More Ruth E. Newton!

I went out to a few of my favorite antiques and collectibles shops in Ct. over the weekend (avoiding anything resembling a mall), and what luck! Another Ruth E. Newton book jumped out at me. This one is from her 1943 Mother Goose rendition, published by Whitman.

What I really like about her work (aside from the cute-but-not-too-cloying look) is her use of color. A great combo of natural tones, but hopped up a bit in saturation. Love it. This picture illustrates the lesser known Mother Goose rhyme, “I love little pussy…”.

Hmm, I can’t imagine why THAT one isn’t heard more often these days (snicker)!

Awesome Old-Time Book Artists, Part 1

For those of you who don’t know me in person, I have a serious penchant for things from the 30’s and 40’s. Mostly, I am talking about toys and children’s books, but also anything with graphics of the era- greeting cards, packaging, etc. My artistic leanings are approximately one generation off- I should have been born in 1937, instead of 1967! Anyhow, my point is- there are an amazing amount of great children’s book artists from the past, so I will post some art now and then from my collection. Today’s artist is an all-time favorite: Ruth E. Newton. This comes from her “Peter Rabbit” book from 1938, a Whitman book.

Ruth E. Newton (1884-1972) attended the Philadelphia School of Fine Art before beginning a long career as an illustrator of children’s books. She illustrated more than 40 books, many for the Whitman Publishing Co., and also designed greeting cards and dolls.

Her art is colorful without being too in your face, and cute, but not annoyingly so. Anyone who can walk that fine, fine line is offically awesome in my book! And check out the action in the picture here- no stiffness. Don’t get me wrong…the original Beatrix Potter one is swell, but Ruth brings her own fluffy joy to the character!

Illustration Friday:Thanksgiving

What a fine, fine, topical theme for this week’s Illo Friday (once again, brought to you on the weekend- are any of you really able to create art on Friday??)

Here we have one of my family’s favorite rituals- the decanning of the cranberry sauce. As everyone knows, cranberry sauce (the fully gelatinous type, NOT that awful “whole berry” stuff) must be decanned VERY carefully, or else you totally lose the highly desirable can shape.

There will be ten points awarded to the person who can most accurately describe the sound cranberry sauce makes as it exits the can- good luck!

Good luck also with all of your joyous family rituals this week- have a great one!

RIF Day!

Today I volunteered at my kids’ school for RIF Day…that’s right, Reading is STILL Fundamental!

It is always a fun and semi-exhausting day- it somehow never works out that 1st graders come first, followed by 2nd, etc. Instead, the 4th graders come, followed by the 1st graders, etc. That means putting out a couple hundered books, then putting them all away and pulling out a different batch (always trying to make sure age-appropriate books are available).

I love the way some kids come in and choose immediately, while others linger as long as possible, finessing their choice. My own kids fall into the latter category. It’s also intersting to see which books go, and which ones stay. Junie B. is alive and well, as is Charlie Bone and Magic Tree House. Not so hot this year? Sports books, we had a lot left. It’s hard to figure out the wants from year to year, we try to ask the teachers and librarian what kids seem to want, and go from there.

The RIF experience always reminds me of my own experience of getting to choose my own book, when I was around 9 (same age as my twins now). I remember there being what looked like serious leftover/remaindered books, and other kids not knowing what to pick. Then I saw it. The Holy Grail! A novel version of Meredith Willson’s The Music Man, complete with lyrics! Oh, happy, blessed day! Granted, this wasn’t a typical kid choice, but it was great for me. I still have it! If you get the chance, volunteer for your school’s next RIF day!

Illustration Friday: Clear

Yes it’s Illustration Friday- uh, Saturday, again!

Agnes has been a little lazy about cleaning her aquarium. Now she has to work extra hard at removing all the delicate layers of scum and making the glass clear again. If you have an aquarium, you know what this is like. In fact, I did this Illo Friday piece INSTEAD of cleaning my actual aquarium! Don’t worry, the fish are fine…I try not to let the algae get to this level of maturity.

Can you tell what I used as algae in the artwork? Sea if you can guess!