A COTTAGE GARDEN ALPHABET
From Publishers Weekly
"A is for Arbor" through to "Z is for Zucchini," each gets highlighted in one of 26 paper-cut compositions, finished with watercolors, and dramatically framed on cream-colored pages, in A Cottage Garden Alphabet by Andrea Wisnewski. A must for green thumbs of all ages.
From School Library Journal
Twenty-six scenes from cozy gardens, with one spread for each letter of the alphabet. Some plants and items, like "Roses" and "Scarecrow," will be familiar to most youngsters, while others, like "Quince" and "Primula," are more obscure. Children and animals are pictured along with the many plants. The mood is charming and timeless. Wisnewski's hand-colored paper cuts were created through a process she describes in detail in the foreword. The rich colors and thick flowing lines are technically accomplished and lovely. The book's design suits the content: it is simple and elegant.
By Lauralyn Persson
This charming little item is lovely to look at. Centered on a garden, the book goes through the alphabet: A is represented by an arbor; C is a cottage; I is iris; Z is zucchini. Along the way, there are a number of words children won't know--quince, topiary, and yarrow among them. But the particulars are less important than the warm mood and the detailed pictures that invite inspection. Children will want to step into inviting artwork full of flowers and fruit from the orchard and help collect eggs or pick lavender and put it in a basket. The pictures, which look like woodcuts, are actually hand-colored paper cuts. An informative author's note describes exactly how the illustrations were made as well as detailing how Wisnewski feels about gardening. A beautiful piece of bookmaking.
By Ilene Cooper
LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD
From Polish American Journal
Everyone knows the story of Red Riding Hood, but Wisnewski has made it fresh and new in her ingeniously designed retelling. Set in rural New England in winter in the early nineteenth century, with costumes drawn from Old Sturbridge Village, the little farm girl takes her basket of bread and butter to an ailing grandmother. The pages are full of rich colors, and with strong lines that looks like woodcuts. Wisnewski creates her work with a sharp blade and black silkscreen paper, carefully hand colored in watercolor, resulting in bright bold vivid images. A delightful new book for an old story.
By Florence Waszkelewicz Clowes
From Chicago Tribune
The illustrations, from the cover on, draw us in with their saturated hues and strong lines. You'll think they are woodcuts, but they are much more unusual--starting with designs knife-cut from paper, printed black and white, and then filled in with vivid watercolors. The traditional tale is given a new setting--based on Sturbridge Village in western Massachusetts--and a new twist. This little girl knows that's not Grandma in the bed, and she's only strategically quiet. Intense visual pleasure.
By Mary Harris Russell
Inspired by the early-nineteenth-century buildings and interpreters' costumes at Old Sturbridge Village, Wisnewski places the story of Little Red Riding Hood in an old-fashioned New England setting. Wisnewski, whose first book was A Cottage Garden Alphabet (2002), here illustrates the familiar tale of Little Red Riding Hood in a series of handsome double-page pictures that have the look of tinted woodcuts, Wisnewski's signature style. Actually, the black lines are intricately cut black paper, overlaid on white backgrounds painted with watercolors in pleasing hues. From the tiny paw prints indented on the cover to the heavy, broad-bordered pages to the appealing endpapers, the book is thoughtfully designed and beautifully made. Parents looking for a version of the tale for young children may find the text a bit too long, but plenty of adults and children will admire the effective compositions, the restrained use of color, and the distinctive look of Wisnewski's artwork.
By Carolyn Phelan
From Publishers Weekly
Wisnewski retells the familiar story, adorning it with graceful illustrations that emulate woodcuts, washed with saturated watercolors, and brimming with details. In her retelling, she recasts the nearby woodsman as Little Red Riding Hood's father and, arriving at Grandmother's, the heroine recognizes the wolf straightaway and uses the familiar questions regarding the odd physiognomy to buy time. Other details strike familiar tones: Grandmother is swallowed whole ("It had been a slim winter"), and the girl's father, after "carefully slitting open the wolf's stomach," stares gravely into the belly of the flayed but bloodless creature. (Flowered bed curtains spare his daughter—and readers—any implied gore.) Children will enjoy studying the detailed artwork, from Grandmother's pets (a tabby hides under the bed while a ginger cat flees) to cozy interiors modeled on Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts (according to an author's note). The bookmaking's lovely, too: lupine footprints trot across the front cover (beneath the book jacket), and red gingham endpapers conjure both the cloth protecting Little Red's basket and Grandmother's cheery tablecloth.
From Kirkus Reviews
This favorite fairytale has enticed many an illustrator. From Paul Galdone's standard-setter to Trina Schart Hyman's Caldecott winner to James Marshall's comical depiction to Beni Montressor's sensual version, the little girl in the red hood who escapes the wolf has had an array of faces. These handsome stylized illustrations look like woodcuts but are black-and-white prints made from intricate papercut designs and hand colored with watercolors. Wisnewski sets her retelling in 19th-century New England and used the costumes and interiors at Sturbridge Village (a living-history museum in Massachusetts) as models. Strong, carved-like lines imbue the flora, fauna, fur and fabrics with texture, and the framed text is incorporated into the scenes. This story has two variations: Little Red rides on the wolf's back to the path to Grandmother's house, and her father, not the woodsman stranger, comes to her rescue. Overall, an elegant addition to the cache of existing editions.
New Hampshire Historical Society
Andrea Wisnewski makes the story of Little Red Riding Hood fresh and new in this ingeniously designed retelling. She has set her tale in the rural New England of the early nineteenth century, basing her interiors, architecture, and costumes on models found at Old Sturbridge Village, Massachusetts.