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ABCs (Chunky Version) Board book – May 15, 2008
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About the Author
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There was a rare and delightful playfulness in Harper's artwork. There was also graphic genius. Harper said, "When I look at a wildlife or nature subject, I don't see feathers, fur, scapulars or tail coverts - none of that. I see exciting shapes, color combinations, patterns, textures, fascinating behavior and endless possibilities for making interesting pictures. I regard the picture as an ecosystem in which all the elements are interrelated, interdependent, perfectly balanced, without trimming or unutilized parts; and herein lies the lure of painting: in a world of chaos, the picture is one small rectangle in which the artist can create an ordered universe."
Reared on a West Virginia farm, Harper developed an early appreciation and love of animals as well as design. He attended West Virginia Wesleyan College and graduated from the Cincinnati Art Academy, where he also taught for many years. Gradually, Harper began to lose his interest in realism. "I felt shackled by the laws of perspective and shading and decided that the constant attempt to create the illusion of three dimensions on the two-dimensional plane of the picture was limiting me as an artist. Realistic painting persuades the viewer that he is looking into space rather than at a flat surface. It denies the picture plane, which I affirm and use as an element of design. Wildlife art has been dominated by realism, but I have chosen to do it differently because I think flat, hard-edge and simple."
In his artwork, Harper imaginatively investigated the similarities between human and wild animal behaviors, but completely without anthropomorphism. "I learn as much as I can about the creatures that interest me, and they all do. I observe them and find out how they interact with each other and their environments and ask myself, 'What if?'"
© 2002 The Mill Pond Press Companies
Top Customer Reviews
You can tell the late Charley Harper loved animals, as his affection for them jumps off the page. There is so much personality! In D is for Dog, the smiling spaniel has dirt on his nose and legs, and you can almost see him panting. In I is for Iguana, two giant lizards battle for a captive tiny pig, swinging their tails and rearing up. Q is for Quail shows whirring wings on a fat and happy bird.
The inside covers show a collage of dozens of other Harper animals, most of which are not used in the book.
The board book itself is a little more sturdy than most. It will hold up well.
Charley Harper's ABC's is an outstanding way to introduce fine artwork to young children. Other good choices include Zen Ties and Walt Disney's Cinderella.
The left molecule is CH3NH2 - Methylamine, the simplest primary amine.
The center molecule is NH2CH2COOH - Glycine, the smallest of the 20 amino acids.
The right molecule is CH3CHO - Acetaldehyde, which can condense with cyanide and ammonia to give, after hydrolysis, the amino acid Alanine, which is the next largest amino acid.
Simple organic molecules like these are thought to have been formed by lightning or hydrothermal vents, and to have been the building blocks of life in the waters of the ancient Earth.
Not the sort of thing you'd expect to find in an ABC book!
There is something interesting or cute in nearly every picture. Harper's unmistakable style makes the alphabet enjoyable.
The one thing that strikes me as strange is that the whole book follows the "A is for Ape, B is for Bird" pattern until you get to "N is for Nest", then "U is for Underwater???", "W is for Web" and "X- how many X's Can You Find?". It would have been nice to have animals on all the pages.. well I guess X is a bit hard. Perhaps they didn't have any illustrations from Charley Harper to fit those pages?
But otherwise I love this book. Would even look good on the coffee table!
Picky? Absolutely, but it is a Charley Harper book. Since the illustrations are pulled from many stages of his career, the look is not as cohesive as you might hope, but I actually see that as a plus, since it has variety.
Still, 4 stars, I would buy again and have bought as gifts.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I absolutely love the pictures in this book. It is real art and I could just sit down and look at the pictures myself. Read morePublished 10 days ago by Cameron
I wish they had've come up with something other then "web" for W and "How many Xs can you find?" for "X" with a picture of minnows. Read morePublished 15 days ago by Leslie T.
This book is kind of uneven; it's obviously cobbled together from a bunch of Mr. Harper's designs, and lacks some unity as a result. It's fine, but I like his other books better.Published 1 month ago by niteshade
Charley Harper is MAGNIFICENT and my granddaughter loves his pictures.Published 2 months ago by egory1
Every youngin' should know about Charley. I would have chosen some different pictures, but, over-all it's a good representation of Charley's work.Published 5 months ago by amy Buller
The book is beautiful and immediately engaged my 17 month old, but I wish I had purchased it from a bookstore... or anywhere other than Amazon. Read morePublished 9 months ago by SydneyRGS
Very cute book. Perfect to accompany a baby quilt I made of Charley Harper print fabric.Published 9 months ago by blueskyquilts
This has become one of our favorite ABC books. It is beautiful, so much more nicer than your usual children's book. My 2 year old asks for it by name "Charley Harper". Read morePublished 12 months ago by tvisez