A picture book or a photo book: “All by myself”

A picture book or a photo book: “All by myself”


While looking for books of my personal collection that use photography as a main media, I wondered whether I have any children book, that can be categorised as a photo book.

The only one that came into my mind is “ALL BY MYSELF” by William Wondriska. I saw this book for the first time in Wanchai (Hong Kong) at the small bookshop run by mccm creations in the Art Centre. It was love on the first sight. I bought it without thinking twice. This book reminded me of my younger sister, when we were children. It reminded me of one of the stories I loved most, when I was a child: Pipi Longstocking.

The main character in “ALL BY MYSELF” is a girl at the age of around 4, a bit choppy dressed in a light coloured dress, with dark stockings and a cardigan. She is the only visual element in this story captured photographically in black and white. (With only one exception: a portrait of a man at the beginning of the book.) The book is kept in three colours: the white background that is accurately involved in the layout, the text of the story line set in a Modern face in italic (black) and illustrative elements in orange including display fonts of bigger size. All named elements interact nicely on the double page spreads.The story is kept simple. It starts with “Once there was a little girl named Alison, who could do many things all by herself.” The first sentence the little girl says is “I can”. This powerful statement is followed by a list of things she can do and this list goes on for 38 pages of content. Among the list is also “listen to the rain” and after “dream a dream” comes the more dreamy ideas such as “join the zoo”.The book represents a beautiful example where the three elements text, image and layout were created by one person and become a harmonious synergy. As Wondriska was demonstrating the idea as a book author and designer who can do “ALL BY HIMSELF”.

William Wondriska was born 1931 and is an American, illustrator, graphic designer and author. He is a graduate of Yale University. Wondriska published “ALL BY MYSELF” for the first time in 1963. It is one of 11 children books he created.

William Wondriska: ALL BY MYSELF
Published by: Maurizio Corrani, Montava, Italy, 2009
155 x 235 mm (w x h)