As you know by now, I’m fond of children’s books. Especially picture books. I only have a small collection, but I cherish every single book. Those I usually like the most are the ones that have been written and illustrated by the same person. When I discovered Jackie Morris and her art on Twitter, I knew immediately that I would love to collect her books. The artwork is just stunning.
She has also done several very interesting collaborations. Lost Words, her collaboration with Robert MacFarlane, garnered a lot of praise.
Fantasy Fans will know her from her cover art of Robin Hobb’s famous series.
Her books are exquisite and appeal to adults just as much as they appeal to children.
Even though I want to collect her books, I have only gotten one so far. The picture book – Tell Me A Dragon.
I absolutely love it. The artwork is delicate, the colors so intense.
I know I will get the books she did with Robert Macfarlen, Lost Words and Lost Spells, which hasn’t been published yet.
But I would also like to get her other picture books eventually.
Jackie Morris lives in Wales with her children and three cats. It’s worth following her on Twitter. It’s such a lovely account with photos, kitten pics, and sneak peeks at her art. Here’s the link to her Twitter account and the link to her blog.
I’m very fond of picture books for children, especially those that also have an appeal for adults. They are often real works of art like this collaboration between Kyo Maclear and Isabelle Arsenault. The idea to introduce children not only to Virginia Woolf but to dark moods caught my interest immediately. Virginia Wolf is loosely based on the relationship between the sisters Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woolf.
One day, Vanessa’s sister Virginia wakes in a wolfish mood. She isn’t interested in anything. The colours are gone and all she wants to do is stay in bed, under her covers.
Vanessa thinks long and hard how she could help her sister and finally comes up with an idea. She begins to paint an imaginary place called Bloomsberry on the bedroom walls, using stunning colors. There’s a beautiful garden with flowers and a swing. Soon, Virginia joins her sister and begins to paint as well.
The way this book speaks about dark – or wolfish – moods is done in such a delicate way. It shows what it feels like to be in this mood and how it affects families and friends. But it also tries to show a way out. The amazing thing is that the book doesn’t downplay the mood at all but it also doesn’t overwhelm children. It gets the balance just right. Grown-ups know that Virginia Woolf suffered from depression, but for children she just has a very bad day.
This is from the inside of the book cover jacket:
Here are a few things to help lift a WOLFISH mood:
Lots of treats,
funny faces (sometimes),
a window and clouds,
a good art box,
a painted ladder,
turquoise birds, candy blossoms,
love, love, love,
and a big imagination.
Kyo Maclear has collaborated with other illustrators. I love that she chooses topics that one doesn’t immediately associate with a children’s book. One of her books is about famous chef Julia Child, another one about the fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli. They both look lovely too.
In the short video that I attached she explains that the book can be understood without knowing who Virginia Woolf is, but that adults can bring their knowledge to the books and will enjoy it in a very different way from the children. This is very clever because, in the end, it’s not kids who buy these picture books but adults who will also read the books to their kids.
Today I’m giving away two very different books.
The first book is the miniature edition of one of the most famous Swiss picture books A Bell for Ursli.
“A Bell for Ursli” is a classic Swiss children’s story, with pictures by award-winning Swiss illustrator Alois Carigiet. Ursli is a little boy who lives in the Swiss Alps. He must find a big cowbell so that he can lead the spring procession through his village, so he goes alone to his family’s chalet high up in the mountains. There, he spends a lonely, scary night. Generations of Swiss children have grown up with Ursli but this is the first time his adventures have been widely available in English.
The second book I’m giving away is Arthur Schnitzler’s Late Fame.
Here’s what is written on Pushkin Press’ site:
First English publication of a recently rediscovered novella by one of the greatest European writers
One seemingly ordinary evening, Eduard Saxberger arrives home to find the fulfilment of a long-forgotten wish in his sitting room: a visitor has come to tell him that the youth of Vienna have discovered his poetic genius. Saxberger has written nothing for thirty years, yet he now realises that he is more than merely an Unremarkable Civil Servant, after all: a Venerable Poet, for whom Late Fame is inevitable – if, that is, his new acolytes are to be believed…
Arthur Schnitzler was one of the most admired, provocative European writers of the twentieth century. The Nazis attempted to burn all of his work, but his archive was miraculously saved, and with it, Late Fame. Never published before, it is a treasure, a perfect satire of literary self-regard and charlatanism.
If you would like to win a copy of one of these books, please leave a comment. The only thing you have to do is to tell me why you’d like to win this book.
Please be aware that the picture book is tiny. To give you an idea, I took a photo together with the second book I’m giving away.
The giveaways is open internationally. I’ll announce the winners on Monday 21 November 17:00 – Western European time.