It’s this season again! The season to talk about seasons. Last year we showed you the amazing book by Blexbolex, this year a different one, but just as much of a treat: My Four Seasons by one of the most recognizable and recognized Polish illustrators, Dawid Ryski.
The book can serve as a season primer, telling a story of a five-person family (the fifth person being the dog) and how they experience all the seasons of the year. It’s told through simple yet lavish illustrations in Dawid Ryski’s characteristic style, which includes masterful simplification that does not eliminate detail and beautiful color palettes. We especially appreciate the ability to make all the seasons seem appealing because, let’s face it, they’re not all created equal. Don’t even try to convince us they are. But at least they all fuel gorgeous illustrations!
As you can see, there are so many things to love about this book: how all the environments, while different, are consistent when it comes to colors and the level of details, how there’s something fun to do in every season and the sweet, idyllic picture of a family life.
How are you doing, guys? We’re fine, except when we stumble upon social media – so we basically don’t do it anymore (seriously, if you want to contact us, send us an email, not a Facebook message). We’re sitting at home, of course, but it’s nothing unusual for us (we barely notice, except we’ve moved our gaming night online). We wanted to give you some fun activities to do during house arrest but regular work got in the way so instead we searched our bookshelf for a book with something fun to do when sitting at home and voila! Let’s Bake by Clara Lindström and Annakarin Nyberg, illustrated by Katy Kimbell and Li Söderberg.
This cute book presents a number of recipes for simple sweets that can be made at home with children. The results are photographed but the ingredients and instructions are charmingly illustrated, which helps keep the kids interested and involved. Truth be told, we bought the book for its visual aspect and haven’t tried any of the recipes yet but maybe now’s a good opportunity.
Hang in there, people, this too shall pass. Do something fun inside!
We did flake a little at the beginning of the year (sorry!) but December exhausted us completely. We’re back! We’re back with another lovely book, this time by Isabella Bunnel. The book is called Disappearing Acts and it shows endagered animals of different habitats in lovely, painted search-and-find spreads.
Each spread has a unique color scheme, a richness of details and patterns and a sad message: among the variety of well-painted animals from a different terrain, the reader is asked to find some which are literally disappearing.
Further pages describe the animals and explain the reasons for their endangered status (spoiler alert: it’s mostly environmental damage and loss of habitats).
The activity part is easy – our four-year-old found all the animals fast – but the lovely, detailed illustrations still invite careful study. The book is educational, too, with an important message. It manages to match the kind of activity to the theme well (the animals are difficult to find because they are fewer and fewer – makes sense). And, most of all, the painting style is so charming and confident.
Another trip to the library brought us (and J) another lovely book by Britta Teckentrup. (The previous one is here.) This time we returned with Tree, which tells the story of seasons through a tree in a forest and the animals that live within or near it. The book has a poem commenting on the seasonal changes but it’s really the illustrated part that grabs your attention. It has lovely depictions of animals in their yearly cycle (foxes are, unsurprisingly, our favorites) and a generous use of die-cuts, which make the book more playful. But we are, perhaps, most impressed with the color palettes used for every season (and particularly autumn).
The owl in its hollow is always in the centre of the tree – and of the book – while the forest around it changes. (Below the minimalist, and lovely, endpaper.)
Winter snowy mystery (wonder if we’re going to get it this year).
Spring lushness (our personal favorite real-life season).
Summer night with its richness of life.
The beautiful autumn.
And here we go again.
As we enter the season of the year that we tend to unreasonably grumble about (it’s cold and it’s gray, guys), this reminder of the beauty of every season comes as very welcome.
During one of our recent trips to the library our son, who’s got a good eye for books (mostly, I mean; he gets distracted by popular franchises), picked out this little treasure we’re sharing today: The Egg.
The book is written and illustrated by the wonderfully talented Britta Teckentrup (whose work we didn’t know before) and it tells all (well, a lot) about eggs in a style that manages to be both informative and artistic. J loved all the facts about different kinds of eggs, particularly the really large ones. We loved the art, its combination of minimalism and humanism (not an easy thing to pull off). Together we had quite a few fun evenings with the book before the time came to return it.
“Egg collections.” Throughout the book the use of texture and color is marvelous.
“Inside the egg.” This gave J a pause.
The biggest egg ever. J loved this fact.
There’s an interesting section on nests.
A section on eggs not laid by birds.
And one about the meaning of an egg in art and religion. While J leans towards natural facts, we enjoy the cultural angle.
What are your favorite lucky finds from the library?
Gdynia Design Days is a local design festival happening in our city and this year it includes two small exhibitions of illustrated books for children, which, as you know, is totally our thing. We took our son and went to see the works by some of the most popular Polish illustrators of today. Even though we already knew most of the presented works, we still enjoyed seeing them together and the way the exhibitions were arranged and J had a real blast, making a mess: moving stuff around and ruining the careful arrangements. Luckily, nobody minded because, well, that’s what you expect from children in a gallery. If they don’t touch anything, they’re probably not having fun. (Sidenote: we wouldn’t let him touch stuff in the Louvre, don’t worry.)
A series of books illustrated by Joanna Bartosik.
A nice exhibition idea.
What Do We Travel by? (from a selection of one-off books)
Map-inspired lists of attractions for various Polish cities by Ładne Halo.
The Palace of Culture in 3D from Architekturki by Robert Czajka.
J just couldn’t get enough of this fox cutout, carrying it around the whole exhibition.
A selection of books to read and enjoy.
Paper animals, also by Robert Czajka.
Children enjoying an animation based on Iwona Chmielewska’s illustrations.
An illustrated labyrinth.