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Inch by Inch Paperback – September 21, 1995
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About the Author
"From the Hardcover edition."
Leo Lionni wrote and illustrated more than 40 picture books, including four Caldecott Honor Books. He died in 1999 at the age of 89.
"From the Hardcover edition."
More About the Author
"From time to time, from the endless flow of our mental imagery, there emerges unexpectedly something that, vague though it may be, seems to carry the promise of a form, a meaning, and, more important, an irresistible poetic charge."--Leo Lionni
Leo Lionni wrote and illustrated more than 40 highly acclaimed children's books. He received the 1984 American Institute of Graphic Arts Gold Medal and was a four-time Caldecott Honor Winner--for Inch by Inch, Frederick, Swimmy, and Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse. Leo Lionni died in October of 1999 at his home in Tuscany, Italy, at the age of 89.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
"Of all the questions I have been asked as an author of children's books, the most frequent one, without doubt, has been 'How do you get your ideas?' Most people seem to think that getting an idea is both mysterious and simple. Mysterious, because inspiration must come from a particular state of grace with which only the most gifted souls are blessed. Simple, because ideas are expected to drop into one's mind in words and pictures, ready to be transcribed and copied in the form of a book, complete with endpapers and cover. The word get expresses these expectations well. Yet nothing could be further from the truth.
"It is true that, from time to time, from the endless flow of our mental imagery, there emerges unexpectedly something that, vague though it may be, seems to carry the promise of a form, a meaning, and, more important, an irresistible poetic charge. The sense of instant recognition with which we pull this image into the full light of our consciousness is the initial impulse of all creative acts. But, though it is important, it produces no more than the germ of an idea. Each book, at the birth of its creative history, has such a moment. Some are fortunate enough to have, from the outset, a strongly identified hero, one with an inescapable destiny. Others are blessed with a promising beginning, or perhaps with the vision of an ending (which means working backwards to a surprise opening). Others stem from a clearly articulated conflict situation. Sometimes, I must admit, the motivations of a book may be found in a sudden, unreasonable urge to draw a certain kind of crocodile. And it may even happen that in the dark of our minds there appears, out of nowhere, a constellation of words that has the bright, arrogant solidity of a title. Only last night I was jolted out of a near-slumber by the words the mouse that didn't exist. I am sure that, temporarily tucked away in my memory, they will eventually become the title of a story for which as yet I have no idea.
"To shape and sharpen the logic of a story, to tighten the flow of events, ultimately to define the idea in its totality, is much like a game of chess. In the light of overall strategy, each move is the result of doubts, proposals, and rejections, which inevitably bring to mind the successes or failures of previous experiences.
"Inspirational raptures may happen, but most books are shaped through hard, disciplined work. Creative work, to be sure, because its ingredients come from the sphere of the imaginary. But the manipulation of these ingredients requires much more than mere inclination or talent. It is an intricate process in which the idea slowly takes form, by trial and error, through detours and side roads, which, were it not for the guidance of professional rigor, would lead the author into an inextricable labyrinth of alternatives.
"And so, to the question 'How do you get your ideas?' I am tempted to answer, unromantic though it may sound, 'Hard work.' "
Leo Lionni has gained international renown for his paintings, graphic designs, illustrations, and sculpture, as well as for his books for children. He was born in Holland in 1910 of Dutch parents, and although his education did not include formal art courses (in fact, he has a doctorate in economics from the University of Genoa), he spent much of his free time as a child in Amsterdam's museums, teaching himself to draw.
Lionni's business training gradually receded into the background as his interest in art and design grew. Having settled in Milan soon after his marriage in 1931, he started off by writing about European architecture for a local magazine. It was there that he met the contacts who were to give him a start as a professional graphic designer. When he moved to America in 1939, Lionni was hired by a Philadelphia advertising agency as art director. Later he became design director for the Olivetti Corporation of America, and then art director for Fortune magazine. At the same time, his reputation as an artist flourished as he began to exhibit his paintings and drawings in galleries from New York to Japan.
Lionni launched his career as an author/illustrator of books for children in 1959. Originally developed from a story he had improvised for his grandchildren during a dull train ride, Little Blue and LittleYellow was the first of what is now a long list of children's picture books, including four Caldecott Honor Books.
Top Customer Reviews
Teacher Note: This book can be used to introduce the young child to using standard measurement tools. It can also be used for activities with creative non-traditional measurement activities. For example: Paper clips, hands, feet, craft sticks, shoes, beans, etc. This book can be a springboard to a thematic unit on measurement. It can be extended for study of birds, other nature studies, art experiences, and musical activities as well.
This wonderful book, written and illustrated by Leo Lionni, won the Caldecott Honor in 1961. He has taken a little worm and made the reader fall in love with it through the worm's usefulness in measuring and his cunning ability to escape the hungry nightingale. Even though there are many different scenes, with many various shades of green on them, Lionni has illustrated the little worm in such a way that the reader can always point him out. Children would enjoy finding the worm on each page, especially at the end of the book when he is hiding from the nightingale. Also, we always see the story from an outside perspective; eye level with the grass. It is as if we are another small animal looking in on the story.
The background of each page is pretty much the same. All Lionni has illustrated on each page is the worm and the other details that are needed during that part of the story. For example, while the inch worm is measuring the legs of the heron, Lionni has only portrayed the heron with the worm inching down its leg. I think this technique is good for younger audiences because it helps children focus on the story and keeps their attention for more specific details.Read more ›
And so the measuring begins; a flamingo's neck, a toucan's beak, legs of a heron and a pheasant's tail. This goes on until the nightingale arrives and demands that his song be measured or he will eat the little inchworm. Is disaster about to befall the little green guy? How on earth do you measure a nightingale's song? Is our little measuring worm about to become a meal and is there no escape?
Well folks, you have to remember that this little worm is a bright little worm and his thinking ability under pressure certainly surpasses mine! All ends well, but you will have to read the story of how the singing bird was outwitted.
Of course this Caldecott award wining author has not slacked off on this illustrations one bit. They are as colorful, as original and playful as any of his other work. The combination of Lionni's words, story telling skills, ability to simplify the complex and his beautiful art work are truly amazing. I am not sure how he was able to sustain his high quality output over the years, but he certainly pulled it off.
This little work is ideal for the classroom or personal library. There are so many lessons to be learned here...thinking fast not being the least.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Was purchased off of a wish list. Certainly looks like a neat book.Published 1 month ago by Darlene
I have loved this book all of my 57 years. I was heartbroken when my younger sister got it when my parents divided the Myriad of children's books between us and our two older... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Ann R. Stahle
Leo Lionni is a fantastic children's story teller. this book is no exception. the little worm loves measuring everything... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Love the Lake
I read this book to my grandchildren and now to my great grandchildren. Good lesson to be learned in this book.Published 5 months ago by Nancy Meehan
Very cute but short little story. Great to read aloud at bedtime very slowly to help kids get calm, also would be good to use as an early reader.Published 6 months ago by Brynnlux