Throwback Thursday

h1 May 5th, 2016 by jules

From Do You See What I See? —
“Up and down lines pull me up, up, up with them, until I feel as tall as a steeple and as taut as a stretched rubber band. I think of lofty trees, a lighthouse rising above the sea, a rocket soaring high into the sky, noble kings in flowing robes.”
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From Do You Hear What I Hear? —
“I hear sounds everywhere around me. Sounds can do many different things. They can put me to sleep—like a lullaby. Or they can wake me up—like an alarm clock. They can take me by surprise—like a sneeze. Or they can follow me—like an echo.”
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Isn’t that what the world of social media calls it? “Throwback Thursday”? I might have just gotten that all wrong.

Anyway. Last week, I chatted here at Kirkus with Helen Borten about the re-printing this year of picture books she created decades ago.

Today, I’m following up with art from Do You Hear What I Hear?, originally published in 1960, and Do You See What I See?, originally published in 1959 — which Flying Eye Books is giving new life.



From Do You See What I See?


“Flat lines, side by side, make me feel calm and peaceful. I think of ploughed fields stretching across the countryside. And I remember floating like a log
on the smooth surface of a lake.”

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“Lines can bend like rows of wheat when a soft breeze blows. They can bend in other ways too. Lines that bend in a zigzag way seem to crackle with excitement. They make me think of thunder storms and jagged mountain peaks. I see the huge jaws of a crocodile, wide open and bristling with jagged teeth, ready to snap shut.”
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“Lines can be as thin and delicate as a spider web, or as heavy and black as the bars of a lion’s cage. Lines can be as ragged as a barbed wire fence, or as smooth as the thread in a Mother’s sewing box.”
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“I see lines everywhere around me — skinny ones and fat ones, timid ones and bold ones, wiggly ones and straight ones, hard ones and soft ones, shaggy ones and smooth ones, fast ones and slow ones. Wherever I look I see lines making patterns of beauty. Can you see them too?”
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“One day I saw six jet planes flying by. They looked like silver triangles flying in a row. Did you ever see a sly, red fox? His pointed face is almost as sharp as a triangle.”
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“Everything has a color, too. Different colors make us feel different ways, just as lines and shapes do. Red is hot like a crackling fire, and blue is cold like a mountain stream. Yellow is warm like the sun’s rays, and green is as cool as a crisp leaf of lettuce.”
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“Colors can be pale and timid as a mouse —
or dark and mysterious as the night.”

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“I see the world as a great big painting, full of lines and shapes and colors,
to look at and enjoy. Do you see what I see?”

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From Do You Hear What I Hear?


“Different kinds of sounds make me feel different ways. Loud sounds can make me feel fierce as a lion and as explosive as a firecracker. The sound of the circus fills me with excitement. I hear animals roaring, music blaring, people shouting, hands clapping, peanut shells cracking and balloons bursting.”
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“Many quiet sounds make me sleepy—like rain pattering on the roof. The sound of summer makes me sleepy too. When I lie in the grass on a hot summer day,
I can hear leaves rustling, flies buzzing, pigeons cooing,
and I feel warm and drowsy all over.”

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“Some sounds are so quiet you can’t hear them at all. Can you hear a daisy’s petal falling? Or a butterfly’s wings beat against the air?”
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“There are sounds as near and warm as a kiss—or as far off and gray as a fog horn. Some sounds are too far away to hear at all. Can you hear a falling star?”
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“A sound can go on and on like a siren or be as short as the pop! of bubble gum. Some long sounds are lonely like the wind wailing through the trees and a train whistle far off in the night. Others seem to growl with power—like an airplane engine.”
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“Low sounds are thick and dark—like molasses. They pull me down, down with them until I feel as squat as a bullfrog. I remember the mysterious rumble of distant thunder and the deep roar of trucks on the highway.”
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“Sometimes it’s not the kind of sound but what makes the sound that decides how I feel. A hiss can be frightening coming from a snake, or funny coming from a collapsing balloon. Sometimes not knowing what makes a sound decides how I feel. A strange rattle in the middle of the night is scary—until it turns out to be Daddy, snoring.”
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“The world is like a great symphony, full of sounds to listen to and enjoy.
Do you hear what I hear?”

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* * * * * * *

DO YOU HEAR WHAT I HEAR? Originally appearing in print in 1960. © 1960 Helen Borten. This edition published in 2016 by Flying Eye Books.

DO YOU HEAR SEE WHAT I SEE? Originally appearing in print in 1959. © 1959 Helen Borten. This edition published in 2016 by Flying Eye Books.

2 comments to “Throwback Thursday”

  1. LOVE, love, love those snazzy 60’s illustrations. And while they’re being redone, I hope they don’t lose that vibe!

  2. Great feature on Helen’s books. Already a HUGE fan here. Thanks for the link too

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