Tuesday, August 23, 2011
I'm going to deviate from the usual structure today to talk about some non-shabby books I have. Over the last year or so, I've been coming across a number of picture books from the 1970's published by Scroll Press. I can't recall ever having seen anything by this press in my previous 20+ years of buying, so maybe someone local is trickling a collection out into the market?
If I had to find a common denominator among the books, it would have to be that there's just something more thoughtfully wrought, more conceptual and deliberate about them.
Take for instance, the graphically brilliant, "The Ship in the Fields" by Giulia Niccolai and illustrated by Henny and Luciano Boschini. It's a trip through Holland as told from the perspective of a large ship. The first few pages give the reader a history of the geography of Holland and the rest of the book follows "Augusta" as she travels through the landscape.
The same approach is used in two other books, "Chasing Whales Off Norway" and "A Trip Through Cambodia".
In "The Circle Sarah Drew" and "The Line Sophie Drew" by Peter and Susan Barrett, a simple form is reinterpreted from differing perspectives.
"I Can Be Anything You Can Be!" explores gender equality as a young boy tells his female friend that she can't aspire to his goals and she repeatedly affirms that indeed she can.
All manner of transportation is explored with Horst Lemke's amazing illustrations in "Ride With Me Through ABC".
"A Moment in Time" explores the simple event of a falling apple.
Then there are the unusual stories. "The Un-Terrible Tiger" by Miroslav Zahradka tells the tale of a little tiger who loved birds and flowers much to the chagrin of his own kind. He is chased out of the jungle and after demonstrating his kind disposition to everyone he meets along the way, is made a zoo-keeper in the city.
"Vodnik" by Stepan Zavrel is the story of the horrible Vodnik the Waterman, a creature that lives at the bottom of the lake and comes out dripping at night to capture children's minds in jars and change their bodies into fish.
"Rhymes and Ballads of London" by Carole Tate is an illustrated collection of just that.
I've tried to do a little research on Scroll Press, but can't find any reference to them. There seems to be another press by the same name these days, but I don't think there's any connection.
I'm curious about who was involved and what might have been the philosophy that drove their selections. I'd also like to know just how many titles they published and maybe see a complete list. If any of you readers have access to more information, please let me know.