Wednesday, November 13, 2013
While He Was Sleeping by Ayano Imai (MinEdition)
Some children's books are so beautiful that we lose ourselves to them every time we pull them off the shelves and enter their worlds. Some author-illustrators make their craft look so effortless that it makes an artsy type like me weep that we'll never possess the ability to produce such stunning work. There's so much to enjoy here in Ayano Imai's beautiful "While He Was Sleeping" as the story wraps itself around you like a gorgeous double-duvet.
Charlotte couldn't quite decide whether the main character, Mr Brown, was a fox or a bear (we settled on a Tanuki). Leading a lonely existence, Mr Brown wants for nothing, but when a cheeky woodpecker pecks a hole in Mr Brown's rather natty tall white top hat, it's the beginning of a complete change in Mr Brown's life. The woodpecker soon invites other birds to take up residence in his hat, and soon a whole flock of different birds have moved in.
Mr Brown changes. Now, rather than spending his days shopping for gorgeous suits, Mr Brown begins to love having his feathery friends around. But as seasons change and hibernation time comes along, birds fly south for the winter and soon he's back to being very lonely again.
What happens when winter ends though...
There are a handful of artists who can produce such beautiful painted works for children's books that we jump at the chance to pick up each and every title they're involved with. Levi Pinfold, Anthony Browne and of course Ayano Imai belongs in that much revered collective. If you've loved Imai's previous (utterly gorgeous) books, you're really going to love this one.
Charlotte's best bit: Poor Mr Brown coping (rather poorly) when his new-found friends desert him as the weather turns cold.
Daddy's Favourite bit: So many deft and gorgeous little artistic touches that make each illustration and panel so deep and detailed that you could fall into it like a stone into a gilded pond. Gorgeous!
(Kindly sent to us for review by Minedition Publishing)