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Picture Books

We’ve talked a lot about how we remember the illustrations in our childhood books sometimes more than we do the story. Here, you’ll learn a bit about the history of children’s illustrations and how we go about ‘reading’ them.

Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, `and what is the use of a book,’ thought Alice `without pictures or conversation?’

Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Picture books tell a story through a visual medium. Often with text, but sometimes with only images. When we read a picture book we are reading those images just as we are reading the text. Please watch this short history of children’s illustration.

You may have seen some images that you recognized in this video. Awards for children’s books include the John Caldecott Medal and the Kate Greenway Medal named for those illustrators.

Fairy Tale Illustration (and response)

As in the video, a lot of the early history of children’s illustrations was tied into fairy tales. Please look through this slide show of illustrations of famous fairy tale illustrators.

Choose two images that stand out to you and in the comments below explain which images you chose and why you chose them.

17 thoughts on “Picture Books

  1. I chose the image henry justice ford,the image of the beauty and the beast is black and white and show the monster want to eat the men.The image the princess imprisoned in the summer tower appear the princess is inside a case,the image is very colorful.

  2. The first image I chose is the image of “little red cap” illustrated by Gustave Dore. This painting is based on Perrault’s book, which wrote the first version of the tale. The first thing I noticed in this image is the young girl’s wide-open eyes which are well aware of the wolf and her surroundings. This shows how the young girl is not afraid of the situation, but instead, she is “open” to the situation as she meets the wolf’s needs. Moreover, I noticed how the wolf is wearing a cap to try to look as much as possible like the grandmother, which reveals how the wolf is willing to be deceptive in order to get what he wants from the young girl.
    The second image I chose is the image of “cinderella” illustrated by Elenore Abbott. This image is based on Grimm Brothers’ collection. In this version of the tale, a beautiful and magical tree is grown on Cinderella’s mother’s grave. You will not find fairy godmother or singing mice in this particular version.
    What I recognized in this illustration is the strong relationship and the loyalty between Cinderella and her mother.

  3. For the first one, I choose Cinderella illustrated by Elenore Abbott this image was for a Grimm Brothers collection. This image is different from another version that I have seen it has a nice background and a connection with nature.

    The second image that I choose is Aladdin illustrated by Maxfield Parrish you can see Aladdin on top of the rock while you can see princess Jasmin on the back and the back guy pointing at Aladdin the image looks more like a painting.

  4. I chose one of the image of the first book for children during 1700 th . The illustration says at the bottom the following text, “Hundreds. Is a whipt as well as he that swears”. The image of an adult wiping to a child is shocking and sad. By the illustration I can tell is on the times were the slavery was “legal”. It is hard to think in all the cruelty of the epoch and and image can take you back on time.
    The second image is one from Helen Nicolle during 1975th. Her illustration of a witch, a cat and an owl look very simplistic, but catchy to the eyes. I love it animals seem to interact with the witch. the drawings are mostly like drawings for children and that is what it makes more beautiful.

  5. Arthur Rackham’s “The shos that were danced to pieces” looks very simple, colorful, and childlike, that would certainly be a book I would’ve wanted to read as a kid. I prefer more colorful-looking books because there’s a lot more to look at, and so I’m not afraid of finishing the book too quickly. prefer savoring the book, if I enjoy it, for as long as possible. I also enjoyed looking at the “snow white” illustration shown on the same page. It’s not as colorful but I’ve never seen such a realistic version of snow-white, or it ever being drawn in such a way. For me who has seen the story of snow white many times, it was nice to see something slightly different.

  6. I choose “the moon maiden” a verison of the Hanomoko,Japan and reading beauty by Deborah Underwood, Illustrated by Meg Hunt, 2019. I choose the “the moon maiden
    ” because of how graceful and soft the illustration looks. There looks to me to be a lot of symbolism in the illustration it self with the peacock feathers and wings. As for the Reading beauty I appreciated the black characters depicted in a nurturing environment, where there seems to be some vulnerability being displayed.

  7. The two images I chose are Anne Andersons Little Mermaid and Kay Nielson’s Three Bears. I was immediately drawn to the illustration of the little mermaid because I am a sucker for anything maritime-related. I really enjoyed the windows in the stern of the ship as well as the shades of blue and green used to create the texture of the water. The flowing hair of both the little mermaid and her mermaid siblings gives it an ethereal and almost dreamlike quality. I chose the illustration of the three bears because of the comical and overexaggerated expressions and poses of the characters in the image. From the range of emotions on the bears’ faces to the creeping and sneaking body language of the girl, this is probably my favorite image from the whole set.

  8. The first image of my choice is “Puss in Boots” by Maxfield Parrish. The point that caught my eyes immediately was that the cat is illustrated very realistic in clothes and boots. Human characters and the background is also realistic with such details that almost look like a scene from a film. The second image is “Rapunzel” by Paul O. Zelinsky. I like it because the illustration style is just like the paintings of Jan Van Eyck (Northern Renaissance) that I could easily get drawn into the imaginary fairy tale world at the time that I even get the feelings that It may really happened.

  9. The two images that stuck out to me are the six swans and the princess and the frog by warwick goble. These two images look very magestic and have a sense of calmness to them even though their stories may not be the happiest. These images seemed the most vibrant to me and the colors looked very appealing to the eye.

  10. The first image that stood out to me was Cinderella illustrated by Elenore Abbott. This image was for the Grimm Brothers collection. I have always been a fan of anything Cinderella related so I was very intrigued by this image. This image looked very beautiful, very different from the other versions I have seen that aren’t Disney.

    The second image that stood out to me was the Little Red Cap illustrated by Gustave Dore. This image showed the young girl in bed frightened with her eyes wide open because she sensed the wolf. He was dressed in a cap to resemble her grandmother but the young girl knew that he was in fact an animal by her facial expressions.

  11. The first image that stood out to me the most was “Jack and the beanstalk” by Maxfield Parrish because it took me a few glances at the image. It really caught my attention on how realistic it looks. From looking closer that the image, I couldn’t tell if it was a real boy taking a picture or if it was a painting. That’s what really blew my mind. Even the background looked so realistic!

    The second image(s) that caught my attention are the images made by Molly Bang. The reason why these stood out to me was because it was very abstract which is something you will definitely find in a modern art museum/exhibit. With all the shapes and colors, it gives you a bright and modern feeling. It looks like some of the art pieces that you’ll find today in the year 2021 in doctor offices, office buildings and etc.

  12. The first image that stood out the most for me personally was “Puss in Boots” by Maxfield Parrish as he was very specific with detail and made the picture very realistic of the cat and paid high attention to details
    The second image that stood out was Cinderella illustrated by Elenore Abbott as the picture is very different compared to the version you typically see and it was intriguing as Cinderella is an original princess and it is interesting to see how others perceive and draw her.

  13. The first thing that stood out to me is ‘The three bears’ by Arthur Rackham. I think this is because of the colors and illustration. I feel like I’m more familiar with these types of illustrations. I also think there is something which is attention grabbing because of how out of place the bears are in a human being’s home.
    The second image that stood out to me was the little red cap. I think that the illustration is very beautiful. It is very colorful and detailed, yet soft at the same time. This also stood out to me because this illustration shows the moment that little Red Riding Hood realizes that there is a wolf in her bed. You can see the fear and worry written all over her face. The illustration does a good job of demonstrating those emotions.

  14. I chose Walter Crane and his two images of Sleeping Beauty and Little Red Riding Hood. These two images describe a lot of details from their original fairy tale story. The fox is the mean and ugly one and little red as the innocent and bystander of the wolf. Sleeping Beauty is very clever and animated as you can see in the image using old ropes as the clothes she is using.

  15. The two images I chose because they stood out to me in their own unique way was The princess and the Frog and Jack and The Beanstalk by Warwick Goble. I primarily chose these two because of his style of fairytale illustrations, I am pretty sure my father has a collection very similar to this style. I also find it really cool how the princess looks like she’s running from the frog. I really liked jacks pants, and the rooster or chicken lol!

  16. I chose the princess imprisoned in the summer tower because the beauty in the art was very impactful but it played a game on my mind and heart because of the term and concept in story line of her being imprisoned.

    The other one I chose Is the sleeping beauty where majority of the painting was in black. The immediate visual contrast just could not go unnoticed, it poses the question of why the heavy black was so impactful on the glowing white of the sleeping beauty.

  17. I choose both of the images from Authur Rackham in 1867-1939 because Its shows power and beauty in cinderella and the red riding hood. it shows how fearless the red riding hood is standing in front of the wolf and how cinderella has her head up in front of her stepmother and her stepsisters.

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