Monday, 2 February 2015



By Dahlov Ipcar
Published by Flying Eye Books


BLACK and WHITE is the re-published work by Dahlov Ipcar, first published in 1963 by Alfred A. Knopf, featuring fun and frolics of a two dogs (one black and one white). Dahlov Ipcar is an American author and artist, illustrating over 30 children’s books, and timeless stories capturing the hearts of children and adults alike. And at 97, you will find her still painting two hours a day!

The two dogs are good friends that play and stay together all day long. After a day of exploring, they return home and after saying good night they climb into their beds and both dream. The little black dog dreamed a dream of a jungle scene where big elephants ford a stream, black panthers sniff the breeze and zebras and antelopes graze. Butterflies fill the air and birds fly above the tree tops.

The little white dog dreamed a dream of an arctic storm where seals swim to and fro, arctic foxes chase arctic hares, while polar bears stand ashore. Sea birds nest on the rocky shores and big black walrus roars. The two little dogs awake to a bright new day and run outside to race and play before telling the other of their dreams and all of the animals who were white as snow and black as night.

After first reading this book, it brought back memories of my primary school books filled with bright stylised colour illustrations. BLACK and WHITE is filled with stylised illustrations that only use four spot colours (Ipcar was a master of a technique that has now disappeared: four-colour separation, by which each colour is printed separately, and the layers build up’). Dahlov Ipcar truly captures the essence of the jungle and arctic and I love the variety of the animals included. You may feel it has a dated feel but the way Flying Eye Books has presented it gives it a retro feel. Ipcar's illustrations are paired with original verse celebrating the beauty of the living world around us.

There is a lot more to this book than I first realised and in researching Dahlov Ipcar, I came across this interesting article by the Telegraph. This was originally published during the height of the US civil rights movement and BLACK and WHITE was intended to promote equality within the turbulent political landscape of its time. The article is very insightful and explains the painstaking process that Flying Eye Books has gone to meticulously and faithfully restore this book to bring back the quality of the originals. Flying Eye Books will also be reintroducing Ipcar’s wider catalogue; I Like Animals and The Wonderful Egg, are two other titles that are already available.  

BLACK and WHITE is out now to buy in all good bookshops or direct from Flying Eye Books.

No comments:

Post a Comment