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Islandport to Reissue Barbara Cooney picture book


Islandport Press is pleased to announce that it will reissue When the Sky is Like Lace, a classic picture book illustrated by legendary Maine artist Barbara Cooney and written by Elinor Lander Horwitz. The book, which was first published in 1975, will be released by Islandport in January 2015.

Haunting and dreamlike, this picture book describes the strange-splendid and plum-purple things that can happen on a night when the sky is like lace. Named one of the New York Times Outstanding Books of the Year in 1975, the Times' reviewer called it "... a haunting book, an original creation which survives on the power of its mood. Imaginative children with their own night fantasies may well blend this vision with their dreams."  Horwitz' text is just as innovative as it was forty years ago, complete with invented words and nouns put to use as verbs ("trees eucalyptus back and forth"). Barbara Cooney's paintings complete the magic, using wispy and playful watercolors, a lesser-known and softer style than used in some of her more well-known books.

“We’re thrilled to be bringing this book back in print,” says Islandport children’s book editor Melissa Kim. “A Maine librarian contacted me to suggest we reissue it, and I’m so happy we were able to make it work. This shows a wonderful side of Barbara Cooney’s artwork, and Elinor Horwitz’s story is imaginative and delightful, one you just want to read over and over again.”

Barbara Cooney (1917-2000) was a renowned children's book author and illustrator who published more than 100 books during her illustrious career. Born in Brooklyn, New York, she lived much of her life in Maine, and focused often on the culture and landscape of that state. Her artistic style portrayed a rural New England full of peaceful tranquility. A two-time winner of the Caldecott Medal, she was the recipient of countless other honors and distinctions, and was declared a Living Treasure of the State of Maine in 1996. She once said, "Of all the books I have done, Miss Rumphius, Island Boy, and Hattie and the Wild Waves are the closest to my heart. These three are as near as I will ever come to an autobiography."

Elinor Lander Horwitz is the author of fourteen books for children, young adults, and general audiences, and has received several book and journalism awards.  Among her nonfiction books are three on American folk art and a series of water-quality books for the Environmental Protection Agency and the Council on Environmental Quality. Her feature articles on travel and a vast range of other subjects have appeared in the Washington Post, the Washington Star, the New York Times, and numerous magazines. As a sometime sculptor, she designed a gargoyle for the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. Compelling interests also include travel, her collection of Islamic miniatures and pottery, and her seven grandchildren. Horwitz, a Connecticut native and Smith College alumna, lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland.