Friday, March 26, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mr. Wildsmith!



Growing up, my siblings and I knew that a box from our paternal grandparents meant that there would be new books. I can’t say they ever disappointed us with that. From wordless picture books to thick, serious novels, we devoured them all. Regrettably, a few books we enjoyed then have been forgotten over the years, but the ones that have stuck with us have all held up as truly remarkable works.

Happily for us, these books included titles by Brian Wildsmith.

While his name isn’t bandied about in the United States with the likes of Eric Carle, his work immediately recognizable and is equally beloved. I clearly remember turning the pages of his books back and forth, diving in to the colorfully splashed illustrations, marveling at both the fine lines and slapdash splotches that define his work.

This week, The Illustration Cupboard (a London gallery specializing in children’s book illustration) is opening an exhibit showcasing twenty-five pieces of his original art. Until now, his work could only be seen at the museum that bears his name outside of Tokyo.

While we may not be able to view the works in person, The Illustration Cupboard does have all of the pieces included in the show available to view online—and Star Bright Books has produced a website with some additional favorites.

In addition, the children's book museum, Seven Stories (also located in England) is sponsoring a special exhibit called Wild With Wildsmith. This exhibit will feature interactive exhibits that will bring his books to life.

But what’s the reason for all this brouhaha? 2010 Marks the author-illustrator's 80th birthday. And from our offices in New York, we chime in to say, Happy Birthday, Mr. Wildsmith and here’s to many more.

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