First Impressions: The 2019 Kate Greenaway Shortlist (Part II)

Continuing our look at the 2019 Kate Greenaway shortlist…

Julian Is A Mermaid - Jessica Love

Julian Is A Mermaid – Jessica Love

The colours and the fluid lines really capture what this books is about – we thought it was utterly joyful. Using minimal text, much of the story is revealed via the illustrations -Julian’s tramway dreaming prefiguring the books ending (note the patterned fish and the gifted necklace). This book was a clear favourite on the night!

Our highlight was: the body language as a way of communicating the emotional narrative of the story. We especially liked Nana’s inscrutable face.

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You’re Safe With Me – Poonam Mistry (written by Chitra Soundar)

Visually arresting and intricate illustrations make this stand out stylistically – it’s unlike anything else on the shortlist. Though highly patterned each page or spread is different – colour is used very effectively to change the tone.

Our highlight was:  the use of the whole page – colour and pattern run to the very edges with the text seamlessly integrated into the pictures.

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The Lost Words – Jackie Morris (Written by Robert Macfarlane)

It’s clear from the moment that you open this book that it is something very special – we spoke about the size and format itself being totally immersive and how clever it is to achieve the depiction of the loss of something – the absence of it. The ‘triptych’ of images for each poem and the gold leaf evoked something iconic – as if this were a reliquary for these words.

Our highlight was: The fact that the impact of the illustrations builds – each lost word is addressed with 3 illustrations: one showing the absence of the word, one accomanying the poem and showing a detailed image on gold leaf and finally a double page spread showing the ‘lost word’ in it’s natural setting – as it should be.

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Suffragette: The Battle For Equality – David Roberts

The attention to detail in this work is astonishing. Avoiding the replication of images we may already be familiar with because we’ve seen them in photographs or posters, Roberts offers an intimate look at this moment in history. The use of different styles: the cross stitch samplers, the period portraits, the cataloguing of ephemera such as badges, weapons and flags, as well as action shots of pitched battles, marches and general ‘brouhaha’ make for an intoxicating mix.

Our highlight was: The determination on the women’s faces – even as they are being dragged away by police or eyes closed trudging through the rain – the illustrations make very clear something of the character of these women and the magnitude of the battle they took on.

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For those wishing to join in the fun, our next meeting will take place on the 2nd April, 6.30pm, at The Bank pub (Manchester). You can find out more about the Greenaway shadowing scheme on the Awards website https://www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/shadowing.php

 

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First Impressions: The 2019 Kate Greenaway Shortlist (Part I)

Last night was the inaugural meeting of our ‘Picture Books In The Pub’ group – an informal shadowing group for adults looking at the books shortlisted for this year’s Kate Greenaway Medal.

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We were very lucky to have regional judge Emma on hand to introduce each of the shortlisted books and tell us a little bit about why these eight books in particular stood out for the judging panel. Naturally lots of discussion and oohs and ahhs ensued. We even managed to brainstorm ideas around the kind of activities we could run with shadowers based on each book (headdresses and mermaid tails here we come!).

We will, of course, be revisiting each book in detail (and with the medal criteria firmly in mind) over the coming weeks but to whet your appetite and in the spirit of the shadowing scheme we’d like to share some of our first impressions with you…

The day The war Came - Rebecca Cobb

The Day The War Came, illustrated by Rebecca Cobb (written by Nicola Davies)

We were particularly impressed with the use of colour and texture here – the contrast conveying all the “smoke and fire and noise” that the narrator “didn’t understand”. The use of panelling in some of the spreads and the wide double pages gives a real sense of the enormity of the journey undertaken and the all encompassing nature of the war.

Our highlight was: the endpapers – we loved the fact that the book begins with empty chairs but ends with each one occupied by a happy and smiling child.

Ocean Meets Sky

Ocean Meets Sky – The Fan Brothers

We all wanted to spend more time poring over these immersive, enchanting illustrations. Each page offered so much to investigate: fish bellied boats, sea monsters and pirates, castles in the air and even a guest appearance from the Titanic.  We loved all the details and felt very pleased with ourselves when we spotted that the lands Finn sails through all echo the curios left on his grandfather’s desk.

Our highlight was: The use of scale and the change in perspectives – the double page spread showing the carp, boat and jellyfish from above eliciting several gasps of admiration.

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Beyond The Fence – Maria Gulemetova

We really like the low, wide format of this book – it enhanced the expansive vistas and their promise of freedom just as much as it intensified the creeping sense of claustrophobia in some of the interiors.

Our highlight was: The final spread – the change of colour and saturation makes a bold contrast to the rest of the book and invites the reader to imagine just what lies on the other side.

The Wolf, The Duck  & The Mouse - Jon Klassen

The Wolf, The Duck & The Mouse – Jon Klassen (written by Mac Barnett)

We loved the textured backgrounds in this one and spoke about them being stylistically reminiscent of works from the 60s/70s. Broad brushstrokes, crayoned lines and inky spatters evoke both the earthy darkness of the wolf and the moonlit wash of the nighttime forest. We were particularly drawn to the contrast between light and dark and wondered how this had been achieved: creatures and objects are almost luminescent in the dark of the wolf’s belly.

Our highlight was: The scenes inside the wolf’s belly – it seems such a bold choice to fill the page with such dark colour and the way that the mouse and the duck are foregrounded by a bold white outline made these spreads really stand out.

We’ll be back with the final four shortlisted books in our ‘First Impressions Part II’ post tomorrow!

CKG review: A First Book of Animals – illustrated by Petr Horacek

Not one, not two, but three reviews in one day! We’re so close to he CKG winners announcement now – and so close to getting all our reviews of the shortlisted titles posted! Here are Lizzie’s thoughts on A First Book of Animals from the Greenaway list, which sees Petr Horacek shortlisted for his stunning illustrations.

What the publisher says…

Nicola Davies, the award-winning author of A First Book of Nature, presents a spellbinding treasury of poems about the animal world, illustrated in breathtaking detail by Petr Horacek. … From blue whales to bumblebee bats and everything in between, A First Book of Animals takes you all over the planet to visit all kinds of different creatures. 

http://www.walker.co.uk/A-First-Book-of-Animals-9781406359633.aspx

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What we say…

It’s impossible to tell which came first here – the text or the illustrations – as both work so perfectly together to create an outstanding work of vivacity and exuberance. Nature bursts from the page in abundance. Petr Horacek’s double page spreads allow Nicola Davies’ poetic text to dance across the page whilst his jewel-like colours and textured collages express the remarkable diversity of the natural world on a grand scale. Clever layout and design, with the occasional nod to works of natural history from yesteryear, make this a book which works on several levels with appeal across a wide age and ability range, A true treasury!” 

Lizzie

See Petr Horacek talk about A First Book of Animals here: http://www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/watch.php?id=4

View the full CKG 2018 shortlists here:

http://www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/carnegie-current-shortlist.php

http://www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/greenaway-current-shortlist.php

 

CKG Review – What you need to know about the Greenaway Shortlist (Part I)

Just in time for today’s medal ceremony – brush up with our handy visual guides to the eight outstanding titles nominated for this year’s Greenaway Medal. Can you decide who’s going to win the coveted prize?

Harry Potter - Greenaway 17A Great Big Cuddle - Greenaway 17Tidy - Greenaway 17Wild Animals Of The North - Greenaway 17

What We’re Reading Wednesday – Greenaway shortlist – There’s a Bear on My Chair

There’s a Bear on my Chair by Ross Collins is a delightful tale of a disgruntled mouse and a rather uncooperative bear, who has made himself comfortable on mouse’s favourite chair.

The front cover sets the tone of the story perfectly with the bear waving casually and looking relaxed and comfortable – if a little large for the chair he’s happily perching on – and the cross-looking mouse scowling whilst pointing at his nemesis (although the mouse’s rather fetching patterned jumper means there’s a limit to how seriously even the smallest child could take him. Definitely cute-angry rather than scary).  

 

The text is in rhyme, with all the rhyming words ending in the ‘air’ sound and, as the story goes along and the mouse gets crosser and crosser, more of the words are highlighted  in red. Indeed when the mouse reaches breaking point, the whole background is red and the text more than doubles in size with exclamation marks galore.

  

The illustrations in this book perfectly complement the text and the fact that each spread has a simple block colour background means that the main focus is always on the expressions and interplay of the characters. And these are very expressive characters – you can feel the mouse getting ever-angrier as everything he does fails to get the attention of the bear.

Some of the most striking pages are those on which there are no words at all. I particularly love the ‘stand-off’ page where mouse and bear are back-to-back, in opposite corners, and you wonder how the situation will ever be resolved. I found myself feeling totally sympathetic towards the mouse whilst also secretly admiring bear’s gumption.

As with all good stories there is a twist in this tale, when bear nonchalantly climbs down from the chair and swaggers home, only to find he has an unexpected visitor of his own. Perhaps he’ll find himself wishing he had been kinder to mouse after all…

Emma