Cat on the Mat and Friends by Brian Wildsmith
  

Cat on the Mat and Friends

Written by Brian Wildsmith
Illustrated by Brian Wildsmith

Baby and Toddler   Books of the Month   3+ readers   
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The Lovereading4Kids comment

A bumper picture book made up of four best-selling classic stories by this award winning illustrator. The simplicity of Brian Wildsmith’s illustrations and the jokes that both the pictures and the stories tell make this a delight for young readers....

Korky Paul on Brian Wildsmith:

'Brian Wildsmith's work came out in the 1960s and he changed picture books. It was revolutionary stuff. One of his best books is The Hare and the Tortoise. He uses his own colours. He plays with scale, and his animals have characters: roosters strut their stuff, chickens are always eating, cats always sleeping.

'What I like about his work is his wonderful use of white space; there are raggedy edges and extraordinary detail. He uses a mixture of media: watercolour, wash, then he works on top with chalk or pen. There is a lot of movement there.

'My work is more spiky, but I love trying to create a fantasy world and to stylise it. Children's books allow artists of all kinds to explore their own vision, how they see the world, and that's what Wildsmith achieves so well. Exposing children to that teaches them that there are all sorts of ways of viewing the world.' (The Guardian)

Synopsis

Cat on the Mat and Friends by Brian Wildsmith

Hip, hip, hippooray! A collection of stories, for you today! A collection of classic Brian Wildsmith titles, Cat on the Mat; Toot, Toot; All Fall Down; and The Island, are brought together in this wonderful book. Each story is filled with humour that will delight readers, and every page is bursting with the bright and beautiful illustrations that Brian Wildsmith is famous for. Young readers will love turning the page to find out who dared to sit on the cat's mat, what goes Toot, Toot, how many animals can balance on a ball, and will be amazed by an island that is full of surprises.

Reviews

'Floors of colour exploding across the pages with a name to match: Wildsmith. He was a wild smith. I remember feeling really envious: why hadn't I had books as lush and wild as these?'

'His explorations of the natural world offer rich visual experiences. The baby owl's feathers ... have a thistledown texture that makes you want to blow on the page ... Fishes are speckled, stippled and splattered, and-with the subtle stained-glass luminosity of the underwater world-are as much paintings in their own right as they are illustrations.'

About the Author

Brian Wildsmith

Brian Wildsmith died on 31 August 2016 aged 86 in Grasse, France. He won himself a world-wide reputation as one of the greatest living children's illustrators.

He was born on 22nd January 1930 and raised in a small mining village near Sheffield. He won a scholarship to the Slade School of Fine Art, London where he studied for three years. He later taught maths at the Royal Military School of Music but gave it up so that he could pursue his passion for painting.

Wildsmith began working with Oxford University Press in the late 1950s when children’s publisher, Mabel George, commissioned him to illustrate 12 colour plates for Tales from the Arabian Nights. This was followed by ABC, published in 1961, which won the Kate Greenaway Medal.

Wildsmith’s "fruitful and creative" collaboration with OUP continued after George's retirement in 1974 with the appointment of Ron Heapy as publisher, a role which he held for more than 20 years. During this period Wildsmith produced some of his best-loved and best-known titles, including A Christmas Story and Cat on the Mat.

Since 2007 – the year that marked the centenary of children’s publishing at OUP – a number of Wildsmith’s books have been brought back into print, including his illustrated anthology of nursery rhymes, originally published in 1964, and his vivid imagining of The Twelve Days of Christmas, which first appeared in 1972. During the course of his long-standing association with OUP, Wildsmith wrote and illustrated more than 80 books.

A spokesperson for OUP said of Wildsmith: "He was an immensely thoughtful, compassionate, and perceptive man and these qualities touched all those at Oxford University Press who had the privilege to work with him over the years."

Wildsmith, who moved to France with his family in 1971, lost his wife, Aurélie, in 2015. He is survived by his four children, three grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

Brian Wildsmith on his illustrations:

‘Picture books give an opportunity for a marriage between painting and illustrating . . . I believe that beautiful picture books of the right kind are vitally important in subconsciously forming a child’s appreciation, which will bear fruit in later life.’

Tributes to Brian Wildsmith:

Author Michael Rosen (Children’s Laureate 2007-2009) said of Wildsmith: "Floods of colour exploding across the pages with a name to match: Wildsmith. He was a wild smith. I remember feeling envious: why hadn’t I had books as wild and lush as these?"

Picture-book maker, Catherine Rayner, (Kate Greenaway Medal winner 2009) has also long been inspired by Wildsmith's work. She said: "The balance he managed to create between the character in a storybook and the real creature is perfect. His illustrations provide a lively eyeful of activity and colour along with imaginative composition, which I find truly amazing."

‘Brian Wildsmith was one of the most original and influential picture book makers in the world, particularly in his use of colour and space.’ Anthony Browne, Children’s Laureate 2009-2011

Korky Paul on Brian Wildsmith:

'Brian Wildsmith's work came out in the 1960s and he changed picture books. It was revolutionary stuff. One of his best books is The Hare and the Tortoise. He uses his own colours. He plays with scale, and his animals have characters: roosters strut their stuff, chickens are always eating, cats always sleeping.

'What I like about his work is his wonderful use of white space; there are raggedy edges and extraordinary detail. He uses a mixture of media: watercolour, wash, then he works on top with chalk or pen. There is a lot of movement there.

'My work is more spiky, but I love trying to create a fantasy world and to stylise it. Children's books allow artists of all kinds to explore their own vision, how they see the world, and that's what Wildsmith achieves so well. Exposing children to that teaches them that there are all sorts of ways of viewing the world.' (The Guardian)

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Book Info

Format

Paperback
48 pages

Author

Brian Wildsmith
More books by Brian Wildsmith

Author's Website

brianwildsmith.com/

Publisher

Oxford University Press

Publication date

12th April 2011

ISBN

9780192789815

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