Daniel Kany recently reviewed the Ashley Bryan exhibit now at the Portland Museum of Art (Aug. 19).

While I was pleased that the Bryan exhibit received this attention, I felt uneasy as I read Mr. Kany’s comments. I sensed that Mr. Kany saw illustration as a lesser art form.

As a children’s and school librarian, I have had the pleasure of being surrounded by museum-quality art throughout my career. Like other art forms, illustrations can range from being good, bad, ugly and great. Some picture book art rises to the level of museum quality.

I happened to be at the National Gallery of Art in mid-August looking at bright paper cutouts by Henri Matisse. Five days later I was at the Portland Museum of Art looking at bright cut-paper collages by Ashley Bryan. What a pleasure both exhibits were to see.

I urge readers to visit the Bryan exhibit. While you are there, take the time to sit down and turn the pages of Bryan’s picture books that are part of the exhibit. Then treat yourself by going to your local library and turn the pages of picture books in collections where librarians are the curators.

Decide for yourself which ones you judge to be good, bad or museum quality. Enjoy!

Margy Soule


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