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Reviewed by:
  • Claudia Söffner
Julie Watts. The art of Graeme Base. New York: Abrams 2008. 230pp. ISBN 9780810971431 US $60

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As the author and illustrator of such outstanding picture books as Animalia, The Waterhole, and Uno’s Garden, Graeme Base is loved by children and adults, not only in his home country of Australia, but all around the world. Twenty-five years after his professional career took off with the publication of the distinctly Australian My Grandma Lived in Gooligulch, his former publisher at Penguin books, Julie Watts, now offers Base-fans a special treat. Starting with his childhood in England and his early fascination with dragons of every kind, she chronologically traces Graeme Base’s life and career step by step – or book by book. She provides detailed background information about each of his various masterpieces and invites Base himself as well as several of his friends, colleagues, and family members to add their personal memories about the creation of the works. In addition, sections entitled “Beyond the Book” reveal extra information, e.g. how new dragon research led to an 11th- anniversary edition including US-dragons, or the versatile artist’s musical and cinematic endeavours, or how The Sign of the Seahorse was turned into a musical and a movie. The wealth of full color illustrations, black-and-white sketches, and photographs – many of them available to the public for the first time and headed by Base’s own captions – aptly portray this illustrator’s unique trademark style of bright colors and pages brimming with innumerable details. This lavishly designed retrospective catalogue makes readers aware of how Base sees each of his projects as a new challenge that goes beyond “normal” children’s books. Julie Watts’s homage to one of Australia’s most famous author-illustrators is a must-have for old and new Animalia-lovers alike.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1918-6983
Print ISSN
0006-7377
Pages
p. 60
Launched on MUSE
2009-10-17
Open Access
No
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