Friday, August 27, 2010

28th August Roger Duvoisin (1904 - 1980) Tasha Tudor (1915 - 2008) Phyllis Krasilovsky (1926) Allen Say (1937) Kevin Hawkes (1959)

Five birthdays...too many to contemplate especially as the last two really deserve to have an entry to themselves. Following will be only a little on each.

Swiss-born American Roger Duvoisin is best known for his humorous book about Petunia, a goose who carries round a book in the hope that she will become wise.

American illustrator Tasha Tudor has more than ninety books, none of which have become well-known in Australia. An American ex-pat mother introduced her books to me about ten years ago. She was concerned that we had no halloween titles in the school library, despite the number of American families at the school, so she donated some to us. Among them was Halloween Moonshine which clearly shows Tasha Tudor's love of gardens, nature and the joy of home and small things.

I cannot find out much about Phyllis Krasilovsky. I wondered if she is Dutch, given the Dutch content in some of her books. My favourite of her books is the Peter Spier illustrated The Cow Who Fell in the Canal. Kindergarten have revisited it this week as part of a unit of work on Van Gogh's bridges for the Book Week Expo.

Allen Say was born in Japan to a Korean father and a Japanese-American mother. He moved to America when he was sixteen and came to the notice of the children's literature fraternity when he won the Caldecott Medal for Grandfather's Journey, a partly autobiographical picture book about his grandfather's journey from Japan to America. Many of his illustrations have a photographic quality complete with white borders. His books demand discussion and rereadings.

American illustrator, Kevin Hawkes, is so versatile. Every one of his books stands alone. You don't pick his books up and immediately say, 'oh that is a Kevin Hawkes' book'. Three of my favourite books, Weslandia written by Paul Fleischman; Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen; and The Librarian Who Measured the Earth by Kathryn Lasky are all illustrated by Kevin Hawkes and in very different styles of illustration. He can be serious or he can show his dry sense of humour. How did he come up with so many animal bottoms for Michael Ian Black's Chicken Cheeks?

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