Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Sentimental Journey

The older I get, the more sentimental I am about childhood books and toys. Especially books, I wish I could zip open my kids and pour in all the wonderful stories I still love. Many of my favorites were Golden Books and we read them frequently––The Friendly Book, The Egg Book, My Home, Scuffy the Tugboat

This week I read Golden Legacy, a history of the Golden Books by Leonard S. Marcus. It is a lush book, covering many aspects of the design, business and personalities of the series. The story of the books reflects the American childhood over the last 65 years.

I liked reading about the writers and illustrators––Eloise Wilkins, Ruth Krauss, Richard Scarry, J.P. Miller, Mary Blair, Feodor Rojankovsky, Garth Williams, Masha, Tenggren, and others. Now an adult, and also an artist, I appreciate their designs in a new way. There is so much energy in the few pages of each book.

It was interesting to read about artist ties to guilds and design movements like fauvism, cubism as well as political movements. Many illustrators were immigrants, new to America. The books evolved to reflect a diverse country. I felt a kinship with the female illustrators, pictured and quoted, sharing their need to balance work with family.

The goal of the stories has always been to please children and be accessible to parents (the books were once 25¢ apiece). The simplicity of the stories is what I find most appealing––many stories are uncomplicated and pure. We will keep reading them.

No comments: