Japanese Picture Books

Jane and Bill McCullam


Jane and Bill McCullam have an independent bookstore, Cattermole, specializing in children's literature. In 1990 Cattermole acquired a collection of Japanese picture books from the 1920s and 30s. Traditional Japanese paper is not at all acidic so these had the appearance of being almost new, apart from a bit of rust at the staples. The typography, vivid colors, and open layout predated anything similar in the West, and Jane and Bill were inspired to translate the accompanying text. Over the next two years they collected additional 20th century Japanese books and studied the language, culminating in their bilingual Catalog 17, November, 1992. Japanese letter forms are beautiful and complement the images so perfectly it is natural to accept the interrelatedness of picture and text which constitutes the art of children's books.

Full Text:


The Looking Glass: new perspectives on children's literature

ISBN 1551-5680