Thursday, May 31, 2012

Not the chance for many blog posts lately, busy time of year...4 more days left of school (YEAH!!!). Let me tell you that I am trying to not focus on the countdown, but it is difficult as I'm so excited for summer break to begin. Another reason is that six days after school ends we head to Europe for three weeks. Another thing I'm so excited for (YEAH!).

Of course this brings about the opportunity to discuss two great books, both of which are being referenced at my house in preparation for the trip to Europe.

Cathedral: The Story of Its Construction
by David Macaulay

David Macaulay is a brilliant draftsman. In 1973, he wrote and illustrated, Cathedral: The Story of Its Construction. This was a first in children's books. Previously books had primarily been fictional, the picture book world rarely included non-fiction, let alone something of this magnitude.

Cathedral documents the planning and construction of a Gothic cathedral in a French town (imaginary) during the 13th century. The book is in essence the story of Chartres cathedral in France. This book is quite fun to pour over and study. It follows the progression of design and construction of a medieval cathedral, not an easy feat. It is a fascinating book.

These are great books to just look through and admire the amazing drawings of architecture. This is also a great book to look through while reading Ken Follet's The Pillars of the Earth (which I'm reading ).


(illustration showing the foundational arches which will provide support for the cathedral)

In 1977, he followed up with Castle. Both books won Caldecott Honor medals.

Castle follows the path of King Edward I (remember good o'l Edward Longshanks?) in 1283 and his acquiring of land through castle and town construction. It is fascinating to read through all the logistics of building a town and castle. Many workers and materials needed, a fitting job for a king..

PBS also had some programs hosted by David Macaulay. Here are the links for Cathedral and Castle - they are both pretty awesome. Enjoy!


Charlotte's Web

Charlotte's Web by E. B. White
illustrations by Garth Williams

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Another Bit of Truth from Lemony Snickett

“For some stories, it's easy.
The moral of 'The Three Bears,' for instance,
is "Never break into someone else's house.'
The moral of 'Snow White' is 'Never eat apples.'
The moral of World War I is 'Never assassinate Archduke Ferdinand.”

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Art of Garth Williams

Today is a post in celebration of the art of Garth Williams. Garth Williams illustrated many books that are now some of the classics of children's literature. So many of his illustrations have become as much a part of the stories as the text is.
Bedtime for Frances  text by Russell Hoban

(I love this picture. It is when Frances comes in to the room and is "the quietest thing in the room"...reminds me of my own son)

Little Fur Family text by Margaret Wise Brown (he did many books with her)
This book was similar to Pat the Bunny. It had pieces to touch.

Wait til the Moon is Full
Once upon a time in the dark of the moon
there was a little raccoon.

He lived down in a big warm chestnut tree
with his mother -- who was also a raccoon.
This little raccoon wanted to see the night.
He had seen the day.
So he said to his mother,
"I want to go out in the woods and see the night."

But his mother said, "Wait. Wait til the moon is full."

So he waited, deep in his warm little home under the chestnut tree.

The Little House on the Prairie Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Charlotte's Web  by E.B. White

charlottesweb Garth Williams’ Illustration for Charlottes Web Fetches Record Price

The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden

Three Bedtime Stories

The Giant Golden Book of Elves and Fairies

The Rabbit's Wedding

Written in 1959 in the midst of the civil rights movement, The Rabbit’s Wedding was banned in Alabama because it featured the marriage of a black rabbit and a white rabbit."I was completely unaware,” he said ironically, “that animals with white fur such as white polar bears and white dogs and white rabbits were considered blood relations of white human beings. I was only aware that a white horse next to a black horse looks very picturesque…”

Three Little Animals by Margaret Wise Brown

Fox Eyes by Margaret Wise Brown

Home for a Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown

"Where is your home?" he asked the frog. "Wog, wog, wog," sang the frog.
"Wog, wog, wog, Under the water, Down in the bog."

Do You Know What I'll Do by Charlotte Zolotow
(This is one of the sweetest books. It is for a younger sibling, from an older sibling. Beautiful!)

Do you know what I'll do
at the seashore?
I'll bring you a shell to hold
the sound of the sea.

Do you know what I'll do at the party?
I'll bring you a piece of cake with the candle still in it.

Over and Over

The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson

Stuart Little by E. B. White
(the first book that Garth Williams illustrated)

The Rescuers by Margery Sharp