Archive for November 20th, 2014

firefly july

by Sam Juliano

Children’s picture book artist extraordinaire Melissa Sweet has illustrated nearly a hundred books in a prolific career, but the last few years she has come into her own in spectacular fashion.  In 2008 she won a Caldecott Honor for her arresting mixed-media collages in the sublime picture book biography of poet William Carlos Williams, A River of Words, written by Jennider Bryant.  She won the 2012 Siebert Medal for her intricate and impeccably-researched Balloons over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade, which profiled Tony Sarg and the celebrated helium balloons synonymous with the famed department store’s festive event.  She soon teamed up with Bryant again for another ravishing biography, A Splash of Red, which lovingly chronicled the inspirational life and work of the painter Horace Pippin.  In that book the artist used watercolor and gouache to stunning effect.  In 2014 she showed herself to be at the peak of her powers with two masterpieces – another biographical collaboration with Bryant on Peter Mark Roget, the father of the thesaurus, titled The Right Word, and earlier in the year, a partnership with the poet Paul B. Janeczko that yielded one of the most spectacular and lyrical picture books in years. (more…)

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