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Archive for February 10th, 2018

by Sam Juliano

U boats are sailing once more.         -The Producers

Dazzle Ships: World War I and the Art of Confusion by Chris Barton and Victo Ngai is an  avant garde masterwork.   If the American Library Association had a separate category for Most Distinguished Picture Book Cover, I’d imagine this would be one of the finalists. Of course, with Dazzle Ships it is a package deal from end papers, through the initial double page spread (sneaky, stripy camouflage ship) and the arresting multi patterned and colored art, it is quite the visually captivating experience, and quite unlike any First World War book yet published. Though I do personally adore 2017 non fiction picture book works by Katherine Roy, Molly Bang and Jason Chin, I have a hunch that if a non-fiction ends up on the winners circle this year it will probably be this one. Ngai’s art is original, unique, visionary, and frame-worthy. I do see the studied preparation to the source and a glowing future career for this gifted illustrator. The final Metropolis canvas (Times change; Technology changes) is really spectacular. I appreciate the sustained motifs and the mastery of scale and find this as a book that certainly rewards repeated visits. (more…)

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