"I cannot sleep unless I am surrounded by books."

Borges

Monday, December 18, 2006

The King of Things/El Rey de Las Cosas


From the book flap:


I am three years old
I am so strong
I am so smart
Look at what I own!



He plays the famous Mexican game of Loteria, a kind of bingo with pictures instead of numbers and considers each thing his own. I love loteria! I played it with my family as far back as I can remember and was always fascinated by the images and dreamy quality of them. Artemio Rodriguez has taken those images up quite a notch. They are vibrant, stunning and even more dreamlike woodcuts. Think loteria mixed with Tarot and then add a Mexican flair. The colors are bright like a sarape and you feel you could sink right into the page. In each image of the loteria, Lalo manages to find himself. My favorite woodcut is the Sirena - she's so beautiful. She reminds me of Yemaya, the Virgen de Guadalupe, Tonantzin and all indigenous womanhood.

The book is simply and beautifully done. Lalo reads each card in English and Spanish on one side of the page and the image is on the other. There should be posters of these images, they are just so stunning. My grandaughter, also three walked into my room today and the book was the first thing she noticed on my shelf. "Grammy! What's that?" as she reached for it. We read it over and over and over again. She couldn't get enough and loved praticing the words in English and Spanish. Her favorite was The heron or el garza who is storklike and carries Lalo in his bill. She wouldn't let the book go and it went home with her where my daughter in law said she fell asleep with it. I can't think of a better recommendation for the book

Artemio Rodriguez was born in Tacambaro, Michoacan, Mexico. His work is included in several permanent collections including the L.A. County Museum of Art, the Laguna Art Museum and the Institute of Graphic Arts of Oaxaca. Twelve of his linocuts were included in Dagoberto Gilb's Woodcuts of Women. He currently resides in Los Angeles.

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