Best YA & YYA Lit 1972 (4)

By: Joshua Glenn
July 5, 2019

For several years now, I’ve argued — here at HILOBROW, as well as in the UNBORED books I’ve co-authored — that the Sixties (1964–1973) were a golden age for YA and YYA adventures. This post is one in a series of 10 identifying my favorites from 1972.

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Ed Emberley’s Ed Emberley’s Drawing Book: Make a World.

Massachusetts-based illustrator Ed Emberley had already gained recognition for his simple yet sophisticated — psychedelic, even — work on children’s books like The Wing on a Flea (1961), Yankee Doodle (1965), and Drummer Hoff (1968, written by his wife, Barbara), to mention a few personal favorites, before he turned his hand to encouraging children to draw. I say “encouraging” rather than “teaching,” because Emberley’s drawing books provide practical tools for getting over one’s anxiety about lack of ability, one’s fear of the blank page. (I doubt that anyone, with the exception of Tom Gauld, grew up to draw like Emberley.) Today, many of these guides, from Ed Emberley’s Drawing Book of Faces (1975) to Ed Emberley’s Drawing Book of Weirdos (2004), are still in print; I’ve purchased new editions for my own kids. When I was growing up in the 1970s, however, Make A World, which demonstrates “how to draw enough things to make a world of your own,” was of particular significance, to me — and to my six younger brothers and sisters, too. The author deconstructs over 400 objects, buildings, animals, and characters — from alligators and bulldozers to volcanos and witches — down into their simplest forms. A drawing of a pirate ship is, we discover, composed of variously colored squares and rectangles, triangles and dots, lines and squiggles; and so is everything and everyone else that one could possibly imagine. The book’s final pages are a DIY call to action: make your own comics, posters, books, games! This slim, brilliantly colored book isn’t an adventure novel; I include it on this list because it’s something equally as thrilling: a bottom-up worldbuilding propaedeutic enchiridion.

Fun facts: Although it’s impossible to find a cheap used copy of the book, I also highly recommend Emberley’s 1975 illustrated adventure The Wizard of Op, about a “slightly inept wizard” whose spells are depicted as two-page spreads of vibrating, slightly hallucinatory black-and-white optical-illusion patterns.

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Let me know if I’ve missed any adventures from this year that you particularly admire. Also, please check out these additional lists.

BEST SIXTIES YA & YYA: [Best YA & YYA Lit 1963] | Best YA & YYA Lit 1964 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1965 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1966 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1967 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1968 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1969 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1970 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1971 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1972 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1973. ALSO: Best YA Sci-Fi.

The 200 Greatest Adventures (1804–1983). THE OUGHTS: 1904 | 1905 | 1906 | 1907 | 1908 | 1909 | 1910 | 1911 | 1912 | 1913. THE TEENS: 1914 | 1915 | 1916 | 1917 | 1918 | 1919 | 1920 | 1921 | 1922 | 1923. THE TWENTIES: 1924 | 1925 | 1926 | 1927 | 1928 | 1929 | 1930 | 1931 | 1932 | 1933. THE THIRTIES: 1934 | 1935 | 1936 | 1937 | 1938 | 1939 | 1940 | 1941 | 1942 | 1943. THE FORTIES: 1944 | 1945 | 1946 | 1947 | 1948 | 1949 | 1950 | 1951 | 1952 | 1953. THE FIFTIES: 1954 | 1955 | 1956 | 1957 | 1958 | 1959 | 1960 | 1961 | 1962 | 1963. THE SIXTIES: 1964 | 1965 | 1966 | 1967 | 1968 | 1969 | 1970 | 1971 | 1972 | 1973. THE SEVENTIES: 1974 | 1975 | 1976 | 1977 | 1978 | 1979 | 1980 | 1981 | 1982 | 1983. THE EIGHTIES: 1984 | 1985 | 1986 | 1987 | 1988 | 1989 | 1990 | 1991 | 1992 | 1993. THE NINETIES: 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003. I’ve only recently started making notes toward a list of Best Adventures of the EIGHTIES, NINETIES, and TWENTY-OUGHTS.

Categories

Adventure, Lit Lists

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