Side by Side: Five Favorite Picture-Book Teams Go to Work by Leonard S. Marcus
(Walker Books for Young Readers, 2001, 64 pages)
Side by Side looks at five different picture book teams who have worked together to create successful picture book collaborations. Each of the teams highlighted came into their working relationship in different ways and it was interesting to read about how they worked together. Prior to reading this I hadn’t realized that a lot of the time authors and illustrators don’t know each other in advance. Publishers will often read an author’s work and then reach out to an illustrator that they think would be the best fit for the feel of the story.
This book was interesting to me as a parent, picture book lover, and librarian, but it’s also accessible to younger readers who may have an interest in writing or illustrating children’s books.
A Caldecott Celebration: Seven Artists and Their Paths to the Caldecott Medal by Leonard S. Marcus
(Walker Childrens, 2008, 64 pages)
I’ve always had a deep appreciation and love for picture books. This feeling has only intensified now that I have a young daughter who I’m eager to expose to new and classic titles. In my desire to gain a better understanding of what goes into making a picture book a success I’ve gone searching for titles that can speak directly to that – which introduced me to the work of Leonard S. Marcus. Marcus is essentially my go-to guy for all things related to picture books.
I read the second edition of A Caldecott Celebration which was published to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Caldecott medal. It highlights seven winners of the award (one for each decade) and looks at the process and inspiration that led them to create the books worthy of winning the medal. The illustrators highlighted in this title are: Robert McCloskey, Marcia Brown, Maurice Sendak, William Steig, Chris Van Allsburg, David Wiesner, and Mordicai Gerstein.
I came away from this book with a greater understanding and appreciation for the depth and consideration that goes into visualizing and creating the feel of a picture book. I’ll certainly be reading more of Marcus’s work… and spending a fair amount of my free time perusing picture books that catch my eye. It’s so easy to get caught up in them!
The Art of Reading: Forty Illustrators Celebrate RIF’s 40th Anniversary
by Reading is Fundamental
(Dutton Books, 2005, 96 pages)
I’ve always loved picture books, but now that I have a little one that I can buy them for it seems that I’ve gotten slightly more obsessed. In honor of the 40th anniversary of Reading is Fundamental this book brings together 40 well-known illustrators and asks them to write about a book that influenced them when they were children. They are then to create an illustration inspired by that book. This is a great way to get insight into what led these illustrators to pursue their career paths while also exposing readers to illustrators that might be new to them.
Each illustrator gets two pages in the book, one for a brief autobiographical blurb about the book that influenced them, and then a page for their artistic interpretation of that book. A few of the people included in the book are: Lois Ehlert, David Kirk, Pat Cummings, Jerry Pinkney, and Raúl Colón. I discovered a number of illustrators whose work I want to add to my list.
This is a quick read that will certainly entertain you if you’re a picture book fan, a new parent looking to find books that might appeal to you and your child, or someone who might be hoping to write/illustrate a picture book one day.