Book 228: Scraps, Notes from a Colorful Life

Scraps -- coverSeems I’m not going to be able to rest until I tell you about this new one from Lois Ehlert, which I just love. Lois Ehlert has illustrated thirty-five picture books and won just about all the awards. Her topics of choice seem to mostly involve nature, and her colors are big and bold and impossibly bright.  In Scraps, we get a behind-the-scenes look at how an artist is made.



Scraps -- butterfly

The book is an album of her life as an artist, with photos of her parents and the modest home she grew up in in Wisconsin.  I love the photo of her parents coming home after hunting wild asparagus.  Her mother is holding a bunch of asparagus and her father looks as pleased as punch.

Ehlert’s parents “made things with their hands” and encouraged their daughter to do the same. She didn’t make books right away, though.  An egg in the nest, Ehlert observes, doesn’t become a bird overnight.

The artist takes us through the process of making a book (there’s a great spread of the way she sketches out a dummy) and the way she has perfected the collage technique.  “I spatter paint with a toothbrush,” she writes.  [I] “rub a crayon over my grater.”

The book ends with the illustrator wishing the reader a “colorful life.”  The endpapers are filled with pictures of her art collection and supplies. She dedicated this book to her editor, too, and included a picture of her at the end of the book.  The book is bursting with generosity and optimism, and it’s filled with wonderful things to look at.  ABZ

Scraps -- handprint


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