Been a while since I highlighted an actual artist for Inspired Monday, hasn’t it?  Well, let’s do something to fix that!  This week, let’s look at a children’s book artist who’s always inspiring to me…

Image courtesy of MapArt

…Taro Gomi, a Japanese children’s book artist.  Beautifully simple (and simply beautiful) images that capture nature, the silliness of animals, the joy of childhood, and the modern world from a child’s perspective.

 Okay, getting this out of the way first…y’all have probably heard of this book of his more than any others:

Image courtesy of Amazon

Yes, the infamous Everyone Poops book is by Taro Gomi.  So he has an irreverent sense of humor, in addition to doing really beautiful paintings…which is the best kind of artist to be, I think.  You have to be able to laugh at yourself and your subject matter every once in a while, right?

I love his books, not just for the illustrations, but also for how interactive they can be.  I read these to my nephew when he was 1-3 years old, and although some books for that age group can get really boring after a couple runs through, the Taro Gomi books were always fun for me to read because I noticed different things each time.

Bus Stops seems to be designed for that…

Image courtesy of MapArt

 …where each page has “can you find x?” question you can ask the child you’re reading to.  My nephew and I had a great time finding the objects, and I would point out to him other details in the image that then he would point out to me next time.  It was lots of fun.
(I also just love the image above from an artistic standpoint too…the shadow-and-light contrast, the simple evocative shapes.  So cool!)

 Hide and Seek is similar in concept…finding the objects hidden in pictures of animals. (Another picture I just love…that bright pink background really just works for some reason.)

I think my favorite book of his, though, is Spring Is Here:

Courtesy of Dilly Dally Kids
This book details the seasonal cycle in really beautiful illustrations.  I think the cleverest thing, though, is that it uses a baby calf to bookend the story, and the calf gradually turns into the spring landscape in a really cool visual transformation…it’s hard to explain.  Just go get the darn book and read it!
That’s Taro Gomi!  Anyone else have any favorite children’s book illustrators to share?  Any kids’ books from when you were younger that you kept for the artwork, or just because they were cool?  Share ’em, I love recommendations!  Tweet @maxfieldmaddie with the hashtag #InspiredMonday.