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'Roll Review #2: Planet Ham

Images correctly employed can evoke powerful emotion and communicate deep meaning. No blog features images better than Matt Phelan's Planet Ham.

Phelan received widespread attention as the illustrator of the "scrotum book," Susan Patron's The Higher Power of Lucky. He didn't actually draw a scrotum, but was merely caught in the outrage of some parents afraid that if their children read the word, they'd have to have that talk.

Judging by his pictures, Phelan is far wiser and more in touch with what makes us human than those offended adults. To describe his illustrations is to wrestle with seeming contradictions. They are at once spare and emotive. They suggest great motion yet are calming. Bending the same basic strokes to his purpose, Phelan can evoke whimsy, innocence, or menace.

I would love one day to write a book for him to illustrate. I'd use powerful words like "scrotum," words capable of raising ire. And I'd rely on Phelan's drawings to soften my words and to show readers that they're only words—to show readers that what they're really outraged by and afraid of is themselves.

1 comment:

Stephen said...

HA HA... The Playful Librarian likes balls.