Art Books for Kids: Illustrations Make Classics out of Children’s Literature
If you’ve ever read the classic children’s story book “Goodnight Moon” by Margaret Wise Brown, you might be surprised to find out that Margaret never intended the story to be about rabbits at all. She had people in mind when she wrote it, but it was the creative interpretation of the book’s illustrator, Clement Hurd that helped to turn this simple story about a bedtime ritual into a children’s literature classic. For over 60 years, children have delighted in discovering the subtle details of the illustrations – such as the time on both clocks progressing from 7 to 8:10, that the moon rises slowly in the window, and that the room grows darker with each illustration. In some classic children’s literature however, the author and illustrator are one and the same. In these cases the story can be so tightly woven into the illustrations that it’s impossible to imagine one without the other.Take for example the stories and illustrations of Maurice Sendak, author of “Where the Wild Things Are,” “In the Night Kitchen,” and “Brundibar.” In “Where the Wild Things Are” Sendak was able to illustrate such a vivid representation of a child’s dreamlike state of fantasy – that not only has this story retained its appeal for almost 50 years (it was first published in 1963), but Sendak provides enough visual material to inspire the making of a (currently playing) full-length feature film!Regardless of whether they come from the author’s own pen – or are left to the imagination of a talented illustrator, there is no doubt that the illustrations in children’s literature can turn what could easily be ‘just another story’ into a one-of-a-kind timeless classic.Discover other childrens’ book illustrators and authors that have inspired the imaginations of millions of children, or explore the work of some of today’s most popular children’s illustrators and writers, such as Sandra Boynton andEric Carle. Have your children talk about the different mediums and techniques they see in the illustrations – and how those techniques help to set the “feel” of the story.
Founder and CEO of Young Rembrandts and Author of Being Visual
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