Tuesday, May 3, 2011

3rd May Suekichi Akaba (1910 - 1990) Ian Whybrow (1961)

Suekichi Akaba is a Hans Christian Andersen award winning, Japanese -born illustrator who had the centenary of his birth last year. He said, A picture book is not a picture gallery. Displaying good pictures one by one will not make a good picture book. What is important is the flow and the drama created by turning the pages. How true this is! He was 50 when he had his first picture book published. This was based on an old folktale and his subsequent books continued to be based on folktales. I have read that his illustrations use many different kinds of Japanese paper, each fulfilling a specific function or communicating specific moods and that he liked bright colours, but I have only seen Suho's White Horse so I cannot say this for myself.

In contrast Ian Whybrow is a very contemporary children's author from Britain who has written many books and has other people illustrate them. He used to be an English teacher and he certainly seems to know what children enjoy to read. He is best known in my library because of Harry and the Dinosaurs but there are other books just as worthy of mention. I particularly like Little Wolf from Little Wolf's Book of Badness fame and his series of beginning novels known as Books for Boys. He has just released a new junior novel called Meerkat Madness which I am sure will be a hit with my readers because they all seem to be besotted with meerkats. The real ones at Taronga Zoo are pretty special and very funny!

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