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The Illustrator's Notebook Hardcover – March 29, 2006

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5 Up–Part children's book, part autobiography, part design treatise, this hard-to-categorize Egyptian import is full of wonders from start to finish. Ellabbad uses excerpts from his notebooks to discuss ways of seeing art from an artist's perspective and as someone from an Arabic culture. Printed like the Egyptian edition–read right to left–the pages are magnificently and surprisingly illustrated, juxtaposing Arabic script (English translations appear in the margins), watercolor paintings, pasted-in photos and pictures from comic books, and all manner of characters from Eastern and Western cultures. From the henna paintings on a woman's hands and feet, to a photograph of a village house decorated with a lifelike mural, to a reproduction of an Ottoman sultan's signature done in ornate calligraphy, Ellabbad contemplates different forms of expression and how these images spur the imagination and stimulate personal reflection. On a page featuring sketches of an Egyptian 10-pound note, he encourages readers to re-examine familiar things (…have you ever looked at the beautiful landscape that is drawn right in the palm of your hand?). Scrapbook memoirs are paired with a discussion of the importance of souvenirs (from ticket stubs to pyramids) for awakening memories and preserving the past. The warm and inviting prose goes beyond aesthetics and poses questions such as Who are our heroes? What is memory? Where do stories come from? The Illustrator's Notebook presents a revealing introduction to Arabic culture and will appeal particularly to visually oriented youngsters.–Steev Baker, Kewaskum Public Library, WI
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 and up
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten and up
  • Lexile Measure: 990L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 36 pages
  • Publisher: Groundwood Books (March 29, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0888997000
  • ISBN-13: 978-0888997005
  • Product Dimensions: 11.4 x 9.6 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,529,840 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
What a beautiful book. I purchased this book for the illustrations but I like it even more for the writing. There is a short vignette on each page accompanied by an illustration or collages of some of the authors old pictures, postcards, and other items. Although this is a children's book, it's also appealing to adults. For those who know Arabic, the vignettes are all hand-written in Arabic and translated into English so you can pick up new words. Additionally, the author has a couple of very sweet vignettes describing how individuals from different countries perceive the world differently. Definitely a gem.
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Format: Hardcover
I heard about this book on NPR before Christmas. It took me 4 months to actually get it for my daughter. We ended up giving this as a birthday gift and I intend on ordering another for my 8 year old. The book will take you into another culture, yet is completely relevant to everyone.
I highly recommend it.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a rich and unique book with many levels of meaning. It is an account of an artist's creative sources and of how he grew up to be a famous illustrator. It is an appeal to children to see the world and to find inspiration in the most ordinary visual sources. It is a testament to the value of diversity, exemplified by the fact that while some people read from left to right, others read the opposite way, which affects how they see and even dream. It is an introduction to Egypt and its extraordinary visual world and, finally, it is a demonstration of the beauty of written Arabic. A joyous and inventive melding of genres, this stereotype-smashing book is a remarkable study of memory and perspective.

Teachers: 6th grade to adult. Each of its pages would make a fabulous overhead transparency powerpoint visual - to be used for wonderful classroom sessions. It will be a required "text" for an online curriculum about the Timbuktu manuscripts: Legacy of the Written Word.

This review LOVES this book and is VERY excited about its possibilities in YOUR classroom!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What is the difference between Superman and King Baiibars?

A fun and intriguing question asked by Ellabbad in his amazingly visual illustrative book. It is a true inspiration to both Eastern and Western cultures alike.

This is one of the books that you'll have to hold on to and pass on to future generations. Simply authentic and lively.

The book is both in Arabic and English. Don't worry if you can't read Arabic, you will not miss the energy and the spirit behind the book. The Arabic calligraphy adds a visual appeal to the genuine illustrations represented in the book.

However, as a native Arabic-Egyptian speaker, I was a bit disappointed of the translation. But, then again, you can't expect literal translation and after all it is all about the visuals, collections, pictures, paintings and photographs that really narrate Ellabbad's ideas...

Definitely a thumbs up for this book for its authentic presentation of Eastern culture.
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