Friday, June 25, 2010

27th June Fiona French (1944)

Each of Fiona French's picture books seems to explore adifferent style of art. They are so detailed and meticulous that they look like labours of love. I first met her work with Snow White in New York, a Kate Greenaway Medal winner, which sets the Snow White story in New York in the Jazz Age of the 1920s. The characters are less familiar than the plot. Snow White is a jazz singer who is protected by seven jazz musicians from her enemy, the Queen of the Underworld. This is somewhat too sophisticated for my clientele, but I love it.

She has other picture books which are much more accessible to the children I teach, and still just as beautiful and amazing. In the library we have Bethlehem, a nativity story, using the words from the bible and illustrated as if done in stained glass. We have The Smallest Samurai a Japanese version of the Tom Thumb story and Pepi and the Secret Names which is written by Jill Paton Walsh and illustrated by Fiona French in beautiful Egyptian-influenced art.

And to finish Refugee Week, The Whispering Cloth by Pegi Deitz Shea which tells the story of a young girl who remembers painful events in her life in a Thai refugee camp by sewing them into a pa'ndau or traditional story cloth.

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