Every time I venture to buy a picture story book for my daughter I only end up disappointed big time. Children’s books now-a-days are so drab and plain boring. Our generation (from the 70s) was immensely lucky that we grew up in the era were the books came from the erstwhile Soviet Union. Almost every other children’s book was the English translation of the folklore, fairy tales and ditties of Russia. I still remember them for their fantastic illustrations and distinctive styles. Master illustrators like Yuri Vasnetsov and Boris Kalaushin cast a spell on me that last till this day. They simply colored my childhood with endless fantasy and fun. I owe a lot to these gifted illustrators for shaping my artistic instincts as a kid.
But unfortunately the inflow of Russian books ceased abruptly after the 80s. Now we see only lackluster books that do not appeal to the kids and on top of it expensive. The illustrations mostly lack in substance, scale and context. Iam shocked to see today kids books with pages and pages of texts with no or just a few appalling illustrations.
I decided to dig through the web in search of the Russian books of the good old days. To my disappointment, I realized that many Russian publication houses had closed shop with the end of the Soviet era. I could collect a few illustrations here and there that took me on a nostalgic trip.
|Few of my favorites...|
|Few unforgettable characters:The wily fox, the bad wolf, the Nanny goat, the clever hedgehog, the proud pussy|
|Tales of the Amber sea- a collection of Russian fairy tales - a very distinctive illustration style !|
|Kids & Cubs by O.Perovskaya- adventurous tale of kids who pet different animals|
|L.Yakhnin's Cardboard ClockSquare|
|E.Rachev's illustration's for 'Cockerel'|
|Yuri Vasnetsov's illustrations for Dancing Perch|
|Few books that took me back in time...|
|E.Serova's Hedgehog gloves with the classic illustrations of Boris Kalaushin|
|Picture Stories by Nikolai Ernestovich Radlov - My most favorite of the lot! Every page told a funny story...What can I do to get this book?!|
|The 1937 original cover page by Radlov on top..The new cover page (as published recently by New Century Book house) at the bottom - shocking! See for yourself the degeneration of illustrations in today's kids books!|
In my search, I discovered a fellow enthusiast Swetlana, who has featured many vintage books in her site - Library things. I was excited like a kid to see some of them that took me down the memory lane. How I wish to go back to the 70s and take my daughter too with me.
Laura's Animalarium is a treasure house for Illustration and art lovers.
Thanks to efforts of Mr.Rajaram Vasudevan. An exclusive blog for Russian book lovers is created .Pls visit http://booksofsovietunion.blogspot.in/...and share.