WALDOBORO — Original children’s book illustrations by author/illustrator Holly Berry of Waldoboro are currently on view at the Waldoboro Public Library, 958 Main St., through the month of February. The collaged block print illustrations are from her most recent full length picture book, “Told and Retold, Around the World with Aesop’s Fables,” to be published by Philomel Books this coming August. Berry retells nine familiar “Aesop’s Fables,” setting them in various countries around the world featuring animal species specific to each geographic environment. The theme of the book is storytelling itself and how the tradition connects and unites us all throughout time and space.

The initial idea to make a book of “Aesop’s Fables” illustrations was simple, inspired by Berry’s love of making pictures of animals. The book took on form once she began investigating the history of Aesop and the origin of the stories. She decided to choose nine familiar fables to retell with a focus on the characteristics of each animal and how their roles, actions and decisions make these tales still relevant today.

The illustrations were first figured out by sketching, with final drawings made on linoleum to carve block prints, which were then printed on different colored papers. The prints were cut up and collaged to complete the images. Further details were added digitally for the final
production. On display as well are some early proofs from the publisher, including the the cover wrap that was designed digitally by the author/illustrator with elements from the original illustrations.

Over the past 30 years, Berry has illustrated numerous award-winning children’s picture books and products. She also makes fine art block prints that have been widely exhibited in invitational and juried shows. Berry teaches the craft of relief printing from her studio in Waldoboro. For more information, see hollyberrydesign.com.

“Bear and Bees, South America” by Holly Berry.