As a former children’s librarian and book lover, I know Dr. Seuss’s work like the back of my hand, I know his real name was Theodore Seuss Geisel and I know we now have an easy reader award named in his honor. What I didn’t know was that he was an artist in his own right – a part that was wholly separate from who he was as an author/illustrator.
My partner hid my anniversary gift on our bookshelf and told me to find it – we have a floor to ceiling book shelf in our office filled (almost to the brim) with books of all sizes and sorts. He’s figured out that books make me a very happy person, so for Christmas he did something similar and found the exact edition of Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them that I was looking for and added it to my Harry Potter shelf (yes, Harry gets his own shelf). So for our anniversary, he added The Secret Art of Dr. Seuss to my picture book shelf – not exactly the right location, but I’ll forgive him for that.
This book is a collection of pieces done by Dr. Seuss that had never before been seen by the public or published in any of his children’s books. And it is fascinating! You can see the images and know it’s a Dr. Seuss piece, but at the same time many are very different from what you see in his artwork for his books. The art he created for himself is more developed in that there are backgrounds that are more fully realized and architecture that brings to mind M.C. Escher. And then you’ll see a part of the painting that brings to mind one of his books – it’s extremely interesting to see!
If you enjoy art and children’s literature, I highly recommend paging through this book. The only thing I wanted more of was background about Dr. Seuss’s life and his view on his artwork, but the introduction by Maurice Sendak is extremely interesting as they were close friends and seeing a little more into both their lives gives you, as the reader, a new perspective.
I decided to go with books published in the last year – there are so many nonfiction titles available these days! I love how accessible nonfiction has become for kids. I also chose books that have won some type of award (CYBILS, Nerdies, etc.) and were not solely biographies (that could be an entirely different list). When I was growing up, it was often text-heavy with bad black and white photographs, now nonfiction picture books are bright and exciting to read!
- Pink Is For Blobfish: Discovering the World’s Perfectly Pink Animals by Jess Keating
- Because of an Acorn by Lola M. Schaefer
- Coyote Moon by Maria Gianferrari
- Maybe Something Beautiful by F. Isabel Campoy
- Around America To Win the Vote: Two Suffragists, a Kitten, and 10,000 Miles by Mara Rockliff
- Giant Squid by Candace Fleming
- The Polar Bear by Jenni Desmond
- The Marvelous Thing That Came From a Spring: The Accidental Invention of the Toy That Swept the Nation by Gilbert Ford
- Whoosh!: Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions by Chris Barton
- Animals By the Numbers: A Book of Animal Infographics by Steve Jenkins
This week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme was all about the visuals and since I just recently created a graphic novel list, I wanted to try my hand at something else – enter picture books. Picture book illustration is truly an art form and there are some amazing artists in the picture book world right now. I had a hard enough time not only repeating an illustration, but also choosing which ten I would highlight. I hope this provides you with a wide range of illustrations styles to feast your eyes upon! Enjoy!
- The Whisper by Pamela Zagarenski
- The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney
- Mirror by Jeannie Baker
- The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles by Michelle Cuevas, illustrated by Erin E. Stead
- All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon, illustrated by Marla Frazee
- To the Sea by Cale Atkinson
- Julia’s House for Lost Creatures by Ben Hatke
- This Is Sadie by Sara O’Leary, illustrated by Julia Morstad
- Home by Carson Ellis
Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created byThe Broke and the Bookish
I am so excited to see that an amazing exhibit on children’s illustration is happening at the Brandywine River Museum of Art, just a short drive for me. I haven’t been able to make the trip up to The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, so I’m super excited to see some amazing events coming to the Philly area.
From the museum’s website, “This exhibition, organized by the Brandywine River Museum of Art and guest curated by H. Nichols B. Clark, will feature an exciting selection of contemporary paintings and drawings created by eight of the most renowned artists currently working the field: Sophie Blackall, Bryan Collier, Raúl Colón, Marla Frazee, Jon Klassen, Melissa Sweet, David Wiesner and Mo Willems. The works reveal the artists’ broad spectrum of working methods and subject matter, as well as the ever-increasing inclusiveness in the field of children’s book illustration. Get the Picture! Contemporary Children’s Book Illustration brings the museum’s long standing commitment to the history and traditions of children’s illustration to the present day.”
The exhibit opens today, July 1st and will close October 9th with some amazing events throughout the exhibit’s time at the museum. What I love is that they are offering not only lectures and programs for adults, but are also including art and story workshops for kids as well. It’s exciting to see how art museums, history museums and others are really trying to encourage hands on learning in places where originally “no touching!” was the rule. I know that many museums and libraries are partnering together to create such high-quality programs for kids, teens and families and I think it’s such a powerful connection and so amazing that families can participate in.
Summer Reading officially starts today! Here’s a few of our decorations for the department. We are so lucky to have a summer clerk who also happens to be an artist work with us – thank goodness because the library wouldn’t look like this without her! I am absolutely in love with everything she came up with this summer – we have a row of books in a foot race with each location the torch will visit before it reaches Rio de Janiero. We’ve got an Olympic Torch lighting the way to our Summer Reading Desk and some amazing cutouts of people playing sports – including a person playing wheelchair basketball. Tomorrow, I’ll also show off my summer book bracket that the kids can vote for all summer long! And maybe I’ll get a chance to talk about the amazing passive programs we have going on this summer! On Your Mark, Get Set…. READ!