Friday, May 2, 2008


Traces is a book of beautifully written verse by master children's writer Paula Fox and illustrated by Karla Kuskin, author/illustrator of Roar and More among many others.
I was immediately drawn to Kuskin's mixed-media collage illustrations. What is that on the cover? Is it sushi decorative garnish? And look at that- she's appropriated little glitter stickers of ladybugs and butterflies. Children LOVE glitter stickers how fun to include them! It looks as if the drawings are done with watercolor and acrylics, and I also spot fabric, torn newspaper and gold foil.

The book starts with a line that is repeated to the end,
"Something, someone was just here. Now there's barely a trace of it..." We find traces of animals who leave tracks, a jet plane has left a trail in the sky, a dinosaur has left its traces, children, "They were just here. Now there are still shadows on the ground. Following the leader,.... And, "The wind! The invisible wind! that can only be seen in its traces."

The magic of this book comes together in the layout. Just the right amount of text placed smartly on the pages. Sometimes it's squarely centered and sometimes it's about to run off the page in anticipation of the next line as we follow the traces like a snail trail. This book is a little gem. It makes me think about being in nature and summer vacation plans.

Beyond Disneyland, I want to go camping in a T@B trailer. Check out this promo on youtube- you'll have to do a little creative interpretation. These little trailers look so retro modern. I love to be out in nature but I like a good nights sleep. And I never sleep that well in a tent with all those nocturnal critters and bears roaming the campsite. So I found a place that rents them across the bay. Yeah campfires!

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