Monday, May 30, 2011
Two illustrations by Joāo Lauro Fonte
Jay Ryan at the bird machine
Robert Armstrong sculpture, from Animals on Bikes
Go here for some animals and bicycles by the great Edward Gorey.
Friday, May 27, 2011
My three daughters were all born in California. Raising young children
in America allowed me to discover lots of wonderful children's books authors
and illustrators, including classics like Doctor Seuss who at the time had
never been published in Italy. There were many family favorites, from
Jan Brett and Mercer Mayer to the lovely Catch me and kiss me and say it again.
But, maybe because we also lived in the country, I think that the most beloved
of all was this wonderful volume by Alice and Martin Provensen describing
the animals living on the authors' farm in upstate New York.
I love the humorous, warm and realistic depictions of the farm's many inhabitants.
The autobiographical element helps the authors to make the animals come alive
as individual characters with their unique qualities and weaknesses, from the smart
sheep Old Eleven to the cocky rooster Big Shot.
The books has a large format, and of our favourite spreads were the ones featuring
many vignettes portraying the various animals' personalities and daily activities.
We could get lost for a long time looking at all the funny details in these pages.
I took these photos from our own tattered, very used copy.
The book is very sweet, but not sentimental. The narration is down to earth,
describing the many difficulties of working with animals, and one page shows
the "bad" dogs who had to be "put away". The spread above shows the spot in
the forest where the beloved dogs and cats who had died lie buried.
I recommend clicking on the pictures to view them at a larger size.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Grasshopper pull toy, painted wood, France, 1930s
I love the website of the French cultural institution Les Arts Decoratifs!
Besides organizing beautiful and unusual exhibitions (remember Les Lalanne?),
its online documentation is generous in quantity and high in quality.
These photos showcase some of the toys featured in the 2010 exhibition
Petites et Grosses Bêtes, dedicated to animal representations in the world of toys.
Ladybug (I had this one as a child) and snail tin friction toys,
Ernst Paul Lehmann toy company, Germany, 1950–60s
Owl, CEJI-Lang toy company, France, 1976
Squirrels, Starlux toy company, France, 1985
Bear by Susan Tantlinger, France, 1988
Monday, May 23, 2011
Jerzy Flisak, 1977
Rilla Alexander, Jorinde and Joringel
Charles Keeping, Charley, Charlotte and the Canary, 1967,
thanks to Tiny tin
Happy flying little birdies!