FROM RAY BRADBURY: The Chinese proverb goes: One picture is worth a thousand words.
If that is true, then The Creative Company represents hundreds of thousands of words. Of all the publishers in the world, this company is in love with the metaphor, the picture, the symbol that represents scores of multiples of truths.
It’s as if the Creative staff had grown up in the children’s section of the library–a superb setting, because I have found over the years that when I enter a library or bookstore, I find myself intuitively guided toward those books that are living hearths and cause children to fall in love with life.
I feel a kinship with this publisher because very early on I fell in love with illustrations from the books that I most coveted.
All my life I’ve been writing children’s books and didn’t realize it, which is a good way to create. You imagine amazing dreams, and when they are published years later you find ten-, eleven-, and twelve-year-old kids are carrying your books around and reading and re-reading them because the visions in them are so warm and colorful.
When I glance at the primitive shelves of my books from the age of five, they are all books of fairy tales with copious illustrations; the early editions of Raggedy Ann and Andy, the Scribner’s editions of the wonderful adventures of Treasure Island and others illustrated by N.C. Wyeth, and the Tales of Mystery and Imagination by Edgar Allan Poe, illustrated by Harry Clarke. These books and their images could be taken to bed at night, and when I turned the lights out I could project the dreams from these stories on the ceiling as if a film.
In my teens I continued to collect books, wonderful stories illustrated by Hogarth, John Martin, or Gustave Doré. I became a member of The Heritage Press and saved all those books from the years when I sold newspapers on a street corner and could not afford to buy them; the books were bought in spite of this.
So quite naturally when The Creative Company approached me a few years ago and said they wanted to print illustrated editions of ten of my stories, I swiftly agreed. The result was stupendous.
Poring through the pages of illustrations from the hundreds of books published by The Creative Company is seeing a history of metaphors that have filled the air like a deck of cards, manipulated by a fabulous magician.
Many of us, when we were young, sat in a window seat or by the front door of the house in midsummer, drowning in stories that we already loved. Such stories were brimful of magic in finely crafted words and illustrations that they so engulfed us we never heard the call to lunch or dinner. In looking at a Creative Company title, the books from that time come rushing back to my mind. The metaphors are so vivid that even if you removed them from the books, the glowing memories would haunt you long after midnight.
I am reminded, finally, of a day in Sausalito when I stood on the threshold of a toy shop ready to plunge in. In the late afternoon a mob of boys ran by from school. One of the boys teetered on the sill of the shop and I whispered to him, “Go in, go in.” He couldn’t decide and his friends called, “Come on, don’t go in. That’s kids’ stuff.” And finally he shut his eyes on the wonders and ran away, leaving me there, desolate, to enter the shop, remembering the words of that terrible song: “Toyland, Toyland, little girl and boy land. Once you’ve left its portals you can never return again.”
To which, of course, I’ve often said, nonsense. I now return to the threshold of the toy shop, I reject the rejected toyland, and I warm myself and am surrounded by the pure delight of The Creative Company and gladly applaud them.
Text by Ray Bradbury, May 2003