I officially have a new writer/illustrator crush.
Oliver Jeffers is a multimedia artist and storyteller who published his first children’s book, How to Catch a Star, in 2004. Having been a seventh-grader at that time, I remained unfamiliar with his work until recently, when I came across The Day The Crayons Quit (2013) – illustrated by Jeffers and written by Drew Daywalt. I thought Crayons was pretty cute, but The Heart and the Bottle actually made me cry.
The Heart and the Bottle (which was written by Jeffers) tells the story of a little girl “whose head was filled with all the curiosities of the world,” and who finds in her grandfather a fellow dreamer, creator, and explorer. However, when the little girl’s grandfather passes away (beautifully and succinctly conveyed as “the day she found an empty chair”), she misses him so much that she puts her heart in a bottle in order to keep it safe. As the little girl grows into an adult, her “guarded” heart causes her to detach from the things that used to make her happy – until she meets a child who reminds her of the joy in living open-heartedly.
The story alone would merit a Book of the Day post for this title. I have never read a children’s book that tackles the issues of death, grief, and psychological self-preservation. It just absolutely floors me that Jeffers is able to communicate these very real and complex challenges to children in an age-appropriate manner.
Obviously, the book strikes a chord with adults, too. To anyone who feels they have become any bit more guarded or jaded in growing up, The Heart and the Bottle is a stunning reminder to hang onto childhood innocence.
Jeffers echoes that sentiment in his illustrations, which are vivid and playful, childlike but not at all unimpressive. Underneath the bright yellow, seemingly simple dust jacket is a gorgeous hardcover case:
This is definitely a book I’ll be saving for my kids.
Walk this World is the first children’s book from the very talented Finnish illustrator and art director, Lotta Nieminen. I can see her Finnish influences in her illustration style so clearly! I could very well get happily lost in her site for hours (which I shall treat myself to after I post this). The book teaches children about cultural similarities and differences of people from around the world. How lovely to learn about the world through Lotta’s beautiful and colourful illustrations! There are over 80 flaps that open and reveal even more gorgeousness. I do love a book with surprise open up flaps!
The Reader’s Gallery is back after a two-week hiatus, and my newest book of the day? Emma.
If you’ve been to Barnes and Noble recently, you might have noticed a few tables and bookstands dedicated to various Penguin Classics editions: Clothbound Classics, Drop Caps, Ink, and Threads are all there, threatening to drain your entire book budget. Penguin is doing a pretty impressive job of compelling readers to collect these beautiful print editions of classic novels. More importantly, they’re able to tempt buyers with multiple editions of the same book – which brings me to Emma.
I’ll be the first to admit that Emma is not my favorite Jane Austen novel (let’s be honest: nothing beats Pride and Prejudice), but seeing these three versions of the book together makes it difficult not to imagine them lined up on my shelf. The vibrantly detailed Penguin Threads edition by Jillian Tamaki is probably my favorite:
Which edition do you love most? Are you tempted enough to buy one or more of the above?
If you liked Neil Gaiman’s Fantastic Mistakes or are in any way a fan of the DIY ‘zine art form, you’ll enjoy Debbie Millman’s Look Both Ways: Illustrated Essays on the Intersection of Life and Design. Physically rudimentary and philosophically inspirational, Millman’s book is one of those that’s a must-touch along with a must-read – thus, its availability as an eBook boggles my mind a little bit.
Though I love eBooks… this is a pretty convincing reason to stick with print:
The iPhone and iPad maker is accused of breaching its promise to improve working conditions after the Foxconn revelations by using another supplier alleged to have broken 86 labour laws, including forcing pregnant women to work 11 hours a day, six days a week, standing up.
The US-based human rights watchdog China Labour Watch (CLW) also accused the company in question, Pegatron, of employing underage staff and discriminating against applicants shorter than 4ft 11in, older than 35 or from certain ethic minorities. The fresh claims of worker mistreatment are particularly embarrassing for Apple after it switched some iPhone and iPad manufacturing from Foxconn to Pegatron after intense negative publicity surrounding Foxconn.
Good for the economy, bad for the publishing industry?