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Stanley: Goes for a Drive Hardcover – 23 Sep 2004
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Picture books aren't just about pictures. As such adepts as Margaret Wise Brown, Byron Barton and Molly Bang have shown, the words are important too especially since there are, or should be, so few of them (Bang's brilliant Yellow Ball has just 28). Vocabulary, rhythm, placement on the page are all crucial. In his first children's book, graphic designer Craig Frazier makes the tricky art of marrying words and pictures look deceptively easy. When "Stanley set out for a drive with little on his mind" the single, inviting sentence on the first double page spread the world he sees is as empty and dry as his imagination, done in black, dusty browns and desiccated reds. But then, "Stanley passed a herd of cows. His eye caught by a cows bright, milk-white patches, "Stanley had an idea" that would change everything. In a dizzying chain reaction of creativity, he milks the cow, its patches become milk, the milk becomes clouds. Finally, "the clouds began to pour." As Stanley drives home, the pages, like his thoughts and spirits, have been struck green. The cow has just one apt word for this miraculous transformation: "Mooo." -The Washington PostFrazier's (The Illustrated Voice) graphically expressive debut children's title innocuously begins as the story of a man and his truck on a searing, dusty day. But it soon sheds its initial pragmatism for a dreamlike flight of fancy. Reflecting the author's background in design and illustration, the full bleed, digitally colored artwork consists of simple form and silhouettes with occasional pixel like shadows suggesting three dimensionality. Stanley, a typical Frazier figure, "[sets] out on a drive with little on his mind" in his red, vintage pickup truck, sporting a vest, shirtsleeves and brimmed hat. Austere sentences underscore the normalcy: "There wasn't a cloud in the sky, just the baking hot sun....The pond was so dry that it couldn't even make a reflection." Passing a herd of black cows, however Stanley brings his truck to a halt; he approaches the lone spotted one with buckets, a stool and "an idea." After milking the animal, he tosses the buckets' contents into the air, and the milk fluidly morphs into clouds A storm brings rain and respite, transforming the parched and yellowed landscape into a verdant wonderland. The theme of finding magic in the mundane should appeal to readers of all ages who are perhaps already familiar with the enchantments that can be found in a seemingly ordinary day in the country. --Publishers Weekly When Stanley goes for a drive in his old red pickup on a dried out, brown as dirt summer day, he's not thinking about much. Until, that is, he spies a black and white spotted cow on the side of the road. He milks the cow, and, magically, the milk from his buckets floats up and materializes as white clouds in the sky, taking the same shapes as the cow's spots. The clouds start to pour (rain, not milk) and the palette of the landscape turns from brown to green. Frazier, a renowned graphic artist, tells his story with color and shape; in a sense, the story is about the perception of color and shape. The appealing, crisp computer graphics (the art is hand drawn and colored on a computer) also evoke old fashioned silhouette art, and a variety of offbeat perspectives force readers to focus on details they might normally overlook. Reading this unusual, visually intriguing story is like examining a surrealist painting where something shifts inexplicably as one watches. Children may never view a spotted cow the same way again. --Kirkus Reviews "Picture books aren't just about pictures. As such adepts as Margaret Wise Brown, Byron Barton and Molly Bang have shown, the words are important, too--especially since there are, or should be, so few of them (Bang's brilliant Yellow Ball gas just 28). Vocabulary, rhythm, placement on the page all are crucial. In his first childrens' book, graphic designer Craig Frazier makes the tri
About the Author
CRAIG FRAZIER IS WELL KNOWN WORLDWIDE FOR HIS ILLUSTRATION AND DESIGN. HE IS THE AUTHOR OF THE ILLUSTRATED VOICE AND THE DESIGNER OF THE ADOBE TYPEFACE CRITTER
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
As a professional graphic designer with more than thirty years experience, a father and now grandfather, I give Craig Frazier an "A-Plus" on his first effort as author/illustrator/designer of a book for children. Mr. Frazier is a highly-respected recipient of many prestigious awards in the world of professional graphic design and illustration. I've been aware of his work for many years. Like his work for adults, Frazier has infused his first children's book with a certain ambiguity that asks his audience to become involved in the story and with each image and, to decide for themselves just what is happening. His narrative and pictures are rich in color and form. I sincerely hope that he will decide to follow "Stanley" with more titles for children.