Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘children’s books’

18 JANUARY, 2013

Bob Dylan’s 1974 Classic “Forever Young,” Illustrated

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“May you grow up to be righteous, may you grow up to be true… May you stay forever young.”

On January 18, 1974, the world welcomed Bob Dylan’s Planet Waves album. On it was “Forever Young” — one of Dylan’s most beloved songs, inspired by his four-year-old son Jakob.

In 2008, Dylan asked award-winning illustrator Paul Rogers, whose stunning covers for Hemingway classics you may have encountered and admired, to apply his signature mid-century aesthetic in reimagining the lyrics of the iconic anthem as a series of illustrated vignettes for young readers. Forever Young (UK; public library) was born — a charming children’s book about a little boy who embodies the heart of the Dylan classic: adventurousness, doing the right thing, and the eternal spirit of youth.

Rogers writes in the Illustrator’s Notes, before offering a page-by-page breakdown of some of the hidden stories in the drawings:

Listening to nearly every Dylan album while creating the illustrations for this book gave me time to think about the people who inspired him and how his music has inspired so many. These drawings include images from Dylan’s life and lyrics from his songs. Some are obvious and others are meant to be a bit of a mystery.

Forever Young is at once refreshingly unexpected and somehow completely natural — the lyrics, after all, are the perfect life-advice to youngsters:

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young

Open Culture

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15 JANUARY, 2013

The Night Riders

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A charming and unexpected adventure story by one of today’s most extraordinary young comic artists.

Much has been written about what makes a great children’s book, but at the end of the day, it’s like porn — you know it when you see it. That’s precisely what The Night Riders (UK; public library), the picture-book debut of comic artist Matt Furie, presents — the whimsical, imaginative story of a night frog and a mouse, who encounter a cast of wild and colorful characters on a dirt bike adventure.

Images via 50 Watts

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10 JANUARY, 2013

Chu’s Day: Neil Gaiman’s Charming Children’s Book

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“It’s the shortest book I’ve ever written and, right now, I think it might be the one I’m most proud of.”

In March of 2011, author Neil Gaimandisciplined storyteller, champion of the arts — journeyed to China to write the English scripts for a 3D feature film adaptation of the classic Chinese novel Journey to the West. There, he had a baby giant panda sit on his lap and eat bamboo — an experience just as irresistibly adorable as you’d imagine, and one that inspired Gaiman to write his shortest book yet, a children’s story about a sneezing baby panda. Titled Chu’s Day (UK; public library) and tenderly illustrated by artist Adam Rex, the little gem is out this week as a delightful contemporary addition to other children’s books by famous authors of grown-up literature.

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