Watson Week: Spotlight on Aldren

Here’s the schedule for Watson Week:
Tuesday: Intro – Hogs are Out!
Wed: Nancy & Ernest
Today: Aldren
Friday: Clyde and Wendy (Poetry Friday)
Click here to see all the Watson Week Posts (so far).

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 Writing about Aldren Watson gives me a chance to rave about one of my all-time favorite books. Favorite as a kid and as an adult. You can spend hours with this book and I have. I’ll be using a lot of pictures to point out Aldren’s greatness, so I split the post. Follow the ‘jump’ to see it all…

aldren1.jpg

Did you see the duct tape? Yep, this book has been loved my two generations now and it’s fallen apart.

I love this cover. Did you see the fox in the bathtub…

aldren3.jpg

Notice the family resemblance? That’s an inset of Wendy Watson’s Father Fox there, which came out several years before this book.

This book certainly has things in common with Scarry’s “What Do People Do All Day,” another great book. But would Scarry ever leave white space like this:

aldren4.jpg

Even though these are animals in clothes, Watson’s workers lack the cartoony excitement of Scarry’s wild-eyed, accident prone critters.

These animals have been doing their jobs for a long time. They’re good at what they do, but they’ve done it a million times. They’re proud of their work, but maybe a little tired or bored, too.  Maybe they even sit down on the job now and then.

aldren6.jpg

Let’s talk details. That toad reading the paper is a masterpiece. He is really wearing those clothes. And note that the TV and the lamp are plugged in.

Next we have the mouse who shovels coal at the glass factory. Note the pot holder he brought from home and hung on a nail next to the door. And it looks like he uses a spigot in the side to get hot water for his tea. The tea cup is still sitting there and the tea bag has been tossed on the floor next to it. (in the corner, partly cropped out, sorry.)

The detail here tells me that Watson researched this stuff pretty good. In the case of the bookbinders, below, he’s quite an expert. The inset is from his book for adults about bookbinding.

aldren2.jpg

Folks, I’ve shown you just a tiny fraction of what Watson put into this book. You need this book. Your kid needs this book. Your library needs this book.

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