A River of Words
The Story of William Carlos Williams
Illustrated by Melissa Sweet
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2008
From the dust jacket: “Willie’s words gave him freedom and peace, but he also knew he needed to earn a living. So when he grew up, he went off to medical school and became a doctor – one of the busiest men in town! Yet he never stopped writing poetry.
“In this picture book biography of William Carlos Williams, Jen Bryant’s engaging prose and Melissa Sweet’s stunning mixed-media illustrations celebrate the amazing man who found a way to earn a living and to honor his calling to be poet.”
I checked this book out not necessarily for the story, but for the illustrator, Melissa Sweet. The LoC fell in love with her artistry after reading The Right Word. We love collage! And in this case, the artist accentuates her collage with watercolor. I was familiar with the story of William Carlos Williams and it was good to see his story illustrated for kittens. Most poetry just flies above my head but his is about every day things in every day language. Beautiful, succinct word pictures. Expose your kittens to both collage and poetry – read them this book! A fun summer activity would be to have them write a poem about whatever they want and then create a collage using magazine pictures and coloring book pages! I just might do that myself!!
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2014
From the back of the book, “If only all the ideas in the world could be found in one place, then everyone would have one book were they could find the best word, the one that really fit. Peter carried this idea with him like a secret treasure.
“The story of Peter Mark Roget, creator of Roget’s Thesaurus, one of the most widely used reference books ever published, is presented in this delightful picture book biography…”
So the reason we picked up this book (at a library sale – for a $1.00! Score!) was because of the illustrations. We came for the art and stayed for the story!!
The story of Peter Roget is fascinating – he collected words in long lists for most of his life. When he was 8 he wrote his first book filled with lists of words! Words and their meanings became his passion which ultimately ended up in a one-of-a-kind book categorizing words according to their meaning, not their spelling.
The illustrations are something else altogether. The artist created collages out of mostly watercolor (I think) as well as other mediums (acrylic, gouache, etc). These collages are so intricate and stunning, you have to read the book first, then go back and linger over every page to make sure you see everything. If you’re familiar with author/artist Graeme Base and how detailed his illustrations are, then you’ll have an idea of what M. Sweet’s pictures look like. Gorgeous! Fascinating! Amazing!
If you see this book at the library, check it out!!
Mark Reibstein Art by Ed Young Little, Brown and Company, 2008
“Wabi Sabi is a way of seeing the world that is at the heart of Japanese culture. It finds beauty and harmony in what is simple, imperfect, natural, modest and mysterious. It can be a little dark, but it is also warm and comfortable. It may be best understood as a feeling, rather than as an idea.” (from the frontispiece of the book)
This picture book is the story of a cat named Wabi Sabi who desires to learn the meaning of her name. She asks a cat named Snowball, who tells her it is a kind of beauty. She still doesn’t understand so she asks a dog who was mean to her. Still curious, Wabi Sabi asks a bird who suggests she travel to see a wise, old monkey who lives on Mount Hiei. She undertakes the journey and learns what she desires.
What a beautifully crafted book – from the words, to the haiku, to the art work. I think the collaged artwork is my favorite. Each scene has been crafted using handmade paper, with real pine needles, leaves and bark on some of them. The book, like the cat, is, indeed, wabi sabi.
This is a subtle way of introducing Japanese culture to anyone, really, but particularly children. They learn about haiku, the Tea Ceremony, and, of course, wabi sabi.