Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Children’s Books ~ Timeless Connections & Endless Joys

This week’s blog topic comes at just the time when I’ve been busily checking out picture books from the library, looking at a few on my own shelves, and searching the shelves of the library bookstore for a gem or two to add to my small children’s book collection.

When I gave the topic more thought, the George and Martha books written and illustrated by James Marshall immediately flew into my field of memory. I most definitely remember the illustrations without even looking at the books. These are books that I remember my mother bringing home for me from the library. I don’t remember reading them, only looking at those lovely pictures and knowing by the illustrations what silliness George and Martha were up to.

After that short reverie back to childhood, I am back to the present, and I have chosen one that I’ve had for some time now as my favorite, but there are three others that I would like to mention first.

Click, Clack, Moo
Cows That Type
By Doreen Cronin.  Pictures by Betsy Lewin.

This is a fun picture book that is a delight to read out loud and made me laugh several times. The large colorful illustrations capture a lot of personality as the cows try to negotiate with Farmer Brown.

Dog Loves Books
By Louise Yates

The soft illustrations in this thoughtful book feel as light as cotton candy dancing across the pages to the story’s end. Dog is the star with his many expressions to suit the occasion as he tries to get his bookstore off the ground.

Artist to Artist: 23 Major Illustrators Talk to Children about Their Art
By Eric Carle

This is a gorgeous book for children and adults alike. Each artist talks a little bit about themselves and how they came to be artists; the opposite page includes a photo or self-portrait of the artist and a fold out page of various small clips of their illustrations and sketches, as well as the artist at work.


And now for my favorite illustrated book:

The Three Questions Based on a Story by Leo Tolstoy.
Written and illustrated by Jon J. Muth.

We follow the young boy, Nikolai, as he sets out to answer his three questions. He will have help from different creaturely friends and gain new experiences along the way.

The story itself is like a gentle ripple in a still lake of compassion—rippling out, impressing itself upon the vast oceans. The illustrations have a quality that invites me to become a part of the story—and that makes me feel that I am a part of the story. I want to dip my toe into the page’s shores, keep stepping further in—and by the time I’ve reached the story’s end, I am left with a sense that I am indeed a part of the story.

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