Thursday 26 July 2018

"The Holidays" by Blexbolex (Gecko Press)

We've long been champions of wordless picture books on the blog, and their power in turning around reluctant readers can't be denied...
The thing is, they're also good for experienced readers and in the case of "The Holidays" by Blexbolex, an essence of surreality thrums through this seemingly fairly ordinary tale of a young girl and her dad embarking on the summer holidays.

We love books that put you on the backfoot a bit. So there's some fairly ordinary world-building here that rapidly seems to descend into a bit of a whirlwind maelstrom of storytelling, daydreaming (and dreaming at night), with a strong moral message about taking a moment to enjoy the ordinary bits of your day, while fully embracing all the possibilities offered by the extraordinary.

I let C loose on this one, looking over her shoulder as she scurried her way through - to stop dead when the little girl meets a baby elephant on her travels, attends a spectacular masked ball, is rather cruel (after the elephant plays a bit of a prank on her), and then misses the playful critter when he disappears into the night.

Illustrations have to be absolutely faultless in wordless picture books, and that's definitely the case here - with each scene picked out in a glorious moire of stunning colour and subtle magical movement. It's a true treat for the eyes, this one.

C's interpretation of the story was entirely different to mine, I love the fact that there was an amazing mix of gorgeous sunlit summer idyll fused with a slightly darker tinge as day gives way to night. If you've been experiencing the weirdest fever-dreams in the hot weather recently, this book will definitely appeal to you as it does to us.

C's best bit: Elephants do NOT forget!!! So never be cruel to them!

Daddy's favourite bit: A sublime slice of surreality, wordless and glorious. Oh and Blexbolex is the coolest damned name I've ever heard.

"The Holidays" by Blexbolex is out now, published by Gecko Press (kindly supplied for review).