Thursday, August 25, 2011

Illustrations in Old Favorites

I love reading books with illustrations. Not only are they pretty to look at, I think they create a whole new way to dive into the story. In hindsight, it is unsurprising that several of the books I am reading for FOOF have illustrations. In this post, I'd like to highlight some of the books I'm reading as part of FOOF that have fantastic illustrations.

First is Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett (click for my review). I've already mentioned that I love how the illustrations are incorporated into the story. Not only are they wonderfully drawn by Brett Helquist, it is lots of fun to try to find the frogs hidden in nearly every picture. I love Helquist's illustration style. He has illustrated many well-known books, including the Series of Unfortunate Events (which I never read), the two sequels to Chasing Vermeer, and the cover of Fly By Night and Fly Trap (both of which I loved, and wished they'd had interior illustrations. Click to see my review of Fly By Night and of Fly Trap).

Visit Brett Helquist's website here.

I've picked out four illustrations from Chasing Vermeer that I particularly liked. I can find frogs in three of them. Can you find them all? Click on the pictures for larger images.

Another book I'm reading for FOOF with amazing illustrations is The Legend of Holly Claus, by Brittney Ryan (EDIT: Click for my review). The art was created by the incredibly talented Laurel Long. Every picture is a beautiful work of art, and I am certain one of the reasons I look back so fondly on this book is because of the amazing illustrations. In fact, several years ago, when I had first read this book, my friends and I each chose background characters from Long's illustrations to pretend to be. In any case, the illustrations are absolutely magical. I wanted to feature many more here, but the only illustrations I could find online were these two, which are both amazing anyway. Click for larger images.

Visit Laurel Long's website here.

The third book I want to feature for its amazing illustrations is The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick (click for my review). I featured a few of the illustrations in my review, and I wanted to share a few more here. I don't know exactly how many illustrations are in this book (although I'm sure I could find out with a little searching), but there are hundreds, and each one is wonderful. Most of these don't enlarge, but they were the best I could find online. I tried to scan in some for my review back in April, and I decided that using images that were already online would work much better, so sorry about that.

As far as I could tell, Brian Selznick does not have a website (please correct me if I am mistaken!) but the website for Hugo Cabret can be found here.

As an extra treat, click here to see the opening sequence of Hugo Cabret.

Next, the illustrations in Peter Pan in Scarlet, by Geraldine McCaughrean were some of the highlights of the book when I read it last summer. At the beginning of each chapter, there is a two-page illustration of some scene from the chapter. When I was reading the book, I found myself skipping ahead to see the picture for the next chapter before I went back to finish the chapter I was on. These fantastic illustrations were created by Scott M. Fischer. Click to enlarge the images.

Visit Scott M. Fischer's website here.

The last book I wanted to feature was The King in the Window, by Adam Gopnik. Unfortunately, I could not find any images online (well, only one, and I don't want to feature that one because it's one of my least favorite illustrations in the book). Every chapter begins with a 2½ by 2½ inch picture of a scene from that chapter. Although in this case, the illustrations are not the highlight of the book, they definitely add to it, and I'm very glad they are included. The illustrations in The King in the Window were done by Omar Rayyan.

Visit Omar Rayyan's website here.

By the way, if I manage to get an okay scan of any of the illustrations in The King in the Window, I'll edit them into this post.

What do you think of illustrations? Distracting? Improving? 
Do you care if they look different from how you imagine the characters? 
What are some of you favorite illustrated books?

This feature is part of my Fortnight of Old Favorites Challenge.

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