Sometimes I feel funny about liking a book solely for the illustrations. My dilemma is possibly the inverse of “never judge a book by it’s cover”. Lucky for you, I’ve decided to eschew that way of thinking and share a recently published work for young children simply because of its beautiful pictures.
Could a book designed entirely using computer software still be organic and elegant? Surprisingly, yes!
You may recognize the work of graphic designer Frank Viva who occasionally does covers for The New Yorker. If not, meet Along a Long Road whose title does nothing to mislead.
Inside, one seamless (pre-binding, 35 foot long!) scene is divided for readers into a panoramic glimpse of a two wheeled journey. A striking yellow bike trail courses throughout right alongside a lovely blue body of water. Both are accompanied by simple encouraging text. We meet towns and cities, pass through tunnels and go up hills, from day to shimmering moonlit night. We hit a bump in the road and fall off our bikes. Kids will see that it’s easy to get back on and continue your adventure.
Rarely a week goes by without me checking out the Missed Connection section on Craigslist. Once even there was one about me, which was almost titillating, sort of like the lame modern equivalent of getting a note from a secret admirer.
So imagine my excitement when I found that one my favorite children’s book illustrators, Sophie Blackall has a blog where she hand picks Missed Connections to illustrate.
To see more: http://missedconnectionsny.blogspot.com/
p.s. Sorry I haven’t written lately, being pregnant messes with the old mind.
This is a biography. Everyone knows biographies are supposed to be dry enough to choke a camel and that biographies are all about the time line and footnotes. A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams by Jen Bryant is an exception. It has all the accoutrements of a proper work of nonfiction for children but with a style done in a lyrical homage worthy of a poet. Unfortunately, I barely noticed any of that since I couldn’t avert my eyes from the illustrations to read the actual text.
Illustrator Melissa Sweet created playful mixed media collages using recycled book covers that incorporate drawings, watercolor, and replicas of drafts of William Carlos Williams actual work. To distract me from learning much of anything about WCW, bold colors mix with vintage paper to form word art fragments using actual poems. I find a recurring element in the design similar to the happy and totally circulated around the internet Spam One Liner series by Linzie Hunter.