I've been a Maira Kalman fan for a while now, thanks to a chance encounter with The Elements of Style at B&N. I bought The Principles of Uncertainty a few months ago, and I haven't felt even a tinge of regret - which is what usually happens when I buy books new. (I bought it - also at B&N - during a tornado warning, incidentally. All the lights went out and the sirens were blaring and we all were herded into the back of the store where, supposedly, it was safer. People sat underneath the CD racks. It was hugely entertaining. Frankly, I thought flying CD cases would be much more dangerous than flying paperbacks. When you look at it from an everything-around-you-is-going-to-be-a-projectile perspective, magazines and romance novels would probably be the safest bet. Though I would not want to die beneath a pile of romance novels. I called my mum to tell her what was going on and she said, "Well, at least you'll die surrounded by things you love.")
But! Back to Max!
The books aren't my usual thing, but I liked 'em. They're worth buying just for the details. It's the only book I've ever seen where even the publication information was messed with.
And I loved the pictures, which sort of goes without saying.
The stories are sort of topsy-turvy and are certainly not Dick and Jane-ish, or like, "Bobby went to the grocery store with his Mother." You know what I mean? They're just all over the place. When I read them aloud, I enjoyed them more. It's sort of duh, Kelsey of me, but while I was reading it I forgot that a major element in a picture book is the way the words actually sound aloud. Like poetry, you know? Goodnight Moon is just a regular old book when you read it without at least saying the words in your head. But aloud it's magical.
CONCLUSION: I am so glad that I'm planning to become an illustrator if only because I now have a fantastic, unbreakable excuse for buying kid's books. It's research. Choosing to study illustration was, like, the smartest thing I've ever done. Oh frabjous day!