In our book, Children's Picture Books [Laurence King, $35.00] we explore not only the history and evolution of the picture book, but all aspects of the "art" of picture book-making--from education and training to the interplay of words and images on a page, from the use of old and new printing methods to the editorial process and the demands of the publishing industry in the twenty-first century. As part of this exploration, we also examine the role of the picture book in introducing children to the visual arts as well as language, and consider important issues such as the appropriateness of certain subjects and styles of illustration for children. We look, too, at the picture book in the classroom. Here, we draw on the critical theory of scholars, such as Barbara Bader, and in particular on the research of Evelyn Arizpe and co-author Morag Styles.
The picture book maker's art is also explored through professional and student case studies. These studies, based on interviews with artists, students, and publishers, look in more detail at topics and issues raised in the chapters, and provide valuable information and inspiration for students studying picture book illustration.
Above all, our book is intended as a celebration of an art form deserving of greater recognition, both as art and as literature--it is a celebration of visual literature.
And just when was the pinnacle of children's books publishing? The period during the latter half of the nineteenth and the early twentieth century has come to be known as the Golden Age of children's books, a time when there was a coming together of developments in printing technology, changing attitudes to childhood, and the emergence of a number of brilliant artists. The artistic giants of the genre have established themselves in the consciousness of many generations of children and adults: Maurice Sendak, Eric Carle, Bruno Munari, and John Burningham are just a few.
The very best picture books become timeless mini art galleries for the home--a convergence of concept, artwork, design and production that give pleasure and stimulates the imagination of both children and adults. Whenever a unique personal artistic vision combines successfully with an ability to make contact with minds and hearts from the world of childhood, magic can follow.