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Denslow's Picture Book Treasury

Denslow, William Wallace
Denslow, William Wallace
Poetry & Music
Young Readers

Five familiar nursery rhymes and the song "The Animal Fair" are pictured with charm and verve by Denslow (1856-1915), illustrator of L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. According to Michael Patrick Hearn's authoritative introduction, Denslow is truly the father of the American picture book, having produced works of high aesthetic quality. All of the elements of the large, handsome format--from the prancing pig endpapers to the balanced yet dynamic page layouts, to the broad, clear typeface--exude vitality and humor. Dressed in turn-of-the-century overalls, sailor suits, pinafores, sunbonnets, etc., the short, chubby children are winsome but not sentimentalized, and the beasts and birds are amusingly expressive. The palette of glowing oranges, golds, and browns, accented by moss greens, teals, and charcoal greys, enhances the exuberance of the human and animal figures as they frisk across the pages. Although it contains only a few nursery rhymes, the book is valuable for its historical significance and its crisp, jolly illustrations, still fresh and appealing although almost a century old.

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