Author(s): Zoe Burke
In artist Charley Harper’s Birducopia, a wealth of birds, animals, trees, and plants are ingeniously portrayed, creating a complete environment of a woodsy park. Each creature and plant is extracted from the larger painting and silhouetted on the pages of What’s in the Woods? The accompanying rhyming text by Zoe Burke imagines a walk through the park, identifying the flora and fauna along the way. The journey ends with a foldout page of the complete image, with a key identifying all the animals and plants. What’s in the Woods? offers a unique opportunity to learn about nature and to examine how an artist interprets its details, beauty, and wonder.
Charley Harper (1922–2007) made paintings filled with color, motion, and fun, and his careful study of each creature helped him simplify its form so that its unique personality shone through. His work has been treasured by art and animal enthusiasts alike for decades.