Thursday, February 26, 2009
Jan Balet's 'Amos and the Moon' part 4
As I've been preparing this week's scans from Jan Balet's 1948 book, Amos and the Moon, I couldn't help but marvel at some of the interesting details...
How times have changed! Can you imagine a children's book today that includes a nudie calendar as a prop?
Even the notion of a young child wandering alone down a city street, going shop to shop without parental supervision, is a frightening concept to most moms and dads in today's society.
A sad side effect of urban planning that encourages isolation and the corporatization of shopping. Balet shows us the charm of a time when people shopped in their own neighbourhoods and the shopkeepers were their friends and neighbours.
Another interesting point: Balet included shop owners from a variety of ethnic and national backgrounds, associating them to the sort of businesses they would stereotypically have been involved in. Perhaps I'm mistaken but I get the feeling that very few Americans (outside of a few large metroplolitan cities) could have related much to the likes of Zirimis the baker, Blanchard the butcher, Krailevizchs the shoe maker or Salvadore the barber.
Times have changed... that sort of 'united nations' inclusion is almost mandatory in modern kids lit (just as showing nudie calendars is definitely out) but in 1940's America, as much as Jan Balet's atypical style of art, it reveals, I think, a certain European sensibility.
* My Jan Balet Flickr set.