Posts Tagged ‘reissue’

The Man Who Lost His Head

Written by Claire Huchet Bishop | Illustrated by Robert McCloskey |New York Review Children’s Collection | Originally Viking Children’s Books 1942

If you wake up disoriented and out of sort—you may have lost your head. This gorgeous reissue of a 1942 jewel is the perfect remedy for your ailment. In about 64 pages the parable unfolds about a dude that awakes without his head and his rigorous pursuit of his cranium. The legendary illustrator Robert McCloskey—of Blueberries for Sal and Make Way for Ducklings fame—puts ink to paper in a way that upstages many a kid’s book made today. The book is all black and white (except the cover and endsheets), and will make any kid want to learn to draw and any illustrator want to learn to draw better. It’s a crazy story that makes as much sense—or nonsense—as it did in 1942. Such an idea probably couldn’t get a publishing deal today—but we lucky this one got reissued.

The Merry Chase

Clement Hurd | Chronicle Books 2005

Initially published 1941

Once again, I am reminded how simple and playful children’s books should be. The Merry Chase was written and illustrated by Clement Hurd in 1941, best known as the illustrator of classics like Goodnight Moon and Runaway Bunny. With the thread of a dog pursuing a cat, we are taken on a high-speed chase that wrecks more property and probably injures more people than the running of the bulls. Vibrant full-page illustrations show runaway baby carriages, spilled pots, table cloths catching fire, head-on car crashes, spilled paint and toppled wedding cakes—all havoc wreaked by the hound and feline. But the best part is the people—not one of them has their feet on the ground! They are all caught midstream before breaking a tailbone, getting scalded, hitting a head, drowning or getting knocked out by a toppling statue. Each page reveals a catastrophe unfolding and about to get worse. It’s stop-motion animation in book form. The illustrations are painted in a Matisse-like palette with simple flat colors and minimal tonal shading—an amazing feat to create such energy with such a primitive style of rendering. If proposed today, I doubt the lawyers would let it see print. I’m thrilled to see it reissued—disaster never looked so fun!

A Long Piece of String

William Wondriska | Chronicle Books 2010

Graphic designers make a different kind of kid’s book. They see differently, draw differently, and give a lot of credit to their readers. A Long piece of String, by William Wondriska was originally created in 1963 and has been just republished. A wordless story that is simple, bold, and clearly timeless. Gorgeous and loose drawings printed in red and black ink on warm uncoated paper—all strung together to tell a graphic story of scale, form, nature and even the alphabet. The unwrapped cover is worth the price alone. Here’s to Chronicle Books for reissuing this rare jewel.

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