The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats

In 1962, when Keats's The Snowy Day landed on book shelves, it became an immediate favorite of children and adults alike, received accolades from critics and reviewers, and was awarded the 1963 Caldecott Medal. The first full-color picture book to feature an African-American protagonist, the title placed Peter in that heightened hierocracy of children's book characters (Madeline, Eloise, Max) whose images need no further introduction. Nahson has brought together an inviting, informative, and charming (in all the right ways) book to coordinate with the exhibition, "The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats," at the Jewish Museum in New York City. Accompanying Nahson's preface and essay, "Bringing the Background to the Foreground, or the Poetry of a Trash Can," is a piece by Maurice Berger, who traces Keats's background, civil-rights advocacy, and influence on the children's literature field. Thirty-one beautifully produced plates, which appear in the current exhibition, showcase Keats's innovative and exemplary illustrations. Throughout, this offering reflects a choice of high-quality paper and care in the printing process. Following the New York show, the exhibition will travel to the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA, the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco, and the Akron Art Museum in Ohio. Handsome and readable, this volume is a joy from endpaper to endpaper. Libraries will want to have copies available for art and classroom teachers, students of children's literature, parents, and youngsters themselves to browse through and explore.—Barbara Elleman, Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst, MA

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