The Bunyip, Magic Pudding, and Maxicards from Australia

I’m back with two more children’s book illustration (CBI) postcards. These come from Yvonne and Jeana [MelbourneGirl on swap-bot], mother-daughter swappers who hail from Australia. I love receiving children’s book illustrations from other countries, and Yvonne and Jeana do not disappoint. The characters and books illustrated were new to me, so I was over the moon when I received these cards.

The first card was sent several months ago for Book Lovers Congregate (BLC) CBI Swap #33; it features an illustration from The Bunyip of Berkeley’s Creek (1973) written by Jenny Wagner and illustrated by Ron Brooks:

One night something very large and muddy heaved itself on to the bank of Berkeley’s Creek. ‘What am I ?’ it murmured. ‘What do I look like ?’ A platypus told him he was a bunyip. But what is a bunyip? Although everyone had an opinion, no one really knew. So the bunyip set off to find out for himself.  —Google Books

The Bunyip of Berkeley Creek. Illustration by Ron Brooks.

Of course, I had to do a bit of exploring to learn more about the book, and Google did not disappoint. Here’s a book trailer with more wonderful illustrations:

And here are detailed reviews of the book with more images: We Read It Like This or Dad Reads: Stories for Grown-ups About Stories for Children.

The second card, received for BLC CBI Swap #43 just days ago, features an illustration from another classic Australian children’s book, The Magic Pudding, written and illustrated by Norman Lindsay. The postcard celebrates 100 years since the book’s publication in 1918.

The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay. First published in 1918.

I “found” the illustrated book on Gutenberg. Happy dance! I’ll get my guys to read it with me during the Thanksgiving holiday. Hubby is a storyteller, so he’s always “game” for a good tale. In his “tweendom,” the not-so-little-one eschews anything “babyish,” but he’ll go for it if it’s a family activity.

The Guardian features a cute gallery of pictures in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the book. I learned that Lindsay wrote the book “reportedly to settle an argument with his friend Bertram Stevens, claiming children preferred to read about food than fairies.” I wonder who won???

Did you notice the postage stamp and postmark on the front of the cards? Those aren’t machine errors. They’re intentional. The cards are called maxicards; the coveted postcards feature the “first day of issue” postmark and stamps related to or identical to the images on the front of the cards. You can learn more about them via the Postcrossing blog.

These cards are just so delightful! Thanks, Yvonne and Jeana for introducing me to classics in Australian children’s literature. I’m looking forward to reading both books!

Children’s Art: Fun with Picasso

By Adriana

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up. –Pablo Picasso

In honor of the last day of school–and because I’m taking a 10-minute break from life–I’m spending a moment or two savoring more art from the art fair my son’s school held in April. Instead of brilliant sunflowers, today we experience masterful art in the style of Pablo Picasso’s Cubism Period. [Click an image for a closer look].

The art was completed by Mrs. Johnson’s fourth grade class. My son was in her class a couple of years ago, so I know she uses art to introduce students to artists and art forms. In fact, I have lots of photographs of the art her students created over the last few years. Maybe, I’ll find time to share more this summer. [Fingers crossed].

To find out about Picasso and his Cubism period follow the links below:

Are you inspired to make art? Check out 25 Picasso Inspired Art Projects. Ignore the “for kids” part.  Adults can do Picasso too! 😉  And if you do have kids, add these projects to your summer fun!

Children’s Book Illustration Postcard: “Summer” by Eric Carle

It’s “Sunflower Week” on Pics and Posts, so I’m sharing a children’s book illustration postcard out of sequence because…well, it’s a sunflower! 😉

Samantha (Sammoning on swap-bot), from the Netherlands, sent the Eric Carle postcard below  for Children’s Book Illustration Postcard swap #30.

Eric Carle, “Summer”

If you’re familiar with Eric Carle, the author/artist of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, you probably recognized the sunflower as his work immediately.  The postcard comes from the World of Eric Carle 100 Postcards, a delightful collection full of the artist’s brilliant work. There is very little information about the postcard. The image was posted on Carle’s blog almost eight years ago with no other detail but the title. It is part of his “season’s collection.”

By the way, if you need a dose of the warm fuzzies, you should really check out his blog.

Carle has “written and/or illustrated more than 70 picture books.” His collage illustrations are made with hand-painted tissue paper. If you’re looking for a fun (and easy) art project to help you decompress after a long work day, check out Carle’s slideshow in which he shares his technique: How I Paint My Tissue Papers.

And if you’re (ever) in Amherst, Massachusetts, check out the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.

See you tomorrow…with even more sunflowers.

Children’s Art: Crayola and Sunshine

My son’s school holds an art fair annually. Every year, I leisurely visit each display–at least twice. I missed the fair this year because I was in Chicago. I was pretty sad about missing out, so you can imagine my surprise when I walked into the school to meet with one of the teachers and found a lot of the art still on the walls! (I’d been told it had all been taken down immediately after the fair).

If that weren’t thrilling enough–I almost passed out with excitement when my eyes beheld the sunflower display of Ms. Middleton’s second grade class.

Gasp!

“Sunflower Wall,” Ms. Middleton’s Second Grade Class

Don’t you want a closer look?

Ms. Middleton’s Sunflower

Here are the kids’ sunflowers–made with crayola, innocence, and loads of sunshine. [Click an image for a closer look]

Aren’t they beautiful? Pretty impressive for second graders, huh? Their sunflowers are certainly better than any I can draw.

If you love sunflowers, stay tuned. I’ve declared this “Sunflower Week” on Pics and Posts!

 

 

Children’s Book Illustration Postcards: A Quick Look at the Next Eight

I’m back with more children’s book illustration postcards, finally. The eight postcards below are familiar favorites from around the world.

Classic Pooh from Marianne in the Netherlands:

Swap 21: Winnie-the-Pooh, A.A. Milne and E.H. Shepard

You already know how I feel about Pooh. The cool thing about the Pooh card is I have the Classic Pooh postcard collection it comes from, so when I received the postcard, it felt like one that I sent into the world returned to me.

Mr. Men from Lihior in Israel:

BLC Swap 21: Mr. Mischief’s New Year, Mr. Men Annual (1987)

My son has a sizable collection of the Mr. Men and Little Miss books that can’t seem to part with. I’m pretty sure I enjoyed reading them to him more than he enjoyed hearing them. As a toddler, he was a bit “creeped out” by Mr. Nosey.

Tootles from Susan in St. Paul, Minnesota:

Swap 22: “Frolic.” From Tootle by Gertrude Crampton. Illustrated by Tibor Gergely, 1945

Tootle is a Little Golden Book, originally published in 1945,  and though I’m familiar with the collection, I’m not sure I’ve seen this one before. Here’s a description of the book from Penguin Random House:

In this classic Little Golden Book from 1945, Tootle is a young locomotive who loves to chase butterflies through the meadow. But he must learn to stay on the tracks no matter what—if he ever hopes to achieve his dream of being a Flyer between New York and Chicago!

Continuing with children’s books published in the 1940s, “A Baby Puffin” from Geraldine in Canada:

BLC Swap 22: ABC, 1943. Cover illustration by Dorothy Chapman

A Janosch illustration from Katrin in Germany:

Swap 23: “And good luck.” Janosch

According to Katrin,  the colorful books are very popular in Gemany. This one took a few too many “mail tattoos” as it winged its way to me, but the postage and cute Janosch stickers on back made up for the marks on front. [Click an image for a closer look].

Check out the photo essay on Janosch and his books here: Children’s Book Author Janosch at 85.

“Baby” Alice from Jeni in Indianapolis, Indiana:

BLC Swap 23:  The Macmillan Alice. “The cover of The Nursery Alice, first published in 1890, was designed and coloured by Emily Gertrude Thomson.”

I’m “holding my typing keys” and trying not to write much about this card. I have a nice collection of Alice in Wonderland postcards that I’m planning to blog about soon.

There’s a quote on the back of the card from Lewis Carroll’s diary, dated February 15, 1881:

I wrote to Macmillan to suggest a new idea: a ‘Nursery Edition’ of Alice with pictures printed in colour.

Another Pooh card from Marianne:

Winnie-the-Pooh.

It took some abuse in travel, but Pooh and Tigger were untouched.

Little Plum, another Puffin cover, from Geraldine in Canada:

BLC Swap 24: Little Plum, Cover illustration by Jean Primrose

I haven’t read Little Plum, but its description reminds me of childhood friends and that “one doll” that was never a first choice:

When Gem moves into The House Next Door, Nona and Belinda think she’s stuck up and vow to have nothing to do with her. But the beautiful Japanese doll in her window soon attracts their attention. They name her Little Plum because of the plum blossom decorating her clothes – but unlike Nona’s Japanese dolls, Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, Little Plum seems sad, unloved and uncared for. Will the three girls – and the three dolls – ever become friends?  —Pan Macmillan

That’s it for today.  Students and papers call…

Have a happy week!

3-21: “Every Child Is a Gift”

Our children are special gifts…Every child brings something unique to her [his] family.  –Lovina Johnson

Being a parent is tough. I’m convinced that being a mom is tougher. We carry everything our children are in our hearts—the good, the bad, and everything between. It takes an insane amount of patience to step back and allow them to become, an extreme amount of self-training to work against our natural tendency to mold them into our ideal of perfect little beings who refine all the imperfections in us.

As moms we look forward (with bittersweetness) to our children’s increasing independence as they grow up and away from us and into their own adulthood.

Because of a brief exchange I had with a “special needs mom,” as she describes herself, I’ve been thinking about what this means for parents of “differently abled” children–children who are always set against strict societal definitions of normal and perfect and genius. How do these moms feel when societal standards are “out of reach” or “impossible” or “unattainable” for their children? When independence is a long, long way from now, if at all?

One of my dearest friends, Lovina, reminded me through a YouTube video that today is World Down Syndrome Day, and she answered “in brief” the question.

It warmed my heart to hear her share the story about her beautiful daughter Nya. One of my favorite people in the whole world was my mom’s youngest sister, Patricia. Trish, as we called her, had Down Syndrome. She lived to the age of 42 though she was not expected to even reach double digits. She was one of the sweetest souls and I vividly remember childhood and adulthood moments with her.

Today, I’m thinking about Trish and Nya. Today, I’m thinking about Lovina and all the moms and dads who learn that though their kid is not perfectly “crafted” by the world’s standards, they are beautifully perfect in their own skin.

To learn more about Down Syndrome and find out what’s going on around the world today, follow the links below:

I appreciate Lovina’s words–every child is a precious gift. Celebrate that today.