for those interested in literature for the young [and not so young]

June 23, 2005

As happens periodically, my work schedule of late has made it such that my for-fun writing has suffered. So, in lieu of my normally more frequently posted blog entries, I will post here the intro [don’t worry—only the intro!] to one of the book reviews my writing energy has been going into. This one is for a picture book that was published in 1996, and that I stumbled upon in McKays . . .

I. The Captivation
If, when done well, a picture book is “an artistic achievement worthy of respectful examination and honor,” as Karla Kuskin aptly states, then it is no wonder that Minfong Ho and Holly Meade’s Hush! captivated so thoroughly my sensibilities, adult though they may be (Horn Book 159). Kuskin’s description hints at the true reality—one would hope—of books for children: namely, that a book for a child, if worthy of a child’s attention, is just as worthy of the esteem and admiration of an adult. And so, it is fitting that this particular award winning picture book could leave me—a professional [if at times childlike] adult—in literary and artistic bliss as I experienced the book, in solitude [except for a similarly blissful kitten purring on my lap] and in my own home.
Once the initial effect of all-encompassing enjoyment had subsided, further consideration led me to the realization that I had a deeper reason for my love for this book. All things considered, Hush! is the sort of book that is instrumental in the healthy development of a young child. By this I mean that its different aspects—language, art, and music—combine to make it the ideal influence on a child in those earliest stages of life. After an exploration of the effect of the artwork as a whole and in its details, I will go on to examine each of those three aspects mentioned above, along with its role in early childhood development.

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