Virtual Children's Books Exhibits


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Almost Human

Creepy Crawlies



8.  Max Dingler.
Sonnenkinderstuben. 8. Auflage.
Else Wenz-Viëtor, illustrator.
Oldenburg i. Old.: Nürnberger Bilderbücherverlag, Gerhard Stalling, c. 1925.
(Nürnberger Bilderbücher nr. 36).

Illustrators hit on different means to humanize insect characters. This little old insect-woman is a personification of a familiar woodland insect, the bark beetle, or in German, Borkenkäfer. If you compare Wenz-Vietor's character with the pictures of actual specimens, you can see how the illustrator has imaginatively rendered the bark beetle's most prominent features: the compound eyes become spectacle lenses or the hard, bumpy, bristly shell transformed into a cloak thrown over a full skirt and patched apron.

The illustrations of Else Wenz-Vietor (1882-1973) are beloved in her native Germany. Her work was influenced by the English illustrator Arthur Rackham, as well as Josef Mauder and Gertrud Caspari. Some of Wenz-Vietor's best-known books, which were published in the 1920s and 1930s, are still in print.