Tuesday, September 3, 2013


There is a wonderful exhibition going on right now at the New York Public Library:  The ABC Of It:  Why Children's Books Matter.  (http://www.nypl.org/events/exhibitions/abc-it)  I actually haven't seen it yet myself, but even so, I already know it's wonderful---for three reasons.  First, because as a professional in the field of children's books, I believe that what I'm doing does matter, and this show focuses directly on that premise.  Second, because the show was curated by the super-knowledgeable Leonard S. Marcus.  Leonard is also moderating a series of panel discussions in conjunction with the exhibition (http://bankstreetcollegeccl.wordpress.com/2013/09/03/inside-the-abc-of-it-a-series-of-three-panel-discussions-with-leonard-marcus-and-special-guests/) and I encourage you to attend those panels if you possibly can.
The third reason is because I know from my own childhood that children's books matter.  The first book I remember ever looking at was Pretzel, by Margret and H. A. Rey.  Pretzel spoke to me directly, clearly, emphatically.  I couldn't say what it was that I learned from that book.  All I know is that its story and images have stayed with me, bright and sparkling, throughout my life.  I have only one sad experience with Pretzel.  Many many years ago, I visited an exhibition of the work of H. A. Rey.  Part of the exhibition included illustrations from Pretzel.  And the artwork was for sale.  The pieces were not terribly expensive, even for those days.  But I was a poor, starving artist then.  I debated...debated...debated...and decided that I would not buy a piece.  How I have since regretted that decision.