We had very little money growing up and as such family vacations were few and far between. My world consisted entirely of a perfectly nice Midwestern neighborhood, a church with lots of do's and don'ts and a school with a library. The latter allowed me to 'travel' and no other books transported me further than Narnia. Tragically orphaned children, secret passageways, warring kingdoms and well-dressed animals with English accents - what could be more exotic? For me, they were the height of imaginative escapism and even now as a 'big kid' the books continue to influence my aesthetic sensibilities in funny little ways. And for those who might wonder, no, I do not collect unicorn figurines or hold backyard Renaissance Fairs...anymore.
A children's book illustrator I adore: I have a recent fondness for the work of Jen Corace, a talented Rhode Island artist who not only illustrated my site Mahar Drygoods but also the brilliant Little Pea books, The Humblebee Hunter and the gorgeous Cynthia Rylant version of Hansel and Gretel. However, when I was a kid I could not get enough of the Richard Scarry books. His dissections of buildings and elaborate country and cityscapes were absolutely packed with details and every detail was identified and labeled - something that was comforting to a semi-neurotic child who liked everything in its place. And again, well, there were well-dressed animals.
If my life so far were turned into a children's book the title would be: A Funny Thing Happened in the Space Between my Ears