what is telephone | 40

What is Love?

By Mac Barnett, illustrated by Carson Ellis

Published 2021. Carson Ellis is easily one of my favorite artists working today. Her work is stunning. It shines in this book. Do yourself a favor and pick up this book just for the artwork. As you look at the art, enjoy one of Mac Barnett’s most thought-provoking and touching stories. This book gives me vibes of Wolf Erlbruch books, another writer/illustrator you must check out!

Also check out this amazing episode of creative pep talk where Mac and Carson discuss this book.

What John Marco Saw

by Annie Barrows, illustrated by Nancy Lemon

Published 2019. Just discovered an incredible new artist, the work by Nancy Lemon in this book is fantastic. The illustrations balance a variety of textures, gestures, and mediums. They create such a unique visual experience. Maybe I just need to sit longer with this book and dive into the story, but it was such a surreal read. It bounced and jumped from place to place and it made sense. The story was engaging and such a stream-of-conscious feeling of a story, I quite enjoyed it. The ending was a bit swift. It came across as a quick way to just end it. I was hoping for more from such an engaging and unique beginning and middle.


by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jen Corace

Published 2014. Unique. Vibrant. Fun. Those are what this artwork is. This book has gorgeous and interesting artwork. The artwork utilizes spreads in interesting ways. Overall, the book leads the reader on a journey. As the title suggests the text plays off the old game of ‘Telephone’ as these birds are sending a message. It ends in a dryly humorous way that I enjoyed. Pick this one up.

The Run

by Barroux

Published 2020. I don’t get to mention this often, but the paper texture of this book was nice. It had a lovely grainy feel. It was easy to turn the pages and grip. I’m a sucker for this style of artwork. The artwork has very large and strong brushstrokes. The linework is detailed. The colors were well chosen. The compositions could’ve been more varied, but the work had great flow. It was nice to look at. The story is one long setup for a silly joke, if you like more potty humor I would say you’d like this one. May not be for everyone, but I found it charming and honestly had a sense of realism… sometimes we just gotta run to the toilet.


by Barroux

Published 2018. A very classic story that focuses on quiet and calm to engage with sleep, it worked for me as I let out a yawn or two. The artwork is really good. I especially loved the giraffe spread, resting their heads on clouds. The rest of the spreads are equally creative and visually addicting to look at. Pick this one up just for the art.

If you liked this post, I hope you’ll consider becoming a free subscriber and joining our crew (discussions via Substack are always a delight!). That’s it for this edition of The Weekly Picture, I hope you have a wonderful day and as always, thank you for reading!