Friday 3 January 2020

ReaditDaddy's Book of the Week - Week Ending 3rd January 2020: "Children's Picturebooks - The Art of Visual Storytelling (2nd Edition) by Martin Salisbury and Morag Styles (Laurence King Publishing)

If you are interested in children's picture books it can sometimes be quite difficult to find books that go a little further than just showing off fantastic illustrations and artwork, but delve into what makes a great picture book and how the creatives behind them actually get down to the nitty gritty of producing such amazing ways of conveying their stories.

"Children's Picturebooks - The Art of Visual Storytelling (second edition)" by Martin Salisbury and Morag Styles is a fantastic update of a title that was first published in 2012, pulling together new and emerging talent in the picture book field and once again showing how the medium has evolved from the very first illustrated stories, through to the superb titles that catch our eyes amongst modern-day kidlit.

If anything, it's like trawling through an immense catalogue of all of our previous Book of the Week winners over the past 10 years, with notable blog faves such as Shaun Tan, Jon Klassen and Beatrice Alemagna featuring in several of the chapters, broken down by particular subject areas to show just how picture books deal with a dizzying array of diverse subjects.

Jon Klassen's classic "I Want My Hat Back" (Walker Books) - Someone's in a LOT of trouble.
But for us it's the process stuff, those moments where the magic curtain is lifted for a brief second, and a kidlit genius reveals a smidgeon of their secrets to those of us who would love to create our own books but don't even know where to get started. Everything from the planning of plots and the storyboarding of illustrations shows up in this book, often proving that in many cases, "Happy accidents" aren't just something we amateurs rely on for inspiration and those moments of clarity in the creative process.

Beatrice Alemagna's absolutely gorgeous world building in "The Marvellous Fluffy Squishy Itty Bitty" (Thames and Hudson)

It's an absolute treat to see well known picture book creatives describing how they started out, their working processes and what drives them on to continue creating such amazing books. Certainly anyone interested in writing or illustrating (probably fair to say more illustration than writing advice) will find a treasure trove of detail here, lovingly curated by Martin and Morag in a completely unmissable tome.

Sum this book up in a sentence: Absolutely worth its weight in gold, a superb showcase of amazing children's books and the incredibly talented folk behind them

"Children's Picturebooks - the Art of Visual Storytelling (2nd Edition)" by Martin Salisbury and Morag Styles is out on 6th January 2019, published by Laurence King (kindly supplied for review).