Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Miss Bianca

The bookshelves in my childhood home are filled with memories. And they're absolutely filled with books illustrated by Garth Williams: Miss Bianca, Bedtime for Frances, Charlotte's Web, The Little House on the Prarie books, Stuart Little, Over and Over, The Rescuers, Little Fur Family, Home for a Bunny, Golden Books Treasury of Elves and Fairies, The Cricket in Times Square among others.

A quick google search brought up limited edition prints by Mr. Williams like this one from Miss Bianca. Look at that proud mamma mouse in the forefront and those expressive little creatures. No doubt the books he illustrated are classics, Stuart Little in 1945 and Charlotte's Web in 1952.

Many contemporary illustrators have been influenced by his work. Have you visited Emily Gravett's site, author of Cyblis nominee Orange Pear Apple Bear? Take a look at Rosie's Roses illustrated by Henry Cole. And you can't tell me Maurice Sendak hasn't been influenced by Garth Williams.

As I'm writing this post, I've given my kids modeling clay, pastels (washable) and glitter glue to keep them busy- I know you're imagining the mess. OK back to my quickie attempt at drawing parallels and linking illustration references. Here is a resource: KidSpace@InternetPublicLibrary. Many children's authors are also illustrators, you can find links to their websites and browse both the new and nostalgic.

Christmas afternoon we left the girls with their grandparents and went to see Atonement. Ha! a new movie to add to my list of good cry movies/novels. On par with The English Patient or Titanic the screenplay and cinematography are top rate. I really do have to get to the movie theater more than once a year.


  1. small Maurice Sendak note: he was in negotiations to begin illustrating Roald Dahl books, but when The Wild Thing became successful, he became too expensive...

    A book collecting Garth Williams illustrations would be cool...

  2. Absolutely!

    It looks like Roald Dahl's illustrator, Quentin Blake, has a biography out but I don't know how many of his illustrations are featured in it???

  3. A step further:

    Quentin Blake: The Theater of the Page (Exhibition Catalog)
    Published by The Eric Carle Museum

    I definitely think a Garth Williams exhibition catalog is in order if it doesn't already exist. Let's call the Eric Carle Museum!

  4. I was given a copy of Miss Bianca for Christmas in 1962 when I was 10. I loved it and still love it. I think one of the reasons being the great illustrations by Garth Williams. :)

  5. I also was drawn into her character with the illustrations- Absolutely.


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