My favorite books are all children’s books, the books I either grew up with, or the ones I discovered later in life. One of my all time favorite writers is Roald Dahl, and my favorite book of his is James and the Giant Peach. I think this book is his masterpiece and one of the greatest children’s books ever written. It’s at the top of my list, alongside Alice in Wonderland. Dahl’s skill as a writer is his ability to create truly memorable characters and stories that pull readers into the fantasy world he creates around them. You believe what he’s selling, even if it may be over-the-top in the hands of a less skilled writer.
There have been various versions of James and the Giant Peach, each with a different illustrator. The original version was illustrated by the award-winning artist, Nancy Ekholm Burkert. While her rendition was beautifully done, I have to say, my favorite illustrations were those done by Lane Smith for the version of the book that was released in 1996 to coincide with the release of the major motion picture. I feel Smith’s illustrations really capture the spirit of the story.
One of the things on my wish list was to have book artist, Kelly Campbell Berry (interviewed here), create a book sculpture of the Lane Smith illustrated version of James, but I had no luck in tracking down a hardcover copy of the book. As it turns out, that was not a problem when I contacted Kelly about what I wanted. She was able locate a copy and create a beautiful, custom-made, framed sculpture for me:
This book sculpture has to be seen in person to really appreciate all the intricate cutting and layering of the images.
My James sculpture now sits alongside my other sculpture by Kelly, that of Little House in the Big Woods:
Thank you, Kelly, for creating your beautiful works of art for book lovers like me!
What are some of your favorite children’s books? Please share in the comments.