Revisit Roger Duvoisin’s art through New York Review Children’s Collection


I’m always excited when I receive a package from The New York Review Children’s Collection. The collection began in 2003 “in an attempt to reward readers who have long wished for the return of their favorite titles and to introduce those books to a new generation of readers,” according to the publisher. The books are always beautiful, and I love the idea that books are getting a second chance.

In April, two charming picture books — The Frog in the Well, by Alvin Tresselt and illustrated by Roger Duvoisin and The House of Four Seasons also written and illustrated by Duvoisin — were released.

Frog_in_the_Well_NYBRTHE FROG IN THE WELL, by Roger Duvoisin and Alvin Tresselt, NYR Children’s Collection, April 4, 2017, Hardcover, $16.95 (ages 4-6)

Once upon a time there was a frog who lived at the bottom of a well. The well was the frog’s whole world, until the day the well ran dry and the bugs began to disappear. What was happening to the world, the frog wondered, and what could he do? The hungry frog decided he must hop to the top of the well to see what he could of the end of the world. Conquering his fear, he peered out, and what did he see? Trees, flowers, meadows, marshes, and all kinds of end-of-the-world creatures! — Synopsis provided by New York Review Children’s Collection

Tresselt and Duvoisin are best known for their collaboration on their two Caldecott medal books, White Snow, Bright Snow and Hide and Seek Frog. The Frog in the Well is yet another of their books that should not be missed.

The Frog in the Well is a charming story that helps young readers look beyond the known and comfortable. Duvoison’s frog is curious and expressive. My daughter immediately fell in love with him (and the “million singing frogs on the final page”)!

House_of_Four_Seasons_New York Review Children's CollectionTHE HOUSE OF FOUR SEASONS, by Roger Duvoisin, NYR Children’s Collection, April 4, 2017, Hardcover, $16.95 (ages 4-6)

When Father, Mother, Billy, and Suzy go house hunting in the country, they fall in love with a grand old house nestled among tall weeds and trees. It is in need of repair, and soon a carpenter, mason, and tinsmith come to set things straight, but it needs painting too. The family agrees it would be more fun to paint the house themselves, but no one can agree on the color, and to make matters worse, the hardware store only carries three colors: red, blue, and yellow. But Father has an idea. “You’ll see, he says, “colors can do many tricks when they get together,” and with a sudden flourish, a color wheel appears! Synopsis provided by New York Review Children’s Collection

The House of Four Seasons is a celebration of both the seasons and color. Each family member wants to paint the house a color that corresponds with a different season, and the different versions they come up with are bold and perfectly suited. I love Duvoisin’s realistic, yet abstract illustrations. He knows exactly when to paint both inside and outside of the lines.

© 2017, Cracking the Cover. All rights reserved.


About Author

Jessica Harrison is the main reviewer behind Cracking the Cover. Prior to creating Cracking the Cover, Jessica worked as the in-house book critic for the Deseret News, a daily newspaper in Salt Lake City. Jessica also worked as a copy editor and general features writer for the paper. Following that, Jessica spent two years with an international company as a social media specialist. She is currently a freelance writer/editor. She is passionate about reading and giving people the tools to make informed decisions in their own book choices.

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