AS PER THIS BLOG'S INTRODUCTION, We Too Were Children, Mr. Barrie limits itself to twentieth-century, out-of-print books. Toni Morrison's The Big Box, highlighted yesterday, meets those requirements as the text was first published in 1980 and the now-out-of-print book version appeared in 1999. Since then, however, Morrison has published eight more picture books (all but one in conjunction with her son Slade Morrison), some of which remain in print. As a result, instead of the in depth discussion you are used to on We Too Were Children, I provide here a cover gallery with a few tidbits of info. Books that are still in print are linked to Amazon and I encourage everyone to buy them, whether it's on Amazon or at some other store. (I don't have an Amazon storefront and make no money off of these purchases. The links are just for your convenience.) They are:
The Book of Mean People (2002) by Toni Morrison with Slade Morrison, illustrated by Pascal Lemaȋtre. Like The Big Box, The Book of Mean People came out of Slade Morrison's childhood musings, which Morrison jotted down and later shaped into this book.
Who's Got Game: The Ant or the Grasshopper? (2003) by Toni Morrison with Slade Morrison, illustrated by Pascal Lemaȋtre. The Who's Got Game series was signed by Scribner as a six book deal. The series must have underperformed since it ended after only three books, which interestingly were later collected in an omnibus edition. The Morrisons' newest book (see below) brought out under the Simon and Schuster imprint (who own Scribner) is The Hare and the Tortoise. The Who's Got Game? concept was dropped as was the comic book format and illustrator Pascal Lemaȋtre.
Who's Got Game: The Lion or the Mouse? (2003) by Toni Morrison with Slade Morrison, illustrated by Pascal Lemaȋtre.
Who's Got Game: Poppy or the Snake (2004) by Toni Morrison with Slade Morrison, illustrated by Pascal Lemaȋtre.
Remember: The Journey to School Integration (2004) by Toni Morrison, illustrated with photographs. Morrison writes: "Because remembering is the mind's first step toward understanding, this book is designed to take you on a journey through a time in American life when there was as much hate as there was love..."
Who's Got Game: Collected Edition (2007) by Toni Morrison with Slade Morrison, illustrated by Pascal Lemaȋtre. Collection of the three previous Who's Got Game? titles.
Toni Morrison reads the book herself on the audio edition, and it is well worth getting your hands on. She reads with such command and expression that the otherwise only okay poetry comes to life and sounds important. You might want to have a hard copy with you as the illustrations do help with the narrative, but it's not essential.
Peeny Butter Fudge (2009) by Toni Morrison with Slade Morrison, illustrated by Joe Cepeda. This is Morrison's most personal picture book, about grandchildren visiting their grandmother and getting into all kinds of mischief with Nana as accomplice. There is no ambiguity to this text, and as a result it is Morrison's most comfortable children's book, good for toddlers.
Little Cloud and Lady Wind (2010) by Toni Morrison with Slade Morrison, illustrated by Sean Qualls. Ambiguity returns in this book about freedom, individuality, and communal responsibility.
The Tortoise or the Hare (2010) by Toni Morrison with Slade Morrison, illustrated by Joe Cepeda. A return to Aesop.
At the rate she is currently publishing--sometimes two children's books a year--Nobel winner Morrison will end up leaving a more substantial body of children's picture books than novels
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