The story begins, as many stories do, in a faraway land with a singular dragon. But this dragon is a lonely one. She’d travelled far and wide but hadn’t found any dragons to make friends with. Instead, Sylvia makes friends with a Bird.
Rayner’s beautifully illustrated story shows that friendship transcends differences, in size, race and social circumstances. In charge of both the words and the pictures, Rayner weaves the story effortlessly through the gorgeous blue-green spreads.
Rayner’s books are primarily about animals, and she spends hours and hours watching them and making pencil sketches. Then, she goes into her colourful studio to create her illustrations. She mainly uses a liquid acrylic ink with a dip pen.
Writer at Art1st
PS: With all the new Art1st in production, we can’t help but admire the little publishing details, like the endearing copyright page design.
My emotional response to this book: Hug the book! Hug the beeg feesh!
Klassen tackles the much-disdained children’s book genre of horror with minimalism, grace and humour. This is a tale of caution that is told in the illustrations rather than the words, when a little fish finds a perfectly-sized blue bowler hat on the head of a big fish, and makes an awkward choice.
As an adult, I definitely enjoy the parallel protagonists, but am curious as to whether children ‘get it’. When it comes to any discussions on morality, there are always counterpoints. Is the book too (invisibly) violent? Do children absorb the skewed message, not of the black-and-white ‘stealing is bad’, but ‘stealing is bad if you can’t get away with it’? But are these just the worried moralistic musings of adult readers that are certain they know EXACTLY what children think when they’re reading.
Moving on to a fast-becoming peeve: why don’t the Children’s Illustrated Books share information about the illustrative style? With so many artist videos floating around, I seem to find the beauty in their process as much as their works. Well, Klassen’s wonderful colours and textures are handmade with water-colours and then digitally combined into the simple, yet dramatic visual narrative. (Thank you, dear Google!)
THIS IS NOT MY HAT
Is this my hat? No.
Have you read the book? How would you deal with the concept of stealing? Start a conversation in the comments section below.
Writer at Art1st
“A day is a perfect piece of time to live a life”
All in a Day written by Cynthia Rylant & Illustrated by Nikki McClure is a story of a boy who spends a day on his family farm, sharing joys and disappointments with his parents, a friendly chicken and a watchful squirrel.
The use of gentle verse to describe the gifts of a new day and Nikki McClure’s stunning, meticulously crafted cut-paper art, makes this picture book not only timeless but appealing to all ages.
The book illuminates all the things a day offers – the opportunities and the chances that won’t ever come again as well as a gentle message of good stewardship of our planet.