July 21, 2011

Advice for Little Girls

Mark Twain, children's book author? In a word, yes. In 1865 his story Advice to Little Girls was published and appeared alongside other stories in a compilation called The 30,000 Dollar Bequest and Other Stories. The NY Books explains that:

"American children’s literature in those days was mostly didactic, addressed to some imaginary reader—an ideal girl or boy, upon reading the story, would immediately adopt its heroes as role models. Twain did not squat down to be heard and understood by children, but asked them to stand on their tiptoes—to absorb the kind of language and humor suitable for adults."

Twain's story is now re-published today alongside these charming, incredibly funny illustrations by artist and children's book author Vladimir Radunsky. The wry, subversive, decidedly very adult humor of Twain comes to life when juxtaposed with Radunsky's droll illustrations. Reading them makes me feel like I've stumbled upon something extraordinary; I think they might have to become a part of my permanent book collection. They're simply too delightful to pass up. Radunsky's work sort of reminds me of Maira Kalman's; I think both artists share a fierce intelligence and honesty in their work.

Any of these images can be enlarged on the NY Books website. More of Radunsky's work can be found on his own website.

{Photos via NY Books}

1 comment:

dulci said...

i love these illustrations!!