The Bremen Town MusiciansFeatured
The Bremen Town Musicians
We had a couple of Brian Wildsmith picture books when I was very small. They have since disintegrated, but his art lingers in my pre-verbal memory like something mysterious and magical. Whenever I see his illustrations now, like fireworks they light up those moments locked in my hindbrain when I could not explain what I saw or how it made me feel, but I saw it and felt it nonetheless.
Perhaps I experience his art in this way because of those memories, but I think there is something unique and powerful regardless about the mingled delicacy of line and mushiness (that’s a technical term) of color. Oh the color! The intensity of it, the way it overlaps and mixes and bleeds. The butterflies and moths!
THE BREMEN TOWN MUSICIANS might be a familiar tale, but it is a charming one. A number of animals, all told they are too old to be of any use anymore, set off to become musicians instead. They never do get to Bremen, but they prove they are far from useless, and live happily (if quietly) ever after.
What sets this version apart from others is, of course, Brian Wildsmith’s art. Each spread has so much to explore, so much detail to linger over and discuss with a small reader. The world illustrated here is far bigger than the confines of one simple tale, which happily echoes the point of the folktale – that things (and people and animals) have surprises in store for anyone willing to take the time to see them.