Editorial: Cultural Currency

Roger Sutton

I was late for work, walking down the street to my subway stop. The trash collectors had come and gone, leaving the narrow sidewalk strewn with empty plastic barrels, upright, sideways, rolling about. Coming the other way up the walk were two tough-looking UPS ladies, and I stepped aside to let them pass. No need […]

Picture Book Month coverage

Picture Book Month at the Horn Book

How can November be over? Somehow it is, and that means our Picture Book Month coverage is finished, too. I was so happy to see this rich mix of new and old material added to the site — and it will stay up for you to enjoy later in case you are feeling the pressures […]

American Picture Books from Max’s Metaphorical Monsters to Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse

The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

In the course of the last thirty years or so, American picture books have become a mainstay of American life — and items of merchandise — without altogether extinguishing the individual creative voice. They have also ceased to be, in any defining way, American. Until very recently, children in Western societies teethed on nursery rhymes, […]

Picture Book Month coverage round up

Picture Book Month at the Horn Book

Our Picture Book Month 2012 celebration draws (no pun intended!) to a close today. Here’s a cheat sheet to our coverage in case you missed anything. New web-only articles: – Barbara Bader on “Absorbing Pictures and What They Say” – 2012 Hans Christian Andersen Illustrator Award winner Peter Sís pays tribute to “Three Mentors” – […]

To Get a Little More of the Picture: Reviewing Picture Books

Snow White trans. by Randall Jarrell

“It is only in childhood that books have any deep influence on our lives.” — Graham Greene “Any book which is at all important should be reread immediately.” — Schopenhauer The management has suggested that I review picture book reviewing. “Feel free to rant about its sorry state.” I also feel wary, as I did […]

The Picture Book as an Act of Mischief

Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola

Poet Theodore Roethke said that poetry was an act of mischief. I’ve always liked that. But to my mind, even more than poetry it is the picture book that is truly an act of mischief. Mischief: “Playful misbehavior or troublemaking, especially in children.” “Playfulness that is intended to tease, or mock or to create trouble.” […]

An Interview with Walter Lorraine

biggest bear

The multifaceted Walter Lorraine was a designer and art director at Houghton Mifflin before being named Director of Children’s Books, a position he held from 1965–1995. He now heads his own imprint, Walter Lorraine Books. Leonard S. Marcus: How did you get started in publishing? Walter Lorraine: As a student at the Rhode Island School […]

Following in Their Fathers’ Paths

steptoe_mufaro's beautiful daughters

When you follow in the path of your father, you learn to walk like him. — Ashanti proverb (from In Daddy’s Arms I Am Tall) In the late 1960s, modern African-American literature for children was just coming into its own. For some of us, the 1967 publication of Virginia Hamilton’s Zeely was a turning point, […]

Making Picture Books: The Words

zolotow_my grandson lew

The beginning of a picture book comes before the pictures. In Margaret Wise Brown’s beautiful Goodnight Moon, it was the magic of her words, their simplicity and the music in them, that made Clement Hurd’s now-famous visual interpretation possible. Unless the writer is also an illustrator, the writing always comes first. Many fine writers can […]

Making Picture Books: The Pictures

cooney_miss rumphius

I don’t know exactly how I came to be an illustrator of books. Certainly much art throughout the ages has been in the form of illustration, although not necessarily in books. Since I was very little, I intended to be an artist of some sort. As I grew older, I wanted also a liberal-arts education […]