A Celebration of Beatrix Potter: Art & Letters by More than 30 of Today's Favorite Children's Book Illustrators by Frederick Warne & Co., 112pp, RL 4
Beatrix Potter and her books were a meaningful part of my childhood. As a child, I loved all things tiny - and what's not to love about a tidy little pile of green books with white trim? Especially when the illustrations inside carry you away to a magical world that exists behind hedges, under piles of oily-tasting mown grass and near the damp edges of a pond dotted with lily pads? As a parent reading her books to my children, it was harder to make sense of her strange world, although the illustrations and curious ways of the animals remained transportive enough to make me very excited to get my hands on A Celebration of Beatrix Potter: Art and Letters by More than 30 of Today's Favorite Children's Book Illustrators.
Beyond the obvious attributes that keep Potter's books on the shelves 100 plus years after her debut, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, which was originally self-published, are the facts of the woman herself. Born in 1866 and growing up in the Victorian era, Potter was fiercely independent and "unwavering curiosity led her to become a cryptographer, an amateur scientist, an award-winning farmer, a political activist, a revolutionary conservationist and a forward thinking business woman." Pretty spectacular accomplishments for a woman of wealth in an era when women were expected to follow rigid social structures. This celebration of Potter and her 150th birthday is a delight for anyone who is a fan of contemporary children's book illustrators.
From favorites of mine like David Wiesner, Chris Haughton, Jen Corace, Renata Liwska Brendan Wenzel, Dan Santat and Tony DiTerlizzi, to greats like Rosemary Wells, Peggy Rathmann, Wendell Minor, Brian Pinkney and Tomie de Paola, fans of Potter will absolutely delight at their renderings of favorite characters. Nine of Potter's books are featured here, with portions reprinted, along with a brief paragraph about the origins of each book and remembrances from contributors. I completely enjoyed flipping through the pages, seeing Potter's originals next to new interpretations and being transported one more time to that world behind the hedgerow. Such a treat!
Source: Review Copy