MUD BOOK by John Cage
Kirkus Star


by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 3 - 7
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This petite publication takes mud pies seriously.

A 5-inches square book, reminiscent of Beatrix Potter’s “little books for little hands,” this guide for making mud pies feels as handmade as the pies in it. The book’s dominant color, the greenish-brown of mud, permeates the pages, heavy stock that not even muddy fingers will rip. Several elements give the (correct) impression that the artists made the book while constructing mud pies: its hand-lettered, penned text, pages on which colors have bled onto unillustrated parts of the paper, and penciled outlines that did not get completely erased in the final draft and so still appear faintly behind the finished images and words. The fine print reveals the reason for this handmade feel: “Lois Long and John Cage” (who died in 1992 and 2005, respectively) “created the original Mud Book on a kitchen table with newspaper, mud, and dandelion blossoms.” Young readers will enjoy this title’s cookbook format, complete with two recipes and troubleshooting instructions if the cook finds the mud too runny or too solid for making proper pies. A reissue of the limited-edition 1983 publication, this picture book by a world-class musician and a textile artist will find as eager an audience now as it did in the 1980s—though happily, a much larger one as well.

Multigenerational mess makers will delight in this little book and the messes it encourages. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: April 4th, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-61689-552-5
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Princeton Architectual Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2017


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