Stanley Goes for a Drive
Ten million people are suffering in rain-starved East Africa. Severe droughts have caused crops to fail and herds of cattle to die, leaving thousands of people hungry and in need of aid. Rain is expected in October, but not enough to break the cycle of drought.
With my head buried in children’s books, I often forget that happy endings are rare and the suffering of others, specifically children, are real. If there is anything I have learned from children’s books is that we need to be imaginative and creative in finding solutions to our problems. Keep reading…
Perhaps a solution to our drought problem is not as easy as author and illustrator Craig Frazier envision in his book, Stanley Goes for a Drive, but he does provide us with hope. “Stanley set out on a drive with little on his mind… There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, just baking hot sun.” Stanley comes across a black-and-white cow in a herd of black cattle and gets an idea. He milks it, and the spots drain out. Things get stranger, he tosses the milk into the sky, where it forms clouds and the sky darkens and rain began to pour. The dry dusty earth turns green and fresh.
Influenced by his training as a graphic designer, Craig Frazier’s work is crisp, clean and flat. “I want as few elements as possible in my drawings—visual quiet is the goal.” His work reminds me of those vintage travel posters created in the 1930’s, really simple, flat colours and graphic shapes. His hand-drawn illustrations are coloured on the computer. Sticking to a limited colour palette, the dry parched land is painted in shades of dusty brown and clay orange; once it rains, the land turns to a lush green. Though his illustrations and stories are simple, the concept is complex and surreal. Frazier encourages readers to think outside the box and celebrate the imagination.
Stanley Goes for a Drive, a children’s book review by Thao Lam
Author and Illustrator Craig Frazier
Born into a military family in 1955, Craig Frazier graduated with a degree in visual communication from California State University and went on to become a renowned graphic designer. After nearly two decades of building a successful design practice Frazier switched career path, deciding to focus specifically on illustration; Stanley Goes for a Drive is his first children’s book.
Craig Frazier has the creative drive that makes me envious. How he finds time to draw and post new materials on his various websites amazes me. I get exhausted just keeping up with but super excited each time something new is posted.
Publisher Chronicle Books; 1ST edition (August 5, 2004)