Christopher Manson

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Christopher Manson is a children's book author and illustrator noted for his use of traditional hand tools to painstakingly make the pine woodcuts that fill his several highly acclaimed works.

Background[edit]

Born in Buffalo, New York, Manson graduated in 1975 from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax, Nova Scotia, having specialized in printmaking.[1] He also obtained a Master of Fine Arts from the State University of New York at New Paltz (SUNY New Paltz).[2]

He returned to Buffalo, where he took a job at a local arts council in arts management, a position that required fundraising skills. "It wasn't for me," he later recalled. "I figured out that I was tired of helping others make their art."[1]

Career[edit]

The cover of Christopher Manson's Over the River and through the Wood exhibits his distinctive colored woodcut style of illustration.

After illustrating a friend's cookbook, he published the phenomenally popular children's book, MAZE: Solve the World's Most Challenging Puzzle (1985), issued by the major publishing house Henry Holt and Company.[1] The book promised a $10,000 award to whoever solved the book's many visual puzzles, and even though the contest has long since ended, the book remains in print, and was reissued as a computer game in CD-ROM format.

Manson authored and illustrated the following books:

MAZE: Solve the World’s Most Challenging Puzzle (1985)
The Rails I Tote: Forty-Five Illustrated Spoonerisms to Decipher (1987)
The Practical Alchemist: Showing The Way An Ordinary House-Cat May Be Transformed Into True Gold (1988)
A Gift For The King: A Persian Tale (1989)
Two Travelers (1990)
The Crab Prince: An Entertainment For Children (1991)
The Marvellous Blue Mouse (1992)

Manson provided the illustrations for these books:

The Norman Table: The Traditional Cooking of Normandy (1985)
A Farmyard Song (1992)
The Tree in the Wood: An Old Nursery Song (1993)
Good King Wenceslas (1994)
Till Year's Good End (1997)
Over the River and through the Wood (1998)
Uncle Sam and Old Glory (2000)
Black Swan/White Crow (2007)

Manson summed up his approach to his authoring and illustrating children's books like so: "What I'm really after is the perfect book. The kind where you just can't imagine the words without the pictures, or the pictures without the words . . . like [Winnie-the-Pooh author A. A.] Milne. But there aren't that many out there to point to as perfect. I'm constantly working toward it." He added, "Even if I won the 40 million dollar lottery, I'd still do this — I'd have a fancier studio, but I'd still do this."[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Diana L. Winarski, An 'Enormous good time' with Christopher Manson," Teaching Pre K-8, March 1995, accessed 4 July 2008.
  2. ^ Biographical sketch of Christopher Manson, book jacket, Delno C. West and Jean M. West, Uncle Sam and Old Glory (New York: Atheneum Books, 2000.)