Also of interest...in picture books for grown-ups
How About Never—Is Never Good for You?
by Bob Mankoff (Holt, $32.50)
This “tirelessly playful” memoir by the cartoon editor of The New Yorker presents itself as a guide to anyone hoping to follow in his footsteps, said Janet Maslin in The New York Times. It doesn’t reveal all: Bob Mankoff makes a running gag of withholding the secret to winning the magazine’s weekly caption-writing contest, for instance. But amid his “fizzy, jokey” account of his career, he packs in both a lot of cartoons and a lot of trade wisdom.
The Undertaking of Lily Chen
by Danica Novgorodoff (First Second, $30)
Danica Novgorodoff’s brilliant new graphic novel is “part Western, part ghost story, and part noir,” said Dan Kois in Slate.com. When a family in China send their son out to find a “ghost bride” to be buried with his deceased brother, he chooses a young woman who’s no corpse yet. As the pair journey through a “vivid and vibrant” landscape that recalls traditional Chinese brush painting, the unfolding tale is “shot through with spirituality and humor.” Clearly, this is the work of “a major talent.”
Meanwhile, in San Francisco
by Wendy MacNaughton (Chronicle, $19)
“If Studs Terkel had taken up drawing,” he might have created a work much like Wendy MacNaughton’s “irresistibly bighearted” new book, said John McMurtrie in the San Francisco Chronicle. With her “pleasing, unfussy” ink-and-watercolor portraits and accompanying captions, MacNaughton “gives voice to ordinary people from all walks of life,” affirming that programmers, hipsters, street preachers, and bus drivers all are vital members of her beloved urban community.
The Portlandia Activity Book
by Fred Armisen, Carrie Brownstein, and Jonathan Krisel (McSweeney’s, $28)
“Fans of Portlandia, rejoice!—in a noncompetitive, earth-friendly way, of course,” said Ron Charles in The Washington Post. The creators and stars of the hit IFC comedy have put together a mock guide to attaining a more enlightened lifestyle. From tips on crowdfunding your baby to a “Punk Paint by Numbers” exercise that features 29 shades of black, this spiral-bound treasure chest is full of archly amusing games, art projects, and advice.