Graeme Base adds music to his magical illustrations
September 1, 1999
(CNN) -- Graeme Base once again thrills readers with his imaginative illustrations and text in his newest children's book, "The Worst Band in the Universe: A Totally Cosmic Musical Adventure."
Base is well-known for his previous children's books "Animalia," "The Eleventh Hour" and "The Sign of the Seahorse." But with "Worst Band" he shares not only his talent for illustration, but his musical talent as well. The book includes an audio CD of music written and recorded by the author.
"Worst Band" is a science-fiction adventure set to verse with vivid illustrations of an alien world.
Sprocc, a young musician on planet Blipp, fights for the freedom to play original music and express himself. He is pursued by the Musical Inquisitor and eventually becomes friends with a group of misfits who also create their own music.
Sprocc's story is one of good vs. evil in the quest for freedom of expression. While the illustrations, text and music are clearly for children, they have a sophistication that allows them to be enjoyed by adults.
"In creating the "Worst Band" music, I wanted to find a middle ground between 'kiddie' music, which generally offers only limited interest to adults, and the typically sex-oriented lyrical content of commercial pop," the Melbourne author says.
"Worst Band" is to be published by Abrams in October and is part of the first catalog of Harry N. Abrams Books for Young Readers. The company, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary, plans to publish 15 to 20 titles each year for newborns to preteens.
"Our aim is to create books that enlighten both the mind and spirit, books that children will come back to again and again, books that open windows to exciting new worlds," says Abrams' director of children's books, Howard Reeves.
Another Abrams' selection, "Wings of an Artist," features 23 children's book illustrators explaining why they became artists and contributing an original artwork.
Maurice Sendak, well-known for "Where the Wild things Are" and "In the Night Kitchen," wrote, "I have been doodling with ink and watercolor on paper all my life. It's my way of stirring up my imagination to see what I find hidden in my head. I call the results dream pictures, fantasy sketches, and even brain-sharpening exercises."
The others featured are Base, David Catrow, David Diaz, Leo and Diane Dillon, Henrik Drescher, Richard Egielski, Lou Fancher, Diane Greenseid, Woodleigh Marx Hubbard, Susan Jeffers, Steve Johnson, William Joyce, Maira Kalman, Michael McCurdy, Susan Meddaugh, Paul Meisel, James Ransome, Robert Sabuda, David Small, and Jean and Mou-Sien Tseng.
The book also contains suggested exercises to help young children look more carefully at the art and how it was created.
All the proceeds from the book will go to the Association for Library Service to Children, American Library Association, in an effort to promote art literacy in children.
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