Joe Mathieu Big Bird's Big Book

Big Bird's Big Book

Illustrated by Joe Mathieu 1987 Random House

 

Big Bird's Big Book Joe Mathieu

"BIG BIRD'S BIG BOOK is a 1987 giant Sesame Street board book, measuring 16 inches by 24 inches. In six panoramic scenes, Big Bird and his friends teach learning concepts, including opposites, naming colors and counting." - Muppet Wiki

I was given free reign with this one; there was no manuscript, just a vague concept. We wanted to show the city, the country, the sea shore, a counting spread, a games spread, and a spread showing colors. I could have used any environments, but as I was pondering the project, I took my wife and two young children on an 11,000 mile road trip around the United States which became the inspiration for some of the settings. There were no words, just pictures. A few lines of copy were added after the illustrations were completed.

My editor at Random House, Ole Risom, suggested that although the dimensions of the book would be huge, he thought the scale of the illustrations should be the same as a small book, and I think that's what makes the book so special. Only the cover is on a large scale.

The cover gave me pause, because I had never painted such a large portrait of Big Bird. However, I happened to visit a huge show of John Singer Sargent portraits in New York, and I was inspired to use my version of Seargent's bold brush strokes and dynamics; at least in my own limited way!

Big Bird's Big Book: Pages

Big Bird's Big Book inner page 1
Big Bird's Big Book inner page 1
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