Friday, March 2, 2018

ReadItDaddy's Second Picture Book of the Week - Week Ending 2nd March 2018 - "A Good Story" by Zack Rock (Creative Editions)

Back in the mists of time (Well, 2014 to be precise) we encountered a book that made our jaws drop, that rare jewel - a fantastic story with art that wrapped itself around the words like a snuggly warm blanket. Perfection in fact...
So that's how we ended up nominating "Homer Henry Hudson's Curio Museum" a well-deserved book of the week.

Book of the Week winners are often revisited, re-read so many times that we come to know the stories off by heart. I don't remember how we ended up with a review copy of HHHCM but we never saw any more of Zack's work - until out of the blue this fantastic fellah offered to send us a copy of his new book "A Good Story" which arrived last August and really should not be missed.

Another mark of a Book of the Week winner is how the book resonates personally with us. In this case, the story of a piggy accountant who feels like he's just another number, a tiny cog in a bigger machine, with the world's dullest job. Anyone else getting that prickling sensation of familiarity at the back of their neck or is it just me?

Pig and his co-workers. Number-crunchers one and all (recognise anyone? Bet you do!)
Pig, more commonly known in the story as "Assistant Bean Counter #1138" (1138 being one of a myriad tiny little gorgeous references Zack works into his stories, some so subtle that they're just an absolute delight when you discover them) is deft on his hooves, and dreams of a life outside work, a life full of wonder and dazzlement.

But 1138 doesn't discover this world until one day, sheltering from a terrible storm, he finds himself in a bookshop...

Yikes! Raining cats and dogs, time to escape into the best place to shelter from any storm...
Inside, for the first time, 1138 starts to nose through books - and realises that books contain whole other worlds to escape into. Worlds where he, 1138, can be the hero and let his imagination fly.

Soar through the skies, fight a dragon, stare at the gorgeous orange-juice sunset. All things are possible when you immerse yourself in a story
1138 also meets a lovely piggy lady who shares his enthusiasm, and in a moment of epiphany he realises that he's rather more than just nifty and lithe, he is an ACROBAT!

So in true Horace Wimp style, 1138's life truly begins. There are so many things to come away from this book with - particularly if you're an adult who never really knew what they wanted to do when they grew up (and, like me, still don't) or a child who loves the idea that books contain portals to other worlds.

It all begins between the covers of a book. 
This is an incredible piece of work, a fantastic story filled with amazing illustrations you'll pore over and scrutinise for years to come. There are just so many glorious little touches in this, and though we've seen many, many children's stories that whisper about the amazing book worlds you can wrap yourself up in, we've seen seldom few as original and beautifully produced as this.

It's stunning. Really stunning. Stop standing there with your mouth open, go and pick this up immediately!

C's best bit: 1138 'showing off' with daring feats of acrobatics (in a book shop!)

Daddy's favourite bit: From some gloriously subtle nods to George Orwell's "1984" (including cameos by the man himself) to layer after layer of satisfying depth, this is the stuff that picture book legends are made of.

"A Good Story" by Zack Rock is out now, published by Creative Editions (kindly supplied for review - thanks Zack!)