Elmore Green started life as an only child, as many children do. He had a room all to himself, and everything in it was his. But one day, everything changed. This brand new picture book from the hugely talented Lauren Child about the arrival of a new sibling is bound to be a hit with parents and children. Told with humour and with wonderfully stylish artwork, this is Lauren Child at her absolute best.
04 Sep 2014
5 – 8 years
What were the last 5 picture books you bought?
This is going to sound very bad, but I try not to look at picture books too much! There are so many lovely, wonderful, witty and brilliant books getting about all the time that it makes me wonder what on earth I think I’m doing having a go myself!
The last book I bought was “A Great Day for UP” by Dr Seuss, who is a hero, and illustrated by Quentin Blake, who obviously is a legend. I was curious to see how the two would blend. The answer is, very nicely!
I am constantly buying copies of “Oh the places you’ll go” by Dr Seuss as gifts. It is such a marvelous book, covering all the ups, downs and complexities of life in such a clear and simple way, with so much warmth and humour. And if you don’t well up a little or at least get goosebumps when you read the last page you are dead inside!
But looking through my book shelf I think the other three were…
The Boys by Jeff Newman which is a really lovely linear story with characters that span the generations, a favourite subject. The illustrations that are so full of movement and spirit, but also really sparing and graphic, gorgeous.
The Dark by Lemony Snicket and the genius that is Jon Klassson. It’s so clever, with beautiful clean illustrations and a little bit scary, in a good way.
Walk to Paris by Saul Bass & Leonore Klein which is just so super stylish.
What was your favourite picture book as a child and why?
I loved Cops and Robbers by Allan and Janet Ahlberg. I was recently reunited with my original copy I had given up for lost. I loved the detail on some of the pages and the visual gags tucked into the illustrations. And it has such a great rhythm, making it fun to read and have read to you. Ho! Ho!
I understand you previously worked in advertising, did you work on any advertising campaigns we might be familiar with?
Probably not! I worked in what was then known as ‘Below the line’ advertising, so everything except telly! We “brainstormed”(!) and designed everything from merchandise, on pack promotions, events, newspaper/magazine ads and displays. I worked on promotions for Evian, Orange, Robinsons, Cosmo Girl, Wella, Disney and many more! So chances are you’ve seen the stuff I worked on, but I very much doubt it would have stuck in your memory!
You quit your job to do a masters in illustration at Brighton Uni, what inspired you to make the change to writing and illustrating children’s books?
I stopped working full time in advertising when my daughter was born, though I was freelancing. Moving out of London made that harder so I started a greetings card company called My Giddy Aunt. That got me back into drawing and I slowly regained a smidge of confidence about it, having neglected it for many years. All the while I had been bombarding my daughter with books, which really re-ignited a love of children’s books and how exciting and magic they can be. I had some ideas, and sketched a few out but still felt less than confident about my work. So I decided to make myself official and signed up to the MA in Sequential Illustration at University of Brighton. This forced me to work on the briefs I never normally would have and, crucially, to show my ideas to a room full of people – GULP! It also justified spending time developing a style and ideas.
If you could collaborate with any other picture book writer/illustrator, past or present who would it be and why?
That is such a hard question! Erm…..Well, as I said earlier, Dr Seuss is a hero, and a story of his, “My Many Coloured Days”, was post-posthumously illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher then published, and I love it. It’s not as fast paced as many of his other books, so I think I could illustrate for him if he was writing in that mood!
I’d love, love, LOVE to work with Kay Thompson. Eloise is an utter legend, and Hilary Knight captures her spirit so beautifully, it’s untouchable. That spirit is infectious and I would love to work with someone who can conjure that kind of character up. And we could sing “Think Pink” from Funny Face and look sophisticated all day long.
Oh and Astrid Lundgren is another hero, I knew this was impossible and I have even got onto the living yet!
Also, a bit off the question but, I’d love to illustrate a picture book written by Wes Anderson. Genius.
It’s a smashing debut picture book, what’s next for Sophy Henn?
Thank you! Well, my second picture book is at the printers. It’s about a grumpy Panda called Pom Pom. He’s been developed from a character I created for my MA project ( a comic for KS2 girls to offer and alternative to the magazines they are currently targeted with), called Angry Panda. It’s called Pom Pom Gets the Grumps and is quite different from Where Bear. I think it’s got more humour, but I guess you’ll be the judge of that! Oh and it has a Wibbling cover, I know I’ve probably spelt it wrong, but basically its a fabric covered hardback, which is beyond exciting. There’s a couple of other bits & bobs in the pipeline, but I’m sworn to secrecy. They made me cross my heart and kiss my elbow so there’s no way I’m telling!
Madame Chapeau is a lonely hat maker; she spends her days making bespoke hats to perfectly match her customers. Unfortunately, Madame Chapeau is missing the perfect match for herself. On her birthday, each year, she would put on her favourite dress and her favourite bonnet; then she would venture out into the city to dine in her favourite restaurant… alone!
To her dismay, a crow swoops down and snatches away her bonnet. Madame Chapeau chases the crow through the streets of Paris. Along the way she is generously offered hats by passers-by, a baker, a policeman, a cowboy & many more. But none of them are quite right. Full of sorrow she sits down in the restaurant to dine alone, too sad to take a bite of her cake. Until a special little girl gives her a very special gift.
Here are 14 reasons why I treasure this book…
- The abundance of rich vocabulary, that flows and rhymes from the beginning to the end – ‘Each feather, each bauble, each bead, and each bow – painstakingly chosen by Madame Chapeau.’
- The calligraphic-ribbon typography on the front cover
- The somewhat bemused expression upon Madame Chapeau’s face
- Looking under the dust cover …beautiful
- The way the type is set meticulously on each page and spread
- The myriad of marvellously refined hats
- The fact that David Roberts, the illustrator, was a former milliner.
- I like that the author & illustrator have worked together in the past, Iggy Peck, Architect & Rosie Revere, Engineer. That’s a pairing you can trust!
- The story is told by writer and illustrator in equal parts – a true collaboration
- The vocabulary I have acquired to describe hats in all their shapes, sizes and forms
- The sense of place you feel when absorbing yourself within its pages
- The generous lashings of white space, that give the gorgeous illustrations room to breathe and sing
- The fine detail to be discovered within each illustration
- The pathos of Madame Chapeau’s loneliness
My review: I love this book!
I should probably say why, here are 14 reasons…
- It’s simplicity
- The bold coloured backgrounds
- The character designs
- The boy’s Breton jumper
- Sophy’s signature
- The mat finish
- The quality of the paper
- The typography on the front cover
- The bear’s pot belly
- The rhythm of the words
- The old school red telephone
- Sophy’s little puffin illustrations on the spine & title page
- The end pages
- The exquisite illustrations
The story is of a bear, who lives with a boy in a house. The bear outgrows the house. The boy tries to find his friend a more suitable home.
This is Sophy Henn’s debut picture book. I for one can’t wait for the next.
Watch this space, a Q&A with Sophy is coming soon.
Oh, you can follow Sophy on twitter @SophyHenn
Check out her lovely website www.sophyhenn.com
Check out Mark’s blog to see more of his lovely work.
I’m a huge fan of Luke Flowers’ illustrations, he has a really fresh and exciting style. He can literally illustrate garbage – and I love it.
Like Luke, I share a love of 80’s popular culture & all things Pixar; I was really excited when I found this on Luke’s website. By the way check out his website, tons of cool work on there.
From the first time I went to a movie at the movie theatre (E.T. was the earliest I can remember), I felt an instant connection to the artistry of film. I am quite thankful that the 80’s offered so many classics, filled with memorable characters and highly imaginative stories. For me, these beloved films are like Doc’s Delorean (hence the header license plate nod). They instantly take me back to an age that formed the foundation of my creative journey, my fondness for film … and a whole slew of awkward middle school moments.
I am deeply grateful for the invitation to create a piece for Pixartimes, and honored to be among so many admired creatives. I was inspired to combine my favorite childhood films and my love for all things Pixar, and what better way to do that then the timeless art of the movie poster! Each poster is based off the original movie poster from my favorite 80’s film then given a Pixar twist. The credit text on the posters have quirky nods to both the Pixar film and original film stars, directors, composers, etc. … see if you can make the connections!
I will be creating one poster each month, so be sure to check back each month for the latest installment! Each Pixar film will be represented throughout the year (except combining the Toy Story films into one month to be able to get all 14 Pixar movies in the year timeframe).
Check out pixartimes.com for the Q & A and original Jan. & Feb. posts!
Here is the magpie mash-up Luke illustrated for Magpie That. Now hurry up and make a picture book Luke!