Tuesday, June 1, 2010

2nd June Paul Galdone (1914 - 1986) Helen Oxenbury (1938)

Paul Galdone was born in Budapest, but emigrated to the United States in 1921. He studied art and became a prolific illustrator of children's books. He is probably best-known for his retellings of folk tales and fairy tales where he used simple and direct language and clearly delineated illustrations. He is also the illustrator of Eve Titus' classic story about a French mouse, Anatole.

Helen Oxenbury, the English illustrator who excels at books for very young children and is well-known for her superb board books has a much softer approach to her illustrations. You feel as if her characters are real and you would like to give them a hug. Tim Wynne-Jones from the Toronto Globe put it perfectly when he said, "Helen Oxenbury is the book world's foremost authority on the antics (and anatomy) of small people."

As well as her own books she illustrates for other authors and some of these such as Michael Rosen's We're Going on a Bear Hunt and Martin Waddell's Farmer Duck have become best sellers. Mem Fox is fortunate to have Helen illustrate her Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes making it an ideal book for babies and toddlers. And my favourite of her books is Eugene Trivizas' The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig. The illustrations of the wolves in this book make them seem so human and their facial expressions are so endearing.

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