VAN ALLSBURG, CHRIS. b.1949.
"'Now Remember,' Mother said, 'your father and I are bringing some guests by after the opera, so keep the house neat,'" pencil, 395 x 430 mm, signed and dated "C. VAN ALLSBURG 1980" lower right below the image. Matted and framed.
Published: Jumanji (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1981).
Exhibited: Grand Rapids Art Museum, April 22-July 5, 1987; and the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, November 20, 2004-March 13, 2005.
With only his second book, Jumanji (1981), Chris Van Allsburg became a titan in the field of modern children's book illustration. Trained as a sculptor at the University of Michigan and the Rhode Island School of Design, he turned to illustration when his wife suggested that some of his sketches might make interesting children's books. Years later he recalled the genesis of Jumanji: "When I was a little boy and I would play games like Monopoly, they seemed kind of exciting, but when I was done with the game, all I had was fake money. So I thought that it would be fun and exciting if there were such a thing as a game board where whenever you landed on a square and it said something was going to happen, then it would really happen." The superb draughtsmanship along with the brilliant interplay of scale and incongruity in its haunting, surrealistic illustrations made Jumanji an immediate modern classic and it won the 1982 Caldecott Medal and The National Book Award. It became a perennial bestseller and later a highly successful movie starring Robin Williams. In 2009, the Society of Illustrators presented Van Allsburg with a Lifetime Achievement Award. The toy train running through this picture, one of the best in the book, anticipates his second Caldecott Medal winner The Polar Express (1985), also the basis for a major motion picture.