SIDE BY SIDE by Leonard S. Marcus


Five Favorite Picture Book Teams Go To Work
Age Range: 10 & up
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As the subtitle indicates, an exploration of the collaborative efforts of five author-illustrator pairs (and in one case, triad). Children’s publishing chronicler Marcus (Author Talk, 2000, etc.) devotes individual chapters to Arthur Yorinks and Richard Egielski; Martin and Alice Provensen; Jon Scieszka, Lane Smith, and Molly Leach; Julius Lester and Jerry Pinkney; and Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen. While the work focuses on the evolution of one specific work for each team, it also presents overviews of their respective careers together. Reproductions of artists’ dummies and excerpts from successive drafts combine with interviews with the team members to illustrate and explain the unique ways each team approaches its work. The never-patronizing text is direct and cogent, offering valuable insights about the many different ways children’s book creators (and editors) approach their projects. Scieszka and Smith exchange ideas over games of Ping-Pong, for instance, but Cole presents Degen with a finished text, complete with dialogue balloon instructions (although he is able to assign the dialogue to many of the secondary characters according to his own instincts). Altogether engaging, this offering is nevertheless not exactly the sort of book children flock to of their own accord. It will, however, nicely complement guided explorations of children’s book creation, and the inclusion of two of the most popular teams with children will guarantee its appeal to the kids who do encounter it. And, of course, adults who work with children’s books will delight in this glimpse into the creative process. (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 10+)

Pub Date: Nov. 15th, 2001
ISBN: 0-8027-8778-9
Page count: 48pp
Publisher: Walker
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2001


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