Hey Willy, See The Pyramids
Sometimes, in the middle of the night, when it is dark, I call to my sister: “Lulu, Lulu, Lulu. Wake up. I can’t sleep. Tell me stories.” “Oh, no,” says Lulu from far away. “Not again,” and shuffles over to my bed. What kinds of stories do two sleepy children share in the middle of the night? The stories here are quite possibly ones actually told by Kalman’s actual daughter Lulu to her actual son Alexander, but their actuality or otherwise is unimportant: these are stories exemplifying the playful access to the unconscious (or the access to the playful unconscious) through the nonsense, exaggeration and humour common to children and some adults (including, presumably, Maira Kalman). Details from the children’s lives are given all-consuming prominence, or are developed along lines untempered by practicality or many of the other strictures of reality. The family’s neighbour brings flowers to a party but forgets his trousers, their aunt’s and uncle’s dog wants to run away to Paris and become a poet, a woman has very small ears but she hears everything. Much happens, but little of consequence, which is probably appropriate for midnight stories. Kalman’s illustrations are, of course, the great attraction of the book (and are inseparable from the stories): quirky, colourful, something like Marc Chagall on acid, full of details that almost require further stories of their own. It is this provision for further story, this liberation from the strictures of systems and logic, this acknowledgement of the nature and tendencies of the child mind that persists even in creative adults, that makes this a book that will inspire and reward repeated readings.
As a brother and sister imagine their bedtime stories, Maira Kalman paints a fantastic picture of the creative world of children. Full of wild invention, peopled by characters familiar and outlandish, it is a world of wonders. Full-color illustrations.
In print for the first time in over two decades, Hey Willy, See the Pyramids is a Kalman classic--full of wit, imagination, and colorful drawings. Perfect bedtime reading for children ages 5-8.
"This book has genuine warmth. A party for endearing oddballs takes place in the sunshine. Attending are many relatives, many twins, many animals, and so many sweet mutants you may feel off balance but you won't feel bored." --Parents' Choice Gold Award, from the Parents' Choice Foundation "This one is far, far out, but has a heart of gold.... The illustrations are child-like, imaginative, and surreal; their swell, bright colors contrast with the white text on black pages where the kids talk and finally 'both sink in / and see flying chairs / and green hats / and pink things / and sink some and / slowly sink / into sleep.' Outlandish, but born of genuine creativity and understanding. Try it." --Kirkus Reviews"Kalman's unique illustrations are drawn from the far reaches of the imagination. The bizarre and the commonplace are mixed brilliantly, theatrically punctuated by black pages with the dialogue of the sleepy siblings shown in white type. Although this will not suit everyone, the stream-of-consciousness style is one that many will embrace uncritically, assisted by the colorful images and humorous figures that are scattered throughout." --Publishers Weekly"A young boy pleads with his older sister for some bedtime stories, and Lulu obliges with some brief, highly imaginative tales that are matched to perfection with Kalman's friendly illustrations, electric and eccentric. Childlike but with a cutting, surreal edge, these pictures are wildly funny. This is a free-spirited book that will engage children on many levels." --School Library Journal"Maira Kalman's marvelously inventive gifts really shine in the picture-book format. I've long felt that her artwork, with its playful use of color and perspective, provides kids with a fantastic organic introduction to the manifold varieties of art. When my son Max was little, we spent many happy hours together enjoying Stay Up Late; Hey Willy, See the Pyramids; Chicken Soup, Boots; What Pete Ate; and more." --Lisa Pliscou, author of Dude"Overall, Hey Willy, See the Pyramids is a truly wonderful and creative book about dreams and stories that children will love for years! I would recommend this book to children ages five and up."--Rabbit Ears (blog)
Maira Kalman is an illustrator, author, and designer. Ms. Kalman's twelve children's books include Max Makes a Million, Stay Up Late, Swami on Rye, and What Pete Ate. She has created many covers for The New Yorker, designed fabric for Isaac Mizrahi, accessories for Kate Spade, sets for the Mark Morris Dance Company, and, with her late husband Tibor Kalman under the M&Co. label, clocks, umbrellas, and other accessories for the Museum of Modern Art. Ms. Kalman's work is shown at the Julie Saul Gallery in Manhattan.