Nothing frustrates many picture-book artists more than hearing people say that writing for children is “easier” than writing for adults. Maurice Sendak suggests why it isn’t easier in these comments on the work of the great French-born American illustrator Tomi Ungerer (Moon Man), winner of the 1998 Hans Christian Andersen Award for illustration:
“Some adults look at [Ungerer’s] work, then rush to drag out the bromide that explains how easy it is to make a picture book: ‘Just a handful of sentences and a lot of blazing pictures.’ These critics fail to see that a successful picture book is a visual poem.”
Maurice Sendak in Caledcott & Co.: Notes on Books and Pictures (Farrar, Straus/Michael di Capua, 1990), by Maurice Sendak.
Comment by Janice Harayda:
Maurice Sendak is one of the few living picture-book artists who is also a great critic. Caldedott & Co. collects his reviews of books by or about authors or illustrators who include Edward Ardizzone, Randolph Caldecott, Walt Disney, Beatrix Potter, Margaret Wise Brown and Arthur Yorkinks and Richard Egielski. This book would help almost anyone gain a better understanding – and appreciation of – the gifts of the artists he considers.
© 2007 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.