CM . . .
. Volume XII Number 12 . . . . February 17, 2006
Whenever I hear the words, “It takes two,” I must admit that I want to complete it with the song lyrics, “to tango.” But many activities require the collaboration of two people, and, although it ultimately requires more than just two people to produce a picture book, the key creative pair are the author and the illustrator. Producing a calendar with this author/illustrator partnership as its theme was the shared creative idea of well-known author Eric Walters and Kevin Spreekmaster, the latter also serving as the calendar's photographer.
Linda Bailey/Bill Slavin.
Matt Napier/Melanie Ross.
Kim Fernandes/Eugenie Fernandes.
Margriet Ruurs/Barbara Spurll.
Paulette Bourgeois/Brenda Clark.
Sandra Lightburn/Ron Lightburn.
Jo Ellen Bogart/Barbara Reid.
Andrea Spalding/Janet Wilson.
Allen Morgan/Michael Martchenko.
Sharon Jennings/Ruth Ohi.
Rachna Gilmore/Alice Priestly.
Jean Little/Werner Zimmerman.
Closed, It Takes Two measures approximately 29 cms. in height and 30.5 cms. in width (11½” x 12"). When opened, the top “page” for each month consists of a photograph of the author/illustrator pairing in a setting related to one of their shared books. Consequently, Linda Bailey and Bill Slavin, who together produced Stanley's Party, are seated on a couch surrounded by a plethora of dogs. Matt Napier, who wrote Z is for Zamboni: A Hockey Alphabet and Melanie Rose, who provided the illustrations, were photographed in a hockey rink perched on the “bumper” of a Zamboni. (Get out your magnifying glass - that autograph on Napier's Canadiens sweater is that of Maurice Richard!) For Pippin and the Christmas Pig, Jean Little and Werner Zimmerman are dressed as Santas (sans beards though Werner does sport his own natural goatee). The only exception to this photographic pattern is that of the Lightburns where Ron has provided an original illustrated portrait of himself and his wife. At the bottom of each of the author/illustrator photograph pages is a reproduction of the cover of the featured book.
A final delightful design addition to this portion of the calendar is the photograph of a pair of footwear connected to the month's book. For instance, April's book is Emma at the Fair, written by Margriet Ruurs and illustrated by Barbara Spurll. The pair were photographed in a barn, and, if you've ever mucked out a barn, you'll know why a pair of high rubber boots is the appropriate thing for them to be wearing. Children could have fun explaining why the various types of footwear were chosen.
The calendar closes with a three page foldout that repeats a head and shoulders cropped version of each author/illustrator photograph and then lists four other books produced individually or collaboratively by the pairing. Photos of the books' covers are also provided.
As a means of promotion the reading of Canadian children's books, It Takes Two is one of the most imaginative annual calendars I have ever seen. After the year is over, its value remains as the individual author/illustrator photos can continue to be used as wall decorations or as the core of book displays. Not just an institutional purchase, It Takes Two belongs in homes as well where the turning of each month's page could be the catalyst for reading all the age-appropriate books by that month's pairings.
Dave Jenkinson, who lives in Winnipeg, MB, is CM's editor.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.