Posts Tagged ‘photography’
Posted in fiction, non-fiction, picture books, poetry, tagged alphabet books, animals, book reviews, Celestino Piatti, children's literature, multicultural children's literature, photography, picture books on April 11, 2016| 1 Comment »
This week — fun with letters.
A is for Asleep. One little mouse, asleep in his recliner in his quiet mouse-house.
B is for Ball. A big, orange, tennis ball bounces through his doorway most abruptly!
C is for Catch. Not that he has much choice when that ball snoodles him right in the stomach. Oof!
How did that ball happen by? Well, D is for Dog, whose snuffly nose blurts its way through his doorway next, seeking that orange toy.
On with the adventure. An entirely alphabetical adventure for this unlikely pair.
New Yorker cartoonist Mike Twohy is brilliant at capturing story and personality with a few confident marks on the page. The text accompanying the illustrations moves along with (mostly) just one word for each letter, and those 26 words tell a zesty and surprising story! Great fun for ages Two and up.
Celestino Piatti’s Animal ABC, illustrated by (obviously) Celestino Piatti, text by Hans Schumacher, translation by Jon Reid
first published in Switzerland in 1965; this edition published 2015 by North-South Books
Celestino Piatti was a celebrated Swiss artist who worked in graphic design from the 1940s onward. His handsome images are absolutely show-stopping. Vigorous, thick black line commands the page. Emphatic shapes, artful textures, and robust color collaborate to create these arresting forms.
The briefest of quatrains accompany each animal, so cleverly composed and translated to keep the rhyme. For example: When tiger growls/to be caressed/Just ask what he/Thinks tastiest So clever, right?
It’s a book you might be tempted to cut up and plaster on your walls, and no one could blame you. A masterful combination of the arts of design and poetry for ages 3 and up.
Welcome to My Neighborhood! : A Barrio ABC by Quiara Alegria Hudes, illustrated by Shino Arihara
published in 2010 by Arthur A. Levine Books, Scholastic
Hear the sound of that cool water gushing from the hydrant on this hot day? Smell the tantalizing aroma of roast pork from windows open all down the block?
It’s your lucky day because we have two children to guide us through the streets of this urban, Puerto Rican neighborhood, meeting an abuela here, watching muralists at work there, listening to “los jibaros jamming in the jungle of concrete.”
It’s an upbeat, welcome foray into a culture unfamiliar to many of us, sure to spark interest and appreciation for kids ages 3 and up. Shino Arihara’s textured-cement vibe and warm, neighborly figures cast a superb, contemporary atmosphere.
New York-based photojournalist Zoran Milich has covered everything from the Velvet Revolution in the former Czechoslovakia to Fashion Week in NYC, but perhaps most gratifying for those with small children is a series of books he published with Kids Can Press out of Canada.
A talented photographer has such a knack of seeing — seeing perspectives and views that are in front of us all, but that we don’t see until they take a camera, frame the shot, and click! — Now we see what they see.
This incredibly clever series of black-and-white, urban photos has alphabet shapes, discovered by Milich, highlighted in red. It’s a joyful perspective on what is possible to see, and I think if you share it with your kids, they will begin seeing in new ways as well. Milich has also published City 123, City Colors, and City Signs if you want to further explore his work.
Almost an Animal Alphabet, by Katie Viggers
first published in Great Britain; this edition published 2010 by POW!
Okay, I’m crazy about Katie Viggers drawings in this book. Flip through the pages and you’ll come face to face with brawny line, coy expression, handsome figure, humorous touch. Every page is crammed with personality!
And yes, we cruise through the alphabet meeting quite the variety of animals. Not just a bear, but a line-up of bears. A Sun Bear. A Polar Bear. A Black Bear. A Panda Bear. And — hello there! — a spectacled bear perusing the news. Interesting and quirky — that’s the nature of this endearing catalogue.
Share it with little ones as young as 2. But then again, those older siblings who’ve developed a wry sense of humor — they’ll love it, too. Endpapers show us where the whole assortment actually live.
Viggers has a counting book that’s just as fantastic — 1 to 20, Animals Aplenty — so check that out, too.
Posted in fiction, non-fiction, picture books, poetry, recipes, tagged book reviews, cheese blintzes, children's literature, cooking, nature, photography, picture books, quilting, rain, seasons, spring, textile art, vintage children's books on March 16, 2015| 4 Comments »
Here in Minnesota, we’ve spent the past week glorying in the abrupt arrival of Spring.
One minute we were scraping ice off our windshields and the next finds us biking around the lakes in our shorts.
Normally March in Minnesota is not spring-y, but a snowy, slushy, tease-y month, while farther south it’s a green, blossoming delight. In West Africa, hot season is descending, while in Australia, it’s nearing winter.
Be that as it may — today we’re celebrating Spring on Orange Marmalade!
Finding Spring, written and illustrated by Carin Berger
published in 2015 by Greenwillow Books ~ Harper Collins
Maurice is a little bear cub who is gaga over the thought of experiencing his first spring.
The trouble is…it’s autumn.
Mama patiently tells him he’s got to wait a while yet, but Maurice is undaunted. While she sleeps, he tiptoes out of the den, looking for spring. And, since he has no idea what spring actually is…he’s convinced he’s found it.
What has Maurice found? I’ll give you a hint: It comes in delicate white crystals that fall from the sky. Maurice gathers a bunch of “spring” up, stuffs it in a sack, carts it home, then falls into a happy sleep beside Mama.
When the two emerge months later, Maurice can’t wait to show Mama and their forest friends the “spring” in his sack…but it has disappeared. Not to worry — Mama, Robin, Rabbit and the others lead Maurice on another hunt for spring, and this time, they really find it.
Carin Berger’s charming cut-paper illustrations inject playfulness, friendliness, beauty, wonder, and joy into this happy story. Her gorgeous, shifting color palette brings the changing seasons to life, and the final burst of spring feels entirely magical. It’s a delight to share with ages Under-Two and up.
How Mama Brought the Spring, by Fran Manushkin, illustrated by Holly Berry
published in 2008 by Dutton Children’s Books
Rosy Levine lives in Chicago, where Spring has definitely not arrived yet. Soggy piles of snow, those wicked Chicago winds, and a sullen, gray sky all make Rosy want to pull the covers over her head in dismay. Ugh! She is sick of winter.
Rosy’s mother grew up in Minsk, Russia, so she knows all about long winters. She’s got quite a story to tell Rosy about how her Grandma Beatrice brought spring to Minsk.
The story involves whipping up some eggy batter and a bowlful of creamy sweetness. It requires a brilliant, sky-blue tablecloth, a sizzling skillet, and a pot of cherry jam. It’s a miraculous tale of sunshine awakening and water singing in response to the buttery, sweet, goodness of Grandma’s cheese blintzes!
Rosy and her mother set out to bring spring to Chicago with Grandma Beatrice’s method, and you can give it a whirl as well with the recipe included in the book. Mouthwatering!
Holly Berry’s colorful illustrations swirl with winter winds and radiate the warmth of family and tradition through the homespun fabrics and prolific folk art patterning. Lovely, soft, motion whirls through the pages like magic, propelling us along this warm-hearted, delicious tale. Ages 4 and up.
April Sayre’s book is a photo-essay tribute to raindrops.
Gorgeous, dramatic, captivating close-ups of raindrops fill every page, with just a whisper of lyrical words, in white handlettering, to accompany them.
Raindrops glisten on emerald insects, cling like beads to glowing green grasses, turn spider webs into glittering hazes of diamonds. Rain makes mud for salamanders to slither in. It pours, patters, spills.
It’s a beautiful, quiet book that helps us notice and observe the glory of raindrops. Perhaps it will inspire some young photographers, too. Ages Under-Two and up.
Mother Earth and Her Children: A Quilted Fairy Tale, written by Sibylle von Olfers, illustrated by Sieglinde Schoen Smith, translated by Jack Zipes
story originally published in German in 1906; this book published in 2007 by Breckling Press
A while back I reviewed a darling little book by Sibylle von Olfers called The Story of the Snow Children. Sibylle was a German Catholic nun whose love of art, children, and nature combined in a number of charming stories that are much loved even today, 100 years on.
This story — originally published as Etwas von den Wurzelkindern — has been translated into English. It is a short poem, and features dozens of Mother Earth’s adorable, tiny children who’ve been asleep in the ground over the winter and are now awakening and busily stitching up some new spring clothes for themselves.
When they’re ready, and “fair spring arrives on time” this fresh and lovely crew emerge from the brown earth, clad in dainty spring colors, carrying forth a glad array of lily-of-the-valley and forget-me-nots, speckled lady bugs and jeweled butterflies, cloaking the woodlands brilliantly.
Sieglinde Schoen Smith is a German-born, American textile artist who created a spectacular quilt illustrating this story. Her gorgeous work makes up the illustrations here. What an amazing piece of art! Rejoicing with all the colors of a flowering meadow. Parading with merry children. Bursting forth with all of nature’s gladness.
Each page contains a close-up look at a portion of the quilt, with the whole work displayed at the end. It’s a feast for the eyes and the imagination. Wouldn’t you love to see it in person!
For the grown-ups reading this book, there is a lengthy note from Sieglinde which tells how this quilt came to be. It was born out of sorrow, and I think her story of the healing power of art will be of great interest and perhaps inspiration to all of you. There’s also a biography of Sibylle by the translator of this book who is a Professor of German Literature at the University of Minnesota.
All told — this is a gem to search for, which will be enjoyed by children Under Two and up, and certainly by you adults as well.
“It’s Spring,” She Said, by Joan W. Blos, illustrated by Julie Maas
published in 1968 by Alfred A. Knopf
I couldn’t resist bringing you this dear vintage title from 1968.
Springtime is just emerging among the brownstone apartments of this city neighborhood. Snow plows and shovels are being stored away, Mr. Alan Lynn is tuning up his Tasty Fresh Ice Cream truck for the warmer days ahead, and children fling off coats and haul out jump ropes and roller skates.
Mrs. Mundy, however, says they’re being hasty. “We’ll be cold again before it’s spring,” she says. And Mrs. Mundy is right.
You know, if you live in the snow belt, that teasing, aggravating game of cat-and-mouse that Winter and Spring play. Warm days melt the slush. Rich, earthy smell scent the air. Bicycles and barbecues sprout like mushrooms. And then BAM! A spring snowstorm swirls in and it’s back to winter.
That’s just what happens in this neighborhood. Out come the sleds. Delay that Ice Cream truck. Zip those jackets.
But is Mrs. Mundy smug about this? No. She smiles at the vegetable man and says that “spring is on its way.” And again, she is right. This time Spring is completely in charge and not backing down.
Lilacs and hyacinths, baseball mitts and short-sleeved shirts, and the happy ding-a-ding chime of the Ice Cream Truck all enliven the town.
Neighborly, pleasant, with a thoroughly 1960s flavor of outdoor play and long-lasting communities and, yes, women at home peeling the potatoes while the men mind the stores. I love that it’s an urban Spring story as most tend towards ponds and meadows and woodlands.
This is an immigrant neighborhood which illustrator Julie Maas peopled with a multiracial cast — nice to see in a title almost 50 years old. Her delicate ink drawings, comfy people, and groovy patterns are charming.
I don’t know how easy this will be for you to find, but it’s a sweet read for ages 3 and up.
Posted in non-fiction, picture books, tagged advent prayer, diversity, humans of new york, little humans of new york, multicultural kids lit, multiracial children, peace, photography on December 6, 2014| Leave a Comment »
Creator of the world,
you are the potter,
we are the clay,
and you form us
in your image.
Shape our spirits
by Christ’s transforming
that as one people
we may live out your
compassion and justice,
whole and sound in the
realm of your peace.
Little Humans of New York, by Brandon Stanton
published in 2014 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
In conjunction with his phenomenal photoblog and bestselling book, Brandon Stanton has released a pint-sized photobook for little humans.
Featuring some of his riveting street photos of children, the book is 95% photo, with just a line-at-a-time of simple verse running through it, reminding us of the joy and peace and growth that constitutes happy childhood. The diversity of his subjects is the highlight for me. We all want our children to live compassionately and justly with one another, to embrace with peace and joy the diversity they see about them, and serve the common good. Enjoying together the lives and faces featured in this book is a little step in the right direction. Ages 18 months and up.
Please note that the images and prayer above are not in any way associated with Brandon’s work.
Stand There! She Shouted: The Invincible Photographer Julia Margaret Cameron
by Susan Goldman Rubin, illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline
published in 2014 by Candlewick Press
She was intelligent.
She was an individual.
A doting mother.
She knew what she wanted, and she knew just how you fit into her plans. And you’d better just straighten up and do what she said!
She was Julia Margaret Cameron, a pioneer in the art of photography, who didn’t give a hoot
what the critics said or how miserable it was for her models to hold long poses or how many time she failed. She had a vision to pursue — a vision to capture what was beautiful in her world and what was intrinsic to her friends’ natures, through the brand new medium of photography.
Susan Goldman Rubin’s outstanding new biography of Julia Margaret is an absolute joy to read. With captivating detail, her prose creams along, introducing us to Julia as a child in colonial India, living in a world of wealth and privilege among “mynah birds and green parakeets” until at age 3 she was sent to France to be raised by her grandmother. Feeding us manageable tidbits about the new inventions and processes of photography, Rubin guides us through Julia Margaret’s life, her love of art and beauty, her marriage and bustling household, and her first experiments with photography when she was almost 50 years old.
Cameron quickly became nearly obsessed with
learning and refining this art. During the next 11 years, she not only took thousands of photographs — a painfully slow, laborious process — but developed her own style and voice, and persisted in that until her work was finally recognized. Today, her photographs hang in museums in the United States and England, including MOMA and the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Julia’s personality is bohemian, eccentric, and at times domineering, yet her work is soft, beautiful, and romantic. In just about 60 pages, Rubin vividly introduces us to her, adding colorful recollections from her models and famous friends from Alfred Tennyson to Lewis Carroll.
This text is accompanied by Bagram Ibatoulline’s gorgeous paintings. Wow! As always when I see his work, that’s what I find myself saying. Rich, full color spreads usher us into this 1800s world with grace and atmosphere, and keenly portray the strength and seriousness of Julia. His figures, light, and use of color are a marvel . There are also many small, sepia sketches, a number of reproductions of Cameron’s photographs, and even an Arts-and-Crafts-styled border running along the page edges, so the whole book is visually splendid.
Additional material includes a bibliography and listing of museums where you can see Cameron’s work. I hope many of you will find your way to this title. It’s an excellent book that could be read with children as young as 7, or enjoyed by older children …and adults!
Thank you, Susan and Bagram!