Who else as a kid obsessively read Cricket? A few weeks ago, on my way out the door after visiting with my parents, my mom hefted a huge paper bag into my arms. It weighed a ton and was full of... Cricket magazines!
Looking through them, its crazy how many covers and specific illustrations I clearly remember. ( I felt the same way going through old National Geographics, and I must have been even younger reading those... yeah I grew up without a tv, ok?) Some of them are so tattered and loved the binding is held together with tape. They're all here: Sendak, Hillary Knight, Trina Schart Hyman... I'm remembering Cricket is what made me want to be an illustrator in the first place.
There are also drawings I remember hating. In those days, I had very specific views on what made for a successful children's book. I have funny memories of sitting on the library floor, surrounded by piles of books, tossing ones aside in disgust.
Picture Book Requirements:
1. Realistic drawings. I was in LOVE with Trina Schart Hyman. But no "baby stuff" for me please. Meaning if I could hypothetically draw like it, I wasn't interested.
2. More pictures than words. Who wants a wordy picture book? I was a big fan of Stephen Kellog.
3. Mischevious and/or bossy kids. The naughtier the better. Eloise, Alexander and The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, In the Night Kitchen...
4. Lots of little details. The more detailed the better. Hidden puzzles? fabulous. Silly something going on in the background not related to the text. Perfect. I poured over Graeme Base's Eleventh Hour.
I like to believe my tastes have changed and ahem, matured. But I still think about that list sometimes when I'm drawing.
Back to Cricket. Cricket Thursdays! Randomly selected from the bag:
January 1991, volume 18, #5. Cover by Hillary Knight.
Though I remember the cover, I don't really remember any of the stories. "The Man Who's Mother Was A Pirate" by Margaret Mahy is definitely my favorite of the bunch now. Its illustrated by Margaret Chamberlain.
"It's for my mother," the little man explained. "She used to be a pirate."
"Oh, well, that's different," said Mr. Fat, who rather wished he were a pirate himself. "But make sure you are back in two weeks, or I will buy a computer."
Here are some more of my favorite images from the issue:
From "Winter Wings" by Mary Lee Donovan. Illustrations by Leslie Bowman.
Detail from "Dragon's Breath" by Mary Catelli. Illustrations by Richard Jesse Watson.
From "The Brave Lighthouse Keeper's Daughters" by Margaret M. Shermock. Illustrations by Victor Ambrus.
There are more images on Flickr...
Note: I'm noticing how grey these look. Sorry about that-- I guess I need to check my white balance. I'll figure that out for the future.