Friday, January 5, 2018

Andy and the Lion by James Daugherty (1938)

  by James Daugherty was the a Caldecott Honor book in 1939.  It's held up remarkably well for a nearly 80 year old book.  The plot is as old as storytelling itself - Androcles and the Lion, "updated" for the 1930s.  Daughtery's illustrations are pure Americana, Depression era, Grant Wood-esque - block cuts?  I'm not sure of the medium.  The entire book is in black and yellow/tan (lion colored).  The lion is obviously related to the Cowardly Lion looks-wise (and even bursts into tears at one point) although he is no coward.

Andy and the LionAndy and the Lion by James Daugherty
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The plot is as old as storytelling - a Depression-era re-telling of Androcles and the Lion. It's the illustrations that really make this 1939 Caldecott Honor the cat's pajamas: Daugherty's wood cuts (?) are pure 1930s Americana; a striking example of American Regionalism in the style of American Gothic's Grant Wood, with some Ozian Denslow thrown in (my favorite is Andy's mother waving goodbye to him from the front porch as he goes off to school, which could almost be a storboard for the musical Oklahoma). The illustrations are also "lion" colored, which is extra neat. A striking book, if you love American art from this time period.

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