Chapter 7 - The Art Book
I was a reader from a very early age. Despite what Dave thinks I did not enter the world with a book in my hand, but honestly it didn’t take long. Like many of you some of my earliest reading was done with my parents and no doubt included a healthy dose of picture books. Obviously as I’ve gotten older and moved more into complex stories the number of pictures has dropped. But with the coming of our grandchildren I was able to revisit some old favorites again like Goodnight Moon, Madeline, The Doctor Seuss books, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, Richard Scarry, and hosts of others. (Dave is particularly fond of the Beatrice Potter series and illustrations).
But I want to talk about another kind of picture book. Books that captivate with images and maybe a few words. Grand books where the words are by-standers, the quiet docent waiting for you to ask the question, but waiting, not interrupting. The pictures are the stars. The truth is I love art as well. When Dave and I have travelled for his work, I have often ventured out to local museums and galleries. From the Bishop Museum in Honolulu, to the Anchorage Museum, the Gilcrease in Tulsa, the Oklahoma City Museum of Art and the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, or the High Museum in Atlanta, and, of course, the Baltimore Museum of Art, I love to explore and see and be amazed by the talent of these artists.
So while we can’t always get away to some of our favorite places there are still books that transport me there. Some of my go-to's are:
The ART Book - To the museum I go whenever I pick up this wonderful book published by Phaidon. The new compilation (revised in 2020) showcases over 600 artists and their best known or more influential work. Presented alphabetically by author, the pictures are fantastic and each entry gives a bio of the author, his school/style of painting, and why the work shown was important. This is a book to be savored and kept forever.
Lonely Planet's Ultimate Travel: Our List of the 500 Best Places to See... Ranked - I don't know about you but I miss traveling to places I've not been before. This new edition (2020) by Lonely Planet Publishers gives the reader 500 different places to salivate over. The first list was compiled from every highlight in all their guides over the years. Then the list was whittled down to produce this lovely book. I want to see them all! If you've not used Lonely Planet's guidebooks in the past, this would give you a taste of how special they are.
Dr. Seuss Goes to War: The World War II Editorial Cartoons of Theodor Seuss Geisel compiled by Richard H Minear - We all know and love Dr. Seuss for his children's books but did you know that he created editorial cartoons during World War II. If you want to see what the newspaper thoughts of the day were, pick up this wonderful book. While some of the cartoons would be seen as not politically correct today, Seuss was fighting the war one cartoon at a time. This book has a permanent place on my shelf.
Victory: World War II in Real Time by Associated Press - Published in 2020 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, this volume full of pictures, covers the war in a series of 40 - 50 key events. Using pictures and AP news articles, the book is also full of human interest stories. The entries are listed chronologically so the reader can follow the war as it happened.
Writers: Their Lives and Works by DK Publishers - I first became aware of this book in our annual Myrtle Beach Book Club Christmas Book Swap a few years ago and while I didn't get this in a swap, I realized I needed a copy. Similar to The Art Book listed above, this book lists 100 important authors with their pictures and bios. Some of the writers I was not familiar with but their works are now on my list of authors to try. I recommend this for any book nerd!
These are the picture books which take me away from the world for a while. Do you have any favorite picture books? Let me know.