January 10, 2006

In Which I Indulge a Childish Whim


I absolutely adore picture books. I can think of few mediums better suited to creating beauty. Today, after thinking about that for a while, I decided I needed a picture book fix, so I sat down with a heap and read them. It was lovely.

I was looking at the artwork, and noticing how incredibly incredible it can be. So I here share some of my favorites. Each of these is a masterpiece-- most of them worthy of being framed, in my opinion. I have always thought that when I have my own house I will frame picture book pictures-- including several of those here.

(a note-- before you protest that there is nothing here from either Goodnight Moon or The Runaway Bunny, I will say that I love these books so much that I could never possibly pick one picture from them, and besides, we all know that they are wonderful. It's one of those self-evident truths that doesn't need pointing out.)

From Little Bear. The expression on her face says it all.

From The Little House. This is sheer brilliance-- how does a house convey such big emotions?

Two delightfully ridiculous Dr. Seuss illustrations, from Fox in Sox and The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins respectively.

From Owl Babies. I am endlessly fascinated by how those little owl eyes somehow manage to look fearful. When Spuddy Buddy was little, we would read this to him and substitute we three kids' names for Sara, Percy, and Bill, the names of the owlets in the story.

From The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree (don't you love Barbara Cooney?) and The Showdown at Lonesome Pellet, repectively. The radish hat just kills me.

From Trouble With Trolls, my favorite Jan Brett book. I think their noses are adorable.

From The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey, one of the most achingly beautiful books I've ever seen. Lucious.

...and this from A Day With Wilbur Robinson, quite possibly the most insane picture book ever. The entire book is like this!

From Tea for Frances, one of my oldest and dearest book-friends. It was one of the first I ever read to myself. "Remember, no backsies!"

And last but by no means least, three pictures from one of the most incredible picture books ever, The Little Fur Family. I would post every picture from this book if I could-- they're all wonderful. One of my earliest memories is of Queenie reading this to me.


Lynn Bruce said...

Oh, Fa. I feel like I just saw your whole childhood flash before my eyes. That was just the best blog entry of all time.


Donna-Jean Breckenridge said...

Beautiful. (I can hear Queen's sniff all the way in New Jersey...very poignant.)

I love the idea of children's book art being framed in your house one day - and I loved your phrase 'book-friends.'

The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey - oh, that book. My younger kids listen to a tape of me reading it as they fall asleep every night (I also read Tailor of Gloucester on it, and Goodnight Moon - in English, and in French ;-) The story is so wonderful - but the pictures! They play out in my mind like a Christmas TV special, or a holiday movie.

Thanks for the memories. Hand the Queen another box of Kleenex...

Owl of the Desert said...

Those were all so beautiful! Have you read any Chris Van Allsburg? His stories are wonderful, but he is also well-known for his illustrations.

I remember really enjoying the illustrations from "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" and, oh, well...I suppose I could list quite a few once I started thinking about it.... :-)

fa-so-la-la said...

Oh! Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is one of my all-time favorites! Unfortunately, we don't own it, so I couldn't post any pictures from it, but I would have. That book always gives me the giggles.

Deeapaulitan said...

Ok...my turn for confession... I'm 35 and still sit down with childrens' books to "get my fix". I post on my blog about them often :) And as it would so happen, Barbara Cooney is probably my favorite illustrator. Miss Rumphius and Island Boy being my 2 favorite books from her. Other Illustrators I love:
Tasha Tudor
Holly Hobby (esp Toot and Puddle)
Sean Rubin
Christopher Denise
Jill Barklem
Susan wheeler
Eloise Wilkin
Susan Tague
whoever illustrated "Andrei's Search"
Garth Williams
Howard Knotts
Maggie Kneen
Shall I go on???? No, probably not.
I think I'll post another picture book post, I'm feeling inspired!

Lynn Bruce said...

Oh, Little Fur Family... warm as toast, smaller than most...

I just adore that last picture of the fur mama and papa singing the little fur child to sleep. The look on papa's face is just pure, unrestrained singing bliss.

Mama Squirrel said...

We have read The Little Fur Family many times too. "Then old grandpa went thump, thump, thump..."

My kids always wanted to know what the fur child did with his ball! It's there at the beginning of the story but then it disappears. (I told them he left it at his grandpa's.)

van Danne said...

oh man A Day With Wilbur Robinson looks amazing. i am quite drawn to that one little illustration.