Posts tagged Marc Simont

Marc Simont, 1915-2013

I read today of the passing of children’s book illustrator Marc Simont, who died on Saturday, July 13, 2013 at the age of 97. Mr. Simont was a gifted artist, an adept story teller and a kind and gentle man; I was fortunate enough to have met him during my time at Books of Wonder.

So far, he is the most reviewed person on TurtleAndRobot.com with four full reviews. Additionaly, his book The Happy Day was mentioned in both 15 Favorite Picture Books about Spring and Top 20 (plus one) Books About Snow. I adore his work. The worldof art, of children’s books, as a wholeis a better place for having had him in it.

 

The Philharmonic Gets Dressed: reviewed October 16, 2012

My Brother Ant: reviewed December 19, 2012

A Tree is Nice: reviewed March 12, 2013

Nate the Great: reviewed June 4, 2013

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Nate the Great by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat: World’s best boy detective.

Nate the GreatNatetheGreat

Early Reader

Ages 3-9

By Marjorie Weinman Sharmat

Illustrated by Marc Simont

64 pages

1972

Delacorte Press

 

 

Marjorie Weinman Sharmat has published over one hundred and thirty books, though her Nate the Great books, with twenty-six in the series, are the most well known. Her descriptive text and direct dialogue are peppered with a dry humor. With the exception of one single word—Nate sports rubbers, instead of boots, in the rain—this forty-year old story holds timeless appeal.

This is the fifth book illustrated by Marc Simont to be reviewed in this blog. Like his art in A Tree is Nice, the spreads alternate between color and black and white. Simont uses vivid pinks and bold yellows in one spread and warm grays and lush blacks in the next. No matter the medium, Simont’s art is always expressive and energetic, pleasing and comfortable.

 

“My name is Nate the Great. I am a detective. I work alone.”

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Using classic hard-boiled detective language, Nate tells readers about his latest case: helping his friend Annie find a lost picture.

He’d just finished a breakfast of pancakes (Nate loves pancakes) when she called and enlisted his help. He donned his trench coat and Sherlock Holmes style hat and headed straight out to Annie’s, but not before leaving a note for his mother.

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When he arrived at Annie’s she was just sitting down to a pancake breakfast, so Nate joined her. They discussed the missing picture. Using bright yellow paint, Annie had painted a picture of her dog Fang the day before and left it out to dry, and then it was gone.

After breakfast, Nate searched Annie’s room. He was already sure of one thing, Annie liked yellow.

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He asked her who had seen the picture.

“My friend Rosamond has seen it, and my brother Harry. And Fang.”

Nate started with Fang. Fang was big, with big teeth. Nate watched him eat, then he watched him bury a bone. Nate had an idea that maybe Fang took the picture and buried it, but after two hours of digging in the backyard Nate and Annie only found rocks, worms, bones and ants.

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It was time for more pancakes.

“Cold pancakes are almost as good as hot pancakes.”

Nate and Annie when to Rosamond’s house next. Rosamond was dubious of Nate’s detective status so she asked him to solve a case of her own: find her missing cat, Super Hex. Rosamond had four cats, all named Hex, and a house full of cat paraphernalia. Nate sat down and Big Hex jumped onto his lap. Nate wanted to leave immediately; he stood up to go and stepped on something long and black. There was a loud meow. He’d stepped on the tail of Super Hex, who’d been hiding under the chair. The case inside a case had been solved. Nate and Annie left.

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Nate knew Rosamond did not take the picture, she clearly only liked cats. They headed back to Annie’s house to question to her brother Harry. Like Annie, Harry liked to paint; the walls of his room were covered in his art. There was painting of a red house, one of a red clown, and one of a red tree. There was also a painting of a three-headed monster but that one was orange.

“I, Nate the Great, have found your picture.”

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Annie was confused; Nate explained. All of Harry’s paintings were done in red paint, except the monster. Annie’s picture of Fang was yellow. When you mix yellow and red you get orange. Harry had painted his red, three-headed monster over Annie’s yellow picture of Fang. The case was solved.

‘“I don’t know how to thank you,” Annie said.”’

“I do,” Nate said. “Are there any pancakes left?”

 

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A Tree Is Nice, and this picture book is a perfect reminder.

A Tree Is NiceTreeCover

Picture Book

Ages 2-7

By Janice May Udry

Illustrated by Marc Simont

32 Pages

HarperCollins

1956

1957 Caldecott Medal Winner

 

 

Janice May Udry wrote seven picture books, including Let’s Be Enemies and Moon Jumpers, both illustrated by Maurice Sendak. A Tree is Nice was her first picture book, and it is divine. Her unpretentious text is direct and expressive.

Marc Simont has appeared on TurtleAndRobot before, see The Philharmonic Gets Dressed and My Brother Ant. In A Tree is Nice his drawing style is loose and unrestricted; he doesn’t squander lines. Giving just enough information and omitting fine details, he’s creating a feeling with each scene as much as a picture.

The spreads alternate between black and white and color. The luxuriant, saturated color art arouses warm, joyous feelings.

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In the black and white illustrations Simont uses a gray wash and thicker, more strategic strokes, generating a quiet, meditative feeling.

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And every spread evokes serenity and comfort.

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Trees are nice. They offer shade, they make the woods, they’re good for hanging swings on and they make sticks!

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This exquisitely simple picture book provides many reasons trees are nice, and some reasons just one tree is nice too.

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This book will make you want to plant a tree, or climb a tree, or lie down under a tree and take a nap. And really, don’t all of those things sound perfectly delightful?

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Le Philharmonique s’habille : cent cinq personnes se préparent pour aller travailler.

The following is the third, and last (for now at least) review to be translated into French. Thank you, once again, to Guillaume Bariou for the translations. Special thanks to Marielle Brehonnet and Deborak Kacik for facilitating the process.

 

Le Philharmonique s’habille

Philharmonic5 1

 

Livre d’images

Âge : de 3 à 8 ans

Par Karla Kuskin

Illustré par Marc Simont

HarperCollins

1982

 

Karka Kuskin (1932-2009) était une auteure et illustratrice pour enfants très prolifique. Dans cet ouvrage unique, sa prose est irréprochable : elle y décrit parfaitement les préparatifs qui devancent la représentation d’un orchestre classique.

Marc Simont a non seulement reçu le prix Caldecott Honor (Par une Journée d’Hiver, 1950) mais s’est également vu décerner la Caldecott Medal (Un Arbre, 1957). Il a de plus réalisé la plupart des illustrations des livres de la série Nat le Grand. Son art est à la fois merveilleux, expressif et vivant. Mariant les aquarelles saturées aux contours délicatement tracés au crayon, les scènes et les personnages sont à la fois simples et exubérants.

Le Philharmonique s’habille suit cent quatre musiciens et un chef d’orchestre dans leurs préparatifs en vue de leur représentation du vendredi soir. L’orchestre compte quatre-vingt-douze hommes et treize femmes. Bien que tous vêtus de noir et blanc, les combinaisons vestimentaires possibles sont nombreuses.

Avant de s’habiller, ils se lavent. Certains prennent des douches, d’autres préfèrent les bains. L’un lit dans sa baignoire alors que l’autre reste tranquillement assis dans un nuage de bulles et chante.

Philharmonic1

Tous les hommes, sauf ceux qui portent une barbe, se rasent. Certains hommes portent des caleçons et d’autres enfilent des slips ; ceux qui portent des tricots peuvent les choisir avec ou sans manches. Certains ajustent eux-mêmes leur nœud papillon, d’autres attachent un nœud tout fait à leur col. Celui qui porte un très grand nœud papillon tout blanc arbore également une queue de pie !

Philharmonic2

Les femmes ont le choix entre des bas ou des collants. Une femme qui a toujours froid aux pieds décide d’enfiler des grosses chaussettes de laine. Huit d’entre elles ont une jupe avec un top noir, quatre autres portent une robe et la dernière a opté pour une chasuble. Quelques-unes portent des bijoux, mais jamais de bracelets. « Les bracelets pourraient les embêter quand elles travaillent. »

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Une fois tous vêtus de noir et blanc, ils enfilent leurs manteaux et saluent leur famille. Ceux qui apportent leurs instruments les transportent dans des housses ; le chef d’orchestre, lui, a une petite mallette. De nombreux moyens de transport mènent jusqu’au théâtre : le taxi, le métro, le bus et la voiture.

Quand les cent quatre musiciens et le chef d’orchestre montent sur scène, le public applaudit et la salle retentit d’une belle musique. C’est parti pour la représentation.

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Si votre bout de chou est plus intéressé par le sport que par la musique, jetez un œil au livre Les Titans de Dallas se préparent à aller au lit.

 

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My Brother, Ant: A warm expression of brotherly love in a beginning reader.

My Brother, AntMBAc

Early Reader

(Level 3)

Ages 4-8

By Betsy Byers

Illustrated by Marc Simont

32 pages

Viking

1996

 

Betsy Byers won the Newbery Medal in 1971 for her novel Summer of the Swans. She wrote her first book in 1961 and has published books consistently since. Her writing for My Brother, Ant is funny and sweet with very natural dialogue. Byers is able to be repetitive—giving children the opportunity to practice reading these words—without being boring or didactic. The longer text and slightly more complex words place this book at the more advanced end of the beginning reader spectrum.

In 1950 Marc Simont received the Caldecott Honor for his illustrations in The Happy Day, written by the highly influential Ruth Krauss. He was awarded the Caldecott Medal for A Tree Is Nice by Janice May Udry, in 1957. He also illustrated many of the perennially popular Nate the Great books. I reviewed The Philharmonic Gets Dressed here, which he also illustrated. His art in this book is wonderfully expressive and relaxed.

Ant, short for Anthony, is the younger brother of our narrator, who is not named. “The Monster Under Ant’s Bed” is the first of four stories, or chapters, in the book. Ant can’t sleep, he’s sure there’s a monster under his bed. Dad calls out from the living room that there is no monster, but Ant wants to know how dad can be so sure without even checking. Big brother to the rescue!

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He looks under the bed, has a conversation with the monster and convinces him to move along. It’s all settled—Ant and his brother can go to sleep.

 

In “Ant and the Spider” big brother is very upset to discover a spider drawn on his homework. Ant insists he did not draw a spider on his brother’s homework and mom insists that Ant does not lie. Big brother knows Ant did it and stomps off to his room. Ant follows quickly behind explaining that he did not draw a spider on his brother’s homework.

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He drew an upside down dog.

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Big brother tries to read Ant a story in “Ant and the Three Little Figs.”

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“No! That is not right. It’s pigs. Three little PIGS. Say PIGS.”

When his brother finally agrees to say pigs, Ant goes outside to play. His brother asks why. Ant replies, “I don’t like the rest of the story. It has a big bad wolf in it.”

 

“Love Ant” is one of my favorite pieces in any book ever. Though it’s July, Ant asks his brother to help with a letter to Santa.

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Though his brother explains that you write letters to Santa in December, to ask for presents, Ant insists, “Just write the words.”

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My Brother, Ant is a superb book for a confident beginning reader as well as a warm expression of a brotherly relationship—love, annoyance, and acceptance included.

 

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The Philharmonic Gets Dressed: Read along as one hundred and five people get ready for work.

The Philharmonic Gets Dressed

 

Picture Book

Ages 3-8

By Karla Kuskin

Illustrated by Marc Simont

HarperCollins

1982

 

Karka Kuskin (1932-2009) was a prolific author and illustrator for children. Her prose in this book is flawless. In this unique book, she perfectly describes the events and preparations that lead up to the performance of the orchestral concert.

Marc Simont is both a Caldecott Honor recipient (The Happy Day, 1950) and a Caldecott Medal Winner (A Tree is Nice, 1957). He also illustrated most of the books in the Nate the Great series. His art is glorious, expressive and lively. Combining saturated watercolors with delicate pencil outlines, the scenes and characters are simple and exuberant.

The Philharmonic Gets Dressed follows one hundred and four musicians, and one conductor, as they prepare for their Friday night performance. There are ninety-two men and thirteen women. Though they all dress in black and white, there are many possible combinations.

Before they begin dressing, they all wash. Some take showers and others take baths. One reads in the bathtub while another sits in the bubbles and sings.

All of the men—except the three with beards—shave. Some of the men wear boxer shorts, others put on briefs, and those that wear undershirts may choose one with sleeves or one without. Some tie their own bowtie, other men clip on a ready-made bow. The man who puts on a very big white bow tie also wears a tuxedo jacket with tails!

The women choose between stockings and pantyhose. One woman whose feet are always cold pulls on thick wool socks. Eight wear skirts with black tops, four wear dresses and one wears a jumper. A few of the women wear jewelry, though never bracelets. “Bracelets would get in the way when they’re working.”

Once they’re all dressed in black and white, they don their outerwear and say goodbye to their families. Those who bring their instruments carry them in cases; the conductor carries a briefcase. There’s a variety of modes of transportation to get to the theater: cabs, subways, buses and cars.

After one hundred and four performers and one conductor take the stage, the audience applauds and the hall fills with beautiful music. The performance is underway.

If your little one is more interested in sports than music, then check out The Dallas Titans Get Ready for Bed.

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