Here, Custard and Mustard!
An illustrator of super-successful kids’ books calls Hoboken home
by Robert E. Calem
Dec 28, 2012 | 4002 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
"The Cyclone"
This painting from inside <i>Custard and Mustard</i> shows the excitement of Coney Island, with Ruby hiding behind the Police barricade, and a little bit of the ocean with a boat visible in the background. Most of the characters are people Josephs knows.
view slideshow (10 images)

Uptown at Hoboken’s Shipyard apartment complex and its environs, the streets and parks virtually burst with the sights and sounds of children at play. Meanwhile, upstairs in her “studio” apartment, Alison Josephs paints pictures to delight them all––and introduce them to the wonderful world across the river called New York City.

Josephs, who has called Hoboken home since 2000, is the artistic force behind three successful children’s books written by author Maureen Sullivan––Ankle Soup (2008), Custard and Mustard (2009), and Christmas Feet (2010)––each focusing on different New York landmarks and life lesson, as they’re experienced by a French Bulldog named Carlos and his fictional mistress, Tara. (They are, in real life, Sullivan's "granddog" and daughter, who live on New York's Upper East Side.)

Ankle Soup finds Carlos in Grand Central Terminal. Custard and Mustard has Carlos exploring Coney Island. Christmas Feet follows Carlos to Bryant Park during Christmas.

But bits of Hoboken are everywhere in the books, as well: Carlos’s good furry friend in all three stories is Josephs’ own pet, a Norwich terrier named Ruby. And the illustrations in all three books feature many of Ruby's canine friends from The Shipyard: Harvey, Sammi, Pupskie, and Riggs. Plus, Christmas Feet features another Shipyard community fixture, Charlie the dog walker, proprietor of Hoboken’s 4 Paw’s Nanny Service.

Moreover, Josephs has involved Hoboken in the promotion of each book, with family-oriented events, both here and in New York. Ankle Soup debuted with a launch party at Shipyard Park, while Custard and Mustard was promoted with a reading at the Hoboken Historical Museum. A Christmas Feet Family Day party in Bryant Park featured Charlie playing Santa Claus in a doggie fashion show that benefited animal rescue groups.

Now, Josephs and Sullivan are hard at work on a fourth children’s book, which is expected to be published within the next year. Readers may see Carlos in a few of New York's famous museums.—07030

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