Since I started writing this blog, I have developed a deeper appreciation for the variety of artwork (and yes, I mean real art ) provided ...

When Illustrations Become Art

Tuesday, July 26, 2016 BookBairn Blog 16 Comments

Since I started writing this blog, I have developed a deeper appreciation for the variety of artwork (and yes, I mean real art) provided by illustrators to visually tell stories. For BookBairn, there is, without a doubt, nothing more important to her when reading books than the illustrations. She feels them, touching the pages, she pours over them turning page after page after page. She can't read the words. And as much as she enjoys listening to stories read aloud to her, it's primarily the illustrations that determine her favourites.



I have gradually become more aware of our favourite illustrators, and how many of the books we adore, despite having different authors, have illustrators in common. Many people can roll off a list of their favourite authors and have no idea who illustrated them. And it's not their fault. All the press seems to be around the writer, and in some cases the illustrators name isn't even mentioned on the cover! Imagine putting in all that effort and not getting your name on the cover? Pictures sell books too. So from now on we will proudly display the 'pictures mean business' logo created by Sarah McIntyre (illustrator extraordinaire) in a show of support for illustrators and the art of illustration!

Flipping this lack of accreditation on it's head are the team at Little Tiger Press who have put the illustrator front and center of their newest release. Britta Teckentrup truly is an artist of the highest standard.

In 'Bee: nature's tiny miracle', she has created a magical world for little readers. It is completely enchanting. Using an intricate collage style, rainbow-hues and luscious colours, Britta has created fields of wonderful flora and fauna to tell the story of the flight of the bumblebees. Every page is delight! I thoroughly enjoyed reading Catherine at Story Snug's interview with Britta about the inspiration behind her beautiful creations (linked for you here). Also, the die-cuts throughout the book engage little fingers with exploring the pages and they are cutely hexagonal adding to the artistry of the images and aren't simply gimmicky. They certainly take nothing away from the artwork and they allow little BookBairn to explore the pages.

This book is not only a work of art but it also shares the plight of nature's unsung hero, the bee. Patricia Hegarty poetically tells the story of the vital role that bees play in our environment. In rhyming couplets she brings to life the bees to-ing and fro-ing as the bee sweeps through the fields gathering pollen. I re-read this several times with the intention of sharing some of my favourite  lines with you, and I just can't. The whole poem is just too beautifully crafted to take one or two from the story. You will just have to get your hands on a copy if you want to read this magical story.

Quite simply, this is a perfect example of a non-fiction picture book at it's best! I love that there is a growing genre of narrative non-fiction for younger readers. What a brilliant way to engage little ones with learning about a variety of subjects through the guise of a picture book story. I want more books like these. (We also loved 'One Day on Our Blue Planet' if you are looking for something similar.)

And it seems appropriate to end by sharing with you how beautiful the endpapers in this book are. They feature an incredible spread of wildflowers and mini-beasts, which support the message of the book that bees are vital to the pollination of plants and flowers, thus ensuring the survival of many other creatures, including us, in our eco-system. Perfectly beautiful.

I should also say that the pairings other book 'Tree: seasons come, seasons go' is also incredible, and a great read for learning about the seasons. If you are looking for a book that you will enjoy reading as much as your little ones, you should look out for Britta Teckentrup's magical works.

And hopefully, I've also encouraged you to appreciate the artwork in picture books and look underneath the cover for the illustrator's name too!

Enjoy the pictures! Mummy and BookBairn

*DISCLAIMER* We  requested a copy of 'Bee' for review from the publisher. All words and opinions are, as always, my own.


We are linking up with Mama Mummy Mum for #readwithme

16 comments:

  1. Sounds like a great book. Looking forward to reading it with BookBairn. I see she is dressed appropriately for the review with a bee on her top and a yellow "pretty" in her hair. Nice one!!

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    1. Think Gma might be responsible for that t-shirt. Perfect for this post! x

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  2. Another thoughtful blog! Illustrators are unsung heroes in the drive to build a love of books and develop the way for literacy. Look out for a new competition to design book covers coming to libraries later in the year for children and teenagers....

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  3. Well you already know I can't wait to get my hands on Bee (and Tree)! Great post and I was reading about #picturesmeanbusiness last night, totally in support :)

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    1. You must pick up a copy, it's so beautiful!

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  4. Thank you for including a link to Story Snug's post, it was fascinating to hear what inspired Britta's artwork. So much work has gone into each and every illustration, Bee is a beautiful, beautiful book.

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    1. I found it fascinating Catherine I just couldn't help but share!

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  5. This looks gorgeous, my eldest two are really into art and it's a great way of getting kids to see things differently isn't it, thanks for sharing with #ReadWithMe

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    1. It's beautiful! And was on sale on the book people for £3 (not an endorsement - just an awesome deal!) x

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  6. Well I bought it :) and the kids are delighted! I now need to brush up on my pollination facts. Did you see the little caterpillar - cocoon - butterfly going on in the background, thought of your search for caterpillar books :) #readwithme

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    1. I never noticed! Thanks for pointing it out. I'm so glad that you like it! x

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  7. Sounds a lovely book and I totally agree, illustrators are such an essential part of the book like this, they definitely need their name on the cover.
    #readwithme

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  8. I had never realised that illustrators aren't always on the cover of books until I read about the 'Pictures mean business' campaign. It must be so frustrating to put so much work in and create such beautiful illustrations and not be credited for them.

    I'm yet to get my hands on a copy of this book but it looks truly stunning. Your little book bairn is so careful turning the pages!
    #readwithme

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    1. All us picture book lovers love illustrators as much as authors, right?

      I mentioned above that Book People have a great deal on this book at the moment if you're looking to pick it up. (Not an endorsement, I just love a bargain).

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