FROM JERRY PINKNEY: I started collecting books in the late 1960s. A close friend had given me a gift of two books: Kenneth Graham’s The Wind in the Willows , illustrated by Arthur Rackham, and The Wonder Clock , by Howard Pyle with verses by Katherine Pyle. My library of children’s books today includes more than one thousand titles and is still growing.

About four years ago, I had an assistant rearrange my collection and organize the titles in alphabetical order by artist. There was, however, an exception made–books published by The Creative Company received their own section. Just how I came to this exception caused me to pause and think about the distinct quality of The Creative Company’s titles.

The volumes in my library are a fusing of the best works of authors and artists. These books hold true to the traditional notion of books as realms in which a young reader (or reader of any age for that matter) can embark on fantastic journeys–safe spaces in which readers can feed their sense of wonder, discovery, and magic.

The Creative Company achieves this in its own special way. When one looks at its publications over the years, one will invariably find between the books’ arresting covers passage to a galaxy of experiences. Each thought-provoking title considers foremost the intellect of its audience, stretching the imagination and opening minds to other people and places.

The Creative Company’s books are a harmony of compelling text, exciting illustrations, and smart design. This company has found a way to publish works with a unified look. Yet at the same time, every book is unique unto itself. Each title demonstrates how distinguished art and design is inexhaustible. The Creative Company’s history of noteworthy illustrators and photographers deepens with each new publishing list, producing works that illuminate finely crafted, content-driven text.

In revisiting these exceptional books, I am reminded of how their single-mindedness in the pursuit of quality has brought the rarest kind of beast to our children. It is often said that the first experience a child has with art and literature comes in the form of a picture book. If that is indeed true, young readers holding on to a book published by The Creative Company are on their way to an appreciation of how the arts can enhance and inform their future.

Text by Jerry Pinkney, 2004