Reading the latest Publisher’s Weekly (July 7), I’ve come accross a starred review for OLD BEAR, written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes, due to release in August of this year from Greenwillow.  The reviewer had this to say:

In time for autumn, Henkes masterfully tells of a hibernating bear who “dreamed that spring had come and he was a cub again.” Henke’s surefooted art guides readers through time: a terracotta dust jacket and acorn-brown frontpapers inked with dark brown leaves set the season.  The tawny bear, pictured in full-page or four-to-a-page images, curls in his den, his eyes closed and his paws relaxed.  full-bleed spereads depict his dreams, first of being small among enormous flowers (“He took a nap in a giant pink crocus”), then of wandering on lush green summer hillsides (“The sky clouded over over, and it rained blueberries”).  His hibernation vision of fall includes rust-colored birds and orange fish, and his imaginary winter is a cool blue expanse under stars “of all colors.”  When the bear’s eyes open on a real spring day, he feels refreshed, if larger and older than his dream self.  Lyrically describing the young-at-heart, Henkes plays an artist’s game of hot and cold watercolor hues.  Lilac endpapers crowded with flowers and butterflies and a back cover image of the bear in springtime balance the cover’s imagery and gently and calmly acknowledge the annual cycle. (Publisher’s Weekly, July 7, 2008, page 57)

Isn’t that a lovely description of the art?  Surefooted. 

Confident, capable. 

Not liable to stumble or fall. 

What an essential element of art and writing!  Especially for this age range (2-7 years). 

I think it’s an adjetive we can all strive for – to be surefooted in our art and our storytelling.  Goes along with consistency.  It’s not just the handling of one aspect – of line or color, for example.  It’s the combination of composition, line, color, hue, writing, timing.  Surefooted.  Take it with you!




One Response to Surefooted

  1. wellerwishes says:

    I have GOT to see this book!!! The description itself inspires dancing images in my head! It sounds visually lush and lovely too. Wow!

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