In a newly released book, a little girl listens to her Christmas tree ornaments plead their case as to why each one of them should be considered the “star of Christmas.”
Elaine Verstraete, adjunct professor of illustration at Rochester Institute of Technology and a local watercolorist, brings the child and ornaments to life with her illustrations in the new children’s book The Star of Christmas authored by Maria DiVencenzo.
Verstraete took the manuscript and came up with the concepts and sketches. She worked closely with the author, designer and publisher.
“I took some photographs to help me with concepts,” says Verstraete. “I did a series of photo shoots with a 4-1/2-year-old girl from Naples. She was wonderful to work with because she had a vivid imagination, and her face was very animated.”
The Star of Christmas is featured in the “Christmas Gift-Giving” guide of this month’s Woman’s Day magazine. Verstraete says the accolades and reviews the book has received have been thrilling. The book earned a gold medal Moonbeam Children’s Holiday Book Award.
Author Anne Rice says: “The Star of Christmas is an exquisite book that will delight parents and children alike. Lavish, richly colored illustrations invite the reader into the mystery and magic of Christmas while a simply told tale provides a profound insight into the ancient and sacred meaning of the holiday itself. DiVencenzo and Verstraete have created a perfect Christmas gift.”
The book includes whimsical ornaments including Jolly Old Elf, Wise King, Gift Box and Gentle Dove.
“Gift Box and Gentle Dove were my two favorite Christmas ornaments to illustrate,” says Verstraete. “I was looking forward to illustrating the dove because of its simplicity. As a watercolorist, I like painting the nuances of white. I liked illustrating Gift Box because of his personality.”
Verstraete has illustrated about a dozen books, primarily historical biographies. The Star of Christmas is her first full-scale picture book. The hardcover book is $16.99 and can be purchased at Barnes & Noble or through the publishing Web site at http://www.winterlakepress.com.
To learn more about Verstraete’s book illustrations, visit www.elaineverstraete.com.