Miriam's Reviews > We Were Tired of Living in a House

We Were Tired of Living in a House by Liesel Moak Skorpen
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Feb 23, 12

bookshelves: picture
Recommended to Miriam by: Reve
Read from February 22 to 23, 2012

I don't think the person who wrote the blurb used here understood the book. It is not like Goldilocks. The kids are not having scary misadventures. They do not learn a lesson. It is perfectly obvious from the illustrations that the brothers and sister are out having a day of play in nature and their mother knows where they are. This is much more like Swallows and Amazons with younger kids than like Goldilocks. All very peaceful and cheerful.
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Comments (showing 1-20 of 20) (20 new)

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message 1: by Emilie (new)

Emilie i hate when the person writing the blurb didn't read or understand the book.

Miriam Maybe they did read it...I think some people just assume that books for children must have some sort of lesson.

message 3: by Emilie (new)

Emilie yes, that sounds likely about this one, an assumption that it must have a lesson and a quick fitting it into an expected framework perhaps. i meant it as either didn't read/or didn't understand it. i was thinking of the blurb on the back of rosie carpe, which i just read, and which felt to me like the person had maybe stopped reading after the first few pages.

Miriam Yeah, or possibly in this case read the text without the illustrations.

message 5: by Emilie (new)

Emilie that's interesting, do the illustrations change the meaning that much. i had wondered before you wrote that, if they had only looked at the art, and that had reminded the reader of the goldilocks story.

message 6: by Miriam (last edited Feb 25, 2012 11:13AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Miriam The illustrations make it really obvious that they are just out playing. You see their mother packing up sandwiches and sweaters, and (for instance) where the text says "we liked our raft. Until it sank" the picture shows them walking on the bottom of the lake and talking to animals. It's clearly not realism. The text conveys less than the images, and does not prohibit the interpretation given in the blurb.

message 7: by Emilie (new)

Emilie "we liked our raft. Until it sank" could go so many ways. yeah, without the images, i'd imagine a gorey-esque kind of mood. it does seem pretty silly, though, to review a picture book without seeing the images.

Miriam Yeah, with Gorey illustrating the same text it could have been a completely different story! These illustrations were the opposite of Gorey -- brightly-colored, cheerful, kind of blobby (you know, like in context that purple thing is clearly a rock, but really it's just a blob of paint?).

message 9: by Emilie (new)

Emilie i like that as a descriptor, blobby, it made me smile. i do know what you mean. blobby style (i want to say it again and again, blobby, blobby, blobby!) feels to me a bit like it's evoking fingerpainting in the kind of way that it's perceived as childlike and crude and simplified. but i like the look of fingerpainting (i like the play of texture in it) and i don't tend to like blobby. (though i don't think i really tend to go for brightly-colored and cheerful either.) i'm not sure why, but something about blobby makes me uncomfortable.

message 10: by Miriam (last edited Feb 25, 2012 04:26PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Miriam These are good relative to that type of illustrating style, and I did think they went with the feel of the story, but I didn't love them in and of themselves. I'd never put on my wall the way I would Gorey or, oh, Chris Van Allsburg or Maurice Sendak or Trina Schart Hyman or Barbara McClintock or Bagram Ibatoulline or a ton of other illustrators.

Do you have a preferred style(s)?

message 11: by Emilie (new)

Emilie i don't know Trina Schart Hyman or Barbara McClintock or Bagram Ibatoulline. (need to look them up!) i love maurice sendak and gorey. i really like chris van allsburg, too.

i love arthur rackham, edmund dulac, harry clarke, gustave dore, adrienne segur. i really like the dillons, too.

message 12: by Emilie (new)

Emilie oh, i LOVE trina schart hyman! i am having trouble finding images by barbara mcclintock. i want to get some fairy tales books illustrated by trina schart hyman. what are your favorites by them?

message 13: by Miriam (last edited Feb 25, 2012 08:15PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Miriam Yeah, Hyman is pretty much a Figure in the illustrating world. She usually doesn't write books herself which I think is why you might not have immediately recognized her name. But last year I saw her stuff in a museum!

I love Dulac and Rackham a lot. But they're long dead, sadly, and I'm sure their work goes for tens of thousands of dollars. I wonder how much modern illustrators get paid? I've seen a couple recently selling prints very reasonably.

I liked McClintock's Molly and the Magic Wishbone. Dickens, with cats! Ibatoulline I don't think is so famous but I think he is really painterly. I loved the images from The Serpent Came to Gloucester.

message 14: by Emilie (new)

Emilie dickens w/cats sounds cool. her cats names are pip and emma!

message 15: by Magda (new)

Magda There was a recent art exhibit here in Sarasota which included some Trina Schart Hyman (and others) in a lovely fairy tale art exhibit:



I wish I had asked you to come visit, Miriam. They even had some little bookcases with more children's books with illustrations by the same artists.

Miriam I actually saw that exhibition! It was at the Haggin Museum in Stockton last year! Funny coincidence. I have the exhibit poster from it -- it was Hyman's Little Red Riding Hood.

message 17: by Magda (new)

Magda Hooray!

message 18: by Emilie (new)

Emilie i'm jealous. i love her little red, too.

Miriam That link Magda posted has a tour schedule, maybe it will visit someplace you can see it.

message 20: by Emilie (new)

Emilie it's not coming here.

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