Please confess! If you are connected in any way with children's books, then you must have a favorite illustrator! Not one, but several? Yes, me too! In that case, you will love "The Art of Reading" because it holds the imaginative works of forty illustrators. Let me explain...
Reading Is Fundamental, the nation's largest nonprofit literacy organization, invited forty children's illustrator's to re-imagine the art of their favorite children's book. In other words, what book inspired them as children and how would they create one scene from that book? What a clever idea! What wonderful results!
Robert Lawson writes: "No one can possibly tell what tiny detail of a drawing or what seemingly trivial phrase in a story will be the spark that sets off a great flash in the mind of some child, a flash that will leave a glow there until the day he dies." Lawson created "Make Way for Ducklings" and "Blueberries for Sal."
David Wiesner, creator of three Caldecott Medal books, re-imagines one scene from "2001: Space Odyssey" --the obelisk. Instead of appearing in the open as a catalyst for early man's thinking, it becomes a big, black book in one boy's bedroom, a catalyst for Wiesner's connection with books and art. In fact, his explanation of how one movie, one book, then a book explaining the making of the movie from the book is a wonderful piece of writing and inspiration to a new generation of illustrators!
William Joyce, an artist who happens to live in my city of Shreveport, re-imagines a scene from "Where the Wild Things Are," by Maurice Sendak. "I got lost in that book and haven't come out since." His depiction shows a wild-haired little boy standing at the edge of a giant book (or perhaps he is a teeny boy), reading a sentence that says: "That very night in Max's room a forest grew."
Richard Egielski was influenced by the Classic Comics of Moby Dick. His explanation of the complexities and symbolism of Moby Dick and how he missed them with each version of the story is most amusing.
Eric Rohmann loved "Millions of Cats" by Wanda Gag. Jerry Pinkney re-creates a scene from "Little Black Sambo." Mary Azarian's recreation of a scene from "A Girl of Limberlost" is quite beautiful. Mark Teague, who read and reread "The Silver Chair" from the Narnia Chronicles, re-imagines a scene in his fantastic artwork.
"The Art of Reading" is a treasure chest of how artists were influenced by one specific book. For lovers of children's literature, it is a joy to own, to refer to from time to time, perhaps work into a classroom lesson or after reading the original classic to your child, show how the artist would re-imagine that scene.
Perhaps this artwork will become a springboard for a future artist sitting right there in your lap!