LAST WEEK, Tucson hosted an informal meeting of members of Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (hereafter called SCBWI) at Borders coffeeshop. Several people drove the hundred miles form Phoenix to attend. When talk turned to the relationship between the words and illustrations in a picture book, I mentioned an interview with Maurice Sendak that I had read years ago in the book edited by Jonathan Cott, Victorian Color Picture Books. The book is a wonderful collection of images from the early days of picture books, the period when the art form was being invented. The interview with Sendak is, in fact, the only text in the book. The rest is, appropriately, all pictures.
I found my copy of Victorian Color Picture Books years ago while wandering in a bookshop in London. It’s currently not easy to find. To make the interview available to the other people present for our next dicsussion, I scanned the interview and placed it here on my server in pdf form. (10.5 mb)
Here are a couple of images from the Jonathan Cott book: Randolph Caldecott’s illustrations for Baby Bunting. (I have an original edition of this book. It still makes me smile whenever I read it.)