Monday, May 31, 2010

1st June

I have been doing this every day for four months now, one third of the year. I find it hard to believe. And all of that time I have been waiting to write about my new favourite book, Sebastian Meschenmoser's Waiting for Winter. Now that it is the first day of winter and there are no birthdays I can write about it. This book is perfect in every way! It is almost wordless, it is funny, very entertaining and it has delightful minimally coloured, pencil illustrations which show the animals to have very human expressions.

The characters, a squirrel, a hedgehog and a bear are waiting for snow and none of them has any experience of snow. All they know is that it is white, wet, cold and soft so each of them has visualised something very different from each other. They wait, they are tired and scruffy, but finally it comes and on the double-page spread where the first snowflake drops the illustration of the bear is mindblowing. How did Meschenmoser make the bear look like that? What talent!

The story begins on the front endpages and finishes on the back endpages thus demanding the reader's attention from the very beginning to the very end. The layout of this book, the font size, the framing or lack of it, and the anthropomorphism also demand analysis. You must 'read' this evocative picture book, then show it to your friends. We need more of this talented German illustrator's work to be translated into English.

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