Tuesday, October 19, 2010

20th October Crockett Johnson (1906 - 1975) Bob Graham (1942)

Crockett Johnson (David Johnson Leisk) was an American cartoonist who became a well-known children's book illustrator because of his wonderful character, Harold of Harold and the Purple Crayon and illustrations that he did for authors such as his wife, Ruth Krauss. While his Harold books may not always seem to be in print, they do come and go in new formats and just recently I purchased an attractive, yet of its time, edition of Magic Beach.

Bob Graham is an Australian author illustrator, who is well known here and overseas because of the quality of his writing and illustrations. He has won many awards. Many of his books have been shortlisted or won Children's Book Council awards, probably more often than any other Australian children's writers. Bob Graham's stories focus on family life and ordinary events in children's lives. They are suffused with warmth. They are gentle and often have tolerance or human kindness as themes. Even stories where the title suggests one thing such as in Crusher is Coming there is that gentleness and tenderness. In a more recent tile, How to Heal a Broken Wing that humanity is never far from the surface as the young boy cares for the bird that fell from the sky. Bob says that he is old-fashioned because he still uses pen, paper, chalks and scissors and not a computer but I hope he keeps writing and illustrating this way because whatever he does it works.

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