The Art of Art for Children's Books

I have pulled this book off the shelf many times to look at the illustrations and read it. The Art of Art for Children's Books, written by Diana Klemin, was published back in 1966. (Klemin was an Art Director at Doubleday & Company at the time.) Samples of work from many different artists of children's books are shown with commentary by Klemin. The artists are broken down into different groups: The Storytellers, Poetic and Personal, Imaginary, Collage and Abstraction and The Specialists.

It's interesting to see the work of many different artists from a bygone era in one book and read what Klemin, an authority in her field, had to say about their work.

I've chosen a sampling from the book and have included a corresponding excerpt from Klemin's commentary.

The Penny Fiddle illustrated by Edward Ardizzone

"This master illustrator is a storyteller who thoroughly understands a child's desire to identify himself with the hero of the tale or poem... Adrizzone has a natural fondness for children, and his love of detail gives warmth to scenes memorable in beauty, mood and action."

The March Wind, Illustrated by Vladimir Bobri

"Bobri is a stylist. Here is his blending of realism with abstraction. Because he has mischief, exuberance and imagination, a fantasy comes alive and a little boy is a convincing hereo in his escapades with the March Wind..."

The Plant Sitter, illustrated by Margaret Bloy Graham

"... In her charming, comic style and with an imaginative use of shades of green, the artist fills each episode with mischief and nonsense. Margaret Bloy Graham's contribution is a major one because she adds busy little touches to the text and gives a sense of the continuity of daily life..."

Uncle Remus His Songs and His Sayings, Illustrated by Seong Moy

"Seong Moy combines a bold abstract expressionism with an extraordinary storytelling realism in the medium of the woodcut... His animal characters outwit each other with spirit and a lively folk humor that is far different from the original, splendid A.B. Frost drawings for this classic, although Seong Moy's are equally meaningful in interpretation."

Tom Tit Tot, illustrated by Evaline Ness

"The artist accomplishes in wood and color what others do with brush or pen... Like a sincere craftsman, she works out a full and hearty picture book, and uses the text as a vital part of each

The Bremen Town Musicians, illustrated by Edy Legrand

"Edy Legrand can state instantly in line and color what he perceives. A scene is created. Alive and brazen, the characters take their part in it. This is the culmination of storytelling in illustration and the reason why artists turn to Edy Legard for inspiration and study."

The Secret River, illustrated by Leonard Weisgard

"What seems at a glance a tranquil scene is an illustration that is enchantingly appropriate. Leonard Weisgard brings forth the magic of experiences through a child's eyes, and introduces everything essential to the moment...."

Roland, illustrated by Andre Francois

"The adventurous and daring Andre Francois makes no concessions to the traditions of children's books in color or technique, although he paints a merry story and at the same time an absurd one in pictures. The hilarious way he works is like an animated film with touches of Matisse and Picasso...."

Nu Dang and His Kite, illustrated by Jacqueline Ayer

"...Lucidly drawn in black line and with flat color freshly overlaid as in wallpaper designs, the settings are like an oriental bazaar where something unexpected is happening in every niche... Jacqueline Ayer does not portray Nu Dang as a hero to identify with emotionally."


  1. I love your site! Thanks for insights! I got the idea of starting a christmas jewelry line from you. Awesome collection. I am also a jewelry accessories blogger. Great Job! i wish there will be more about jewelry set. I like all things piked and I would try to come here time and again for more updates. Thank you very much

  2. Yes! What an inspiration indeed to children's book illustrations everywhere!

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.