Like his mentor Maurice Sendak, Chris Van Allsburg proves through his highly imaginative work that children enjoy material that may prove unsettling to adults. In "Jumanji" (1981), for example, the monkeys pillaging the kitchen are not the lovable characters typified by Curious George. Throughout his oeuvre, Van Allsburg propels his reader in and out of reality and, as Jane Curley points out in her essay, looks to earlier traditions for inspiration. His admiration for the German Romantics -- early and late -- combines the hermetic stillness of Caspar David Friedrich with Max Klinger's penchant for the bizarre to produce what the artist himself terms a 'gentle surrealism.'
November 2004 : USA Paperback