Dr Seuss: The Cat Behind the Hat by Caroline Smith (Chase Art Companies, November 2012) is a full-color biography to the artist so well known for his children’s books and cartoons. I love his classic readers. The Grinch is a must a Christmas, and Green Eggs and Ham was a favorite of mine when I was young.
To learn about this beloved children’s author would have been interesting enough. How did he discover his wacky ideas? Yet, as is clear from Ms Smith’s biography, Geisel is not your average children’s book writer. Because of intense desire for privacy, he did not publicize his “night paintings,” which is what he called his private creations and inventions. It is interesting that on Wikipedia, Theodore Geisel is listed as a “writer, poet, and cartoonist.” It is clear to me that he is far more: he is an creative and talented artist.
Personally, I find Geisel’s surrealistic artwork is far more fun than Dali or Ernst. I loved a peak into his inspiration as I review some of his personal paintings. Dr Seuss: The Cat Behind the Hat is well designed and attractive. It includes brief discussion about his life and his inspirations, and then Ms Smith lets his paintings tell the rest of the story. It is a lovely book for Seuss fans to browse, as well as to read for further understanding of the mysterious and creative Doctor.
See more about Dr Seuss books and play online games at www.seussville.com.
Note: I received a digital review copy of The Cat Behind the Hat from the publisher via netgalley.com.
Show Me a Story: Why Picture Books Matter (Candlewick, May 2012) is a collection of interviews conducted by Leonard S. Marcus with 21 different children’s illustrators over the past two decades. From Quentin Blake to Eric Carle, Helen Oxenbury, Peter Sis, William Steig, Mo Willems and many more, Mr Marcus covers a variety of backgrounds, childhoods, and inspirations.
I loved the peek in to the lives of illustrators. Each of them have such different styles of illustration, and the interviews helped me understand their motivations, inspirations, and especially the personalities behind their work. While the volume does not really attempt to explain why picture books matter, as the subtitle suggests, it does inspire the budding artist to follow his or her own style and dreams, and it helps the reader of children’s books, like myself, better appreciate the fine art that makes a picture book what it is.
The book contains brief introductions to each illustrations, the interviews, and a center section highlighting some examples of each illustrator’s work.
Note: I read a digital review copy from the publisher via netgalley for review consideration.
Show and Tell by Dilys Evans (Chronicle Books, 2008) carries the subtitle “Exploring the fine art of children’s book illustration,” and that is what it is: a full-color coffee table style book that highlights a few of the best children’s book illustrators by examining what makes their art “fine art.” Because I love reading picture books, I really appreciated the analysis of great children’s book illustration, as well as the discussion of the illustrators’ lives, from the beginning of their interest in art to where they found their inspiration for their illustration.
This is my last week and last post of sharing Cybils Fiction Picture Book Nominees, so I’ve got to go for a miscellany this week. Sub-topics: Dealing with Life; Kids’ Fashion; Roads and Trucks; Fine Arts; Non-Western Traditions; and, of course, Christmas, Christian, and Winter Books. (more…)
Tom Ang’s Fundamentals of Photography is aptly subtitled “the essential handbook for both digital and film cameras.” As a very amateur photographer, I was fascinated by the technical explanations for photography: how cameras work, how light is best captured, and how to process photographs appealingly. While I will never again photograph using film cameras, I was likewise fascinated to learn the technical aspects of film photography. For, just as Tom Ang seamlessly wove both film and digital photography together throughout his handbook, understanding how film photography works should be seamlessly tied to understanding the tools available to a digital photographer. I am convinced that understanding film technology (of which I was woefully ignorant) will help me in my digital processes.
Fundamentals of Photography is a dense book, full of technical terms, explanations, and diagrams. As such, it was challenging to read it cover to cover. Besides, it was a new book at the library, so I had a three-week time limit, which made it all the more challenging. I would have loved to study it over the course of an entire semester in school or maybe during my lifetime – for there are so many details within it that were unfamiliar to me. Despite the difficulty, reading it was incredibly rewarding. (more…)