Ipcar uses bold colors in opaque "milk" tones with heavy lines and rough outlines. What's more surprising is the use of black (until recently, practically never seen in children's books). The result is a retro/vintage look that isn't a trend but the life art of an amazing and gifted artist.
So I was excited to get two of her newer titles: One Horse Farm and Wild Animal Alphabet.
One Horse Farm is a simple story with a theme of loyalty that is woven around the childhood life of a boy on a country farm. Daily activities repeat as the child grows up and his perspective on the "small" farm changes. Modern technology comes to the farm and changes things, but the sweet story is that some things can never become obsolete or tossed aside in favor of progress. That the book says all this without being preachy is an art in itself....
The story itself is engaging for a three-year-old and up to understand; younger than that, a toddler would likely love the photos and unique colors. As always, this is a hardcover with pages printed on heavy stock with a quality look to it that makes it a likely heirloom in our family...seriously, there is a difference in quality among publishers of children's books.
The cover shows the kind of artwork Ipcar is famous for: cute but not overly sweet. Bold colors and lots of interplay with shadows and light make each page interesting, even if it is "just" the alphabet. I enjoy this difference from other children's book styles because when we read 4-5 stories before bed each night, I get really sick of cutesy pastels and pages that are over-saturated with random graphics. Ipcar's work is easy on the eyes, simple, and unique. Am I raving again? Of course! I only wish I could have decorated the baby's room around her artwork.
Special thanks to Melissa Kim of Islandport Press for the review copies.
Disclosure: I loved this publisher and bought their books before I ever reviewed for them!
After reading Barbara's comment, I went to her website...her Ipcar work is stunning so the link is here if you are interested. More heirlooms to collect (an obsession of mine since my only inherited treasures
consist of an icky old Avon bottle and an unfinished quilt)!!!