Thursday, October 23, 2008

Review of Books (Children)

As some astute readers have noticed, Pepita and I are expecting a child. Sometime around the end of March, little Babydogg will make his or her entrance into our flawed world. In typical Gurldogg fashion, I've been buying up children's books, concerned that our little wonder is exposed to the richest possible literature as soon as he opens his eyes. A number of titles that I've seen recently have really excited me. I only hope the little one shares my lust for this stuff.

ABC3D is a witty and clever alphabet pop-up book by French designer Marion Bataille. The letters not only pop up but move and transform, creating an almost hypnotic effect. It's an extremely engaging and innovative book - almost cinematic. A must-have for fans of paper-cuts, pop-ups or typography.

The publisher has made a sweet little promo film for the book, and the real thing is even better.

And even though I rarely use Amazon, they do have a great price on this one.

Publisher Drawn and Quarterly has been collecting and reprinting the complete Moomin comic strips by Finnish illustrator Tove Jansson. The Moomins are hippo-like creatures with easygoing personalities and lots of troublesome friends. Jansson's art is pared down and precise, small enough to fit in the newspaper format yet grand enough to compose beautiful portraits of ambling creatures in fields of flowers or rock-strewn beaches. Jansson is regarded as one of the great newspaper cartoonists of the last century, the Moomin strip having been syndicated in some 40 countries to millions of readers, but this is the first time the Moomins have been published in any form in North America. The series now includes three large format books, and Drawn & Quarterly is planning to reprint the entire strip.

And finally, I was happy to see that the ever-adventurous McSweeney's is reprinting the delightfully odd book "The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip," written by MacArthur Award winning writer George Saunders, and illustrated by singularly strange Caldecott-winning artist Lane Smith. The book is a sort of fable involving Gappers (baseball-sized, burr-shaped orange creatures with a compulsion to creep up out of the sea and fasten themselves to goats), the goat herders of Frip, a widower obsessed with the past, and some dumb, mean neighbors. It's a strange story, and is absolutely in keeping with Saunders's wonderfully off-beat aesthetic. Smith in turn evokes memories of George Grosz, Dr. Seuss, and Japanese wood block prints. A good book for literary parents and their disturbed children. I trust we'll get there one day, 'cause that's exactly where we're headed!


Melissa said...

Children books are so popular these days. Everyone of my friends have a huge collection of books for their kids. I decided to start my collection now that my child is 3. The first book we bought together was "A Day With My Dad" by Lance Waite

Little Rudy said...

check out Little Nemo In Slumberland, by Winsor McCay. It was originally printed as a comic strip in the New York Herald from 1905-1911, or something like that. It's beautiful and disturbing and funny, just like life itself! Your little Lumkins will surly learn loads from following Nemo's Dreamland adventures.