SOLON, Ohio — Ron Hill says he’s always been a fan of Dr. Seuss, the children’s book author and illustrator known for his simple rhyming books for beginning readers.
“I think his illustrations have been a big influence on me since, say, elementary school,” said Solon’s cartoonist and illustrator Hill.
Hill’s latest book pays homage to Dr. Seuss. The title, “One Bird Two Birds Red Bird BluesBird”, was inspired by Dr. Seuss’ 1960 children’s book “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish”.
“One Bird Two Birds Red Bird BluesBird” features every editorial cartoon Hill has published in the past year, plus 26 pages of verse and art by Hill parodying Dr. Seuss’s work.
“I tried to use this scenario to introduce each section of the book,” he said. “For example, five pages (of Dr. Seuss parodies) on climate change led to local ramifications of that.”
Hill, 60, also satirized the yellow cover of “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish” by creating a similarly designed yellow cover for his book.
“One Bird Two Birds Red Bird BluesBird” is Hill’s fourth compilation of editorial cartoons, all published by Act 3, a media company specializing in business-to-business communications and book publishing.
The 150-page book was released in March.
A book launch event — both in person and on Zoom — is scheduled for 5-7 p.m. May 24 at the Act 3 studio, located in the Fairhill Partners building at 12200 Fairhill Road in Cleveland.
As was the case in 2020, BB BluesBird — a character created by Hill in 2004 — featured in every editorial cartoon Hill published in the last year in the four northeast Ohio newspapers that publish his work.
Act 3’s managing partner since 2016, Hill had compiled all of 2020’s editorial cartoons into his third book, “BB BluesBird and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Year,” published in January 2021.
He said he continued to feature BB BluesBird – a spunky little bird who dreams of becoming a blues musician – in his cartoons because he likes him and because his readers and editors reacted positively to the character.
“At the end of the day, you have to be happy and have fun with what you’re doing,” he said. “That’s why I’ve kept (BB BluesBird) around. And it has continued so far (this year).”
As was the case in Hill’s previous book, COVID-19 is also a dominant theme in her new compilation. Other main topics he covers include climate change, social justice and politics.
“Politics – the extra divide between right and left – which played a big role, especially after the January 6 uprising,” he said.
Hill said his wife, Margie, suggested adding the pages of new material – parodying Dr. Seuss’ work – to previously published editorial cartoons.
“We were working on the book (last fall), and Margie said, ‘Are you going to write any new stuff?'” he said. “And that’s where the idea came from.
“Otherwise this book would have had far fewer pages and less impact.”
The book also includes a foreword by Mike Polk Jr., a Cleveland-based comedian and actor, and an introduction by Dave Coverly, cartoonist and creator of the single-panel “Speed Bump” comic, who lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
The May 24 book launch will also include an art exhibit of 15 of Hill’s paintings from BB BluesBird. All of Hill’s books will be available for purchase. There will also be light refreshments, contests and giveaways.
One of the prizes will be a newly released collection of every BB BluesBird web comic that Hill created with local cartoonist and cartoonist Gary Dumm in 2012 and 2013.
Those unable to attend in person can join via Zoom at 5:45 p.m. The Zoom link will be available on the Act 3 website homepage, act3creative.com.
A Cleveland native, Hill grew up in Solon and has lived in the city since 1969. The Solon High School graduate holds an associate’s degree in visual communication from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh.
Hill and Margie have three adult children and three granddaughters.
“One Bird Two Birds Red Bird BluesBird” retails for $19.95 and is available for purchase on the Act 3 website, Amazon, and select local independent bookstores.
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