Grooming the Young
Photograph by Masanobu Oka, National Geographic Your Shot
A snow monkey grooms a youngster while soaking in a hot spring at the Jigokudani Monkey Park in Nagano Prefecture, Japan. “When I visited, about 30 monkeys were in the hot spring,” writes Your Shot member Masanobu Oka. “I realized that the mother was taking care of her kid just like a human. I watched them for a while before capturing the baby as it opened its eyes.”
American Masters on PBS writes, “Throughout the 1950s, Sendak worked regularly, producing nearly fifty illustrated children’s books. He saw in book illustration the opportunity to expand the imaginary world of the reader. While many illustrators had concentrated on clarifying the images in the text, Sendak believed that an illustration should add to the mystery of the work. His oddly grotesque characters seemed strangely inviting in their imperfections.”
Here are some of my favorite quotes by Maurice about children:
“Children do live in fantasy and reality; they move back and forth very easily in a way we no longer remember how to do.”
“It’s only adults who read the top layers most of the time. I think children read the internal meanings of everything.”
“Children are tough, though we tend to think of them as fragile. They have to be tough. Childhood is not easy. We sentimentalize children, but they know what’s real and what’s not. They understand metaphor and symbol. If children are different from us, they are more spontaneous. Grown-up lives have become overlaid with dross.”
“Parents shouldn’t assume children are made out of sugar candy and will break and collapse instantly. Kids don’t. We do.”
Enjoy some of his illustrations below! I’m sure many of you will remember them from your childhood.
Before you all get concerned that heartbreak inspired me to write this, I want to say, I did not write this to reflect me personally. I still feel like a young lover who is still in love. Rather, this a reflection of a universal longing for the spirit we all had in our youth.
Naive-a child, two young lovers, the one who has not yet experienced the sting of life are the naive. They are the most courageous of people, the most free of spirit and the truest of souls. They love without boundaries and their dreams are above the stars. They do not yet know the ominous enemy of fear. Pain is not in their vocabulary, and they do not know death.
Ignorance is their power. They continue endlessly to do because the poison of fear cannot halt.
They do not know that love can cause heartbreak so they love without bounds. They do not know that in jumping they will fall so they jump as high as their strength allows. They do not know that people betray trust so they trust without reserve.
They pursue life with all exuberance and still possess of the blush of youth. They believe in the good of everything and only smell the fresh showers of spring. Is wisdom such a virtue if fear and paralysis is all it brings?
Oh, but, wise one, wake them, wake them! For the naive always lie victim to the shark that eats those that dream. Wake them softly and free of insult for you were once the one that lay where they lie.
See them now, lying there in the field of bliss, so peaceful, so pure.
Oh, do you remember basking in the warm rays of ignorance? Do you remember the gentle kiss of your first love? Do you remember the intoxication from the bottle of life of which you drank that came from above?
Before rudely awakening them, remember, mourn and reflect. Then embrace them and gently touch their rosy cheeks with the icy, stone kiss of death.
“Wisdom is the right use of knowledge. To know is not to be wise. Many men know a great deal, and are all the greater fools for it. There is no fool so great a fool as a knowing fool. But to know how to use knowledge is to have wisdom.”
Obviously, it will be a while before my 10 month daughter is able to read, but that doesn’t mean she can’t enjoy book illustrations. I try to keep my eyes peeled for books with colorful, fun pictures. I have always had a love for color and quirkiness in art, and I finally found a new children’s illustrator that I love! He is a British illustrator, and his name is Christopher Corr. His art reflects his love for people and travel, and the colors are absolutely dazzling! Check out some of his art below.