Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Stolen Mealies Lesley Whitwell and Mario Sickle

The Stolen Mealies  is an African folk-tale retold by Lesley Whitwell and illustrated by Mario Sickle. This book was published in 1989 in Cape Town and tells the tale of Squirrel who works hard to grow mealies (corn). Unfortunately his field is discovered by an unscrupulous hare who deviously manipulates others into believing he is the owner of the new harvest. However, justice prevails. This a great book to teach the values of honesty and integrity to students. The double page colourful linocut illustrations by Mario Sickle are both detailed and exquisite. It is one of the most beautifully illustrated book in my children' collection. I will certainly be keeping an eye out for his other books The New Fire, The Hare's Rope, Sangura's Tug of War and Love David.

A Fish Out of Water by Helen Palmer and P.D.Eastman

A Fish Out of Water was one of my favourite books as a  child and this  edition was published in 1963. How excited was I when I found this today?  A little boy buys a fish he calls Otto from Mr Carp and is promptly given the instruction:"Never feed him a lot. Never more than a spot! Or something may happen. You never know what." Yet straight away after landing home, the lad is being more than generous with the feeds. The rhyme drives the story along as Otto quickly outgrows one watery habitat after another. Pretty soon the local policeman is involved and then the fire brigade, and eventually Mr Carp makes a return appearance to make for a very satisfying ending to the story.

Friday, January 8, 2016

When the Wind Blows by Raymond Briggs

When the Window Blows  by Raymond Briggs is a very dark book really aimed for children over maybe eleven and it could really be appreciate and more fully unpacked by adults. According to Briggs in an interview, he never intended it to be a political comment. I've also watched the movie which is just as disturbing and sad, a complete turn around from the light-hearted Snowman, and Father Christmas books which won him so much fameI've  also seen the movie and that doesn't change just how horribly sad the book is with its many moments of black humour. The bleak adult subject matter serves to underline the absurdity of the situation lived through by elderly James and Hilda Bloggs as they somewhat cheerily set about preparing their house for the nuclear strike using the ludicrous "The Householder's Guide to Survival" and continue with their banter and attempt at normality even after the devastation of the "fall out." The last two pages left me feeling sick to the stomach. 

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Teeny Tiny Woman retold and illustrated by Barbara Seuling

The Teeny Tiny Woman retold by Barbara Seuling is about a very small woman who finds a teeny bone in a church yard and takes it home in order to make soup for her supper. After she stores it in her cupboard, the trouble begins. Everything in the book is teeny tiny except for one thing which the reader discovers at the conclusion of the story. Simply written with repetition, this is a great book for readers beginning to find their own feet. The drawings were done in pencil and preseparated. 

Barbara Seuling was born and grew up in Bensonhurst in Brooklyn. She attended Colombia University and studied art and illustration with Don Bolognese, Uri Shulevitz and Robert Quackenbush. Ms Seuling was a children's book editor for many years and has written and illustrated several other children's books incuding Winter Lullaby and Oh No It's Robert.  She wears many hats and is also a teacher. Barbara lives in Manhattan and spends summer in Landgrove, Vermont.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Boris the Riverbank Artist by Bruce and Anne Riddell

Boris the Riverbank Artist was first published in 1986 and is like a comic and a picture book in one. Boris is a hare and enjoys a pretty good life on the riverbank really, a very comfortable home, good friends and a hobby he loves, painting. He doesn't earn a lot despite his paintings being in demand so sets out to find his fame and fortune in the city. Despite his optimism and his immaculate personal presentation  things don't go so well. Then he meets Garth from "Almost Originals" company and the work comes flooding in...but is this what Boris really wants?

Author Bruce Riddell  was born in Cape Town South Africa, in 1944. He studied graphic design at St Martin's School of Art in London. He has worked as a book designer and art editor, an art teacher and lectured  in graphic design at the University of New South Wales and the Sydney College of Arts.  In 1982 he was appointed Head of Department of Graphic Design at Canberra College of Technical and Further Education. He also wrote a book, Art in the Making, for secondary students which was published in 1982. 

Coauthor, Anne Riddell was born in Glasgow in Scotland in 1941. She trained as a speech therapist and practised in both Scotland and Barbados before changing careers to become an editorial assistant. When the family moved to Sydney in 1979 she became a publications editor in a New South Wales government department. She also worked as a journalist with the Australian Public Service in Canberra.

Safari A Photicular Book by Dan Kainen and Carol Kaufmann

This would have to be one of the most enchanting and beautiful books in my ever-growing collection. Purchased in 2012, the year of its publication it contains magnificent examples of photicular images, wherein individual video frames are sliced into very thin adjacent strips to create one master image. Below is an example of an African lion moving effortlessly towards you as you turn the page of the book. The book contains the story of the authors' safari through Kenya whilst they fielded the photographs and video footage to make this book. It also contains beautiful ink illustrations provided by Dover Publications. There are moving images of a cheetah, a lion, a gorilla, a rhinoceros, a zebra, an elephant, a gazelle and a giraffe, eight in all.