Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for December 10th, 2015

sweep 1

by Sam Juliano

Jonathan Livingston Seagull was one of the best-selling books of the seventies.  This spiritual novella is about self-perfection and soaring in flight.  The work spawned a popular movie which in large measure kept the author’s vision intact.  Recalling my experience of reading the book in my senior year in high school as I engaged with Helen Frost and Rick Lieder’s breathtaking Sweep Up the Sun I again understood the  exhilaration felt by those who explore the natural world.  Helen Frost (there is something inherently poetic in that name) and Rick Lieder previously collaborated on Step Gently Out, a lyrical immersion of the insect universe.  The new book is just as extraordinarily beautiful as Step, again combining Frost’s evocative word economy with spectacular close-up photography by Lieder that replicates the buoyancy of flight and pictorial splendor of the cinema.  Frost’s words are meant to inspire people to strive for excellence, to achieve their goals through individual application, to visit places not yet traversed.  Like her famed namesake, she urges young people to walk down that road not taken.  You might reach your destination alone or with some others who share your vision.  Your determination will allow you to advance way up the ladder, perhaps with little fanfare.  Frost’s poetry is a textbook example of making every word count, and her special word pictures are given the invigorating and intoxicating aerial photographs by an artist who knows well the language of movement, space and expression.

An arresting shot of two robin offspring with their mouths wide open preparing to be fed in is showcased on the first end papers, before Frost’s poetry is launched with Rise into the air on the strength of your wings, alongside the full spread of a blue jay, while on the following page sparrows are seen is less austere terms to the command Go out to play in the sky.  Then we see a red maned house finch opposite another sparrow as the words define their movement:  Trusting it to hold you/as you learned to fly. (more…)

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

a fine dessert 1

by Sam Juliano

Mmmmm. Mmmmm.  Mmmmm.

Somewhere in the heavens Robert McCloskey is holding a copy of A Fine Dessert and is marveling at how the delectable results of berry picking have persevered over many generations.  His own concern in his classic Caldecott Honor book Blueberries For Sal of course was securing the raw materials despite the unanticipated stalking of a benign black bear.  The author and illustrator of A Fine Dessert – Emily Jenkins and Sophie Blackall – have brought homespun prominence to one of 2015’s most exquisite and irresistible picture books, one that confirms that time and place having little bearing on the universal appreciation of making something with your own hands, and then enjoying it with your loved ones.  To be sure, the vital ingredients in this mouth watering confection are not blueberries, but blackberries, but the culinary implications seem to imply fool can be made with any type of berry.  A Fine Dessert could well be the year’s most painstaking picture book in the way it integrates the strikingly ornate art with sublimely applied typography.  Superlative spacing and color coordination bring four different periods to life in handsome vignettes seen in various encapsulations and expansive framings.  Author and illustrator waste no time in sporting their remarkable artistic kinship on the opening double page spread, set in Lyme, England, one that recalls the work of the renowned Barbara Cooney.  In the background sits a country stone house of everyone’s dreams, bordered with a rock wall on both sides, a gate, fields of crops and two trees.  A woman wearing early eighteenth century outdoor garb is carrying a baby daughter on her back, while the other girl is actively employed in helping her pick blackberries.  Jenkins opens the story superbly, giving her gifted illustrator the base for splendidly orchestrated art: (more…)

Read Full Post »