Archive for December 25th, 2014


by Sam Juliano

If the 120 odd first graders of Fairview, New Jersey had their way, author-illustrator Sergio Ruzzier would be getting a call from the American Library Association early in February with the coveted news that he won the 2014 Caldecott Medal for his wholly endearing A Letter For Leo.  The book was the final winner of 70 plus Caldedott worthy works that were read and presented to four primary classes over the last few weeks.  Ruzzier’s book about that one event that can bring lasting joy to a life of aching solitude, to be sure packs an emotional wallop no matter what the age of the reader, but the bonding of its two needy characters hits a special chord with the young ones.  In the grand tradition of children’s literature icons Leo Politi and Tomie DePaola, Brooklyn artist extraordinaire Ruzzier, born and raised in Italy, brings striking European sensibilities to his art, forging tapestries that echo his two compatriots, while bringing an entirely new measure of exultation to his spare and often arresting vignettes.  Ruzzier is a classicist.  Each of his cells sport a retro look, and the watercolors are finely modulated to achieve that rarity of book illustration that both appeals to young kids because of its uncluttered visual scheme, while presenting serious art that stands out magnificently on its own. (more…)

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