Friday, October 21, 2011

31 (More) Days of #BIF7 - Day 21 - Chris Van Allsburg

Of all the BIF-7 storytellers, Chris Van Allsburg stood out as the only author who wrote fiction (children's fiction, specifically). Naturally, he was an accomplished storyteller, with most of us familiar with his crowning work, The Polar Express. But did that make him an innovator? I wasn't sure.

As it turns out, during his BIF-7 story, Chris's revealed that he knows a few things about innovation.

First, there was the focus of his talk, his new book, Queen of the Falls. This is a children's story about Annie Edson Taylor, the sixty-two-year-old charm school instructor who became the first person to go over Niagara Falls in a wooden barrel. Annie's plan to go over the Falls was conceived to earn her fame and fortune, but there's no doubt that it was audacious and innovative.

Chris's conceit to spin a mature story about a confidence woman as a children's book was also innovative. On the surface, Annie's story is not really suitable for children, and without a happy ending, but Chris found a way to make it work.

Finally, the scale and grandeur of the Falls themselves forced Chris to innovate and experiment in the illustrations for the book. He faced a tough challenge to represent the size and height of the Falls and used juxtaposed buildings to depict relational scale.

Additional information:

BIF Profile Page

This is part of my 31 (More) Days of #BIF7 blog series.

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