This visual feast follows the successful pattern established in the first volume: a sidebar with a photo and biographical sketch of the illustrator introduces carefully labeled, high-quality reproductions of children's book art with quotations from the artist. There are, however, many improvements over the earlier title. Because of the sophisticated new page design, the organization is better and more visually appealing. In volume one, entries ran to three pages, frequently leaving different artists on facing pages. This book usually employs two double-page spreads, providing more generous coverage. Cummins has selected more than 50 artists that go beyond the first volume's "notables" and introduces many up-and-coming illustrators (e.g., Mark Buehner, Yumi Heo, Dan Yaccarino) along with established artists not previously included (e.g., Victoria Chess, Leo and Diane Dillon, Ted Lewin). In addition to author/illustrator and title indexes, a segment for publishers has been added. Because of increased interest in children's book illustration and visual literacy, most public libraries should consider adding these volumes to their collections. Academic collections will find them essential because they document the contemporary scene and anticipate the future.--Sue Burgess, Framingham State College, MA
This beautifully produced volume presents 82 modern children's book illustrators. Most are American and still active in the field. Typically, each artist is introduced with a black-and-white photograph and a paragraph of background and credits. Also included are reproductions (reduced in size) of several illustrations from representative picture books and comments from the artist about how he or she approached those works. Though all too brief, these reflections are the most interesting and unusual part of the book. After all, the picture books themselves are readily available, and the biographical information is relatively easy to find. One can quibble with the choice of illustrators: Where's Sendak? Kellogg? But having so many beautifully reproduced illustrations pulled together in one volume makes it clear that many gifted artists are working in the field today. While this costly book doesn't provide much information for researchers, it is a unique visual introduction to the myriad styles of contemporary children's book illustration.