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:
|Weedy Beasties NF|