Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Sparkle and Spin

Sparkle and Spin
Ann and Paul Rand ~ Harcourt, Brace & World, 1957
~ reissued by Chronicle, 2006

It seems publishing houses are finally get smart, and over the past couple of years, we've seen more and more reprints of famous design-heavy kids' books from the 50s and 60s. (WE LOVE YOU BRUNO MUNARI!) My son actually pulled this off the shelf at the library yesterday, and I was so psyched by the discovery, I almost forgot what we came for (a copy of One Morning in Maine to take to one of my son's friends who has a tooth waggling.)

Illustrated by the graphic design guru who brought us the iconic logos for IBM, UPS and ABC, and written by his wife, the tome is as the subtitle implies... a book about words.

What are words?
Words are how what we
think inside comes out
and how to remember what
you might forget about.
A word is a thing
you heard or saw
or can even draw a
picture of.
Words are the names of objects
like book and doll and chair
or of animals
like bird and dog and bear.

The use of typeface and stark cutouts and newsprint is so of an era, one that is currently being played out tenfold in the design world of today. So many of these artists inspired our current crop of illustrators, that much of the playfulness and color and lines that were hip when our parents were little are coming back.

A word is something you shout, bang! or boo! when you jump out from behind a chair, or something to whisper softly as the little breeze that says "hush hush" as it rustles the leaves. A warn that someone's sick or bring somebody running quick!

I just love the way the words jump and skip and sparkle and spin. As my son is prone to say, "That is sooooo cool."

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