Monday, February 7, 2011

"Amos and the Moon" - I want to go to there

I am so smitten with the vintage children's book, "Amos and the Moon" (1948) written and illustrated by Jan Balet (and you know that I'm serious since I'm not one to use a word like "smitten" lightly - if at all).

I don't know the whole plot of the story, but I just know I want to literally live and shop and drop my dry cleaning off in its illustrations. The book is out-of-print and so stinkin' expensive used so I feel lucky that one can find the whole book here (and scanned close-ups too) even though I still want to hold it in my greedy little hands. Or move into its neighborhood.
I love good front matter in a book and both this title page and the top layout with its pink and stars make me very happy (as does the regular appearance and use of flags, the American eagle, shades of dark pink, ticking clocks, pencils, the shop owners' distinctly foreign names, the curious pets, the use of windows and framing, the untucked working men, and the swirling and curling touches of detail in objects and letters found throughout this vintage picture book).

For example, in the following two-page spread - the beautiful lettering on the truck, the curl on the iceman's forearm, the gold in the hanging light bulb...
And the half of a bust in the upper right hand of the left window, the flag (there are lots of American flags in this city and its windows - keep an eye out), the detailing on the upper left side of the building, the shop owner's arched eyebrows found here:
And the spots on the dog and the spots on the toy (which the previous shop owner was holding too), the pink icing on the cakes, the crates below the window, the pipe:
And the image of the eye and eyeglasses hovering like the billboard for Dr. T.J. Eckleburg's in Fitzgerald's novel "The Great Gatsby" (here is the movie representation) more swirls (in the desk's legs), more Americana (the metal eagle), the swinging tails of the clocks, the bird and its cage:
And the pencil peeking out of the butcher's pocket, the hungry cat, the dark pink in the meat, the diagram of the cow (this illustration also makes me happy that I found a real deli in Durham and did not have to settle for an overpriced trendy one), the green jars of relishes and pickles:
And the hanging boot, the girlie calender, the hats on the walls, the eagle in the back of the cash register, how the shoemaker is twirling his mustache:
And the fish in the basket, the fish in the black and white photograph, the fish just about anywhere, the lobster illustration in the window, how the pillar cuts the ship:
And how the model in the window seems to be listening, the texture of the barber's pants, the advertisement for corn removal, the locked and secured sidewalk door leading into the basement:
And the ribbons across the shirts in the window, the string around the packages, the pins in the laundry tickets, the little girl's side-swept bangs... so many lovely details!!
{images found in multiple blog posts on "Today's Illustration" - starting here}

1 comment:

  1. What delightful, rich illustrations! I feel this way about Sodor, the make believe English island featured in the Thomas the Train world - it seems so perfect and idyllic, I get all misty eyed when I look at the green fields, white sheep and quaint little cottages.



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