Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Mo Willems' sketchbooks

Willems, Mo. Don't Pigeonhole me! Two decades of the Mo Willems Sketchbook, with a foreword by Eric Carle.  New York: Disney, 2013.

When I first picked this up, I expected a huge HUGE biography of Mo Willems.  Perhaps even an autobiography - which meant it would be a combination of poignant and funny.  What I got was something entirely different.

If you ever get invited to dinner at Mo's, you'll discover that the walls of the dining room are actually chalkboard. And the dining room tablecloth is actually covered with sketch paper. Everyone at the table is encouraged to scribble on it during and after the meal. "to doodle over dinner," as Mo calls it. His family does.  His friends do. And sometimes those table doodles become parts of Mo's books.

Everyone knows Don't Let The Pigeon Drive the Bus. (or should)  Everyone knows Elephant and Piggy. (or should)  But few know that these characters first showed up as scribbles on his dining room table. And then graduated into sketchbooks, pieces of which were published yearly as the December issue of a small magazine.

It is these December sketchbooks that are reproduced in this huge, coffee table sized book. Plus comments by other artists and friends.

Eric Carle writes, in his introduction to this books, that this book "will be an inspiration to doodlers and illustrators, secret sketchers and cartoonists -- and to those in the making."

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