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*A Mary Blair Treasury of Golden Books* by Mary Blair
A Mary Blair Treasury of Golden Books
by Mary Blair
Ages 3-7 160 pages Golden Books August 2012 Hardcover    

Most parents and teachers have encountered the work of Mary Blair even if they don’t know or remember her name. According to the foreword by John Canemaker, the art of Mary Blair has even touched and influenced film animation--and even Disneyland.

The purpose of the book is clear from Canemaker's foreword. Mary Blair has made enduring contributions to picture books, theme park attractions, and animation. It’s always a good thing to showcase and honor a great artist. In the foreword, he writes clearly about Blair’s artistic influences--surrealism, Cubism, pottery, and fashion illustration, among many others--and her skill at infusing joy, anthropomorphism, life, and personality into her illustrations. The foreword is only two and half pages in a 146-page book, but it does a great job of guiding and instructing the viewer’s eye on how to appreciate the artwork. Any modern illustrator who wishes to understand children’s book illustration will learn much from this book.

But the book is, above all else, a true treasury of five children books which are wonderful for parents, children, teachers and lovers of art. It contains four whole children’s books--Baby’s House, I Can Fly, The Golden Book of Little Verses and The Up and Down Book--and selections from a fifth, The New Golden Song Book.

The first book, Baby's House, shows Baby’s toys and environment. The second book, I Can Fly, is a rhyme book in which the heroine is an imaginative little girl who encounters animals, birds, and other creatures in her world, while seeing her similarity to them. The first two books fall into the read-aloud category. The next book, The Golden Book of Little Verses, has a higher word to illustration ratio. The little poems are fun and filled with onomatopoeia and other animal sounds that kids love; they have a Mother Goose feel.

After that, The Up and Down Book teaches direction. The last book has selections from The Golden Song Book with pictures, lyrics, and sheet music. The songs are popular carols and nursery, cradle, round and folk tunes such as “Happy Birthday to You,” “Muffin Man,” “A Froggy Went a Courting” and many more. There are about twenty-one songs in all.

The entire collection is in a large book , about 10 x 9 inches, and sturdy. The pictures and type are large enough to be seen in a preschool class and the pictures charmingly depict the stories. Most of the pictures have a world of wonder for a child’s imagination to fall into.


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  Carole McDonnell/2014 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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