In the midst of the frosty, overcast greys and whites of winter, the golden hues of John Lawrence's artwork in Tiny's Big Adventure (written by Martin Waddell the author of one of our favorites from Lately at the Library, Owl Babies) parts the way and warms your spirit like a steaming bowl of tomato basil soup. John maximizes his wood engraving expertise to highlight and celebrate a tale about the love between a brother and sister mouse. The brilliant gold and crimson pop off of the soft brown and blue to create wheat fields of enchantment.
Random House provides the perfect summary of this charming book by explaining, "Tiny Mouse has never been to the cornfield before, so he’s thrilled that his sister will take him. It’s the perfect place to play games, but it’s also full of strange new sights that make Tiny quiver and call out for his sister, who helps him feel braver. With boldly animated illustrations and a sympathetic story, Tiny’s Big Adventure captures all the excitement — and trepidation — of a first-time experience." It also shares this starred review from The Horn Book, "Visually lovely and perfectly cadenced, this warm-hearted adventure belongs in every library."
|Hastings Beach [source]|
From an author synopsis at Walker Books I learned that "John Lawrence grew up by the sea in Hastings. 'I loved swimming and pottering along the shore,' he says. 'It was terrible when sea defences, barbed wire and tank traps were put up along the South Coast in 1940. But it was really exciting to be allowed back onto the beach and into the sea a few years later, after the war.' John now thinks of himself a something of a workaholic. 'I have illustrated many books for adults and children over the last forty years,' he says. 'It's a particular pleasure to be doing more work for younger children, as I am at the moment.' John Lawrence has contributed to well over 100 books for children and adults as an illustrator and wood-engraver. He is renowned for his striking images that use tools and methods of engraving from the eighteenth century."
"John Lawrence is a classic English illustrator and wood engraver, widely regarded as the most eminent of his generation," states his biography on Illustration Cupboard. "He studied at Hastings Art School and the Central School of Arts and Crafts, where he was introduced to wood engraving by Gertrude Hermes. John went on to teach at Brighton College of Art until 1968, and then at Camberwell School of Art for over thirty years...Recently retired from lecturing at The Cambridge School of Art, MA Degree course in Illustration, John continues to work full time for Random House, Walker Books and The Folio Society. His artwork is included in collections all over the world, both private and public such as the Victoria and Albert in London, and The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.
‘The Rowlandson of the twentieth-century engraving school…his wit and humour are essentially English.’ Dictionary of Twentieth Century Book Illustrators."
We will be checking out one of his other acclaimed works, in which he wrote and illustrated, This Little Chick that was named "Best Illustrated Children’s Book of the Year" by the New York Times Book Review . As a board book (birth +), it would be great to slip into an Easter basket in just a few months!
Carry away your own copy of Tiny's Big Adventure (ages 3-5) here!
If you are a crafty teacher and/or mom and would like to expand on this story with a snack or craft, I think these are precious and simple!
|Make a mouse ornament or "It's mice to be your friend!" Valentine's here!|
|Make an easy and cute mouse bookmark here!|
|A quick way to bring a smile to your little one's face, mouse straws!|
|For a funny snack or appetizer, make Cheese Mice!|
Lastly, I'll leave you with some gorgeous shots of wheat fields...dreamy...
|A stunning collection of photographs and editorials here.|
|Wheat Field Dream by Bob Orsillo|