Written by Maia Rodman and illustrated by Wilson Bigaud. Eau Claire, Wisc.: E. M. Hale and Company, 1952.
Today a long awaited book arrived in the mail. Since a New York dealer had contacted me, and some of you responded to my post to let me know that Wilson Bigaud had illustrated it, I have been waiting with baited breath for it to arrive.
Well, the book is quite worth the wait. Maia Rodman wrote the story, and it is a very sophisticated children's story. While it has the tradition happy ending with some emotive tugs, it still manages to share a good deal of Haitian culture, including carnival, Voodoo services, dreams of strange creatures and a Rara Band.
The illustrations are simply mind-boggling. The only color illustration is the full page cover of a Rara band with people blowing the vacine, the leader with his baton and other carrying some instrument or decoration which I've never seen before. It sort of looks like rows of votive candles on a large stick. It may just be candles for an evening walk.
Inside, nearly every page has a black a while illustration of the story, and they are just marvelous.
For those of you who don't know Wilson Bigaud, he is my own favorite Haitian artist of the early period. His wonderful huge mural, The Marriage Feast of Cana, covers the whole wall to the right of the altar at Holy Trinity Cathedral. In these drawings in the children's book he captures the simplicity of the Haitian village, and there is one marvelous illustration of the Iron Market.
Perhaps one of these days I'll figure out how to post graphics and then I can share these drawings with you.
It seemed like a very long wait, but I guess I only purchased the book about 3-4 weeks ago, but once I learned it was illustrated by Bigaud (which a few of you subscribers found out for me), I was just on pins and needles to get the book into my possession. Wow, was it well worth the wait!
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