Tuesday, September 28, 2010

30th September Edgar D'Aulaire (1898 - 1986) Alvin Tresselt (1916 - 2000)

Although not many of these birthday boys' books remain in print, the ones that do are well worth revisiting. Edgar D'Aulaire was born in Munich, married Norwegian artist Ingri and migrated to the United States in 1929. Together they illustrated a large
number of books using lithographic techniques. In my library we have a beautiful copy of D'Aulaire's Book of Animals which was first published in 1940 but reprinted in 2007. This unusual book can be read page by page or unfolded to create an eight foot panorama so that the reader and the child can share in an animal safari. The frieze shows the animals in the daytime on one side and then when it is flipped over the animals are in a night-time setting.

Alvin Tresselt was an American author. I first was introduced to him through the delightful Ukranian folktale The Mitten. In retelling this story Tresselt has created a progressive tale about a series of woodland animals who seek refuge in a child's mitten that has been lost in the snow. It was illustrated by Yaroslava and looks a little old-fashioned by today's standards, and compared to other picture books of the same folktale, but the language is better here as it is detailed and descriptive and the story fun.

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