Tuesday, January 11, 2011

12th January Charles Perrault (1628 - 1703) Clement Hurd (1908 - 1988) Nina Laden (1962)

Charles Perrault was a French lawyer who late in his life published a book of eight stories, derived from pre-existing folk tales of the oral tradition which he modified and embellished to create the beginnings of the fairy tale genre. They were very popular and he went on to write three more. Cinderella is one of the most recognised stories in the world and its themes appear in the folk lore of many cultures, but the one most recognisable to children today is the one credited to Perrault. His version has a fairy godmother, a pumpkin that becomes a carriage, animal servants and glass slippers. It has a much happier and less gruesome ending too than many other versions as the mean stepsisters are not punished for their treatment of Cinderella. He romanticised it and it is little wonder that it is the version that Disney adopted. The Czech artist, Kveta Pacovska has just published a new edition of Cinderella which is based on the Perrault version of the story. As Perrault did in his originals, she has included a comment on morals at the end.

Clement Hurd was an American illustrator who is best known for his collaboration with Margaret Wise Brown. He illustrated her books The Runaway Bunny and Goodnight Moon which many would now classify as classics. He and his wife Edith Thacher also did books together and together are the parents of author/illustrator Thacher Hurd.

Nina Laden is an American author/illustrator who is able to make readers laugh. I love the irony of architect, Roberto the termite in Roberto, The Insect Architect. In her book Romeow and Drooliet, a spoof on Romeo and Juliet using a dog and cat as characters she has matched the story, the tone and the style of art perfectly. See also When Pigasso Met Mootisse and The Night I Followed the Dog. I love the irony of architect, Roberto the termite in Roberto, The Insect Architect and Nina also has a large number of simpler books ideal for preschoolers.

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