"In Bed" with Peter Sis

October, 2011

Peter Sís The stories and illustrations of Peter Sís usher the reader into a vibrant, textured world: layered images in oil pastels, pen and ink washed with watercolor, and ornamentation via maps and charts. Czechoslovakian born, the artist won his third Caldecott in 2008 for The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain, a children's book about his Communist upbringing. Today the New York resident has published more than 20 books and contributed illustrations to notable works such as The Whipping Boy. His newest work and first offering for adults is The Conference of the Birds, an illustrated adaptation of an epic 12th-century Sufi poem of the same name by Farid Ud-Din Attar. A hoopoe bird leads a massive flock on a fanciful, soul-searching flight to the mountain of Kaf to find their true king. Sís shares his favorite illustrated books from childhood and beyond.

"Oh, those were the days when I was gently reading with my children in bed."

The Three Robbers by Tomi Ungerer
"That was so much fun. Simple, strong graphics, great story, lots of sounds, and a happy ending. Beautiful book. Blue colors of the night, black hats of the robbers, yellow moon, red ax...and blunderbuss!"


Millions of Cats by Wanda Gág
"Another favorite, and again a perfect bedtime story. Amazing lithographs, an ageless feeling of a book that could be 100 years old or published yesterday. And those cats are everywhere, most of all in your dreams. Purring...stretching...and meowing, like Wabi Sabi (Mark Reibstein and Ed Young) collages that leave you wondering about what is our world made of and where do the cats go when we are sleeping. Are they on the other side of the world...trying to find the way back to us? Makes you want to make a collage as soon as you get up."


Donald Has a Difficulty by Peter F. Neumeyer and Edward Gorey
"Because we all do have difficulties sometimes. And Edward Gorey, with his delightful lines creating structures made in illustrator's heaven, rocks you to sleep where there are no difficulties. Oh, illustration heaven: picture books with images made by Maurice Sendak, Angela Barrett, Peter McCarty, William Steig, Barbara McClintock, Saul Steinberg, Vladimir Radunsky, Christopher Myers, Maira Kalman, François Place...where you just glide and soar with these guardian angels."


The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
"The most guardian of them all. Gentle musing about everything and everybody, opening the doors of imagination, spinning the planets of fantasy—he took me for a flight one bedtime a long time ago, and I was trying to do the same for my children. The time flies by when you have a book full of magic. Am I even supposed to read to 17- and 19-year-olds? Will have to ask some bookseller."



Vote for your own favorites on Listopia: Children's Picture Books with Beautiful illustrations



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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Tammie (last edited Nov 22, 2011 11:15AM) (new)

Tammie The Wolves in the Walls
"When the wolves come out of the walls, it's all over." In Neil Gaiman's imaginative tale, Lucy and the readers are left to wonder, "What's it?"


message 2: by Clancy (new)

Clancy A very beautifully illustrated book I came across was Favole: Stone Tears by Victoria Frances, her artwork is very otherworldly and I loved just looking at the pictures although there are poetic verses alongside. I believe she has done two more of these books.


message 3: by Rich (new)

Rich Stoehr Tammie wrote: "The Wolves in the Walls
"When the wolves come out of the walls, it's all over." In Neil Gaiman's imaginative tale, Lucy and the readers are left to wonder, "What's it?""


YES! That's exactly the book I was thinking of too. I have delightful memories of reading this to my youngest daughter over and over.


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