Illustrations for Children's Books, Editorials, Advertising

Books

Below are links to my picture books and some reviews. To order a book from an independent bookseller (please support them!), click the IndieBound link. If the title is out of print, please contact my friend Elaine Woodford. She is a bookseller specializing in children’s and illustrated books.The Sign Painter's Dream

    The Roller Coaster KidBy Mary Ann Rodman
    ISBN: 978-670-01150-6
    Viking Children’s, 2012
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    From the publisher: A grandfather and grandson share a special love. Zach and his grandpa love all of the same things . . . except the roller coaster. His grandpa once rode it one hundred times! But Zach doesn’t like the roller coaster. So when Grandpa goes on it every summer, Zach goes on the Big wheel with Grandma. She understands. But one summer, Grandma is gone and Grandpa is not the same. He misses her terribly. So does Zach. But he also wants his grandpa to be happy again. What will it take? Maybe a ride on the roller coaster? Heart-warming and uplifting, here is a story for every family that loves and cares for one another.

    “Well-tuned to the narrative, Roth’s (Star of the Week) detailed and delicately drafted watercolors capture the nostalgic aura of the seaside amusement park, Zach’s ricocheting emotions, and his deep bond with both grandparents.”—Publisher’s Weekly

    “Relaxed, pencil-and-watercolor illustrations depict the beach town where the extended family summers and show Zach and his grandparents enjoying the amusement park and seaside.”—Kirkus Reviews

    Star of the WeekBy Darlene Friedman
    HarperCollins, 2009
    ISBN: 978-0-06-114136
    ISBN: 978-0-06-114137-9
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    A heartfelt collaboration in which Friedman and Roth draw upon their experience as adoptive parents.—Kirkus Reviews

    The pictures add character and a light touch to a story, which, while upbeat, deals forthrightly with the uncertainties of adoptees. Cassidy-Li’s thoughts and questions about her birth family will resonate with adopted children and serve as a springboard for discussion in homes and class rooms.—Booklist

    Roth’s vibrant illustrations capture the personality of Cassidy-Li, the six-year-old narrator who tells her story in unaffected language that will appeal to children. Being “Star of the Week” is an exciting adventure for many youngsters, but it can cause anxiety for those who were adopted.  … Part of the book is formatted as labeled snapshots in an album, and through these pictures readers meet Cassidy-Li’s friends and family. …The story has universal appeal, making it a good choice for a read-aloud.—School Library Journal

    Debuting author Friedman, who is also the wife of Roth (The American Story) and the parent of a Chinese daughter, doesn’t try to smooth over the bittersweet elements of Cassidy Li’s story. … Roth’s affectionate domestic vignettes bolster the story’s authenticity considerably, and his vivid portrayal of the confident, thoughtful Cassidy Li speaks volumes about the unconditional love in her life.—Publishers Weekly

    Star of the Week: A Story of Love, Adoption, and Brownies with Sprinkles offers insight for kids and the parents who love them. … Told in the disarming voice of Cassidy-Li, this story melds the complexities of unknown birthparents, abandonment, and identity, painting a realistic, yet charming, view of adoption that a young child can understand. … Star of the Week is an encouraging book for any adopted child dealing with the mysteries of her life.—Adoptive Families Magazine

    Star of the Week: A Story of Love, Adoption, and Brownies with Sprinkles by Darlene Friedman with illustrations by Roger Roth is the rare adoption picture book for older child readers.—School Library Journal blog

    An adorable book that does not gloss over the questions children might have, this was a winner on the subject. Great for library and home shelves.—A Patchwork of Books blog

    A topic any adopted child can relate to, along with adoptive parents. A great tool to initiate a delicate conversation between parent and child about a difficult topic that keeps coming up once a child begins attending school. I would recommend to any family with adoptive children, whether from Asia or not.—Peggy Truitt

    Star of the Week went in so deeply with both my girls. While I rarely write to authors, I just had to say thank you.  … One of my daughters slept with her arms around the book last night and then we had another discussion about birth parents and forever families. I hope that Cassidy-Li will show up in some other books in the future. She’s a great little kid with such an authentic voice.  Thanks for writing this and making this important contribution to all our daughters lives.—Liz McChesney

    It is such a special book for my daughter and me, as our family is a multi-racial family as well. Although our “story” is quite different, it has a profound impact on my daughter when she gets to see other families, like ours, that are not quite  “traditional.” Your story has touched us.—Beth Eldredge

    Your book is already helping my clients. The gentle way it introduces questions of birthparents and heritage is great for that age range, so I am sure it will help some of the kids I see open up. This is the best new adoption book for kids that I have seen in a long time.—Dianne Kuchlak, Attachment Therapist

    As a teacher of second graders for over 13 years, I know how difficult “Star of the Week” can be for some students. I believe the book will help open up the lines of communication for my son and others, as well as show how wonderful and special the “Star of the Week” experience can be!—Jennifer Jump

    Star of the Week is a book that touched my heart. It deals with an important topic in such a loving manner. The warmness and closeness of their family shines through in the book. I also love the illustrations. I think Darlene and Roger should create a series of books on the topic. I have already recommended Star of the Week to my friends and family!—Cheryl Matticks

    I LOVED THIS BOOK!! As a classroom reading teacher, I see so many possibilities to use this loving story with my students. The writing really captured the emotions of Cassidy-Li as she struggled to find her identity and come to terms with her longing to know about her roots. This book expressed a very complex problem in such a simple, easily understood way. It can really help all children to examine who they are and why their family history is so important. I see lots of writing assignments in my students’ future.—Hilary Williams

    Voyage to the PharosBy Sarah Gauch
    Viking Juvenile, 2009
    ISBN-10: 0670062545
    ISBN-13: 978-0670062546

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    After much persuasion, Dino is allowed to accompany his father, a ship’s cook, on a sea voyage from Greece to Egypt sometime during the third century B.C.E. He helps the sailors untangle the rigging, takes them water as they outrun pirates, and serves as a lookout during a storm. Dino’s efforts are rewarded by his first awe-inspiring view of the Pharos lighthouse, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, as his reports of its location help the Hermes arrive safely in Alexandria. Large-scale illustrations capture the drama of the events to full effect. The open boat being tossed by crashing waves, Dino bravely climbing to his lofty post, and especially a spread of the Pharos rising up powerfully out of the sea will keep readers actively engaged. Roth varies his palette to increase the intensity of the perilous scenes and to highlight the joy of surviving unharmed. An author’s note explains how and why the lighthouse was built.—School Library Journal

    It’s not often that the youngest readers have the opportunity to get swept away on a heart-pounding adventure, but this fictional voyage delivers just that. Set more than 2,000 years ago in ancient Greece, this tale features a brave young boy, Dino, who has been begging his father, a ship’s cook, to let him come along. He especially wants to see the Pharos lighthouse in Alexandria, Egypt, one of the tallest buildings in the world. Finally his father lets him come, even though it’s early in the season, when gales are common. When the inevitable storm lands, one wonders why his father would put Dino in harm’s way, but hey, things were probably a little different back then, and the ship prevails. Roth’s sweeping, painterly landscapes, aerial views and dramatic close-ups of the windblown characters add a classically cinematic touch. Innocent and simple enough for younger audiences with plenty of suspense for the older set. Get some popcorn and give those kids a break from Pixar.—Kirkus

    With a longer text than most picture books, this handsome volume offers a story set in ancient times on the Mediterranean. Dino is finally old enough to accompany his father, a ship’s cook, on a voyage from the Greek island of Rhodes to Alexandria, Egypt. There he hopes to see the famous Pharos Lighthouse, an enormously tall building topped with a mighty bonfire. Crossing the sea, their ship is chased by brigands and battered by a storm. Dino, always looking for ways to help the sailors, climbs perilously high above the deck in hopes of spotting the famous Pharos light. The vividly written story has nice phrasing and a simple dramatic arc. Left-hand pages carry the text as well as deft, black and brown drawings with blue highlights, while the facing pages feature large paintings with nicely varied perspectives and compositions. An author’s note discussing the Pharos Lighthouse concludes this unusual offering.—Booklist

    The American StoryBy Jennifer Armstrong
    ISBN: 0375912568
    Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2006
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    From the publisher : This magnificent treasury tells the story of America through 100 true tales. Some are tales of triumph—the midnight ride of Paul Revere, the Wright brothers taking to the air, Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon. Some are tales of tragedy—the fate of the Donner party, the great fire in Chicago, the eruption of Mt. Saint Helens. There are stories of inventors and athletes, and abolitionists and artists, stories about struggling for freedom—again and again, in so many ways. With full-color illustrations on nearly every page and short, exciting stories, this book is perfect for browsing by the entire family. Notes at the end of each story direct readers to related stories, and a guide to thematic story arcs offers readers (and teachers) an easy way to follow their particular interests throughout the book. A treasure trove of a book that belongs in every home. Available summer 2006.

    “This lively and engaging collection of stories recounting American history is a wonderful gift not only to the children of this country but also their parents. I can’t wait to share it with my grandchildren.”

    —Tom Brokaw

    The Salem Witch TrialsBy Jane Yolen and
    Heidi Elisabet Yolen Stemple
    Simon & Schuster, 2004
    ISBN: 0689846207
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    Winner of the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award and the Kansas State Reading Circle Intermediate Titles.

    “The amazing illustrations bring this period in history to life.”—KidsBookshelf

    “Roth’s illustrations serve the text very well; big, bold, and reminiscent of the work of Trina Schart Hyman, they fit the oversize picture-book format and move things along.” —Booklist

    Stink SoupBy Jill Esbaum
    Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2004
    ISBN: 0374372527
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    “Realistic illustrations salt-and-pepper the saucy tale with wry humor, comeuppance, and down-home flavor. Amusing.”—Kirkus

    “Perfectly matched to the text in tone, the watercolor-and-graphite illustrations capture the action . . . pictures are large enough to share with a group, and independent readers will enjoy the humorous story on their own.” —School Library Journal

    “Roth’s cheerful art echoes the energy and folksiness of the tale . . . .Whether fond of tomatoes or not, kids will find this a flavorsome romp.”—Publishers Weekly

    “Roger Roth deserves credit for meeting her more than halfway, serving up equally down-home illustrations that match the action perfectly.”—Amazon.com

    RoanokeBy Jane Yolen and Heidi Elisabet Yolen Stemple
    Simon & Schuster, 2003
    ISBN: 0689823215
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    “The large, picture-book format offers plenty of scope for Roth’s appealing narrative illustrations in watercolor and pencil. An attractive, intriguing introduction to the lost colony.” —Booklist

    The Mary CelesteBy Jane Yolen and Heidi Elisabet Yolen Stemple
    Simon & Schuster, 2002
    ISBN: 0689810792, 0689851227
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    Chosen as a Junior Library Guild selection, 1999-2000.

    “Warm, double-page watercolors with details highlighted in pencil show each aspect of the discovery and exploration of the derelict ship, and enhance the drama of the story.”—Library Journal

    “Three things make the book so successful: the book’s design, the illustrations by Roger Roth, and the way in which the authors present the story of the Mary Celeste.”—About.com

    The Wolf GirlsBy Jane Yolen and
    Heidi Elisabet Yolen Stemple
    Simon & Schuster, 2001
    ISBN: 0689810806
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    “The art serves to put the information offered in proper perspective. Evenhandedness is apparent throughout.”—School Library Journal

    The MermanWritten by Dick King-Smith
    Yearling, 2001
    ISBN: 044041718X
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    Fishing for MethuselahHarperCollins, 1998
    ISBN: 0060275928
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    Winner of the 1999 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Best Book Award; selected as a 1999 Carolyn W. Field notable book; and winner of the 2001 Golden Archer Award, as chosen by the school children of Wisconsin.

    This is the story of Ivan and Olaf who are best friends, but also competitors in everything they do from chopping wood to eating pancakes. Their greatest competition is the ice-fishing contest because both of them want to catch Methuselah, the biggest, oldest and craftiest fish in the lake. But instead of catching the big fish, he catches them and teaches them a lesson as well.

    “In Roth’s (The Sign Painter’s Dream) tall fish tale set in the north country, the prize goes not for the mythical creature’s capture, but for the truce it brings about between two bickering buddies. Two burly woodsmen, Ivan and Olaf, have been best friends “since they were no bigger than bear cubs.” Yet theirs is a friendship with a competitive edge: each tries to best the other in all pursuits, from arm wrestling to wood chopping to, of course, ice fishing. Their incessant squabbling comes to a head at the annual Winter Carnival’s fishing contest on frozen Moosehead Lake, where both are determined to catch the enormous, elusive fish Methuselah. In their quest, the two venture out far past the other fishermen, onto perilously thin ice. The gargantuan fish decides to teach the headstrong pals a lesson, which leads the pair to realize the folly of their ways. Roth’s folksy, humorous art ably depicts both the frosty setting and the warmth underlying the companions’ gruff demeanor.”—Publishers Weekly

    “Rather like a scene from the film Grumpy Old Men, this title is a fish story in the truest sense of the word. Ivan and Olaf have spent their lives arguing with and competing against one another, and their participation in the Winter Carnival’s ice fishing competition is no exception. Both plan to catch the biggest fish in the lake according to legend, but Methuselah has other plans. It causes the men’s icy fishing spot to break off, and the two have to join forces to save themselves. Seeing them finally cooperate, the wily fish carries them safely to shore, where the duo later win first prize for their ice-sculpture tribute to Methuselah, declaring themselves to be ‘Best Friends.’ This is a fast-paced, upbeat story that is sure to provoke giggles from young listeners. Both the quarrelsome men and the cunning Methuselah are delightful characters, and it’s fun to see the fish get the better of them. Of course, the theme of the benefits of cooperation is nothing new, but the message bears repeating, especially to primary-aged children learning the ways of socialization. The craypas-and-watercolor illustrations clearly delineate the wintry feel of the North Country, and their playful tone is a perfect complement to the humorous text. An entertaining read-aloud that will enliven story hours.”—School Library Journal

    Amazon.com customer Reviews:

    “Kids love this book! I’ve read this story to boys and girls ages 4-12. They laugh right out loud when Olaf says to Ivan, ‘You couldn’t catch that big dumb fish if it jumped out and kissed ’ya!’ Well written, beautiful, fun illustrations, and a good moral about friendship and working together. I highly recommend it.”

    “I have been reading this story to 1st-5th graders from 12 elementary schools. The kids are wide-eyed and engaged as the story unfolds. I have purchased 35 copies as gifts to school libraries and prizes for a ‘Write a Fish Tale’ contest that this book has inspired.”

    “This is one of my son’s overall favorite books. He’s now 11 and way past this reading level but still likes to re-read it from time to time. It’s the story of 2 very competitive friends (Ivan and Olaf) who try to ‘best’ each other at every opportunity. The winter fair is the perfect time for them … to try and out do each other. They try to catch the legendary fish Methuselah and in doing so have a crisis … which has a wonderful resolution … and so cements their friendship. Ultimately they work together on a winter fair project and win because they have learned to be friends without the constant bickering and competition. It’s really a wonderful story and the illustrations are amazing. Colorful, beautiful, descriptive. Perfect.”

    Mr. ApeBy Dick King-Smith
    Knopf Books for Young Readers/Scholastic, 1998
    ISBN: 0613195256, 0375802061
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    “The soft pencil sketches lend depth to the narrative and bring the characters to life.”—School Library Journal

    Billy the Ghost and MeBy Gary Greer and Robert Ruddick
    HarperCollins, 1997
    ISBN: 0060267836
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    Selected by the American Booksellers as a 1997 “pick of the lists” children’s book.

    “The pictures exaggerate the Wild West scenarios, and beginning readers will enjoy the brief episodes of the slapstick adventure.”—Booklist

    Harriet's HareBy Dick King-Smith
    Yearling, 1997
    ISBN: 067988551X

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    Named one of the best children’s books of 1995 by Parenting magazine.

    “Roth’s appealing pencil drawings wisely stick to realistic representations and allow readers to imagine the more fantastic elements in the story.”—School Library Journal


    The Sign Painter's DreamCrown Books for Young Readers, 1997
    ISBN: 0517589214

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    Featured on PBS’s Reading Rainbow.

    A spunky old woman’s request and a rather unusual dream convince Crabby Clarence the sign painter to make the most glorious and magnificent sign of his career and then give it away.

    “The illustrator of The Giraffe That Walked to Paris here offers an amusing picture book with a sportive spin on matters historical. An elderly sign painter nicknamed Crabby Clarence is constantly busy even though he takes little joy in his craft. When an old woman requests a ‘glorious and magnificent’ sign advertising her surplus of apples, Clarence wants three hundred dollars, but this customer has other ideas: ‘A hero is he who helps for free,’ she tells him. Then Clarence experiences a startling dream in which his hero, George Washington, declares similarly, ‘Ye olde hero is he who helps people for free/Ye olde scoundrel, you see, doth charge them a fee.’ This dramatic visitation gives Clarence a new outlook—and picks up the tale’s pace considerably. Roth imbues these zestful and believable characters with an infectious spirit all their own. Clarence’s fondness for history just might be picked up by youngsters—one delightful scene shows the protagonist, complete with cat, taking the place of Washington in the famous ‘crossing the Potomac’ painting. And the piece de resistance—the sign that Clarence does finally make for the old woman—is indeed magnificent in all its two-spread glory. A gentle charmer.”—Publishers Weekly

    “Clarence the sign maker is crabby, and the only time he smiles is when he goes home at the end of the day to read his history books. When a woman appears in his shop and asks for a free sign to tell people that she has  ‘free apples if you need ‘em,’  he refuses. That night, in a dream, he is a sign painter in Revolutionary America, and his hero, George Washington, makes a similar request (only this time, the sign is to say ‘SEND SHOES TO VALLEY FORGE!’). In a quick turnaround, Clarence becomes the generous hero, makes a grand and glorious sign for the apple lady, and basically lives happily ever after. Historical fantasy and contemporary dilemmas are cleverly interwoven, and the plot is moved forward by snappy 1990s dialogue. Best of all are the lively characters portrayed in the watercolors. ‘Crabby Clarence’ is undoubtedly cranky, as revealed by the glint in his eye, the set of his mouth, and every angle of his body. Pages are full of humorous detail: in Clarence’s dream, he’s laboring over a sign for ‘Ye Olde Bologna,’ and even the pets are empathetic. Double-paged spreads emphasize the scale of the sign-painter’s work. Here’s a book that strikes the theme of generosity and does it with irresistible good humor. Great for read-alouds and independent reading. —School Library Journal

    Amazon.com customer Reviews:

    “A crabby painter reads a historical book as he falls asleep and George Washington visits his dream. Washington inspires the painter to put ‘yankee ingenuity’ back into his personal and business life. Wonderful illustrations and a new spin for American history or elementary school teachers for February!”

    The Sign Painter’s Dream is a family favorite. We love the story and the illustrations. Also, it was a thrill to see this book featured on the Reading Rainbow!”

    Cat Hall of FameBy Terri Epstein
    and Judith Epstein Gage
    Carol Publishing, 1996
    ISBN: 0806518235

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    The Invisible DogBy Dick King-Smith
    Yearling, 1996
    ISBN: 0679870415
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    The Giraffe That Walked to ParisBy Nancy Milton
    Knopf Books for Young Readers, 1992
    ISBN: 0517581337
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    Recommended reading in the New Yorker and the New York Times.

    “Roth’s pencil and watercolor illustrations feature a subdued, earthy palette and predominantly smiling people and animals.”—Publishers Weekly

    “The illustrations are attractive pastel cartoons and one full-color photograph of the giraffe’s stuffed remains, still on display at La Rochelle.”—School Library Journal

    “Roth, in a fine debut, catches the times and the tale’s inherent humor in lively, detailed panoramas and more intimate scenes, with both humans and animals gently caricatured.”—Kirkus Reviews