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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Re-Seussification Project: The Results

It was kind of a kooky idea, I admit it.  I’ve seen plenty of sites where artists will reinterpret someone like Maurice Sendak in their own styles.  What I wanted was something a little different.  I wanted to see what would happen if great children’s book illustrators illustrated one another.  If a Lobel illustrated a Bemelmans.  If a Carle illustrated a Silverstein.  Trouble is, famous folk have a way of not bothering to illustrate one another (to say nothing of the fact that a bunch of them are dead as doornails).  The solution?  To offer a silly fun challenge.  And so the Re-Seussification Project was offered: To re-illustrate any Dr. Seuss book in the style of another illustrator.

Now there was some question at first about revealing the identities of the people making the mash-ups.  Some folks thought this fun contest was unfortunate because I wasn’t celebrating the great talents of up-and-coming artists.  So as a compromise, I’ll present the art first and then the names of the artists at the bottom of the page.  Makes it a little more streamlined anyway.

And now . . . the moment you’ve all been waiting for . . . in the order of the faux artists, here’s the lot!

So, we’re all friends here, right?  Right off the bat I’m going to make a confession.  In offering this contest all I really wanted was for someone somewhere to do an Eric Carle.  It was a lot to ask since we’re talking about an artist dealing in the medium of cut paper.  It looked like it wasn’t going to happen.  Then, last night, the final submission was sent in and it was . . .

1. GREEN EGGS AND HAM IN AN ERIC CARLE STYLE

SeussCarle Re Seussification Project: The ResultsA brilliant way to start us off!

Next up, I’ve fond memories of this book.  As a child of Kalamazoo I was slightly obsessed with any and every mention of my hometown, no matter where it might be.  Dr. Seuss was one of the few authors to understand the true glory of my hometown’s name and for that I shall forever be grateful.  It lifts my heart a little then to see him memorialized in the form of . . .

2. HORTON HATCHES THE EGG IN A LAURENT DE BRUNHOFF STYLE

SeussDeBrunhoff Re Seussification Project: The Results

I particularly like how worried Babar appears.  One thing’s for certain.  That elephant bird is gonna be one snappy dresser.

This next image didn’t go the easy route, no sir.  Some illustrators have styles that are easier to imitate than others.  For this next one I was incredibly impressed by the sheer details at work.  From the border to the font to the colors to the fact that this looks like an honest-to-gosh watercolor.  Hold onto your hats folks, for you are now in the presence of . . .

3. GREEN EGGS AND HAM IN A TOMIE DEPAOLA STYLE

SeussdePaola Re Seussification Project: The Results

The best part is that his name is signed with dePaola’s customary little heart.  THAT is the attention to detail I crave.

Part of this challenge was an exercise in preferences.  Sometimes you get folks submitting art with a more contemporary flair.  The recent success of Jon Klassen’s I Want My Hat Back has not gone unnoticed.  In fact, one person in particular managed to channel him when creating the rather beautiful . . .

4. THE CAT IN THE HAT IN A JON KLASSEN STYLE

SeussKlassen Re Seussification Project: The Results

This next one is fascinating.  Like dePaola, Arnold Lobel’s style is sometimes hard to define.  It’s something about the colors, the graphite, and the expressions.  Combine them and you get a pretty cool approximation.  Observe.

5. YERTLE THE TURTLE IN AN ARNOLD LOBEL STYLE

SeussLobel Re Seussification Project: The ResultsI love the expression on the third turtle below Yertle.  Ditto the beauty of the water.

This next one is a particularly smart mash-up when you realized the fact that the artist applied Parr’s usual “It’s Okay” phrasing to a Dr. Seuss line.

6. THE CAT IN THE HAT IN A TODD PARR STYLE

SeussParr Re Seussification Project: The Results

Something about the mouthless fish cracks me up.

I know I should have turned this next one counterclockwise in iPhoto or something, but I’ve grown fond of it in its vertical state.  Forgive me.  It just seems to work.  With a nod to our most recent Caldecott winner . . .

7. HOP ON POP IN A CHRIS RASCHKA STYLE

SeussRaschka Re Seussification Project: The Results

Sometimes people go for the best known Seuss picture books.  Other times they’re drawn to his easy book.  And still others take the slightly less well-known Seuss works and make them their own.  No, we didn’t get any submissions for I Had a Hard Time Getting to Solla Sollew (my husband’s favorite) but there were some other creative ones.  This next one’s adorable.

8. IF I RAN THE CIRCUS IN AN H.A. REY STYLE

SeussRey Re Seussification Project: The Results

Boy, this next one got me to thinking.  I don’t know enough about Seuss to know if he met any of the artists we’re replicating today.  One meeting I’d kill to be a fly on a wall for would be between Seuss and the man behind The Giving Tree.  Put the two together and you have . . .

9. THE LORAX IN A SHEL SILVERSTEIN STYLE

SeussSilverstein Re Seussification Project: The Results

All of these were difficult (did you see the Eric Carle up there?) but this next one was tricky in a different way for me.  To imitate an artist with a clean straight-lined style is one thing.  So how do you replicate the work of someone with a purposefully shaky hand?  If you’re this next image, you do it with sheer talent.

10. HORTON HATCHES THE EGG IN A WILLIAM STEIG STYLE

SeussSteig Re Seussification Project: The Results

This next one conjures up one of the greats.  I’m ashamed to say that when I was a kid I did not know Lyle the Crocodile.  Expect the next generation to make up for my own mistakes.  I end this mea culpa by posting a subdued and lovely….

11. THE CAT IN THE HAT IN A BERNARD WABER STYLE

SeussWaber Re Seussification Project: The Results

But that’s not all!  For a final wonderfully creepy ode to Scary Stories to tell in the Dark comes a last minute entry sure to put a shiver in your day . ..

12. ONE FISH TWO FISH RED FISH BLUE FISH IN A STEPHEN GAMMELL STYLE

SeussGammel Re Seussification Project: The Results

Want to take this idea and use it yourself?  The talented Bernadette Mount had an idea to adapt this project and use it with her students.  As she told me:

“I did the ‘re-Seussify’ project in the library with the 6th graders.  I gave them the option to re-illustrate Seuss in another illustrator’s style or put Seuss characters into another book setting and vice versa.  Got some pretty good combinations and the kids were really creative.

- Clifford eating green eggs and ham
- Go Cat Go with Cat in the Hat driving the Gog Dog Go car
- Winnie the Pooh Will You Please Go Now
- Gerald Hatches a Piggie
- Fancy Sneetches with a Sneetch wearing jewels and boa and high heels, etc.

- Cat in the Hat but Garfield is the cat”

I think my favorite of those was Fancy Sneetches, though Winnie the Pooh Will You Please Go Now has its charms.

I cannot express in words how honored I was to receive these submissions.  Want to know who did what?  Here are the artists with their corresponding numbers.

1. Aaron Zenz
2. Jim Larson
3. Mike Boldt
4. Dan Santat
5. Annie Beth Ericsson
6. Lisa Jenn Bigelow
7. Bernadette Mount
8. Casey Girard
9. Aaron Zenz
10. Helen Hill
11. Jarrett Krosoczka

12.Nathan Hale

Thank you, all of you, for your hard work!  They’re a beautiful collection.

share save 171 16 Re Seussification Project: The Results
Elizabeth Bird About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently New York Public Library's Youth Materials Collections Specialist. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of NYPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.

Comments

  1. Katie says:

    Holy cow – that is some serious talent! I am so impressed! And entertained! I bet all of the imitated artists would be delighted to see “their” new creations :)

  2. Anne Marie says:

    Those are fabulous! I’m so glad you issued the challenge!

  3. laurasalas says:

    These. Are. Genius.

    Fantastic project–makes my day:>)

  4. Zoe says:

    Genius! I want them all on my wall!

  5. Linda Boyden says:

    If you give an illustrator an idea…! Great stuff.

  6. Leslie Muir says:

    FANTASTIC, all.

  7. Maria Simon says:

    Love. Love. Love.
    Thank you everyone!

  8. My going-on-three-year-old looked at the Klassen-style cat and said indignantly “THAT’S not the Cat in the Hat!” But I thought these all were AWESOME. My favorite is 12.

  9. Bernadette Mount says:

    Wow! I’m honored to be featured with all these true artists. I love the whole idea of this project and wish there were more to see. I will share all these with my 6th grade classes and tell them they “made the blog.”

    PS #12 is actually One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish. I know this because it was the featured Suess book for the 3rd graders today (and then they drew their own Suess-style fish – I’m using this art project how ever I can!)

  10. Kelly Ramsdell Fineman says:

    What a phenomenal way to start the month!!

  11. This is awesome. I love the each one of these!

  12. OMG, so much fun to see all of these! I love them all. And I’m honored to have my contribution tucked so neatly among those from the pros! Thanks again for the challenge, Betsy.

  13. Cecilia says:

    Wow. I’m glad you got Eric Carle in there! My boyfriend and I had created the painted tissue papers and mapped out the Carle style illustration for If I Ran the Circus we wanted to do, and then got busy with other projects and couldn’t finish. So good to see all the fantastic talent out there!

  14. Lara Starr says:

    OMG I love this so, so much! Don’t make me pick a favorite! Congrats on a terrific idea amazingly executed!

  15. Wilson Swain says:

    What a wonderful assignment. Kudos. It’s less ‘what do you think?’ and more ‘what do you think I think?’ Weird!

  16. Will this challenge reappear in slightly different guise in the future? Re-imagine a Caldecott winner, maybe? So many possibilities. This is right up there with the 100 top books polls. Thank you so much!

  17. Eliza says:

    These are delightful!

  18. Chelle says:

    Okay, I so want a print of that Cat in the Hat. What a great idea – thank you for sharing the results!

  19. Melinda says:

    Oh man! I wish I knew about this – I would have LOVED to do On Beyond Zebra! as Bill Peet!! :)

  20. marjorie says:

    MY BRAIN JUST EXPLODED.

    Geeeeeenius! (To quote SNL’s Master Thespian and children’s book author John Lithgow.) They’re all brilliant. But I have a special love for the last one, which is hilarious and terrifying and timely (given the new illustrations for Scary Stories). Nathan Hale’s choice of quotable text reminds me of the Scary Mary (Mary Poppins as a Horror Movie) trailer.

    I LOVE EVERYTHING THANK YOU BETSY, I PLOTZ.

  21. Sondy says:

    These are amazing! Colossal! Stupendous!

    And to think that I saw it on Fuse #8….

  22. Iza Trapani says:

    Holy moly! What a phenomenal project! Well done all!

  23. Chrissy says:

    This was brilliant! I used the new cover illustrations (giving full credit to you, the artists, the imitated illustrators, and Dr. Seuss) to create a slide show. First I had a slide showing the Dr Seuss cover and the “Re-Seussified” cover/picture. The second slide revealed the imitated illustrator’s name and a representativea book cover/illustration. I showed it to my 5th grade students in library class, asking them to guess who the new cover was imitating, and they LOVED it! Many students were able to recognize quite a few of the illustrators or at least the books by them. What a great way to rekindle a love of picture books in students who may think they are too old for them. THANK YOU!

  24. Love it! So creative and fun.

  25. Ann Perrigo says:

    These are stunning, Betsy–and fun, too! At first I looked at them with a mind toward selecting my favorite. Soon it became apparent that this would be impossible, so I just relaxed and enjoyed. Good job to all!

  26. FABULOUS! Thank you! The last one…ooh.

  27. What fun…I totally enjoyed this. Thank you.

  28. I think it says something that, when I scrolled down to see the Stephen Gammell tribute, my first thought was, “Oh, yeah. This must be the Nathan Hale one.” So cool.

    Thanks for doing this!!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] And they are really something. From a delightfully deadpan Jon Klassen-style Cat in the Hat, to a Seussian circus overrun by Curious George-ish monkeys, to an uber-creepy Gammell-style ghoul reciting words from One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, each artist did, in my opinion, an ingenious job of capturing both the style of each illustrator while not forgetting the heart of Seuss. [...]

  2. [...] to you the “Re-Seussification Project”, courtesy of School Library Journal. Click HERE to see artists re-illustrate The Cat in the Hat in the style of Jon Klassen and Arnold Lobel, [...]

  3. [...] out the rest of the fabulous submissions for theRe-Seussification Project. Thanks for inspiring us Dr. Seuss and Betsy Bird! Prev Wild [...]

  4. [...] If you haven’t seen A Fuse #8 Production’s Re-Seussification project, you must – if for no other reason than the (figurative, I hope) head explosion you’ll experience looking at Dr. Seuss books re-interpreted in the style of other famous illustrators. I would show some images here, but they might burn your eyes with coolness. Click here to read. [...]