Caldecott Committee members are recommended reading the book, Show & Tell: Exploring the Fine Art of Children's Book Illustration, by Dilys Evans.
I can see why.
This marvelous professional book points out the elements of art that make a picture book distinctive. Choosing a wide-range of illustrators that represents different art styles Evans shows how the illustrators go beyond a simple interpretation of the text. Instead they have powerful images and storylines resulting from their choices of colors, lines, texture, and techniques. For instance, Lane Smith has many illustrated books that are surreal and represent the Abstract Expressionists. Or Paul Zelinsky, in Rapunzel, imitates the Italian Renaissance artists. She goes on to look at the texture, lines, and color of various well-known illustrators. But that is just one portion of what she examines. She also shows the connections between folk art, comics, film, poster art, and more. It is a fascinating view of the arts and the fine art of illustrating books.
I have not reviewed a picture book yet for this blog because I wasn't really sure there was much to write about. After reading this book I am inspired to write about picture books. I also have a better idea of what to look for in the illustrations.
I love the visual arts and have a passion for architecture, art history, folk arts, and more. My bias on this topic may not make me the best reviewer for this book, but I believe this book can help even a non-art lover appreciate the work and talent that goes behind making and illustrating a picture book.
Try it and post if you liked it.