Bruce Thompson

Maine Artist Illustrates Children’s Book

Bruce Thompson

Betsy Thompson, who spent summers as a child on Green Lake in Ellsworth and on Grindstone Neck in Winter Harbor, will sign copies of her book “Eggs 1 2 3: Who Will the Babies Be?” from 2 to 4 p.m. Friday, July 27, at Chapter Two Gallery in Corea.

GOULDSBORO — “One egg, big and white, snuggled on Papa’s feet in a land of ice and snow. Who will the baby be? 1 Penguin chick, gray and fluffy, peeking out at me?”

The opening lines of “Eggs 1 2 3: Who Will the Babies Be?” takes young readers through a variety of animals — from the penguin with its one chick to the 10 chicks laid by the ostrich.

The book is illustrated by Betsy Thompson of Portland, who spent summers as a child on Green Lake in Ellsworth and then Grindstone Neck in Winter Harbor.

She will sign her book Friday, July 27, from 2-4 p.m. at the Chapter Two gallery in Corea.

The daughter of Susan Bruce and Rick Hauck of Grindstone Neck, and Bill Holden of Winter Harbor, Betsy grew up outside of Boston and has lived in, among other places, Scotland, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.

She and her husband, Bruce, a developmental psychology professor at the University of Maine, moved to Portland 11 years ago, knowing they wanted to raise their daughters — Lily, 12, and Alice, 9, in Maine.

Betsy said the cost of living in the Boston area would have required both of them to work long hours, which they didn’t want to do while raising their children.

“We moved to Maine because we were seeking a slower pace, where quality of life is valued over ‘stuff,’ where we would have time to be with our children, cook good food, visit the farmers markets, picnic by the ocean, explore the outdoors and live creative lives,” she said.

Betsy’s background is in education and she spent many years both as a teacher and then education consultant.

“In 2007, I started creating more art, working primarily in mixed media collage,” she said.

Betsy initially showed her work in galleries and then gradually started doing more illustration work.

“It has been a longtime dream to illustrate a children’s book, so seeing “Eggs 1 2 3: Who Will the Babies Be?” in print is such a thrill!” she said.

The spare text is the work of author Janet Halfmann, who included babies from across the natural spectrum — from penguins to glowworms to ostriches.

The book for ages 3-7 has received positive Kirkus and Publishers Weekly reviews and recently was awarded an Oppenheim Gold Seal Book Award.

“For her picture-book debut, Thompson plays up the nature theme by using richly textured papers and fabrics to fashion her cut paper collages,” according to the Kirkus review. “While her shapes and outlines are quite simple, their textures are anything but plain, adding another whole dimension to the artwork.”

Working with the art director and editors, Betsy asked for horizontal and vertical gatefolds in the book.

“In terms of the creation of the illustrations, I do all of that with some input from the art director,” she said. “After I’ve had the chance to review the manuscript and do background research on all of the animals, we went through several rounds of sketches before proceeding to final art, all of which I created by hand. I chose all of the colors, textures and materials.”

Betsy is already deep into her next book for Blue Apple Books and it will be out next year.

She continues to show her work in several galleries and is currently working on several children’s book manuscripts.

What: Book signing with Betsy Thompson, illustrator of “Eggs 1 2 3: Who Will the Babies Be?”

When: Friday, July 27, 2-4 p.m.

Where: Chapter Two gallery, Corea

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Jacqueline Weaver

Jacqueline Weaver

Reporter at The Ellsworth American
Jacqueline's beat covers the eastern Hancock County towns of Lamoine through Gouldsboro as well as Steuben in Washington County. She was a reporter for the New York Times, United Press International and Reuters before moving to Maine. She also publicized medical research at Yale School of Medicine and scientific findings at Yale University for nine years.[email protected]