I became enthralled with the work of David Lucas when his book The Robot and the Bluebird (2007) made its way into the pile of books my boys and I were checking out of the library.
This contemporary folktale juxtaposes the linear lifetime of a machine with the cyclical nature of migration and seasons. It plays on the meaning of "broken heart" and "live in his heart." It offers a second chance and the bond of friendship where there had only been dejection and hopelessness.
I had to read more.
Peanut (2008) is the story of a tiny monkey who is frightened by the great, big world he has just been born into.
From his perspective, insects are monsters, rain is "the sky … falling down," and sunset is the end of the world. With the help of a friend, the forest changes from frightening to magical overnight and Peanut is eager to be a part of it.
David Lucas' debut picture book as author/illustrator was in 2003 with the book Halibut Jackson.
A painfully shy boy named Halibut Jackson goes to great lengths to blend in and not be noticed. Until, one day, he miscalculates and stands out. Sometimes the most amazing things occur when you are forced out of your comfort-zone.
Here is the opening line in Cake Girl (2009) that immediately had me hooked: "The Witch was alone on her birthday… again!"
From the looks of things, Nutmeg lives with her cousin and uncle in a junkyard. Everything is always the same, but when Nutmeg dreams of something different, she is rewarded in the most unusual way.
Nutmeg (2005), is one of the most quirky, off-beat, and dream-like stories I have ever read. The opening illustrations of clutter, dirt, and rust make a spectacular contrast to the pages at the end where pastels, clean lines, and new horizons prevail. All because of the power to dream.