Book Reviews: Tales in Two Shades
Posted on April 7, 2015
I have two picture books for your reading pleasure today, one vintage and one very new. They are both simple, beautiful stories. One has endured and the other is a lot of fun.
The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf
This enduring, endearing story was penned in 1936 and is still popular today. A baby bull in Spain loves to sit quietly by himself in the field, smelling the flowers. Unlike the rest of the young bulls, he harbours no dream of cavorting with red rags in the bull rings of the city.
As he gets older he grows into an enormous bull, but his love of flowers doesn’t abate. When men in funny hats come to select the biggest, fiercest bull for the bullfights, while the other bulls buck and snort and jump, Ferdinand shows his nonchalance by sitting down. Unfortunately he sits on a bee. His natural reaction to a bee sting on the bum makes him look like the perfect candidate to the men there, and off he goes to Madrid to show them his very special brand of bullfighting.
Many pages long, in plain black and white, with sparse text, the reason that this take has endured so long lies in its sweet simplicity, and in the beautiful message that it is fine to be different.
Mister Horizontal & Miss Vertical by Noemie Revah & Olimpia Zagnoli
Like the illustrations in Ferdinand, the characters of Mr Horizontal and Miss Vertical are in monochrome, but they glide and fly across deep washes of colours, all the better to showcase their stylised vintage circus strongman appearance.
Inspired by a Rene Maltete photograph, the book tells of all of the horizontal loves of Mister; to gliding, yoga, boating, floating, deserts, gardening in straight lines. Then there are the vertical passions of Miss; launching herself into the air, high wire acts, bungee jumping and New York City. She collects ladders (a perfect love knot between the two).
Have you read either of these? What books are you reading to your children this week?
Linking up with Jess for #IBOT