Deep in the sea there lives a school of little fish. Their watery world is full of wonders, but there is also danger, and the little fish are afraid to come out of hiding… until Swimmy comes along. Swimmy shows his friends that, with ingenuity and team work, they can beat any bully.
Leo Lionni is one of my favourite picture book creators. Making picture books before the start of digital age, he created illustrations that were rich in colour and texture using child-like techniques. As a result the artwork is loose and expressive, often texture was created with the happy accidents of printing techniques and watered down paint splodged on with a sponge. The artwork looks like it could have been created using the art materials found in a nursery, yet they are incredibly sophisticated. Each illustration is filled with the childhood joy of creating art.
I love that his illustrations can be recreated by his young audience. It makes his books fantastic resources for parents and teachers alike.
“From time to time, from the endless flow of our mental imagery, there emerges unexpectedly something that, vague though it may be, seems to carry the promise of a form, a meaning, and, more important, an irresistible poetic charge.”—Leo Lionni