golden thursdays: alice and martin provensenPosted: January 14, 2010
So with the introduction of the nifty new title, it’s the day of the week where I introduce you to a Golden Book of my choosing. To those unfamiliar with Golden Books, they were children’s books originally published by Simon and Schuster in the 1940’s. Their inexpensive price point promoted literacy amongst children. The older books are now considered collector’s items.
Today’s book is called The Animal Fair (published in 1952) by Alice and Martin Provensen, a husband/wife illustration and writing team. Both originally started as cartoonist/animators for Disney and the Walter Lanz Studio (who produced the Woody Woodpecker cartoon). Eventually they both left their respective positions and worked on numerous childrens books together, eventually winning the prestegious Caldacott Award.
This particular story is about a journey to visit different animals in a farmyard, zoo, and forest. You seeanimals getting haircuts, having birthday parties and woodworking, among other things. It looks like a lot of fun.
I am a sucker for the style of the 1940’s/50’s/60’s illustration, especially when it comes to animals. The shape design coupled with the dry-brushing really gives it some interesting textures. The spare use of inking to provide intimate details also adds a lot to the illustrations. In addtion, the pages are lush with full illustrations. I really enjoy childrens’ books that have a lot going on in a page. It invites the reader to study the book and to become involved in what’s happening.