release a brand new card game for young mystery fans called Purrrlock Holmes — Furriarty’s Trail (created by Stephen Sauer and illustrated by Jacqui Davis). Here’s what they say: “Furriarty is terrorizing London and he must be stopped before he completes his plans and escapes! As a newly inducted Inspector at Scotland Pound, it’s up to you to bust members of Furriarty’s gang in order to get closer to the bewhiskered baddie that’s been bullying all of Baker Street. Get ready detective, this case is officially afoot (or a paw, if you will).” What they’re not saying is: What’s the connection (if any) between this and the Purrlock Holmes series of young-reader mystery novels by Betty Sleep? You’ll know when we do! Here’s more about the game from TGN.
image c. 2017 IDW Publishing
Whoops! How did we miss this one? A year ago Graphix brought us Bunny vs. Monkey, a full-color all-ages graphic novel by Jamie Smart. What’s it about? Look at the title! Well now, it’s time for Bunny vs. Monkey: Book 2, just hitting the shelves. “Welcome to the Woods! A peaceful home, until…ZAP! ZAAPPP! ZAAAPPPPP!!! It’s Monkey in a hovercraft that fires lasers! Science and nature fight again! With robotic worms! Trojan mooses! And lemony doomsday devices! It’s the continuing battle between good and evil…It’s Bunny vs Monkey: Book Two!” You heard it here. Now check it out over at Goodreads.
image c. 2017 Graphix
He’s the furry little member of the Guardians of the Galaxy, known for his foul language, more foul temper, and love of big guns that go BOOM. And now, your children can read all about him in a new Little Golden Book called Guardians of the Galaxy: Rocket to the Rescue. “Star Lord, Groot, Rocket Raccoon, and the other Guardians of the Galaxy race through the universe on another rollicking adventure. Boys and girls ages 2 to 5 will love this action-packed Little Golden Book featuring some of their favorite Marvel superheroes and villains.” We’re sure they will. Written by John Sazaklis and illustrated by Michael Atiyeh and Michael Borkowski, it’s available now over at Barnes & Noble.
image c. 2017 Little Golden Books
Hollie Hibbert was born to be an artist, she says at her web site. “Growing up in Idaho, crayons, colored pencils, and markers were her most loyal companions. However, the thought of becoming an artist never crossed her mind until college. She has a big soft spot for hound dogs, otters, and especially bears.” To that end she has created fine art prints, theater posters, and also fan art works. She has even illustrated several books for young readers, all of which have anthropomorphic interest: An Orphan No More (a story of adoption) by Jerry Windle and Jordan Windle, The Three Bears ABC (which uses the classic fairy tale to teach the alphabet) by Grace Maccarone, the Dolphin School series by Catherine Hapka, and Pupunzel (you can guess!) by Maribeth Boelts.
image c. 2017 by Hollie Hibbert
Monica Bruenjes specializes in animation, children’s book illustration, & comics. She is the founder of Subarashii, a creator-owned company designed for providing you with “Splendid artwork for a joyful life.” To that end she has created an on-line comic called Penguin & Peep. “Best friends and polar opposites, Penguin & Peep go on adventures in hopes of having the perfect day together. Penguin loves his home in the zoo, but Peep is always looking for something new.” Also on her web site you’ll find information about Moosebear, a TV series concept which Monica has been trying to pitch. “In the Alaskan woods behind her house, a relocated California girl determined to fit in becomes friends with a magical creature trying to help his no-nonsense neighbors.”
image c. 2017 by Monica Bruenjes
“Lynn Chen is an illustrator / animator / 3D environment artist originally from Szechuan, China. She loves to travel and draw cute creatures. With an Animation major background and the professional experience in video game industry, she combined her illustration with animation to create interactive picture books that make kids laugh.” The first of those books in question would be Woolly and Shaggy, which is currently available as an app. According to the official web site, “Woolly Wolf lives in the forest and get tired of hunting; Shaggy Dog resides in the town and get bored from herding sheep. What would happen if they decide to exchange their lives?” The site includes an introductory animated short which Lynn put up on Vimeo. She also has her own personal web site to display many of her other animation projects and full-color illustrations.
image c. 2016 by Lynn Chen