Whaling Days, David Frampton

Whaling Days, written by Carol Carrick, tells the interesting story of American whaling. This book covers the history of whaling, different uses people had for whale, and the difficult, laborious and often dangerous lives of those who lived and worked on the whaling ships.  I  wonder why there aren't more stories about the strong men who were whalers? They should rate high on the adventure scale like cowboys and pirates.It took a brave soul to chase a whale on the open sea, harpoon it and go on a "Nantucket sleigh ride". 

Having done woodcuts myself, I really appreciate David Frampton's skillfull woodcut illustrations in Whaling Days. His design is very consistent throughout the book. The illustrations are strong and detailed. I especially like his depiction of whales, waves and water. He makes the most of a limited color pallette and perhaps because of it, really focuses on the design and craft.

Whaling Days 
By Carol Carrick
Woodcuts by David Frampton 
Clarion Books, 1993

Whaling Days makes me want to read Moby Dick. Any have suggestions for an illustrated edition?

Some interesting facts about David Frampton: he has been an author and illustrator of children's books and young adult books for over thirty years. Frampton studied art at the Rhode Island School of Design. Among the books he has illustrated are: Guide to the Imaginary Birds of the World, Riding the Tiger, Bull Run, At Jerusalem's Gate, The Song of Francis and the Animals. He is the author/illustrator of The Whole Night Through and Mr. Ferlinghetti's Poem. Some of his honored works include The Whole Night Through, My Son John written by Jim Aylesworth, and Rhyolite written by Diane Siebert. 


The Owl and the Woodpecker, Brian Wildsmith

Brian Wildsmith's paintings in The Owl and the Woodpecker are so good I don't know where to begin. I think it should be noted first though, that Wildsmith's colorful illustrations are a visual feast. They are layered, full of textures, patterns and designs. His depictions of wildlife and nature are full of color and personality. The trees are not left out either and are a riot of jazzy colors. 
The story is about a woodpecker and an owl who are at odds with each other because of different sleeping schedules and noise issues. They eventually come up with a solution to solve their problem. It is well written, has a good moral and of course, a happy ending.

The Owl and the Woodpecker
Illustrated by Brian Wildsmith 
Franklin Watts, 1972

Some interesting facts about Brian Wildsmith who celebrated his 80th birthday this year: His first children's book, published in 1962 won the Kate Greenaway Medal, Britain's equivalent of the Caldecott Medal. He was also a runner up for the same medal for The Owl and the Woodpecker. In 1994 the Brian Wildsmith Museum of Art was established in Izukogen, Japan (near Tokyo) where 800 of his paintings are on loan to the museum. Wow!