Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Art of Reading: Forty Illustrators Celebrate RIF’s 40th Anniversary

The Art of Reading: Forty Illustrators Celebrate RIF’s 40th Anniversary

Reading Is Fundamental Staff
For ages 5 and up
Penguin, 2005   ISBN: 978-0525474845

Have you ever wondered what it was that got your favorite children’s book illustrator interested in books in the first place? What did Lois Ehlert, Lynne Cherry, Steven Kellogg, Peter Sis, or Mark Teague like to read when they were young and how did their love of books turn into wanting to create books for themselves? Within the pages of this extraordinary book readers of all ages will find out the answers to these and many other questions that they might have about illustrators and their world. Forty illustrators, many of whom write the books they illustrate, tell us what kinds of books excite them and how reading and creating books have changed their lives.

Each illustrator, in his or her own words, tells us what their favorite book was when they were a child. They then go on to tell us more about how the book influenced them and how their relationship with books has evolved over the years. To accompany their words each artist has created a picture of a scene from their favorite book. For example when she was young Patricia Polacco loved "Horton Hatches the egg" by Dr. Seuss, and to illustrate her words she has drawn a charming picture of herself sitting on a sofa with Horton at her side. It is interesting to see how these artists might have illustrated their favorite books had they been given the opportunity to do so.

Each account and each picture is very personal and it gives the reader the sense that they are been given a very unique opportunity to get to know these wonderful people. The reader will also come to see how much a book can affect the life of a child and how valuable books and reading can be to young people.

At the back of the book readers will find further information about each of the illustrators who have shared their thoughts and art with us.