I am really excited to start these book posts on the blog! There are a lot of blogs that review their favorite books, but I want to focus mostly on the illustration and design of picture books: Why I love what I love and what makes these books great because of the story they tell in pictures. Come on now...isn't that why we all love children's picture books? Because of the pictures? Ok...the words do help a little:)
Fables. This book shaped my childhood. Really. Still, to this day, I can remember the emotions I felt while staring at these pictures. Each fable gets a single picture, so you really have time to stare into these images. Pure genius.
I mean, an alligator lying in a comfy bed with pretty wallpaper? A rino dressed up in her best dress? I love Arnold Lobel's Elephants and especially his frogs...OH! His frogs! Love. But Fabels gets a special place in my heart because the stories and characters think they are in very serious situations. Yet, it is all so farcical and silly. Can you tell by the color and dress and body postures? It's just a great mix of fun visual storytelling.
Is it the color? The texture? the detail? Yes. Yes. Yes. But...let me add: Arnold Lobel has incredible composition of his frames and incredible characters. His greatest strengths I think. In some of his other books, the Frog and Toad series, and Owl at Home, for instance, there isn't much color, or texture. But don't be fooled: his images are captivating. I thought it was just me...I figured my kids wouldn't go for the muted colors. I mean, I didn't grow up in a competing world of visuals, right? (I am not that old, but compared to now, I thought my kids would for sure dismiss the colorlessnes of his other books). But honestly? His less colorful books are my kid's favorites. Even as 2 and 3 year olds. Why? Because his characters are so believable and his compositions are so strong. He doesn't fuss with what isn't important. He gets to the meat of the storytelling, and keeps is to is most key elements. I look back at what I loved as a child, and it is still the same today. And beyond that, beyond the things I could articulate, there is that "it" factor that I can't articulate, nor do I want to try. I just like it. Love it. And it is so captivating. And it proves true when I read it to my own children.
And I love Arnold Lobel. If I had the chance to visit with any illustrator of my choice, he would for sure be on my list.
I still find myself staring at these pictures. Eye Candy. It received the Caldecott for a reason.
Happy picture looking!