Art, both in paintings and writing, speaks to the community in different voices. Yet both explore and light up the world through imagination, giving us the opportunity to examine ideas through a different perspective.
Kate Buechler, youth services librarian at Wildwood Library, has put together a thoughtful grouping of painting selections from the NorthStar Watermedia Society’s national exhibition and paired them with favorite children's books which caught her imagination. Enjoy the read and then take a family trip to Wildwood Library to see the paintings and check out a book or two to spark your child’s imagination.
Doris Loes’ whimsical painting, Dreaming, may be my favorite piece in the whole show. My eye snaps to it due to its large scale and dark color, and I find the composition delightful. I could not pass up the opportunity to pair it with Stack the Cats and Balance the Birds, written and illustrated by Susie Ghahremani. While the painting is more “stack the birds, balance on the cat,” I loved the parallel.
The Illusion of Control by Christopher Palbicki is the work that I hear kids talk about the most, as it is 3D and has a cool underground cross section. The perspective of this painting absolutely tickles me and the human vs. nature aspect instantly reminded me of Hey, Little Ant. In the book, a child is about to step on an ant when the insect pipes up to plead for its life by appealing to the child’s sense of compassion. Spoiler alert: It has a happier ending than the events depicted in the painting. Our young library patrons love commenting on the blood splatter near the frog.
The colorful squares in The Gate-Forevermore by Claudia Trepanier, immediately reminded me of the square cutout on the cover of Dr. Seuss’ My Many Colored Days. I am proud of this connection because all my other book pairings were pretty subject based, where this is more style based.
If you have not read David Wiesner’s nearly wordless I Got It, I urge you to do so. A young outfielder explores very imaginative, if unlikely, scenarios that might unfold after the ball leaves the bat. In a similar way, Becky Schmidt’s Gameday had me making up a story about the two kids depicted in the painting. I love that that they are walking away from the viewer. It gives it a sense of both motion and mystery!
I saw Sunday Morning by Amy Hodd and immediately began reciting Bruce Degen’s Jamberry: "One berry, two berry, pick me a Blueberry!" The joy of the book’s lyrical poetry is absolutely what I feel when looking at this piled-high waffle. I suppose Polly Horvath's Everything on a Waffle might also be a good fit for this work. Yum!
Books about being antiracist were in high demand after George Floyd’s murder. The library has books on the subject for all ages, including young children. Anitracist Baby is a board book that gives the reader nine steps toward building a more equitable world. From the text: “Antiracist Baby is bred, not born. / Antiracist Baby is raised to make society transform. // Babies are taught to be racist or antiracist—there is no neutrality. / Take these nine steps to make equity a reality.” Two other board books worth taking a look at are A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara and An ABC of Equality by Chana Ginelle Ewing.
The NorthStar Watermedia Society's 6th annual National Juried Art Exhibition will be on display at Wildwood Library through November 13.