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Girls Standing on the Lawnby Maira Kalman
Synopses & Reviews
Girls Standing on Lawns is a unique collaboration between renowned artist and bestselling children’s book author Maira Kalman and New York Times bestselling writer Daniel Handler, better known as Lemony Snicket. This clever book contains 40 vintage photographs from the collection of The Museum of Modern Art, New York, more than a dozen original paintings by Kalman inspired by the photographs, and brief, lyrical texts by Handler. Poetic and thought-provoking, Girls Standing on Lawns is a meditation on memories, childhood, nostalgia, home, family, and the act of seeing. The gorgeous visual material sets the stage for what Handler succinctly describes as “a photograph, a painting, a sentence, a pose.” Girls, women, families, and even pets from days gone by grace the pages, looking out at us, enticing readers to imagine these people, their lives—and where they have gone.
Praise for Girls Standing on Lawns
"Kalman supplements the mostly black-and-white, anonymous, amateur snapshots with colorful paintings inspired by the photographs. Handler adds alternately wry, pithy, poignant—and always succinct—commentary to most spreads, inviting readers to ponder the people and scenes as well as their own family photos."
"Handler provides free verse that is both spare and sparse throughout the collection, contextualizing the thematic groupings and offering imaginative insight into what might have motivated the preservation of such frozen moments. The project is interesting and the images thought provoking."
--The Bulletin of The Center for Children’s Books
"Handler and Kalman (Why We Broke Up) explore photographs held by the Museum of Modern Art, a selection of mostly b&w vintage snapshots of young women posing on lawns. The girls look decorative, awkward, sometimes grim (like the woman in the grass skirt in front of bare winter trees), sometimes hilarious (a pair of fashionably shod legs stick out of a hedge). Handler's commentary wanders between the voices of the subjects ('My whole life I have not known where to put my hands') and that of a wise, older-brotherish commentator ('You don't have to be self-conscious. We're all fools'). Kalman contributes her own inimitable paintings: a girl in a dance costume flanked by two terriers, a jaunty woman perched on a gate. Handler captures the essential paradox of the photograph as historical record: 'None of this is there, not anymore. And yet we are still standing.' There's a marked insider/outsider feel to the project, first in a planned collaborative series between Handler, Kalman, and the museum; those familiar with the Handler/Kalman sensibility will be delighted, while those not in the know may find it baffling. Ages 10 — up. (May)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Maira Kalman is a bestselling and award-winning artist, illustrator, and writer whose books include 13 Words (with Lemony Snicket), And the Pursuit of Happiness, and The Elements of Style. Her artwork has been the subject of 14 solo exhibitions and has also been featured in group exhibitions in major museums. Girls Standing on Lawns is the first title in a series of illustrated childrens books Kalman will be publishing with MoMA, inspired by MoMAs photography collection.
Daniel Handler is the internationally renowned author of the A Series of Unfortunate Events series, whose books have sold over 60 million copies in 44 languages.
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