Illustrated by Lisbeth Zwerger
I love fairy tales. In recent years I’ve been studying the Grimm tales as literature–reading some great books about the tales, like Maria Tatar‘s scholarly (but very readable) The Hard Facts of the Grimms’ Fairy Tales—and revisting the tales themselves.
Here in Mill Valley we, of course, have lots of wonderful version of the Grimms’ tales. One of my favorite Grimm illustrators is Lisbeth Zwerger. We have a bunch of her books—my current favorite is Little Red Cap (Little Red Riding Hood).
There is so much to appreciate here. I love the way she uses the page. She occupies all of it, from corner to corner, but often the figures are to one side, so that our eyes are forced to travel to one side or the other.
I feel the long, lonely walk to the front door or the tumult of the bed or anticipate the big slice of cake. The empty space gives the page depth and perspective.
And I love how she uses pen and ink with the watercolor to capture movement. I know that they’re still images, but I always feel like I’ve actually watched the hunter turn over his shoulder, surveying the wolf, assessing whether his scissors are sharp enough.