THIS IS AN UNUSUAL MOVE FOR ME in that I am pushing a product here on my Elvis – A Touch Of Gold blog. I didn’t go looking for a product to push; in fact, quite the opposite occurred. I was looking for images for the series of articles I am writing about the line of Elvis records on the Gold Standard Series. Lo and behold, I stumbled over Elvis Is King, an illustrated children’s book.
Back when I was a young whippersnapper and I drew almost as often as I breathed, growing up to become an illustrator of books for kids under the age of ten was on my list of potential career choices. So when I see a special children’s book—and there are so, so many special children’s books over the past few decades—I stop and take notice. (Or at least, I did when my daughter was a wee tad. Now I have a grandson and those BIG picture books are looking good again.)
I saw Red Nose Studio’s “Elvis Is King” book and immediately knew I had to write an article about it and promote it on my blog!
So, I was scrolling through my browser looking for images of the Puppet On A String single from 1965. Mostly I was looking for high quality images of the picture sleeve and any advertisement for the record that many have apeared in Billboard or Cash Box magazine in 1965.
Then I see puppets of Elvis, Scotty, Bill, and D.J. on stage in the ’50s! Clicking on that image took me to the Red Nose Studio page that was heralding their newest book, Elvis Is King. an illustrated children’s book about Elvis! One look at the images there and I started writing this piece.
This is the cover of Elvis Is King. The neon-light-style typeface used for “ELVIS” reflects the font used on Presley’s second long-play album, ELVIS (RCA Victor LPM-12382), from late 1956. This simple, san-serif typeface was later used to a more dramatic effect on the NBC television special Elvis and its accompanying album, ELVIS (RCA Victor LPM-4088), in late 1968.
Elvis is king!
I have not seen the book (although I will be calling my local book store later today to order a copy) but I want to push this product to each and every reader of my blog! It was written by Jonah Winter with illustrations (which are photos of puppets and environments) by Red Nose Studio, which was founded by Chris Sickels. And so, this is the end of my blathering—now I am just going to quote the publisher’s blurbs:
“Elvis Presley–the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, still beloved by millions of Americans–comes to vibrant, gyrating life in this extraordinary picture-book biography from an award-winning author and the winner of a New York Times Best Illustrated Book Award.
Here’s the perfect book for anyone who wants to introduce rock ‘n’ roll and its king to the child in their lives. In single-page ‘chapters’ with titles like ‘The First Cheeseburger Ever Eaten by Elvis’ and ‘Shazam! A Blond Boy Turns into a Black-Haired Teenager,’ readers can follow key moments in Presley’s life, from his birth on the wrong side of the railroad tracks in the Deep South, to playing his first guitar in grade school, to being so nervous during a performance as a teenager that he starts shaking … and changes the world!
Jonah Winter and Red Nose Studio have created a tour-de-force that captures a boy’s loneliness and longing, along with the energy and excitement, passion, and raw talent that was Elvis Presley.”
I selected three pages from the book (above). The first one features Gladys Presley eyeing the used guitar in a pawnshop window that she will buy for the young Elvis. The second page gives us Elvis as a teenager on a sorner on Beale Street in downtown Memphis, watching the black street musicians wailing the blues. The final image is a fantasy of Elvis with his guitar down on his luck at the end of Lonely Street.
If you can’t find a copy of Elvis Is King at a local store, you can purchase one HERE.I was looking for images for something else entirely when I stumbled over ELVIS IS KING, an illustrated children’s book from Red Nose Studio. Click To Tweet
FEATURED IMAGE: The image at the top of this page is a photo of puppets of Elvis and his band on stage in 1955 or ’56. They are caricatures of Scotty Moore (guitar), D.J. Fontana (drums), Elvis, and Bill Black (bass). The blurring around Elvis is intentional and meant to represent his body in motion, which legend has it was its normal state while performing. Sickel uses “lo-tech” material for his projects (“Hoping kids see that you can build with anything”).
NON-FEATURED IMAGE: The photo above is a set consisting of two of the puppets with a flat. stand-up of the Lansky Brothers clothing store as a backdrop. Notice the other puppets from other projects sitting on the shelves behind the display. This photo can be found on “Original Art Exhibit at Society of Illustrators,” an exhibit of work by Chris Sickel and was held November 13, 2019, to January 4, 2020, in New York City.