Publishing children’s books would not be what it is today, if it weren’t for Maud and Miska Petersham. What they managed to accomplish in their lives, as far as writing and illustrating books for children is amazing, and no small feat.
They were pioneers in every aspect, and each chapter of Under the North Light: The Life and Work of Maud and Miska Petersham demonstrates that. Each chapter is sensitively and brilliantly written, and we are given a window into the moments of their lives and what they were striving towards. Along with the prose, each chapter contains pictures of their illustrations, illustrations that are absolutely stunning in their details and depth.
The Petershams were a unique couple, coming from diverse backgrounds. They endeavored throughout the years, to collaborate, not only in the art of illustration, but in the art of artistic beauty, beauty that kept children fascinated, and it also kept adults fascinated. Their biography is a testament to both.
Their marriage was strong, even through the lean and war-filled years. Their work ethic was strong, and their lives were filled with an extreme commitment to writing and illustrating, taking place under the north light of a window.
I read the Petersham’s stories growing up, and my childhood was filled with inhaling them. I wish I had been able to keep the books through the decades, but due to childhood family moves and life in general, the books were either given away to others or to libraries.
Reading the glossy pages of this outstanding and stunning book, I was reminded of my childhood, of how reading played an important role in my life, and still does, decades later. Fond memories flashed before me with each line and illustration, and I found myself a bit breathless from the pure joy and beauty of the pages
Under the North Light is an excellent resource regarding the development of book illustration, and shed light on graphic arts and its inception. It is a book of immense historical value, and one that I feel the reader will be inspired by, in many aspects.
Under The North Light: The Life and Work of Maud and Miska Petersham, by Lawrence Webster is an elegant and insightful tribute to the Petershams, and to their life’s work. I highly recommend it to everyone.