Thursday, October 27, 2011

In praise of black and white

In  The Martian Chronicles (I think), Ray Bradbury wrote a story of human space explorers on a planet where it rained endlessly.  I think they turned into mushrooms.  Well, I am turning into a mushroom.

Because of the mushroom nature of my inner being, I don't want to write a single book review tonight.  Instead, I will tell you a little bit about my visit with the Northeast Allentown Kiwanis yesterday.  Some of the Northeast members read to preschoolers at various Lehigh Valley Childcare sites.

Imagine my delight in meeting Beth Krommes' dad, Fred!  Beth won the 2009 Caldecott award for her illustrations for Susan Marie Swanson's The House in the Night.  Her name came up as I encouraged the volunteers to use black and white books as well as colorful books when reading to children.  I don't own Beth's book, so I used another Caldecott winner, Kevin Henkes' Kitten's First Full Moon, as an illustration.

I brought out my worn out copy of Andrew Henry's Meadow by Doris Burn and told the story of a first grade teacher who had her class vote on two books, Andrew Henry's Meadow and a bright and colorful book.  The class wanted the bright, colorful book.  Then the teacher read the books and asked the children to pick the one they liked best.  Burns' detailed black and white drawings and clever story won hands down.  

OH MY HEAVENS!!!!  Zach Braff is turning this book into a MOVIE!!!! I am totally thrilled about that!

So, Hugo, (see the trailer below) based on the wonderful grayscale novel  The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick, is now a movie.  And, soon, I hope, the black and white picture book about Andrew Henry and his inventions will become a movie.  See?  Color in children's books is GREAT!  I love it!  But black and white can be truly inspirational.

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