The Lion and the Rat, Brian Wildsmith

Today's vintage children's book from 1963 is a classic fable, The Lion and the Rat, illustrated by Brian Wildsmith. I'm a big fan of Brian Wildsmith and his loose, color filled illustrations. Great moral in this story too, that you don't have to be big and powerful to make a difference.

The Lion and the Rat
A Fable by La Fontaine
Illustrated by Brian Wildsmith
Franklin Watts, Inc., 1963

For information about Wildsmith, you can view my previous postings on books he has illustrated - The Owl and the Woodpecker or Fishes.  To go to his website, click here. To go to the museum site in Japan, click here.

Have a great weekend!


A Letter to Amy, Ezra Jack Keats

Today's vintage children's book is by an outstanding illustrator and author in the field of children's books, Ezra Jack Keats (1916-1983). But Keats' biggest contribution was his recognition of the lack of minority children as central characters in children's books and his breaking of this barrier. He was also one of the first children's books authors to use an urban setting for his stories. Keats' use of collage as a medium for his illustrations was also innovative. I love his use of color, texture and the timeless look in his illustrations. 

Keat's first illustrated book for children was Jubilant for Sure (1954), by Elisabeth Hubbard Lansing. In the following 11 years he illustrated 54 books. Keat's first book that he wrote and illustrated was My Dog is Lost (1960). The main character is a Puerto Rican boy who loses his dog in New York and meets children from different parts of New York like Chinatown and Little Italy.

In 1963, Keats' book, The Snowy Day, received the Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished picture book for children. The main character of this book was Peter, whose inspiration came from a 1940 Life Magazine clipping of a young black boy. Keats' had this to say:  "Then began an experience that turned my life around - working on a book with a black kid as the hero. None of the manuscripts I'd been illustrating featured any black kids--except for token blacks in the background. My book would have him there simply because he should have been there all along. Years before I had cut from a magazine a strip of photos of a little black boy. I often put them on my studio walls before I'd begun to illustrate children's books. I just loved looking at him. This was the child who would be the hero of my book." Peter was in six more books after that, the last as an adolescent in Pet Show.

A Letter to Amy
Written and illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats
Harper & Row Publishers, 1968

Keats illustrated more than 85 children's books. The University of Southern Mississippi gave him an award for outstanding contributions in the field of children's literature. The Ezra Jack Keats Archive is housed there. In 1985, The Ezra Jack Keats Book Award was established to recognize and encourage authors and illustrators new to the field of children's books. To read more about this fine illustrator and author, click here.


Sounds After Dark, Children's Textbook

Some more great illustrations from the vintage children's language text books I bought, this one is Sounds After Dark by Bill Martin jr. Woodcut illustrations by Eric Carle for Kumbayah, a traditional African folksong, are great - they convey a sense of movement and emotion as befits the song. I really like woodcuts, I don't know what it is, they just do it for me.

This illustration is sad and poignant. I'm not trying to bring anybody down, but I thought it was striking and that the illustration was well done, though I'm not sure what the green eyes represent. Any ideas? I cannot find the page to tell you who the artist was ( I have 5 different books), when I do I'll put it in here.

I can't leave you with a sad picture, so here is a field of poppies by John Randall. One of the things I like about these books is pages like these. What a great exercise for kids to look at art and then think of a story to go with it.

Sounds After Dark
By Bill Martin Jr.
With Peggy Brogan
Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1970

Have a good, safe, happy weekend everyone!


Book Give Away Winner

Book Give Away Winner

The winner of this book giveaway is Erica! Send me your address Erica, so I can mail it out to you. You can email me at jill_m_casey@yahoo.com


A Wave in Her Pocket, Brian Pinkney

Today's not so vintage children's book, A Wave in Her Pocket, has beautiful scratchboard illustrations done by Brian Pinkney. His distinctive illustrations  are full of movement and expression. I don't think I've featured a book by Mr. Pinkney yet, so it's high time as he is an excellent artist. Pinkney developed his scratchboard technique while studying at the School of Visual Arts, where he received a Master of Fine Arts in illustration. He has illustrated many books and won numerous awards. His illustrations have been in newspapers and national magazines. To read more about Brian Pinkney, go to his website here.

A Wave in Her Pocket
Stories From Trinidad
By Lynn Joseph
Illustrated by Brian Pinkney
Clarion Books, 1991


Book Giveaway

Book Giveaway

A sweet mid century vintage children's book today, Knowing and Naming. If you are old enough to remember, Shari Lewis was a ventriloquist who had a children's program on TV with her puppets, the most famous being Lamb Chop. 

I am offering this book today as a giveaway. Leave a comment to be entered, the winner will be chosen at random and announced on Wednesday. This book has nice mid century illustrations and would also be a good book to read to your preschooler.


Sounds of a Powwow, Vintage Children's Textbook

Here's another one of those great language textbooks I found the other day when out thrifting for books. This apparently is a song by Saxie Dowell with Cajun roots. The groovy illustrations were done by Sal Murdocca. Enjoy, happy Friday and have a good weekend!

I love the pissed off look on the mother fish - I think this is something we can all relate to.

Sounds of a Powwow
By Bill Martin jr. and Peggy Brogan
Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1972


Sounds Around The Clock, Vintage Children's Textbook

I was out thrifting for books and had a banner day. There's no way of predicating these things, you just enjoy it when it happens. Among my treasure trove of vintage children's books are several grade school language textbooks with fab illustrations .  

Many great illustrator's have done work for children's textbooks. The illustrations I'm showing today were done by Aliki.  They have that wonderful retro look. (For information about Aliki, click here) I will be posting different illustrations from these books over the next week or so. Hope you enjoy these!

Sounds Around the Clock
By Bill Martin and Peggy Brogan
Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc., 1972