Now at MoMa, Century of the Child: Growing by Design, 1900-2000 is an amazing exhibition that brings together areas underrepresented in design history and often considered separately – think school architecture and playgrounds, clothing, toys and games, children’s hospitals and safety equipment, nurseries, furniture, and books.
In 1900, Swedish design reformer and social theorist, Ellen Key intensified focus and progressive thinking regarding the rights, development, and well-being of children as interests of utmost importance to all society. Taking inspiration from Key—and looking back through the 20th century 100 years after her forecast—this exhibition examines individual and collective visions for the material world of children, from utopian dreams for the “citizens of the future” to the dark realities of political conflict and exploitation. Click here for more info. Pretty rad.
The Museum of Modern Art: 11 West 53 Street, New York, NY 10019-5497
Last, but not least, there is the toy Bruno Munari designed in 1953, the Zizi monkey. He is flexible, soft, helpful, and very cutel. Zizi can keep your pen safe, swing from your finger, keep your papers in place, or hold your tie! He was so well loved, Zizi even won the Compasso d’Oro award the year he was born.
Zoo is among Munari’s most graphically stunning works. Meet the kangaroo, who is all legs but doesn’t know it, the zebra in his striped pajamas, and the humpy camel, who has a seat for you. Young readers will enjoy Munari’s bright, bold, Modernist illustrations; older readers will appreciate the book’s wry humor.
click here to buy Zoo on amazon.com
In The Elephant’s Wish you will meet an elephant, a bird, a fish, a lizard, and an ox who are all bored with being themselves. So, they dream of all the other wonderful creatures they would rather be.
The Birthday Present is about the terrible troubles of Marco, a father trying to make it home for his son’s 3rd birthday party. The father is 10 kilometers away from his house when his car breaks down. Oh no, what to do?! Luckily, Marco is quite resourceful, and he knows a bit about transportation; Marco uses every possible resource he can to get home – from a truck, to a motorcycle, to his shoes – and the reader helps Marco find each one by opening up flaps on each page!
Click here to buy The Birthday Present on Unicahome.com
Animals For Sale tells the story of an unusual salesman trying to peddle off a series of exotic animals with rather odd habits – an armadillo who comes home tipsy, a bat that stays out too late, and a flamingo who likes to smoke a pipe.
Click here to buy Animals for Sale on unicahome.com
ABC is a book that shows how fun letters can be. It is a simple picture book that pairs words in whimsical ways with the help of alliteration. You will meet an “ant on an apple,” and a “cat in a cage,” and see “some glasses in green grass.” This playful alphabet book will give young children the opportunity to delight in language and words, or simply appreciate really beautiful pictures!
Click here to purchase ABC on Amazon.com
Today will be dedicated to the visually stunning creations of Bruno Munari (1907 – 1998). For those of you who are not familiar with him, Munari was an Italian artist and designer with wide-ranging skills. He worked as a painter, sculptor, and industrial designer; he was a graphic artist and filmmaker, a writer and a poet. Munari believed in the power of simple design to stimulate the imagination.
Bruno Munari had a son, Alberto, who inspired him to begin creating children’s materials. Munari was interested in the interrelationship between games, creativity and childhood. For this reason, he strove to create children’s materials that would support the maintenance of the young mind’s elasticity and point of view. Munari did not believe in the inherent value of fantastical stories of princes and princesses, or dragons and monsters; instead, he wanted to create simple stories about people, animals, and plants that awaken the senses. Books with basic story lines and a humorous twist, brought to life by simple, colorful illustrations drawn with clarity and precision.
With this mission in mind, Munari wrote the nine children’s books mentioned below. In addition, he created other “pre-books,” to inspire a love of reading in pre-literate minds. These were stories that could not be communicated with words, that were expressed instead in visual, and tactile terms. For these works he won the Andersen award for Best Children’s Author in 1974, a graphic award in the Bologna Fair for the childhood in 1984, and a Lego award for his exceptional contributions on the development on creativity of children in 1986.