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Archive for January 23rd, 2014

by Sam Juliano

The great irony in the early-age pink lemonade picture book Flora and the Flamingo is that boys seem to like it just as much as the girls.  This is one of the year’s most innovative works, one where the generous construction of interactive flaps enhances the movement in a book that explores grace and agility in a dynamic, decidedly cinematic setting.  This wholly unique wordless book is the creation of Molly Idle, a former Dreamworks animator, and proper negotiation of the flaps is comparable to a run through a series of animation cells.

Flora and the Flamingo records the chance meeting of a pudgy little girl in a bathing suit and a sensual and agile flamingo, that immediately develops into a relationship formed on imitation and dance.  And a good deal of flattery that isn’t immediately acknowledged.   Like all budding picture book relationships (one may recall Chris Raschka’s Yo Yes!) there is initial suspicion, but soon enough their is some chemistry and rapport, and a shared dance that showcases mutual balletic grace, culled largely from studied application. (more…)

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by Sam Juliano

Picture book lovers who hanker for something unique in their biographies will find a treasure trove of lyrical prose and magnificent splintered beige illustrations that bring just the right touch of humanist underpinning in On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein by Jennifer Berne, with pictures by Vladimir Radunsky.  While Radunsky’s noted  flair for irreverence is largely held at bay by Berne’s rightful desire to give young reader’s a beginner’s course on the book’s venerated subject, there is a disarming tone in these marvelous illustrations by this master stylist that will leave art lovers in a sure state of ecstasy.   But in what is surely a splendid wedding of words and images it is Berne who sets the celebratory tone at the start: “Over 100 years ago, as the stars swirled in the sky, as the Earth circled the sun, as the March winds blew through a little town by a river, a baby boy was born.  His parents named him Albert” with a striking emphasis on red oversized typography that stands apart from the equally engaging black lettering. (more…)

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