Saturday, January 15, 2011

Megan Montague Cash's Picture Book List

Megan Montague Cash is an author, illustrator and designer specializing in works for children. Her resumé includes toys, games, paper-engineered cards and numerous children’s museum exhibits. Megan has published a score of children’s books and her collaborations with cartoonist Mark Newgarden include Bow-Wow Bugs a Bug which won the Gold Medal at the Society of Illustrators Original Art Show in 2007 (among other awards). She teaches design and illustration at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn where she lives with her partner, the aforementioned cartoonist.

Click here or here to see Megan’s work.

Here are Megan’s Top 10 Favorite Children’s Books

(in chronological order)

There are plenty of recent children’s books that I love, but my most beloved were created years ago.

1.) Robert Francis Weatherbee: The Boy Who Would Not Go to School 
by Munro Leaf (1935)
Propaganda for children? Perhaps. In book after book, Leaf uses his gentle Jujutsu powers of influence. He teaches manners. He teaches safety. He teaches peace. In Robert Francis Weatherbee, he uses humor and common sense to illustrate the value of an education. Sadly, this charming book is no longer in print.

2.) Goodnight Moon
by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Clement Hurd (1947)
Brown, Hurd, the old lady rabbit, the young rabbit and the active little mouse have been putting children to sleep continuously for over 50 years.

3.) Finn Family Moomintroll 
by Tove Jansson (1948)
Spend some time meandering in Jansson’s world. The quirky text and exquisite images of Finn Family Moomintroll are pure pleasure. But don’t stop there. Every Jansson chapter book, picture book and comic strip compilation is just as good. Keep an eye out for the extraordinary die-cut The Book about Moomin, Mymble and Little My which is back in print after many years. The Moomin characters will follow you around long after you’ve returned the books to their shelves.

4.) Charlotte’s Web 
by E. B. White, illustrated by Garth Williams (1952)
 Unparalleled storytelling and art. Make sure to keep a box of tissues handy when you read this classic about love, loss and renewal. The original cover art for Charlotte’s Web recently sold at auction for $155,000, but this invaluable book can be found online for 25 cents.

5.) How to Make an Earthquake 
by Ruth Krauss, illustrated by Crockett Johnson (1954)
Possibly the best children’s books ever. It is storybook? No. Is it a chapter book? No. It’s kind of a “how to” book for kids. Like how to “Make a tunnel of love for kittens without a mother” and how to have “Fun at the Post Office”. Krauss and her husband Johnson most certainly knew how to make children happy. Since this masterpiece is not easily categorized into any of today’s cookie cutter publishing formats, it is of course, long out of print.

6.) Play With Me 
by Marie Hall Ets (1955)
This subtly gorgeous picture book illuminates the benefits of patience and mindfulness. It’s the perfect quiet book for an increasingly loud world. A well-deserved Caldecott Honor has helped keep this book in print.

7.) Sparkle and Spin 
by Ann and Paul Rand (1957)
Paul Rand was arguably the quintessential graphic designer of the mid-20th century. Ann was his partner in life and children’s books. Sparkle and Spin pretends to be about words but it’s really about pictures. Both words and pictures were brought back in print a few years ago.

8.) Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present (1962)
by Charlotte Zolotow, illustrated by Maurice Sendak
No favorite children’s book list is complete without the work of Maurice Sendak. A girl and a surprisingly large rabbit share a leisurely pastoral stroll. In this colorful and poetic classic, the two find a satisfying solution to a familiar problem. Another Caldecott Honor winner that’s easily available.

9.) Miffy 
by Dick Bruna (1963)
Bruna is master of the deceptively simple. Don’t confuse Miffy with Hello Copy Cat. Plenty of Bruna’s timeless children’s books are still in print and they’re all good. The weirder out of print ones like The Apple are also worth investigating. If you’re a graphic design fan, you might want to explore Bruna’s beautifully designed book covers for grown-ups. The books themselves may be rare, but the cover images are easy to find.

10.) The Sunshine Family and the Pony
by Sharron Loree (1972)
Written and illustrated by my mother, this is a true story about group of people who leave the city to form a commune. This picture book represents a transitional and idealistic time in American history and in the lives of my family. As all things must pass, it’s no surprise this period piece is no longer in print. (FYI: I’m the blonde girl on the cover.)

1 comment:

  1. Even though Megan's (great) list includes two chapter books (The Moomin book and Charlotte), I will still leave the title of the post "Picture Book List" in order to match the other people's entries. And those two books have lots of great drawings anyway...