A review by Sally K Lehman
Since we gave you Lewis Carroll’s and John Tenniel’s Alice yesterday, today we’re taking a look at a modern day artist and storyteller pair.
Michele Bledsoe and Richard Bledsoe are a the creators of The Secret Kingdom from Outskirts Press, Inc. The book has 28 color images with bits and pieces of various animals and people throughout. Each painting in the book is accompanied with a short poem. For children too young or too easily distracted for a full book, this is an excellent choice as you can turn to any page and read, because the poems, while all in a consistent voice, do not rely on one another in order to be enjoyed.
While the rhymes are not as complex as the ones Carroll put together, the words are all completely understandable, touching on themes like sleeping flowers, elephant and earthworm friendship, and invisible friends. All things that I encourage children to believe in. All things I like to believe in as well….
“Sleep is the secret kingdom
A castle built on the inside
Just follow the beautiful stairway
Which begins behind your shut eyes”
The art is a child’s introduction to surrealism. In fact, I wish I’d had this book when my daughters were small, because I remember when they first saw Salvador Dali’s work (which they all love) and would have loved to show them that surrealistic perspective earlier in their lives. But, let’s face it, Dali is a little too much for a four-year-old. The Secret Kingdom is perfect for small children. The paintings are unusual and thoughtful and safe for kids of all ages.
Painting by Michele Bledsoe – “And Then You Blink” , “Mr. Crazy’s Lament” , “Metamorphosis”
To see Michele Bledsoe’s and Richard Bledsoe’s work and buy a copy of this remarkable book, please go to sites.google.com/site/improbableart/artists