Thursday, September 15, 2011

leo lionni

He's hardly unknown, and (since he died in 1999) he's unlikely to produce anything new. But children's book writer and illustrator Leo Lionni feels so relevant. His images get plenty of well-deserved attention:

From "Swimmy"
"Little Blue and Little Yellow"

but I almost like his words even more. Take "Fish Is Fish," the sweet story of two "inseparable friends," a fish and a tadpole. This is the fish, finally understanding that he can't jump out of the pond like his friend, who has become a frog: "The sunrays reached down within the weeds and gently shifted patches of luminous color. This world was surely the most beautiful of all worlds."

I'd been meaning to write about Lionni for a while—and then I stumbled on this post, articulating just why he's so good. I hadn't known about the Lionni videos, either: You can find lots of great animated versions of Lionni's stories on youtube. The narration is mostly straight from the books (with minor embellishment), and the graphics have an old-school, plain-but-stylized charm:

As you can see, the videos sure made a four- and eight-year-old happy.

As you can also see, my kids aren't dressed, and my desk is a complete mess

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