Friday, November 7, 2014

Beautiful Book #30

Seven Blind Mice by Ed Young. Philomel, 1992.

Chinese-American illustrator, Ed Young, stands atop an impressive body of work: over 80 illustrated children's books with several of those titles also written by him. His art spans a range of styles, from pencil drawing to collage, and the genres of books he illustrates are equally diverse, although I think he is at his best when interpreting folklore. His work philosophy sees illustration in conversation with text: when a book is successful the two complement each other to create a balanced and complete work. He is best known for Lon Po Po: A Red Riding Hood Story from China for which he won the Caldecott Medal in 1990.

I am rather fond of his take on the fable of the seven blind mice. Its black background, brightly saturated colours and paper-collage texture make it a visual feast. The text is spare, as is fitting a fable, and the moral is revealed neatly and succinctly at the end. Its simplicity makes it easy to read with very young children who are too often alienated by the maturity of folklore. Whether you're young or old, the book is a treat.

Despite the longevity of his career (his 1st book was published in 1962), he is still active as an illustrator and has two forthcoming books for 2015. You can learn more about those and his other works at

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