Books by Brian Froud

CHELSEA MORNING by Joni Mitchell
Released: Oct. 1, 2004

Along with the dubious trend of celebrities writing books for children, there's a rather less dubious one of making songs, traditional and otherwise, into picture books. Let it be said right off that the sparkling, playful language of this song is really quite wonderful on the page. The mischievous Froud, whose panoply of images includes both The Dark Crystal film and Lady Cottington's Pressed Faery Book, has his own way with the lyrics. A girl with abundant, beribboned hair sits in bed with a sprite in striped pants floating above her. Turn the page and the "song outside my window" is a radiant, sparkling, winged creature. As the lyrics proceed through the "crimson crystal beads," "a bowl of oranges," and "incense owls . . . By candlelight / By jewel-light," each facing picture reflects, expands, and moves in directions one might not predict. Full of Froud's fairies, sprites, and creatures, they have a giddy, sly, or dangerous edge to them and present an interesting foil to the sunny-side-up lyrics. A little overblown for Mitchell, but there will be an audience. (Picture book. 5-9)Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 1975

The alliance of the irresponsible old and the fancy free young (or vice versa, or whatever) is a currently common theme in children's books; this entry from New Zealand lacks the poignancy of some but is larky enough to carry the occasion. At first Sally, who calls herself "Horrible Stumper" the tree pirate, resents dressing up to visit fussy Aunt Anne Pringle in the country; once there though she hits it off with Aunt Anne's father who escapes with her on a walk, gets dirty with her in the mud, and confesses that he likes such phrases as "ultra-violet catastrophe" and "seismological singularity" for the sound, not the meaning. The book's format—framed color pictures facing each page of text—make the whole outing more contained than Mahy's text would indicate, but the meeting does turn out better than we expected too. Read full book review >