These two recently-published nonfiction titles from Little Gestalten demonstrate the universality of human experiences: from gardening to knowing the ins and outs of the human body.
Let’s Garden: A Step By Step Introduction
Written by: Clara Lidström and Annakarin Nyberg Illustrations by: Katy Kimbell & Li Söderberg Translated by: Viktoria Lindbäck
Published by: Little Gestalten, 2015. ISBN: 3899557476 (ISBN13: 9783899557473). Review copy provided by publisher. Book photos taken by me.
One of my favourite reads when I was a child was Volume 4 of Childcraft Encyclopedia which is called Make and Do. It has a delightful interactive component to it that makes me do things with my hands:
And so it is with a measure of pleasant surprise that I read through Let’s Garden which also provides this playful but systematic introduction to gardening that is accompanied by lovely photographs:
The book is divided into 12 sections including an Epilogue meant for grown-ups. It provides a step-wise guide into developing “beans and bean games” or how to make “potatoes in a bucket” to name a few. The one that caught my eye, however, was “Garlic and Cheese.”
My only concern though about the book is that I feel a lot has been lost in translation. There are some things that remained pretty vague or unclear to me, it could be the unconventional word usage or the use of a few terms that the writer assumes a child reader would know – case in point would be the word “haulm” which made me do a double-take. Clarity when providing instructions and simplicity in terminologies are paramount for a guidebook – things which could be improved with this title. However, the layout and overall packaging somewhat make up for this.
My Body: Explained and Illustrated
Text by: Antje Helms Illustrations, layout and captions by: Golden Section Graphics Fact-checking by: Cord-Hinnerk Delventhal Translation from German by: Jen Metcalf Proofreading by: Felix Lennert
Published by: Little Gestalten, 2015. ISBN: 978-3-89955-711-4. Review copy provided by publisher. Book photos taken by me.
If the previous title reminded me of the Childcraft Volume on Make And Do, this one reminded me of Volume 14: About Me.
Yes, I was a diligent little girl – going through the books that my parents painstakingly purchased for me. I confess to not really being that keenly interested in this particular volume though, as I enjoyed Poems and Rhymes (Volume 1) and Stories and Fables (Volume 2) more. Had it been packaged in something as dense yet also filled with relevant illustrations such as My Body – a brainchild conceived by Little Gestalten, then perhaps my interest would have been piqued much more easily.
I didn’t really have the opportunity to study the text quite closely for accuracy – but this is the reason why I included all the people involved in this enterprise above – because I can tell that this requires an enormous amount of team effort, painstaking research, and proofreading – not to mention the fact that it is also a translated text.
The image above reminded me of a course in undergraduate Psychology that revolves around sensation and perception. This would have been a really good supplementary reference to the otherwise dry and straightforward information found in university texts. Definitely worth checking out for older readers.