Book Review: Show & Tell

There’s so much to see and experience in Dilys Evans’ Show & Tell: Exploring the fine Art of Children’s Book Illustration! The cover alone is enough to draw one in, featuring as it does David Shannon’s David and Hilary Knight’s Eloise:

Show and Tell: Exploring the Fine Art of Children's Book Illustration

Now the president of Dilys Evans Fine Illustration, Evans is a past art director of Cricket magazine and advisor to the Caldecott Award committees. She has worked with some of the most acclaimed children’s book illustrators of our time, including Caldecott Award winner David Wiesner, who has this to say about Show & Tell: “Dilys Evans’ consuming passion has always been to ‘show and tell’ the world about the beauty, complexity and amazing scope of the art of the picture book.”

This passion is evident on every page of this extraordinarily beautiful and literate book. For those new to the idea of picture book art as fine art, I invite you to explore this book, which includes such renowned illustrators as Trina Schart Hyman, Betsy Lewin, Denise Fleming, Lane Smith, David Wiesner, among others. Evans explained that she chose these because she admired their work and because this group offers readers as broad a reference as possible.  Her goal is to give us all a language to use to talk about art on the page that we can then take to explore the many, many wonderful books on our shelves.

Clearly a pioneer in this field,  Dilys Evans broke new ground when she founded The Original Art Exhibition in 1980, an annual show in New York dedicated to the idea that children’s book illustration is as much an art form as anything found in a museum.

The  Coventry Village Library is breaking similar ground, though on a much smaller scale, with our Picture Book Gallery, recently created and currently featuring a display of amazing picture book art on the soaring subject of Flying.  Coventry staff Henry Drak and Melissa O’Grady combined their considerable gifts to bring this gallery to life.  The written description that accompanies the display could almost have been written by Dilys Evans herself: “Picture book art is not usually discussed or reviewed as fine art, but the power of a talented artist to represent people, emotions and scenes from life outside of our own experience is undeniable…Picture book art is meaningful and the skill that goes into creating the best of it deserves an oppoortunity to be viewed and appreciated in a space all of its own.”    Please visit soon!          Â