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HARVEY by Herve Bouchard, Illustrated by Janice Nadeau, Translated by Helen Mixter

First ever winner of the Governor General’s Award for both text and illustration

Harvey and his little brother are playing in the slushy streets of early spring when they learn, out of the blue, that their father has died of a heart attack. Everything changes and Harvey’s favorite movie, The Incredible Shrinking Man, suddenly begins to dominate his fantasy life. When relatives try to get him to look at his father in his coffin, Harvey finds himself disappearing.

Brilliantly illustrated, emotionally true and devastatingly sad, this book is a very artful and yet utterly convincing look at the experience of extreme emotional trauma.

Published by Groundwood Books

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Pierre the French Bulldog Recycles by Kate Louise, Illustrated by Bethany Straker

Pierre the French Bulldog loves digging things up. He tosses some old stuff into the trash but forgets to recycle, and before he can right his mistake the garbage truck comes and empties the trash bin. Pierre then chases the truck through town, with the help of the neighborhood dogs, on a mission to make sure his recyclables don’t end up in landfill.

Kate Louise

The book has an important message and delivers it without being preachy. The story is fun and the characters are interesting.

This is great resource for teachers and parents to educate children about the environment and the importance of recycling through storytelling. It is a great tool for starting the discussion and demonstrating to children that they can make a difference.

The illustrations are full of movement, expression and intricate details that bring the characters to life and create a strong sense of place.

Published by Sky Pony Press

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Goram & Ghyston the Bristol Giants by Oliver Rigby, illustrated by Tom Bonson

A story of 2 giants, the very first giants of Bristol and a celebration of the landscape of the landscape it occupies and how it was formed.

Brothers, Goram and Ghyston fall in love with the beautiful princess Avona. To win her hand in marriage she sets them a difficult task. But who will be triumphant?

I’m moving to Bristol in a month’s time. This book is perfect for my family. However, you don’t need to be affiliated with the place to enjoy this wonderful picture book.

The book is filled with fantastic illustrations that really play with perspective and a sense of scale.

Have a look at the website for more details.

The Bristol Giants

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I’ll Catch You If You Fall by Mark Sperring, Illustrated by Layn Marlow

Big or small, near or far, we all need someone to watch over us. This is a book for anyone who has asked ‘who will keep me safe’ and for anyone who has answered ‘I will’.

Published by Oxford University Press

The book is illustrated beautifully in watercolours. Dramatic seascapes and the nautical theme will capture the young reader’s imagination.

The book celebrates family, parental love and security.

And it has great endpapers too.

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ELCAF 4th East London Comic & Arts Festival

This weekend – Saturday 20th June – Sunday 21st June

Founded in 2012, ELCAF’s aim is to introduce and celebrate both small press publications and the dynamic community of individual artists and collectives that are pushing the boundaries in comics, illustration, graphic and sequential art here in the UK and abroad. Each year ELCAF has seen an incredible growth; larger venues, more exhibitors, and a greater number of people coming through the doors.

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Jim Field

Magpie illustrations

Magpie Joe Sparrow

Q & A with Joe Sparrow

Q1: How did you get the Nobrow 17 x 23 gig?

It was pretty sudden – I was tabling at ELCAF 2013 and I ended up
chatting a bit to Alex Spiro, one of the two guys that founded the
company. Then a few months later I got an email pretty much out of the
blue from Alex talking about how they wanted to do some more books in
the 17×23 series and asking me to pitch a few story ideas. Prior to this
I’d been selling my own self-published stuff at conventions for a couple
of years beforehand, so I already had a few finished stories under my
belt. Also, if I was ever at a convention where nobrow had a stand I’d
make a point of going over and saying hi! I have no idea if that
actually contributed to them wanting to collaborate with me though.

Q2: Which comics from the 17 x 23 series do you own?

Do you have a favourite?

I owned a few of the original bunch and I’ve been buying all the new
ones as they come out. It’s really cool to see the diversity of styles,
both in the art and the narrative! I’d really struggle to pick an
absolute favourite… I dig Jen Lee’s stuff a lot; I really admire her
use of colour in particular. Plus as an animator I can really see that
capability in her drawings – I mean it’s always amazing to see her
characters in motion, but even in her static work I like the way she
constructs them out of these really simple, readable shapes but they
still have tons of character. I’d love to be able to draw like that.

Q3: I love the pixelated artwork in your comic The Hunter

– why did you choose this approach?

I started getting into pixelart a few years ago during a period
where I was really frustrated with my art in general and I wanted to get
back into a way of working that I actually enjoyed. Working at a
pixel-level is very satisfying for me because it’s pretty much the
highest degree of control you can have over a 2d image that’s on a
screen, and I like having a lot of control over the way stuff looks.
There’s also something really paradoxical about seeing it in print, but I
quite like that. Sometimes people mistake it for a printing error, which
is understandable!

I decided to use the pixelart method for The Hunter partially because I
wanted it to be a fun thing to work on, something I’d enjoy. It also
struck a weird, videogamey chord with the story – it made me think of
games like Pokemon or Monster Hunter where some players obsessively task
themselves with “100% completion” – meticulously achieving every goal
possible, often investing hundreds of hours. It felt like the story was
about a similar kind of obsession, like this guy equates the goal of
living a fulfilled life with completing a bunch of videogame quests.

If anyone’s interested, style-wise my two main influences with the
pixelart are Paul Robertson and the anonymous Japanese game dev who
calls himself “Pixel” (maker of the game Cave Story, which I’d highly
recommend).

Q4: I stumbled across your blog Dungeons and Drawings,

can you tell us about it and how it came about?

I played D&D (Dungeons & Dragons) with some friends once or twice
when I was a kid – it’s a real eye-opener of a game, like you just start
playing it and you realise you can do pretty much whatever you want. It
really blew my mind at the time! I picked it up again with some friends
at uni, getting into it on a more creative level, writing stories,
designing characters etc. When we finished uni in 2010, Blanca
(Martinez, my girlfriend & the blog’s co-creator) and I started coming
up with ideas for personal art projects that we could work on (since we
were finding it hard to find freelance work at the time and we wanted
something to do). We’re both super into RPGs (she even more so than I)
and we came up with the idea to start this art blog where we post our
own redesigns of classic fantasy RPG monsters. I think she came up with
the name and it stuck! The inspiration came from our memories of looking
at the Monster Manual as kids, and the fun of endlessly leafing through,
comparing power levels and picking favourites. We published a book last
year and our currently working on a follow-up, so hopefully people can
get the same sort of satisfaction from our stuff!

Q5: Which illustrators inspire you?

Quite a few at the moment. At random: Rebecca Sugar, Jonathan Djob
Nkondo, Thomas Wellmann, Matthieu Cousin, Valentin Seiche, Masaaki
Yuasa, Boulet, Jillian Tamaki, Josceline Fenton, Ben Sears, Kim Sloane,
Jack Cunningham.

Q6: What’s next for Joe Sparrow?

Right now I’m actually directing an animated short, a little cartoon
bio of Mozart, that should be out later this year. It’s been a lot of
fun to research, and music is probably a pretty close second to art in
my life in terms of interests so I’m really looking forward to seeing
what I can do. After that I want to get back to comics and do something
a little larger-scale. I’d like to write a story that’s more about the
characters than anything else (I feel like a lot of my stories are just
“stuff happening”, there isn’t much of a character element to them).
Anyway, lots of plans!

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A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, Siobhan Dowd, Illustrated by Jim Kay

An extraordinarily moving novel about coming to terms with loss.

The monster showed up just after midnight. As they do. But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming… The monster in his back garden, though, this monster is something different. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. It wants the truth. Costa Award winner Patrick Ness spins a tale from the final idea of much-loved Carnegie Medal winner Siobhan Dowd, whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself. Darkly mischievous and painfully funny, A Monster Calls is an extraordinarily moving novel of coming to terms with loss from two of our finest writers for young adults.

Walker Books

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Max by Marc Martin

I love this book, the front cover is brilliant, the typography, colours, layout and illustrations are very satisfying to look at. Open the book and Marc Martin amazes on every page with views of the town and funfair, with graphic map-like quality imagery and birds-eye view scenes of the town.

Max and Bob are old friends. Max helps out in Bob’s shop, and in the evenings they go fishing together. Until one summer, when everything changes …From the winner of the 2013 Crichton Award for Australia’s best new illustrator comes this heart warming story of enduring friendship …and chips.

by Marc Martin

Published by Templar

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Toby and the Ice Giants by Joe Lillington

There are two topics that are sure to grab a child’s attention, Dinosaurs and The Ice Age.

In this picture book we meet Toby the bison. Toby sets off on an adventure where he meets some of the ice giants that roam the world in this prehistoric time; wooly mammoth, wooly rhinoceros, magatherium, glyptodon, teratorn are just some of the ice giants he encounters. Each time Toby introduces himself and in return he learns something new about these great animals.

Gorgeous illustrations and a charming narrative run through the book with factual sidebars that run vertically up the pages, informing us of their diet, habitat and more. This book will inspire awe and wonder in your curious reader.

Another triumph by Flying Eye Books.