May 7, 2007

Child Lit

Curious George, by H.A. Rey

The dangerous and often charming allure of childlike mischief lies behind the story and art of Curious George. Rey draws dark curved outlines that give the impression of slyness, and garishly applied watercolors to suggest danger, warmth and fun. This is a book for all mischievous children from 3-7.

Wempires, by Daniel Pinkwater

This is a very strange book, by a very strange author. He draws simply, I believe with just ink. They look very much like scribbles. Despite the crudeness, the art is captivating because it fit the narrator's perspective so well. The story is about a regular little boy who wants to be a vampire, and the smiling, matter-of-fact illustrations leap straight from his words onto the page. Because the pictures are somewhat bizarre, and not much too look at in and of themselves, this book is much for the 6-11 age bracket, and even then, only for kids who can fully immerse themselves in weirdness.

Monsters, by Russel Hoban and Quentin Blake
This is my favorite team of picture book creators. Hoban specializes in telling the stories of little boys making room for their repressed imaginations and Blake gives them life in his messy, junkyard style illustrations. Blake uses ink or pencil outlines and water colors, I believe, cobbling fantasies from all manner of squigglies and doodads. This story makes use of childlike illustration to get directly at the child's imagination, working from scribbles to a "real version" drawn in a more vivid style.

Richard Scarry

Color, variety and constant action characterize Richard Scarry's stories.

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