From the Publisher
“*Starred Review* Written in an engaging style with clarity and immediacy, this doubles as an accessible primer on the art of penning and visualizing picture books. Filled with intriguing tidbits, this is an outstanding work about the connections between parents and children, editors and artists and readers and writers.” Kirkus Reviews
“[T]he writing level is perfectly in keeping with elementary-school children, and the style is chatty and anecdotal.” Horn Book, Jan/Feb issue
Leonard S. Marcus previously profiled a quintet of famous picture-book collaborators in his Side by Side: Five Favorite Picture-Book Teams Go to Work (PW's starred review said, "Readers may well end up appreciating their favorite picture books more, for the energy and ingenuity it takes to create them"), which is now available in a paperback edition ($11.95 ISBN 978-0-8027-9616-5). In a companion of sorts, Pass It Down: Five Picture-Book Families Make Their Mark, Marcus explores creativity in the genes of the Crews family, the Hurds, the Myerses, the Pinkneys and the Rockwells. Early influences (the home of Donald Crews's grandmother, which winds up in Bigmama's) and early drafts (a typed-out front page for Little Dog, Dreaming "by Edith Thacher Hurd, Thacher Hurd, Clement Hurd"), an editorial letter, a sketch and watercolor painted by Brian Pinkney with father Jerry as his model, add to the candor of the text. The narrative consists largely of parent-child conversations that Marcus captures so effortlessly it feels like readers are eavesdropping. (Walker, $19.95 56p ages 8-12 ISBN 978-0-8027-9600-4; Jan.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 4 Up
Marcus presents the events and circumstances that have resulted in five picture-book dynasties. Each chapter includes biographical information about the subjects that zeroes in on the salient pieces that nurtured artistic growth and includes numerous quotes from the authors/illustrators themselves. The featured families are Donald Crews, Ann Jonas, and Nina Crews; Clement and Edith Hurd and Thacher Hurd; Walter Dean Myers and Christopher Myers; Jerry Pinkney and Brian Pinkney; and Harlow and Anne Rockwell and Lizzy Rockwell. Marcus carefully makes the point that, although perhaps blessed with some inherited talent and encouraged by their parents, all of the children pursued their art with diligence and have emerged with their own unique styles. Marcus's writing is, as usual, tight but lively, and each chapter is liberally laced with photographs, preliminary sketches, and final art. The book will be of interest to those readers who enjoy getting behind the scenes of the books they love.
Grace OliffCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's literature scholar Marcus is back with a fascinating portrait of five families who have achieved success in their picture-book endeavors. His intelligent introduction explains that offspring inherit not only traits like eye and hair color but talent in such areas as music and art. Nina Crews, Thatcher Hurd, Christopher Myers, Brian Pinkney and Lizzy Rockwell had their gifts nurtured from an early age by their like-minded parents. The contrast between the experiences of these children and that of their struggling elders is compelling: Walter Dean Myers and Anne Rockwell were foster children; Clement Hurd rebelled against his high-society clan; the working class dads of Donald Crews and Jerry Pinkney focused on making a living, not their son's aspirations. Interspersed with quotations from the subjects, the text is lavishly illustrated with letters, family photographs and portraits of the artists at work, sketches, storyboard studies and finished artwork. Written in an engaging style with clarity and immediacy, this doubles as an accessible primer on the art of penning and visualizing picture books. Filled with intriguing tidbits, this is an outstanding work about the connections between parents and children, editors and artists and readers and writers. (photo credits, selective bibliography, glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 9-13)