Friday 23 September 2016

ReadItDaddy's Third Book of the Week - Week Ending 23rd September 2016 - Pablo and his Chair by Delphine Perret (Princeton Architectural Press)

In our ongoing quest to bring you the very best picture books, we've discovered a bit of a gem that's had us breaking our "Book of the Week" rules today...
Madame C is getting very difficult when it comes to picture books. I still love them but she's becoming such a fussy madam that it's really tough to find something that draws her in, and has her sitting listening to the story completely and utterly rapt. Thus, we had to make room for a THIRD book of the week today, sneaking this one in because it's just so good. So very good indeed.

"Pablo and his Chair" is utterly sublime, the sort of picture book that lulls you in with a fairly simple premise and gloriously economical (but hugely effective) art then delivers such a whump of an original tale that you want to go right back to page one and read it all over again once you've finished.

Today is Pablo's birthday and although the newspapers seem more obsessed with the first day of Autumn than they do Pablo's big day, he returns home to find a fantastic party has been thrown for him by his friends and family.

A present waits, and Pablo can't wait to tear off the wrapping paper and see what's inside. Only...well, he finds a chair.

A chair. Yes, a chair - who on EARTH gets a chair for their birthday? Pablo, understandably, is a little bit disappointed - angry even, so he stalks off to his room with his present in tow.

Pablo's anger subsides and soon, like most boys, he tries to see what mischief he can get up to with his utterly useless present. He scratches it a bit on the seat just to see (that line completely slayed me), and soon he discovers that a chair is actually quite cool for balancing on.

After a few hours Pablo becomes something of an acrobatic genius, using his chair for all sorts of feats of derring do, showing off his gymnastic prowess. It's at this point Pablo decides it's time to take his show on the road...

A chair, how delightful! A chair!
We really don't want to ruin too much of the book for you, suffice to say that Pablo swiftly discovers the merits of making the best of a bad situation, being happy with yourself is the first step on the road to being truly happy with your lot and that's something that exudes from every single page like a delicious glowing light.

Delphine's storytelling is translated beautifully here, and her artwork - though quite simple and mostly linework with sparse colour - is actually utterly beautiful and suits the story perfectly.

We love the crying horse. Well sometimes watching a great performance is quite an emotional experience isn't it!
We were both instantly drawn in and hooked by this wonderful book. If your children are getting too old for picture books, this will take them by surprise deliciously. If they're younger, and still thrill to stories that don't require any complex setups (a young boy just walking off and touring the world leaving his family behind is SO AWESOME A SETUP we couldn't help but love it) but still satisfy deeply, then this is one for you.

Charlotte's favourite bit: Pablo's command performance at the best theatre in town (we just loved the audience!)

Daddy's favourite bit: A breath of fresh air in book form, hugely inspirational, original, engrossing and yet such a fantastically simple setup and idea. I really really hope a lot of people discover this one, it's just utterly perfect!

(Kindly sent to us for review by Princeton Architectural Press)

"Pablo and his Chair"

Written and Illustrated by Delphine Perret

Published by Princeton Architectural Press

Publication Date: 20th September 2016