Thursday, April 15, 2010

16th April Garth Williams (1912 - 1996)

Garth Williams was the illustrator for many books that are now classics. His first illustrating job was E.B White's Stuart Little. He went on to illustrate Charlotte's Web and the Little House on the Prairie books.

For me, he is an expert at anthropomorphising animals, so I was very pleased when I read this in an article by Gordon Campbell, "a critic once called Williams the Rembrandt of animal portrait artists...The creatures in his drawings are fully
animal, but the human emotions they are expressing are also palpably and vividly present."

I especially like his rabbits in The Rabbit's Wedding and Randall Jarrell's The Gingerbread Rabbit. I didn't know that The Rabbit's Wedding was controversial at its time of publication because a black rabbit marries a white rabbit at a time when interracial marriage was 'frowned upon'. When I read it to children we all just see it as a nice story about rabbits!

I also find it interesting that my favourite of Russell Hoban's Frances books is Bedtime For Frances, the only one illustrated by Garth Williams. I thought it was the story, but maybe my subconscious likes the story because of the Williams' illustrations.

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