Monday by Anne Herbauts
Mixing gouache, acrylic, crayon, and ink, illustrator Anne Herbauts depicts the snowy home of three little creature friends, Monday, Lester Day and Tom Morrow. As we follow them, we are drawn into their world by sight and touch – the front cover is die-cut with a big chimneyed house, inviting us in. Monday is our main character and as we move through the days of the week he becomes smaller and smaller until Sunday when he virtually disappears in a snowstorm. His two friends go off to look for him. They too move through the days of the week as well as the seasons of the year as they search for their friend. At the end they finally find him, and he is just a little bit different, for as we know, no one Monday is the same as the next.
The incredible bit (other than the illustrations) is that there are five different weights of paper used in this book and as the reader moves from the lushness of spring into the browns of autumn and the icy whiteness of winter the paper becomes thinner and thinner. Additionally, the paper is textured with a Braille-like effect during the snowstorm at the end of the book. Aaaaah, a book you would want in your belly!
Varmints (Part One) by Helen Ward illustrated by Marc Craste
Oh my hat, this is a beautifully haunting book. Helen Ward has written many books, and is herself a brilliant illustrator with a great hand for detail. Varmints, in essence tells the story of a world without peace and quiet. The use of colour and text brilliantly combines with a sense of foreboding that urges you to keep on paging, even when you are a little bit scared! It tells of how we stop thinking when there is too much noise.
Marc Craste is an animation director and has won a BAFTA Award for a short animated film. The title says part one, but there is as yet no part two (or even talk of it) – maybe you just reading it is part two!
Up in the Tree by Margaret Atwood
Margaret Atwood is best known for her amazing novels, essays and of course poetry, but she has also written a few children’s books. This, her first one, was written in the early days of children’s publishing in Canada (1978) and is re-printed exactly as it was done by her back then. The book is hand-lettered, and produced in just two colours, blue and red, all to save costs. Now that we are use to computer-generated images, this book might seem old-school – but therein lies the beauty. The simple text tells the story of two children who decide to live in a tree and all of their endeavors to stay up there. This vintage Atwood is a great treat not only for fans, but also for graphic designers