Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Ralph Steadman's "Alice" to be part of London's "Books About Town" bench project

While the new UK secretary of education, Michael Gove, erases American literature from the British curriculum, this summer Britain gives its citizens a restful place to read the national classics, profusely illustrated -- and eminently practical. 

The online site of the UK's Made in Shoreditch Magazine reports on this summer's London park project:

This summer, benches shaped like open books will pop up all over the capital for children, families and visitors to find and enjoy. ‘Books about Town’ launched by the National Literacy Trust and Wild in Art brings a unique opportunity for the public to view 50 bench sculptures across the city, created by both local artists and famous names, to celebrate London’s literary heritage and reading for enjoyment. 

.. Axel Scheffler has illustrated a bench which celebrates his work with Julia Donaldson and the characters they’ve created together, including The Gruffalo and characters from their new book The Scarecrow’s Wedding. The bench is being sponsored by Scheffler’s and Donaldson’s publishers: Scholastic Children’s Books and Macmillan Children’s Publishing.

Among the other top artists involved is Ralph Steadman who illustrated Lewis Caroll’s children’s classic Alice Through the Looking Glass in 1973 and has reproduced some of these illustrations on a unique BookBench. Children’s authors Lauren Child and Cressida Cowell have each designed benches based on their own series Clarice Bean and How To Train Your Dragon. Walker Books are sponsoring their very own We’re Going on a Bear Hunt themed BookBench, which will be illustrated by Helen Oxenbury.

Imagine what this project could suggest in the future for public statuary based on sci-fi, fantasy, and romance fans. A park fountain in the form of Lucy from Burgess' A Clockwork Orange, anyone? Visit Made in Shoreditch for more info and links about this summer's "Books About Town." Burgess' Korova Milk Bar maiden supplying drinks laced with synthemesc and drencrom will have to wait for another summer season, apparently.

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