I'd like to give a little praise to an old picture book I just found out about. I picked this one up from a microlibrary while on a walk with my baby boy. I love the mocrolibrary trend that is growing in Seattle residential neighborhoods. Although, I don't have my own, I've picked up and left dozens of books with them.
This particular find is titled Little Gorilla and is by Ruth Bornstein. It was first published in '76 but has more recently been released as a board book. This little book is a gem and pleases me on four levels.
Firstly, I love the art. The colored pencils are really great. It lends a softness and handmade friendliness that must be lost on the legions of illustrators insisting on using cold pixels to ply there craft. The drawings themselves are full of character and humor, especially the gorillas.
Secondly, I love when authors illustrate or illustrators author. There is a certain synthesis that happens rarely found in collaborations. Bornstein created this book, both words and pictures. Also, it is the opposite of what the childrens book publishers try to do. they insist on taking authors stories and pairing them with an illustrator from their stable. This to me seems like a fantastically bad idea but it's what we as creators trying to get published are up against.
Thirdly, my little one loves this book. He flips the pages eagerly to get to the page with a lion baring his teeth and then leans in to get a good look.
I should also mention that is a very sweet story with a simple message of love and acceptance.