Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Illustrator Alert - Sarah Warburton

I love finding brilliant books by super talented authors and illustrators that I've never heard of before. And new publishers too. 

This week I seem to have unearthed a wealth of scrumptious books at the library and just have to share the loveliness. However, there is far too much goodness to convey in just one blog post so I will be bringing you a plethora of

perfectly precious publications over the next few days and weeks. 

I must thank our stock managers in Library HQ office-land who have been distributing all these shiny new books to the libraries in Devon, and for the waves of fresh titles washing over me in our regular deliveries. 

Today I bring to you this delightful package of pinkness: The Princess and the Peas. 

Written by Caryl Hart
Illustrated by Sarah Warburton.
And published by Nosy Crow.

Nosy Crow are a young, smallish, independent Children's publishers. And one that is definitely moving with the times, developing their own range of apps for little kids, alongside their wide range of children's fiction. I discovered them somehow the other day and have since submitted a bunch of my own picture book stories to them. But that is by the by, the point is, HERE is a book worth looking at. 

It's gorgeous, long, and rhyming, with a sweet, funny story and so much to look at. The front cover is very gorgeous; barbie pink with lush green peas weaving their curly tendrils over the surface, embellished with shiny shiny metallic green leaf.  Beautiful, hand-drawn lettering and a cute little girly skipping merrily across, ready to dive into the book and draw you through it's story. 

The green endpapers covered in little white doodles and the publication page would almost be enough on their own but they are just a fraction of the brilliance of this generously illustrated book. 

I would like to coin some new words to describe how much I enjoy looking at a beautiful drawing, that fully expresses the gazing delight of it all. I know there are a lot of excellent words in the English language but many of them are just not the right ones. Basically, I really really like Sarah Warburton's drawings. I like the fresh, relaxed nature of them. The believability of the characters and the liveliness of lines; imperfect and scrawly, yet ever so correct.

I also really admire her use of strong colour. It is luminous and strong but never garish. 

The story of Lily-Rose-May is enhanced by the injection of a very succinct version of the fairy tale Princess and the Pea, depicted in almost monochrome greys and yellows. Caryl Hart's lively story rhymes with an easy flow, creating a jaunty ryhthm, moving you ever onwards through the book.


This version of events tells of the effect of Lily-Rose May's Daddy giving her peas for dinner one day:

When Lily-Rose May found the peas on her plate
She worked herself into a terrible state.
"But, darling," said Dad, "can't you manage a few?
They're ever so tiny and so good for you."

When the Doctor is called he explains that with her prettiness and politeness, and her clear allergy for peas, she must be a Princess, as all princesses are allergic to peas. 

"With all things considered, I have to assess
This disease has no cure! The girl's a princess."
"You have to be joking!" her father explained.
"She's a princess all right," the doctor explained. 

And to prove it, he told them a terrible tale ... 

His prescribed treatment for Lily's intolerance of peas is to go and live the life of a princess, in the palace . Although this comes with the luxury of a huge princessy bedroom, a sparky tiara and an extensive wardrobe, it is accompanied by dull duties, such as hours of smiling and waving each day, and practising being very Royal. We soon see that Lily is prepared to compromise in order to live her normal life again. 

This is a fantastic story for ages 5 and up, nice and long for those wanting a classy bedtime story, and warrants many re-readings to appreciate the details in the pictures and the fullness of the words. 

PS: Now that I follow the link to read more about Caryl Hart, it is no surprise that I love her writing. She has also written Whiffy Wilson, a completely genius tale about the need to wash. I cannot praise this book enough. I do not believe myself to be exaggerating when I say EVERYONE will love it. It is that good. Personal Hygeine has never been so funny or so cleverly written about. And the drawings by Leonie Lord are scruffily delicious. This could go on forever though, following the bookish trail from one genius writer to another talented artist. Read them! Read them all. Even if you don't have kids. It's alright. 


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