My Father’s Arms are a Boat by Stein Erik Lunde Illustrated by Øyvind Torseter

It’s quieter than it’s ever been. Unable to sleep, a young boy climbs into his father’s arms. Feeling the warmth and closeness of his father, he begins to ask about the birds, the foxes…and whether his mother will ever wake up. Even in the face of absence and loss, the cycles of life continue unabated. We know in the end everything will somehow be all right.

– Enchanted Lion

The Queen’s Hat by Steve Antony

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The book tells the story of a sudden gust of wind that sets off a marvellous London adventure for the Queen, the Queen’s men and one very special hat. We  follow one determined, daredevil queen through the zoo, over Tower Bridge and up Big Ben… but just where will that hat land?

Steve Antony’s debut picture book is a visual feast from the moment you cast your eyes over the cover. It has a quintessentially British charm. It reminds me of a title sequence for an unmade ‘Carry On film’ or the beginnings of a Monty Python sketch.

It conjures up images of bunting, street parties, royal weddings, afternoon tea, regattas, strawberries and cream, commemorative plates, a village fete, an English country garden.

Open the book and the endpapers alone are reason enough to buy it.

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I find the way Steve Antony has juxtaposed the loose illustrations of the characters, with the precise (architectural blueprint like) illustrations of the iconic London landmarks, especially appealing to the eye.

The typography flows across the page, guiding your line of sight along the Queen’s journey, across, up and around the different buildings and structures she encounters.

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The limited palette reflects the colours of the Union Jack; the use of white space gives the illustrations the space to sing on each page. I also noticed that the outline of the Queen’s men are red; however the outline of the Queen is in blue. Is this done to illustrate her nobility I wonder?

This books demonstrates how good design fosters good reading. Steve Antony has created something original, fresh, funny and beautiful.

I highly reccomend it.

Thank you for sending it to me Steve. It shall be displayed with pride with its cover faced outwards.

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Mac Barnett & Jon Klassen

Illustrator Jon Klassen and author Mac Barnett accept the 2012 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Picture Book for Extra Yarn, at the September 28, 2012 BGHB award ceremony at Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts.

It’s just over 20 mins long, but hearing them talk so passionately and eloquently about the picture book form is truely inspiring.

Also Mac Barnett is really funny.