Thursday, April 11, 2013

Welcome to Mamoko (preview) by Aleksander and Daniel Mizielinski (Big Picture Press)

We've already told you how excited we are about Templar's new imprint Big Picture Press and as promised we're taking a closer look at one of the standout titles in their initial batch of releases.

You'll have to wait until September for this but oh my, it will be worth the wait, believe me.

Spotting a picture book that instantly grabs your attention, purely from its cover art and blurb is a bit like falling in love and without a doubt, when we flicked through the Big Picture Press catalogue when the imprint was first announced, this was the title that smooched our faces off.

"Welcome to Mamoko" has already been published in several other languages, and Big Picture have picked it up for UK distribution - and we're so very glad that they have. Put together by the immensely talented team of Aleksander and Daniel Mizielinski, "Welcome to Mamoko" may remind you of the utterly delightful Richard Scarry books, or perhaps even the superbly detailed spreads of the "Where's Wally" books.

But without words, just a brief introduction to the characters therein, "Welcome to Mamoko" tells a massive variety of different stories within its pages, and the delight and discovery of those stories is purely down to how your child (and you) follow each character on their journey through the busy metropolis - as the complex and interwoven threads criss-cross like spaghetti in the book's brilliantly detailed spreads.

Charlotte's approach was fun to observe. She favoured the girl characters (at first) - and with each page turn she talked about what they were doing in each page and what we thought they'd do next. Of course, if you're following the progress of one character and get to the end of the book, you can turn back to the beginning to choose someone else. From then on it's like a domino effect, not only of how that particular character's story spins out but how the other characters in the book interact with them, paths crossing all the time.

The power of wordless books for children is that their own interpretation and their own additions to what's being shown in picture form become the core of the book, personalising it in a way that a traditional 'book with words' can't always offer.

I sincerely hope that Big Picture Press pick up some of Aleksander and Daniel's other books (particularly their books about crazy houses from around the world), as they're a very talented duo who definitely deserve more exposure over here as much as they get in the rest of Europe. In the meantime, if you're looking to get a flavour of how, once again, Templar / Big Picture's eye for talent is unwavering with the new imprint range, this is an extremely good place to start.

Charlotte's favourite bit: A certain beautifully dressed (and tressed) lady cow and her adventures

Daddy's favourite bit: I loved the alien with his camera who plays a very important part in the interwoven stories.

(Welcome to Mamoko was kindly supplied as a preview pre-print copy by Templar / Big Picture Press)

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