CM . . .
. Volume XIII Number 3 . . . . September 29, 2006
Following the introduction is a catalogue of 26 works illustrated by Randolph Caldecott. In the preface, Desmarais explains that the works exhibited in the book are from his own personal collection. Some of the profiled books that span the years from 1873-1886 were both written and illustrated by Caldecott (e.g., the Picture Books). As well as a narrative description of each of the 26 featured books, Desmarais includes accompanying coloured or sepia reproductions of Caldecott's illustrations. Indeed, Desmarais's passion for and knowledge about the work of Randolph Caldecott are most evident in this text.
The catalogue organization of the book results in repetition as some of the featured works are also described by Desmarais in the introduction. In addition, as described in the introduction, common illustrative elements and techniques can be discerned by examining Caldecott's work. Thus, Desmarais's observations and interpretations of Caldecott's work become repetitive in nature. Further, in several places in the book, Desmarais writes about how children will read, view and interpret Caldecott's illustrations. However, the latter are the opinions of Desmarais, not children, and he provides no research to support his suppositions that are presented as facts and not speculations. Desmarais does provide a list of cited works which can be consulted for further reading on Caldecott. Interestingly, there is no mention of the prestigious award named for Randolph Caldecott that is given annually to the illustrator of the most distinguished picture book for children published in the United States.
Sylvia Pantaleo is a language arts professor in the Faculty of Education, University of Victoria, in Victoria, BC.
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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.