02 December 2015

William Pène du Bois’s Work Before It’s Gone

One of the children’s-book author-illustrators I really liked when I was young was William Pène du Bois. I got deep into his catalogue. The Three Policeman. Those koalas. Emil Bandicoot. Peter Graves before he became a square-jawed movie actor.

I see that this month the Eric Carle Museum is opening an exhibition of his work, titled “A Taste for Adventure”:
This exhibition marks the centenary of William Pène du Bois’s birth (1916-1993). Featured are illustrations from his 1947 Newbery Award-winning book, The Twenty-One Balloons, the fantastic story of Professor William Waterman Sherman’s around-the-world balloon voyage of 1883. Also on view are illustrations of Giant Otto, a large yellow hound who uses his size and strength to perform good deeds. Other endearing Pène du Bois characters come to life in Elizabeth the Cow Ghost, The Horse in the Camel Suit, and Porko von Popbutton. Pène du Bois’s illustrations animate text by such legendary authors as Isaac Bashevis Singer and local professor and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Wilbur.
I’ll have to get out to Amherst before May Day, when the exhibit closes. I also see that most of Pène du Bois’s books, aside from the Newbery winner (which is unusual, both in his oeuvre and among novels for young readers), are out of print.

No comments: