November 7th, 2012

Oh Happy Day – It’s Picture Book Month!

If you love picture books, and if you’re lucky enough to get to create them, then Picture Book Month might be be something you’d really enjoy. So what is Picture Book Month all about? Well, the web site states:“Picture Book Month is an international literacy initiative that celebrates the print picture book during the month of November.”

November can be a pretty dreary month as the days get shorter & darker, so I think a celebration around this glorious art form is just what the doctor ordered. And I figured I’d like to do my little bit by writing about some of the picture books out there that really move and inspire me.

Now I don’t wanna get all political on this blog, but just in case you didn’t know, there was an election last night, and this guy won. I suspect that many of my friends are feeling mighty happy today. So I think it only fitting that I start off with probably one of my most favourite picture books, The Happy Day by Ruth Krauss, illustrated by Marc Simont. While reading Philip Nel’s wonderful biography of Crockett Johnson & Ruth Krauss, I found this quote, which I agree with, wholeheartedly: Susan Carr Hirschman, who ultimately had a half-century career in children’s book publishing, considers The Happy Day “one of the few perfect books for children that have ever been written.”

Lately I find myself drawn to picture books created in the 50s & 60s, and especially books with a limited choice of colours & clear, concise language. Books that truly get to ‘the heart of the matter’. For me, The Happy Day captures that sense of the joy of a beautiful moment in time more so than any other picture book I’ve ever read. Delicate black & white illustrations depict a quiet peaceful day in a wintery forest, where one by one, the animals awake and leave the comfort of their homes to enjoy the beauty of a gentle snowfall. It brings back memories of quiet days as a child, enjoying the snow, not a care in the world. I could read this book over and over. And I do. Because we all need a happy day every now and then.

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