Books by Tom Browning

THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS by Clement C. Moore
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 1, 2009

Those who seek a large-format, traditional interpretation of this Christmas classic will enjoy this pleasant though not exceptional effort. Browning's realistic paintings offer an old-fashioned setting and a handsome, jolly Santa in a resplendent costume with lots of fur trim and a huge belt. This version focuses directly on Santa on most pages, following him closely as he arrives, leaves his gifts and then departs with his sleigh and reindeer into the night sky. Text blocks are set off with decorative borders and smaller illustrations of Santa at home in his workshop. An introductory author's note provides the traditional view of Moore as the author of the poem without mentioning the considerable controversy over the poem's true attribution. This note concludes with the questionable statement that "almost all the children in the world have read this poem." (Picture book. 3-6)Read full book review >
ELVIS PRESLEY’S LOVE ME TENDER by Elvis Presley
BIOGRAPHY
Released: April 1, 2003

Who would have thought that the King's classic song could have made such a lovely read-aloud for children? The idea isn't new: David Byrne's Stay Up Late, illustrated by Maira Kalman (1989), and Bob Dylan's Man Gave Names to All the Animals, illustrated by Scott Menchin (1999), are two brilliant examples of the genre. Browning's (Santa's Time Off, o.p.) full-bleed paintings, with beautifully loose and fluid brushwork and their sunlit colors, follow a girl and her dad through the seasons and a series of homespun activities. It is surprising how well the lyrics illuminate such: "You have made / my life complete, / And I love you so" is on a page where the child is learning to ride a bike before a white picket fence covered in red roses, Dad at the ready. "Love me tender, / love me true, / All my dreams / fulfill" finds Dad reading in a big armchair, lap full of book and daughter. "I'll be yours / through all the years, / Till the end of time" is a gorgeous portrait of the girl at the front door, where the dog sits and a pumpkin waits. Dad is buttoning up her sweater, for her arms are full of schoolbooks. Cutting out Valentine hearts, picnicking in the woods, playing golf and croquet, learning to ski and ice-skate, having a bath or a birthday party, all are portrayed in the warm colors of sweetly old-fashioned affection and memory, some repeating as album snapshots on the opening and closing pages. The father and child are the only people in these images, intensifying the bond being celebrated. Includes a CD of Elvis singing, bringing his tender ballad to yet another generation. (Picture book. 3-7)Read full book review >