Dr. Seuss's Great Day for Up
illustrated by Quentin Blake
Children's book review by Steve Barancik
Rise and shine and greet the day book
I'm guessing Dr. Seuss was pretty busy in 1974.
His bibliography confirms it. So there probably simply wasn't time to illustrate this one. The inside back cover explains:
Unil now, Dr. Seuss has always drawn all the pictures for his books, but he so liked the wonderfully jolly drawings of an Englishman named Quentin Blake that he asked him to illustrate Great Day for Up.
Well, there you have it. And while it would be easy to decry the travesty of someone else illustrating a Seuss book...
Blake does a pretty darn good job! Review continues.
He doesn't imitate Seuss; that would have been offensive. He merely brings his own brand of joy to the proceedings with his pen and watercolor renderings of the proceedings.
"Up" has more than one meaning in this easy reader. It means "getting up" - as in, "Yawn, I've gotta get up" - but it also means something more aspirational.
The people (and animals) in Great Day for Up are all reaching for the sky - literally and figuratively.
Bunnies are jumping; frogs too. Even worms are stretching toward the sun.
People are sending baseballs, footballs and kites into the air. They're even getting up there themselves with the aid of elevators, ferris wheels and balloons.
Blake captures all this upness brilliantly. It's as if all the humans and animals have been blessed with a little chlorophyll, as if we're all reaching toward the sun for a little photosynthesis.
(Or Vitamin D production.)
When Blake paints a two page spread featuring earth, water and sky, there's almost as much activity above the horizon as below.
Merriam-Webster reports that "Up" can be an adjective, adverb or preposition, but Dr. Seuss shows them by turning it into a noun. Up is a thing...a good thing...
Everybody's doing UP's
Seize the day - this day - a Great Day for Up!
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