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Showing posts with label Barry Moser. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Barry Moser. Show all posts

1.28.2012

Noah's Cats and the Devil's Fire (1992)

Retold by Arielle North Olson

Illustrated by Barry Moser

Typeset in 16 point Trump Medieval

Transparent watercolor painted on paper handmade by Simon Green at The Hayle Mill

Orchard Books

This wonderfully dark retelling of Noah's Ark comes from Romania. What, a dark retelling of Noah's Ark? Surely there can be no such-a thing. But the black cat with the piercing green eyes adorning the cover begs to differ. This is a Barry Moser book. He doesn't take things lightly.

Within these pages, you will find the half-constructed Ark rising from the mud like an ancient castle from an Edgar Allen Poe story. You will find glowing red eyes and dark shapes moving about the ark. You will see the Devil himself, horned and scaly and ready to kill. Even the non-demonic animals appear sinister.

When the animals came aboard, two by two, a pair of fiery eyes peered out from under the lion's mane - the fiery red eyes of the devil who had turned himself into a mouse.


The Devil doesn't seem to be needing any rescuing, but rather wants to come aboard the ark to cause some mischief - Devil-as-trickster. He torments the other animals, ruins the feed, and finally attempts to sink the ark itself.



He takes on the guide of the most hideous rat I've ever seen in a children's book. And what is the natural predator of the rat? A quick glance back at the cover of the book should cue you in.

Did that red-hot demon leave a bit of fire inside her? Ever after, her fur made sparks when Noah petted her - and her eyes gleamed in the dark. And that's the way it is with cats to this very day.


2.14.2011

Jump! The Adventures of Brer Rabbit (1986)

Jump!: The Adventures of Brer Rabbit (Books for Young Readers)
Written by Joel Chandler Harris

Adapted by Van Dyke Parks and Malcolm Jones

Illustrated by Barry Moser

Watercolor and ink on Fabriano Classico
Text type set in Cochin by Thompson Type
Display type set in John Peters' Castellar
Designed by Joy Chu and Barry Moser

Harcourt Brace

"People will talk," begins the Storyteller's Note, "and as long as they do, they will tell each other stories."

This is the first volume of a trilogy of retellings of traditional Brer Rabbit stories, illustrated by the great Barry Moser and adapted by Van Dyke Parks and Malcolm Jones.  It includes:

The Comeuppance of Brer Wolf
Brer Fox Goes Hunting but Brer Rabbit Bags the Game
Brer Rabbit Finds His Match
Brer Rabbit Grossly Deceives Brer Fox
The Moon in the Millpond

Also included is the score of an original song written by Van Dyke Parks, "Hominy Grove."

Off the wall, wallflower.  Now the dance has begun.  It's our shining hour til all our dancin' is done.

In all three books, Barry Moser’s medium of choice is watercolor. His illustrations are the definition of jaunty. He pays great attention to their clothing – their top hats and suits which look like they were purchased a decade ago and sit in a dusty closet awaiting Sunday morning. I could easily imagine Woody Guthrie hitching his way through this Hominy Grove, on his way to an open box car.

The Storyteller's Note ends with:

Tempered by hardship and nourished by hope, these tales are a testament to the belief that no one can be wholly owned who does not wish it.

Please read Tales and Their Tellers 4: The Signifyin' Rabbit for more on this series of books.
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