Posted by: patriciamar | March 12, 2016

Illustrious Illustrations

JanBrett Goldilocks and the three bears

Tomorrow you will read a review written by my illustrator and sister, Natalie, so in her honor, today I’d like to share a couple of books that I enjoy specifically for their illustrations.

They run the gamut, but thus is the power of art and the makings of a Caldecott Medal.  Of course there is “The Rainbow Fish” and “The Polar Express,” and I mentioned a few especially creative illustrators and/or creators in an earlier post on Alternative Books.  The lovable, “Pecos Bill,” by  Steven Kellogg was brought up in my post on The Life of Pi, I love the way Kellogg recreates tall tales, and the following are a few more of my faves.

First is “The Mitten,” by Jan Brett, a lovely children’s folk tale that is beautifully illustrated.  If you’re not familiar with Jan Brett, what I really like about her books is how she frames nearly every page with a border, which adds more to each page, little

trinkets or symbolism woven right into the edging.

Her others include “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Twelve Days of Christmas” and another favorite of mine, “The Wild Christmas Reindeer.”

On the more recent end of the spectrum is a new book, written by someone I know (My husband’s cousin, Bill Heimbach).  This children’s story is not only about dreaming, but it includes dreamlike illustrations by Angelina Tolentino.  A Whale Who Dreamt of a Snail is a cyclical web of dreams, inspired by Bill’s son, that is really worth checking out.  I have always felt that these illustrations belong on a child’s bedroom wall, framed.  The many blues of the cover (below) are almost too vibrant to put into words.


Next is the work of Graeme BaseAnimalia and The Eleventh Hour.  To be honest, I don’t remember what Animalia is about.  Was it just an alphabet book?   It’s raining, so I don’t think today is the day to bike to the library to reread it, but I do remember staring at those illustrationsanamalia_wideweb__470x282,0–the near and the far, all those animals living their lives–and feeling amazed at how life-like the animals were, despite their palaces, libraries and visibly dramatic lives.

When it comes to beautifully illustrated children’s books, the list could go on and on; that’s what I love about them.  For heaven’s sake, even “The Stinky Cheese Man” was well illustrated!

What are a few of your favorites?

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