About the Authors, p.1
Beyond the Great Green Room
Mention Goodnight Moon, and you're likely to get an instant smile from any child or parent. First published in 1947, this beloved classic by author Margaret Wise Brown and illustrator Clement Hurd has sold more than 10 million copies and has never been out of print. The title My World, however, is just as likely to draw blank stares. Published in 1949, this volume was only printed in black and orange, unlike Goodnight Moon, which came out in full color from the start. And while My World features the same little rabbit, it has long since been out of print.
So why wasn't My World printed in full color from the beginning? Sales of Goodnight Moon, which hadn't taken off immediately and become the phenomenon it is today, probably didn't justify the expense, says Clement's son, Thacher Hurd, noting that full-color was "a big deal" back then.
Now, thanks to Thacher, 52, whose birth was announced in the book's dedication and who is himself an accomplished children's book author and illustrator, My World has been given a second life -- with a new printing and a new look. "I'm sure my father and Margaret Wise Brown would have wanted it in full color," says Thacher, who used a computer to recolorize the book in the same palette as Goodnight Moon. "While My World isn't a sequel, it's related and the colors worked right away."
-- Heather Vogel Frederick
An Eye for Detail
Reading one of Graeme Base's picture books is like peeling an onion. "There are layers of meaning that slowly reveal themselves," says Base, 43, who lives with his wife and children in Melbourne, Australia. This is true of his latest book, The Water Hole. At first glance, you might simply see a counting book. But as you read on, you may wonder, "Wait a second -- what's going on here?"
A companion volume to Animalia, his best-selling alphabet book, The Water Hole was initially going to be set in Africa, which Base calls "the single most inspirational place I've ever been." As he developed the idea of using a water hole as a metaphor for the world's water resources, however, "it grew into a global book." Each scene in The Water Hole introduces readers to a new geographic region and its indigenous creatures (some visible, some hidden).
As the water hole begins to shrink, the first thing to disappear are the frogs. The amphibians' gradual departure creates a counting game in reverse, with the frogs declining as other animals increase. They also provide the final surprise involving the celebratory return of the water hole and all the animals. Says Base, "I was initially stumped as to what to do for the final picture search, but then realized --what else? -- bring back the frogs and hide them in the trees!"
-- Heather Vogel Frederick