My academic class in my grad school program last semester examined the picturebook as an art form. We looked at how illustrations are created, the parts of the book as a whole, how it might be designed, page breaks, pacing, end papers - you name it, we considered it.
Because of this class, I look at picturebooks with an eye I hope has been made more discerning. Of course, everything is still subject to personal taste, but now I have the words to discuss why those books might appeal to me.
At the Montague Bookmill on Sunday, I couldn't stop myself from browsing the picturebooks, or from taking a few home. Here are the books I picked up:
I am apparently a huge fan of silhouette illustrations. Peggy Rathmann's The Day the Babies Crawled Away is a favorite, but it wasn't until I saw two of the books I had chosen that I realized quite how deep my appreciate for the silhouette really went:
illustrated by Arthur Rackham
Paperback: 0486227561, Dover Books
by Judith Viorts, drawings by Hilary Knight
Paperback: 9780689704475, Aladdin Books (part of Macmillan at the time)
This classic has been recently republished, but in a larger trim size. I prefer this smaller size, myself.
Quiet! There's a Canary in the Library
by Don Freeman
Paperback: 044084875x, Trumpet Club Special Edition
A Barbara Cooney I had never seen before! Her Miss Rumphius is my all-time favorite picturebook.
by Alice McLerran, illustrated by Barbara Cooney
Paperback: 0140544755, Penguin
Another favorite illustrator who draws with such delicate lines:
Over and Over
by Charlotte Zolotow, pictures by Garth Williams
Paperback: 9780064434157, Harper
A childhood favorite (I know, I have a lot of favorites) - my sister apparently absconded with my childhood copy:
The Rough-Face Girl
by Rafe Martin, illustrated by David Shannon
Paperback: 0590469320, Scholastic
I've never seen this book before, nor heard of the author or illustrator, but it is absolutely beautiful. The illustrations alternate between black and white pen & ink drawings, and full-color illustrations that have SUCH detailing! The vibrancy of the color and the detail of the characters are really exquisite:
retold by James Riordan, illustrated by Victor G. Ambrus
Paperback: 9780192722874, Oxford University Press
Last but not least, a Lloyd Alexander/Trina Schart Hyman match-up that I couldn't pass up:
by Lloyd Alexander, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman
Hardcover: 9780525448495, Dutton Children's Books
All-in-all, a very successful Bookmill outing.