Our boys received a wonderful gift this year for the holidays- a beautiful hardcover copy of Zoolidays, Written by Bruce Glassman and illustrated by up and coming artist Rolandas Kiaulevicius. If that wasn’t enough they also got tickets to a wonderful show about that book and more called GIRO. This book is a wonderful read, and the Zoolidays show is a fabulous must see for any emergent reader and budding artist. My boys absolutely loved Zoolidays from cover to cover, and the show really delighted their imaginations in a way that the book alone couldn’t do.
Zoolidays is the story of creative genius when the animals in a fledgling zoo that is about to close from lack of business decide they must get the patrons to come back. One night they decide to paint each other with elaborate designs, and the results were amazing. It is one of the few books in our collection that my boys will ask for time and time again. Zoolidays is masterfully illustrated with loving detail and remarkably creative imagination, so detailed and whimsical that it inspires my boys to get out the paper and markers and have a go at their own Zooliday story on our kitchen table.
Rolandas is a graduate of Siauliu University in Lithuania. He is a teacher in Drawing and woodworking, and when Rolandas came to United States of America he couldn’t speak in English. “I decided to go to English ESL classes. I went to Gateway Community College, Yale University, and when my English skills improved I decided to come back to my art. At that time I didn’t have any kind of portfolio. Everything I did back in Lithuania I had given away to my friends and family. I needed to make a portfolio. So that’s what I did at Paier Art College; I made my portfolio. Then I earned my Masters degree at Western Connecticut State University and in 2006 graduated with my masters in Fine Art and Illustration.”
Red Cygnet Press chose Rolandas to design and publish Zoolidays, his very first children’s book, after scouring the halls of Universities and viewing the vast works of many talented and creative art students. This is a very prestigious honor. Once you thumb through the pages of this wonderful book you will see why Rolandas was chosen.
Rolandas and his artist/illustrator friend, Gintaras Jocius have recently teamed up to create GIRO, an hour long traveling art show for children (they also have one for adults too). GIRO teaches illustrator tricks of the trade through comedy routines and musical numbers. Two numbers in the act Are: “How To Draw A Story” and “Live Painting To The Sounds Of Music”.
I recently took my boys to the GIRO show in our area and they had a fantastic time. The performance“How To Draw A Story” teaches younger children how to draw simple cartoon characters. To get the party started, Rolandas dons his Mother Moose costume, one of the many animal characters in his book, and he does a very comical skit for the kids.
The show teaches the tricks of the illustration trade in a very hands on way– Rolandas and his mates passed paper and pencils out to all of the participants then took them on a step by step path from drawing basic shapes to adding the very details that make animal images come alive with emotion. He really makes art fun and non-threatening for the many kids in his audience.
To view Rolandas’ portfolio and the illustrations from Zoolidays, visit: rolandasart.com. You can easily order a copy of the book from the publisher at: redcygnet.com (50% of the proceeds go toward funding future student artists), or buy Zoolidays from Amazon.com, but for a limited time Rolandas will be selling autographed copies of his book directly to the public. He will also come and perform GIRO at your library, school, community center, or bookstore. His traveling show has been to Chicago, California, Boston, and currently has a show scheduled March 29, 2008 in Branford, CT. For more information contact him at: Rolandas at rolandasart.com or by phone at: 203-494-6857.
Kids who get excited about Zoolidays will flip when they learn that the sequel, Moonlidays, is already in production. The content is top secret, so we will all have to anxiously wait for it to come out. Rolandas promises his readers that all their favorite animals will be back in the next story.