“The Land of Nod” was originally a poem published by Robert Louis Stevenson in his 1885 book, A Child’s Garden of Verses. It describes the freedom and wonder of dreaming, and in this book, illustrator Robert Hunter has illuminated the poem for a young audience.
The illustrations are modern-looking, with stylized shapes and striking color combinations, but somehow also timeless. Hunter has created a character to narrate the poem, a young boy recovering from a broken leg, who sits by the window with his cast on and glumly watches the other children play. But in his dreams, he is free from his cast, and he romps through the Land of Nod with a cast of characters subliminally inspired by the objects in his bedroom: a stuffed gator, toy instruments, a giant hand sculpture, and other animals and dolls.
It’s a wildly imaginative take on the story, and it elevates the original poem and gives it additional context. The way the ordinary objects from the boy’s waking life transform and take on monumental significance in his dreams is inspired. The unique art style, sense of motion in the compositions, and masterful use of color cannot be overstated. It’s a visually stunning book, with a simple yet lovely storyline to go along with it. This reviewer, in particular, wants to see Hunter illustrate many more classic poems and give them the new life they deserve.
Whitney Morton Woodcock is an artist, graphic designer, and a
maybe-someday children’s book illustrator. She has a BFA in
Illustration from the Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota,
Florida, and currently resides in Tucson, Arizona with her husband
Brian and a few human and dog children. When she’s not reading (which takes up a lot of time!), she also enjoys cooking, yoga, painting
anything that stands still long enough, and planning vacations she
usually doesn’t end up taking. Her artwork can be found at WhitneyMorton.com and her pet portraiture business is at MaxfieldAndMadison.com.
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