13 March 2018

Leo and Diane Dillon: An Appreciation

In honor of Diane Dillon's birthday, I believe an appreciation of this couple's work is in order.

They won two Caldecott medals, one Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award and numerous honors, and been runners-up for the Hans Christian Andersen Award.

Their body of work is breathtaking.

I can't remember when I first saw their artwork -- probably when Why Mosquitoes Buzz In People's Ears was read on Reading Rainbow. But I didn't truly appreciate their work until I became a librarian and saw the full range of their gifts.

I grew up in a small town with a small school library. I honestly can't tell you if that library owned any books that were illustrated by the Dillons. With such a small school library, my mother did her best to keep me up to my ears in new and classic children's books, but some works passed her by as well.

Nevertheless, I did find their work, and I am so glad I did.

The images they created glow, not only with light and warmth, but with humanity and dignity and beauty. The skills they possess!

In the book To Every Thing There Is a Season: Verses from Ecclesiastes, the Dillons use traditional artistic styles from around the world as inspiration. There are spreads inspired by Ancient Egypt, Thailand, the Middle East, and Ancient Mexico, among others. Each turn of the page shows different skills. It's gorgeous work.

Sadly, Leo Dillon passed away in 2012. However, Diane Dillon recently released a new picture book that looks as glorious as ever. I'm looking forward to reading I Can Be Anything! Don't Tell Me I Can't and losing myself in the images.

To see more of their artwork, visit The Art of Leo and Diane Dillon.

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