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Bird

Duck, Duck… Duck

Now we’re getting word on Illumination’s next animated feature project. We got this from Deadline: Migration is billed as a modern-day comedy following a family of ducks who convince their overprotective father to go on the vacation of a lifetime as they attempt to migrate from New England, through New York City, and ultimately down to the Bahamas. Oscar nominee Benjamin Renner (Ernest et Célestine) is directing the pic from an original screenplay by Mike White (School of Rock, The White Lotus).” They migrate this way in December of 2023.

image c. 2022 Illumination

Hump-Day Reading

Once Upon A Camel is the fairy-tale sounding title of a new illustrated novel by Kathi Appelt. “Zada is a camel with a treasure trove of stories to tell. She’s won camel races for the royal Pasha of Smyrna, crossed treacherous oceans to new land, led army missions with her best camel friend by her side, and outsmarted a far too pompous mountain lion. But those stories were from before. Now, Zada wanders the desert as the last camel in Texas. She’s not, however, alone. Two tiny kestrel chicks are nestled in the fluff of fur between her ears — kee-killy-keeing for their missing parents — and a dust storm the size of a mountain is taking Zada on one more grand adventure. And it could lead to this achy old camel’s most brilliant story yet.” That story is illustrated by Eric Rohmann and available now in hardcover from Simon & Schuster.

image c. 2022 Simon & Schuster

High-Flying Adventure

The Sheep, The Rooster, and The Duck is the oh-so-innocent sounding title of a very unusual novel for young readers written and illustrated by Matt Phelan. “The very first passengers to ride in a hot-air balloon were a sheep, a rooster, and a duck in 1783. And while hot-air balloons are indeed wondrous, ten-year-old Emile is too busy being the fastidious caretaker of ambassador Benjamin Franklin’s château in Paris to think much about them. But soon, young Emile finds himself right in the middle of a sinister plot. And right in the middle of the secret headquarters for France’s undercover guardians — the very same sheep, rooster, and duck that piloted the first hot-air balloon. If Emile can muster his courage and be bold, he may be the key to helping the heroes save both Benjamin Franklin and the world.” Find out more in hardcover from Harper Collins.

image c. 2022 Harper Collins

Owl’s Well That Ends Well

We haven’t discussed it much, but since its creation in 2019 the “2.5D” animated series Odo has racked up more than one nomination for the Annie Awards. Here’s what Animation World Network said about it recently: “Odo, in which a diminutive, but determined, young owl demonstrates that there’s nothing you can’t do if you set your mind to it. Intended for kids aged three to five, Odo is a Polish-Northern Irish co-production that was designed and animated in the Letko studio in Warsaw. The series, which had its US premiere in December 2021 on HBO Max’s Cartoonito, has already won the hearts of young viewers in 151 countries… In the leafy playground of Forest Camp for Young Birds – whose diverse population of feathered creatures includes silly chickens, cheeky toucans, harmonious canaries, and a vain peacock, all under the loving and watchful supervision of Camp Leader, a supremely capable and good-natured eagle – Odo, with the help of his best friend Doodle (a thoughtful little bird of unknown species) positively tackles every challenge, no matter how big.”

image c. Cartoonito

Watch The Skies!

Wow, the things you miss if you blink… Things like Carriers, a new full-color comic series from Red 5 Comics. “Fable, Gladius, Cherrybomb, Dark Dove: No one has heard of these brave heroes… yet… but they are the only thing standing between the citizens of New York and the unseen terrors that lurk all around them. A band of weaponized carrier pigeons, they soar the night sky looking for new threats and find their largest one yet when the Croc King comes climbing up out of the New York sewer!” See? It’s written by Ben Ferrari and Erica J. Heflin, with art by Jim O’Riley (no relation!) and Elias Martin.

image c. 2022 Red 5 Comics

More Chickens, More Dog

There’s a new article at Animation World Network that was kind enough to let us know about the latest upcoming films from Aardman Animation — courtesy of Netflix, of course. Some highlights: “Netflix and Aardman made two major announcements today, giving us key details on the sequel to Chicken Run, and on a new Wallace & Gromit feature being made by series creator Nick Park. Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget is the official title of director Sam Fell’s (Flushed Away, ParaNorman) much-anticipated sequel to Chicken Run, which in 2000 became the highest-grossing stop-motion animated film of all time. The new film will hit Netflix exclusively in 2023. Ginger and Rocky, the first film’s plucky protagonists, will be voiced by Thandie Newton and Zachary Levi, respectively… In this chapter of the characters’ saga, Ginger and Rocky have built a peaceful island sanctuary for their flock after escaping the clutches of Tweedy’s farm, and they’ve hatched a little girl named Molly. But back in the human world, their fellow chickens are faced with a new existential threat — forcing the feathered heroes to sacrifice their freedom to bring them to safety.” And there’s more: “Park’s forthcoming film does not yet have a title… In this new installment of the iconic series, ‘Gromit’s concern that Wallace has become over-dependent on his inventions proves justified, when Wallace invents a ‘smart gnome’ that seems to develop a mind of its own. As events spiral out of control, it falls to Gromit to put aside his qualms and battle sinister forces… or Wallace may never be able to invent again!'” We look forward to both!

image c. 2022 Aardman Animation

Your Pet and You

Happy New Year! And here’s some more cool stuff we found last year at the Los Angeles Comic Con. Cloris is an artist from Southern California who’s been making the convention scene for just a few years now. She specializes in custom pet portraits, but lately she’s branched out into creating knick-knacks (key chains, stickers, and more) based on all (and we mean all!) of the various dog and cat breeds out there, as well as lots of birds. Her web site (cloriscreates) explains it all, and includes a link to her Etsy store too.

image c. 2022 by cloriscreates.com

Look! Up in the Sky!

More natural education for kids, cleverly disguised as a superhero adventure comic. Winged Heroes: For All Birdkind is a new “science graphic novel” written by Mya Thompson and illustrated by Virginia Green. “This is the story of Emilio, an ordinary kid who just happens to be a pigeon. When life gets him down, he looks to his favorite comic book heroes for answers-The Winged Heroes. No matter what, they always find a way to save birdkind with their amazing superpowers and daring missions. So why can’t he score even a small crust of bread at the park? Join Emilio on a journey to discover his own powers in a world of challenges.” Barnes & Noble has a more more detailed description.

image c. 2021 Cornell Lab Publishing

Big Bird and Little Bird (It’s Relative)

Here’s a graphic novel series we came across, for young readers and fans of the feathery folk. Arlo and Pips is written and illustrated by Elise Gravel. “Like most crows, Arlo has a big brain. But Arlo has something else: a little pal who’s not afraid to tell him when he’s being insufferable! In the first of three episodes, a battle of the brains and bird-to-bird banter soon turns into an unexpected friendship. Arlo and Pips’ adventures include a visit the big city and the beach on their hunt for shiny things and French fries. Cool crow facts are included throughout the book.” Check out this series from Harper Alley.

image c. 2021 Harper Alley