On a winter’s day that happens rarely now, people are skiing on hills, skating and throwing snowballs. Walking dogs and generally enjoying the snow. In Seasons published in 1971, John uses different media: crayons, watercolour, charcoal pastels, to evoke the many forms of the winter weather. It is one of John Burningham’s most admired books. A procession of celebrational depictions of the seasons in nature. The book begins with spring and ends at Winter. It is beautifully illustrated, each scene full of detail and charm. Originally it had pull-out pages and four posters!
Today, with the gradual disappearance of distinct seasons, these pictures appear almost nostalgic and as John Burningham says in his autobiography, ‘Looking back, it is perhaps a page in history, now that global warming is changing the climate.’
Seasons is no longer in print even through it is a favourite amongst John’s picture books
John Burningham visited Yugoslavia in 1956 and found a world of snow, horse drawn sleighs and balalaika’s
The artworks here are early designs for Trubloff – The Mouse who wanted to play the Balalaika, which was published in 1964. In the story Trubloff follows his dreams and stows away with a troupe of balalaika playing musicians hoping to learn their skills, but his mother is desperate without him and and his sister is sent into the snow filled landscape to fetch him back.
John Burningham returned to the theme in The Snow, one of the ‘small books’ designed by Jan Pienkowski and published in the 1970’s. By now his illustration was more restrained and sophisticated. He doesn’t paint the snow, so much as allude to it, setting the scene with warm coats, woolly hats, gloves and boots and the inevitable snowman, but also the profound experience of the small boy who has lost his glove and experiences biting cold for the first time …as we all did