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ereksonj

ereksonj

The House in the Night - Susan Marie Swanson, Beth Krommes I 'really like' (4 stars) this book. It contradicts conventional wisdom about the necessity of colorfulness in children's books. My experience with children is that they respect well-done drawings more than almost anything else. The scratchboard work in this book is even more painstaking than drawing. But it delivers an intensity of contrast that lets us know it's not quite the same as an ink drawing. The use of the deep yellow coloring for added contrast is not distracting, and in fact draws us to key elements of each picture.

This is an exceptional example of cooperation between artist and illustrator, with movement back and forth between symmetrical, complementary, and counterpoint text<->picture. I was elated to find Swanson's reference to Iona Opie's Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes, and to see her playing with the cumulative structure in just this way. Krommes really understood what was going on with the text.