Wednesday, May 29, 2013

ART VIEWS - Art Centered Picture Book Reviews

In most all the reviews for children's picture books, the main portion of the review discusses the writing......well I'd like to reverse that in my reviews....and concentrate on a review of the illustrations, from an artist's perspective. I'll try to tell a little about the book, and then highlight how I see the illustrator "building" the story with his/her illustrations. I'd love to hear if you agree with my summery.....or have other comments.

The Worry Stone
The Worry Stone illustrated by Sibyl Graber Gerig  and written by Marianna Dengler is a delightful story, within a story, within a story. The story concerns the connections between generations, told via an American Indian folk tale about a worry stone. Ms. Gerig has paced the story in single, full page illustrations, with the text appearing on the facing page. Her luminescent watercolor illustrations use both large multi colored washes and very tight detailed drawings, which are a delight. She contrasts the flowing landscape colors with her detailed people portraits. She has the skill to flow in pinks,blues and yellows onto a white blouse....and still have it read white. She also uses enough darks, like the grey/black watercolor mixtures in Amanda's hat to provide foils for her white hair.

Ms. Gerig varies her viewpoints through out the book, with her best work showing through on the wrinkles of the grandmother (Amanda) contrasting with the smooth turn of the cheek of the young boy, Jason, who listens to her tale of the worry stone. She sets the opening scenes in a park then switches to flashbacks telling (her) Amanda's story. Within those flashbacks, she also tells the American Indian folktale of the source of worry stones. She identifies the historical story with a lovely intricate basket weave border around the folk tale pages. You can see her medical illustration background in the detail of the accompanying baskets that echo the design of the border.

Text © 1996 by Marianna Dengler
illustration © 1996 by Sibyl Graber Gerig
Used by permission from Rising Moon
ISBN 0-87358-642-5

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