Skip to main content

Get Dressed! words and pictures by Seymour Chwast



Ooooh, I just love Get Dressed! written and illustrated by Seymour Chwast! Before I tell you why, a brief history of this amazing person. While reading Maria van Lieshout's author's note for Backseat A-B-See, I learned that Seymour Chwast was part of the group of AIGA graphic artists that designed many of the symbol signs we see on the roads today, receiving the Presidential Award for Design Excellence in 1984. Chwast has also created fonts, which to me is as amazing as being able to build furniture by hand, designed packaging, including one for a Happy Meal (was MacDonald's ever that cool??) as well as written children's books and started Push Pin, a design studio and a magazine. Keep this in mind while you read Get Dressed!, which is magnificently designed. In fact, the design of the book is integral to the story.
Simplicity in picture books always takes my breath away, and Get Dressed! is a brilliant example of what I love most about books that seem to have the least going on. This quality works on two levels. First, there is the straightforward story that is nevertheless engaging, then there is the "idea" of the story, and by this I mean the things that it makes you think about, the connections it encourages you to make, when reading it or having it read to you. Get Dressed! presents something that we do everyday, many times a day for some of us, and looks at it in a different way. And, for those with a sartorial bent, this book will no doubt be a source of inspiration. On a basic level, Get Dressed! is a to-do list. "Get dressed to read about dragons." Get dressed to hide." "Get dressed to say warm.""Get dressed to make believe." "Get dressed to sing." It is the design of Get Dressed! that engages you with the text. I'll do my best to describe they layout, but really, watch the short book trailer below (and learn just how to pronounce "Chwast" because the author narrates it) for the best representation. Each page has a gatefold, meaning that the righthand side of the page has an extra, attached page that folds out to reveal more of the picture underneath. The gatefold with an assortment of clothing and other items on the left side of the page opens up to reveal the text beneath, which tells you what you are getting dressed to do. This is part of the simplicity, part of the surprise and a lot of the fun of reading  Get Dressed!
The illustration above shows the one page in  Get Dressed! that has a double gatefold and exemplifies some of the playfulness that Chwast brings to this book. Looking at the ribbon, feather duster, envelopes, shoelaces, paintbrush and sunglasses, you might not think you were getting dressed to sing (unless maybe you are Lady Gaga) but that is exactly what's going on when the pages are opened. I am sure that more than one child will read this book and try to make clothes out of envelopes - at least I hope so. In a design feature that I especially, like, the penultimate page of the book has the gatefold on the right hand side of the page, displaying the most obvious array of clothes yet. However, those clothes aren't for getting dressed, but from getting undressed to take a bath! Bedtime follows.



Fonts created by Seymour Chwast:

Chwast Buffalo

Fofucha


Loose CabooseNF

Weedy Beasties NF



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Seeing Stick, written by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Daniela J Terrazini

The Seeing Stick is an original Chinese fairy tale written by the prolific (and prolifically award winning) Jane Yolen. First published in 1977 with illustrations by Remy Charlip (author and illustrator of the brilliantly fun picture book Fortunately and friend and muse to Brian Selznick, who asked him to pose as George Méliès while he was working on the Caldecott winning The Invention of Hugo CabretThe Seeing Stick was reissued with new illustrations by Daniela J. Terrazini in 2009. I have not seen Charlip's version, but Terrazini's is a beautiful work of art and the book itself is yet another magnificently packaged book published by Running Press, the house that brought us Steven Arntson's The Wikkeling, yet another superbly and uniquely packaged children's book with artwork by Terrazini. Interestingly, both The Wikkeling and The Seeing Stick were designed by Frances J Soo Ping Chow.

The Seeing Stick begins, "Once in the ancient walled citadel of Peking there l…

POP-UP: Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book, paper engineering by Ruth Wickings, illustrations by Frances Castle RL: All ages

POP-UP:  Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book with paper engineering by Ruth Wickings and illustrations by Frances Castle is THE COOLEST BOOK EVER!!!  I know that I haven't dedicated much time to pop-up books here, but they have always held a special place in my heart, and the phrase "paper engineering" is a favorite of mine. Although I didn't know what it was at the time, I did go through a paper engineering phase when I was ten or so. I would sneak off to the back of the classroom during independent work periods and go to town on the construction paper and glue and make these little free-standing dioramas. A huge fan of The Muppet Show (the original), I reconstructed the all-baby orchestra from an episode, drawing and coloring each baby and his/her instrument then gluing them onto a 3D orchestra section I had crafted out of brown construction paper.  I also made a 3D version of Snidely Whiplash throwing Nell off a cliff with Dudley Do-Right wa…

Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff - Projects You Can Build For (and With) Kids! by Scott Bedford

On his personal website, Scott Bedforddescribes himself as an "Award Winning Online Creative Professional" working within the advertising and design industry. What is more interesting (and applicable here) is how hisWhat I Made website came to be. While sitting in a Starbucks with his restless young sons, trying to enjoy his latte, Bedford created something out of coffee stir sticks that ended up keeping his boys entertained, finishing his coffee in peace and sparking (re-sparking, really) his creative drive and reminding him of the "enormous joy gained from making things, even simple things, and that this joy is not the complexity or quality of the finished project but in the process of making itself. On Bedford'sWhat I Made website, he even shares Six Cool Coffee Shop Crafts for Kidsthat you can try out next time you want to enjoy your coffee and your kids are making that difficult. I've shared two below - be sure to check out the website and see the rest!

Be…