Jon Klassen is known as a writer and illustrator of children’s books and as an animator. He has worked on films, such as Coraline and Kung Fu Panda, and directed the video for I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight by U2. As an illustrator he has won several awards, including the Governor General’s Award for English-language children’s illustration for Carolyn Stutson’s Cat’s Night Out and the 2013 Caldecott Medal for This Is Not My Hat, which he also wrote. His book I Want My Hat Back was among the New York Times 10 Best Illustrated Children’s Books for 2011, although it kicked up some controversy over its ending, in which a character (the bear) eats another character (the rabbit), an event which is not explicitly pictured in the illustration.
In the early 2000s, as a student in Sheridan College’s Classical Animation Program, Klassen teamed up with Dan Rodrigues, later an animator on Kid vs. Kat, to make An Eye for Annai, a charming and clever animated short about a one-eyed monster looking to replace his missing eye. The film is hand drawn and animated, with digital coloring and a mix of traditional and digital backgrounds. Klassen played the recorder to make most of the soundtrack and used a recording of the Jazz classic Jeepers Peepers to finish off the magic. Jeepers Peepers, where’d you get those eyes? Clever! The main tune is the children’s song Frère Jacques, but listeners will catch interpolations of the Sailor’s Hornpipe and the Imperial March from Star Wars. It is this impish whimsy that makes the video an instant classic, despite limited budget and resources. What an adorable little red monster! The fruit eating monkeys and the obnoxious peacocks are some of my favorites as well. Enjoy!
Video via ubak on YouTube.