Archive

Tag Archives: children’s books

redesign_studio-lets_bake-11

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.

redesign_studio-lets_bake-01redesign_studio-lets_bake-06redesign_studio-lets_bake-05redesign_studio-lets_bake-08redesign_studio-lets_bake-02redesign_studio-lets_bake-10redesign_studio-lets_bake-04redesign_studio-lets_bake-03redesign_studio-lets_bake-09redesign_studio-lets_bake-07

Hang in there, people, this too shall pass. Do something fun inside!

redesign-disappearing_animals-08

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.

redesign-disappearing_animals-01redesign-disappearing_animals-06redesign-disappearing_animals-04

Further pages describe the animals and explain the reasons for their endangered status (spoiler alert: it’s mostly environmental damage and loss of habitats).

redesign-disappearing_animals-03redesign-disappearing_animals-02

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.

redesign-disappearing_animals-09redesign-disappearing_animals-07redesign-disappearing_animals-05

redesign-tree_book-teckentrup-01

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).

redesign-tree_book-teckentrup-02

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.)

redesign-tree_book-teckentrup-03

Winter snowy mystery (wonder if we’re going to get it this year).

redesign-tree_book-teckentrup-04

Spring lushness (our personal favorite real-life season).

redesign-tree_book-teckentrup-05

Summer night with its richness of life.

redesign-tree_book-teckentrup-06

The beautiful autumn.

redesign-tree_book-teckentrup-07

And here we go again.

redesign-tree_book-teckentrup-08redesign-tree_book-teckentrup-09

redesign-tree_book-teckentrup-10redesign-tree_book-teckentrup-11

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.

redesign-teckentrup_egg-01

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.

redesign-teckentrup_egg-02

“Egg colors”

redesign-teckentrup_egg-03

“Inside the egg.” This gave J a pause.

redesign-teckentrup_egg-04

Size comparison.

redesign-teckentrup_egg-05

The biggest egg ever. J loved this fact.

redesign-teckentrup_egg-06redesign-teckentrup_egg-07redesign-teckentrup_egg-08

There’s an interesting section on nests.

redesign-teckentrup_egg-09

A section on eggs not laid by birds.

redesign-teckentrup_egg-10

And one about the meaning of an egg in art and religion. While J leans towards natural facts, we enjoy the cultural angle.

redesign-teckentrup_egg-11

What are your favorite lucky finds from the library?

redesign-butenko-brzechwa-androny-03

Last week died Bohdan Butenko, one of the great Polish illustrators. His work was truly unique. It was one of the staples of our childhood reading experience because he created and illustrated so many books (allegedly over 200). The Polish People’s Republic was not a great time in Polish history in many ways but the talented illustrators who worked then certainly made it a little brighter, Butenko being one of the most joyful of them.

His style is very easy to spot, with several characteristic features:

  1. Simplicity. The simplicity is often deceptive because frequently finding the kind of shortcut he was so good at is the hardest thing to do. But his drawings are certainly recognizable by the scarcity of details. (It is also tempting to try to copy this if you’re the kind of kid who spends their days with crayons and pencils.)
  2. Bold lines. His drawings were always executed in thick, black lines which enclosed the forms.
  3. Flat colors. He often created in black and white but when he used colors, he did it confidently.
  4. Humor. One of the most endearing qualities of his work, he always tried to make the subject matter funny and lighthearted.
  5. Text interpretation. Rather than drawing literally what the text said, Butenko usually added a little story to it in his illustration, often making it funnier.
  6. Hand-written words. He had a nice way with letters, too. He often used comic book balloons and combinations of various lettering styles (always pretty simple, though).
  7. Good sense for layout. He wasn’t the kind of illustrator who leaves the picture for someone else to fit into the text. Instead, he often designed the whole arrangement of the elements on the page, usually drawing inspiration from comic books. Some of our favorite of his books include layout design which sort of comicsifies the text. (Not a word, I know.)

We have photographed Butenko books from our collection to illustrates the points above but mainly to share his work with you and maybe to inspire you to dig further.

This is our childhood fave, Butenko’s interpretation of classic children’s poems by Jan Brzechwa. He takes the already fun poems and makes them so much more exciting, particularly by turning them into a sort of comic but also by his visual interpretation of some of the stories.

Title page. (The cover went missing many years back.)

redesign-butenko-brzechwa-androny-01

“How to Talk to a Dog”

redesign-butenko-brzechwa-androny-04redesign-butenko-brzechwa-androny-05

“Ram” and “A Hole in the Bridge”

redesign-butenko-brzechwa-androny-02redesign-butenko-brzechwa-androny-07redesign-butenko-brzechwa-androny-06

Sometimes Butenko illustrated for adults, too, This is his version of Philip Zimbardo’s classic on shyness, with the humorous illustrations making the theme much lighter. A hand-written cover is also a Butenko thing.

redesign-butenko-books-18redesign-butenko-books-19

“Get a very becoming haircut…”

redesign-butenko-books-20

A children’s book about two cars dancing together. Pretty much a comic. (A favorite from my brother’s childhood, he was always into cars.)

redesign-butenko-books-21redesign-butenko-books-22redesign-butenko-books-23redesign-butenko-books-24

A book on geometry for children, notice how Butenko handles the page layouts.

redesign-butenko-books-01redesign-butenko-books-02redesign-butenko-books-03

An interpretation of Kipling’s story about the domestication of a cat. This is a little bizarre but very interesting in its combination of the slightly somber, old-fashioned fairy tale with Butenko’s visual wit and energy. Also, the pagination is awesome.

redesign-butenko-books-04redesign-butenko-books-05redesign-butenko-books-06redesign-butenko-books-07redesign-butenko-books-08redesign-butenko-books-09

This is an example of his work for small children, telling stories without words through one of the classic characters he invented.

redesign-butenko-books-13redesign-butenko-books-14

And one more Brzechwa poem, this time laid out into an entire cardboard book.

redesign-butenko-books-10redesign-butenko-books-11

This is his work for older children, with black and white illustrations, a sort of action adventure tale.

redesign-butenko-books-15redesign-butenko-books-16

“…international bandits…”

redesign-butenko-books-17

Do you have a favorite Butenko book? Or a favorite childhood illustrator?

 

planeta-zoo-book-10

On Saturday we took a day off and made a family trip to the local zoo in Gdańsk. The weather was just right and we had a great time. In the souvenir stand we found an interesting book that we’re sharing with you today: Planeta zoo (The Zoo Planet), which tells a bit of a history of zoological gardens and introduces various animals from Gdańsk’s zoo. The book tells interesting stories about the animals living in the zoo and will make our next trip so much more informed for our son, who will know the names of some of the animals. It is illustrated by Grażyna Rigall, whose watercolor illustrations have quite a lot of character and include funny little details.

We particularly like the zoo’s effort to publish a customized souvenir, which is thoughtful, informative and well-executed. Too often local tourist attractions don’t use the material they have to self-promote: their own exhibits and buildings. We would expect similar publications in each museum and fun spot. So many creative people could be hired for that and so many lovely objects could be made as a result.

planeta-zoo-book-02planeta-zoo-book-03planeta-zoo-book-04planeta-zoo-book-08planeta-zoo-book-05planeta-zoo-book-06planeta-zoo-book-07planeta-zoo-book-09planeta-zoo-book-11planeta-zoo-book-01

munari-abc-01

As our focus drifts now a little to babies (and as we did some huge bookshelf cleaning recently), we remembered one of the first artsy books that our son liked: ABC by Bruno Munari. Bruno Munari was quite a fascinating Italian artist and children’s books were just a small part of his wide artistic and scientific explorations – but it’s the one we’re most familiar with. ABC is a classic letters primer, which uses very elegant, high-contrast typography and lovely, slightly old-fashioned illustrations. While this might not be a book in which you find new tiny details during each re-reading, its very simplicity appeals to children and its high aesthetic level develops their sensitivity.

munari-abc-02munari-abc-03munari-abc-04munari-abc-05munari-abc-06munari-abc-07munari-abc-08munari-abc-09munari-abc-10munari-abc-11munari-abc-12

This is one gorgeous onion.

munari-abc-13munari-abc-14

redesign-gdd2018-12

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.

redesign-gdd2018-02

A nice exhibition idea.

redesign-gdd2018-01

What Do We Travel by? (from a selection of one-off books)

redesign-gdd2018-03redesign-gdd2018-04

Hedgehog.

redesign-gdd2018-05redesign-gdd2018-06redesign-gdd2018-07

Map-inspired lists of attractions for various Polish cities by Ładne Halo.

redesign-gdd2018-08

The Palace of Culture in 3D from Architekturki by Robert Czajka.

redesign-gdd2018-09

J just couldn’t get enough of this fox cutout, carrying it around the whole exhibition.

redesign-gdd2018-10redesign-gdd2018-11

A selection of books to read and enjoy.

redesign-gdd2018-13

Paper animals, also by Robert Czajka.

redesign-gdd2018-14redesign-gdd2018-15

Wolves.

redesign-gdd2018-16

Children enjoying an animation based on Iwona Chmielewska’s illustrations.

redesign-gdd2018-17

An illustrated labyrinth.

redesign-gdd2018-18