a picture book reviewed

May 31, 2010

Today is Nonfiction Monday in Children’s Literature circles.  So I decided to go back a few years and pull out a review I wrote when in graduate school, of one of the Caldecott Winners . . . It remains one of my favorites, so here it is :-)

Hush!, by Mingfong Ho/ illustrated by Holly Meade

Having recently discovered my love for Holly Meade’s artwork, I decided to indulge in a study of her illustrated works.  First, I looked more closely at her styling in the book I had already chosen for my Caldecott study [see below].

In this book, I did not initially recognize the medium.  This is due in part to the effect that the process of printing has upon the original work of art.  It is also, however, due to my own artistic ignorance.  While I have dabbled in art, and studied it some, my knowledge is certainly not extensive concerning different types of media, never mind how to pinpoint different types.

And so, I looked to the expert in question herself: Holly Meade.  As it turns out, the artist of this book that had chosen me so fiercely also wrote about her artwork in the 1998 “Picture Books” issue of the Horn Book.  In this article she explains why collage is her preferred medium for illustrating picture books.  Knowing this, a further examination of the pages of Hush! revealed clear signs that collage was indeed the medium of this particular book.  For instance, I noticed the fuzzy edges [torn paper] of the bits of mud splaying out from the pig’s mud puddle.  I also noticed that these bits were next to smooth lines surrounding other figures, clearly indicating the mixture of materials that Meade had carefully placed together.

The important part of all this examination, of course, is not the details of the different media, but the entirety of its effect on the viewer.  What it tells me is that a great amount of thought and effort has been put into each minutiae of each page, and I, for one, am thankful.  Because what I get is the privilege of that unparalleled phenomenon we know as the experience of beauty.

2 Responses to “a picture book reviewed”

  1. Julia said

    I like the banner picture so much. It fits you.
    Esme has a really nice book that is illustrated by collage and I love it. It’s called Clever Beatrice. It is also hard to tell at first that it is a collage, but so interesting when you look at it more closely.

    • annajouj said

      Thanks, Julia–I appreciate that . . . glad you like it, as it is one of the ones I’m sort of proud of :-) I haven’t heard of that book so should look for it.
      love, anna

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