Book: My Hands
Illustrator & Author: Aliki
Publisher: Thomas Y. Crowell Co.
Year Published: 1962
I am deeply in love with this amazing limited color palette! These pages are quintessential examples of the style that came to define mid-century work in children’s books. With large flat blocks of color, intermittent line work, and a screen printerly layers. If this style interests you---look up the work of illustrators like Aurelius Battaglia and Roger Duvoisin.
Aliki also does a great job keeping the linework energized on the pages that are not in color. The lines have been drawn with several different tools, from litho crayons in the softer lines to dip pen and ink in the drippier ones, which invokes a confidence and playfulness that fits well with her subject.
The only fault I can see, is that she did not think this first illustration 100 percent through as the third boy is clearly flicking the reader off (while smiling, what a smug little booger!). The page was called "finger games" and I think the kids are supposed to be counting. Was the middle finger gesture recognized in the 1960's?
It is also, sadly, a product of its time, and features zero kids of color. She is renowned for her diversity in later illustrated books such as “Manners”, so thankfully this was not a personal choice that persisted in her career.
If you want to hunt down this book, make sure you put in the publishing year, because she made a new book in 2000 under the same title that has none of this vintage charm.