Little Books, Big Inspiration
Our collection of children’s books never ceases to inspire us. Whether in the words or the pictures, and often in both, children’s books introduced us to sophisticated esthetic ideas and forms of language when we were young and impressionable. Even if the stories were silly, simple, or at times over our heads, the language reiterated rhythm, melody, and rhyme, while the images exposed us to a range of styles (Cubism, Impressionism, collage, etc) and a range of media (conté, woodcuts, watercolour, Plasticine, etc).
As adults, we’ve also discovered amazing children’s books. A few of the books we return to for their design are from the French publisher Édition du Rouergue, such as the beautiful collage of Mots de tête by Zazie Sazonoff:
For words, it helped to be read to, and it’s always fun to re-read. Poems like Ogden Nash‘s The Adventures of Isabel was one such read-aloud treat that not only featured a bravely pragmatic little protagonist, but also let us chew on the rhymes:
Isabel met an enormous bear,
Isabel, Isabel, didn’t care;
The bear was hungry, the bear was ravenous,
The bear’s big mouth was cruel and cavernous.
The bear said, Isabel, glad to meet you,
How do, Isabel, now I’ll eat you!
(That’s not even the best part, so click through and read it, if you haven’t before.)
With e-readers and tablets, children’s books are allowing for new interactivity, but the original paper ones, the ones that can still be read when the power goes out, the stack we can keep on the shelf for automatic inspiration, will never lose their allure.